How A Disabled Vet Changed The World With A Red Wagon

Hello Dot Readers!!!

After a short vacation, we are back in business. We made it through a hurricane, and to kick things off we would like to share with you a short story contributed by one of our own staff writers. In the meantime, don’t forget the upcoming elections we hope to see you at the polls!Stripes

For as long as I can remember, I have been delivering presentations with a high level of comfort. I was drafted by my dad into the position of being a spokesman for him at a young age. He called me his mouthpiece. After serving in the air force during the latter part of the Vietnam war during the early 1970’s, Dad was discharged, diagnosed with schizophrenia and manic depression, and ultimately declared “mentally incompetent” by good old uncle Sam. He had been stripped of his voice, and his social credibility by an organization that takes orders from no one except the commander in chief. I was born in 1975. When I heard the news a few months later, I stood up in my crib and cried. I might have wet myself too. Later on in life, dad became a preacher and he was the only preacher I have known that struggled to get his message of love and hope to the world because of a social hashtag. However, the truth was known only to him and I.  He wasn’t crazy because in reality he was a genius. He was a writer, an artist, an inventor, an expert in masonry architecture, master aviation mechanic, a civil rights activist (one of the first blacks to choose to attend an all white school voluntarily in our community), and all around modern day renaissance man. 3440442-photo-of-the-vitruvian-man-by-leonardo-da-vinci-from-1492-on-textured-background_1000
Before I could walk and keep up with him as he went on his adventures to change the world, he had me sit down in a western flyer wagon and explained everything to me when I was three. He said, “Son, I’m a jack of all trades but the master of none because of this label the government has put on me. People in this town will take a child’s word over mine so you are going to have to do the talking.” From that day on, Dad gave me the words, taught me his trades and encouraged my talents. He pulled me in the wagon behind him as we went to see poor people in the neighborhood and he ministered to them and then always ended by saying, “I just wanted you to meet my son, we will come back and visit sometime.”

Wagon As soon as I could write, he took my writings and typed them up with his own, and gave them to the people free as newsletters. Everyone wanted to read the papers that the “gifted young man” had wrote. He took money from his disability check, (which he loathed to live on) and bought food and clothes for homeless and needy people in our town. I was placed in charge of giving those things away from the wagon and we eventually wound up with a column in the local newspaper, a few paintings displayed on the local t.v. station, a couple of patents for those inventions and I even got a letter from the President through an award given to me by the American Legion. Later in life, I was able to deliver presentations in churches, radio stations, club venues as an opening act for major artists, television shows, bookstores as a published author and I even played as a black detective in an all Japanese movie, because of the things I learned while riding in that little red wagon. He finally got the last laugh on uncle Sam,
and the whole community by accomplishing his ultimate goal of helping people and showing them how to love and give through the words and hands of an innocent child. He said, “Someday all the secrets will be made known.” That day approaches quickly, but not as fast as that souped up, modified and air cooled 1963Corvair
Chevrolet Corvair that he designed with jet engine parts back in 1976. The troopers said they would have never caught him if they hadn’t shot out the back tires. God speed Dad, fly well. I hope I learn more about the power of the words dad taught me and ways to use them to speak life into people who have an ear to hear them as I begin this college course on presentations as well as develop the sense of urgency that dad had naturally. He knew that disadvantages don’t always mean destruction of dreams. The deviation from the norm is the only constant we have to create change. Once the world truly embraces its own peculiarities, it will be redefined and the quality and value of life will for all will ultimately increase; just like the market value on the Corvair. It was once called, “the car unsafe to drive at any speed,” and I couldn’t help but smile when I saw the value of those very same models at an all time high last year.


Dothan Education Foundation receives grant from Wells Fargo Foundation

The Dothan Education Foundation was recently received a generous $10,000 grant from Wells Fargo to benefit Dothan Education Foundation’s annual Teacher Grants program.

“We are excited to have Wells Fargo partner with the Dothan Education Foundation to support the efforts of our wonderful Dothan City School Teacher Grant recipients.” said Gindi Prutzman, Dothan Education Foundation President. “The impact of the Dothan Education Foundation is magnetized by generous partners like Wells Fargo and we truly appreciate their continuous support.”

“Wells Fargo fully advocates for education as one of the most important investments we can make in our country’s future,” said Southeast Community Affairs Manager for Wells Fargo Paula Beck. “The youth of today are tomorrow’s business owners, leaders and teachers, and we are honored to support the Dothan Education Foundation and the public schools to promote educational success. We will continuously support educational efforts within Dothan and across the state of Alabama through our many initiatives committed to this vital life discipline.”

