2013 Year in Review

Published 9:46 am Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Trading Spaces: Speegle, Clark swap positions

The Demopolis City Board of Education held a special called board meeting in June, and two principals in the system swapped positions.

Dr. Tony Speegle was moved to Demopolis High School to serve as principal, and Leon Clark was moved to U.S. Jones to become the principal there.

Changes were proposed by superintendent, Dr. Al Griffin, and adopted by the Demopolis Board of Education in order to match the strengths of City Schools’ employees to the needs of students in specific schools, according to a press release.

State Releases ‘Failing’ List, 78 schools, including four in Marengo County

Among the 78 schools listed on a state-wide list of failing schools are 4 Marengo County educational institutions: John Essex High School, Marengo High School, George P. Austin Junior High School in Linden and Linden Elementary School. The list indicates schools where parents are eligible for a state income tax credit to send their child to a private school.

Hospital welcomes new surgeon to town

Keith Roberts, M.D., has moved to Demopolis to open Two Rivers Surgical Associates. Roberts said he decided to go to medical school after his grandfather had surgery that he believes added 10 years to his life.

“His surgery made me want to get into medicine,” Roberts said. “I was always interested in science, so I decided to go to medical school. It wasn’t until I was there that I decided to go into surgery.”


DPD adds bicycles to fleet

The Demopolis Police Department has a new way of keeping city streets safe, as they added two bicycles to their fleet in the summer of 2013.

Officers Marcus Williams and William Gulley, who are the two School Resource Officers for the department, have been using the bikes since the end of the 2013 school year, and they say it has been good for them.

“It’s been very exciting,” Gullie said. “It keeps us in shape and it also adds the element of surprise. People love to see us on bikes because we can interact with them easier, and we can also see more of what is going on. It helps us learn new hot spots as well.”

60 sick after eating at Sumter Co. funeral

More than 60 people became sick after a salmonella outbreak in Sumter County.

The Alabama Department of Public Health investigated a food-borne outbreak that affected at least 67 people who were attending a funeral. All those who became sick ate a noontime meal July 6 at Eastern Star Baptist Church.

At least 67 people became sick, with 30 people requiring hospitalization in 10 different states in the days following the funeral. Cross contamination during preparation is the likely cause of the outbreak.

Area Business Council forms

A group of citizens who own or support small businesses in Demopolis and Marengo County teamed up to form a small business advocacy organization.

The Demopolis Area Business Council seeks to provide important resources for economic development, as well as provide a collective voice for small businesses in matters dealing with city, county and state government.


DPD officer wins ‘academy awards’

Demopolis Police Officer Johnathan Sommers graduated from the police academy in Selma and brought home three awards. His awards were most improved physical training, defensive and pursuit driving and highest academic average.

“The academy was a really good experience. I enjoyed it. There was a lot of great training with great instructors. They do a really good job over there,” Sommers said.

Sommers was hired by the Demopolis Police Department on Aug. 28, 2012.

DPD officers receive promotions

Three officers in the Demopolis Police Department were honored during a promotion ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 11.

Sgt. Don Johnson, Lt. Rex Flowers and Lt. Tim Soronen all received promotions from DPD Chief Tommie Reese during the ceremony.

Federal grant awarded to Tombigbee Healthcare

The Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday that Tombigbee Healthcare Authority, AIDS Alabama, Inc, Samford University, Ascension Health and Catholic Social Services Archdiocese of Alabama have been awarded up to $1,443,986 in Navigator grants.

THA is expected to receive $392,356, respectively.