Archives for June 2017

Randy Lee Wilcox

Randy Lee Wilcox age 56 of Linden, AL died June 30, 2017 at DCH Regional Hospital in Tuscaloosa, AL. He was born September 30, 1960 in France.

He is survived by his father, Leland A. Wilcox; and seven siblings, Marlene Rowley, Gail Bidwell, Dean Alan Wilcox, Kelly E. Wilcox, Brad Leland Wilcox, William Paul Wilcox, and Camile Kent.

Cremation arrangements are being handled by O’Bryant Chapel Funeral Home in Linden, AL.

All obituaries taken from the website of the corresponding funeral home unless otherwise noted.

Non-resident students continuing to prop up Demopolis enrollment numbers

Much of west Alabama has been abuzz in recent weeks following the announced closing of AISA mainstay Sumter Academy. The end of the York-based private K-12 institution triggered some ripples in other nearby schools as parents scrambled to find their children new educational homes. As of Thursday morning, some 20 percent of the new non-resident student population set to enter Demopolis City Schools in August will transfer from Sumter Academy.

“It has had an impact. Within those numbers, I would say anywhere between 15 and 20 of those 75 (new non-resident students) are coming from Sumter Academy,” Demopolis City Schools Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff said. “It appears that most of the children we’re getting from Sumter Academy are second, third, fourth, and fifth (graders). There’s a couple of them in the high school, maybe four or five in the middle school. But the majority seems like it is in that second through fifth span.”

Kallhoff presented the Demopolis City Schools Board of Education members with updated information pertaining to non-resident students during Thursday’s meeting. In particular, the superintendent noted the the school has 75 new students from outside the district with half of those registered for Kindergarten.

K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
37 8 4 6 5 4 3 1 4 3 0 0 1

“Our kindergarten class has been around 150, sometimes a little lower. We really need it to be a little bit higher than that. We really need it to be anywhere from 185 to 200 per class to get our big number close to 2,300. When we have a couple of classes at 140, that’s not good. Most of your funding is coming off of your elementary,” Kallhoff said. “As they get to middle and high, the divisor is higher so you get fewer dollars. You want your classes to be at capacity in elementary so you get funding dollars the following year.”

While the Kindergarten influx is beneficial for the city school system’s foundational population, Kallhoff attributed the enrollment phenomenon to the reputation of Westside Elementary School.

“Westside is known around this area as a great school, a great K-2 school. The teachers at Westside, the nurturing, the loving, (WES Principal Rashida) Jackson, some of the programs we’ve had there and some that are coming,” Kallhoff said of the facets of WES that have garnered a strong reputation for the school. “What we do at Westside and what the tradition is at Westside is why you see 37 kindergartners there.”

With the incoming enrollees noted in Kallhoff’s report, some 35 percent of the school system’s overall student body is of the non-resident variety with Greensboro, York, Livingston and Eutaw among the most prevalent home bases among that group.

“They’re all over the place. That’s what you want. You want to make sure your school is a place people want to attend,” Kallhoff said. “But, at the same time, we watch these numbers closely because we want to make sure we’re providing the best education we can for the citizens of Demopolis.”

The influx of non-resident students comes less than four months after the school system evaluated whether or not to create a tuition charge for out-of-district pupils. While there are no plans to revisit the topic in the immediate future, the prospect of non-resident tuition remains plausible for the system.

“I think it will be revisited. I had a committee come together. On that committee were parents who do not live in Demopolis, although they all work here. Some were business owners. We tabled it,” Kallhoff said, recounting the exploration that preceded a March report that indicated the system’s administrators’ awareness of the need for non-resident tuition. “If we do it, we’re going to have to find the fair way. I think the fair way is to find the tax payer in Demopolis and how much of their property taxes go toward our schools. Find that number, and that’s what it should be. You would have to find the average because what you pay in taxes and what I pay may be different based on the values of our properties. But you find that average. If $327 is the average per household, that should be what you pay.

“In other words, if you have seven kids and you live in Sumter, you’re still coming from that one house. That’s only fair to the folks who pay taxes in Demopolis is that those who are coming in are paying the same that we pay for the same quality education.”

Should the system implement a non-resident tuition, the expectation is that existing students within the system would already be grandfathered in.