Since 1995, the Dothan Education Foundation has awarded over $430,000 in grants to Dothan City School teachers to encourage innovative teaching to enhance the educational experience for students by supplying funds for activities that would otherwise be unavailable – activities outside the scope of normal funding. Community support in this tournament will continue to foster educational success for our students and grow creative classrooms.

Voices in community urge Dothan City Schools to take time on hiring superintendent

Voices in the community are urging Dothan City Schools (DCS) to take their time hiring a new superintendent.

The position was posted on June 1st, Dr. Chuck Ledbetter’s last day with DCS. He accepted the same position for the Pike Road school system in Montgomery County.

The board agreed to post the position for two weeks, then begin reviewing applications, but some believe two weeks is not enough time.

At Monday morning’s school board meeting, representatives from the Wiregrass Foundation (WF) and the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce urged the school board to take their time on finding a new superintendent.

Barbara Alford, president of WF said the board should talk to people in the community and hold open forums to help narrow down the search.

Dothan to Selma Ala Tour part 1


Today history was made as history was relived. People from Dothan Ala., a very diverse group to exact. Left Dothan Ala approximately 7:15 am this Sept 26 to take off to Selma Ala. To name a few was Mayor Mike Scmitz, Comm. Kevin Dorsey, Donald Bolden, Reginald Jones, Anita Dawkins, and Susan

The tour was led and organized by Forest Register the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce . Precious Freeman and others helped with all the logistics. Once the bus was rolling questions were asked of each person to figure out about their neighbor or in this case the person they were siting next to. With so much enthusiasm people actually started learning about eachother in real ways like never before. Even though some of the questions were a little uncomfortable such as the one about the football kneeling down during the national anthem. With people on these two buses like Ed Vaughn, Bob Woodall, Jemmie Wayford to Chief Steve Parrish, it was a time for Dothan to really meet Dothan from a different perspective.

Then we got to Selma and was taken on tour by the infamous Joann Bland, a long time friend who actually marched with Hosea Williams and others in the original March at 11 years old. She told us a lot about the history of slavery, the March, and Selma. We went to The Famous Browns Chapel and was greeted by the Pastor who opened the doors of the church as a friend and we explored the famous edifice. Standing on the steps of Browns Chapel where those before us once stood Black and White together to change this nation. We were then taken to the back of the Church and asked to pick up a rock where those leaders before us once stood. Then Ms Joann Bland chose two people to be the leaders of the March, and she picked no other than our very own Country Commissioner Rev Curtis Harvey ( whom she nicknamed the good looking Preacher ).


If ever there was a time to see the interaction of our people in Dothan Ala coming together, learning together, experiencing together. This was one of those times that will mark down in history a glitch outside the norm. While the rest of the country is going crazy because of police brutality, disparaging judicial systems, and racism on the rise. The City of Dothan is trying to find solutions. By acknowledging our history, facing it head on and moving on from it to a unified place.

We met with the Mayor of Selma who greeted us and acknowledged some of us he knew from leading the March and speaking on several occasions in Selma at the Jubilee. He was given the key to the City of Dothan by Mayor Mike Shmitz and then he offered to come to Dothan to give our Mayor the Key to Selma. We were also greeted by the infamous Rose Saunders who is one of the most profound civil rights leaders alive today. She gave gifts to the Mayor and Pastor Glasgow for his never stopping work for the less fortunate. She spoke to the Mayor about coming to the Jubilee and asked him to speak as well. The Mayor agreed so we are really looking forward to being in Selma again when our Mayor will speak to tens of thousands at the Jubilee and lead the March with me. We also have an agreement from Commissioner Rev Curtis Harvey to go with us, speak and help lead the Commencement the first weekend in March 2017 !!!

Dothan jumped leaps and bounds today, after 3,500 or better meeting at the Dothan Civic Center for Prayer what do you expect. Today was a good day.

This is only part one so all the names and more of what happened is yet to come. Stay tuned !!! ( please excuse any typos, due to using phone, typing on moving bus )




Dothan Police Department gets Body Cameras

We found out today at an outside event for the children on the corner of Fortner and Alice st. An event led by the XMen Ministries. We ran into Chief Steve Parrish and officer Chesser. They showed and explained to us about the new Body Xams that they had. Even though at this time they only have 14 in stock, Chief Parrish informed us that everyone in the force will have one very soon.

These new cameras are very interesting and I must admit that I’m very impressed.

At a time like this when we are in the wake of all of these police shootings and the integrity of police officers being challenged and questioned all over the country. With ridicule and investigations going on with Dothan Police Department. Asked for by the Dothan Police Chief himself, and out organizations as well.

