Mississippi Edition


11/23/20 - Health Leaders Plea for Small Thanksgiving | Child Hunger & Food Insecurity | Red Kettle Drive

As coronavirus transmission continues to surge, Mississippi's health leaders ask residents to practice caution during the Thanksgiving holiday.Then, child hunger is on the rise in Mississippi.We examine how the pandemic is making food insecurity worse in the nation's most insecure state.Plus, the Salvation Army's red kettles return.But the charitable non-profit is looking for other ways to collect contributions during the holiday season.Segment 1:Mississippi’s leading health experts are asking for residents to avoid large thanksgiving gatherings as coronavirus transmission rates surge in the state.Saturday brought a single say record high in reported cases of COVID-19 - with the department of health confirming 1,972 infections.State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says the pandemic is only intensifying. Timothy Moore of the Mississippi Hospital Association and Tonya Moore of the Mississippi Nurses Association also warn of strain on the system.Segment 2: The coronavirus pandemic is causing a rise in child hunger across the nation, and some of the most food insecure communities in the nation are located in Mississippi.According to the nonprofit Save the Children, one in three children in Mississippi is experiencing hunger - up from one in four prior to the pandemic.The organization also projects Mississippi to have the highest rate of food insecurity for 2020. Yolanda Minor, Deputy State Director of Save the Children, tells our Ashley Norwood, hunger can lead to other developmental challenges for children.Segment 3:The red kettles and ringing bells of the Salvation Army are returning this holiday season.A tradition since 1891, the organization's Red Kettle fundraising campaign represents a bulk of its funding for a number of year-round programs.But the pandemic is causing a reduction in kettle locations this year.Michelle Hartfield is Director of Community Relations for the Jackson Salvation Army.She says although the hallmark red kettle is socially distant and safe, the organization is hoping to generate more contributions online.

11/20/20 - Hospitals Near Capacity | JSU President | Poverty and the Pandemic

Rural hospitals reach capacity as the state’s coronavirus cases continue to rise.Then, Mississippi’s largest historically black university names its next president.Plus, we examine the factors of poverty during the pandemic.Segment 1:Rural hospitals in Mississippi are operating at maximum capacity as coronavirus hospitalizations rise across the state. The Department of Health reports COVID-19 related hospital admissions have returned to levels seen during this summer’s peak of the pandemic, and confirmed hospitalizations have more than doubled since the beginning of October. The surge is placing a significant strain on not just the largest medical centers, but also small, rural hospitals. Dr. Jay Pinkerton is Chief of Staff at George Regional Health System in Lucedale.As he tells our Kobee Vance, rural hospitals are facing many of the same challenges as the rest of the nation.Segment 2:Jackson State University has a new president after a months long search process, and it's a face already familiar to the university. Thomas Hudson will continue to serve as president at Jackson State University, after serving as acting president since February. The Board of Trustees of the Institutions of Higher Learning made the announcement yesterday. Now-president Hudson has also served as Chief Operating Officer, Chief Diversity Officer, and Title IX Coordinator for the university. During the announcement, Hudson said his roots in the JSU and capitol city community run deep.Segment 3: Data analysis by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting shows that coronavirus deaths are twice as high per capita in Mississippi’s poorest counties.In the most recent installation of The Poverty and the Pandemic series, investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell explores how generational factors have affected the states poorest areas during the pandemic.Mitchell discusses his findings, starting with the disproportionate death rate of the impoverished.

11/19/20 - Rising COVID Cases in Schools | No Proposed Teacher Pay Raise | Medical Marijuana Offers Path Home | Book Club: Life Raft Podcast