“I think that would be the fair thing to do. That would be something the board would have to agree on. But I, personally, think it’s the fair thing. You came under the assumption there’s no tuition,” Kallhoff said. “That number would start small, but as those kids grow, you’re going to collect more. I think that would be the fair thing. To me, that would be fair. It’s going to call for some work. I just don’t know when.”

In addition to consideration of a non-resident tuition in the future is also the reality that any set fee would have to alter along with property tax shifts should they ever occur.

“If we ever ask for an increase in property tax, it’s a no-brainer. That same increase has to go to the 35 percent (of non-resident students). With that being said, we do have a 3 mill renewal that’s coming up that needs to be renewed next year,” Kallhoff said. “We’re working now to get a vote lined up, maybe by the end of this year. This is not for new taxes. This is a renewal, a renewal of 3 mill. This is a county levied tax that is voted for by the citizens of Demopolis.”

For now, the superintendent is tasked more with helping to introduce and acclimate students to the school system rather than focusing on any of the financial implications of taking on non-resident pupils.

“Something I started last year, I meet with every parent of every child that’s new to our system that does not live in Demopolis. I did that when I was in Chickasaw and I do it here. I sit down with them and I explain what our non-resident policy is,” Kallhoff said. “The things I make sure they understand are we do reserve the rights to remove non-residents but not very frequently does that happen. The criteria in which that would happen is if attendance becomes an issue and behavior. With grades, if you’re coming to school and you stay out of trouble, then we’ll work with the grades. I make sure they understand that and I make sure they understand we do not provide transportation. I tell them to get involved in the PTO. If it is an older child, get involved in the band boosters, athletics. Whatever your child does, get involved because that’s what is going to make that transition smooth.”

Demopolis BOE hires five in Thursday meeting

The Demopolis City Schools Board of Education made five hires Thursday morning during a brief called meeting. The personnel moves are as follows:

  • Hired Rachel White as English/Language Arts Teacher at Demopolis High School
  • Hired Brandi Dannelly as girls Physical Education Teacher at Demopolis High School
  • Hired Aubrey McElroy as Science Teacher at Demopolis Middle School
  • Hired Ieasha Morris as Lunchroom Worker at Westside Elementary School
  • Hired Norvie Womack as Career Prep Teacher at Demopolis Middle School.

Womack will assume varsity boys basketball head coaching duties. Additionally, the board voted to move Virginia Goodlett to a 12-month assistant principals position at Demopolis High School. Goodlett spent the previous academic year as an assistant principal at both Westside and U.S. Jones.

“She can hit the ground running. She has been in the high school. She knows the high school,” Demopolis City Schools Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff said of the logical fit that places Goodlett under the direction of DHS Principal Blaine Hathcock. “That’s what Mr. Hathcock needs. He needs someone to come in and hit the ground running. She is going to work with instruction. She’s going to work with the upperclassmen and do more with instruction. She knows the teachers there. She knows the staff. She is just going to compliment Mr. Hathcock and Mr. Pittman well.”

Goodlett’s return to DHS also puts the school back near its full administrative strength after it carried only one assistant principals for the 2016-2017 school year.

“Traditionally (the second assistant principal position at DHS) has been there. We did not have it there last year, but we are putting it back this year. Our numbers are going to be up a little bit,” Kallhoff said. “You know, 750 is that magic number where you want to have that second administrator. I don’t know that we’ll get to 750, but we’re going to be very close to 750 at the high school. We lost a small senior class and I think there’s a 50 student difference in our freshman class that’s coming up.”

In a corresponding move, the board will post the split assistant principal spot that Goodlett is vacating in her return to the high school. The elementary assistant principal position will be posted for 14 days and should be filled at the July 17 board meeting.

“I feel very good. The principals know what their needs are at their schools. We’re still lucky to have quite a few applicants, especially at our elementary level. It’s difficult to fill some of the math and science openings or special ed, but we haven’t had many of those this summer,” Kallhoff said of where the system stands with only six weeks until teachers report for Institute. “I feel good. We’re bringing our staffs together. There’s just a few small little openings that are left, but we’ve got another month where I think we can get those gaps filled.”

The board also approved the school system’s Foster Care Plan, a protocol that satisfies the state mandate of accommodating students in foster homes.

