Mississippi Edition

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7/23/20 - Hospital System Under Stress | JPS Superintendent | Book Club: "Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe"

The continuing trend of high cases and hospitalizations keeps Mississippi’s health care system under stress.

Then, how the state’s second largest school system is preparing for the new school year.

Plus, in today’s Book Club, a real ghost town in Mississippi is the setting for “Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe.”

Segment 1:

Governor Tate Reeves is calling on hospitals to implement surge plans, to make room for coronavirus patients in their facilities. For the second consecutive day, the Mississippi Department of Health reported over 1,500 new cases of the coronavirus. High hospitalizations rates associated with the virus also continue to press the health care system. Governor Tate Reeves says the central region of the state only has two ICU beds available, which creates a real danger for anyone in need of critical medical care.

As the state inches closer to crisis state, Health Officer Dr. Dobbs is transparent about what will happen to the level of care if hospitals are pushed to that extent.

Segment 2:

Reaching every corner of the capital city, Jackson Public Schools is the state's second-largest school district. With over fifty school sites and nearly 24,000 scholars, the district has many factors to consider when preparing for the new school year. Superintendent Dr. Errick Greene says his team's plan is based on feedback from the community, and the health safety guidelines of public officials. 

Segment 3:

About 40 miles north of Meridian is a ghost town called Electric Mills. There’s not much left except some overgrown sidewalks and pillars. In today’s Book Club, author, Jo Watson Hackl, takes readers to a fictionalized version of Electric Mills in her adventure, “Smack Dab in the Middle of Maybe.”

More Episodes

11/23/2020

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.
11/20/2020

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.