Tuesday, April 21, 2015  SUBSCRIBE   
Looking back: Kinsey Collection tells African-American stories at Mississippi State
On April 3, 1853, a 16-year-old girl named Frances carried a letter in her hands. In part, it read, "She does not know that she is to be sold, I couldn't tell her: I own all her family and the leave-taking would be so distressing that I could not. Please say to her that that was my reason, and that I was compelled to sell her to pay for the horses that I have bought, and to build my stable." The letter is among 70 items currently in the John Grisham Room of Mississippi State University's Mitchell Memorial Library. The exhibit is called "African American Treasures," and it'll be on display until June 20. "This is the work of the Kinsey family, Bernard and Shirley Kinsey," said Stephen Cunetto, the library's administrator of systems. "This has been their life's work."
Mississippi State Extension Service offering courses to inmates
A group of Chickasaw County inmates prepare for a new life on the outside. Chickasaw County Extension Specialist Scott Cagle is offering up courses that could benefit inmates when they are released. They include forestry management. "I think it will help keep down the recidivism rate and keep offenders out once they get out," said Warden Brand Huffman.
Kellex Seating expanding, adding 75 jobs in Tupelo
An Ohio-based company has taken over operations at the former Tupelo Manufacturing facility, ramping up production and adding employees. Kellex Seating, which makes commercial upholstered seating, is investing $600,000 and said it will create 75 jobs. Mississippi is providing $200,000 for infrastructure improvements, while Tupelo is contributing a $20,000 match. The Mississippi Development Authority said workers will make $30,800 a year, on average. "Mississippi's furniture manufacturing sector has been extremely prosperous in recent years, and I know Kellex will find the competitive advantages needed for success in today's demanding economy in north Mississippi," said Gov. Phil Bryant.
$134M proposed for 10 BP-funded oil spill recovery projects
State and federal officials overseeing $1 billion provided by BP PLC to spur recovery from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill said Monday that they're proposing another 10 projects totaling $134 million. About $700 million to repair environmental damage and enhance recreational access has been allocated previously, although some of that work has yet to begin. The latest projects announced on the fifth anniversary of the spill are preliminary, with officials planning to reach a final agreement with the oil company later this year. If approved, they would bring total spending so far to $832 million.
Two more deaths may be linked to spice
At least two deaths in Hancock County over the weekend are possibly linked to spice, and the state has had at least seven deaths possibly associated with the drug. "It's hard to know for sure at this point," said State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs. "I can't speak to the two most recent but we're looking at possibly seven associated deaths." According to the Mississippi Department of Health, there have been 317 overdoses on spice since April 2. Spice can cause severe agitation, hyperactivity, anxiety, high blood pressure, racing heartbeat, muscle spasms, seizures, tremors, hallucinations, psychotic episodes, coma, muscle breakdown and kidney failure.
New lawsuit filed against Mississippi lethal injection drugs
A new federal lawsuit has been filed against the Mississippi Department of Corrections challenging the use of compounded drugs in executions. The lawsuit, filed late last week by the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center in New Orleans, says Mississippi is one of the last remaining states to use compounded pentobarbital before injecting a death row inmate with a paralytic agent and potassium chloride. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Mississippi death row inmates Richard Jordan and Ricky Chase. Jordan could be next in line for execution if the U.S. Supreme Court turns down his appeal. His case is scheduled for conference Friday before the U.S. Supreme Court.
1st District candidates mix it up in debate
In a spirited debate that covered a wide range of issues, 12 of the 13 candidates seeking to represent Mississippi's 1st District Congressional seat spoke directly to a packed house Monday night just three weeks from election day. The debate at the Link Centre sponsored by the Lee County Republican Club drew all the candidates except Memphis emergency room doctor and Pontotoc native Starner Jones, who had a work conflict. Another candidate, Itawamba County prosecuting attorney Chip Mills, left after his opening comments, saying he had previously committed to another event. The debate was the first time that many of the candidates running in the May 12 special election to replace the late Congressman Alan Nunnelee participated in a debate.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate makes stop in Pine Belt
Madison attorney and Democratic candidate for Mississippi governor Vicki Slater campaigned in the Pine Belt Monday, telling folks that incumbent Governor Phil Bryant's failure of the state was part of her motivation for getting in the race. Slater said the number of uninsured people rose since Bryant was elected in 2011, and while jobs had been added, those numbers did not increase due to job losses. Slater is from the Jackson area and a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi.
