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County Swaps Funeral Homes Handling Coroner’s Pickup

By David Howell

WATER VALLEY – Yalobusha supervisors gave Coroner Ronnie Stark the go-ahead to change the company that provides the pick-up and storage service for a deceased person  in the county.

    The change came during a recessed supervisor meeting held on Monday, August 17. Previously Seven Oaks Funeral had picked up a deceased person if the county’s coroner was summoned to the scene.

    Under the new arrangements, Garner-Harper will provide the service for the county. The change comes after Stark initially informed supervisors during the “first Monday” August 3 meeting that Seven Oaks Funeral Home has revised their charges, increasing the body pickup cost from $180 to $380 per call. Seven Oaks had also added a $60 fee to store a body over three hours.

    “After the last meeting, Liz Reynolds asked me what was decided,” Stark told supervisors, referring to the owner of Seven Oaks Funeral Home.

    “I told her, the way it sounded, the board was going to pay the additional charges. At that time, she informed me that she really didn’t want to do this,” Stark said, updating supervisors.

    Stark said he had checked on two other options to replace the service previously provided by Seven Oaks, contacting Garner-Harper Funeral Home in Grenada and budgeting  expenses if the county purchased a van, allowing the Coroner to provide the pickup service.

    Supervisors agreed to switch to Garner-Harper, with Stark working out the details of the time frame for the change. Under the arrangement, Garner-Harper will store the body until the funeral home selected by the decease person’s family retrieves the body or if an autopsy is ordered. Garner-Harper agreed to provide the pickup service for $275 per pickup.

    The service is only applicable if the coroner is called, which usually involves death in one of the following scenarios:

    • A violent or accidental death;

    • Death of a person where the body is not claimed by a relative or a friend;

    • Death of a person where a doctor was not in attendance within 36 hours preceding death, or in pre-diagnosed terminal or bedfast cases, within 30 days preceding death;

    • Death of a person where the identify of the deceased is not known;

    • Death that has occurred unexpectedly or from an unexplained cause; or

    Death related to disease thought to be virulent or contagious which may constitute a public hazard.

    If an autopsy is necessary, a second company, Mississippi Mortuary, will pick up the deceased person from Garner Harper and transport the body to Jackson and back.

    Other business conducted at the meeting included:

    • Heard an update from the county’s economic development director Bob Tyler including plans from the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) to four-lane Hwy. 7, south of Oxford to the Hwy. 7, Hwy. 9 split.

    “MDOT has the money to four-lane from Oxford to the split,” Tyler reported.

    • Passed a board order allowing the sheriff’s department to move from its present location to the back portion of the Carother’s Building, which was donated to the county earlier this year.

    “You still got an office here, right?” Crow asked.

    “That’s correct,” Humphreys answered.

    “You got to have an office here,” Crow said, referring to the courthouse.

    All five supervisors voted in favor of authorizing the move.

    Vaughn also updated supervisors on the status of moving the Department of Human Services office to same location.

    “You know we were kind of shooting for next week to move that DHS office, but we kind of ran into a wall on our computer system. It is going to be a month or six weeks,” Vaughn said, referring to time necessary for computer lines to be installed.

    The next board meeting is scheduled Monday, Sept. 8, in Coffeeville at 9 a.m.

    • Approved multiple applications from logging companies requesting a permit to exceed the posted weight limit while logging, including: Harrison Logging, Inc. in District 1 on County Road 90 and in District 4 on county roads 21 and 20; Dennis Dorris in District 5 on county roads 251 and 140; Jeremy Aron on county roads 221, 229 and 187; and Dennis Dorris on county roads 182 and 55.

    • Approved a claim from Jeff Welch  to pay for a new air conditioner at the Health Department. The bill, which totalled $3,300, was approved by the board.

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