Mississippi Edition

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5/18/20 - Tattoo Parlors & Casinos | Hosemann on Small Business | MCJ Lawsuit | Keeping Travelers Safe

Tattoo parlors and casinos get the green light to reopen.

And, we talk to the Lt. Governor about the Small Business grant programs.

Then, the Mississippi Center for Justice files suit against two state prisons.

Plus, we look at how the Jackson Municipal Airport Authority is keeping travelers safe

Segment 1:

More Mississippi businesses are expected to reopen this week. After a number of phases allowing retail stores, salons and barber shops to resume business, tattoo parlors and casinos are now getting the green light to open their doors. During his daily press briefing Friday, Governor Tate Reeves announced the new Executive Order. The order allows tattoo parlors to open once health restrictions are put in place. Casinos are set to reopen May 21st. Reeves says he is allowing businesses to reopen because he believes personal responsibility is better than government order. He also calls efforts to delay until a vaccine or more reliable treatments are available, counterproductive.

The announcement allowing tattoo parlors and casinos to open capped a busy week of relief for Mississippi's small businesses. Last week the legislature passed a $300 million package for those businesses with federal funds provided through the CARES Act. This followed a heated battle between Governor Reeves and leaders in the legislature over who would control the appropriation of the $1.25 billion of relief money. Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann joins our Karen Brown to share his thoughts on clash, and what the legislature has planned for the rest of the CARES Act funds.

Segment 2:

Concerns over transmission of COVID-19 in long-term care and high density facilities are growing. This includes prisons, where Governor Tate Reeves and other officials say the spread of the coronavirus is relatively contained. But Mississippi Center for Justice and partners think the state can do more, and have filed a class action lawsuit against the department of corrections. Paloma Wu, an attorney with the Center for Justice says they want the state's two largest prisons, which are in Rankin and Green Counties, to follow CDC guidelines for correctional facilities to prevent Covid 19 infections.

Segment 3:

The Jackson Municipal Airport Authority is working with its air service providers to share new safety policies at the state's busiest airport. The new policies are issued by Delta, American, and United Airlines – all of which provide legacy air service at the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport. LSherie Dean is the Public Information Officer with JMAA. She shares what the airlines and the authority are doing to keep travelers safe.

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7/31/2020

7/31/20 - Education and Economy | Hospitals Near Crisis | New MS Dem Party Chair

Education and the economy take center stage as Mississippi’s worst month of the coronavirus pandemic comes to a close.Then, with a steady trend of high cases, the state’s hospital system remains strained.Plus, how the new chair of the Mississippi Democratic Party plans to broaden its coalition.Segment 1:School districts are submitting their plans for reopening to the Department of Education for review. Districts were provided with three options for reopening, including classroom instruction, online instruction, or a hybrid of the two. Because of rising coronavirus numbers, some school districts are now delaying their reopening, or opting to go online only.The state is also currently operating without an passed education budget bill.Governor Tate Reeves assures money has been transferred into the MAEP ahead of school openings, but says he will not call a special session of the legislature - citing safety concerns. While unwilling to call the legislature until it is completely safe, Reeves continues to advocate for in-person learning as school districts hit the deadline for restart plans.Reeves says just as there are risks associated with on-campus learning, there are also risks associated with keeping kids out of school.Some advocates for traditional school cite the struggling economy as a reason to get kids back in the classroom.The nation experienced a sharp drop in the GDP during the second quarter as unemployment continues at a high rates.Corey Miller with the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning tells our Desare Frazier how Mississippi compares to the rest of the nation during a time of economic insecurity.Segment 2:Coronavirus cases are on the rise in Mississippi, and hospitals are preparing for more COVID-19 positive patients. Medical experts, like Dr. Jonathan Wilson, say these impending cases could overwhelm the healthcare system.Wilson is the Incident Manager and Chief Administrative Officer at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.He tells our Kobee Vance if coroanvirus hospitalizations increase beyond what the hospital can handle, it will be difficult to maintain the standard of care Mississippians expect.Segment 3:A retired judge is taking the helm of the Mississippi Democratic Party with the goal of diversifying its ranks. New Mississippi Democratic Party Chair, Retired Judge Tyree Irving says the party must be more racially diverse to prevail in the state.Irving, who has served in leadership roles in the party at the county level, tells our Desare Frazier he wants dismantle the narrative that the Democratic Party caters to one race.
7/30/2020

