Mississippi Edition


4/3/20 - Testing & Unemployment Data | MS Companies Making Masks | Role of Telemedicine | State Auditor's Fraud Warning

The latest from the Governor and his coronavirus response team.Then, the role of telemedicine in fighting the pandemic.Plus, Mississippi is expecting millions of dollars in federal aid. A word with the State Auditor about monitoring that money.Segment 1:Governor Tate Reeves is applauding the Department of Health and the University of Mississippi Medical Center for their efforts in ramping up testing across the state.At a press conference yesterday, Reeves shared testing data, and compared it the nations from which the new aggressive Mississippi model is based. Reeves also addressed the skyrocketing unemployment numbers.He assures that, while the long wait may be due to large rise in applications, Mississippians will receive unemployment benefits based on the day of termination.The nationwide shortage of personal protection equipment is still a major concern.MEMA Director Greg Michel says the state can expect PPE shipments to arrive through the weekend. A Mississippi non-profit is recruiting volunteers to make face masks to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.As MPB’s Desare Frazier reports, they aren’t alone...a Mississippi business has also revamped its factory to help meet the demand for protective face masks.Segment 2:Due to the communicable nature of the novel coronavirus, health care professionals have resorted to increased use of telemedicine to triage patients, and limit potential transmission out of hospitals and clinic waiting rooms.Dr. Alan Jones is the Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.He explains the role of telemedicine in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.Segment 3:The CARES Act, passed by Congress last month, could pump millions of dollars into Mississippi's businesses and agencies.But for a state on the heels of the largest embezzlement scheme in its history, fraud is a heightened concern.State Auditor Shad White joins our Michael Guidry to discuss the proactive measures his office is taking as financial relief comes to Mississippi.

4/2/20 - Statewide Shelter in Place | Work-at-Home Productivity | Gulf Coast Concerns | Book Club: Furious Hours

The Governor issues a statewide shelter in place order.And, leaders on the Mississippi Gulf Coast express concerns about the infection rate in the neighboring Louisiana.Then, in today’s Book Club… “Furious Hours,” the story of a book Harper Lee never wrote.Segment 1:Mississippi is joining over thirty other states in the nation issuing statewide shelter in place orders.At a press conference yesterday, Governor Tate Reeves announced the measure saying, after weeks of consulting medical experts, the time to act is now. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs joined Governor Reeves at the podium.He says there is a growing concern over community transmission in vulnerable communities. Access to personal protective equipment, or PPE, and other vital medical supplies, like ventilators, is also a creating distress nationwide.Executive Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Greg Michel says his agency is working to get those supplies available.Many Mississippians are working from home as a result of social distancing measures - and that's expected to linger well into spring with the Governor's shelter in place order and continued precautions. Dr. Molly Clark is a psychologist with the University of Mississippi Medical Center.She shares some advice on maintaining work productivity while sheltered at home.Segment 2:The state of Louisiana is reporting more than 6,000 positive cases of the coronavirus. Yesterday, cases in the state spiked by more than 20 percent in 24 hours. Experts are calling it the new hot spot. As MPB’s Ashley Norwood reports, leaders on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are particularly concerned about the infection rate in the neighboring state and its proximity to their communities.Segment 3:A true crime story of a serial killer in 1970s Alabama, drew the attention of one of America’s most notable writers.Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” spent a year in the town in which Reverend Willie Maxwell was accused of murdering five of his family members.He was assassinated by a family member and Lee sat through his trial. “Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee” tells the story of the book Harper Lee never wrote.Author, Casey Cep …

4/1/20 - Lauderdale Co. Shelter in Place | Bank Security | Southern Remedy Health Minute | Cory Branan

The Governor issues his first shelter in place order.And, with the Dow having its worst quarter in over a century, how secure is money in the bank?Then, after a Southern Remedy Health Minute, shut-down bars and concert venues are leaving gig workers gig-less. How one Mississippi musician is coping.Segment 1:Lauderdale County in east Mississippi is under a shelter in place order. Governor Tate Reeves issued the Executive Order yesterday as a means to slow the spread of the coronavirus in the county, which has seen a rapid increase in positive tests of COVID-19. Reeves says the action follows the new aggressive measures against the virus outlined by his coronavirus response team last week.Segment 2:COVID-19 is causing many concerns with consumers as the market suffered its worst quarter in over a century - but, the Mississippi Bankers association says access to money in the bank shouldn’t be one of them. Executive Order 1463, signed Governor Reeves last week, includes banks as essential services as defined by guidance from US Department of Homeland Security and the United States Treasury.Gordon Fellows is the President and CEO of the Mississippi Bankers Association.He says regulations help keep consumers' money safe.Segment 3:Southern Remedy Health MinuteSegment 4:Southaven native Cory Branan has made a living making records and touring - both the U.S. and Europe - but with doors to bars and concert venues locked-up, the gigs have gone dry.He shares how he and his colleagues are adapting to life at home, and how social media platforms help keep the connection with his fans alive.

