9/21/20 - Yazoo Backwater Pumps | Absentee Voting Ruling | COVID Post-Labor Day & State Fair
The Army Corps of Engineers evaluates plans for the Yazoo Backwater Pump Project.Then, the Mississippi Supreme Court rules against further expanding absentee voting, while an injunction in federal court requests an immediate ruling in a similar suit.Plus, state officials say Mississippi is faring better in the battle against coronavirus transmission than it did following the Fourth of July.Segment 1:Damage Assessments are being sent to the Army Corps of Engineers to show how a flood prevention system could have made an impact in last year's historic flooding in the Mississippi Delta.Plans for the Yazoo Backwater Pump Project are being evaluated by the Corps of Engineers after months of damage assessment.In a press briefing Friday, Governor Tate Reeves was flanked by Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson to express their support for the project.Segment 2:Lawyers for the Mississippi Center for Justice argue absentee voting should be expanded in the state during the pandemic - granting eligibility to voters who wish to avoid crowded poll sites in adherence to public health guidelines.But late last week, the Mississippi Supreme Court struck down that argument while clarifying what conditions do allow a person to vote absentee.Attorney Robert McDuff of the Mississippi Center for Justice explains the ruling with our Desare Frazier.Segment 3:Mississippi's Health Officer says data indicates the state is not yet seeing a spike in cases following the Labor Day holiday.The state's COVID numbers sharply rose in July following Independence Day.Widespread transmission led Governor Tate Reeves to issue a statewide mask mandate in August.Dr. Thomas Dobbs says he's glad to see the state is not repeating the trends from earlier this summer. Governor Tate Reeves credits Mississippians for the state's progress but says the decline in cases could be sharper - noting a suspected flattening last week.
9/18/20 - Operation Pheonecia | AT&T Subpoenas | Student Leadership During COVID
A Mississippi U.S. Attorney announces a new campaign against domestic violence.Then, the Public Service Commission subpoenas telecom giant AT&T over questions regarding broadband expansion in the state.Plus, how student leaders at two of Mississippi's public universities are serving as liaisons between administration and the student body in the effort to keep campus safe during a pandemic.Segment 1:Families are staying home more during the coronavirus pandemic, and officials say this has led to a rise in domestic violence. In 2019, more than 10,000 calls were made to Mississippi law enforcement to report cases of domestic violence. U.S. Attorney of Mississippi's Southern District, Mike Hurst says domestic violence continues to be an area of concern that has risen during the coronavirus pandemic."Operation Pheonecia", which will work towards removing guns from the hands of abusers, is named after Pheonecia Ratliff of Canton, who was killed by her ex boyfriend after reporting him for domestic violence.Her mother, Suzanne Ratliff, offers advice to people facing domestic violence with our Kobee Vance.Segment 2:Major telecommunications conglomerate AT&T has agreed to provide the state of Mississippi records detailing how it used the almost $284 million it was paid by the federal government to expand internet access in the state. Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley said AT&T initially denied requests last week for records related to work it completed in the state to provide fixed wireless service access through the Connect America Fund.Earlier this week he spoke with our Desare Frazier, saying his office is charged with ensuring the work is done.Segment 3:A close eye is being turned to college campuses this fall as students are resuming in-person learning.College students usually exhibit a level of independence and freedom often not reserved for their K-12 peers, which has led to concerns from health officials over the potential for widespread community transmission of COVID-19 on university campuses.They worry the social element of college life could lead to behaviors and practices that could cause outbreaks. To combat this, university administrators are leaning on student leadership to develop and communicate safety plans. We talk to Sarah Helen Skelton of Mississippi State and Joshua Mannery of the University of Mississippi.