“It is due during the summer. They want to know what your plan is and how you’re going to accommodate foster care students within your system. Last year we had seven. This year we anticipate nine. You want to make sure you remove any barriers,” Kallhoff explained. “Of course you want to remove barriers for any student, but you certainly want to remove barriers for foster care students who have had challenges they’ve had to go through already in their young lives. You want to make sure their school life is as smooth as it can be.”

As part of that plan, Demopolis High will partner with the Marengo County office of the Department of Human Resources to afford students in foster care every possible resource.

“It talks about the partnership with DHR, removing any barriers as far as lunch status, and just make sure they’re comfortable and things are going well in school,” Kallhoff said. “Dawn Hewitt is our go-to person. It’s communication. It’s her knowing that she has a direct line to Gina Johnston, our principals, our counselors, me. When they have a student they’re having to deal with for whatever reason, they’re not having to go through red tape and we’re making sure we can identify that child that particular school day and just make things as smooth as possible for that child.”

Joseph Alison Kyser Jr.

Joseph Alison Kyser, Jr., age 72, of Greensboro, Ala., died June 29, 2017. A memorial service will be 3 p.m. Sunday, July 2, 2017, at First United Methodist Church of Greensboro with Rev. Steve Vernon officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church.

He was preceded in death by his father, Joseph Alison Kyser and mother, Patricia Nelson Kyser.

Survivors include his sons, Christopher Kyser (Edie) and Spencer Kyser, both of Tuscaloosa, Ala.; sisters, Trish Kyser (Joseph Smith) of Ft. Myers, Fla. and Cornelia Kyser of Greensboro, Ala.; brother, Bill Kyser (Bevo) of Greensboro, Ala. and grandchild, Charli Kyser of Tuscaloosa, Ala.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to First United Methodist Men’s Group, 1404 Main St., Greensboro, AL 36744.

Kirk Funeral Homes of Greensboro is handling arrangements.

All obituaries taken from the website of the corresponding funeral home unless otherwise noted.

Robert J. Brock

Mr. Robert J. Brock, better known to family and friends as “Radio,” age 76; the beloved husband of Mrs. Essie Lee Brock of Demopolis, Alabama, entered into eternal rest Thursday, June 29, 2017 at DCH Regional Medical Center, Tuscaloosa, AL. Funeral services for Mr. Robert J. Brock were held Saturday, July 8, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at Eastern Star Baptist Church, Demopolis, Alabama. Rev. Terry Gosa, pastor; Rev.Dewayne Charleston, eulogist. Interment followed in Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Hwy 43 South Demopolis, Alabama. Larkin and Scott Mortuary, LLC entrusted with arrangements.

All obituaries taken from the website of the corresponding funeral home unless otherwise noted.

Rev. Moody Day

Rev. Moody Day age 84 began his eternal life on June 28, 2017 after a five year battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Moody was born December 7, 1932, the only child of Harrison (Baby) and Vera Agee Day. He was raised in Tallahatta Springs Community. Moody was the store manager of Clarke Parts, Parts Manager of Thomasville Tractor Company for 28 years and a retired pastor. He was called into the ministry and was ordained as a Baptist minister. He preached as a lay-speaker to many local churches and was a pastor to Catherine Baptist Church and Center Point Baptist Church.

He was a man who loved to make others smile, whether it was giving everyone a nickname or by giving one of his famous hugs. He enjoyed gospel music and sang for several years in a gospel quartet.

He is survived by his daughter, Latisa (Stan) Sheehan; four grandchildren, Mandy (Nick) Schaughnessy, Tamara (Caleb) Norris, Keisha April and Beau (Kelli) Sheffield. He was loved by eleven great grandchildren. Moody was preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 50 years, and his only son.

In his spare time, he enjoyed watching the Atlanta Braves, watching Alabama Crimson Tide football, was a WWE fan and an avid turkey and deer hunter. Parkinson’s and Dementia took away his ability to walk but he never lost his ability to laugh and make others laugh. Rosemary Jackson and Audrey Evans kept him supplied with strawberry sundaes which made his face light up every time. In the Thomasville Rehabilitation Center, his nurses and aides were all given nicknames. Their hugs and support made the hard times better for us all.