The Dothan Police Department has these new Body Cameras that are placed inside the vest. Snapped in by three buttons, held in a case that is magnetized and zipped into the shirt itself. The camera automatically comes on once the officer jumps up and down like he’s running, and is also automatically turned on by the opening of the patrol car door if he stops for a traffic stop. The Chief and officer both explained the device and how it will hold the people and the officers accountable because with a 5 to 7 second delay the supervisors and the Chief himself will be able to see what the camera is showing once it’s activated. That will truly make an officer more concious of following policy and procedures.

See the pictures below :


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"Drug money will buy you what you want"

Elbert Johnson Bass

pictures from and more can be found at:

The war on drugs and crime is very deep in the south. Drugs are everywhere and police are trying very hard to get them off the streets. Along with the police trying to get just drugs off the streets, they are also trying to get black men and women off the street. Yes, their are black police officers, and some are not all bad, the few that are bad spoil the whole bunch. In Dothan, Al every day, on Facebook and even on the Dothan you can view the many black and white people who have gotten arrested for that day (I’m assuming their doing this to embarrass them), but to be honest most of them are for drug crimes.  In the Alabama State of Corrections (the prison system in Alabama),there are 15,632 black males alone compared to the 11,042 white males. Now we all no there are more white population in Alabama than African Americans, so doesn’t that seem as though their trying to keep it that way? Is that why Alabama always wins the Republican votes when we vote (something to think about)?  These police are doing their best to keep the blacks off the streets so they can have their  as they call it “White Bible Belt” back. They don’t want to see new black businesses, and they are trying  their best to get more black people on their so they can just get one to hate on the other. Alot of police are arresting people without probable cause , and when they find something (such as drugs on them), they will get the person to tell where they got it from instead of getting arrested, and give them a certain time limit  to call and let them no who  and where its at or they will file a warrant on them. Now what kind of police system is this ? How about the police arresting these men and begging them to take a plea deal so they can seem like they won a case just so the person won’t have to serve alot of time? These police are all for themselves! Yes, some are good when it comes to helping citizens, but to be completely honest, they want the credit so they can move up in rank.  The Houston County Police Department along with the Dothan City Police Department needs to be investigated and they will see how truly “Dothan’s Finest” as they call it, really is.

Submitted Anonymously

City of Dothan seeks new trial for Rickey Stokes

Rickey Stokes

The city of Dothan has asked that the case of a local bondsman found guilty of unlawful imprisonment in 2014 be remanded back to municipal court for a new trial after learning it failed to follow lawful procedure in appointing a special judge to hear the case.

Carl Chamblee, Jr., a special appointed judge, found 55-year-old Rickey Stokes, guilty in late September 2014 of two misdemeanor counts of second-degree unlawful imprisonment.

Chamblee, Jr., sentenced Stokes, owner and operator of A-Advantage Bonding, to 30 days in jail, and then suspended the sentence to 10 days. Stokes was also ordered to pay a $500 fine for each count and was sentenced to two years probation.

Stokes appealed the verdict to Houston County Circuit Court. The jury trial at the Circuit Court level was scheduled for this Thursday.

But Stokes’ attorney, Derek Yarbrough, confirmed the city of Dothan filed request Friday afternoon to dismiss the appealed convictions and to remand the cases back to municipal court for a new trial.

“What it does is it makes the judgments in Rickey’s cases void,” Yarbrough said.

The city’s court filing said the City of Dothan Municipal Judge Rose Evans-Gordon recused herself, and Dothan City Manager Mike West appointed Chamblee Jr. as the special judge for the case.

The filing also said in situations where a municipal judge has recused, the Dothan mayor has the authority to appoint the special judge. As the appointment of the special judge was made by the city manager and not the mayor the appointment was improperly done.

The filing also said because Chamblee Jr. did not have jurisdiction to preside over the trial or enter judgments of guilt or issues any sentences those actions should be void.

Yarbrough also said there is likely other legal action pending as a result of the improper appointment in Stokes’ cases.

According to previous Eagle reports, A-Advantage held bonds on two men who had been arrested previously. Their court date was set for June 2, 2014.

Both missed their court dates and came to A Advantage on the morning of June 4, 2014, to resolve the issue.

Stokes, who had been at odds with the city’s municipal court system for some time, chained the two men, Greg Tiller and Johnathan Reese, after initially not being able to surrender them to the police because there were no active warrants on the men for failure to appear in court.

Yarbrough argued that the law gives bondsmen wide latitude when dealing with people who have signed bonds. Yarbrough further argued that the two men consented to being chained because they did not resist when Stokes padlocked the city courtroom door, handcuffed the two men and then ran the chain through the handcuffs.

