Archives for October 2017

BLACK WARRIOR BOARD MEMBER: Dispelling misnomers about BWEMC

As a member of your board of trustees, I want to make sure all Black Warrior Electric Membership Corporation members know the facts about Black Warrior’s upcoming Annual Meeting and board election. Over the past two months, Black Warrior Electric has taken a number of steps to provide factual information to members explaining the process of electing board members.

These steps included mailouts to all Black Warrior members about how to qualify as a candidate for the three board seats up for election this year, and how to be eligible to vote for those board candidates. The Official Notice of the meeting and ballots were mailed to all members in good standing with instructions on when to return the ballots in order for them to be counted. Members can also bring their certification card or proper ID and vote in person at the Nov. 2 Annual Meeting.

In addition, Black Warrior ran articles in Alabama Living magazine, which is mailed to all members, providing information about the board election and Annual Meeting. Plus, information is posted on Black Warrior’s website explaining the election and urging members to vote.

Yet, despite these efforts by Black Warrior, some groups continue to spread misinformation about Black Warrior, the board election and the Annual Meeting.

The board of trustees and General Manager Daryl Jones have tried to dispel some of the falsehoods and myths presented by these groups. These falsehoods include the claim that Black Warrior has a $72 million surplus, that our rates are high and that we charge different rates for different residential members.

All those claims are false, and we addressed them in a “Myths Vs. Facts” article in Alabama Living. I am especially proud of the fact that Black Warrior electric rates are among the absolute lowest in Alabama.

Unfortunately, now the groups are spreading even more misinformation, which could hurt members’ ability to choose board members.

Flyers are being circulated in some areas claiming that more than 2,000 members must be present at the Nov. 2 Annual Meeting in order to reach a quorum for the meeting to be official. They warn that the board of trustees will cancel the meeting if less than 2,000 attend.

That is false on two fronts. Let me explain.

First, while a quorum is required for an Annual Meeting to be official, reaching a quorum doesn’t require 2,000 people. According to Black Warrior’s bylaws, a quorum is 5 percent of members in good standing. Black Warrior has a little more than 14,000 members in good standing, so a quorum would be a little more than 700.

More important, however, is this: You don’t actually have to be at the meeting to count toward the quorum. But you must vote. The new Bylaws adopted this year allows members from across our large service area to have a voice and vote on any items listed in the Official Notice of the Annual Meeting without being present.

Please note, however, that the only item of business to be voted on at this year’s annual meeting is the election of trustees.

As I said earlier, all members in good standing were mailed ballots for the board election. You can mail those ballots back in, and they will be counted toward meeting the required quorum. My wish is that you, if you haven’t already, send in your ballot by the Oct. 30 deadline. That way, you get a say in who sits on your board of trustees AND you ensure there is a quorum for the Annual Meeting.

If you do plan to vote at the meeting, bring the certification card that was mailed to you or a picture ID. Registration and voting will be from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on the day of the Annual Meeting, with the meeting beginning at 10 a.m. The meeting will be at the Demopolis Civic Center.

Here’s the bottom line: We are giving members MORE SAY in choosing board of trustees members.

Let’s face it, getting more than 700 people to a meeting is a tall order. Not being able to hold an official Annual Meeting hurts Black Warrior Electric, members and the board of trustees.

I close with this. On Nov. 2, I would love to see you at our Annual Meeting so you can meet your very capable and dedicated board of trustees. And, of course, I want to personally greet each of you from across all of our service area, especially those who are my neighbors in District 8.

More important, though, I want you as a member to exercise your right to choose who sits on your board of trustees. I emphasize your board because Black Warrior was created and operates to serve you, our members.

You are Black Warrior Electric. Exercise your right to vote!

Ottice Russelle of Belmont is the District 8 member on the Black Warrior Electric Membership Corporation’s board of trustees. Black Warrior Electric is a member-owned cooperative serving parts of 12 counties in West Central Alabama.

Tigers to feature throwback LU helmet decal for Homecoming

LIVINGSTON – West Alabama football will recognize the days of the only national title in school history and the winningest coach in program history by wearing the old “LU” logo on one side of its helmet for Saturday’s Homecoming game against West Florida.

The right side of the UWA red helmet will have the current Tiger Head logo and the left side will feature the LU, harkening back to the days (1967-95) when the institution was known as Livingston University.