More school-aged cases of COVID-19 are forcing districts to shift to virtual instruction.And the Governor’s proposed budget comes up short on a campaign promise to teachers.Then, the legalization of medical marijuana could serve as a gateway for some Mississippians to return home.Plus, in today's Book Club - it's not about reading but listening ...to a new podcast that tackles questions of climate change.Segment 1:The number of students testing positive for the coronavirus in Mississippi is on the rise - doubling over the past week - and the number of students in quarantine increased by more than 5000. Health officials say there have been recent cases of transmission in classrooms, but the majority of outbreaks are associated with out of school activities.Dr. Jennifer Bryan chairs the board of the Mississippi State Medical Association.She tells our Kobee Vance the elevated transmission in the communities make school outbreaks a question of "when", not "if"Many of Mississippi's teachers are taking on a more burdensome work load to accommodate the shifts in instruction due the pandemic.And now some are expressing their dissatisfaction with the governor’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year which doesn’t include a teacher pay raise.Governor Tate Reeves ran for office in 2019 promising increased pay for teachers.But his proposed budget released earlier this week, falls short on that promise.Kelly Riley with Mississippi Professional Educators tells our Desare Frazier members are calling and contacting her through social media because they’re disappointed.Segment 2:The development of a comprehensive medical marijuana program is underway in Mississippi. Earlier this month, residents voted overwhelmingly to legalize its use for the treatment of 22 debilitating conditions. MPB's Ashley Norwood talks to two Mississippians who've left the state, but are excited about the opportunity to come back home now that medical marijuana is legal.Segment 3:If you pay attention to news about climate change, there are likely a lot of questions on your mind: Is this the new normal for hurricane season? Will it ever get too hot to live here? Have I eaten my last good oyster?A new podcast is setting out to answer questions just like this and relieve some of the stress that comes along with all of it. It’s called Life Raft. Travis Lux is a reporter for New Orleans Public Radio and he’s one of the hosts of the podcast. He starts by laying out the many issues Gulf states like Mississippi face as a result of climate change.

11/18/20 - Health Officials on COVID | Income Tax Elimination | Southern remedy Health Minute | Examining "Patriotic" Education

As hospitals are filling and more schools are switching to virtual learning, the state’s top health officers urge residents to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.Then, the Governor’s budget proposes an end of the individual income tax. We hear response from lawmakers.Plus, after a Southern Remedy Health Minute, we examine the Governor’s Patriotic Education Program.Segment 1:Several major hospitals in Mississippi are operating at maximum capacity because of increased coronavirus hospitalizations. The health care system is experiencing admission rates and ICU occupancy that are at their highest since late August.State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says he’s concerned patients won’t receive the highest standard of care if intensive care beds are filled. State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers warns cases and quarantines in school communities are spiking.Segment 2:Governor Tate Reeves’ budget proposal for the next fiscal year includes phasing out the state’s individual income tax by 2030. The state income tax takes in $1.8 billion yearly. The governor says the plan will attract new businesses and residents to the state. of Booneville is on the Appropriations Committee. He tells Our Desare Frazier discusses with House Republican Tracy Arnold and House Democrat Robert Johnson.Segment 3:Southern Remedy Health MinuteSegment 4:In the months leading up the 2020 elections, President Trump denounced the practice of critical race theory and championed the teaching of a historical narrative centered on the concepts of American exceptionalism.Now Governor Tate Reeves is introducing a plan to bring a similar program to Mississippi.In his proposed budget, Reeves allocates three million dollars for what he calls the Patriotic Education Fund. For many historians and teachers of history, the Governor's proposed program is antithetical.Dr. Robert Luckett is an Associate Professor of History and Philosophy at Jackson State University.He calls the program problematic, saying it is the job of historians to perpetually question the narrative.

11/17/20 - Mask Mandate Includes New Counties | Homeland Security Chairman | Emma Walton Hamilton

