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Mississippi Edition

News from around Mississippi

In a continued effort to provide relevant, interesting and engaging programming to our statewide audience, MPB Think Radio provides Mississippi Edition, a weekday news magazine program. Mississippi Edition, hosted by Kar
Latest Episode2/21/2020

ME 2/21/20 - Flood Victims Return Home | Community Supervision Reform | Not Even the Guards are Safe | Rep. Thompson on Census

Flood-affected residents of Jackson return to their homes as the Pearl River threatens communities down-stream.And, in light of Parchman Unit 29 being shut down, we look at how one organization wants to reform community supervision.Then, a personal account of life as a Mississippi Corrections Officer.Plus, Congressman Bennie Thompson shares his thoughts on the upcoming Census.Segment 1:Mickey and Anitra Holder were among the hundreds of residents of northeast Jackson to return to their homes this week after evacuating due to the Pearl River flood.Like many others, the Holders are trying to figure out what to do next.The share their experience with MPB's Kobee Vance.Segment 2:Inmates of Unit 29 at Parchment State Penitentiary are being relocated to a private facility in Tallahatchie County, marking the inevitable end of the unit's troubled history. In January, prison reform activists took to the streets of Jackson to demand the state take action to address the conditions at Parchman.REFORM Alliance, founded by Meek Mill, was among those groups.Erin Haney is REFORM's Policy Director.She says that closing the Unit is a step in the right direction.But, as she tells our Michael Guidry, reform must extend beyond the facilities - to community supervision programs designed to support re-entry rather than recidivism.Segment 3:"Inmates Aren’t the Only Ones in Danger in Mississippi Prisons" - that's the topic of a new story by the Joe Neff and Alysia Santo of the Marshall Project.The report indicates that due to the rampant under-staffing of Mississippi prisons, guards are often targets of physical and emotional assault.Joe Neff tells us the environment within the Mississippi's prisons has profound effect on those tasked with supervising it.Jennifer White is a former corrections officer, and the lead subject of Neff and Santo's report.She spent her entire corrections career at Parchman.She shares her experience with our Michael Guidry.Segment 4:In April, the Census Bureau will begin its required count of United States residents.The census is a constitutionally mandated account that takes place every ten years.Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi's second Congressional district urges Mississippians to treat the census with due diligence.He tells MPB's Kobee Vance the count affects Mississippian's at every level of government.
2/20/2020

ME 2/20/20 - Parchman Unit 29 | Book Club: "Murder in McComb | Meet Carl Jackson

The Governor moves inmates out of Parchman Unit 29.Then, in today’s Book Club, the unsolved murder of a young girl in McComb 50 years ago.Plus, we talk to the filmmakers behind MPB’s newest documentary, Meet Carl Jackson.Segment 1:Inmates located at Mississippi's Parchman prison are being moved to a nearby private facility.The prison has been rocked by recent violence, and is under federal investigation. Inmates of the infamous Unit 29 at are moving five miles away to Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility. 50 inmates have already been moved, and they began moving500 more inmates Wednesday morning.Cliff Johnson is the Director of the MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi.He commends the Governor's quick action and tells MPB's Kobee Vance he believes this is a temporary solution while more permanent plans are negotiatedDemocrat Carl Mickens is Vice Chair of the House Corrections Committee.He acknowledges the transfer of inmates from the ill-equipped Unit 29 addresses the immediate concerns within the department of corrections.But, as he tells our Kobee Vance, the legislature must also look at the bigger picture.Segment 2:Fifty years ago, the body of a 12 year-old girl was found in an oil field outside of McComb, Mississippi.She had been shot in the head.The suspects were two police officers. Despite two trials one suspect was acquitted.The other had charges against him dropped. Today, the murder of Tina Andrews remains unsolved. Trent A. Brown tells us about his book – “Murder in McComb.Segment 3:That's Carl Jackson playing "Lay Down My Old Guitar".The Louisville native is the subject of a new documentary by Mississippi Public Broadcasting that explores his contributions to country music as a songwriter, session musician and producer.We talk with producers John Gibson and Taiwo Gaynor about how this project got started, and what it means to them.
2/19/2020

