Employees at the State Department of Health are figuring out how to do their jobs with less money. The reality of budget cuts hits the department after more than 80 employees have been let go due to decreases in Medicaid money. Dr. Mary Currier is head of the Health Department. She told MPB's Mark Rigsby the latest budget cuts equal almost $4 million Currier said this could mean longer waits for services from restaurant health inspections to determining which tanning beds in the state are safe.
Many schools in Mississippi are facing a financial crisis. Lawmakers have passed a budget of level funding for public education for another year, and local taxes are not enough to support schools. That leaves many relying on the federal government for funding to improve educational outcomes. But as MPB’s Paul Boger reports, Mississippi schools may not be getting the amount of money from the feds that they need.
Six historically black colleges and universities in the Mississippi Delta are taking part in an initiative to promote interest in entrepreneurship. The Delta Regional Authority -- or DRA -- is teaming up with the Allen Entrepreneurial Institute in Georgia, and Mississippi Valley State University. The goal is to increase the number of minority-owned businesses in the Delta. Chris Masingill is with DRA. He told MPB's Desare Frazier the initiative will work to keep talented students in Mississippi and help grow the economy.
Secretary of State Delbert Hoseman is tired of thieves stealing copper from Mississippi farmers. To help prevent and track copper theft, the Secretary of State's office set up the Mississippi Delta Agricultural Theft Task Force. Hoseman says the system lets law enforcement and scrap yards work together to track and -- ultimately -- eliminate theft of copper wiring from equipment on the farm. Hoseman told us the system could strike a big blow against a type of theft that hits farmers hard.