The Governor extends mask requirements and social gathering restrictions to seven new counties while administrators at the state's only Tier I trauma facility express concern over resources.Then, the Trump administration is stonewalling the Biden transition team's ability to receive vital intelligence briefings.We hear from the Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.Plus, the University of Southern Miss presents the 2020 Kay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival.Segment 1:Community transmission of the coronavirus continues to rise in Mississippi.Since Friday, the department of health has reported nearly 3,000 new cases of COVID 19.The weeks-long trend is also adversely affecting hospital capacity as COVID-related hospitalizations and ICU occupancy are also trending up.Yesterday, Governor Tate Reeves cited the rising numbers as he announced the extension of his executive order to seven new counties. Administrators of Mississippi's only Tier I trauma facility are also expressing concern over the rising numbers.LouAnn Woodward is Vice Chancellor of the University of Mississippi Medical Center.She says hospitals are starting to see the second-degree effects of the recent surge in cases. Dr. Alan Jones, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs at UMMC, says the fall and winter season is always a challenge for hospitals in the greater Jackson area.Segment 2:The 2020 general election was two weeks ago, and former Vice President Joe Biden has projected the winner.Traditionally, the President-elect's transition team would begin working with the outgoing administration to ensure a smooth and peaceful transfer of power.But President Donald Trump is refusing to concede - claiming the election was fraudulent without any substantial evidence - and the White House has been stonewalling the Biden transition team's access to key intelligence briefings.Democrat Bennie Thompson represents Mississippi's second Congressional district and chairs the House Homeland Security Committee.He examines the security of the recent election and explains the procedures needed to protect the homeland during this period of transition.Segment 3:Emma Walton Hamilton is a best-selling and award-winning author, editor, stage and television writer/producer, performer and arts educator.Together with her mother, Julie Andrews, she has co-authored over thirty books for children and adults, nine of which have been on the New York Times best-seller list.This week, she is serving as a speaker at the Kay B. Kaigler Children's Book Festival, hosted by the University of Southern Mississippi.She shares how her childhood household shaped her own creativity.

11/16/20 - Rising COVID Transmission | State Party Chairs on Election | Schools Switch to Virtual

As the holiday season nears, state health leaders evaluate the rising trends in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.Then, with the election in the rear view mirror, we hear from the state chairmen from both major parties on the lessons learned and next steps forward.Plus, heightened community COVID-19 transmission is compelling more schools to switch to distance learning.We talk to one district about its decision to shift one of its largest schools to virtual.Segment 1:Health officials continue to sound the alarm as coronavirus cases in Mississippi surge. For the majority of last week, the seven-day rolling average remained around 1,000 new coronavirus cases per day.Hospitalizations and ICU occupancy also continue to rise. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says during this time of heightened transmission, the threat of infection is closer than many would assume. Increased community spread of the virus has led to transmission in school classrooms, causing some schools to return to virtual education.Health officials fear the increased transmission is a result of out-of-balance priorities.Segment 2:It has been nearly two weeks since the 2020 General Election, but the tremors from the contentious national contest are still being felt.President Donald Trump has refused to concede to challenger Joe Biden, and has leveled unsubstantiated claims of fraud against the election process in a number of key states. The races in Mississippi, however, are settled and the President's party maintains its stronghold on the state's Congressional seats.All of the GOP's incumbents won re-lection, and the state went strongly for the Trump-Pence ticket.State GOP Chair Frank Bordeaux shares the lessons the party learned from this election.For the state's Democrat Party, 2020 signaled an opportunity to shift the state "purple" - picking up a key Senate seat.But for the second time in as many years, challenger Mike Espy was not able to win against Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith.Retired Judge Tyree Irving is chair of the state party.He reflects on the hard fought campaign.Segment 3:More and more schools across the state are shifting to virtual learning as transmission of the coronavirus soars.While state health officials attribute the rising numbers to community spread, Dr. Thomas Dobbs says they're starting to trace some infections to schools.He is encouraging schools to consider the virtual option. One school shifting to a virtual learning is Germantown High School in Madison County.Gene Wright is Director of Communications for Madison County Schools.She says the decision is a result of the protocols put in place before students reported to campus in September.

11/13/20 - Rising COVID Cases | Senate Housing Committee | MAC Grants

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise nationally, state officials sound the alarm over the growing rates of coronavirus transmission.Then, a Senate Committee hears from housing advocates about the need for affordable housing as they prepare to draft legislation.Plus, how the Mississippi Arts Commission is aiding artists and organizations during the pandemic.Segment 1:Cases of coronavirus are reaching new highs nationwide and Mississippi is reporting the highest numbers in three months.Yesterday marked the second consecutive day of new COVID-19 cases in excess of 1,200 and COVID-related hospitalizations are also reaching levels unseen since the summer wave of infection.Governor Reeves addressed the elevated numbers in an statement of Facebook.The high cases also has the attention of the state's top health officials.State Epidemiologist says the number of new cases in the last two weeks is astounding. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says mitigation is most effective if everyone wears masks.Segment 2:The need for affordable housing for low-income Mississippi families is a growing problem, especially during the coronavirus pandemic according to housing officials.To assess potential solutions, the Senate Housing Committee is holding hearings to help draft legislation to combat the problem.Scott Spivey is with Mississippi Home Corporation.He explained the pandemic is affecting housing differently than the sub-prime mortgage crisis a decade ago.Segment 3:The coronavirus pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the nation's economy.And while some businesses are starting to bounce back, the arts and entertainment industry is still struggling. To assist local artists during this difficult time, the Mississippi Arts Commission is offering Rapid Response Grants in response to the changing needs of artists and arts organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.MAC's Director of Grants Melody Moody Thortis shares more with our Michael Guidry.

