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Demopolis council asked to remove Confederate monuments, flags

A Demopolis resident and a field director for the New Order National Human Rights Organization is asking the city council to work toward removing all Confederate monuments, statues and flags from the city.

T’keisha Chandler said the NOHRO stands for people around the world and in the local community who are concerned with the placement of Confederate monuments and flags.

“We ask these monuments be removed. History should be learned through reading books, not through statues. It’s time to take action to have them removed,” Chandler said.

She said Demopolis could serve as an example to other communities by acting peacefully to remove the monuments and flags.

“We should come together and take steps to quell the violence we are seeing around the world. Demopolis can be the first to take a stand so we can all live in peace,” she said.

Chandler went further in stating the city should not allow the Confederate flag to be flown anywhere within the city limits, even on private property.

“We’re supposed to be on in this community, but we’ve been divided too long,” she said. “It is time to put an end to this. We would be grateful if (the council) would get on board to quell the violence from coming to Demopolis and Marengo County.”

During the public comments portion of the meeting, Demopolis resident Wanda Ulmer, said she feels there is a bigger agenda.

“This will not stop at Confederate monuments. They will want to eliminate everything except that which is not Marxist,” Ulmer said.

The debate between Chandler and Ulmer spilled over after the council meeting and onto the sidewalk in front of Rooster Hall.

According to its website, the NONHRO “exist to monitor unjust activity, investigate misconduct complaints, work to change policies, lobby for legislative changes, encourage independent citizen review boards nationally and advocate for citizens.”

In another topic initiated during the public comments portion of the meeting, Richard Fountain asked the council for help with a ditch behind his home.

“I’ve been here for 23 years, going on 24 and nothing has been done about that ditch,” Fountain said.

It was stated that tests were conducted at one time, though that was not confirmed, and that sewage may be leaking into the ditch.

Councilman Charles Jones said the problem has been navigating the bureaucracy involved as the property is labeled part of a blue stream area.

“We have the pipe, put it in the ditch, cover it up and be done with it. Our people will enjoy a better way of life. There’s some common sense here,” Jones said.

Also a member of the Demopolis Water Works Board, Jones will take the matter there for discussion.

The following items were also discussed.

  • Foster Farms Plant Manager Paul Miller requested an amendment to a tax abatement previously approved by the council.

Miller said the company is expanding its work for a total investment of about $6.1 million and requested the total project be included with the previous sales tax abatement. The original abatement was for a $3.8 million project.

The council approved the request, which abates sales tax on items associated with the projects.

Miller said the projects will increase the product yield of the plant and will lead to fewer positions, but added those are positions that are not currently filled. He said the plant is currently operating with a shortage of about 100 people.

“We are having discussions about plans for improvements next year. We spent $700,000 on a new roof last year and are spending $6.1 million this year. Foster Farms is heavily invested here in Demopolis,” Miller said.

  • The council approved a capital budget change for the Public Works Department. Instead of purchasing a knuckle boom loader at a cost of $134,900, the department requested the purchase of a new wood chipper at a cost of $67,000.

“We have the boom mower working well, but we need the wood chipper to keep up with the limbs,” said Public Works Supervisor Ashford Jackson.