Hasty crowned Little Miss COTR 2017 (with gallery)

10-11-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Claire Elisabeth Hasty is crowned Little Miss Christmas on the River 2017 by Camdyn Grace Morgan, Little Miss COTR 2016, at the Demopolis Civic Center.

In the largest Christmas on the River Pageant, Little Miss COTR had 46 little angels competing for the title. They walked, skipped and even bounced their way into the judges hearts to stand out among so many contestants. The judges divide the number of girls to 26 in order to select a top 11. Those making the top 11 list were Katherine Hewitt, Khloe Wolf, Kendall Gandy, Makyla Rembert, Violet Smelley, Emily Parten, Naudia Reed, Carly Teel, Claire Hasty, Ansley Basinger and Emma Dahl.

The judges debated and chose a top 5 to answer the question, “What is your favorite thing to do at Christmas?”. After each little sweet voice answered, the esteemed judges had their decisions for the 2017 Little Miss Christmas on the River and her Royal Court.

Placing in the fourth alternate position was Kendall Marie Gandy in an ivory tulle gown. In a very sweet baby pink tulle gown was third alternate, Ansley Brooke Basinger. Naudia Naomi Reed earned second alternate wearing a beautiful white ball gown with rhinestone detailing. Awarded first alternate was Emma Rae Dahl who wore a gorgeous pink ruffled gown embellished with crystals.

Crowned Little Miss Christmas on the River was Claire Elisabeth Hasty in an elegant off-the-shoulder white gown with rhinestones and silver bead work. Claire is the seven year old daughter of Jared and Rebecca Hasty. She is a second grader at Westside Elementary School. She was so happy when they called her name out that she just couldn’t stop shaking with excitement. Claire is most excited about crowning a new queen next year and hopes a lot of girls will dress up next year and have as much fun as she did. She says to just believe in yourself and go into the competition to have fun and be with your friends.

Be on the look out to see all of this year’s winners and their Royal Court at all of the Christmas on River events, starting November the 29th with the lighting of the Love Light Tree.

Stokes crowned 2017 Young Miss COTR (with gallery)

10-10-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Kylie Elizabeth Stokes (right) reacts as she realizes that she will be Young Miss Christmas on the River 2017 as Adalyn Broox Lindsey’s (left) name is called as first alternate.

Young Miss Christmas on the River 2017 saw 33 contestants compete for the title at the Demopolis Civic Center. They paraded in true pageantry form to show their best style, poise and beauty as the judges chose a top 15. These young ladies presented their best and included Millie Hill, Emery Wideman, Susanna Bell, Elliegh Reid Dossett, Mary Carlton Parten, Madisen Sewell, Maddie Grace Teel, Sha’Keithia Murphy, Kyle Stokes, Olivia Tripp, Anna Kate Morrison, Adalyn Lindsey, Ari Freeman, Ali Basinger, and Bailey Madison Bolden.

After the top 15 contestants walked a second time, the judges narrowed the competition down to a top 5, who were judged on their ability to speak in public and think on their feet by answering the question, “What do you look for in a friend?” These third through fifth grade thought very hard to come up with the best answer to win the judges over. After the judges reflected on their decision, the new Young Miss COTR and her Royal Court were decided.

Placing fourth alternate was Mary Carlton Parten wearing a beautiful white tulle gown with silver and gold sequins. Susanna Bell was awarded third alternate in an off the shoulder elegant princess gown with lots of sparkle. Wearing a fabulous white formal gown with a silver beaded bodice and white rosettes on the skirt was second alternate, Emery Wideman. Adalyn Broox Lindsey earned first alternate wearing a gorgeous white satin gown embellished with crystals.

Crowned Young Miss Christmas on the River was Kylie Stokes in a perfect satin Christmas red gown detailed with crystals. Kylie is the daughter of Wayne and Heather Stokes and attends U.S. Jones. She was extremely shocked and overwhelmed at winning the title. Ms. Stokes is excited and looks forward to riding and waving in the COTR Day parade. She wants everyone to know how much fun it was to compete in this year’s pageant and hopes that everyone will sign up for next year and have as much fun as she did.

Come out and support the last of the COTR pagaents, Little Miss COTR, tonight at the Civic Center at 6pm.

Gray crowned 2017 Miss Junior COTR (with gallery)

10-9-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — LaCher Sincere Gray was crowned Miss Junior Christmas on the River 2017 by Molly Katherine Harrison, who was Miss Junior Christmas on the River 2016.