The 1971 LU football team won the only national championship in school history, while Coach Frank North (1979-84) won 31 games to top the all-time Tiger coaching win list. A group of North’s former players and friends are gathering in his honor for a tailgate party behind Tiger Stadium Saturday at 2 p.m.

West Alabama sits atop the Gulf South Conference standings with a 5-1 league record (6-2 overall) and can clinch at least a share of the GSC championship with a win. West Florida is 5-2 overall and 3-2 in conference play.

Kickoff is set for 4:04 p.m.

This year’s Homecoming game will be televised/streamed on ESPN3, which includes WatchESPN and the ESPN app. ESPN3 is available to affiliated TV and high-speed internet service providers in the United States, on college campuses and on U.S. military bases.

UWA announces schedule for Homecoming celebration

LIVINGSTON – Homecoming activities begin Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the annual Serendipity talent show. Students will compete for prize money and bragging rights in four categories. Serendipity begins at 7 p.m. at Lyon Hall Quad, across from Bibb Graves Auditorium. Eh440, a Toronto-based vocal group, will serve as emcees for the event. The 2017 Homecoming court will be presented during Serendipity.

On Thursday, Oct. 26, Coach Brett Gilliland, the Tiger football team, the Scarlet Band from Tiger Land, UWA cheerleaders, LUie and spirit groups will be on hand for the Homecoming bonfire, pep rally and fireworks show at 8 p.m. at the Intramural Complex. Following the pep rally, the Office of Student Engagement will host a DJ and band party for UWA students.

Friday kicks off alumni events for Homecoming, beginning with a 3-Man Scramble hosted by UWA Baseball and UWA Softball at Livingston Country Club. The event begins with lunch at 11:30 a.m., followed by a 1 p.m. tee time. The cost is $100 for an individual or $300 per team. Contact Gary Rundles at 205-652-3870 or Carie Dever-Boaz at 205-652-3485 to register.

The annual UWA alumni party, sponsored by the National Alumni Association and the Office of Alumni Affairs, is one of the most anticipated events of the year for the UWA family. The party begins Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. at the courtyard of Bell Conference Center on campus. Always a great time for friends, food and fun, this year’s party will feature live entertainment by Alexander City-based band Lucky Town. Admission to the party is included with NAA membership. Alumni may also renew their NAA membership at the door.

During the alumni party, the UWA Campus School will host Parents’ Night Out for children age six weeks and older from 6-10 p.m. The cost for a family is $25 for one child, and $15 per additional child, which includes pizza and drinks. To register by Oct. 23, contact Kim Smith at 205-652-3832or

Tiger Volleyball fans have two opportunities to catch a match during Homecoming weekend. UWA faces UAH on Friday at 6 p.m. at Pruitt Gym. Fans are encouraged to wear pink for breast cancer awareness. UWA will host UNA on Sunday at 1 p.m. Admission is free for both games.

On Saturday, Oct. 28, Homecoming festivities continue at 10 a.m. with an alumni awards reception hosted by the NAA and Alumni Affairs at Bell Conference Center. Each college will present its Alumni Achievement and Emerging Leader Awards, and former Tiger greats will be inducted into the UWA Athletic Hall of Fame, while the NAA presents other prestigious awards.

In the art gallery of Webb Hall on campus, Sumter County native Travis L. Truelove’s photography will be on exhibit from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Truelove’s photography features deer, fish, birds, and other wildlife.

Softball fans will gather at 10:30 a.m. at the UWA Softball Complex for the Alumni Softball Game. Join fellow softball alumni and coaches for a few friendly innings of softball. Contact Coach Carie Dever-Boaz at 205-652-3485 to know more or sign up to play.

There will be a rededication ceremony hosted by the Department of History and Social Sciences, for the Freedom Wall, which was established in memory of longtime history professor Dr. David Bowen. The ceremony is set for 11 a.m. at Wallace Hall.

Colleges and divisions will host alumni for a picnic lunch on Foust Lawn beginning at 11:30 a.m. The lunch features catfish, chicken, and tailgate snacks, and alumni are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or quilts to be comfortable and enjoy the gathering. To RSVP, call 205-652-3586.

Spirited festivities continue at 1 p.m. when UWA students and organizations, special guests, and marching bands from across the state wind through downtown Livingston for the annual Homecoming parade.