He was laid to rest in Smith Cemetery in Chilton, AL on July 1, 2017. Bro. Butch Starks and Calvin Wood conducted the service at Oak Grove Baptist Church on Highway 154. Roy and Dawn Brunson honored his memory by singing Precious Memories and Going Home. Pallbearers were Beau Sheffield, Nick Schaughnessy, Caleb Norris, Hunter Norris, Ryan Norris, and Tim Kelley.

Arrangements by O’Bryant Chapel Funeral Home in Thomasville, AL.

All obituaries taken from the website of the corresponding funeral home unless otherwise noted.

Demopolis hosting 7U state tournament this weekend

Demopolis is readying for the 2017 Cal Ripken 7U Alabama State Tournament set to take place at the Sports-Plex Friday through Sunday.

Opening ceremony for the eight-team tournament are set for 8:30 a.m. Friday. The Black Warrior Pool will feature Athens, Westside B of Mobile, Spanish Fort and Demopolis. The Tombigbee Pool includes Phenix City, Florence, Westside A of Mobile and Semmes. Each pool will feature four games on Friday and two more on Saturday morning before elimination play begins.

The Tombigbee Pool schedule is as follows:

FRIDAY (Field 6)

9 a.m. – Semmes vs. Phenix City

10 a.m. – Florence vs. Westside A

2:30 p.m. – Phenix City vs. Florence

4:30 p.m. – Westside A vs. Semmes

SATURDAY (New Era Field)

9 a.m. – Semmes vs. Florence

11 a.m. – Phenix City vs. Westside A

The Black Warrior Pool schedule is as follows:

FRIDAY (New Era Field)

9:30 a.m. – Demopolis vs. Athens

11:30 a.m. – Westside B vs. Spanish Fort

3 p.m. – Athens vs. Westside B

5 p.m. – Spanish Fort vs. Demopolis

SATURDAY (Field 6)

9:30 a.m. – Demopolis vs. Westside B

11:30 a.m. – Athens vs. Spanish Fort

First round bracket play begins Saturday at 2:30 p.m. with four games. Second round bracket play is Sunday at 9 a.m. The championship game is set for 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

Gwyndolyn Collins Turner

Gwyndolyn Collins Turner died peacefully at home on June 24, 2017, at the age of 99. Born in Gallion, Alabama on May 20, 1918, she was the middle child of ten children of Beulah Brown and George Davis Collins. Gwyn graduated from Demopolis High School in 1936 and received a bachelor’s degree from The University of Alabama in 1940.

A longtime citizen of Demopolis, Gwyn was a woman of deep faith and unfailing grace. She was deeply devoted to her family, to her community and to her to friends, both young and old. Gwyn was an active member of the Reading Club of Demopolis for 73 years, the Marengo County Historical Society, and Trinity Episcopal Church.

With keen intellect and extraordinary vision, Gwyn championed historic preservation in Alabama and throughout the South. She spearheaded many efforts, including the preservation of Bluff Hall, the acquisition of Lyon Hall and the move of Demopolis Public Library to Ulmer Furniture Store in downtown Demopolis. In 2004, Gwyn was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and was named Alabama’s Grande Dame of Historic Preservation.

Gwyn was predeceased by her husband, David Sinclair Turner and her daughter, Penrith Turner Coleman.

She is survived by her sons, Joseph Collins Penrith Turner (Martha) and David Penrith Turner (Barbara); son-in-law, John Wilbanks Coleman; grandchildren, Hannah Turner Lavey (John), Sarah Chandler Turner Hallmark (Luke), John Hightower Turner (Ashley), Elizabeth Coleman Gillis (Justin), Laura Wilbanks Coleman and Emily Collins Turner; great-grandchildren, Frances St. John Nix Lavey, Andrew Parker Hallmark, Mary Sparks Lavey, Catherine Sinclair Turner, John Hightower Turner, Jr., Anne McLeod Turner, and Grey McCalla Gillis and her sisters, Mary Elizabeth Collins and Grace Collins Brown.

A celebration of her life will be at Trinity Episcopal Church at 2 p.m. on Monday, June 26, 2017.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Marengo County Historical Society, P.O. Box 159, Demopolis, AL 36732.

Kirk Funeral Homes Demopolis Chapel directing.

