Archives for July 2017

Photo of the Day

If you missed opening night, you still have three chances to see The Canebrake Players performance of “Smoke on the Mountain” at the Canebrake Theatre in Demopolis.

Saturday, July 29th at 7:00pm

Sunday, July 30th at 2:00pm

Monday, July 31st at 7:00pm

Photo of the Day

They say there’s one in every crowd. Well, there were two in this crowd. Seniors Demetrius (aka DeDe) Davis and Erin White snag a little extra camera time during Demopolis High School’s media day.

Billy Ronald Smith

Billy Ronald Smith 82, of Demopolis, passed away July 18, 2017, at his house. Services will be held 4 p.m. Thursday July 20, 2017, from Fairhaven Baptist Church with Rev. Scott Stevens officiating and Kirk Funeral Homes Demopolis Chapel directing. Burial will follow in Demopolis Memorial Gardens. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service.

Billy was born November 4,1934, in Brent, Al., to Eldridge and Lillian Smith.

He was preceded by his parents.

Survivors are his wife, Kathryn Sherbert Smith; daughters, Pam Bedsole ( Billy) of Demopolis, Deborah Phillips (Kenny) of Pensacola, Fl. And Rhonda Smith (Fred) of Jackson, Al.; Sister, Shirley Watkins of Brent, Al.; brother, Jimmy Smith of Hampton, Va.; 6 grandchildren; 10 great grandchildren.

Pallbearers will be Will Smith, Holden Smith, Grey Bedsole, Matthew Phillips, Brad Huguley and Gary Phillips.

Honorary pallbearers will be Angela Johnson, Southern Care Staff, Nurses at the Cancer Center, Dr. Tai and Dr. Sanford.

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

Demopolis Arrest Reports: July 18, 2017

June 16 – James D. Bell, 43, Theft of Property III, Hwy 43 North

June 16 – Xandra R. Allbrooks, 29, Theft of Property III, US Hwy 43 North

June 18 – Phillip L. Mattar, 58, DUI, US Hwy 80 West

June 19 – Warren K. Hawkins, 50, Ex-Felon in Possession of a Firearm, DPD

June 19 – Ronald Glover, 55, Disarming a Law Enforcement of Correction Officer, Assault a Police Officer, Disorderly Conduct/Disturbing Peace, Resisting Arrest

June 21 – Kiser D. Jackson, 32, Contempt of Court, Family Dollar

June 22 – Robert L. Davis III, 19, Possession of Marijuana I, Marengo County Courtroom

June 22 – Lazarus C. Mitchell, 31, Contempt of Court, Marengo County Jail

June 22 – Micheal J. Lucy, 26, Contempt of Court, Marengo County Jail

June 25 – Kimberly A. Richardson, 30, Barbiturate – Possession, Bell Grayson Road

June 25 – Nicole M. Roberts, 46, Theft of Property IV, Walmart

June 25 – Nicole M. Roberts, 46, Escape II, Walmart

June 25 – Jeremy J. Winston, 28, Harassment, East Washington St.

June 25 – Cedric L. Cooks, 23, Possession of Marijuana II, Drug Paraphernalia – 1st Offense, US Hwy 43 North

June 25 – Sierra M. Daniels, Disorderly Conduct/Disturbing Peace, Hwy 43 North

June 26 – Tremaine Richardson, 35, Public Intoxication, Demopolis City Court

June 28 – Nicole M. Roberts, 46, Fraudulent Use Credit/Debit Card (3 counts), Possession of a Forged Instrument (8 counts), Marengo County Jail

June 28 – Johnny L. Ormond, 61, Pedestrian Under the Influence, West Pearl

June 29 – Charley Bromberger, 42, Possession of Marijuana, West Jackson St

June 29 – Stefan Richardson, 19, Burglary of Auto (no theft), East Pettus St

June 30 – Jamarcus Smith, 23, Possession of a Concealed Weapon w/o Permit, Jack’s

