Statewide burn ban, paratroopers injured at Camp Shelby, and more MS news.

At the request and advice of the Mississippi Forestry Commission (MFC), Gov. Phil Bryant has signed a proclamation initiating a statewide burn ban, effective immediately. The burn ban will remain in place until further notice. “Much of the state is experiencing significant drought conditions,” said MFC state forester Russell Bozeman. “Almost half of Mississippi’s 82 counties have implemented burn bans due to the extremely dry conditions.” From September 1 – September 30, MFC wildland firefighters responded to and suppressed 239 wildfires that burned approximately 4,200 acres throughout the state. These fires have threatened hundreds of homes and buildings, destroying seven. “With the current drought conditions and little rainfall in the forecast, we appreciate Gov. Bryant implementing this statewide burn ban in order protect the public,” Bozeman said. “The MFC will continue to monitor conditions and provide the public with updates on the burn ban as needed.” Under a statewide burn ban, outdoor burning of any kind is prohibited. Persons caught violating a burn ban can be fined, as well as be held responsible for any damages caused from a fire. To report a wildfire, call 911 or contact MFC’s Central Dispatch at 877-MFC-FIRE.

Despite taking a huge hit in tourism because of the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway this summer, casino owners along the Mississippi Gulf Coast are reporting better than expected revenue. According to the Mississippi Gaming Commission, gaming revenue grew by more than 2-percent compared to last summer. However, revenues for the month of August showed a drop from 108-million in 2018 to just under 99-million for this year.

Nearly two dozen paratroopers from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson are injured following a military exercise in Mississippi. An Army official at Camp Shelby says it's not yet clear exactly what went wrong during the night jump that injured at least 20 paratroopers last night. None of the injuries are life-threatening. A spokesperson says members of the 25th Infantry Division out of Alaska were conducting night jumps near Camp Shelby when the wind blew several members of the unit who ended up "in the trees." 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded a grant worth 15-and-a-half-million dollars to four teams of scientists to study marine life in the Gulf of Mexico. One of the teams is based in Mississippi, while the others are in Florida and Alabama. Mississippi State University will receive three-point-nine-million to research three endangered bird species.

The Homeland Security Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives will hold a meeting in Mississippi next month. The topic of discussion will be the 680 people who were rounded up and detained in ICE raids at 7 chicken processing plants in August. Congressman Bennie Thompson of Jackson, a member of the committee, says the meeting will be held on November 7, either in Jackson or Canton.

It didn't happen until the final weeks of the campaign, but Tate Reeves has finally gotten the endorsement he's been hoping for. President Trump says Reeves has his unconditional support in his quest to become Mississippi's next governor. Trump's endorsement came in a tweet in which he called Reeves' battle against Democrat Jim Hood a "very important" election.

It may be another day of record-breaking hot weather in Mississippi. Yesterday, Meridian hit 102 and Jackson and Tupelo reached 99 with all of those highs the warmest ever for the month of October. Most locations will be back in the upper 90s today and forecasters say a few triple digit highs are possible.

The Major League Baseball Playoffs are underway and the Houston Astros are going to win the World Series. A mattress salesman in Mississippi named Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale is so sure of it, he's bet $3.5 million on the 'Stros.Mack stands to net about $7.7 million if Houston goes all the way, which many experts expect them to do.His single bet is believed to be the largest wager ever placed in Mississippi. But if he wins, he may not be keeping all of the money.Mack has tied his bet into a promotion for his business. If anyone spends $3,000 or more on a purchase at his stores, he will refund the full amount if the Astros win.The sportsbook would pay out -- and then he’d have to pay all those customers who spent money in his stores. But, as an Astros fan, “Mattress Mack” would be cool with that. (Houston Chronicle)

Life’s a beach … A new study has found that people who live on the coast are happier than those who don’t live near the ocean. In fact, researchers found that those who live within a half-mile of the beach are up to 40% less likely to show signs of mental health issues. (Market Watch)

Speaking of being happier … go see a show. According to an Australian study, regularly attending concerts makes us happier. And apparently, it’s not just the music. Seem what makes us happy is the “communal” aspect of going to a concert. (Diply)

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For more of the days top local and national news, here's behind-the-scenes video of this Oct 3rd edition of "Gulf Coast Mornings with Kelly Bennett and Uncle Henry":

 
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