Monday night saw 16 beautiful young ladies compete in the Miss Junior Christmas on the River at the Demopolis Civic Center. They all presented their beauty, poise and confidence in hopes of being named this year’s winner. The top 11 chosen were Caylee Madison Jones, Anna Katherine Sellers, Madelyn Baty Singleton, Meredith Gray Patrenos, Taylor Mills Quinney, Abbie Grace Cameron, Wesley Elizabeth Craft, Megan Lindsey Roe, LaCher Sincere Gray, Leah Beth Stewart, and Cassidy Claire Crawford.

After a second parade of contestants, the top 5 were chosen and took the stage to answer the question “What makes you you happy or laugh?” The judges then debated and took in consideration the contestants answers and ability to speak in public, along with their poise and beauty to name the new Miss Junior COTR and her royal court.

Fourth Alternate was Meredith Gray Patrenos wearing a white chiffon dress with lace and crystal detailing on the bodice. Cassidy Claire Crawford was awarded third Alternate donning an emerald evening gown with beading at the waistline. In a Christmas red ball gown, Caylee Madison Jones was chosen as second Alternate. Taylor Mills Quinney earned the first Alternate position wearing a golden hued gown with lots of shine and sparkle.

This year’s Miss Junior Christmas on the River is LaCher Sincere Gray. LaCher was wearing an elegant white off the shoulder ball gown encrusted in crystals. She is the daughter of Henry and LaTara Jones and is in the seventh grade at Demopolis Middle School. LaCher said she was “super shocked but very excited to be named Miss Junior COTR.” She said she’d like to encourage other young ladies to participate in the pageant but to always have an open mind when competing. Miss Gray is looking forward to riding in this year’s COTR parade of floats.

Be sure to come to the Demopolis Civic Center and support more young ladies as they compete in the remaining COTR pageants.
Young Miss COTR Tuesday October 10th at 7pm.
Little Miss COTR Wednesday October 11th at 6pm.

Mackey crowned 2017 Miss COTR (with gallery)

10-7-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Sally Mackey is crowned 2017 Miss Christmas on the River by 2016 Miss Christmas on the River JaKeira Washington at the Demopolis Civic Center.

Miss Christmas on the River has been a time honored tradition for 46 years. Freshman through Senior class young ladies from Demopolis and the surrounding areas compete in hopes of representing Christmas on the River during all of the wonderful holiday festivities that year. Twelve young ladies competed for the title of Miss Christmas on the River 2017 tonight at the Demopolis Civic Center. They showed their personality, charm and intelligence in an interview with the judges prior to gliding across the stage to present their poise and beauty to win the coveted title.

After all of the scores had been tallied, the top five were called to the stage to answer a question to show their ability to speak in public and to think on their feet. The scores were then tallied again and a new Miss COTR and royal court were decided.

Wearing an elegant black off the shoulder gown embellished with rhinestones on the sleeves was 4th alternate, Sidney Alyn Atkins. Abigayle Marie Quinney was named 3rd alternate in a classic off the shoulder black evening dress. In a gorgeous Fuchsia one shouldered gown, SueEllen Marie Broussard was awarded 2nd alternate. 1st alternate was McKenzie Lane Walker wearing a beautiful black evening gown outlined in rhinestones.
Sally Katherine Mackey was crowned Miss Christmas on the River 2017 wearing a stunning Sherri Hill Ball Gown encrusted with multi-colored crystals. Sally was also honored with the title of Miss Congeniality which is chosen by the other contestants. She is the daughter of Bill and Lori Mackey and is a student at Demopolis High School.

Sally is no stranger to representing Christmas on the River. Growing up with the tradition of the Christmas on the River pageants she has represented the Little Miss and Miss Jr. Christmas on the River titles and was part of the Young Miss Christmas on the River Royal Court. “I was honestly shocked at being crowned but extremely honored to be awarded the title and will represent it to the best of my abilities,” Mackey said

The Tradition continues with the remaining three pageants starting Monday at the Demopolis Civic Center: Miss Junior COTR is Monday October 9th at 7pm, Young Miss COTR is Tuesday October 10th at 7pm and Little Miss COTR is Wednesday October 11th at 6pm.

Demopolis High scholars bowl wins tournament

The Demopolis High School School teams won the Alabama Coastal Community College Scholars Bowl tournament Thursday in Livingston.