June 30 – Jamarcus M. Alvis, Possession of a Concealed Weapon w/o Permit, Possession of Marijuana, Hwy 80 W

July 1 – Markus Furrow, 45, Drug Paraphernalia – 2nd Offense, Tampering with Physical Evidence, Parr’s Chevron

July 1 – Burrell Carter Jr, 34, Alias Writ of Arrest, East Pettus St

July 1 – Deanza K. Albert, 33, Assault III, East Washington St

July 2 – Tara Bryant, 18, Contempt of Court, Gary Malone’s/Jefferson Road

July 2 – Wanda H. Smith, 53, Theft of Property IV, Vowell’s

July 3 – Thomas L. Hudson, 41, Failure of Adult Sex Offender to Register with Local Law Enforcement, Hwy 80 East

July 5 – Dames D. Robertson, 53, Possession of Child Pornography, Bell Grayson Road

July 6 – Derrick C. Simmons, 26, Criminal Mischief II, DPD

July 6 – Pamela C. Scott, 55, Harassment, Disorderly Conduct/Disturbing Peace, East Pettus

July 6 – Monica Ashworth, 51, Insufficient Funds – Check, East Washington St

July 6 – Timothy E. Brown, 21, Possession of Marijuana, Hwy 80 West

July 7 – Lucas M. Grantham, 31, Domestic Violence III, Indian Hill Road

July 9 – Chester D. Washington, 23, Robbery III, Resisting Arrest, Wolf Circle

July 10 – Brian Pham, 45, Miscellaneous Offenses, DPD

July 10 – Joseph P. Knowles Jr., 35, DUI (Combined Substance), DPD

July 12 – Lekendrick D. Giles, 31, Marijuana – Possession, Barbiturate – Possession, McDonald’s Parking Lot

July 13 – Jaylion D. James, 19, Theft of Property IV (2 counts), Walmart

July 13 – Joshua D. Nixon, 26, Theft of Property IV, Hwy 80 West

July 13 – Cornelia Howell, 59, Forgery I, Walmart

July 13 – Marquis R. Butler, 44, Forgery I, DPD

July 14 – Georgetta Essex, 37, Assault II, Aggravated Assault – Domestic Knife, US Hwy 80 West

July 16 – Thomas L. Harris Jr., 42, Domestic Violence III, Estelle Drive

July 17 – Stephanie D. Benison, 26, Harassing Communications, DPD

July 18 – Kendra M. Taylor, 29, Assault III, South Walnut

July 18 – Derick. D. Holloway, 39, Assault III, US Highway 80 East Apt. A1

Charter School Commission approves University Charter School

LIVINGSTON, Ala.—With the recent approval by the Alabama Public Charter Schools Commission for a new charter school in Sumter County, the University of West Alabama is preparing to transition the efforts of the planning team to the school’s founding board of directors in August. The University will continue to provide support and assistance to the Charter School to help ensure its long-term success.  

The school is set for opening August 2018, and the coming year will serve as the planning year. University Charter School becomes only the 4th charter school approved in the state since the passing of the Alabama School Choice and Student Opportunity Act in 2015.

University Charter School, which was proposed and developed by the University of West Alabama, will open its doors to students in pre-k through grade 5 in its first year, with plans to expand through grade 12 in subsequent years

The project has been led by a steering committee of community and civic leaders, as well as a planning committee from the University. Prior to the application submission on May 1, nearly $400k in support funds had been pledged from throughout the community. Although verbally approved by the Commission during a June 27 presentation, the school will be officially approved on July 26 at the APCSC’s quarterly meeting in Montgomery.

UWA President Ken Tucker has high expectations for the school and said that the University’s administration is confident that this is a step in the right direction for Sumter County and beyond.

“This innovative project has the potential to be transformative for Sumter County and our region, and we are confident that the model will have a positive and lasting impact on rural schools throughout the state, and even perhaps the nation, for many years to come,” Tucker said. 

“University Charter School is an innovative initiative that directly aligns with UWA’s mission to improve the region through education and outreach,” Tucker explained. 