ME 2/19/20 - Flood Water Dangers | Entergy Restoration | Southern Remedy Health Minute | DHS Shielding Info

The Pearl River is falling, but the effects of the flooding still remain.We check with local officials on how to stay safe in the aftermath.And, Entergy Mississippi shares steps on restoring power in flood-affected areas.Then, after a Southern Remedy Health Minute, a look at how the Department of Human Services shielded information in years leading up the alleged embezzlement scheme.Segment 1:The Pearl River in Jackson has fallen below major flood levels, but waters from the weekend flooding remain in some areas.Health officials are advising Mississippians to take caution when negotiating flood waters, and the dangers hidden within.Dr. Thomas Dobbs is the state health officer.He tells us the waters can be dangerous and can make you vulnerable to infectious diseases, chemical hazards, and injuries. Another ancillary effect of the recent flooding is the temporary displacement of wildlife that inhabit areas along the river.Russ Walsh is the Mississippi Wildlife Bureau Chief of Staff.He says white tail deer fleeing the affected areas might present a hazard, but the flooding should not have any long-term effects on the health of local wildlife.Segment 2:Roughly one thousand customers in the flood-worn neighborhoods along the Pearl River are without power.Entergy Mississippi strategically cut off power in affected areas as the waters posed a threat.Now, as residents begin to re-enter those neighborhoods, Entergy is working to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.Entergy's Mara Hartmann tells our Michael Guidry how customers can begins requesting service re-connections.Segment 3:Southern Remedy Health MinuteSegment 4:Seven embezzlement indictments tied to the Department of Human Services and a Mississippi non-profit this month drew national attention.The state auditor suspects an excess of four million dollars were stolen during the alleged scheme.But Mississippi Today Poverty Reporter Anna Wolfe says that DHS has been shielding information regarding Temporary Assistance for Need Family or TANF funds since as early as 2017.She shares more with our Michael Guidry.
2/18/2020

ME 2/18/20 - Pearl River Flood Edition: MEMA Director Michel | Insurance Commissioner Chaney | Affected Residents

As the waters of the Pearl River recede, we talk to MEMA Director Greg Michel.Then, what home owners need to know aboutfiling flood insurance claims.And, we hear from those impacted by the flooding.Segment 1:The Pearl River is slowly falling after reaching it's third highest level on record, and highest since 1983.Homes and business along the river in Hinds and Rankin counties were greatly affected by the flood waters associated with the swollen river.The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is still working to monitor the continued threat of flooding in the area.We are joined by Greg Michel, Executive Director of MEMA.Segment 2:When the waters recede and flood-worn residents return to their homes, the next difficult step to normalcy is the clean up and repairs associated with flood damage. Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney says that reporting damage and filing insurance claims can be tedious, but affected home-owners should document any damage as soon as safely possible.He tells our Michael Guidry his department is available to assist.Segment 3:Shaunta Durr is a resident of Rollingwood in northeast Jackson.She and her family were forced out of their home late last week as the waters began to rise.When the river crested Monday, the water was as high as the door knob on her front door. Durr tells MPB's Ashley Norwood they could see the waters quickly rising over the weekend.Morton McKeigney of Riverwood considers himself fortunate - his home, which flooded in 1979, was spared this time.But he tells our Kobee Vance, despite experiencing his third flood warning, he still gets anxious.
2/14/2020

ME 2/14/20 - Flood Threat | Buffer Zone Ordinance | Clergy for Prison Reform | Forks of the Road

