Friday, March 6, 2015  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Moe's Southwest Grill opening on Mississippi State campus
Over in Starkville, a Moe's Southwest Grill is opening on Mississippi State University's campus. It will be located at the north end of Perry Hall, according to the university's Division of Student Affairs, and Aramark, the campus food provider. It will open by the school's fall semester. Moe's was founded 15 years ago in Atlanta. It is a fast-casual restaurant franchise serving a wide variety of fresh, made-to-order Southwest fare, according to its corporate website. There are more than 550 Moe's in the U.S. The closest one to the Golden Triangle is in Tuscaloosa, for now.
 
Most Americans support raising tobacco sales age to 21
More than two thirds of U.S. adults, including a majority of smokers, support raising the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21, according to a 2013 survey. "Our surveys have found that the American public strongly supports tobacco policies such as those that restrict where people can smoke and that raise tobacco taxes, so we were not so much surprised to find that most adults overall supported raising the age of sale to 21, but were interested to find both the majority of smokers and of adults ages 18-20 supported raising the age of sale," Dr. Robert C. McMillen told Reuters Health. McMillen, of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Mississippi State University in Starkville, and his coauthors used the 2013 results from the annual Social Climate Survey of Tobacco Control, which included responses from more than 3,000 randomly selected adults representative of the national population.
 
AHFA, Franklin Furniture Institute hosting summit at Mississippi State
The Franklin Furniture Institute and the American Home Furnishings Alliance will hold a joint Manufacturing Summit March 18 on the campus of Mississippi State University here. "Focus on the Future" is a day-long program dedicated to examining the future of furniture manufacturing in the United States. The keynote presenter, Harold Sirkin, is an authority on the manufacturing skills gap and how that gap will affect the growth of manufacturing. Also participating in the 2015 Summit are the University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Logistics, Trade and Transportation, MSU's Extension Service and the MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center.
 
Promising peanut varieties in the pipeline
Mississippi growers have some really good peanut varieties to choose from --- and better ones are on the way, says Jason Sarver. Particularly promising are high oleic varieties, which are increasingly preferred by manufacturers because of their much longer shelf life. Sarver, who is assistant Extension and research professor of plant and soil sciences at Mississippi State University and the state's peanut specialist, says TUFRunner 511, "was outstanding in every test we had, with a yield of 5,609 pounds. I was only able to get about 50 pounds of seed for our trials, but it looked really good, and it could be a strong player for us in the future if it performs as well in field-scale situations."
 
Early College High School Now Accepting Applications, Set To Open This Fall
Plans are unfolding for the state's first Early College High School, which is set to open this fall with a class of 50 9th graders. The public school offers students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma along with an associate degree by the time they graduate, opening doors of endless opportunities for students. Open to students in Oktibbeha, Clay and Lowndes and Noxubee counties, the school targets first-generation college students and those from low-income families. For additional information, parents and students can stop at the following locations from noon to 5 during the week of March 9th-13th for additional information about the school, including Mississippi State University's Research and Curriculum Unit at 103 Russell St. in Starkville on Tuesday.
 
Five internal applicants emerge for Starkville fire chief
Ten applicants, including five Starkville firefighters, are vying to become the city's next fire chief, Personnel Director Randy Boyd confirmed Wednesday. Boyd confirmed the five internal SFD candidates include Fire Marshal Stein McMullen, Battalion Chief Curtis Randle, Capt. Andy Sharp, Firefighter Heath Vaughn and Training Officer Charles Yarbrough. Starkville's human resources department also released the names of the external candidates -- Jimmy N. Austin, Michael R. Chandler, Christopher D. Gale, Keith G. Juneau and Terry J. Tucker -- near the close of business hours but provided little information about each person.
 
Lazy Magnolia celebrates 10 years on Coast
Lazy Magnolia has reason to celebrate. Just 10 years ago, there were no production breweries in Mississippi -- which had been the case since Prohibition was imposed in 1933. There are now 10, with more on the way. Five of those are in Coast communities. Craft beer has been a growing business sector across the county, and Mississippi is no exception. "Holy cow. It's been a wild ride," said Mark Henderson, co-owner and co-founder, with wife Leslie of Lazy Magnolia Brewing Co. "I wouldn't necessarily say that Leslie and I started 10 years ago with the express intent of changing beer culture in Mississippi but it seems like that's what's happened. We're very excited to have been a part of it."
 