7/30/20 - School Restart Concerns | Center for Medically Fragile Children | Book Club: The River

Schools near the deadline to submit their plans for a safe returnThen, how a state agency with a director arrested for embezzlement got tangled up in a project involving the former First Lady.Plus, in today’s book club,two friends take a wilderness canoe trip and find themselves tested by fire, white water and violence.Segment 1:Mississippi school districts have one more day to submit their reopening plans for the fall as rates of the coronavirus remain high.Governor Tate Reeves, who has been echoing the White House message for students to return to in-person learning, says his team is in the process of reviewing the restart plans of the state's public school districts.As schools prepare for the restart, education advocates worry about the number of challenges administrators and teachers face to accommodate guidelines during period of high community transmission. We talk to Ronnie McGehee, Executive Director of the Mississippi Association of School Administrators, and Nancy Loome of the Parents Campaign.Segment 2:The Mississippi Center for Medically Fragile Children was a passion project for Deborah Bryant.The center, presented as the first pediatric skilled nursing facility in the state of Mississippi, ceremoniously broke ground in December - with Bryant in attendance. Now the former first lady is cutting formal ties with the long-planned home as a non-profit affiliated with the project is quietly dissolving.Jack Bolonga is an investigative reporter with the Clarion Ledger.He shares more with our Karen Brown about the center, a church, and a dream derailed.Segment 3:A longtime contributor to NPR and bestselling author, Peter Heller writes “The River.”In it is a canoe trip, a woman who vanishes, white water, violence and a friendship tested.As Heller tells us, the impetus for the book came from a conversation he had many years ago with someone he’d just met.
7/29/2020

7/29/20 - COVID in Communities & Broadband Program | Remembering John Lewis | Southern Remedy Health Minute | Flag Commission

State officials continue to weigh options to fight transmission of the coronavirus, and a new broadband program is introduced.Then, Congressman John Lewis returns to Georgia today ahead of his funeral. We speak with two Mississippi Civil Rights veterans on Lewis’ contributions and legacy.Plus, after a Southern Remedy Health Minute, the flag commission hears from a vexillologist as it prepares to submit a new design to the Legislature.Segment 1:With cases, hospitalizations, and ICU utilization at their sustained highest levels, Mississippi is experiencing it's most severe month of the coronavirus pandemic.Governor Tate Reeves has issued mask mandates in 29 counties, and placed other restrictions on bars and social gatherings.Reeves says its important for residents to understand the virus spares no community. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs says while levels of transmission have stabilized, the hard truth is family interaction is still driving the spread.With more communities considering virtual options, the question of internet access has peculated.Reeves introduced a new program to addressed those growing concerns. Mississippi is using federal CARES Act funds and partnerships with electrical Co-Ops to invest more than $150 million dollars to bring broadband internet to un-served and under-served homes and businesses. Sally Doty, Executive Director of the Mississippi Public Utilities Staff, says the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted how important internet access is.Segment 2:Civil Rights icon and "conscience of the Congress" Representative John Lewis will return to Georgia today, to lie in state in the Georgia state capitol ahead of his funeral tomorrow.Lewis was in instrumental figure in the fight for civil rights, helping lead Mississippi's Freedom Summer in 1964.Retired Methodist Reverend and activist Ed King was with Lewis that summer.He recalls what made Lewis a prominent leader during turbulent times. Hezekiah Watkins was a mere teenager when he became a foot-soldier in the fight for civil rights.He tells us how he became acquainted with John Lewis after both men spent time in Parchman State Penitentiary.Segment 3:Southern Remedy Health MinuteSegment 4:The team appointed to select a new flag design for the November ballot is sorting through over 1,000 public submissions.The commission, formed via the statute to retire the 1894 flag, met for the second time yesterday at the Two Mississippi Museums. Vexillologist Clay Moss was in attendance yesterday, providing guidelines for effective flag design.One of his guidelines: No words or seals.He says the requirement to include "In God We Trust" does present a small challenge.