When pipes in the ceiling burst at the Dr. Arenia C. Mallory Community Health Center in Vaiden, town and city officials could not get into the building because the facility had closed.
According to Vaiden Mayor Mel Hawthorne, last week, a representative with the clinic contacted Vaiden and Carroll County to alert them that the clinic would be closed temporarily, causing a stir on what to do about a medical clinic in Vaiden and the south half of the county.
"We were told by a receptionist that the clinic will be temporarily closed," Hawthorne said. "I'm on the fence, and I can't tell the people anything."
The clinic is housed in the old Carroll County Health Department, and in 2001, became the Dr. Arenia C. Mallory Community Health Center, which is headquartered in Lexington and operates six clinics in Vaiden, Durant, Canton, Tchula, Lexington, and Greenwood.
When Mallory clinic closed, it was in the middle of the freezing temperatures, and those conditions led to the pipes freezing in the 60-year-old building.
"The pipes in the ceiling froze, and water damage was done to the building," Beat Five Supervisor Rickie Corley said. "There was water flowing from the building all the way to Highway 51."
Corley said the cause of the pipes freezing was that the electricity in the building had been turned off. The Beat Five Supervisor expressed his frustration with the clinic, and said that the town and county are in need of a health facility.
"They didn't notify the board of supervisors [they were closing]," Corley said. "They said the building would be used as a depot."
According to both Hawthorne and Corley, patients in the area would be bused to Durant for medical appointments and to receive medical attention on Monday and Wednesday each week.
"I just don't think that will work," Corley said. "You can't carry folks down to Durant and back to Vaiden."
It was two years ago that the Mallory Health Clinic shocked the Vaiden community when they went to a two-day a week operation from four days. Then-CEO of Mallory Stellanda Davis-Cornelius said the clinic had undergone shortages and had to cut days. The clinic would later return to four-day-a-week operations.
However, according to Corley, a new interim CEO has been named, and The Conservative learned that Davis-Corneilus was no longer with the company. Phone calls made to interim CEO Wayne Montgomery were not returned.
Corley said he did talk with Montgomery.
"Nobody has dropped the ball intentionally, but Vaiden is need of a clinic," Corley said. "I wish they would have just come clean with all of us. Carroll County is not hard to get along with."
Hawthorne said he didn't know what to make of the Magnolia Street facility, but feels something needs to be done for the people of Vaiden.
"Right now, I don't know what's what," Hawthorne said. "I'm really hoping this is temporary."