Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:

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May 16

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal on mosquito and tick-related diseases:

Now is the time for Mississippians to take preventive measures to combat mosquito and tick-related diseases that will be here before we know it during the summer and early fall.

Too often, we see these insects as no more than a common nuisance that can interrupt a nice day out with family or friends. The reality, however, is that certain mosquitoes and ticks can carry serious and deadly diseases, making the need for prevention all the more vital.

Unfortunately, the number of mosquito and tick-related illnesses are increasing in Mississippi and the rest of the country, as reported by the Daily Journal's Michaela Gibson Morris.

In a report released earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control found the number of cases of disease from mosquito, tick and flea bites has more than tripled between 2004 and 2016.

During that time, West Nile Virus spread across the country. The first outbreaks for Chikungunya and Zika viruses occurred in the United States. Seven new tick-borne germs have been identified in the United States.

Between 2004 and 2016, Mississippi had counted 1,137 confirmed cases of mosquito-borne illness, according to the CDC report. The most common mosquito-borne illness in Mississippi has been West Nile Virus. 2012 was the high-water mark with 247 confirmed cases and five deaths. In 2017, there were 63 confirmed cases with two deaths.

The state health department also confirmed cases of Chikungunya and Zika, but those illnesses were associated with travel to areas where the diseases were actively transmitted.

Over the 12-year CDC report period, Mississippi had fewer tick-borne cases: 539, a little less than half of the mosquito-related count. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever has long occurred in Mississippi and remains the most common tick-borne illness. Between 2015 and 2017, provisional monthly disease reports show between 94 and 161 confirmed cases annually of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, exceeding the number of confirmed West Nile cases.

Mississippi has seen less of Lyme disease and its famous bullseye rash.

Tick-borne illnesses are treatable, but they should be taken seriously. People who develop a fever, especially with a rash, after being bitten by a tick, should seek medical attention.

Surveillance at home, officials said, remains extremely important, especially during the summer and early fall, which is the most active time for mosquito and tick-related diseases in Mississippi.

Precautions suggested by state health department officials include removing sources of standing water, especially after rainfall, wearing protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and pants, during peak times from dusk until dawn and using a recommended mosquito repellent according to manufacturer's directions.

We urge Mississippians to take heed of these instructions and be prepared for what could be a rough season. Taking these preventive measures could prove to be lifesaving.

Online: http://www.djournal.com

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May 11

The Sun Herald says parents shouldn't have to worry about their kids at school:

The response of Jackson County School District officials to a video that clearly shows a special needs student being abused by a teacher and driver on a school bus has been, at best, inadequate.

Superintendent Barry Amacker, his underlings and the members of the Jackson County School Board have failed the children of the district and their parents. They have violated the trust placed in them by every parent who sends a child to school expecting that child will learn in a safe environment.

Parents are properly outraged. Too many Jackson County parents knew nothing of the abuse until Sun Herald reporter Margaret Baker uncovered it.

The Mississippi Department of Education said it did not receive a report of the abuse as required by law.

We see a pattern developing here — a pattern continuing to develop with an attempt to muzzle the parents.

They want to speak to the board. But Amaker said they didn't follow school district policy, which says, in part, that "every attempt should be made to resolve the problem(s) at the lowest level."

Under normal circumstances, we would agree that not every problem or dispute should be brought to the board.

These are no ordinary circumstances.

It is clear from the comments made by Jackson County School District parents and the petition they've started to pressure the board to remove Amacker that trust in the district is slipping away.

Board members Kenneth A. Fountain, Troy E. Frisbie, Glenn A. Dickerson, J. Keith Lee, and Amy M. Dobson should give parents a chance to speak their minds. They should listen to their concerns, then do all that they can to convince them they've been heard, the problem has been recognized, and they will do whatever it takes to try to prevent a recurrence.

When it comes to children, Mississippi perennially turns up on the "worst" end of state rankings. Its care for foster children was in shambles until a federal court stepped in and demanded improvements.

And, as Baker reported, Mississippi's law governing treatment of special needs kids is weak.

Parents have every right to demand change. And they have every right to demand the school district listen.

We hope school officials reverse course and allow all parents to speak in an orderly fashion. It will be tough for the board to listen but listen they must. They must feel these parents' pain.

Online: http://www.sunherald.com

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May 15

The Greenwood Commonwealth says the state's transportation commissioner is right about longer rigs:

Dick Hall is a person worth listening to when it comes to transportation issues not just in Mississippi but across the country.

The Republican transportation commissioner was one of the early officials to sound the alarm about the state's shortchanging of road and bridge maintenance. He was and still is one of the few in the GOP to buck his party's ideology and call for an increase in the fuel tax to pay for addressing the problem.

He is also warning about a proposal, still alive in Congress, to increase the weight and length limits on the 18-wheelers that drive the nation's highways.

In an op-ed published on May 13 in the Clarion Ledger of Jackson, Hall says that longer double-trailer trucks would increase the number of driving fatalities and accelerate the deterioration of roads and bridges.

He is absolutely correct.

Such super-long rigs will reduce visibility and pack more force into any collision they have. Legalizing them would be a recipe for disaster.

Online: http://www.gwcommonwealth.com