New study suggests a 'healthier' Congress
The new Congress is showing early signs that lawmakers are working more and allowing more input from both parties in the Senate, a new report finds. "I think it's fair to say we've made a little progress this year," said former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, a cofounder of the Bipartisan Policy Center, which is examining the workings of Congress. The center on Monday will launch the Healthy Congress Index, a new quarterly report tracking various metrics on the legislative branch. Former Senate Republican leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., who co-chaired the Commission on Political Reform with Daschle, said they want the index to serve both lawmakers, who can use it to self-evaluate, and the public, so they can hold Congress accountable.
Bird flu found in Iowa; up to 5.3 million chickens to be destroyed
H5N2 avian influenza, or bird flu, has reared its head at a commercial egg-laying facility in northwest Iowa that houses as many as 5.3 million chickens, according to state officials. All the birds in the Osceola County facility will be euthanized, according to a statement by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The exact number of birds at the facility is unclear, department spokesman Dustin Vande Hoef said, "but it can house as many as 5.3 million." State officials said they had quarantined the premises. The birds will be destroyed over the next week, Vande Hoef said. "Birds from the flock will not enter the food system," according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Millennials are poor, in debt, and happy with their finances
Millennials are more optimistic about their finances than any other age group, according to a recent survey, despite weathering a student debt crisis and the worse recession in 80 years to start their young working lives. Millennials reported more confidence in their job security and savings than other age groups. Workers age 50 and older were the most pessimistic about their finances. Just 13 percent of that age group reported being better off financially than they were a year ago.
Coahoma Community College health sciences building dedicated to Mason
Robert G. "Brick" Mason was hailed not only for his nearly four decades of service to Coahoma Community College, but also his contributions to the Coahoma and surrounding counties during a special dedication ceremony for CCC's Allied Health Training Center. The nearly 31,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Allied Health Training Facility was named the Robert G. "Brick" Mason Health Sciences Building in honor of Mason, who has served on CCC's Board of trustees for 36 years. CCC faculty, staff, alumni, community leaders and friends of the college gathered in the lobby of the building for a dedication ceremony Thursday afternoon.
U. of Florida hopes for $20M from state based on performance
University of Florida is poised to get the largest share of a $100 million pot of performance-based funding from the Legislature, based on its high score on a 10-point matrix used to evaluate graduation rates, employment and other indicators of student success. UF scored 44 out of a possible 50 points on the performance scale, the highest score of all the institutions in the State University System. "My understanding is that, based on its highest score, UF would receive a proportional share of a $100 million allocation currently being considered by the Legislature," UF Provost Joe Glover said.
Male juvenile charged with murder in U. of Kentucky student's shooting death
Lexington police have arrested a third person, a male juvenile, in last week's fatal shooting of a University of Kentucky student. The 17-year-old, whose name was not released, was charged Monday with murder, robbery and tampering with physical evidence in the death of Jonathan Krueger, according to a news release from city spokeswoman Susan Straub. He was arrested in west Lexington, Straub said. District Judge T. Bruce Bell scheduled preliminary hearings May 7 for both men. Krueger, a junior at UK, was shot about 2 a.m. Friday at East Maxwell Street and Transylvania Park during the course of a robbery. His death was the city's fifth of six homicides this year.
