Mississippi Edition

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7/27/20 - New Executive Orders | SWAC Suspends Football | Census Response Rate

The Governor introduces new restrictive measures to slow the growing rate of COVID transmission, and ease the strain on an overwhelmed hospital system.

Then, Mississippi's three public HBCUs will not be playing football this fall. We check in with their athletic department about the SWAC's decision to suspend fall sports.

Plus, the Census response rate in Mississippi is below the national average. We examine why it's important to get counted.

Segment 1:

Governor Tate Reeves is taking more restrictive measures to slow what has been the worst month of COVID-19 transmission since the pandemic reached Mississippi in mid-March. Last week, Reeves announced three new additions to existing measures, beginning with the addition of six new counties under his mask mandate. Reeves added Calhoun, Holmes, Lamar, Montgomery, Winston, and Yalabusha counties to the existing list of 23 under the current order. Reeves did not remove any counties from the existing list. Reeves also placed further state-wide restrictions on social gatherings. The third added measure by Reeves restricts operations in bars. Reeves says bars should look and work more like restaurants - with spaced seating - and cited the growing number of cases in 18 - 39 year olds as a motivating factor behind the order. Reeves hopes the measures will help reduce the strain on the state's hospital system.  

Segment 2:

After causing the cancellation of winter championships and spring seasons, the coronavirus pandemic is now threatening football and other fall sports. The Ivy League said earlier this month that it is canceling all fall sports, toppling the first in what appears to be a string of dominoes. This week, the SouthwesterN Athletic Conference announced it will suspend it's football and fall sports until the spring - making it the first major conference with ties to Mississippi to take such action. Mississippi's three public HBCU's - Jackson State University, Alcorn State University, and Mississippi Valley State University - are all members of the SWAC. Our Michael Guidry discusses with ASU's Derek Horne and JSU's Dennis Driscoll.

Segment 3:

The U.S. Census Bureau is continuing to count every person living in the country for the 2020 Census. But the self-report rates in Mississippi are falling below the national average - 57% in-state compared to 62% nationally. Response is even slower in the capital city, dropping to a 56% rate. Marilyn Stephens is an Assistant Regional Census Manager. She says census workers are back in the field to ensure those who have yet to self-report, get counted.

More Episodes

11/20/2020

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.
11/19/2020

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.
11/18/2020

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.