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Magnolia Mornings: April 18, 2024

Magnolia Mornings: April 18, 2024

By: Magnolia Tribune - April 18, 2024

Magnolia morning
  • Important state and national stories, market and business news, sports and entertainment, delivered in quick-hit fashion to start your day informed.

In Mississippi

1. USDA approves Emergency Forest Restoration Program for all 82 Mississippi counties

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) has announced that all 82 Mississippi counties have been approved to accept applications for the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP) to address extensive private lands forest losses and damage due to severe drought and related insect infestation. 

The EFRP signup period runs from April 15, 2024, to August 15, 2024.  

EFRP is a cost-share program that provides financial and technical assistance to owners of nonindustrial private forestland (NIPF) to restore NIPF damaged by a qualifying natural disaster event.    

2. Hyde-Smith seeks HHS Secretary assistance for rural hospitals

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) on Tuesday sought the assistance of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to determine whether some Mississippi hospitals at risk of closure could be enrolled in a demonstration program that would improve their reimbursement rates. The discussion came during a hearing to review the FY2025 HHS budget requests.

Becerra said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) demonstration program can be a “lifeline” by using alternative payment models for rural hospitals facing financial constraints with the Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System.  Hospitals in Columbia, Meridian, and Picayune have participated in this program.

National News & Foreign Policy

1. Israel’s Netanyahu says the nation will do “whatever it needs to defend itself”

Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo from Israeli Government Press Office)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left no doubt in a statement on Wednesday, regarding what his Jewish country might do should current tensions with Iran escalate further, as reported by Fox News.

“Israel will do whatever it needs to defend itself,” Netanyahu said, adding, “”They have all sorts of suggestions and advice. I appreciate that. But I want to be clear: Our decisions we will make ourselves.”

The “they” Netanyahu is referring to British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, both of whom met with the Israeli Prime Minister on Wednesday.

As Fox News noted, the ministers discussed actions Israel could pursue to retaliate for Iran’s unprecedented, direct attack on Israel over the weekend.

2. House Speaker Johnson moves foreign aid bills forward

Speaker-designee Mike Johnson (behind the podium) flanked by members of the House Republican Conference as they bow in prayer following his nomination as Speaker. (Photo X)

NBC News reported Wednesday that U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson rolled out three bills Wednesday to provide assistance to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan, with the hope of holding final votes on Saturday. Johnson also said there would be a border security bill.

“The bills represent a major test of Johnson’s ability to navigate a thicket of political and global challenges with a wafer-thin majority. And it comes as Johnson, R-La., faces a serious threat to his gavel from Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Thomas Massie, R-Ky,” NBC News reported.

NBC News notes that “multiple House conservatives pushed back immediately on social media Wednesday after Johnson’s message went out, complaining that the border measures weren’t directly tied to Ukraine funding.”

Sports & Entertainment

1. JSU wins big in midweek contest

(Photo from Jackson State Athletics)

Jackson State put up 9 runs in the first inning on their way to an 18-1 victory over Tougaloo on Tuesday.

The Tigers, 24-11 on the year and 8-6 in conference play, face Alabama State in a weekend series starting on Thursday. The teams will meet in a key four-game Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) series.

2. Miss. State football fans to get first look at team under new Head Coach

The Mississippi State Athletic Department says Bulldog fans will get a first look at “SHOWTIME at STATE” under new head football coach Jeff Lebby on April 20 at Davis Wade Stadium.

The annual Maroon and White Spring Football Game will kick off Saturday’s festivities at 1 p.m.

New and engaging programming will highlight the event and feature on-field interviews, special guest appearances by former players and in-game video elements. The format for this year’s game will feature offense vs. defense with a creative scoring system.

The game will also be streamed on SEC Network+ via the ESPN App for those unable to attend.

Markets & Business

1. DOJ plan to file antitrust suit against Live Nation, Ticketmaster

According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Justice Department is preparing to file an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation, the Ticketmaster parent, in the coming weeks that “would allege the nation’s biggest concert promoter has leveraged its dominance in a way that undermined competition for ticketing live events, according to people familiar with the matter.”

WSJ reports that the company has “faced accusations of exorbitant ticket fees, flawed customer service and anticompetitive practices from lawmakers, regulators and state attorneys general” and critics of the merger between the two say “it has stifled competition in ticketing and that the company should be broken up.”

2. Evans promoted to President of Ramey Agency

Business Wire reported on Wednesday that The Ramey Agency, a brand strategy and performance marketing agency for premium brands located in Jackson, announced the promotion of Erick Evans to President of the firm.

In 2022, Evans became a partner and acquired a minority ownership stake in the company, alongside Michelle Hill and current owner/partners Chris Ray and Edward Woods.

Evans is in his 16th year at Ramey. After attending the University of Mississippi, he joined the agency and grew within the Client Services team, successfully leading national and global client relationships across numerous industry verticals.

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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.