County Administration Building

DeSoto County Administration Building

DeSoto County supervisors this week received information from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) about a growing concern for a disease affecting deer.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is to deer what Mad Cow Disease is to cattle, said County Environmental Services Director Ray Laughter. The letter to the board came from MDWFP Chief of Law Enforcement Col. Steve Adcock.

In the letter, Adcock pointed out that the State of Mississippi has enacted legislation that prohibits the transportation of deer carcasses across state lines, either into or out of the state. Other surrounding states have similar legislation and the federal Lacey Act also prohibits deer carcasses being taken across state lines to be disposed of.

Adcock’s letter to the county came because of the possibility of deer carcasses being deposited in the county landfill. Laughter assured residents and the board that cervid (deer) remains are being disposed of properly.

“We properly bury them at least eight feet in the ground,” Laughter said. “Our employees take all of the precautions that they can to make sure that they clean up. We are in the process of reaching out to municipalities individually to let them know that we have been notified about the process and make sure they’re doing the same thing we are.”

The first case of CWD in Mississippi was found in early 2018 and the numbers have grown statewide since then. CWD causes a characteristic spongy degeneration of the brains of infected animals resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and death.

Laughter also assured the public of an incorrect perception about CWD and dogs.

“There’s been no evidence that this (CWD) can be passed on to dogs by the dogs eating the meat or chewing on the antlers or anything like that,” Laughter said.

The drop off location in DeSoto County for deer carcasses is the Lewisburg Volunteer Fire Department.

PIPELINE CONCERNS: Board members did direct board attorney Tony Nowak to look into the county’s legal options for a planned crude oil pipeline that will cross through the county. Called the Byhalia Connection, the pipeline would be about 45 miles in length and connect existing pipelines in Marshall County and the Valero refinery in Memphis. The connections are the Diamond Pipeline, which provides the Valero Memphis Refinery with crude oil to produce gasoline and jet fuels used by people in eight states throughout this region, including Tennessee and Mississippi, and the Capline Pipeline, which runs between central Illinois and the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Some residents that would be affected by the pipeline were in attendance at Monday’s board meeting but there was no public discussion of the issue. Instead, board members were expected to look at their options in executive session. Nowak, however, was asked to research the legal situation and possible options the county may have available.

A spokeswoman for Plains All-American Pipeline said meetings are being planned within the next two weeks to present the plan to the public and affected residents. The first of the Open Houses will be at Southaven’s Landers Center on Tuesday, Jan. 21 between 5-7 p.m. Another meeting at the Landers Center will be Feb. 8 between 2-4 p.m. Other Open Houses are planned in between in Byhalia and in Shelby County, Tennessee.

MEDLIN TO LEAD BOARD: District One Supervisor Jesse Medlin is the new Board President for the 2020 year. Medlin takes the leadership seat held the past year by District Four Supervisor Lee Caldwell, while Mark Gardner of District Two was named as Vice President for the year ahead at the same meeting.

“I appreciate the opportunity and y’all having the trust in me to lead the board,” Medlin told his fellow board members.

Medlin, of Olive Branch, is the longest-serving supervisor on the DeSoto County board, as he was first elected in 1992.

Monday was also the first meeting for new District Three Supervisor Ray Denison, who won election to the position in the November election. Denison fills the spot held by Bill Russell, who retired from the board and did not seek re-election.

Bob Bakken is Managing Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.