Mississippi Edition


1/21/21 - Vaccine Drive-through Experience | Inauguration Response | Book Club: Nancy Bristow

As Mississippians fill vaccination appointments throughout the state, we examine the health department’s drive through vaccine experience.Then,Mississippi’s lone Congressional Democrat shares his thoughts on the inauguration of the 46th President.Plus, in our Book Club, The Mississippi Historical Society’s “Best State History Book of the Year,” “Steeped in the Blood of Racism.”Segment 1:Mississippians are rolling up their sleeves to get the coronavirus vaccine.Last week, state officials expanded vaccine eligibility to all residents 65 and over, and residents 18 and over with underlying health conditions.The department of health is maintaining a number of drive-though sites across the state.In Pearl, department employees and members of the Mississippi National Guard are working together to administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. MPB's Kobee Vance talks with residents about their experience.Segment 2:Following yesterday's inauguration and the swearing in of three new Senators, Democrats Democrats now occupy the White House and have majorities in the House and the Senate for the first time since 2008.Both President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris have served in Congress, and Mississippi's Bennie Thompson believes the relationships both have with current lawmakers can help bring on the unity President Biden called for during his inaugural address.The Democrat Representative tells our Desare Frazier yesterday was historic, and he is looking forward to solving the pressing challenges with the new administration.Segment 3:Earlier this month, the Mississippi Historical Society announced it would award its annual “Best State History Book” to an author who wrote about the violence on Jackson State University’s campus at the hands of law enforcement officials in 1970.We revisit our conversation with Nancy K. Bristow about her book, “Steeped in the Blood of Racism.”

1/20/21 - Case for Medicaid Expansion | Lawmakers Encourage Vaccination | Southern Remedy Health Minute | Mississippi Science Scholar

The coronavirus pandemic is revealing more about the financial security of Mississippi's rural hospitals.We examine efforts to expand Medicaid in the state.Then, state lawmakers encourage eligible Mississippians to get vaccinated.Plus, after a Southern Remedy Health Minute, a Mississippi teen is recognized as a top science scholar.Segment 1:Mississippi's rural hospitals were facing challenges before the coronavirus pandemic began last year.Questions regarding their viability surfaced regularly, and some, like North Oak Regional Medical Center in Tate County shut down due to mismanagement.Now, the current pandemic is adding new financial obstacles with limitations on elective surgeries and an influx of un or under-insured patients.For years a collection of health professionals and state lawmakers have sought to solve this problem by advocating the expansion of Medicaid.Supports say the federal program would inject over a billion dollars into the state's health care system.We talk to Tim Moore of the Mississippi Hospital Association and Sen. Hob Bryan (D).Segment 2:Two weeks into the the new legislative session, a Mississippi lawmaker has tested positive for the coronavirus.Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann's office says it’s been notified one senator has tested positive for COVID 19.Last summer an outbreak occurred at the Capitol that left over 30 lawmakers, included Hosemann infected with the virus.The notification of the new case came as legislators and their families have been getting vaccinated at the Capitol.Hosemann tells our Ashley Norwood vaccinations are the state's path to normalcy.Segment 3:Southern Remedy Health MinuteSegment 4:A Mississippi Teen is being recognized as a top science scholar by the Society for Science.Michael Lu, a senior at the Mississippi School for Math and Science was named one of 300 scholars in the 2021 Regeneron Science Talent Search - the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors.Lu shares his journey and interest in bio-medical technology research with our Michael Guidry.

