Archives for July 2017

Charles Lorenzo Cooper

Charles Lorenzo Cooper age 90 of Thomasville, AL died July 14, 2017 at VA Medical Center in Tuscaloosa, AL. He was born March 20, 1927 in Magnolia, AL to Lennie Grey and Johnnie Cooper. He was a retired merchant seaman with the Merchant Marines.

He is survived by his son, Wayne Cooper; three brothers, Clyde Cooper, Curtis Cooper, and Chris Cooper; two grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

Memorial services will be announced at a later time.

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

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

Nelda Elaine Bullock Rogers

Nelda Elaine Bullock Rogers 72, passed away July 14, 2017, at her residence in Forkland. A graveside service will be held 10 a.m Monday July 17, 2017 from the Forkland Methodist Cemetery and Kirk Funeral Homes Demopolis Chapel directing.

She was born February 14, 1945, in Sweetwater to Thomas and Nettie Pearl Hinson Bullock.

She was preceded by her parents.

Survivors are her sons, Jeff Ethridge and Barry Ethridge (Denise ) ; brother, Johnny Bullock; grandchildren, Nicole Aledo, Barry Ethridge Jr. and Scott Ethridge.

Ms. Rogers delivered the mail to many communities in her work with the U.S. Post Office.

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

Ranelle Hamby Mayton

Ranelle Hamby Mayton age 79 a homemaker of Beaver Creek, AL died July 13, 2017 at Thomasville Health Care and Rehabilitation Center. She was born August 11, 1937 in Valley, AL to John R. and Mary Hamby. She was a member of Beaver Creek Baptist Church.

She is survived by two sons, Mike Mayton and Scott (Michelle) Mayton; sister, Gwen Balkenhol; brother, Buddy Hamby; three grandchildren, Marcus Mayton, Rachael Landrum, and Hunter Mayton; great grandchild, Parker Landrum.

Visitation will be held at Beaver Creek Baptist Church on Sunday, July 16, 2017 from 1:00 pm until the 2:00 pm service time with Rev. Lister Hill and Rev. Thomas Anderson officiating. Burial will follow at Beaver Creek Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Thomasville Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center.

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

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

Commission votes to purchase electronic poll books after debate

Marengo County Commissioner Freddie Armstead didn’t mince words at the meeting Tuesday morning when he let loose on the Republican-led Alabama legislature for requiring unfunded mandates to the state counties.

His comments arose when the commission was asked to pass a resolution to consent to the use of electronic poll books for elections in the county. Each poll book will cost some $850. The resolution needed to be passed at the July meeting since the primary election for the U.S. Senate will be in August.

“We don’t have the money. We don’t have the $13,000,” said Armstead.

Commissioner Jason Windham said poll books were used in Demopolis during the election last year on loan from the state to see how well they worked. “In my personal opinion, it makes (voting) twice as fast.”

Armstead said the primary reason for the poll books was to prevent people from crossing party lines to vote in a run-off election.

County attorney W.W. Dinning, Jr., agree that “It is no doubt it is politically motivated. He said the state is requiring counties to use electronic poll books, but the unfunded mandate lays the burden of paying for them on the counties.

“Why don’t we just tell them to go to hell,” joked Armstead. “It’s the Republicans putting something else on us to keep track of what you’re doing and to keep people from cross-over voting.”

After lengthy discussion the commission voted for the resolution and to purchase 12 poll books for the August election to be used at the polling places that have the most voters. The rest will be purchased before the mid-term elections in 2018.

Armstead also took issue that Revenue Commissioner Sharon Barkley was not at the meeting to explain the annual report to the state on insolvents, errors in assessments and taxes. He directed Meredith Hammond, the commission secretary, to have her attend the meeting.

Instead of Barkley, Whitney Niehoff, a clerk with the Revenue Commission, explained the report to commissioners and said that everything was reconciled in the department account.

In other action, the commission approved:

  • The Grand Jury report,
  • Keeping the User Fee CD at the First Bank of Linden
  • Going out for bids to pressure wash the courthouse, annex and jail. Bids will be opened at the next meeting on Aug. 8.