3/31/20 - Waveland Mayor | Ag. Commissioner | Nursing Home Visits | Challenges for Intellectually Disabled

A Gulf Coast mayor is taking steps in his city to safeguard against coronavirus spread from Louisiana.And, how the state’s agriculture industry is keeping shelves stocked.Then, despite strict lock-downs, families are still finding was to connect with loved ones in nursing homes.Plus, the effects of social distancing in Mississippi’s intellectually disabled community.Segment 1:The COVID-19 pandemic in Mississippi has resulted in 847 confirmed cases to date, and local leaders at the state and municipal level are implementing strategies to flatten the curve.Mike Smith is Mayor of Waveland in Hancock County; where the Mississipi Department of Health has reported 15 cases.It is also an hour's drive along I-10 from the southeastern epicenter of the coronavirus - New Orleans. Mayor Smith tells our Ashley Norwood his city is addressing concerns by taking measures to limit gatherings.Segment 2:Grocery Stores have seen a large increase in sales over the past several weeks. People have been rushing to stock up on food and supplies during this coronavirus outbreak. MPB’s Kobee Vance talks with Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gibson about how the state’s agriculture industry is keeping shelves stocked.Segment 3:Nursing homes in Mississippi have been closed to visitation for weeks to protect elderly and vulnerable residents from the coronavirus. But as MPB’s Kobee Vance reports, families are finding ways to connect with their loved ones.Segment 4:The coronavirus pandemic has caused many people to adjust their daily lives in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines.But for some, the adjustment is far more profound than or avoiding the crowded gym or juggling work and home-schooling.For Mississippi's intellectually disabled community, these measures have turned the world upside down in many ways.Matt Nalker is the Executive Director of the Arc of Mississippi.He says he worries for the 160 individuals under the Arc's support.

3/27/20 - More Aggressive Testing | CARES Act & Rep. Michael Guest | Unemployment in MS

The state’s coronavirus response team introduces more aggressive testing measures.Then, a conversation with Congressman Michael Guest about the CARES Act and government’s response to the pandemic.Plus, business closures leave thousands of Mississippi residents out of work and in need of help.Segment 1:Deaths from the Coronavirus continue to rise in the state with the Mississippi department of health reporting a total of six deaths and 485 cases.In response to the growing number of cases, Governor Tate Reeves, along with leadership of the state's coronavirus response team, hosted a press conference Thursday where they laid out a plan to take offense against the spread.State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says the team looked at the effective models of South Korea and Singapore, and how elements of those responses could be implemented in Mississippi.Segment 2:A $2-trillion coronavirus response bill, intended to accelerate economic relief in America, is now waiting on a vote in the House of Representatives.The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARE Act, which passed the Senate Wednesday evening, has provisions to inject an estimated $300 billion into the hands of Americans and another $10 billion for small business loans.The House is expected to take action on the bill as early as today.Third District Representative Michael Guest, a Republican from Brandon, discusses the bill and the government's continued response to the pandemic with our Michael Guidry.Segment 3:Mississippi is expected to lose more than 100,000 jobs in the next few months due to concerns over the coronavirus, according to an economic policy group. Restaurants and other businesses have closed their doors or limited services. As MPB’s Ashley Norwood reports, the closures now leave thousands of residents out of work and in need of financial assistance.