9/17/20 - Flu Fighters | MADD 40th | Book Club: Ted Jackson
A coalition of health professionals are sending a united message to Mississippians to fight the flu.Then, Mothers Against Drunk Driving turns 40.We look back with their national President and discuss new initiatives the group is pursuing.Plus, in today’s book club … A remarkable story that began thirty years ago in Ted Jackson’s new book, “You Ought to Do A Story About Me.”Segment 1:A coalition of doctors and associations called 'Flu Fighters' is uniting to urge Mississippians to get their flu shot.Flu season begins in October, but doctors say now is the time to get a flu shot. Dr. Mark Horne, President of the Mississippi State Medical Association, tells our Kobee Vance viruses like the flu or coronavirus lower immunity to other illnesses, which could lead to severe outcomes for patients.Experts say that wearing masks and social distancing will help reduce transmission of the flu, but the virus still poses a serious risk because of the coronavirus.Dr. John Gaudet is President of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.He says young children and older adults are the most at risk for severe outcomes from the flu, and measures should be taken to avoid a "twindemic".Segment 2:Mothers Against Drunk Driving - more commonly known as MADD - is celebrating the 40th Anniversary of its founding.The organization has long-served to humanize the tragedies associated with impaired driving, and is releasing a new survey that measures the American public’s attitudes and knowledge about the impact of marijuana on traffic safety. According to the survey, one in eight U.S. adults admits to having driven under the influence of marijuana.President Helen Witty joins us to reflect on MADD's origins and how the group is facing the evolving issue of impaired driving.Segment 3:Ted Jackson has been a photojournalist with the New Orleans Times Picayune for the last 36 years.The Pulitzer Prize winner is a McComb native and alum of The University of Southern Mississippi.Thirty years ago he took a picture of a homeless man that led to a revelation, redemption and his new book, “You Ought to Do A Story About Me.”
9/16/20 - Sally Comes Ashore | Jackson County EMA | Southern Remedy Health Minute | Mask Effectiveness
Sally comes ashore east of the Mississippi-Alabama state line. We examine the threats the storm still presents the coastal counties as it moves out.Then, Jackson county has been hammered with rain from Sally over the last 24 hours. We check in with their locale emergency manager.Plus, after a Southern Remedy Health Minute, state health officials weigh in on the effectiveness of masks.Segment 1:For days, Hurricane Sally has been threatening the Mississippi Coast as it churned in the waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico.Now, it appears that threat is over.Sally officially made landfall this morning near Gulf Shores, Alabama after strengthening overnight to a Category 2 storm with winds topping 100 miles per hour.But the slow pace of the storm could still require residents along the coast and in eastern Mississippi to be weather-aware.Segment 2:For the Mississippi Gulf Coast, hurricane season is a time of hyper-awareness and preparation.Jackson County in the southeastern corner of the state, was forecast to be hit by some of the most severe elements of Hurricane Sally when the state began preparing for the storm last weekend.But as the storm ticked east, the county was spared some from the worst.Still, as Emergency Services Director Earl Etheridge tells our Michael Guidry, the county was hit with winds strong enough to down trees and cause power outages.Segment 3:Southern Remedy Health MinuteSegment 4:Mississippians will be required to wear masks through the end of September following Governor Tate Reeves' decision to extended his pandemic-related executive order.The state has seen a downward trend in coronavirus cases since mandate was issued in August.State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers says mask-wearing could still be in integral part of fighting transmission even as vaccines are developed.State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs has long supported the wearing of masks.He says new studies are being conducted that examine micro-exposure - which could further prove the effectiveness of masks.
9/15/20 - Hurrican Sally Churns in the Gulf | MEMA Prepares | Gov Extends Mask Mandate
Hurricane Sally slowly churns off the Mississippi Gulf Coast.We have the latest on the storm with the National Weather Service.Then, a look at how the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is preparing for Sally's landfall and subsequent recovery efforts.Plus, the Governor extends the mask mandate while loosening restrictions on restaurants.Segment 1:Hurricane Sally is lurking in the northern Gulf of Mexico, sending rain, winds and storm surge to the coastal areas.Sally quickly strengthened from a tropical storm to a category 2 hurricane yesterday, but has weakened some since then.Still, it's a slow moving storm, with a forecast that could bring days of rain to some coastal counties, with the strong potential for flooding. For the latest on Sally, we are joined by Ben Schott from the National Weather Service in Slidell.Segment 2:Coastal and southeastern Mississippians are starting to feel some of the effects of Hurricane Sally.The storm is expected to bring winds, storm surge, and lots of rain.Some residents are under evacuation orders; others have elected to ride out the storm.In either case, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is preparing to respond. As MEMA Director Greg Michel tells our Michael Guidry, the early preparations for the storm were coordinated in a way to adjust if Sally's projected path continues to change.Segment 3:Mississippi residents will be under a mask mandate through the end of September.Yesterday, Governor Tate Reeves announced that he is extending his Executive Order through the end of month.But he is also easing restrictions on restaurants - citing the declining trend in COVID-19 cases.