All obituaries taken from the website of the corresponding funeral home unless otherwise noted.

Recreational snapper anglers get additional days

Fishing buddy Todd Kercher posted a video last weekend that many feel justifies the significant extension of the red snapper season for private recreational anglers in federal waters.

Todd took his family out in the Gulf of Mexico to catch a limit of snapper, two per person with a 16-inch minimum. What he captured on video was what many snapper anglers have been screaming for the past few years.

As Todd tells one family member that they have a limit in the boat, they start throwing the leftover bait into the water.

A red snapper feeding frenzy ensued with 10- to 15-pound red snapper attacking the bait with such fervor that they were coming completely out of the water, skying as Todd called it.

The reason Todd and his family were able to enjoy the phenomenal red snapper fishing was the result of a unified effort by a diverse group that included the affected anglers, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Alabama Congressmen, city councils and mayors in Gulf Coast communities and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).

When NOAA Fisheries announced earlier this year that the private recreational sector would only get a three-day season, the above groups were disgusted to the point of anger.

A little more than a month ago, the groups began to come together to encourage the U.S. Department of Commerce, which oversees NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and subsequently NOAA Fisheries, to reconsider the season in federal waters.

Those efforts paid off last week when NOAA Fisheries and the Gulf states reached an agreement that if the states forego snapper seasons in state waters out to the 9-mile boundary Mondays through Thursdays, the federal private recreational season would be extended from three days for an additional 39 days. The season is set for each Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Labor Day and includes July 3-4 and Labor Day. The charter-for-hire’s 49-day season, which runs through July 19, and the commercial sector’s IFQ (Individual Fishing Quota) system are not affected.

Chris Blankenship, who has gone from Alabama Marine Resources Director to DCNR Deputy Commissioner to Acting DCNR Commissioner this year, said the negotiations have been in progress for much longer than a month.

“We started trying to work with the new administration not long after (Commerce) Secretary (Wilbur) Ross was appointed,” Blankenship said. “That has been very beneficial. Congressman (Bradley) Byrne also lined up the help from other Gulf Coast Representatives, like Steve Scalise and Garrett Graves from Louisiana, Matt Gaetz from Florida and Steve Palazzo from Mississippi. They met with the Secretary’s staff to urge them to extend the red snapper days.

“Then Governor Ivey sent a letter to the White House and actually talked to President Trump about red snapper while she was in Washington for a meeting about infrastructure. Then we had resolutions from Orange Beach, Dauphin Island and the Baldwin County Commission, along with a letter from Senator (Luther) Strange. It was a very concerted effort to get this extra time.”

Blankenship believes the main reason the Commerce Department responded to the requests of such a diverse group was the unified message.

“We were all asking for the same thing,” he said. “We wanted weekends, the Fourth of July and Labor Day. All the resolutions and letters were very similar. I think having that good community effort and single message helped this to be a success.”

Orange Beach City Councilman Jeff Boyd echoed Blankenship’s assessment of the teamwork.

“I think this is the greatest indication that the average voice was heard,” Boyd said of the extension. “It was heard all the way to the White House and Department of Commerce across many states. It showed that a team effort can absolutely be successful.

“Congressman Byrne was just by here, and we were talking about the work done by Chris Blankenship, Governor Ivey, Senator Strange’s letter and Senator (Richard) Shelby in the budget hearings. With that, we were able to gain enough momentum and energy to make it happen. I think it was wonderful.”

Boyd’s constituency includes a great number of private recreational fishermen and one of the largest charter fleets on the Gulf Coast. He said some are extremely happy and some apprehensive.

“From the private rec guys, there’s nothing but ecstatic excitement,” Boyd said. “From the charter guys, they’re worried about what it might do to them next year.”

Boyd said Blankenship was a crucial coordinator to make the snapper season extension a reality.

“Chris can’t get enough kudos,” Boyd said. “He’s the quiet hero who brought other state commissioners to the table. It’s hard enough to get a family to agree on anything, much less four different commissioners from four other states with different agendas.”

Blankenship said negotiations for the extension included several options including Saturday and Sunday, plus the holidays, but the addition of Fridays to the season prevailed.