Anthony Steven McDowell

Anthony Steven McDowell 57, of Demopolis, passed away July 12, 2017, at Druid City Hospital. A graveside service will be held 11 a.m Friday July 14, 2017, at Lipscomb Cemetery with Rev. Tony Antonelli and Kirk Funeral Homes Demopolis Chapel directing.

He was born February 7, 1960, in Demopolis, to Johnny and Nancy Patterson McDowell.

He was preceded by his father.

Survivors are his daughter, Mitzi McDowell of Gallion; son, Chad McDowell of Gallion; mother, Nancy McDowell of Jefferson; brothers, John McDowell of Tuscaloosa and Dean McDowell (Linda) of Jefferson.

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

TRAC presents REWIND of the Shoals Friday night

The Two Rivers Arts Council (TRAC) is hosting a concert featuring REWIND of the Shoals on Friday, July 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Demopolis Civic Center. REWIND of the Shoals is a ten piece Oldies/Motown band which prides itself in providing quality entertainment for all occasions.

The band is a very versatile and multi-talented group, performing the most requested hits from the sixties, seventies and eighties as well as many other top 40 hits from yesterday’s charts. REWIND of the Shoals features both male and female vocalists, keyboards, bass, percussion, guitar and a five-piece horn section consisting of three trumpets, a trombone, and a saxophone.

If you are looking for that nostalgic 60’s/Motown sound, they have it. If you just want to “Rock,” they do that and 70’s disco. The band is comprised of some of the most talented, respected and dedicated musicians around. They are all very passionate about music and love to perform. The group always elicits a very enthusiastic response and will do whatever it takes to make sure the audience is pleased.

Tickets are $10 at the door and arts council member’s admission is included in the annual membership. Bring your own beverage or favorite spirits. Light hors d’oeuvres will be provided.

For more information, contact Judy Etheridge at (334) 295-4254.

Gulf Seafood Summit celebrates Alabama seafood

It seems like eons ago when Alabama and the rest of the states on the Gulf of Mexico were collectively staring at a potential apocalypse that might eternally alter the way of life along the Gulf Coast.

The wellhead at the Macondo Prospect was uncontrollably spewing barrel after barrel of crude oil into the Gulf after the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig was destroyed, and our economy and culture were hanging by the thinnest of threads in the summer of 2010.

Residents along the coast didn’t know if they would enjoy Gulf shrimp or sautéed red snapper filets ever again.

Fast forward to the summer of 2017: Wild Gulf shrimp are plentiful, and the waters off the Alabama coast are teeming with red snapper.

As Jim Smith, the executive chef of the State of Alabama who makes sure Gov. Kay Ivey gets plenty of Alabama seafood, put it:

“The BP oil spill is so far behind us in the rearview mirror that it doesn’t even come up anymore,” said Smith last week at the Alabama Gulf Seafood Summit in Orange Beach, where he also served as one of the judges in the Alabama Seafood Cook-Off.

After the oil spill, the Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission (ASMC) was formed in March 2011 to help guide consumers and the seafood industry through the uncertain recovery process.

“A big portion of what we did after the oil spill was to ensure our seafood was safe,” said Chris Blankenship, who was Alabama Marine Resources Division (MRD) Director during most of the recovery period and now serves as Acting Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). “I will say that during the spill and after the spill we never had a seafood sample that was unsafe.”

Blankenship said the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and MRD combined forces to the test the seafood, which included finfish, oysters, shrimp and blue crabs.

“We started this (ASMC) from scratch,” Blankenship said. “I think with the website (www.eatalabamaseafood.com) and the impact that the program has had, it has been good for the industry. The thing that shows me that we have value as a seafood marketing commission is that people do want to put our logo on their doors, their businesses and their menus. To me, that is the biggest compliment for the work that has been done by the commission. We have built a value with people identifying with Alabama seafood.

“When I go to a restaurant and see our logo on there, I feel like we’ve had an impact on the industry. It has been a very productive five years, but we have more work to do.”

Blankenship did say that funding for the seafood commission is far from what it once was, and he has no idea what the future holds.

“I will say we’re operating on a shoestring budget compared to what it once was,” he said. “We had initial funding from BP that lasted for three years. We were able to obtain some additional funding from the Governor’s office that we stretched for two years. We also received a grant from the Deepwater Horizon Settlement Fund that really helped keep us going. Last year, out of the blue, I got a surprise letter from the Deepwater Settlement Fund. The letter said the work the commission had done was impressive and that we followed the grant agreement and all the reporting required was done on time. The letter said they had a little money left over and asked if we could use $100,000. I could not reply fast enough that, yes, we could use it. We currently have no funding to continue the valuable work of the ASMC after 2017.