University Charter School will be as unique as the histories, cultures, and landscapes of its constituents, resulting in the development of a rural, community-based school that will bring real opportunities to the children in our community.

University Charter School’s place-based instructional model is designed to ensure that students get to know their community and the people and opportunities in it. 

University Charter School also has the potential to breathe new economic life into our rural community,” Tucker said. As the first rural charter school in Alabama, we have an opportunity to do something unique, innovative and transformational, and we are very excited about the potential to positively impact the educational, economic and workforce development systems in our region.” 

Tucker said that the application team placed significant emphasis on the needs of the community while incorporating best practices known to enhance communities and work forces nationwide.

“By focusing on community cooperation and inclusiveness, and by providing students with a quality customized learning experience, we intend to graduate students with a skill set that prepares them for economic independence and success throughout their lives, whether it be college or career.” 

University Charter School was one of three applications presented to the Commission for the year. It was the only school to be granted full approval upon presentation, a unanimous vote of approval. Another was approved with condition, and another was denied approval.

What better time than this for all of you to rise up and make a difference in your county?” one commissioner said to the team. “Do well. Go forth and do well, do the best you can for the kids in your county.

Tucker said that he has high expectations for the school and is confident in the direction it is taking.

“Because of the unique approach and the newness of charter schools in Alabama, University Charter School will blaze a trail of educational innovation, collaboration, and development, empowering the next generation of leaders for our community, our region, and beyond,” Tucker said. “The ultimate goal for the application team has been to establish a holistic framework that will equip every person connected to University Charter School—whether as a student, an educator, or partner—to learn, grow, serve, and succeed in all academic and career endeavors.

Tucker commended the application team and said that the quality of work produced to develop the application confirms a need and provides a viable solution.

“The application team’s focus on maintaining integrity, transparency, professionalism, expertise, and commitment to serving others has been truly exemplary,” Tucker said. “The Commission’s stamp of full approval on the University Charter School application offers assurance that our dedicated team has fully addressed every aspect of establishing a charter school, from identifying the wide range of needs and validating those, to developing the strategic plans that offer an innovative and all-inclusive and realistic approach to addressing those needs, and an exemplary plan for curriculum and programming. This is a tremendous accomplishment for our county and region.”

To learn more about University Charter School, call 205-652-5459. Enrollment, employment, and other information about the school will be advertised as it continues to be developed. 

Tears and Laughter: If your town is not painting rocks, your community is missing out on the fun 

Often times in downtown Camden, there is no one out. The sidewalks are empty and so are the streets, except for the occasional car passing through.

Of course there are other times when it is busy. Early in the day when people are out running errands and working, and especially at the first of the month. On parade days the sidewalks will be crowded, and again when Santa rolls in on a firetruck during the annual Christmas in Camden festival.

And sometimes the courthouse square looks like a farmer’s market with people milling around. You can’t pick up a bushel of purple hull peas and a couple pounds of shrimp fresh from the gulf for supper when you bail out of most courthouses. But in Wilcox, you can get tomatoes and local honey too. Camden is protective of its farmers. Anyone visiting, or anyone who is lost and finds themselves at the junction of Claiborne Street and Highway 265, is encouraged to stop and thump the watermelons. But often there are just vacant parking spaces and silence under the shade of the old pecan tree.

That was until these last few days when things have started to change. I parked on Claiborne Street beside the Veteran’s Monument Park Friday and immediately a truck pulled in and parallel parked behind me. A young girl jumped out of the passenger side door. She was grinning and started running. I watched her grab a painted rock like it was a baton in a relay race. All in one movement she swooped up the rock and headed back to the truck.

Her mom was smiling as she pulled away, and in seeing them happy I noticed that I was smiling too. I was clutching three painted rocks and had intentionally waited for them to drive away before I got out of the car so as to not give away the locations. I was about to hide one at the Veteran’s Monument and the others across Broad Street at the courthouse and library.

