Letter to the Editor: DCS superintendent thanks community

It is challenging to describe the amount of support the citizens of Demopolis have for their public school system. If it is a Friday night football game or Tuesday morning Christmas program, you will have parents and grandparents show up in bulk to support the students of the Demopolis City School System.

This overwhelming support was magnified on December 12th when the voters of Demopolis were asked to renew a 3 mill property tax that is earmarked specifically for the public school system in Demopolis. This property tax vote passed with a 76% approval.

The 5 person appointed board of education (Conrad Murdock, Carolyn Moore, Jim Stanford, Olen Kirby, and Floy Mayberry) would like to offer a huge thank you to the voting citizens for making it a point to vote in favor of this tax continuation.  On behalf of the school administrators, teachers, and staff, we too thank you for trusting us as good stewards with your hard earned money, but more importantly we thank you for giving us an opportunity to teach your children every day.

 

Kyle Kallhoff, Superintendent of Education

Demopolis City School System

Demopolis varsity teams sweep Thomasville

The Demopolis High varsity basketball teams swept a pair of games from Thomasville Friday, highlighted by a thrilling overtime victory in the boys game. On a night with Demopolis lacked its best stuff, the home team had to rally in the fourth quarter and overtime for a 50-46 victory over one of its chief rivals.

Demopolis carried a 23-19 lead into halftime but saw Thomasville pull to a 31-30 advantage after three quarters of play. The Tigers got their offensive output from five different players in the fourth quarter and found themselves standing at the free throw line frequently throughout the game’s final 12 minutes.

Nine of the Tigers’ 15 points in the fourth quarter came at the free throw line as they pulled the game to a 45-45 tie at the end of regulation. Melvin Childers went 3 of 4 from the stripe in the bonus period and Nelson Haskin made the game’s only field goal in overtime for the 50-46 final. Demopolis finished 12 of 17 from the line in the fourth quarter and overtime to seal the win.

Haskin topped Demopolis with 11 points. Childers and Shakari Williams each finished with eight.

Averian Malone lead Thomasville with 15 points. Braxton Williams added 12 while Michael Jones had 11.

Demopolis moves to 7-1 with the win ahead of a trip to Greensboro Saturday night.

The Demopolis girls used a 12-2 fourth quarter to win going away in a 44-32 rout of Thomasville earlier in the night. Demopolis led 32-30 through three quarters of play before McKenzie Phillips, KiKi Waller and Samia Jackson helped put the game away with strong offensive performances in the final frame.

Jackson led Demopolis with 11 points on the night. Waller added 10 while Shakesaney Bell had seven and Phillips finished with six. Tiyanna Blanks paced Thomasville with 14 points.

The win snaps a three-game losing streak for Demopolis (3-3), who travels to Greensboro Saturday night.

Brown receives Walmart Community Grant

DMS Prinicpal Brandon Kiser present DMS band director Adam Brown with a Walmart Community Grant check for $2500.

The Demopolis Middle School band room will see improvements after it received a $2500 grant from the Walmart Community Grant program. Grants from the program are between $250 and $2500 and given to companies and programs that benefit the community in which they serve. DMS Band Director Adam Brown applied for the grant because of the need for instruments and equipment at the Middle School band room. The check was presented to Mr. Brown on Tuesday, Dec. 13.

DECA drive contributes 300 coats

Pictured are Holiday Cleaners employees with DECA members, Courtney Roberts and Brionna Howerton.

Demopolis High School DECA launched their “DECA is Driven” Coat Drive Campaign during the month of November to help make this Christmas season warmer for children and families in Marengo County. Coats and monetary donations were collected from classes at Demopolis High School and U.S. Jones Elementary.

The classes held a friendly competition to see who could win a wing party catered by Batter Up! Several local businesses also had donation jars to help the cause. ​This year’s coat drive was a huge success with 303 coats, nine stuffed animal toys, and $225.82 in donations! Donations were delivered to Marengo County DHR. The donated jackets and stuffed animals were generously cleaned and mended by the staff at Holiday Cleaners.