The family-friendly Homecoming festival, Tiger Cubs and Tailgate, begins at 2 p.m. on the Campus School lawn with inflatable moonwalks and games for the little ones. Festival activities are free.

In addition, former players and friends of former LU football coach Frank North will gather in his honor for a tailgate party behind Tiger Stadium at 2 p.m.

Tiger fans can show their support for the Tiger Prowl, which begins at 3 p.m. at Lyon Hall Quad. The Tiger football team, cheerleaders, and band will make their way from the Quad between Lyon Hall and Bibb Graves Hall to Tiger Stadium for the afternoon football game.

UWA and West Florida kick off at 4 p.m. at Tiger Stadium. Pre-game festivities feature the Scarlet Band from Tiger Land show and the newest Athletic Hall of Famers serving as honorary team captains. In addition, the homecoming court will be presented at halftime, and the new queen will be crowned. General admission for the game is $15. For more details on ticketing visit

For more information about UWA’s 2017 Homecoming events, please contact the Office of Alumni Affairs at 205-652-3852.

Financial seminar at Ratliff Center Thursday

Nominations sought for COTR St. Nicholas

He could be your next-door neighbor or your baseball coach. She could be your Sunday School teacher or your Girl Scout Leader. Who are we talking about? The 2017 St. Nicholas is a Demopolis resident who best portrays the spirit of Christamas all year long by being involved in the development of the lives of children in our community. This person is someone who has made a positive impact on your life or the lives of your children. He or she is someone who brightens your day when you see them or goes the extra mile when you need a little boost. This person is drawn to children and children are drawn to them. He or she seeks ways to help, teach, guide or lead children to become the best version of themselves. Who comes to mind when you think of the next St. Nicholas?

The Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce and the Christmas on the River Committee are seeking nominations for this year’s 2017 St. Nicholas. There is no greater compliment than for someone to sit down and write a letter of recommendation on your behalf. All of us know someone who has made a difference in our community and the lives of the children in our area. Take a few minutes and write a letter of recommendation of behalf of someone who has made a lasting impression on you.

Nominations must be submitted in written form and received by the Chamber of Commerce no later than November 17, 2017. Remember to sign your letter. Without a signature we cannot accept your nomination. You may send your letter to PO Box 667, Demopolis, AL 36732; drop off at the Chamber at 102 E. Washington St; or email your nomination to

The crowning of St. Nicholas even will be held on Thursday November 30th in the Public Square, Downtown Demopolis at 6:00pm.

For more information, contact the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce at 334-289-0270.

Demopolis Harvest Fest set for Sunday

The fifth annual Demopolis Harvest Fest is set for Sunday at George Franks Field at the city landing. The event is sponsored by local churches and features candy, food, games, cartoon characters and inflatables.

The Demopolis Harvest Fest from 4 to 6 p.m. and is free and open to children ages 12 and up.

Tears and Laughter: Talking trash in Wilcox County 

Several residents in several areas of the county had their trash picked up late this past week. Some didn’t have it picked up at all. Some had neighborhood dogs strew it all along the roadway and many at this point are wondering exactly what in the hell is going on with the garbage.  

Wilcox is not known for being good at managing water and trash services. Lamison still doesn’t have county water, but there has been progress overall. When I first moved here in 1996, there was no trash pick-up. There were huge dumpsters placed throughout the county and that is where everybody took their garbage. The county would empty the dumpsters on a routine basis, but not before they were overflowing and you could tell when you were passing them in the dark. 

So it was a great day in Wilcox County when pick-up service started. There have been different contracts along the way with different companies. The county of course also made an unsuccessful attempt at handling it themselves, but the latest contract is with Advanced Disposal.  

In last week’s column, I mentioned that Advanced Disposal was threatening to suspend services if payment was not made. The county owed Advanced $266,000, not including what they will be billed for October. They paid $80,000 on Friday, October 13 and another payment of $40,000 was expected to be paid as of Friday, October 20. In an email, Advanced Disposal communicated to the county commissioners, “The money should be on hand as customers have been paying for services.” 