“In order to get Fridays, the five states had to agree that they would not open a season in the fall,” Blankenship said. “Alabama and Florida felt it was more important to get the 39 days and not have a fall season. Mississippi and Louisiana agreed to do the same thing. Texas catches a very small percentage, ½ of 1 percent, of the quota during their fall season. So we were able to work out the details for 39 days, primarily through the cooperation of Alabama and Florida, which account for the majority of the red snapper catch.

“We realize not everybody is happy about giving up some of the state days. But we surrendered 23 days in state waters, where we have hundreds of (artificial) reefs, to get 39 days in federal waters, where we have thousands and thousands of reefs. We thought that was a fair trade.”

Blankenship hopes this process will reset the way the Gulf states work with the Commerce Department and NOAA Fisheries.

“All the states felt like this was a new opportunity, not just for 2017 but the future, to work with Congress and the Department of Commerce to find long-term solutions,” he said.

Blankenship said Rep. Scalise, who is recovering from a serious gunshot wound in an assassination attempt last week, was at the forefront of the negotiations.

“We pray for his speedy recovery,” Blankenship said. “This is an important issue to him. We hope he will get back to work soon. We look forward to working with him, as the Majority Whip, to pass a long-term fix in Congress.”

Blankenship said without the data gathered through the Alabama Red Snapper Reporting System, known as Snapper Check, the argument for an extension would likely have not been considered by Commerce.

“To the Commerce Department’s credit, they gave states the benefit of the doubt,” he said. “They compared the data from Snapper Check and MRIP (Marine Recreational Information Program). They were open to looking at the data. They recognized the disparity in the data and decided the private recreational fishermen needed some relief. It was a bold move on their part and very appreciated by the recreational fishermen.”

One of those private recreational anglers is Marcus Kennedy of Mobile, who made it clear he felt the private rec guys were “getting the short end of the stick” in my column a little more than a month ago. When we talked last Friday, he had just returned from a quick trip into the Gulf to catch a limit of snapper.

“It looked like a normal weekend, which is good,” Kennedy said of the number of boats in the artificial reef zones. “When you’ve got the season spread out, you won’t have everybody trying to get out at the same time.

“I think this is the best we could have hoped for. We basically traded the remaining state days for 39 days in federal waters. I’ll take the federal season every time. That’s good for Alabama.”

Kennedy agrees that the Snapper Check data is far more accurate than the federal estimate.

“The state catch surveys have consistently been two to three times less than NOAA’s catch estimate,” he said. “Therefore, this season is more in line with what the actual catches are instead of the inflated numbers NOAA has been using. Everybody I fish with is glad we got the extension, but they know it’s not a long-term solution, and we’re probably going to have to go through the same fight next year.”

To be ready for further negotiations, Blankenship said it is crucial that Alabama anglers report all their catches through Snapper Check, which offers three ways to comply. The easiest way, by far, is to use the Outdoor Alabama app for smartphones. Online reporting is available at www.outdooralabama.com, and paper reporting slips are located at select boat ramps.

Major Scott Bannon, Acting Director of the Alabama Marine Resources Division, explains Snapper Check and its importance to red snapper management in the linked video here.

Kennedy said there is an abundance of large snapper, 25-plus-pounds, and plenty of 2- to 4-pound snapper on the reefs he’s fished lately. And he’s glad he doesn’t have to stay in state waters to fish for Alabama’s premier reef fish.

“It’s bad when you have to cram it all into one weekend, when the weather might be bad,” he said. “Now we can breathe a little easier and not be under the stress that you have to go. It’s supposed to be an enjoyable outing. You want to go when the weather is nice, not when the federal government says you have to go.”

David Rainer is public information manager and outdoor columnist for the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. His column appears weekly in The West Alabama Watchman. 

MA’s Breckenridge participates in Boys State

Hutson Breckenridge, son of Dennis and Cindi Breckenridge of Linden, was selected by Marengo Academy to attend the 2017 Alabama Boys State held May 28 through June 3 on the campus of the University of Alabama.

He was a delegate at the Eightieth American Legion Alabama Boys State. Hutson was a credit to his community and to Marengo Academy. While attending Boys State, Hutson was elected to serve as County Commissioner. He developed a plan for the recruitment of an Economic Development Project for his Boys State County and was very involved in the County Government.