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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.  

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9/18/2020

9/18/20 - Operation Pheonecia | AT&T Subpoenas | Student Leadership During COVID

A Mississippi U.S. Attorney announces a new campaign against domestic violence.Then, the Public Service Commission subpoenas telecom giant AT&T over questions regarding broadband expansion in the state.Plus, how student leaders at two of Mississippi's public universities are serving as liaisons between administration and the student body in the effort to keep campus safe during a pandemic.Segment 1:Families are staying home more during the coronavirus pandemic, and officials say this has led to a rise in domestic violence. In 2019, more than 10,000 calls were made to Mississippi law enforcement to report cases of domestic violence. U.S. Attorney of Mississippi's Southern District, Mike Hurst says domestic violence continues to be an area of concern that has risen during the coronavirus pandemic."Operation Pheonecia", which will work towards removing guns from the hands of abusers, is named after Pheonecia Ratliff of Canton, who was killed by her ex boyfriend after reporting him for domestic violence.Her mother, Suzanne Ratliff, offers advice to people facing domestic violence with our Kobee Vance.Segment 2:Major telecommunications conglomerate AT&T has agreed to provide the state of Mississippi records detailing how it used the almost $284 million it was paid by the federal government to expand internet access in the state. Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley said AT&T initially denied requests last week for records related to work it completed in the state to provide fixed wireless service access through the Connect America Fund.Earlier this week he spoke with our Desare Frazier, saying his office is charged with ensuring the work is done.Segment 3:A close eye is being turned to college campuses this fall as students are resuming in-person learning.College students usually exhibit a level of independence and freedom often not reserved for their K-12 peers, which has led to concerns from health officials over the potential for widespread community transmission of COVID-19 on university campuses.They worry the social element of college life could lead to behaviors and practices that could cause outbreaks. To combat this, university administrators are leaning on student leadership to develop and communicate safety plans. We talk to Sarah Helen Skelton of Mississippi State and Joshua Mannery of the University of Mississippi.
9/17/2020

9/17/20 - Flu Fighters | MADD 40th | Book Club: Ted Jackson

A coalition of health professionals are sending a united message to Mississippians to fight the flu.Then, Mothers Against Drunk Driving turns 40.We look back with their national President and discuss new initiatives the group is pursuing.Plus, in today’s book club … A remarkable story that began thirty years ago in Ted Jackson’s new book, “You Ought to Do A Story About Me.”Segment 1:A coalition of doctors and associations called 'Flu Fighters' is uniting to urge Mississippians to get their flu shot.Flu season begins in October, but doctors say now is the time to get a flu shot. Dr. Mark Horne, President of the Mississippi State Medical Association, tells our Kobee Vance viruses like the flu or coronavirus lower immunity to other illnesses, which could lead to severe outcomes for patients.Experts say that wearing masks and social distancing will help reduce transmission of the flu, but the virus still poses a serious risk because of the coronavirus.Dr. John Gaudet is President of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.He says young children and older adults are the most at risk for severe outcomes from the flu, and measures should be taken to avoid a "twindemic".Segment 2:Mothers Against Drunk Driving - more commonly known as MADD - is celebrating the 40th Anniversary of its founding.The organization has long-served to humanize the tragedies associated with impaired driving, and is releasing a new survey that measures the American public’s attitudes and knowledge about the impact of marijuana on traffic safety. According to the survey, one in eight U.S. adults admits to having driven under the influence of marijuana.President Helen Witty joins us to reflect on MADD's origins and how the group is facing the evolving issue of impaired driving.Segment 3:Ted Jackson has been a photojournalist with the New Orleans Times Picayune for the last 36 years.The Pulitzer Prize winner is a McComb native and alum of The University of Southern Mississippi.Thirty years ago he took a picture of a homeless man that led to a revelation, redemption and his new book, “You Ought to Do A Story About Me.”
9/16/2020

9/16/20 - Sally Comes Ashore | Jackson County EMA | Southern Remedy Health Minute | Mask Effectiveness

Sally comes ashore east of the Mississippi-Alabama state line. We examine the threats the storm still presents the coastal counties as it moves out.Then, Jackson county has been hammered with rain from Sally over the last 24 hours. We check in with their locale emergency manager.Plus, after a Southern Remedy Health Minute, state health officials weigh in on the effectiveness of masks.Segment 1:For days, Hurricane Sally has been threatening the Mississippi Coast as it churned in the waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico.Now, it appears that threat is over.Sally officially made landfall this morning near Gulf Shores, Alabama after strengthening overnight to a Category 2 storm with winds topping 100 miles per hour.But the slow pace of the storm could still require residents along the coast and in eastern Mississippi to be weather-aware.Segment 2:For the Mississippi Gulf Coast, hurricane season is a time of hyper-awareness and preparation.Jackson County in the southeastern corner of the state, was forecast to be hit by some of the most severe elements of Hurricane Sally when the state began preparing for the storm last weekend.But as the storm ticked east, the county was spared some from the worst.Still, as Emergency Services Director Earl Etheridge tells our Michael Guidry, the county was hit with winds strong enough to down trees and cause power outages.Segment 3:Southern Remedy Health MinuteSegment 4:Mississippians will be required to wear masks through the end of September following Governor Tate Reeves' decision to extended his pandemic-related executive order.The state has seen a downward trend in coronavirus cases since mandate was issued in August.State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers says mask-wearing could still be in integral part of fighting transmission even as vaccines are developed.State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs has long supported the wearing of masks.He says new studies are being conducted that examine micro-exposure - which could further prove the effectiveness of masks.