Demopolis Singers Present “Christmas In our Home Town”

The Demopolis Singers will present the “Christmas in our Home Town” on Thursday, Dec. 7 at First Baptist Church of Demopolis. The community is invited to attend.

Demopolis comeback attempt falls just short in semis

12-1-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — As the fog settles near the end zone, Demopolis’ A.J. Jackson (4) lowers his shoulders to take on several Saints to score the Tigers’ first touchdown against Saint Paul’s Episcopal.

Demopolis finished three yards shy of a trip to the Class 5A state championship game Friday night. The Tigers lost a thriller to St. Paul’s 20-19 as their two-point conversion pass fell incomplete with 43.9 seconds remaining in the game.

“It was my call and I just didn’t want to put it on the freshman kicker,” Demopolis coach Brian Seymore said. “I felt like that was an opportunity right there. It comes down to execution. They made the play and we didn’t.”

“It’s a little bit of numbness when you think about it and you’ve got nearly 47 and a half minutes of a game that comes down to one play,” St. Paul’s coach Steve Mask said. “It’s not just coach speak, but a lot of credit goes to Brian and his staff and his players. He absolutely did the right thing. I would’ve done the same thing. We were just there to make the play and fortunate to make a play.”

12-1-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Demopolis’ Antonio Besteder runs around the outstretched arm of a Saint Paul’s defender during the Tigers game against the Saints.

Demopolis trailed 13-0 until A.J. Jackson scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 10:55 left in the game to cap an 11-play, 56-yard drive and cut the deficit to 13-6. St. Paul’s responded in kind as Jordon Ingram broke a 40-yard scoring run to move the lead to 20-6.

After an Andrew Patterson four-yard run on fourth down fell short, St. Paul’s took over with less than six minutes to play. Demopolis forced the only turnover of the night when Keionte Whitfield recovered a fumble at the Saints’ 48. Andrew Patterson connected with DeDe Davis on a 15-yard touchdown pass with 3:28 to play in the game to cut it to 20-13.

The Tigers then recovered an onside kick and embarked upon a 12-play, 48-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by Antonio Besteder with 43.9 to play.

Demopolis then ran a two-point conversion play, but the pass fell incomplete to all but seal the game for St. Paul’s.

“I’m so proud of these seniors. They’ve had three coaches in their career and they really bought into what we were doing,” Seymore said. “Nobody really gave us a shot tonight. But I just felt like our kids were going to show up and play hard.”

The Tigers end their first season under Seymore at 11-3.

12-1-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Demopolis’ Derrick Birl (24) and Russ Logan (43) take down a Sanit Paul’s runner during the Tigers game against the Saints.

Betsy Stephens named St. Nicholas for COTR 2017

Betsy Stephens was named St. Nicholas for Christmas on the River 2017 Thursday night. She is joined by her husband, Kirk, and children Bill, Molly and Ed.

When event organizer Jennifer Swims announced the name of St. Nicholas for Christmas on the River 2017 Thursday night, Betsy Stephens may well have been the only person in attendance that was surprised by the revelation. Just after the annual lighting of Public Square, Stephens stood on stage as one of the 10 nominees for the honor, confident she would soon be applauding one of her nine deserving neighbors as their name was called.

As Swims finished reading the impressive list of nominees and cited reasons for their inclusion in the festivities, she came to the announcement. “Betsy Stephens.” The name rolled off the evening emcee’s tongue with unmitigated ease and hung momentarily in the unseasonably warm, undeniably humid night air. Before Stephens could appropriately process the moment, an approving round of applause swelled up from the dozens in attendance.