3/26/20 - COVID-19 Mortality Rate | Pregnancy Concerns | Digital Disconnection | Book Club: "Those Who Know Don't Say"

The death toll of COVID-19-related deaths rises. We talk with a medical professional on the status of the pandemic in MississippiAnd, what precautions pregnant women should take to protect themselves and their baby from the Coronavirus.Then, the challenges of distance learning in disconnected regions of the state.Plus, in today’s Book Club selection, “Those Who Know Don’t Say,” examines the postwar Black Freedom movement.Segment 1:Five people in Mississippi have died from the Coronavirus as it continues to spread.The state health department reports the most recent deaths are a Tunica County woman and a man from Wilkinson County who died from the virus.Deaths have also been reported in Hancock, Webster and Holmes Counties.Dr. Jimmy Stewart is with the University of Mississippi Medical Center.He tells our Desare Frazier he's concerned about the deaths but says, right now, the mortality rate in Mississippi remains relatively low.Segment 2:A Mississippi doctor is working to get the word out that pregnant women should follow their healthcare provider’s guidelines to prevent contracting the Coronavirus.Dr. Michelle Owens, is a professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.She tells our Desare Frazier, pregnant women, like the elderly, are vulnerable to the virus.Segment 3:Schools across Mississippi remain closed in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. But many districts are now facing a dilemma---how to provide remote learning to students in areas that lack internet service.MPB's Alexandra Watts reports.Segment 4:The postwar Black Freedom Movement focused as much on policing and prisons as on school desegregation and voting rights. In his book, “Those Who Know Don’t Say,” Garrett Felber, an assistant professor of history at the University of Mississippi, examines the nation of Islam, the black freedom movement and the carceral state.

3-25-20 - Governor Reeves Issues Executive Order | AG Fitch on Fraud | Southern Remedy Health Minute | AARP and Social Distancing

The Governor takes action to flatten the curve in MississippiAnd, the Attorney General advises caution as fraudulent schemes begin to surface.Then, after a Southern Remedy Health Minute, how social distancing is changing life for older residents.Segment 1:Fifty-eight of Mississippi's eighty-two counties have presumptive cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus - that is according to the most recently available data from the Mississippi Department of Health.Cases of COVID-19 Mississippi have grown from the first confirmed case on March 11th, to over 300 in a two week span.As a result of the spread, schools have been shutdown until mid-April, and employers have been encouraged to allow those who can to work from home. At a press conference Tuesday, Governor Tate Reeves assured Mississippians that his office will continue to provide guidance based on the advice of state and national experts. He also announced a new Executive Order that will further restrict public gatherings.Segment 2:The Attorney General's Office is urging Mississippians to practice caution during the coronavirus outbreak by being hyper-aware of fraudulent schemes.Attorney General Lynn Fitch joins our Desare Frazier to discuss what to look out for, and how to report suspicions.Segment 3:Southern Remedy Health MinuteSegment 4:Mississippians over the age of 65 are at an increased risk for severe outcomes when infected with COVID-19. The Mississippi Division of the AARP is advising older residents to avoid contact with others. Kimberly Campbell, Director of AARP Mississippi, tells our Kobee Vance these recommendations could mean huge lifestyle changes for residents.

3/24/20 - Gov. Reeves Addresses Constituents | Rural Hospitals Prepare | TANF Embezzlement Update

Governor Reeves addresses his constituents.Then, how Mississippi’s rural hospitals are adapting to the coronavirus outbreak.Plus, a closer look at the TANF embezzlement case.Segment 1:Governor Tate Reeves took to Facebook Monday to address constituents and answer questions. Reeves remains self-quarantined since his return from Spain last weekend, even though he and his family haven't shown any symptoms. Reeves began by addressing the rising number of cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi.He says he expects that number to grow.Segment 2:Many rural hospitals in Mississippi are already struggling financially, and now the Coronavirus is placing more strain on their limited budgets. Mississippi Hospital Association CEO Tim Moore says rural hospitals rely on revenue from elective procedures and doctors appointments, which they now have to cancel. He tells our Desare Frazier, as Mississippi's rural hospitals prepare for a potential outbreak, concerns are mounting.Neshoba General Hospital in Philadephia has screened over 100 people for the Coronavirus. CEO Lee McCall says Neshoba General can treat certain people who contract the COVID-19, but lacks an intensive care unit.He tells our Desare Frazier, those with serious respiratory problems won't be able to remain there.Segment 3:In early February State Auditor Shad White announced the indictments of six individuals in what he described as an Mississippi's largest welfare scheme.Former Department of Human Services Director John Davis was among those arrested, along with Nancy New and her son Zach - executives with Mississippi Community Education Center. Since then, Clarion Ledger reporters Jack Bologna and Luke Ramseth have been following the scandal - and the money.We joined Jack Bologna to take a closer look at another indicted figure, Brett DiBiase, and where the money trail has led them.