I had seen different articles and news features about the Kindness Rocks Project. I know Andalusia is rocking and Prattville is participating as well as Monroeville. Several towns are, but I thought little of it really…because I live in Camden.

Specifically, I live about eight miles out from Camden in Canton Bend – which adheres to the Alabama River and connects to Possum Bend on one end and Millers Ferry on the other – but we all have Camden addresses.

The creative rock project initially began in Memphis, Tennessee. While the process of painting the rocks as well as finding the rocks can be an introspective process, the goal was simply to inspire others – both through the art on the rock and through the random act of kindness. Anyone who finds a rock is encouraged to share a picture on Facebook, then keep it or hide it again.

The local Alabama Camden Rocks page started on July 5. Within days sidewalks were filled with those young and young at heart. I’ve never witnessed anything so simple and positive bring a community together so quickly.

Neighbors have gathered kids together to paint rocks, along with church youth groups. Even during summer break a crowd of students got together to paint and hide rocks. Creative adults – some hesitant at first thinking they were too old to play – have joined in on the fun too. Toddlers, guided by their mothers and grandmothers holding their chubby hand, have in the other their own creation to hide in exchange for a find.

There have been painted turtles and puppies and lady bugs. There have been signs, scriptures and emojis along with messages and symbols of hope. Several posts of found rocks say, “This made my day!” Or, “I needed to see this today.”

Kindness, it turns out, is contagious. And it can bring joy to the emptiest of places.

Amanda Walker is a blogger and contributor with, The Thomasville Times, West Alabama Watchman, and Wilcox Progressive Era. Contact her at or at

Demopolis BOE readies for new academic year in Monday meeting

Back-to-school preparations took up much of the Demopolis City Board of Education meeting Monday.

Board members voted on personnel changes, bids for services and other actions to get ready for the school year that starts in less than a month.

One of the actions taken was to approve an on-site counselor from West Alabama Mental Health to be at Demopolis Middle School to serve WAMH clients. The board pays nothing for the counselor but will provide an office, internet connection and phone in the library.

In addition to working with the WAMH clients, the counselor will also serve as a resource to the school counselor, said Kyle Kallhoff, superintendent. If the program works well this first year, it may be expanded to U.S. Jones or Westside Elementary Schools in 2018-2019.

Parents who want to pay on line for their child’s school lunch now use PayPams. The board voted to expand the service to allow parents to pay school fees on line as well.

However, the original motion was modified to make sure PayPams lowers its service fee as the school year progresses and the amount declines.

The Child Nutrition Program (CNP) bids approved included Four Seasons Produce, $23,783.11; Borden Dairy, $83,769.01, and Ice Cream Warehouse, $11,170.

In other action the board approved:

  • An agreement with Shelton State Community College for the dual enrollment HVAC class.
  • Extra-curricula supplements.
  • Inventory disposition of four items, including a 1998 bus that will be offered for sale.

In consent items, the board voted for:

  • A memorandum of understanding to implement in the new pre-K program
  • A contract with Fleming Photography to take Demopolis High School pictures, including senior portraits, class photos and sports.
  • Re-advertising the Central Office secretary position and expand it to 10 months with a commiserate salary.
  • Advertising for a DMS English teacher.
  • Rotary Club dues for the superintendent.

The personnel report included the following:

  • Employment: Mary Ellen McCrory, CNP worker at WES; Nicole Jensen, Social Studies teacher at DMS; Tracey Stewart, 10-month assistant principal, split between WES and USJ; Jamie Webb, USJ teacher, and William Jackson, 12-month custodian at WES.
  • Resignations: Pam Morrison, Central Office secretary, and Allison Cobb, English/Language Arts teacher at DMS.
  • Transfers: Shawn Nikki Cobb, Special Education paraprofessional from USJ to DMS, and Ricky Richardson, Special Education paraprofessional from USJ to WES
  • Substitutes: Elaine Carter and Katie Poole
  • Miscellaneous: Brandi Dannelly, DHS girls P.E. teacher to a 10-month employee, and Norvie Womack, Career Prep teacher at DMS, to a 10-month employee.