The latest on the Pearl River flood threat with MEMA Director Greg Michel.And a lawsuit blocking a city buffer zone ordinance gets sent back to state court.Then, a Clergy group advocates for prison reform.Plus, the Forks of the Road in Natchez gets closer to national park status.Segment 1:Heavier-than-expected rainfalls this are causing a major flood threat for northeast and downtown Jackson, as well as western Rankin County. The Pearl River is projected to rise and crest near 38.0 feet early Sunday morning - the highest levels since 1983.We are joined by Greg Michel, Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.Segment 2:A lawsuit challenging a City of Jackson ordinance that places a buffer between protestors and the state's only abortion clinic will now be heard in state court. A lawsuit filed by the Mississippi Justice Institute challenges the ordinance, saying it violates their right to free speech under Mississippi's Constitution. We talk to Aaron Rice, Director of the Mississippi Justice Institute and Diane Derzis, owner of the Jackson Women's Health Organization.Segment 3:Members of the Clergy from across the state and from different denominations are rallying for prison reform at the State Capitol. Members of Clergy for Prison Reform say it is time for state legislators to give ex-prisoners a new chance at life. Wesley Bridges is CEO of Clergy for Prison Reform and Pastor at Unity Worship Ministry in Monticello. He says the organization's policy is based on the biblical teachings of Jesus.Segment 4:In 1995, Clifford M. Boxley was set to leave his hometown of Natchez for the African continent - where he planned to live out the rest of his life. But the history of his hometown called on him to stay, preserve, and reinterpret that complex history.Twenty-five years later, Mr. Boxley is leading the charge to have the historic Forks of the Road attain national park status. He tells us more about his mission.
2/13/2020

ME 2/13/20 - Correction Committees Meet | New Emergency Response Technology | Book Club: Stay Woke

Corrections Committees in both chambers search for solutions to the prison crisis. And, Mississippi Prison Industries offers inmates opportunities to work.Then, MEMA brings new technology to the 911 system.Plus, in today’s Book Club – “Stay Woke: A People’s Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter."Segment 1:Prison renovations and drug courts are among the issues Mississippi lawmakers are taking up to reform the troubled system. In a Senate Corrections meeting, State Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Randolph requested $2.1 million to create 19 new intervention courts. In the House, the Committee passed a bill requiring a detailed estimate of costs to repair and renovate Walnut Grove Correctional Facility in Leake County. Our Desare Frazier talks with Justice Randolph, Sen. Juan Barnett (D), House Corrections Chair Kevin Horan (R), and CEO of Mississippi Prison Industries Bradley Lum.Segment 2:Mississippi's emergency responders are upgrading the way they locate people who call 911. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is teaming up with emergency response company Rapid SOS to find emergency callers with pinpoint accuracy. Tom Guthrie is the Vice President of Public Safety at Rapid SOS. He tells our Kobee Vance the company uses a device's GPS to relay locations more quickly and accurately than traditional systems.Segment 3:Today’s Book Club selection takes a hard look at race in today’s political and social climate. The authors of “Stay Woke” describe it as a wakeup call for all concerned Americans. Tehama Lopez-Bunyasi tells us that the end of the civil rights movement didn’t begin to eradicate racial inequality in the county.
2/12/2020

ME 2/12/20 - Auditor Scrutiny Bill | PERS Legislators | Southern Remedy Health Minute | JSU Alumni Reactions

A bill allowing the Auditor's office greater power to scrutinize Medicaid passes the Senate.And, newly elected state retirees voice dissent over their inability to draw their retirement while serving in the House.Then, after a Southern Remedy Health Minute, JSU alumni in the capitol respond to the arrest and resignation on President Bynum.Segment 1:Mississippi lawmakers debated more than an hour over a bill that would allow the state auditor to examine the tax returns of people who receive federal benefits. Senate Bill 2257 allows the state auditor to examine the tax returns of Mississippians who receive federal benefits such as Medicaid, TANF or food stamps.Chair of the Finance Committee, Republican Senator Josh Harkins of Flowood authored the measure.He was met with questions and dissent on the Senate floor, including from Jackson Democrat David Blount. Segment 2:Four PERS retirees were elected to house seats in the 2019 election.One has since resigned, and the other three are faced with a choice they did not anticipate when they ran for office.Despite an Attorney General opinion and a revision in PERS regulations that would allow legislators to serve while collecting retirement, House Speaker Phillip Gunn has blocked the path for those new lawmakers to serve and collect.Segment 3:Southern Remedy Health MinuteSegment 4:The arrest and resignation of Jackson State University President William Bynum has shocked the JSU community this week.Those effects have reached the capitol where a number of JSU alumni serve as state legislators. We talk to Democrats Sollie Norwood and John Horhn of Jackson.