“I was really, really surprised. When Jennifer told me that I was nominated, she didn’t tell me who else was nominated,” Stephens said of the moment she heard her name connected to the prestigious title. “And some years they don’t have many nominees. And I thought it was going to be one of those years and it is going to be quiet and I’m going to have to say something. Then, when I saw the list, I thought, ‘I’m good. I won’t have to say anything for sure.’”

Her surprise came as the logical culmination of a suddenly undermined temerity that she would not be named for the honor she has for decades seen go to some of the most deserving citizens. The honor seeks to recognize those who have functioned as a beacon through volunteerism and community service. The mantle, and the accompanying distinguishing garb, had now fallen to Stephens.

“I guess I was a little embarrassed because that’s not why I do anything,” Stephens, who instinctively ducks the spotlight, said. “I just think of other people as being worthy of this, the Cindy Hays. That’s who I think of when I think of St. Nick, the Jennifer Roemens. I’m honored.”

Stephens received the honor in front of a diverse crowd of onlookers that included her husband, her three children, and her mother and father. The heart to serve, evident to all who know her, is something Stephens intends to pass along to her children as she points to her mother as an influential presence in her own work.

“Just about service, I try to pass that on to them, try to make sure that they understand it,” Stephens said before sharing a value she has sought to impress upon her children. “I want to improve what you do. I don’t necessarily want to improve what you have.”

As the Christmas on the River festivities roll on, Stephens will now find herself near the middle of most of them. And as the day parade rolls through downtown Saturday, she’ll find herself in an unfamiliar position in the spotlight.

“I don’t know that I have every been on a Christmas on the River float. I don’t think I have. My children have been, but I don’t know that I’ve ever been on a float,” she said. “I’ve worked on floats and done other things with them, but I don’t think I’ve ever been on one. It’ll be fun.”

The list of nominees also included Mandy Fields, Richard Bryant, Jennifer Jordan, Kathleen Randall, David McGee, Amanda Hall, Sylvia Tate, Jennifer Thomason and Jim Stanford.

Mackey continues family COTR legacy

Sally Mackey displays a newspaper article with a photo of her aunt, Lynda Stapp, who was the first Miss Christmas on the River.

This year’s Miss Christmas on the River, Sally Mackey, has a voice and is delighted to share with everyone the excitement of Christmas on the River. She has been featured on various news stations to promote Christmas on the River 2017 and recently shared with the public her royal lineage.

Sally’s aunt, Lynda Stapp, was the very first Miss Christmas on the River crowned. “That was something Lynda was quick to remind us of,” Mackey said. She was very proud to be part of something so important to the city of Demopolis. Lynda was even in the COTR Day Parade last year.

Unfortunately, Lynda passed away last spring and left her family and friends way too soon. However, as her daughter, Annie Stapp Wells, recently reminded Sally and her mother, it is comforting knowing that her last act was one of giving and selflessness. Her organs extended the lives of two individuals in Tennessee. Last Friday, there was a fundraiser held in Lynda’s name, “Cheers to Lynda”.

Sally loved her aunt very much and wants to honor her name by spreading the word to be an organ donor. She is challenging everyone to become one. It doesn’t take much to make the choice, but it’s a choice that can do so much.

It seems this year’s Miss COTR not only has beauty and brains, but she also has a special heart.

AHSAA re-classification pits Demopolis against new set of foes

11-24-17 — Prichard, Ala. — Demopolis’ C.J. Williams picks off a pass on Vigor’s first play from scrimmage. Williams would return the interception for a touchdown for the first points of the game of the Tigers’ win over the Wolves.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association released its latest round of re-classifications Thursday morning, setting the stage for its 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 competition years.

Among numerous other changes, the re-classification means a much different look for Demopolis’s region and area foes between August 2018 and May 2020.

The new look Class 5A, Region 3 football grouping sees Demopolis bid farewell to mainstays Sumter Central and Dallas County, both of which drop to Class 4A. Additionally, Calera jumps to Class 6A. Central-Tuscaloosa, Jemison and Marbury remain in Region 3 along with Demopolis. Joining that quartet are Shelby County, Chilton County (down from Class 6A) and Bibb County (up from Class 4A).