Chairman of the commission, John Moton, Jr. responded, “I do understand his stance and agree that the money should be on hand but due to their over-billing and 18 to 20% nonpayment on the west end of the county; unfortunately the money is not on hand. In the past we’ve had to use monies from the general fund to cover short falls in solid waste. Our general fund can’t afford to do this and continue to make payroll til January.” 

He described it another way in a private message sent to me by a reader who had both been questioning me and messaging Chairman Moton. I don’t know that she meant to send me his reply, but in it he was more than generous in explaining the math behind the money. “I am the chairman of the commission and have no more access to county funds than you do. The Advance Disposal account is behind because: 1.They have been over-billing us by 700 customers @ $14+ per customer and we just found that out after we got a new solid waste officer to finally do a house count. 2. There are also 714 nonpaying customers that we pay for every month because they refuse to pay and we have not been able to force collections.  3. There are over 400 SSI customers exempted from payment and we are forced by law to pay $14+ per month for them. Now let’s do the math: 1114 nonpaying customers + 700 customers overbilled by Advanced Disposal = 1814 payments per month by Wilcox County (you following me?) 1814 x $14.35 = $26,030.90 x 12 months = $312,320.80 per year extra payment by Wilcox County. So as you can see; the only thing that’s being misused is Wilcox County. Point Blank. Period!!!” 

The vice-chairman, Bill Albritton, wishes to assure the public their garbage service will continue and that Advanced Disposal has no plans of discontinuing pick up as long as the county is making an effort to get current and keeps in communication.

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

West Alabama second in first NCAA Region Two poll

The initial NCAA Division II Super Region Two Poll has been released and West Alabama holds the No. 2 spot. The Tigers are 6-1 in Division II play.

Wingate holds the top spot with a 7-0 record against Division II opponents. The top seven region finishers after the regular season earn a berth in the 2017 NCAA Football Playoffs. The top seed will earn a first-round bye.

Virginia State (6-0) is third in the region, followed by Bowie State (7-1), Delta State (6-2), West Georgia (6-2) and Catawba (5-2) in the top seven. Eight through 10 is Albany State (5-3), Miles (5-2) and Virginia Union (5-2).

The NCAA Division II Playoffs begin Nov. 18.

Sweet Water High names Homecoming Queen

(Photo by Johnny Autery)

Sweet Water High School names senior Sara Irvin its Homecoming Queen for 2017 Friday night.

Sweet Water shellacks Millry to claim Region 1 crown

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Bulldogs gang tackle a Wildcat running back in first half action.

Sweet Water head coach Pat Thompson has said all season long that he believes the winner of Class 1A, Region 1 would have to go unbeaten in region play. His Bulldogs took another big step toward that Friday night with a convincing 42-14 win over Millry.

Sweet Water scored 14 points in each of the game’s first three quarters to go up 42-7. Shamar Lewis scored on a 64-yard run in the opening frame before Jonah Smith hooked up with Chance Broussard on a 20-yard touchdown strike.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Sweet Water’s Jacory Brown (40) out races the Millry defense scoring a 2nd half TD.

Jaylon Williamson scored on a 10-yard run in the second quarter before Smith threw to Trent Sams for a 17-yard touchdown pass to go up 28-0 before halftime.

Smith threw his third touchdown pass with 8:10 to go in the third quarter when he found Jacory Brown for a 14-yard pitch-and-catch. Brown later ran it in from 26 yards out for the final Bulldog touchdown.

Sweet Water had 359 yards of total offense on only 36 plays. Smith went 4 of 7 passing for 73 yards and three touchdowns. Lewis ran is seven times for 125 yards. Williamson had 68 yards rushing while Brown had 62. Sams and Sasha Smith each intercepted a pass on defense for the Bulldogs.

Sweet Water (6-1, 6-0) clinches the Region 1 championship with the win. The Bulldogs wrap region play next week when they travel to Fruitdale.

The loss drops Millry to 4-4 overall and 4-2 in Region 1 play. That creates a three-way tie in the region after Linden beat Marengo 20-18 Friday night. All three teams are 4-2 in region play with Millry having beaten Linden, Linden having beaten Marengo, and Marengo having beaten Millry. Tie breakers will go into effect if all three teams win next week. Millry hosts A.L. Johnson. Linden hosts J.F. Shields. Marengo travels to McIntosh.

(Photo by Johnny Autery)
Senior Jaylon Williamson bursts through a porous Millry line for a big gainer.