Attending the tournament for Demopolis were junior varsity competitors Jensen Hammons, Jim Lindsay, Olivia Lovette, Mussaraf Alnahan, Paul Frankowski, Tyree Tripop and Joseph Barnes. Varsity Tigers were Kyle Ruiz, Althea Yburan, Matt Dollar, Tristan Mullen, Emma Lewis, Sarah Margaret Veres and Luke Lindsay.

Demopolis had four individual players score in the top 10 including Tristan Mullen, Joseph Barnes, Luke Lindsay and Matt Dollar.

Jefferson VFD to host BBQ fundraiser Oct. 7 beginning at 9 a.m.

Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department will host its annual barbecue on Saturday, Oct. 7, at Jefferson Community Club. Barbecue by the pound will be available beginning at 9 a.m. Visitors can get to-go plates or dine in from 10:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., or until the barbecue has sold out.

The cost is $9 per pound or per plate, which includes barbecue, homemade potato salad and cake, bread, and pickles. The barbecue is cooked over hickory coals at the Club’s onsite barbecue pit by members of the volunteer fire department. Pints of their signature sauce will be available for $3.

In recent years, the event has been a sell-out, so the department cannot guarantee that barbecue will still be available as late as 4 p.m.

“We pack the pit as tight as we can get it to cook as much as we can,” said Dave Compton, who is one of the overnight cooks and serves as maintenance officer of the department.

The meat cooks all day and all night Friday, and on Saturday morning they start pulling it off the pit, shoulder by shoulder, to chop it. The meat is sauced and then makes its way to the kitchen, where another crew starts packing pounds of meat to begin selling at 9 a.m. At 10:30, they begin making take-out plates and serving in the dining room.

The event is the department’s primary fundraiser, aiding the group in maintenance and upgrades to their equipment and facility, which is located next door to Jefferson Community Club. The fleet includes five trucks used to service the community–a service truck, brush truck, two engines, and tanker.

“Our barbecue has been a tremendous help to us over the years,” said JVFD Chief George Norris. “The funds we raise at this event help us do some of the things that we might not be able to do with only restricted funds that are allocated to us. It takes a lot of money and time to maintain a fire department, partly because of all of the equipment that’s required for us to not only pass inspection but to strive for a rating that helps ensure that our neighbors can see the positive results of fire protection when it comes time to pay their property insurance premiums.”

JVFD’s coverage area includes not only the immediate five-mile stretch adjacent to the station, but also mileage of highway 80 west as far as Plaza Golf Carts in Demopolis, County Roads 21 and 57, Rangeline Road, and dozens of dirt roads throughout the community. The department is manned entirely by volunteers.

“Everything we do is a commitment of time from our volunteers, a true commitment,” Norris said. “Our volunteers don’t just show up when we’re paged, fight a fire, then go home. We have a dedicated group of individuals who train several hours each month, keep our facility and trucks clean, perform maintenance, paint and keep the grass and brush clear around nearly 70 hydrants along the roadsides, and all of the other logistics that have to be in line for us to operate.”

Combining all of these efforts, Jefferson VFD volunteers commit nearly 2,000 man hours each year. That’s likely a modest estimate. But their work is necessary.

“Our department was established in 1986 after several properties in our community were lost to fire,” Norris said. “We’re not going to prevent every fire from happening, but we can help provide a sense of security and an awareness for safety when incidents occur. We’ve put an extra emphasis on outreach and fire prevention in the last couple of years, and we hope that every little thing we do to show people how they can be safe will help them if they’re ever involved with a fire or accident that could lead to a fire.”

Jefferson has a small population, but the broad area is literally a map of some of the county’s best pasture land and timber. A high percentage of JVFD’s calls are for brush fires, so controlling the fire safely before allowing it to overcome a property or reach a structure is usually the top priority.

“Fire protection, especially for volunteer fire departments, seems like it used to be a matter of putting water on a flame, but so many factors have changed it over the years,” Norris said. “Making way for every safety measure that we can changes the system. More money has to be spent on safety equipment, more hours need to be dedicated to training than ever before, and we have to keep all of these things in mind while we do the things that before may have seemed like such basic steps. We’re fortunate to have people who are committed to giving what it takes.”

To support Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department, make plans to attend their annual barbecue on Saturday, Oct. 7. For more information, contact a member of the department, follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JeffersonVolunteerFireDepartment, or email JeffersonVFDept@gmail.com.