9/14/20 - Tropical Storm Sally Threatens Coast | Addressing COVID Food Insecurity | Virtual Alzheimer's Conference
Tropical Storm Sally strengthens in the eastern Gulf of Mexico as it inches towards the Mississippi coast.Then, hundreds line up for meals as the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic lingers.Plus, a virtual conference aims to equip caregivers with the tools to manage Alzheimer’s.Segment 1:Tropical Storm Sally is moving slowly northwest towards the mouth of the Mississippi River as it continues to gain strength - now with sustained winds of 65 miles per hour.Residents of Hancock County are under an evacuation order - effective as of 7:00 a.m. this morning.Local emergency agencies are warning storm surge and power outages could occur as early as tonight. For the latest on Sally and the threat it presents to Mississippi we are joined by Ben Schott of the National Weather Service in Slidell.The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and National Guard are preparing for Sally and the severe threat of flooding it brings.MEMA Director Greg Michel says the combinations of storm surge and flooding could impact Hancock and Pearl River Counties.Segment 2:The number of people going hungry in Mississippi has increased during the coronavirus pandemic. As MPB's Kobee Vance reports, Mississippi leads the nation in food insecurity.Segment 3:Approximately five and a half million Americans face the daily challenges of Alzheimer's - including over 57,000 Mississippians.Caregivers and family members of those living with the disease require unique tools and strategies to navigate each day. To help, The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is hosting a free, virtual Alzheimer’s educational conference for Mississippi residents tomorrow.Charles Fuschillo with the AFA says this unique conference will arm caregivers with the local resources they need to provide the best quality care for their loved ones and maintain their own health.
9/11/20 - ReSkill MS | Senate Candidate Responds to Trump Tapes | CARES Act Funds Tracking Website
The Governor highlights economic recovery efforts through a pandemic-response, job-skills program.Then, what a candidate for the U.S. Senate says about President Trump’s recorded conversations on the severity of the coronavirus.Plus, the state auditor’s office provides transparency through a CARES Act funds tracking website.Segment 1:A federally funded program is working to improve Mississippi's workforce after high job loss during the coronavirus pandemic.The ReSkill Mississippi initiative is working to educate residents through technical education and on the job training. More than 10 percent of Mississippians were unemployed at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. Governor Tate Reeves says in the past month, ReSkillMS helped place more than 17 hundred people in training at community colleges to prepare them for skilled jobs with higher pay.Businesses looking to hire new employees and train them can apply for reimbursement for up to 75 percent of that job's wages. Patrick Sullivan, Director of the State Workforce Investment Board, says Mississippi is faring better than other parts of the country in its economic recovery.Segment 2:This week, tapes revealing what President Donald Trump knew in February about the severity of the novel coronavirus are raising questions regarding his leadership and handling of the pandemic.In a series of 18 interviews with renowned Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, Trump is recorded saying the virus is more deadly than "even your most strenuous flus".In a March 19th interview, Trump is on record admitting wanting to "play it down".Those comments came after Trump had held a number of political rallies where he suggested the virus was a hoax. Yesterday, during a press briefing, Governor Tate Reeves defended the President's decision as a means to avoid panic.Mike Espy is challenging incumbent Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith in a rematch of the 2018 special election.He tells our Desare Frazier, the revelations about what President Trump knew in February and his initial downplaying of the pandemic, is also an indictment on his opponent.Segment 3:Mississippians now have access to detailed data on how the state is spending 1.25 billion dollars in federal coronavirus relief.An online expense tracker has been released by the State Auditor's office to offer additional transparency as the state spends its share of the two trillion in federal CARES Act dollars. State legislators have allocated most of that money to several state agencies, but only around 167 million has been spent.State Auditor Shad White tells our Kobee Vance this is the taxpayers' money, and this tool will allow them to see how it's being used.