Chamblee, appointed to hear the case to remove any conflicts of interest with the local court system, did not agree with the arguments. Chamblee serves as a municipal judge in Trussville.

“It’s wrong,” Chamblee said while addressing Stokes and imposing the sentence. “These gentlemen were a pawn you used to send a message to someone else. It’s wrong to chain two people to a door just to send a message — a selfish message at that — because it was getting to your pocket book.”

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Troy University offers new classes

DOTHAN, AL (WTVY) For the first time, Troy University will offer a Master of Science in Management program at the Dothan Campus starting this fall.

The program, which has been offered by TROY but never at the Dothan Campus, allows students with no prior business degrees to pursue a graduate degree from the Sorrell College of Business.

“I think it adds a lot of value to our graduate program. The (Master of Business Administration) is a graduate degree that focuses on developing functional business skills such as statistics, finance and accounting. It is more tailored for individuals with a background in business,” said Dr. Carmen Lewis, assistant dean of the Sorrell College of Business. “The MSM actually offers students who don’t have that background an opportunity to get a graduate degree with business skills even if they don’t have an undergraduate degree in business, which is fantastic.”

The MSM program is aimed at giving students from a wide array of backgrounds the tools necessary to emerge as leaders in their fields.

A student can come in with a degree in psychology or sociology and say, ‘I want to be a supervisor and learn more about management and team building,’ and this program will give them those tools,” Lewis said. “Everybody in the MSM starts on a level playing field. Even if they have a business background, it’s really designed to develop leadership capabilities, centered around motivating teams and managing people and processes in businesses and nonprofit organizations.”
Lewis said the program illustrates TROY’s commitment to serving the needs of the community.

In an increasingly competitive environment, it’s becoming more important to have a graduate-level degree, she said, particularly for those seeking to ascend into management positions.

Lecture capture technology will add to student learning and teaching effectiveness by making all lectures available via video through the Internet for later review, Lewis said.

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Dothan City Schools Transition to Chromebooks Kids no longer allowed to take them home

I am glad to hear that we are able to encourage our children to embrace technology but how are the kids going to do their homework if they are unable to take the Chromebooks home. I don’t see how all the children can finish their homework at school Hopefully they will find a good solution for this .


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Dothan City Schools Chromebook changeover a major shift in technology use

Posted: Saturday, June 4, 2016 4:52 pm

Big changes are in the works for Dothan City Schools’ one-to-one initiative in the coming year. The city school board in April voted to discontinue use of iPads it had leased and switch to using Chromebooks. The new hardware isn’t the only change coming to the program, which began in 2014 and put more than 7,000 devices in the hands of students in grades K-12. The system is also making changes concerning how and where the devices are used.

Next year, students will no longer take their devices home. The Chromebooks will stay at school, except for special assignments when students will check them out and take them home. Students and parents will no longer have to attend an orientation seminar to be assigned devices. Videos will be available on the city schools’ website providing some initial training on how to use the devices.

“The concept of the initiative is not changing,” Mark Williams, director of technology services, said. “We are still emphasizing the use of technology to enhance learning in other areas. Exposing the students to different platforms actually expands their horizons and better equips them to be productive in post-secondary work or the job market.”

Dothan City School Superintendent Chuck Ledbetter said that keeping the Chromebooks at school will reduce problems such as students forgetting their iPads.

“Most of the schools came to the conclusion that it was important to have them in the classroom,” Ledbetter said.

Students will also have less flexibility concerning what they can view and install on their devices. The Chromebooks will be more strictly controlled than the iPads, so the games and other apps students installed on their iPads won’t be available on the Chromebooks.

Costs will also be different. The city school system will likely charge a $20 user fee to students at the beginning of the year, a lower fee than it charged for the iPads. Repair and replacement fees will likely be about the same, however.

Ledbetter said the changes in hardware and in how it is used in the schools will make the city school system’s technology initiatives more instructionally effective.

Williams said no further upgrades to the city schools’ technical infrastructure will be needed to support use of the Chromebooks. However, the city school system is proceeding with planned WiFi upgrades that are funded by federal and state dollars.

iPads vs. Chromebooks

Chromebooks aren’t another version of an iPad made by another manufacturer. There are significant differences between the two devices.

Chromebooks are more Internet dependent than iPads, many of their functions rely on Internet access as most Chromebook applications run online, rather than off the resources of the device.

“It’s more of a portal,” Ledbetter said.

Williams said, “The Chromebooks have a QWERTY tactile keyboard and are more like laptops. Most of the applications exist in the cloud and are dependent on Internet connectivity but not all applications. Some of the apps work offline and synch when the Internet is available. The Chromebooks do not have a touch screen. They are very manageable devices.”