11/12/20 - Hospitals Nearing Crisis | ACA-SCOTUS Reaction | Book Club" "Pappyland"

As the seven-day rolling average of coronavirus cases hit a three month high, hospitals prepare for a second wave.Then, the Supreme Court heard arguments on the Affordable Care Act this week. We examine the legal case for the health insurance program.Plus, in today's Book Club...Kentucky Bourbon, southern culture and family in Wright Thompson’s new book, “PappyLand.”Segment 1:Coronavirus cases are on the rise in what could be Mississippi's second wave.Yesterday, the seven-day rolling average reached a three month high, and the state is on track to reach what health officials are calling "crisis level hospitalizations" as the state continues to fill bed space with coronavirus patients.Dr. Alan Jones is with the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He tells our Kobee Vance, if coronavirus cases continue to rise at the current rate, patients may not receive the immediate care they need.Segment 2:As the U.S. Supreme Court deliberates the future of the Affordable Care Act, some Mississippians are hopeful the program will survive.Mississippi is one of 18 states attempting to strike down the ACA. Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments. According to the state insurance department 99,000 Mississippians are enrolled in the health insurance program this year. Beth Orlansky is with the Mississippi Center for Justice.She examines the legal case for the ACA with our Desare Frazier.Segment 3:There’s a Kentucky bourbon that sells for thousands of dollars for a single bottle. It has a cult-like following and it and the family behind it are the subjects of a new book from Mississippian Wright Thompson.Thompson is widely read as senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. He explains why he set aside sports to pen the book, “Pappyland: A story of Family, Fine Bourbon and the Things that Last.”

11/11/20 - Observing Veterans Day | Governor Veto Powers | Southern Remedy Health Minute | AKA Trailblazer

Mississippi leaders recognize and honor the state's Veterans.Then, Mississippi Supreme Court justices are deliberate a case involving the Governor and Speaker of the House.Plus, after a Southern Remedy Health Minute, Vice President Elect Kamala Harris is a trailblazer for women of color.We hear from a regional leader of her sorority - Alpha Kappa Alpha.Segment 1:Today is Veterans Day, a day to honor the men and women who have served, and are currently serving, in the United States Armed Forces.It was first observed as Armistice Day following World War I.During a ceremony honoring veterans yesterday, Major General Janson Boyles of the Mississippi National Guard, remarked on the importance of a nation remembering its defenders. Speaker of the House Phillip Gunn was also on hand.He says its important to consider the sacrifices veterans make for the nation.Retired Veterans, like Mark Lawson, share the sentiment.Lawson, who serves as the Director of Veteran Cemeteries for the VA shares more about his experience, and how important recognition of service is with our Michael Guidry.Segment 2:A case to prevent Mississippi’s governor from vetoing portions of appropriations bills is being deliberated by the State Supreme Court.Republican Governor Tate Reeves is challenging a lower court ruling that found he doesn’t have the authority to veto sections of legislative budget bills. The issue before the Mississippi Supreme Court began In August, when House Speaker Philip Gunn and Speaker Pro Tempore Jason White both Republicans, sued the governor for vetoing portions of budget bills arguing it’s unconstitutional.Segment 3:Southern Remedy Health MinuteSegment 4:Vice President Elect Kamala Harris is looked at by many as a trailblazer.Stepping into the second highest executive position in the country - she is the first woman, first Black American, first Carribean American and First Indian American to hold the office.She is also someone who followed the same path as many citizens of color - attending a historically black university, and pledging Alpha Kappa Alpha.For Mitzi Paige, the Southeastern Regional Director of AKA, the election serves to remind others glass ceilings can be broken.