Archives for August 2017

Jackson Street to be closed Wednesday afternoon

The Demopolis Police Department is advising a road closure set for Wednesday, Aug. 23. The DPD indicated Jackson Street will be closed from Maria Avenue to Griffin Street due to bridge inspections from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. and no thru traffic will be permitted during the time.

Demopolis BOE holds first meeting of new academic year

Praising Demopolis City Schools for an “extremely smooth start,” School Supt. Kyle Kallhoff said it was the best he has experienced in his 20 years in education.

At the Board of Education meeting Monday, Kallhoff said the work on the buildings and the efforts by the teachers and administrators were reflected in the ease back into the school year for the system’s 2,300 students.

He showed the board a three-minute video of the first day of school at all four campuses.

The superintendent told board members the system is fully staffed with the exception of a nine-month custodian at Demopolis High School.

That said, the board still had work to do to complete the start-up for the 2017-2018 year, beginning with the need to advertise for a part-tiime LPN for Demopolis Middle School.

The 20-hour per week position is needed, Kallhoff said, because the health needs of the students have grown. The RN at the high school cannot divide her time among schools because of the increased number of students with diabetes at DHS.

Evelyn James, the CFO of the school system, said revenues are up by $883,000 over the same time in 2016, while expenses have decreased by $29,000. She said the system has 3.11 months of revenue in reserve. The state Board of Education requires a minimum of one month.

Her report was followed by the state auditor, Emily Tyler, reporting no problems found in the audit done for the 2015-2016 year.

To keep revenue flowing into the school system, the board approved a resolution presented by Kallhoff to petition the Marengo County Commission to consider a renewal of a three mill tax for District 2, which includes the city of Demopolis. The tax requires voter approval for renewal every 10 years. He asked members of the board to attend the Sept. 12 meeting of the Commission when he presents the request for the tax renewal.

First readings were held for two board policy changes, both required by the Alabama legislature. The first, the Jason Flatt Act, involves youth suicide awareness and prevention. It calls for employees to receive annual training to identify characteristics of students who may be considering suicide.

The Religious Liberties policy requires that there will be no discrimination of students or their parents for religious beliefs. A public hearing for both policies will be held Thursday, Sept. 7, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Also approved by the board was a lease agreement with TEQlease for Impero Computer Monitoring Software. Kallhoff said the five-year lease, at $5,000 per year, would serve the school system in three ways:

First, it would allow the monitoring computers to restrict use to certain websites, preventing users from visiting inappropriate sites. Second would be a time-saving feature, allowing IT to install programs in multiple computers from one base unit instead of having to install programs individually.

The third feature allows those monitoring the use of school computers to flag any words or searches that could pose any dangers.

In other action the board approved:

  • The Equipment Financing Agreement with Government Capital Corporation for the Active Panel Promethian installation project.
  • Renewal of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Demopolis Police Department for two School Resource Officers. The school system will pay half their salaries.
  • A hold harmless agreement with the DPD for the use of the DMS football field for National Night Out on Sept. 12.
  • Contract for Susan Hollinger to provide psychometrist services to administer testing for special education and gifted students.
  • Overnight and/or out-of-state trips for the DHS cross country team Sept. 16 and Sept. 30 to Meridian, Miss., and Nov. 10-11 to Moulton.

Personnel matters included:

  • Hiring Rebecca Hasty as bookkeeper at DMS.
  • Substitute hiring of Annie Collins and Betsy Stephens.
  • Head tennis coach changed from Sam Mosley to Dana Hill.
  • Maternity leave request for Whitney Mosley, USJ, to begin Feb. 18, 2018.
  • Maternity leave request for Kristi Stokes, USJ, to begin Jan. 3, 2018.
  • Family medical leave request for Tammi Western-Scott, DMS teacher.
  • Katrina Sprinkle as long-term substitute for Western-Scott.
  • Rodney Lewis as DMS assistant football coach for supplement of $1,189.
  • Norvie Womack as DMS athletic director for supplement of $1,400.
  • Name correction from Aug. 2 personnel report from Javalynn Williams to Javalynn Wilson Henderson.
  • In a special called meeting Wednesday, Aug. 2, the board accepted the resignation of Annette Gwin, the DHS culinary arts instructor. Gwin had been a teacher in the system for 16 years.

The superintendent set public hearings for the 2017-2018 budget For Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. and Sept. 11 at 4:30 p.m., followed by a called meeting at 5 p.m. to approve the budget.

He also invited board members to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 15 at 9 a.m. for the new Pre-K program at Westside Elementary School.

At the same time there will be dedication of wooden planter boxes. The brainchild of a UWA student, the boxes were constructed by Cemex employees. Three have been placed at all four campuses.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be Monday, Sept. 18, at 5:15 p.m.