Ledbetter said the city school system could better control the applications being used by students on the Chromebooks, which is one reason why he recommended the switch.

Another key difference between the Chromebooks and iPads is that Chromebooks have a keyboard built in, whereas iPad users must use a touchscreen to type. Ledbetter said the keyboard makes the Chromebook better for writing papers and other assignments.

Dothan is not alone in making the switch from iPads. An article in Education Week reported that middle and high schools in Maine are swapping out iPads for laptops after a survey found that 88.5 percent of teachers and 74 percent of students in one district favored laptops for classroom use.

The Chromebooks are also significantly less expensive than the iPads. The system leases the devices, and will pay about $250,000 less per year for them.

iPads aren’t completely gone from the Dothan City Schools. The system is retaining a number of them, as they are superior for making and editing videos.

While Dothan leaped into its one-to-one initiative in 2014 during the administration of Tim Wilder, the Enterprise City Schools chose a more toes-in-the-water approach. The system has gradually introduced Chromebooks into its system in the past few years, opting for a one-to-classroom approach. The system has slowly worked to bring teachers up to speed on how to use the devices before mass-releasing them to students.

The system’s middle schools will likely have a fully implemented one-to-classroom program next year and the high school and elementary schools will soon follow.

Camille Wright, Enterprise City Schools superintendent, said her system opted for a slow approach to give teachers time to learn best practices for using the devices. Wright said she wanted educators to have plenty of time to develop skills in using the devices before fully integrating them into the classroom. Wright said taking time to acclimate students to the devices, including concepts of responsible digital citizenry, was also an important goal.

Living Hope community Outreach helps Wiregrass residents

What an amazing program to be there to assist those who are in need. It truly understands that you have to start with the basics to help people you need to feed and clothe them and then fill their spirit.


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Local outreach ministries have finger on the pulse of the community

Posted: Saturday, June 4, 2016 7:00 am

Helping people get through difficult times usually starts with the basics.

“We wanted to concentrate on the immediate needs, the basic needs of food and clothing,” said Michelle Michel, the coordinator at Living Hope community outreach center in downtown Dothan.

“If you don’t have food and you don’t have decent clothes to wear, first of all you can’t get a job, you can’t function, you can’t even think without eating,” she said.

Outreach ministries network with churches and other agencies to determine and address needs in the community.

With the help of the Wiregrass Food Bank, United Way 2-1-1, the Association of Service Agencies, the Southeast Coalition for the Homeless, Love INC and others, Living Hope helps people find the assistance they need.

The center at 309 N. Lena St. – near the downtown post office – is in walking distance of many people struggling in poverty, Michel said.

It sees clients Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It gives out bagged lunches on Tuesdays and Saturdays while supplies last.

Lyle Peluso, pastor of Dothan Vineyard Church and director of Living Hope, said the ministry demonstrates the love of God by providing physical, emotional and spiritual support.

“We offer them real friendship, real care,” he said. “We’ve become like a family in the community.”

Helping means talking with a person about his or her problems and figuring out how they can best be solved.

“That’s why we work from the body to the soul to the spirit,” Peluso said. “People’s basic needs have to be met before they’ll listen to what you have to say.”

Michel said the church has always been focused outside its walls, and opening the center five years ago was a natural transition.

Peluso said he had taken many mission trips to Africa and India over the years and about seven years ago the Lord spoke to him, saying “I want you to do this where you’re at.”

He shared the idea with people in his church, and the Lord gave him a vision of an old Southern home with a veranda where people would feel welcome.

“I felt like the building was so important, to reflect what we were trying to achieve,” he said.

When he spotted the structure on Lena Street with a “for lease” sign out front, he knew he’d found the place.

The center is a site where people can relax and talk.

“They love to sit in our chairs and have coffee,” Michel said. “It’s a time for us to be able to fellowship with them. In many cases we minister to people on the front porch.”

Besides serving individuals and families, the ministry helps women from the House of Ruth, men and women from Community Corrections, and people being assisted through SpectraCare, the Southern Alabama Regional Council on Aging, and the Department of Human Resources.

Needs range from food, clothing, household goods, furniture and transportation to legal and financial help. Peluso said the ministry welcomes churches, ministries and individuals who want to provide aid and guidance.

“One pastor said to me, ‘why should we duplicate what you’re doing?’” Peluso said. “We’ll just get behind what you’re doing.”

Community outreach organizations often combine expertise and resources to direct assistance where it’s needed.

For Peluso, the ministry is an extension of how God wants us to live – to provide a hand up for people who need it.

“We have a passion for this,” Peluso said. “This is what we feel called to do.”