Hurricane Dorian is likely to be packing a much bigger punch when it comes on shore this weekend. The storm is moving over open water after skirting Puerto Rico and sweeping over the U.S. Virgin Islands on Wednesday. The National Hurricane Center says Dorian's path over nothing but open water will build it up to a major Category 3 or Category 4 hurricane before it makes landfall late Sunday or early Monday. Forecasters say it's too early to know where the storm will come on shore. It could hit the mainland anywhere from Miami to south Georgia. A state of emergency has already been declared in Florida.
As Hurricane Dorian heads toward Florida on a path that will likely take it into the Gulf of Mexico early next week, the Mississippi coast today pauses to remember Hurricane Katrina. Folks at the Ground Zero Hurricane Museum in Waveland, Mississippi say even though it's been 14 years since the storm hit, the scars remain. There's a memorial service planned today at the museum and in various cities all along the coast.
State House Speaker Philip Gunn says he will continue to call for the Mississippi state flag to be re-designed. Speaking to the Rotary Club of Columbus on Wednesday, Gunn said he believes the flag has become the point of offense that needs to be removed. Gunn became the first state level elected official to call for the flag's removal in 2015 following the shooting deaths of nine black people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Officials at the University of Mississippi have announced they will move a statue of a Confederate soldier to another location on the school's campus. An email, sent out by Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks on Wednesday, said that the statue would be moved from its present location at center of the campus, to the Confederate cemetery, which is also on the campus. Sparks called it a more suitable location. The decision must first be approved by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
Tate Reeves kept a low profile the day after he won the Republican nomination for governor. But his Democratic opponent in November was busy campaigning. Jim Hood yesterday visited the Jackson Medical Mall to talk about his plan for expanding health care for the working poor. Reeves dismisses the idea as more Obamacare. But Hood says he won't let Reeves get away with throwing labels around like he did during the Republican runoff campaign against former Chief Justice Bill Waller Junior. Hood says he's not a judge, he's a prosecutor-- and he'll make sure voters get the facts. Reeves says conservatives in Mississippi don't want an expansion of Medicaid.
A Mississippi Appeals Court Judge has been nominated for a federal judgeship. The announcement from the White House Wednesday that President Trump has nominated Judge Cory Wilson to become a U.S. district judge for the southern half of Mississippi. It is not clear which vacancy Wilson would fill. There are now two judges on the federal bench who have taken senior status. Wilson recently joined the state appeals court after being appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant.
Mississippi's federal prosecutors have focused some attention on human trafficking. U.S. Attorneys Mike Hurst and Chad Lamar were on the Southern Miss campus yesterday sponsoring a training session for law enforcement, government agencies and non-profits. They say it's a growing problem in Mississippi and across the country. And a statewide council is being established to coordinate the fight against human trafficking.
A Labor Department crackdown on employee pay violations has now touched a health care company in southeast Mississippi. Maxem Health operates urgent care clinics in Petal and Picayune. And the Labor Department says the company incorrectly classified nurse practitioners as independent contractors to avoid paying them overtime, failed to combine hours worked at the two locations for overtime purposes and didn't pay employees for working through their lunch breaks. The employees will now receive a total of more than 147-thousand dollars in wages.
The official start of Alligator Hunting Season in Mississippi is tomorrow. State Wildlife officials say they expect high participation this year due to above normal rainfall and favorable navigation conditions in rivers. Hunters participating must obtain a license from the state. The season runs from August 30th through September 9th.
For their unique take on the days top stories in more detail, here's behind-the-scenes video of this Aug. 29th edition of "Gulf Coast Mornings with Kelly Bennett and Uncle Henry":