Bats die after getting trapped in Texas A&M Rec Center natatorium
The search for a new home in Aggieland has proven to be deadly for a portion of Kyle Field's displaced bat population. Hundreds of Mexican free-tailed bats found a temporary home two weeks ago in Texas A&M University's Rec Center natatorium, but a weeklong closure of the facility to remove them has the winged mammals searching for a new residence once more. "It's an ongoing process to make sure that we provide a safe facility for all of our guests and be mindful to not harm the bats, if possible, because they're trying to get out," Rec Center Associate Facilities Director James Nash said.
U. of Missouri police make arrest in groping case
University of Missouri police arrested an 18-year-old man on suspicion of third-degree assault for allegedly being among a group that groped two women and tried to kiss them early Saturday morning near Memorial Union. Luke K. Kuol was arrested about 12:52 p.m. and released on a summons, MU police Capt. Brian Weimer said. Kuol is a Columbia resident but not an MU student. According to a Clery release the university sent out Saturday morning, two female students told police they were walking near Memorial Union about 12:30 a.m. when two men approached them, grabbed them and tried to kiss them before more men ran across the street to join them. The group, numbering six men in total, reportedly groped the women before a police car pulled up and scared them off, the release said.
After recent MU Alerts, police captain says student safety is priority
MU Alert and the campus emergency notification system have faced criticism following attempts to inform students, faculty, staff and parents about separate criminal incidents on Wednesday night and Sunday morning. University of Missouri Police Capt. Brian Weimer said the goal on both nights was to inform students, faculty, staff and the community quickly and accurately to keep the community safe. "The No. 1 thing is that we're here for student safety, and faculty, staff, and our community," Weimer said. "We're always looking to take feedback after something like that to improve. We know we don't have all the answers, so we're always open." MU uses Blackboard Connect as a third-party notification system to alert students, staff and faculty, Weimer said. Notifications are available through text message, phone calls and emails.
Colleges Respond to Racist Incidents as if Their Chief Worry Is Bad PR, Studies Find
College administrations react to hate crimes, hate speech, and other high-profile incidents of bias by focusing mainly on repairing their institution's reputation, two new studies conclude. The administrations' responses generally paper over underlying prejudices in the campus culture, leaving the victims at risk of further harm in the future, argue the researchers, who presented the studies' findings on Monday in Chicago, at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association. The second study, based on interviews with members of colleges' bias-response teams, found that most of the teams spend relatively little time on their primary stated functions -- trying to educate the campus community about bias -- and instead devote their efforts mainly to punishing and condemning the perpetrators of specific acts.
Study measures causes of gender gap in computer science
Efforts to shrink the gender gap in computer science would benefit from a better understanding of who pursues computer science and why. That's the basis of a paper, "Anatomy of an Enduring Gender Gap: The Evolution of Women's Participation in Computer Science," which analyzed students' interest in computer science over a 40-year period. The paper was presented Monday at the American Educational Research Association's 2015 annual meeting. The authors found wide fluctuations in students' interest in computer science between 1971 and 2011 but a steady underrepresentation of women.
For Those Without One, College Degrees Are Seen as Important but Too Expensive
In the eyes of Americans without college degrees, higher education seems necessary but too expensive. That is one of the main takeaways in a report released on Monday by the American Enterprise Institute, "High Costs, Uncertain Benefits: What Do Americans Without a College Degree Think About Postsecondary Education?" The report was based on a survey of more than 1,500 people who lack college degrees about their perception of a college education. It echoed some of the findings of a public-opinion survey, released last week, of broader views of higher education.
Colleges stay away from controversy with this year's commencement speakers
When Rutgers University invited Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. secretary of state, to speak at its commencement ceremony last year, a group of students protested the choice by staging a sit-in on campus. Rutgers's faculty council passed a resolution urging the university to rescind its invitation to Rice, calling her a "war criminal." The university stood by its decision, but Rice withdrew from the ceremony. This year's commencement speaker is not likely to spur such a debate. In fact, the pick may have been partly the result of a student-led social media campaign making use of the hashtag #BowTie4BillNye. And indeed, Bill Nye, the bow tie-wearing science guy many of the graduates grew up watching on television, will speak at the ceremony. Last year, Rutgers was one of a number of colleges that saw commencement speakers back out following student and faculty protests. Although the speakers withdrew and the institutions didn't rescind their invites, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education took to referring to that spring as "disinvitation season." This year, those same colleges seem to be playing it safe.