11-28-17 — Demopolis, Ala. — Aniya Johnson brings the ball up the floor for Demopolis.

“The travel definitely,” Demopolis coach Brian Seymore said of the biggest change to his team’s region slate the next two seasons. “When we meet and draw for the schedule, you hope you get a good draw. You hope you don’t play a lot of these games on the road because that’s a lot more time on the bus. You’ve got to play the cards you’re dealt.”

In terms of driving distance, Demopolis loses its closest two region compatriots in Sumter-Central (30.3 miles) and Dallas County (67.1 miles). The Tigers also lose their second-farthest counterpart in Calera (89.8 miles). Replacing those schools will be Bibb County (66 miles), Chilton County (89.9 miles) and Shelby County (101.3 miles).

Perhaps the most intriguing feature of the new region for Demopolis is the addition of Bibb County, a school whose head coach is former Demopolis defensive coordinator Matt Geohagan.

“I’m excited because of having Coach Geohagan there and that relationship. They have a very good program and are very consistent in what they do. They’re going to take the place of Calera as one of the top teams in our region,” Seymore said. “That’s definitely one you’ll have to circle as a huge region game and having a little more to it with Coach Geohagan being so familiar with some of our kids at Demopolis.”

The new-look region will also result in revamped areas for all of Demopolis athletics. The basketball, baseball and softball teams will now be part of a three-team Area 5 that includes Bibb County and Central-Tuscaloosa. Demopolis soccer moves to Area 5 and will compete against American Christian, Central-Tuscaloosa and Sipsey Valley. Girls soccer will be in Area 5 against ACA and Sipsey Valley.

Demopolis cross country is now a member of Section 1. That grouping includes Bibb County, Brewbaker Tech, Charles Henderson, Citronelle, Faith Academy, Jackson, LeFlore, Satsuma, Tallassee and Vigor. Demopolis track will also be part of Section 1. That grouping consists of Carroll-Ozark, Charles Henderson, Citronelle, Faith Academy, Greenville, LeFlore, Satsuma, UMS-Wright, Vigor and Wilcox-Central.

Other notable changes in 5A football include the move of St. Paul’s and Calera to Class 6A. Perhaps the biggest changes come in Region 4 where Briarwood, Fairfield, John Carroll Catholic, Parker, Pleasant Grove, Ramsay, Wenonah and Woodlawn all make up the group. Those teams, many of which competed in the northern part of the state for the last round of classification, will now be in the south.

The new Class 5A football region alignment appears below in its entirety.

 

REGION 1 REGION 2
Citronelle Beauregard
Faith Academy Caroll-Ozark
Jackson Charles Henderson
LeFlore Magnet Greenville
Satsuma Rehobeth
Vigor Tallassee
Wilcox Central Valley
REGION 3 REGION 4
Bibb County Briarwood Christian
Central-Tuscaloosa Fairfield
Chilton County John Carroll Catholic
Demopolis Parker
Jemison Pleasant Grove
Marbury Ramsay
Shelby County Wenonah
Woodlawn
REGION 5 REGION 6
Center Point Alexandria
Central-Clay Boaz
Moody Crossville
Mortimer Jordan Douglas
Munford Etowah
St. Clair County Sardis
Springville Southside-Gadsden
Sylacauga
REGION 7 REGION 8
Corner Arab
Dora Ardmore
Hamilton Brewer
Hayden East Limeston
Jasper Guntersville
Lawrence County Madison Academy
Russellville Madison County
West Point Scottsboro

 

Clarke named 2017 COTR Special Child

11-29-2017 — Demopolis, Ala. — Christmas on the River 2017 Special Child Ronnie (R.C.) Clarke, Jr. pulls the handle to light the Love Lights Tree atop Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital. The lighting of the Love Lights Tree kicks off COTR festivities each year in Demopolis.