“We hope that we will gain some long-term funding through the RESTORE Act. The language in the act specifically mentions seafood marketing. It’s just taking a little longer than we would like to get the funding.”

Now that the BP oil spill is behind us, the effects of Alabama’s weather on seafood production can control the availability of seafood, especially oysters.

Byron Webb of the ADPH’s shellfish office said recent rains from Tropical Storm Cindy have caused the harvestable oyster reefs to be shut down as a precaution. Several benchmarks are used to determine if an area will be closed.

“Right now, we’re under several closures,” Webb said. “If we get five inches of local rain, that closes an area until we get to test the water again. We got 5 inches of rain one night and another 5 inches the next day. We’re also closed because of river levels. When the Mobile River at Barry Steam Plant gets above 8 feet, we close it.

“When anything like that happens, it’s a 21-day closure. That gives it enough time for the components that would cause health issues to be flushed out. After that, we test again until we get a clean sample and can reopen the reefs.”

Blankenship said the closures are to ensure that the products the public gets are safe.

“It is an inconvenience for the oystermen and oyster growers, but it’s really a protection for those businesses and consumers to make sure that no products enter the marketplace that are not safe,” he said.

Blankenship said the demand for oysters produced through aquaculture operations on the Alabama coast is through the roof.

“We are able to sell a lot more oysters than we can produce,” he said. “One thing we’re trying to do is create an opportunity for people who want to get into the oyster aquaculture business. We’re putting together a one-stop-shop website so that investors big and small can use the tools. If a husband and wife want to start an oyster farm, they can go to the website to see what permitting is required and what capital is required to grow a million oysters. A company that might want to grow 10 million oysters can use the site, too.

“This year, we are on schedule to produce about five million oysters, but I think we have a demand for about 25 million oysters. There is real growth potential for the oyster aquaculture industry.”

On an oyster-related note, the Oyster Shell Recycling Program, which cranked up last year, has been an overwhelming success. The program collects oyster shells from Alabama Gulf Coast restaurants and takes the shells to the Alabama Marine Resources Division property in Gulf Shores. After six months of seasoning, the shells are used for oyster gardening programs and to refurbish public oyster reefs. The program set a goal of two million shells collected in its first two years but has already reached that goal in just six months.

Chef Gilstrap created Chef Olive’s “Fruitti di Alabama” recipe that featured an underutilized fish species in its dish of Pan Roasted Gulf Jolt Head Porgy that included Summer Squash Jumbo Lump Crab Caponata with a Crispy Rock Shrimp Piccatta topping (WAW | Contributed)

Blankenship said the blue crab industry is on the rebound but not where it should be. Proposed regulations on trap components allow small crabs to escape, and there is a nine-month closure on the harvest of egg-bearing female crabs.

As part of the seafood summit, the third annual Alabama Seafood Cook-Off was held at The Wharf, and the third time was the charm for Chef Brody Olive’s team. Although Chef Olive was out of town because of a death in the family, Chef Brad Gilstrap led the team to the championship with three Alabama seafood components. Chef Jason Ramirez of Villaggio Grille, located at The Wharf, was named runner-up.

Chef Gilstrap created Chef Olive’s “Fruitti di Alabama” recipe that featured an underutilized fish species in its dish of Pan Roasted Gulf Jolt Head Porgy that included Summer Squash Jumbo Lump Crab Caponata with a Crispy Rock Shrimp Piccatta topping.

Chef Olive and Chef Gilstrap are now set to represent Alabama at the upcoming Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans on August 6 as well as the World Food Championships at The Wharf November 8-14.

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. 

Tears and Laughter: More highs and lows of the healthcare roller coaster 

I seldom bother to toss in my opinion concerning healthcare. I haven’t been to the doctor since Obamacare passed, but of course my family has, especially my husband who is well-documented in the system. It was determined years ago at the emergency room that he has high blood pressure. There was a question as to whether he had actual high blood pressure or if it was high because he had just had his finger squished. But after a couple of weeks of monitoring, it was clear he needed to be on some form of blood pressure medication.

