Demopolis schools to invest in new ID system

The Demopolis City Schools Board of Education met in the newly-renovated Demopolis High School library Monday.

By the first of the new year all four Demopolis City schools will have a new identification system in place to better monitor visitors and volunteers.

The Board of Education approved the system Monday at its meeting held in the Demopolis High School library.

The initial cost of the scanning system from Alabama Card Systems, Inc., is $13,000. Thereafter, the school system will pay $250 annually to renew and update the federal sexual predator database.

Supt. Kyle Kallhoff said his office has been working for about six months on setting up a better way to supervise who will be working closely with individual students. Before the ID monitors are set up, he will meet with the schools’ principals to set up business rules and guidelines for those on campus.

Federal funding will be used to pay for the visitor management system.

Kallhoff said this is the first step in a more comprehensive monitoring system that he hopes to set up in the city’s schools.

The board gave approval to Kallhoff’s request that he and board attorney Alex Braswell continue “negotiations and execution” of the US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights Resolution Agreement for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards at Demopolis Middle School.

The issue stems from a complaint filed with the school system in April of 2015.

Kallhoff said if the negotiations are not approved, it can jeopardize federal funding for Demopolis schools.

Along with the negotiation approval, the board gave the okay to hire Ward Scott Architecture to conduct an accessibility survey and plan and oversee bidding and construction work related to the ADA compliance at DMS.

The $50,000 cost for the work at DMS is included in the capital funding budget approved in September.

In other action, the board approved:

  • The Continuous Improvement Plans for all four schools and the school system.
  • Out-of-town travel for the DHS JROTC to Birmingham.
  • Second and final installment for A-Plus Software of $10,000. The initial $30,000 was paid in 2016. The school system now will only pay an annual licensing fee.
  • An agreement with the Blackbelt Community Foundation Head Start and U.S. Jones Elementary to prepare and provide lunches that Head Start will pay for.

Personnel action included:

  • Conditional employment of Major Walker as Transportation/Maintenance Assistant.
  • Madoline Huff and Geraldine Walker as substitutes, with Walker also as a nurse.
  • Transfer of Reginald Atkins from DMS to DHS.

Continuing the practice of recognizing outstanding teachers, students and support staff, the board honored from USJ: Anne Johnson, teacher; Sylvia Tate, support staff, and Fernando Mancilla-Otero, fifth grader.

Honored from DHS were Lisa Lawrence, teacher; Pam Morgan, support, and Xavier Jackson, senior.

The next meeting of the board will be held Nov. 13.

Sylvia Tate

U.S. Jones Elementary School fifth grader Fernando Mancilla-Otero

DHS librarian Lisa Lawrence

DHS paraprofessional Pam Morgan

Demopolis High senior Xavier Jackson

U.S. Jones Elementary Teacher Anne Jones

Demopolis cross country team holding 1-mile run for K-6

The Demopolis High School cross country team is hosting a 1-mile run Oct. 21 at the SportPlex for grades Kindergarten through sixth grade. Registration for the events begins at 7:15 a.m. at the SportsPlex and the cost is $5 per runner.

The race begins at 7:30 a.m. and precedes the DHS cross country meet that will take place later that morning.

Demopolis clinches Region 3 crown with win over Sumter

LIVINGSTON – The playoff picture is starting to take shape in Class 5A and Demopolis will be a No. 1 seed. The Tigers guaranteed themselves as much Friday night with a 58-8 road victory over Region 3 foe Sumter Central.

“I felt like our guys kept their head the first half, did what we were supposed to do, took care of business. I’m proud of our kids. That wrapped up the region championship,” Demopolis coach Brian Seymore said.

Demopolis saw its offense start on short fields all night, taking advantage early with a 30-point first quarter before cruising to the win. A.J. Jackson score on touchdown runs of 5, 3 and 37 yards in the first quarter. Antonio Besteder had scoring runs of 3, 3 and 2 yards respectively in the game. Russ Logan had a 1-yard touchdown run while LaQuinton Wright scored from 7 yards out.

Sumter got its touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 13-yard pass from Duane Ruffin to Tamarius Kirksey.

Jackson ran for 105 yards on seven carries while Besteder added 90 yards on 19 rushes.

