One of Mississippi's only public boarding schools for academically gifted students is cutting enrollment due to budget constraints. Officials with the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science say flat funding in recent years forced them to cut enrollment by twelve percent. Germain McConnell is the school’s director. He told MPB's Paul Boger the school needs another $1.5 million to bring enrollment back.
After four drowning deaths in two weeks in the state and pools opening for the summer, Mississippians are paying more attention to swimming safety. The drowning rate for African-Americans is much higher than whites in the state. This is one of the reasons Barnett Taylor directs a swimming program in Jackson supported by the group "100 Black Men". Taylor told MPB's Mark Rigsby the program teaches 400 kids each year.
Officials on the Gulf Coast are appealing a FEMA decision not to grant federal relief to the area. On April 28, as much as 10 inches of rain fell in one day in parts of Harrison County. This prompted flooding that officials say was the worst since Hurricane Katrina. To help pay for disaster relief and clean up, Harrison County emergency managers applied for money from FEMA -- but that request was denied. Rupert Lacy -- head of emergency management in Harrison County -- told MPB's Evelina Burnett that decision is being appealed.
As the state prepares for disaster this hurricane season, volunteers play an important role. In addition to the resources found at the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, volunteer agencies and groups step in to provide assistance where Mississippians need it. MPB's Evelina Burnett spoke with Lee Smithson -- director of MEMA. He told her volunteers are a vital part of the disaster relief effort in the state.