Valiant truck driver receives medal, key to city

Barry Williams (center) along with his wife Kala and children Kennedy and Kendall were at the Demopolis City Council meeting Thursday evening. Barry Williams received the Key to the City from Mayor John Laney and the Medal of Valor from the Demopolis Police Department.

The Wagstaff family will forever remember Aug. 1, 2017. That was the day they nearly lost Octavia Wagstaff. While driving on U.S. Highway 80 near French Creek at 1:48 p.m., her vehicle left roadway, missed the guard rail, and quickly began submerging in water.

“As I was driving down the highway, I’m in the right lane. She probably was maybe a good truck and a half in front of me. So, when the truck passed by me in the left lane, he cleared me at least by a truck and a half. He come straight over on her. As he hit her, he caught her back bumper, kind of went down her driver’s door and she spun around,” Barry Williams, a truck driver for New Line Transport/Cemex, said of how the scene played out. “She went around the guard rail. She missed the guard rail, but she went airborne. As she went airborne, she went straight down and the car twisted around.”

Her brother, Robert, believes it was by the providence of God Williams was in the area. To the great appreciation of the Wagstaff family, Williams wasted little time responding to the situation.

“As I pulled over, I kind of stopped in the middle of the road a little bit. I ran to the side and looked. I stood there probably about 15, 20 seconds trying to see if she was going to come out of the car,” Williams said. “As I saw that she wasn’t coming out, it looked like she was taking her last breath. So, it was either me taking a chance and running way back around the other side or jumping. So, I just jumped in. I wasn’t scared of the water because I knew how to swim.”

“If he had had to go around the side of the bridge and come down, she’d have never made it, so he jumped over,” Robert relayed. “We are grateful. Most people would pass by, look, and keep driving.”

Once Williams was into the water, the job got especially difficult as the task of freeing the driver from the vehicle was still at hand. Through the anxiety of the moment, Williams found himself with the presence of mind to take the appropriate tact.

“It was kind of hard getting the door open because I was kind of panicking at the same time and wasn’t thinking straight. As I thought about it, I grabbed the door with both hands and I used my feet to pry the car and I pulled the door open,” Williams said. “During that time, I was pulling trying to get her out and I realized she had her seatbelt on. So I had to go back underwater to take her seatbelt off. At that time, that’s when the other guy jumped in to help. We got her to the bank and the rescue took over from there.”

Octavia is still recovering from her injuries, which include two broken ribs, a broken sternum, a right ankle injury, deep lacerations on both sides of pelvic area, and a deep laceration on her right elbow.

“When you look at social media today and where we are in society, so many people want to pull their phone out and record stuff, but not want to help. I think what Mr. Williams has done was admirable. He was heroic,” Demopolis Police Department Chief Tommie Reese said. “He took his time. He stopped his truck, went down a hill to an unknown area, and he risked his own life to save another life.”

Williams, who resides in Moundville, attended Thursday’s meeting of the Demopolis City Council as an invited guest along with his wife, Kala, and two of his three children: Kennedy (3 years old) and Kendall (four months old).

Williams received the Medal of Valor from the Demopolis Police Department as well as the Key to the City from Mayor John Laney in recognition of his unhesitant heroic actions. Robert Wagstaff presented the family with an undisclosed monetary gift as a token of their appreciation.

Barry’s wife, Kala, laughed Thursday while taking the adulation her husband received for his willingness to help.

“He called me. I guess he was still freaked out,” she said, recalling the afternoon of Aug. 1. “He acted like it didn’t happen for a while. I guess it took a while for him to process what had happened. The biggest thing he said was, ‘I didn’t get my load. I missed my load.’”

“I just went back like it was a normal day. It was all in a day’s work. Being out there on the highway, I see a lot of stuff and it’s scary. I just take it day by day,” Barry added.

Demopolis High volleyball schedule

Demopolis High School Volleyball Schedule

Sept. 2 – Sweet Water Tournament – TBA

Sept. 5 – vs. Jackson – 4:30 p.m.

Sept. 7 – @ Clarke County Tri-Match – 4:30 – p.m.

Sept. 11 – @ Greensboro Tri-Match – 4:30 p.m.

Sept. 12 – @ Sumter Central – 4:30 p.m.

Sept. 13 – vs. Greensboro – 4:30 p.m.

Sept. 14 – vs. Central-Tuscaloosa – 6 p.m.

Sept. 19 – vs. Thomasville – 4:30 p.m.

Sept. 21 – vs. Sweet Water – 4:30 p.m.

Sept. 23 – Thomasville Tourney – TBA

Sept. 28 – @ Linden Tri-Match – TBA

Oct. 3 – @ Central-Tuscaloosa – 4:30 p.m.

Oct. 5 – @ Jackson – 4:30 p.m.