Why law schools are losing relevance -- and how they're trying to win it back
Law schools across the country are facing their lowest enrollment numbers in years, causing some to slash their budgets and revamp their programs in an effort to attract students worried about finding a job in a diminished legal industry. Just over 41,000 people applied to go to an accredited U.S. law school in the most recent admissions cycle, compared with 77,000 in 2010 and 90,000 in 2004. Going to law school used to feel like a no-brainer for college graduates seeking financial security. But that calculus has changed, with many firms that suffered during the recession still struggling to fully recover. The stark realities of the legal industry have been a wake-up call to law schools, said Blake Morant, dean of the George Washington University Law School.

Mississippi State's Road Dawgs 2015 Tour consists of 10 stops
The biggest names in Mississippi State athletics will begin traveling across the southeast on May 4 as part of the Road Dawgs 2015 Tour. The tour will consist of 10 stops beginning with Meridian, and including Grenada, Olive Branch, Biloxi, Natchez, Birmingham, Greenville, Tupelo, Vicksburg and Houston, Texas. The annual fan-friendly event is a collaboration by the MSU Bulldog Club, MSU Alumni Association and local alumni chapters. Head coaches Dan Mullen, Ben Howland and Vic Schaefer, Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz will be touring the region on various dates.
Mike Slive 'delighted' with SEC basketball coaching hires
Mike Slive crossed 22nd street with a smile on his face. The Alabama Sports Hall of Fame is across from his office in the Southeastern Conference's building located in Alabama's largest city. The league's commissioner spoke to media publicly for the first time since the 2014 SEC Media Days on Monday. As his retirement approaches -- July 31 -- Slive has much to be happy about. Slive wouldn't comment on the financial gains, but moves around the league provide plenty of evidence within the last year of the money spread across the 14 schools. Mississippi State hired Ben Howland and agreed to pay him $2 million a year. He was the first of a handful of big-name hires made by SEC basketball programs including Rick Barnes (Tennessee) and Avery Johnson (Alabama). The movement began last year with the addition of Bruce Pearl at Auburn. "I was delighted about the new coaching hires," Slive said. This offseason, schools opened their checkbooks to improve the league with better coaching.
Slive: Still SEC boss for final 3 months after cancer
Mike Slive made it clear he's still the boss of the Southeastern Conference, even with his successor seated next to him. The outgoing SEC commissioner said it will be "business as usual" the final three months of his tenure after undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatment for prostate cancer, along with back surgery. Slive stressed he won't hand over the reins of the powerhouse league to his longtime No. 2 man, Greg Sankey, until Aug. 1. The 74-year-old Slive is retiring on July 31 but will still have a voice in SEC business, saying he will remain in Birmingham and be a consultant to the conference. Slive has remained mostly out of the limelight since announcing in October that he had cancer and setting a retirement date.
LOGAN LOWERY (OPINION): Bulldogs will go as far as Prescott leads them
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Logan Lowery writes: "Can Mississippi State recreate the gridiron magic that carried it to No. 1 for five straight weeks in 2014? I'm asked some variation of that question on a daily basis. While the answer lies as much with other teams within the SEC West as it does with the Bulldogs, MSU showed signs this spring that it will have a talented team that has the ability to contend again in the fall. The Bulldogs return the league's top quarterback, fifth-year senior Dak Prescott. He's the unquestioned leader of the team and they'll go as far as his rocket right arm and powerful legs can take them. ...Last season was arguably the best Mississippi State has ever had and will be a tough act to follow. But if the spring is any indication, even better days may still lie ahead."

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