Haley Barbour: Kemper plant will rival Grand Gulf's performance
Former Gov. Haley Barbour predicts that Mississippi Power Co.'s Kemper County coal-powered plant will in the long run rival the performance of Entergy's Grand Gulf nuclear plant in Port Gibson. "Grand Gulf took more than twice as long to build and cost more than twice as much [as originally planned]. And after it went online it initially caused a spike in rates, Barbour said. "Today, Grand Gulf is the cheapest baseload power generated in Mississippi," Barbour said in an interview. Barbour and Gray Swoope, who was executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority during Barbour's tenure, announced in a news release on Monday the formation of VisionFirst Advisors, an economic development subsidiary of the Butler Snow law firm. They were asked about their economic development efforts in Mississippi.
 
Winter weather could raise electricity costs
What had been a couple relatively quiet winters in Mississippi ended in mid-February with a succession of winter storms that continued Thursday. It's made for slippery roads that closed schools and businesses, and could lead to electricity bills increasing, at least slightly, for those ratepayers affected by winter weather. Electric utilities attach a fee to bills that goes into a fund to pay for power and system restoration after weather events like tornadoes, hurricanes and winter storms.
 
House remembers its second-longest-serving leader
The House chamber where Tim Ford cemented his legacy in Mississippi politics took time from the hustle and bustle of meeting legislative deadlines Thursday afternoon to remember the second-longest-serving speaker in state history. Current House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, said it was only fitting to conduct the memorial service because Ford served in the House "with honor and dignity for many years." Ford died unexpectedly on Feb. 27 at a second home he and his wife, Kathy, owned in Oxford. Many members of the Senate, Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves participated in the ceremony honoring Ford, a Baldwyn native, who later lived in Tupelo during his six-term legislative career, which included four terms as speaker.
 
Speaker Tim Ford remembered as consensus builder
Mississippi lawmakers on Thursday remembered former House Speaker Tim Ford as a skilled politician who cared deeply about the state and his colleagues. Ford was 63 when he died of a heart attack Feb. 27 in Oxford. The Baldwyn Democrat served in the House starting in 1980 and was speaker, presiding officer of the 122-member chamber, from 1988 to 2004. Legislators packed into the House chamber for a memorial service Thursday. On Thursday, Democratic Rep. Steve Holland recalled what Ford told him back then: "I'm a progressive Baldwyn redneck and you're a progressive Plantersville redneck. Hell, two Appalachian rednecks within 25 miles of each other surely have much in common. Let's have a drink tomorrow night. We've only just begun.'"
 
HB 153 prompts rare alliance, King of England reference
The Senate passed a bill Thursday that lets people establish trusts over which they'll have control hundreds of years into the future despite the bitter objections of one opponent. State Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, said House Bill 153 to create the Uniform Statutory Rule Against Perpetuities ignores the very principals upon which America was founded. "Do we want a world where whoever got a land grant from the King of England in the 1600s gets to control all that land and all that wealth today?" Bryan said during floor debate on the measure. "We live in land where individuals wanted to get away from a system where all the wealth and land were controlled by a few people." His objections earned him a rare alliance with Senate conservatives, including state Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, who found himself "alarmed" to be in agreement with Bryan.
 
Foundation opposes Mississippi Senate bill's 'selective transparency'
The Board of Directors of the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation, representing more than 120 businesses and industries, came out Thursday opposing a state Senate bill amended to apply only to Singing River Health System. The foundation communicated its opposition to Senate Bill 2407 to both House and the Senate members who represent Jackson County. Under the amended terms of Senate Bill 2407, no hospitals in the state except SRHS would be required to conduct open meetings and publicly disclose information that is currently protected by statute. Singing River CEO Kevin Holland also released a strongly worded statement regarding the amendment.
 
How a Tea Party Favorite May Influence Mississippi Race
Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel, the tea party firebrand who nearly ousted a Republican senator in a primary last year, has attempted to shape the state's upcoming 1st District special election. But more than a week since Gov. Phil Bryant set the date to replace the late Rep. Alan Nunnelee, the candidates who fit McDaniel's tea party mold have either passed on a bid or dropped out of the contest. It leaves the rabble-rouser and fellow anti-establishment conservatives without a candidate to support in the two-month sprint to the election.
 