1/19/21 - Bolstered Vaccine Effort | State Lawmakers Weigh in on Potential Threats | Grant for Humanities in MS Prisons

As COVID-19 deaths climb following the holiday surge, state officials continue their push to make more coronavirus vaccines available to eligible residents.Then, with the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden approaching, state capitals are under heightened security.We hear from state lawmakers on the insurrection in Washington and the challenge of working in an charged political climate.Plus, a new grant brings more humanities courses to Mississippi's prisons.Segment 1:State officials say they have improved the process for scheduling coronavirus vaccines amid a boom in demand from eligible recipients.Last week, Mississippians overwhelmed the state's scheduling apparatus causing long delays and website crashes.Governor Tate Reeves says many of those problems have been addressed, and says the recent surge in demand is resulting in Mississippi rising in the nation's performance metrics for vaccine distribution. Officials still acknowledge the demand for the shots outnumbers the state's supply of doses. Reeves says there will continue to be some limitations as the state moves to inoculate more residents in the coming weeks.Segment 2:Tomorrow's Presidential inauguration is being enveloped in unprecedented levels of security following the violent insurrection on Capitol Hill earlier this month. The FBI has urged officials at all 50 state capitols to be on heightened alert, citing threats they've uncovered following the January 6th riot. Some Mississippi state legislators say they feel confident law enforcement is prepared to handle any threats in Jackson this week. MPB's Desare Frazier speaks with Senators Dean Kirby (R) and John Horhn (D).Segment 3:Three Mississippi Community Colleges are receiving funds through a recent grant to support humanities education in state prisons.The Mississippi Humanities Council says The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's “The Future of Higher Learning in Prison” program will support humanities courses taught by Hinds, Northeast Mississippi, and Mississippi Delta Community Colleges for the next two years as part of a new Community College Prison Education Consortium.Stuart Rockoff is Executive Director of the Mississippi Humanities Council.He says the grant allows the Council to create a more substantial program for inmates seeking higher education opportunities.

1/18/21 - Coronavirus Transmission & Vaccine Roll-out | Stennis Rocket Test | Flonzie Brown Wright Remembers MLK

State health officials expect more doses of vaccine in the coming weeks, but distribution will still be limited.Then, it was the first rocket test of its kind in decades, but it was shut down after just over a minute. We look at what last weekend’s test at the Stennis Space Center means for project Artemis.Plus, a local civil rights veteran recalls her experience with Martin Luther King Jr.Segment 1:Mississippi's officials are making mass vaccination a goal as the state begins to feel the strain and loss following high transmission during the holiday season.The state is averaging over 40 deaths per day since the new year began, and hospitals continue to operate at capacity.State Health Office Dr. Thomas Dobbs says his office is hopeful a steady decline is on the way.Governor Tate Reeves says the state is trending in the right direction, but the numbers are still significantly higher than surge last summer that stressed hospital.He agrees the vaccine provides some optimism and believes the state is improving in that regard as well.Segment 2:For the first time since in decades, four rockets designed with enough power to launch a shuttle into space were tested at Hancock County's Stennis Space center.For a little overa minute, the four engines generated 1.6-million pounds of thrust. It was the most powerful test at Stennis since the Saturn V stages were tested here in the 1960s.But then one of the engines failed. Gary Benton is director of safety and mission assurance at Stennis Space Center.He talked to us prior to the test about the role the Space Center and the Test plays in Artemis Mission.Segment 3:Flonzie Brown Wright was a champion of voting rights in Mississippi during the 1960's and 70's.The first African American female to be elected to Madison County Election Commissioner pre and post-Reconstruction, Mrs. Brown Wright helped register thousands of Mississippians during the Civil Rights Movement.She also worked directly with Dr. Martin Luther King during the Meredith Marches.In observation of this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, she shares her experience fighting for change with the Civil Rights icon.

1/15/21 - Vaccine Demand | Protest Safety Preparations | MLK Convocation: David Dennis