Oct. 10 – @ Thomasville Tri-Match – TBA

Oct. 12 – vs. Sumter Central – 4:30 p.m.

Oct. 14 – @ Selma Dig Pink Tournament – TBA

Oct. 19 – vs. Linden – 4:30 p.m.

Oct. 24 – Area Tournament – TBA

Oct. 26 – Super Regional – TBA

Robertson Bank gives surprise gift to four DCS employees

Robertson Banking Company’s Katie Windham and Allen Bishop were on hand at Demopolis City Schools’ Institute Friday to present a $100 to a staff member of each of the four DCS campuses.

Business Spotlight: Shirts and More

 

Mike Evans and his team at Shirts and More are committed to fast and accurate customer service, no matter the volume.

“We ask for two weeks, but 99.9 percent of the time, we turn it around a lot quicker than that. A lot quicker,” Evans, owner of Shirts and More, said of how fast his crew can process an order. “We haven’t turned any (order) away yet. We haven’t turned any away yet and will not turn any away. We’ll find a way to accommodate the customer whether it’s one shirt or 10,000.”

Located next to Smokin’ Jack’s on Highway 80 West in Demopolis, Shirts and More can handle any printing need ranging from vinyl banners to embroidery to promotional products to sports uniforms. They’ve take care of individual orders as well as family reunions, church groups, social clubs, sports leagues and many more.

Mike and his wife, Beverly, have assembled a talented team including Michelle Etheridge, Crystal Beason and Morgan McPherson, which can meet all of your needs from idea to reality.

Call 334-289-8350 today and let the team at Shirts and More bring your ideas to life.

 

New Sumter County Health Services Directory published 

A new Sumter County Health Services Directory has just been published under the direction of Dr. R.T. Floyd, a Livingston resident and longtime provider of athletic training services in the Black Belt region for more than 30 years. The publication includes a comprehensive listing of contact information and resources for a wide array of health services.

Lisa Adkins, a senior athletic training student at UWA, initiated and implemented the revisions and updates in this second edition guide. Floyd is director of athletic training and sports medicine at the University of West Alabama.

This updated edition reflects significant changes in Sumter County’s health services landscape over the last several years, with many new resources added.

“Lisa did a very good job of checking everything to ensure that all of the addresses, links, and phone numbers were updated,” Floyd explained. “A project of this size requires a significant amount of time and is very tedious. I am very grateful for Lisa’s attention to detail and her commitment to see the project through to completion.”

Sumter County residents can rely on the directory for emergency numbers, health services, social services, national help line resources for very specific needs and conditions.

The manual is available for viewing or download at http://healthdirectory.uwa.edu/ and a limited number of print editions are available courtesy of the Sumter County Commission and UWA. The online version of the manual is a living document, and Floyd intends to maintain the records therein.

“We have made every effort to include all the services relevant to the Sumter County Health Services Directory,” he said. “If a particular listing has not been included, was omitted by mistake, or is incorrect, we need people to keep us informed of those necessary changes.”

“After this update is out for a month or two and people have a chance to review and provide feedback, we intend to update again and perhaps distribute a further revision around the county,” Floyd said.

First published in 2009, the Sumter County Health Services Directory was compiled through a grant from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy through the National Association of Counties Project.  A focus of this work was to enhance the general public’s awareness of all of the local resources available related to health care. The original work was completed by two individuals from Oklahoma who worked with local authorities to research and assemble the content.

Following the initial publication, Floyd joined forces with UWA’s Information Technology department to finalize a version for web publication in the fall of 2010. Since that time, periodic updates have been made to the online version.

To provide any corrections, additions, or other feedback, sending them via mail to Dr. R.T. Floyd, UWA Station 14, Livingston, AL 35470. or via email to rtf@uwa.edu.

First week of 2017 gator hunt in the books

Unofficial 2017 West Central Alabama River Alligator Hunt Results – Week 1
 
Night 1 – 08/10/17:
01 – Janet Holt (Tallassee) – 7’ 9”, 109 lbs., M
02 – Wilford Holt (Tallassee) – 9’ 2”, 216 lbs., M
03 – Sam Scott (Monroeville) – 8’ 1”, 122 lbs., M
04 – Patrick Stabler (Frisco City) – 12’ 7”, 607 lbs., M
 
Night 2 – 08/11/17
05 – Brent Hatcher (Wetumpka) – 8’ 2.5”, 131.5 lbs., F
06 – Jeremy Guthrie (Ohatchee) – 8’ 6”, 152 lbs., M
07 – Brad Reaves (Ohatchee) – 7’ 3”, 86.5 lbs.
 