Kallhoff gave the board a brief overview of the ACT, ACT Aspire and AP exam results for 2017, which will be shared with personnel at the Teacher’s Institute.

The board will hold a called meeting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2, to make final personnel changes. The next regularly scheduled meeting of the board will be Monday, Aug. 21, at 5:15 p.m.

Estelle Spear Money

Estelle Spear Money, a longtime resident of Demopolis, died peacefully at her home on July 17, 2017 at the age of 82.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, July 20, 2017 at 11:00 am at Fairhaven Baptist Church. Burial will follow at Demopolis Memorial Gardens with Kirk Funeral Home directing. Visitation will be Wednesday from 6:00-8:00 pm at Kirk Funeral Home.

Pallbearers will be Steve Money, Dan Smith, Jake Smith, Taylor Money, Ryan Fennell, and Shane Pezant. Honorary pallbearers will be the staffs of Always Home and Camellia Hospice.

She is survived by a daughter, Dianne (Dan) Smith, Troy, AL, and a son, Steven W. Money, Marvyn, AL. She was Mamaw to her grandchildren, Emily (Ryan) Fennell, Atlanta, GA; Jake (Alla) Smith, Hoover, AL; Melissa Money, Arab, AL, and Taylor Money, Marvyn, AL. She had one great-granddaughter, Marley Clementz, Arab, AL. She is also survived by two sisters, Elizabeth (Jack) Anderson, Perry, FL, and Dorothy (George) Nichols, Mobile, AL; one brother, William “Bo” (Peggy) Spear, Ocala, FL, as well as many nieces and nephews; and one special friend and helper, Lavon Smith.

Mrs. Money was preceded in death by her husband, Benton A. Money; sisters, Betty Spear Caples and Jackie Spear Mann; brother, Bernard Ray Spear; and parents, Charles Wesley and Mary Lillian Nixon Spear.

She was a charter member of Fairhaven Baptist Church and was active in many church activities over the years. She was a strong and independent lady. She met every obstacle life thrown at her with grit, determination and a commitment to persevere. As Mamaw to her grandchildren, she was the consummate fort builder, and her sugar cookies, sausage balls, and chocolate pie were a beloved family tradition. She was a dedicated Christian and leaves her family the legacy of a life well lived.

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

Ben Bell

Mr. Ben Bell, age 95, the beloved spouse of Mrs. Gracie Bell of Gallion, Alabama entered into eternal rest, Sunday, July 16, 2017 at Bryan Whitfield Memorial Hospital, Demopolis, Alabama. Funeral arrangements for Mr. Ben Bell are incomplete and will be announced later by Larkin and Scott Funeral Directors of Demopolis, Alabama.

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

Mary Louise Mozingo

Mary Louise Mozingo age 80 a homemaker of Grove Hill, AL died July 15, 2017 at her home. She was born May 20, 1937 in Baldwin Co., AL to Jacob Lester and Vera Aileen Wright. She attended Jackson First Assembly of God Church.

She is survived by two sons, James Edward (Judy) Mozingo, Sr. of Dickinson, AL; and Henry Ellis (Sue) Mozingo of Grove Hill, AL; three daughters, Mary Mozingo McKinley of Grove Hill, AL; Vivian Marie (Gregory) Howell of Grove Hill, AL; and Brenda Louise (Jeff) Davis of Fulton, AL; three brothers, Lester Wright of Defuniak Springs, FL; Leonard Wright of Jackson, AL and Lonnie Wright of Jackson, AL; 8 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her son, Stanley “Craig” Mozingo

Visitation will be held at O’Bryant Chapel Funeral Home on Monday, July 17, 2017 from 1:00 pm until the 2:00 pm service time with Rev. Ervin C. Russell and Rev. Jonathan Hudson officiating. Burial will follow in Magnolia Lawn Cemetery in Grove Hill, AL.

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

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