And to begin with, he was like an uncle I had, God rest his soul. He was a fine Christian man. He was respected in the community. He was one of the sweetest people you could ever meet, as long as he took his medicine. Otherwise, he was crazy as hell. Now the whole family knew this as well as he did, but every once in a while he would get it in his head that the Lord had healed him and he didn’t need to take his pills anymore.

He was wrong. And that is how Justin was about blood pressure medicine. He thought if he lost weight and ate healthy and exercised more that he wouldn’t need it. It took him time to accept that he wasn’t overweight or out of shape, but he still had high blood pressure.

So after a couple of misses with different types of blood pressure pills one was found that didn’t turn him beet red or make him pass out. He had been on Azor for years since without any issue until recently when it was placed on the non-preferred list of medications covered by our insurance company – despite the doctor’s recommendation – and the mail order pharmacy service slid in a generic. And these jewels are bad. They are not working properly for him and I think they are going to give me a heart attack, because when his pressure drops and he tells me he is not feeling well, that means he is about to pass out.

I cannot support his weight, and this pressure dropping has become fairly routine. I understand the issue is being looked into, and the emergency room has coached me about how to put pillows under his knees and try and get him awake enough to drink sweet tea. I have to go into a mode of trying to keep him opening his eyes and will constantly be checking his pressure. I’m no nurse, but I know when that bottom number is below 50 it is a problem. Every time, I have to decide whether and at what point to call 911. There was one night when I’m certain I would have before he came to, but he was in the Jacuzzi and I had to hold him up to keep from sliding down into the water. I couldn’t reach a phone. All I could do was pray. He finally opened his eyes and sipped the tea. And no, the water wasn’t overly hot.

I am worried this will happen when he is out alone working and no one will be there to help him. He could fall. There are the elements, like fire ants and heat. I am afraid of it happening in front of the kids. It will scare them. I’m terrified that one of these times I’m not going to be able to keep him coming back awake.

I don’t know if the healthcare plan needs to be fixed, repealed, or replaced, but my husband’s current generic blood pressure medicine – sent to him by the insurance company via their mail order prescription service – is not working. I tend to doubt he is alone in riding this healthcare roller coaster.

Amanda Walker is a blogger and contributor with AL.com, The Thomasville Times, West Alabama Watchman, and Wilcox Progressive Era. Contact her at walkerworld77@msn.com or athttps://www.facebook.com/AmandaWalker.Columnist

Cordell Hull Hutto

Cordell Hull Hutto age 86 of Thomasville, AL died July 11, 2017 at Monroe County Hospital. He was born October 31, 1930 in Thomasville, AL to Thomas Howell and Frances Bell Hutto. He was a retired crane operator and a member of Pineview Baptist Church in Thomasville, AL.

He is survived by his son, Tim (Denise) Hutto of O Fallon, IL; daughter, Jackie H. Raybon of Thomasville, AL; daughter in law, Jean Hutto of Thomasville, AL; nine grandchildren, Dr. Justin Hutto, Dean Hutto, Aaron Hutto, Kim Raybon, Kyle Raybon, Cindy Hare, Theresa Tyson, Mandy Godbold, and Vickey Parker; and thirteen great grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Lois Hutto, son, Lynn Hutto, and parents, Thomas Howell and Frances Bell Hutto.

Visitation will be held at Pineview Baptist Church on Saturday, July 15, 2017 from 1:00 pm until the 2:00 pm service time with Rev. Mitch Thrower officiating. Burial will follow at Choctaw Corner Cemetery in Thomasville, AL.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Pineview Baptist Church.

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

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

Milton S. Saulsberry

Mr. Milton S. Saulsberry, age 60, a native of Demopolis, Alabama and a resident of Washington, D.C. entered into eternal rest July 11, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Funeral services for Mr. Milton S. Saulsberry will be held Saturday, July 22, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at New Morning Star Baptist Church, 119 South Ash Ave. Demopolis, Alabama. Rev. Lynn Finch, pastor; Rev. Mitchell R. Congress, eulogist.Interment will follow in Memorial Cemetery, Demopolis, Alabama. Larkin and Scott Mortuary, LLC entrusted with arrangements.

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