The Tigers forced three turnovers on the evening with K.D. Daniels and C.J. Williams each recovering a fumble and Alton Rowser intercepting a pass.

Demopolis (6-1, 5-0) will finish no worse than in a first-place tie with Calera in Region 3 and holds the tiebreaker over the Eagles by virtue of a head-to-head win. Demopolis will host the No. 4 seed from Class 5A, Region 1.

The Tigers step out of region to host Class 7A Enterprise next Friday night.

We’ve got a lot to look forward to. We’ve got some games coming up that are true measuring sticks of where we are as a program and how much better have we gotten. I’m looking forward to that,” Seymore said.

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 steamrolls Dallas County for Region 3 victory

10-6-17 — Plantersville, Ala. — Demopolis’ Demetrius Davis hauls in a 15-yard TD reception from Andrew Patterson during the Tigers’ area win over the Dallas County Hornets.

PLANTERSVILLE – In a game that saw 29 points scored before Dallas County’s offense took the field for the very first time, Demopolis moved one step closer to a Class 5A, Region 3 title. The Tigers waxed the Hornets 59-6 Friday in a contest that ended with a running clock.

Demopolis opened the scoring on a 20-yard touchdown run by A.J. Jackson with 10:39 remaining on the first quarter clock. Jackson added the conversion run to push it to 8-0.

10-6-17 — Plantersville, Ala. — Demopolis’ Tavian Brown (25) and Fred Haywood bring down a Dallas County runner during the Tigers’ region win over the Hornets.

Undaunted, fleet-footed 5-6 senior Calvin Starks scooped the ensuing kickoff on the bounce and bolted 90 yards for a touchdown to cut it to 8-6. Alexander Besteder blocked the extra point attempt to preserve the lead.

“I was happy with the way our offense and the defense played. They played extremely well. I guess the biggest disappointment was probably kickoff,” Demopolis coach Brian Seymore said. “Tonight, we gave up a couple of returns that got over 50. (Starks) is a good little runner. We didn’t do a good job of tackling. We didn’t do a good job of staying in our lanes.”

All illusions of a competitive contest quickly dissipated thereafter. Demopolis hit a 55-yard pass to Tyquan Alston to set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Antonio Besteder. Jackson’s conversion run made it 16-6.

Tyler Hale pounced on a fumble on the ensuing kickoff to put Demopolis in striking distance of an early blowout. Jackson later scored on a run from five yards out to move it to 23-6. Dallas County then sent its offense onto the field for the first time to little avail. Demopolis quickly shut down the Hornets and handed the ball back to Andrew Patterson, who found DeDe Davis in the end zone with 2:20 left in the opening frame to set it at 30-6.

10-6-17 — Plantersville, Ala. — Demopolis’ Alexander Besteder looks for running room during the Tigers’ area win over the Dallas County Hornets.

Things got no better for the Hornets as Alexander Besteder added a 3-yard touchdown run in the second quarter ahead of Antonio Besteder’s 80-yard scoring run. Antonio Besteder than scored on a 16-yard run in the third quarter before Peyton Stevenson punched it in from 10 yards out in the fourth.

“Having the week off to prepare, we added a few more wrinkles here. We’ve got some other stuff we’re working on. I felt like our kids came out of the locker room ready to play,” Seymore said.

Antonio Besteder paced the Tigers with 148 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries. Jackson finished with 86 yards and two scores on eight rushes. Alston caught two passes for 88 yards. Patterson was 8 for 12 passing for 153 yards and a touchdown.

Demopolis amassed 481 yards of total offense while allowing the Hornets to gain only 40 yards.

The Tigers (5-1, 4-0) can clinch the Class 5A, Region 3 title next Friday with a win over Sumter Central.

“We’re looking forward to it. Obviously we’ve got a storm coming in, but we’ll play that by ear,” Seymore said. “I think our kids will come with a workmanlike attitude and go to work, make sure we work on the little things, and try to get better each and every week.”

10-6-17 — Plantersville, Ala. — Demopolis’ Antonio Besteder breaks free on an 80-yard touchdown run during the Tigers’ area win over the Dallas County Hornets.

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.