2017 DHS Homecoming Court

The 2017 Homecoming Court was introduced at halftime of the Demopolis High School Tigers’ football game against Calera on September 22, 2017.

2017 DHS Homecoming Pep Rally (gallery)

Black Warrior among 19 Alabama electric co-ops working in wake of Irma

Black Warrior Electric Membership Corporation is among 19 Alabama rural electric cooperatives that sent crews to Florida last week to help fellow electric cooperatives in that state restore power in the wake of Hurricane Irma. In all, a total of 210 linemen from Alabama cooperatives were dispatched to assist in Florida, where the hurricane left more than 75 percent of the state without electricity.

Confronting the aftermath of high winds and heavy rain, mutual aid linemen from more than 25 states are working at co-ops in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, according to the Alabama Rural Electric Association. In some spots, full restoration could take weeks, officials warned.

“Alabama’s cooperatives are always willing to help our fellow cooperatives when there is a need,” said Fred Braswell, president and CEO of the AREA, which represents Alabama’s 22 electric cooperatives.

Black Warrior EMC General Manager Daryl Jones said crews from Black Warrior left Tuesday headed for Florida.

“As usual, we had every field employee volunteer to assist our fellow cooperatives,” Jones said.  “Additional BWEMC crews will be swapped out later if needed.  This allows us to maintain reliability for our own members while helping others in need.”

The mutual aid among cooperatives is a nationwide network that provides assistance when disaster strikes.

Terry Barr, president of the Black Warrior Electric Board of Trustees, said cooperation among electric utilities in responding to widespread power outages is critical and benefits members of Black Warrior.

“Our crews are always prepared for when bad weather hits, but hurricanes and tropical storms are a special challenge,” Barr said. “Getting the lights back on quickly often requires additional manpower beyond what the local cooperative can provide on its own. So we are happy to assist other cooperatives when they need help, knowing they will be ready to help us when we need it.”

Alabama’s rural electric cooperatives deliver power to more than 1 million people, or a quarter of the state’s population, and they maintain more than 71,000 miles of power lines.

Black Warrior Electric Membership Corporation serves about 26,000 customers in 12 counties in west central Alabama. For information, go to www.blackwarrioremc.com.

Marengo County Sports Hall of Fame turns 10 years old

In the summer of 2007 Tom Boggs, Tony Speegle and Johnny Brooker met to discuss how to recognize and publicize the tremendous sports history of Marengo County with emphasis on recognizing individuals, teams, and how to exhibit memorabilia concerning events, teams and individuals.

The Marengo County Sports Hall of Fame was born from those first meetings on the 27th of November 2007 when the corporation was officially organized and filed with the Probate Office of Marengo County, subsequently receiving tax exempt status under Section 501 (c ) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The goals set were to select individuals who have made an impact on Marengo County through their exploits in sports over the years, to host an annual induction ceremony, to recognize championship teams, to award an annual scholarship to a high school senior, and to provide a place for display of Marengo County Sports memorabilia, so as to instill pride in the entire County.

A 12-person Board of Directors was organized, and on the second Monday of February, 2009, the first banquet and induction ceremony was held at the Demopolis Civic Center with a sold out crowd.

There were six inductees that year, and although all six of those individuals had excelled in football, the following eight banquets have featured men and women covering not only football, but basketball, baseball, softball, track, boxing, wrestling and even umpiring.  The Tenth Annual Banquet and Induction Ceremony is planned for the second Monday of February, 2018 at the Demopolis Civic Center.  The board voted to move the start time to 6 p.m. rather than 7 p.m., with a gathering period at 5:30 p.m.    Tickets will be made available starting around December of 2017, with the price for the night’s entertainment and an excellent meal remaining at $25.00 each.

There will be a special emphasis on encouraging past inductees to be present for this 10th anniversary, and there will be a souvenir program featuring not only the new inductees, but all 46 of the past Hall of Fame members.

There is still time for submission of nomination packages to be delivered to Tom Boggs or to Tony Speegle, the package to include a picture, letter of recommendation, and a vita sheet setting out information about the family of the nominee, as well as a summary of athletic accomplishments.

The memorabilia collected for the last ten years is exhibited by courtesy of the Demopolis Library Board in a back room at the Demopolis Public Library, and everyone is encouraged to visit those exhibits to share in the pride of the County.