After the health department's scheduled vaccinations abruptly reached capacity, residents seek answers from officials about when the next shipment of doses will be available.Then, with FBI warnings of protests beginning this weekend throughout the nation, we examine Mississippi's preparations.Plus, 60 years after the first Freedom Rides, we reflect with a civil rights veteran who was arrested in Jackson and sent to Parchman.Segment 1:Mississippians are expressing frustration after surging demand filled all the state's drive-thru coronavirus vaccination appointments earlier this week.After Governor Tate Reeves announced the state would deviate from CDC guidelines and extend vaccine eligibility to all residents 65 and older as well as all residents 18 and over with underlying health conditions, thousands of residents overwhelmed the department of health's scheduling apparatus - causing long call waits and website delays.Preston Cantner of Grenada was trying to schedule an appointment for himself and his 85-year-old uncle.He tells our Kobee Vance the experience has left him frustrated.Officials say the demand and fulfillment of the current allocation will lead to continued allocations from the federal government in the coming weeks.But, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says the change in the distribution plan is revealing an imbalance in access that is detrimental to the under-resourced.Segment 2:Mississippi law enforcement is on high alert to prepare for possible armed protests at state capitol buildings in the days leading up to the the presidential inauguration on Jan. 20.This week, the FBI issued warnings as more information was gathered following the violent insurrection last Wednesday.Sean Tindell is the Department of Public Safety Commissioner.He tells our Kobee Vance he is coordinating with partners at all levels to ensure any activity remains peaceful and safe.Segment 3:A civil rights veteran who has worked and fought for 60 years, David Dennis was one of the original Freedom Riders who rode from Montgomery to Jackson in 1961. He was arrested and sent to Parchman the moment he stepped off the bus in Mississippi's capital city.He would later to go on to serve as field secretary for the Congress of Racial Equality and co-director of the Council of Federated Organizations.He also helped organize Freedom Summer in 1964.Today, he will keynote the Margaret Walker Center's virtual 53rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Convocation at 10:00 a.m.Dennis joined us earlier this week to reflect on the events that led to his ride into Jackson, and how he view the recent surge of protests in the fight against racial injustice.

1/14/21 - Vaccinations Reach Capacity | Impeachment and Insurrection | Book Club: The Prophets

Appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations through the health department has reached capacity following a surge in demand.Then, we examine the latest effort to impeach and convict President Donald Trump, and how accountability for the insurrection at the Capitol could extend to lawmakers.Plus, in our Book Club, “The Prophets,” by Robert Jones, Jr.Segment 1:Vaccine appointments available through the state's drive-thru vaccine locations are full.The Mississippi Department of Health says recent changes to the state's vaccine rollout have filled all 52 thousand appointments at the state's drive-thru vaccination sites. These changes also created technical difficulties and long wait times for residents hoping to schedule an appointment for themselves or a loved one.Dr. Mark Horne, President of the Mississippi State Medical Association, says the quick changes to vaccine availability caused a surge in demand that was difficult to accommodate.Segment 2:Following a day of debate and voting on Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump became the first President to be impeached multiple times yesterday.Lawmakers voted in a bi-partisan majority on a single article of impeachment - inciting insurrection - following the violent insurrection at the Capitol last week.10 Republicans crossed the aisle to join Democrats in placing some of the blame at the feet of the President.That group did not include Mississippi's three Republican House delegates.Matt Steffey is a Professor at the Mississippi College School of Law.We spoke to him ahead yesterday's vote on latest effort to impeach and convict President Donald Trump, and how accountability for the insurrection at the Capitol could extend to lawmakers.Segment 3:A debut novel by a black, queer writer is garnering a lot of attention for its story of a loving relationship between two enslaved men on a plantation in Mississippi.The book is being praised for its prose.Author, Robert Jones Jr., is already a well-known and respected writer and tells us about his work that precedes today’s Book Club choice, “The Prophets.”

1/12/21 - Gov. Signature Makes New Flag Official | Lagging Vaccine Rollout in LTC | Col. Greg Michel