Night 3 – 08/12/17
08 – Lewis Prince (Childersburg) – 7’ 9”, 126 lbs., F
09 – Rex Jones (Selma) – 7’ 7”, 93 lbs., M
10 – Ashley Sparks (Decatur) – 6’ 9”, 61.5 lbs., M
11 – Sterling Brothers (Alexander City) – 8’ 11”, 175.5 lbs., M
12 – Brad Kelly (Thorsby) – 8’ 4”, 129.5 lbs., M

From left, Patrick Stabler (Tag holder, Frisco City), J.T. Dailey (Camden), and Craig Gamble (Camden) with week one big gator they caught around Chilatchee Creek on the Alabama River. The gator was 12′ 7″, 607 pounds. (WAW | James Lawler)

Tears and Laughter: School is starting, time to think and be kind 

She says she likes where I live because it’s green and country and different. She says she thinks she wants to live in Florida one day when she is older. She likes palm trees and sunsets and she thinks she remembers being happy there once when she was younger. It was the last time she remembers seeing her dad. And she thinks her mama might have been happy there too…for a little while. 

She has a natural ear for tone and can change pitch effortlessly with her voice. She was singing with my youngest daughter in the backseat of my car. They are both 13, both are about to enter the eighth grade, and they know every song on Sirius. 

She likes to talk about Broadway shows I know nothing about, so I just listen. She does a Donald Trump impersonation about “the wall” and will start an impromptu slogan and commercial over any sign that catches her attention. I told her she should study broadcasting after she graduates. She laughed. She doesn’t take compliments well.  

She is ambitious and expressive and prettier than she can allow herself to accept right now. Prettier than she has been told. She has bright eyes and clear skin – barring a couple of childhood freckles fading fast across the bridge of her nose.  

She makes too many self-deprecating comments. Old words seem to play like a tape in her mind, ruminating. They interrupt her sometimes, even when she is miles away and smiling. She is tenderhearted and will stand-up for others quicker than she will defend herself. 

Our route out of the city took us by her school. It is a magnet school. She starts back in a few days. I asked her if there was anything she needed to do in order to get ready. She said it wasn’t anything you could prepare for. It is just something you have to make yourself do.  

She said she wishes she never ever had to go back. “Not because of the work,” she quickly added. “I can do the work. It’s just the people.” She offered no further explanation.  

We passed a church with a sign out front that read “Black lives matter here” beside a small rainbow flag. “Look at that,” she said. I guess it is okay for anybody to go to church there. I like that. Everybody ought to be able to worship don’t you think?”  

I nodded, although I really hadn’t given it much thought. I was still just listening. We were at a crawl in traffic. There was an accident ahead of us on the Interstate. We were two miles out from our exit. 

“You know my mom has been staying at the women’s shelter, right?” 

I nodded. I did know. 

“Well I hear she has started going to church some too and I figure that can’t hurt, do you?” 

She waited for an answer. A nod wouldn’t do.  

I told her not to worry, that one of the greatest mysteries in life is how God can take the most complicated of problems, even the ones people can’t see any solution to, and working them out for the good. 

Content with my response, she settled back, and they started singing again.  

For her sake…I just pray I’m right.

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

Pride, Headley earn preseason All-Conference team bids

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – TeMia Pride and Aleah Headley have been named to the 2017 Gulf South Conference Women’s Soccer Preseason All-GSC Team in an announcement on Thursday. West Alabama is ranked fifth in the preseason coaches’ poll.
Pride, a forward from Huntsville, Alabama, returns to the Tiger attack after a standout freshman campaign in 2016. The Tigers’ striker led the team in goals (13), game-winners (4), points (28), shots (71) and shots-on-goal (42). Pride’s offensive stats also rank in the top five across the GSC, earning the rising sophomore a First Team All-Conference nod.
Headley, a midfielder hailing from Tilbury, England, was also awarded a spot on the preseason All-GSC squad after leading UWA in the middle third of the pitch a season ago. Headley transitioned from defender to attacker, dispossessing opponents and setting up the UWA attack.
Defending league champion West Florida was picked to repeat their success in 2017, receiving 12-of-14 first-place votes and 168 points. Lee grabbed the remaining two first-place votes, following the Argos with 155 points.
Mississippi College (141) and North Alabama (129) sit third and fourth in the poll, while West Alabama (121) rounds out the top five.
Incoming Tiger defenders Brianna Forrest and Lexi Pund were selected as two of the GSC’s Top Newcomers for the 2017 season. Forrest, a Canadian transplant, is a two-time Most Valuable Player and Student Athlete of the Year at St. Stephens’ Catholic in Bowmanville, Ontario.
Pund, a native of Tupelo, Mississippi, took home First Team All-Area and Offensive MVP honors in 2016, netting 26 goals for Tupelo High School.
West Alabama opens the 2017 season under the lights at Tiger Stadium, facing off against South Atlantic Conference co-champions Tusculum College on Sept. 1, at 7 p.m.