ABERDEEN – Although a date and brand of COVID-19 is unknown at this point, Monroe County Emergency Management Agency Director Donna Sanderson told the board of supervisors Jan. 22 two churches have offered space for vaccinations sometime in the near future.

Message in Me in Aberdeen and Meadowood Baptist Church in Amory will be host sites when vaccination dates are announced. Sanderson has been in coordination with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency about the efforts.

“Hopefully when they get the vaccines, they’ll let us know when they’ll start. The Mississippi State Department of Health will do a big push, and we’ll do the same in the county,” she said.

Board president Joseph Richardson wants the county to be proactive with vaccines.

“I think we [Mississippi] have a lot more people vaccinated than some of our other states have. I think we need to make sure we do our part, and in Mississippi as well, to where we can keep control on our vaccinations,” he said, adding potential interest of the federal government taking over how states are handling vaccine rollouts. “I think if we drag our feet, that gives them an opportunity to come in.”

When announced, details about the vaccinations will be available in the Monroe Journal; on its website,www.monroecountyjournal.com; and its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/monroejournal.

Sanderson understands the National Guard will administer the vaccinations through the effort. She added COVID-19 testing is being done Tuesdays at Amory’s health department.

Monroe Regional Hospital began administering Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations for ages 75 and older earlier in January for as long as its supplies lasted. The Mississippi State Department of Health has since experienced difficulties meeting the statewide demand for vaccines. The state received an additional supply and is expecting a large quantity in February.

Adjusting to a change in alcohol law

Monroe County Justice Court Clerk Tina Morrow asked for supervisors to approve an ordinance forbidding open containers of alcohol after a new state law went into effect Jan. 1 ending prohibition and making the county wet.

“You can now transport it from the beer store to your home and if you get stopped, you can’t be charged for that possession but what if you’re drinking it?

“It’s messing up our officers who might catch someone who has alcohol open in their vehicles. The county does not have an open container ordinance. The City of Aberdeen has had it for years since they’ve been wet, and Amory has just now adopted an ordinance that if you get caught with an open container, you will be charged,” Morrow said.

She said Smithville and Hatley don’t have open container ordinances at this time.

Monroe County Sheriff Kevin Crook said there needs to be a county ordinance in place, saying it would be a preventative measure against drinking and driving and a deterrent for litter.

Board attorney David Houston will research ordinances before presenting a draft for board approval.

MCSO matters

During his input, Houston asked Crook about funding for a new K9 in the works for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, which includes a package program for the drug dog and training. He noted the price was less than a previous time when a K9 was donated to the county.

“We’d been raising funds but ran into some issues with some donors who were going to donate by the end of the year,” Crook said, adding he decided to move forward with the opportunity due to the tight timeframe to participate. “We’ve got about $800 donated already and are going to put out a letter to businesses throughout the county to see if they can help.”

Individuals are also eligible to make donations. For more information, call the MCSO at 369-2468.

Houston also briefed the board about litigation moving forward stemming back to a 2015 MCSO case in which Ricky Keeton was shot and killed by a deputy during a drug raid in Smithville. In the case, a deputy was reportedly shot and wounded by Keeton as deputies approached the back of his home.

“The heirs of Ricky Keeton filed a suit sometime ago against the county, the sheriff’s department and officers involved,” Houston said. “The insurance people have talked to them about trying to settle, but one of the heirs just doesn’t want to accept that.”

The trial will be held in Greenville Aug. 16.

In other business ...

Supervisors approved to program State Aid projects for microseal and overlay projects on sections of McAllister, Aberdeen-Egypt, Coontail, Splunge, Bartahatchie and Hatley-Detroit roads and reseal projects on sections of Howell, Lake Monroe, Patterson and Liberty roads.

Ward 4 Supervisor Fulton Ware said state representative Karl Gibbs asked him for a list of projects he could present for potential funding during this year’s legislative session, which led into discussion about infrastructure funding.

“Y’all are in better shape than most because of initiatives taken years ago on bridges that were already done before they got too bad. You don’t get enough money to keep up with what you have,” said county engineer Kyle Strong

County road manager reported on underwater bridge inspections on two bridges over the Buttahatchie River that will need work before the next inspection.

The board approved to appoint Skip Scaggs to fill the remainder of the late Thomas Griffith’s unexpired term on the Itawamba Community College Board of Trustees. Supervisors also approved $3,000 donations to the Aberdeen and Amory Main Street associations.

During county administrator Bob Prisock’s input, board members discussed service agreements the county has for maintenance, and District 5 Supervisor Hosea Bogan said there should be a list in place of all service agreements and dates when work is done. He added the county should find the best prices for such work.

“We reach a point where we’ve got more insurance than what the property is worth. We may have some maintenance agreements on equipment that we can buy for less than our maintenance agreement. That might not be true, but I don’t want to sit on there on the blind,” said District 3 Supervisor Rubel West.

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