Months after an overwhelming vote, the new Mississippi state flag is finalized by Governor Reeves and raised above the state capitol.Then, vaccination roll-out in Mississippi is lagging behind - especially in long term care settings.Health officials and representatives from major pharmacies explain the delays during a hearing with lawmakers.Plus, the state's Emergency Management Director shares his battle with and recovery from COVID-19.Segment 1:It's official - Mississippi has a new state banner.Government leaders gathered yesterday to witness Governor Tate Reeves sign final certification of the November vote that made the new design featuring a white magnolia official.Last summer, as protests over racial injustice amplified the call for change, lawmakers took the first steps toward change by retiring the 1894 flag emblazoned with the confederate battle emblem.Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn, Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, Gov. Tate Reeves, Former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and Rep. Zakiya Summers comment.Segment 2:The coronavirus vaccine rollout in the Magnolia State is lagging.Mississippi currently trails neighboring states for vaccinations in long term care settings, and lawmakers are searching for ways to speed up this process to protect vulnerable Mississippians. During a hearing with legislators yesterday, Dr. Thomas Dobbs explained some of the reasons for delays with the initial allocations of the vaccine.Segment 3:As the man on the right flank of Governor Tate Reeves during dozens of press conferences throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Colonel Greg Michel was immersed the state's mitigation efforts.The Director of the state's Emergency Management Agency, Michel coordinated the delivery of PPE to hospitals facilities and county health leaders, and managed preparations for emergency overflow hospitals in places like Camp Shelby.But during the pandemic's largest surge, not even Michel was spared from the virus.Now, he shares his personal COVID-19 story.

1/11/21 - Winter Weather | Vaccine Roll-out | MDOC Reforms

With snow hitting the Magnolia State, we talk to the National Weather Service about how long residents can expect wintry weather.Then, the health department expands vaccination sites in the continuing fight to lower transmission of the coronavirus.Plus, after assuming leadership of the Department of Corrections last summer, Commissioner Burl Cain discusses his first months on the job.Segment 1:A wintry mix of rain and snow is making its way across Mississippi, causing a number of school closures and winter weather advisories. Some parts of the state have seen more than an inch of snow.For more on the system and how long residents can expect these conditions, we turn to Meteorologist John Moore who joins us now from the National Weather Service in Jackson.Segment 2:Coronavirus transmission in Mississippi remains high with the state health department reporting over 5,000 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend.Although vaccine distribution in the state is underway, roll-out has been slow.State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers says the risk remains high for the state's long-term care facilities.State officials are deviating from the Center for Disease Control's vaccine distribution guidelines.State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says the decision was made to expedite the vaccines to the state's older residents.Segment 3:The Mississippi Department of Corrections is changing some policies under the direction of Commissioner Burl Cain.Cain, who took office last summer, promised to deliver prison reform based on moral rehabilitation and skills training.Under his direction, MDOC has added seminary programs for inmates and Cain hopes community college courses will be available soon.Cain shares more about his first months on the job and his vision for the Department, beginning with the progress at Parchman State Penitentiary

1/8/21 - Continued Hospital Strain | Rep. Bennie Thompson | State of the State Survey: Part 2

A record high in COVID-19 cases elevates health professionals' concerns over an already stressed hospital system.Then, the Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee reflects on the storming of the Capitol earlier this week.Plus, the latest State of the State survey reveals a drop in the Governor's approval rating.Segment 1:Mississippi has a new record high in daily coronavirus cases.This comes as the department of health reports 3,255 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, showing signs of a surge that health officials predicted would follow the holiday season.Dr. Mark Horne is President of the Mississippi State Medical Association. Horne tells our Kobee Vance he feels as if residents have grown numb to the high numbers.Segment 2:This week, pro-Trump extremists stormed the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.During the insurrection, lawmakers in the House and Senate Chambers were first placed under lock-down, and then evacuated to a number of undisclosed places.Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson was in the House gallery when the events began.Thompson shares his experience with our Michael Guidry and says he is joining in the House's effort to impeach President Donald Trump.Segment 3:A new poll suggests Mississippians largely disapprove of the job Governor Tate Reeves has done in his first year in office.The latest State of the State Survey conducted by Millsaps College and Chism Strategies, reveals a 49 percent disapproval rating for Reeves.Nathan Shrader is Chair of the Department of Government and Politics at Millsaps.In part two of his conversation with MPB's Michael Guidry, Shrader breaks down the Governor's approval marks and examines how the state's voters feel about voting expansion.