Mississippi: At least 9,378 cases of COVID-19, 421 deaths
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The state of Mississippi has reported 288 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to at least 9,378 as of Saturday. The state Department of Health website says the state's death toll from the virus rose to 421, an increase of 12 from the day before. It says about 1,150 of the patients and 185 of those who died were in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Such facilities account for about 12% of all cases but nearly 44% of the deaths. Many of their residents are particularly vulnerable because they're older than 65, have health problems, or both.
SCHOOL BUS CONTRACT
Columbus district ends contract with school bus company
COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — A school district in north Mississippi is ending its contract with a company that trains and organizes school bus drivers and provides part of the district’s bus fleet. Columbus Municipal School District was in the third year of a four-year contract with a company called Ecco Ride. The contract allowed the district to lease five buses from the company starting in 2017 and purchase each bus for $1 each after 10 years of use. With the contract ending, the company will keep its buses. The school district will still have 65 buses in its own fleet.
AP reporter and editor Ron Harrist dies in Mississippi
Retired Associated Press news editor Ron Harrist has died at the age of 77 of complications from leukemia. The Mississippi journalist had a four-decade career with the AP, covering Elvis Presley, black separatists, white supremacists and college football legends over the years. His leadership was key after Hurricane Katrina, and he was such a dedicated newsman that he wrote a first-person account of losing his home to a tornado in 1992. Former editor Charlie Mitchell at The Vickburg Post said Harrist knew every public official in every office in Mississippi, and that his fairness and accuracy earned their trust. His survivors include his wife and two sons.
Mississippi barbershops, salons and gyms can reopen Monday
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves says barbershops, salons and gyms can start reopening Monday but must take steps to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Reeves made the announcement Friday. He also extended his “safer at home” order by two more weeks, until May 25. Legislators have started discussing how Mississippi might spend some of the coronavirus relief money it is receiving from the federal government. They say some could be used to help small businesses hurt by the pandemic. The state Health Department says Mississippi has topped 9,000 confirmed cases and 400 deaths from the virus.
Southern LGBTQ history project recognized by archivists
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama-based program compiling the history of LGBT people in the Deep South is being recognized for its work. The Society of American Archivists is presenting is Archival Innovator Award to the Invisible Histories Project. The Birmingham-based nonprofit has been collecting and archiving material about the gay and lesbian community in the South since 2016. The project has located dozens of collections of LGBTQ historical documents and artifacts dating back to 1912. The group aims to make scholarship about LGBTQ people in the South more accessible.
CIVIL RIGHTS ICON-STREET NAME
City officials in Mississippi propose 'Ida B. Wells Street'