Ex-IRS commissioner launches GOP presidential campaign in Mississippi
A businessman who led the Internal Revenue Service from 2003 to 2007 says he's running as a Republican for president because he wants to make federal tax laws more consistent and less complex. Mark W. Everson said he wants to replace part of the federal income tax with a consumption tax called a value-added tax, keeping the income tax in place on higher-level earners. Everson, 60, is a New York native and has lived in several states and in Zambia, Turkey and France. He now lives on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. During an interview with The Associated Press before his Thursday campaign launch, Everson acknowledged he's entering the race with significantly less name recognition and money than other Republican candidates such as Jeb Bush and Rick Perry.
 
On Selma's 50th anniversary, Obama will look to the future
President Obama will mark the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march in Selma, Ala., on Saturday, but he will be focused less on the past than on the future, particularly the agenda he hopes to carry out beyond his time in office. Obama is laying out plans for a post-presidential period that his friends envision as a busy third act of his life, using his public prominence to try to address socioeconomic challenges in the world. Economic empowerment for the disadvantaged, expanded opportunities for girls and the programs that help young men in the project that he calls "becoming a man" all are likely to figure in the agenda of the last two years of his presidency and afterward, according to people close to him. More clouded is the role that race will play in his endeavors.
 
GOP leaders to skip Selma event
Scores of U.S. lawmakers are converging on tiny Selma, Alabama, for a large commemoration of a civil rights anniversary. But their ranks don't include a single member of House Republican leadership -- a point that isn't lost on congressional black leaders. None of the top leaders -- House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy or Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was once thought likely to attend to atone for reports that he once spoke before a white supremacist group -- will be in Selma for the three-day event that commemorates the 1965 march and the violence that protesters faced at the hands of white police officers. A number of rank-and-file Republicans have been aggressively lobbying their colleagues to attend, and several black lawmakers concurred.
 
States Weigh Legislation to Let Businesses Refuse to Serve Gay Couples
As it looks increasingly likely that the Supreme Court will establish a nationwide right to same-sex marriage later this year, state legislatures across the country are taking up bills that would make it easier for businesses and individuals to opt out of serving gay couples on religious grounds. Many states are now reliving a version of events that embroiled Arizona in February 2014, when Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, vetoed a bill that would have allowed businesses to use their religious beliefs as a legal justification for refusing to serve gay customers. The resurgent controversy is fueled in part by a deep anxiety among many evangelicals and other conservatives that the Supreme Court will make same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states after it takes up the matter in April.
 
U.S. economy added 295,000 jobs in February
The nation added 295,000 jobs last month, according to government data released Friday morning, extending a labor market boom that is powering the U.S. economy. The unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent, a new post-recession low For 12 months in a row, the United States has added at least 200,000 jobs -- a sustained pace of hiring unmatched since 1994 and 1995. The net job growth in February was above market expectations, despite a frigid winter in the northeast. Though the U.S. economy is still well short of a full-scale lift-off, the latest numbers underscore the way in which job growth, combined with an oil price dive, is driving a once-sluggish recovery.
 
U.S. Furniture Survivor Tries to Go Global
When Ron Wanek started a furniture company is Wisconsin, his chances of becoming an industry giant looked remote. He had three dozen employees and no connections to companies in Virginia and North Carolina that dominated furniture manufacturing. Since then, most of those companies have been crushed by Asian competition, and Mr. Wanek's family-owned Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. is now by far the biggest U.S.-based maker and retailer of furniture. Since 1970, Ashley has thrived by churning out low-price furniture. Ashley is now trying to sell furniture in Asia, where it is making a much bigger bet than its U.S.-based rivals. No other U.S. furniture maker has tried to expand internationally on the scale planned by Ashley, and it hasn't been easy.
 
We're Not Taking Enough Lunch Breaks; Why That's Bad For Business
Did you take a lunch break yesterday? Are you planning to take one today? Chances are the answer is no. Fewer American workers are taking time for lunch. Research shows that only 1 in 5 five people steps away for a midday meal. Most workers are simply eating at their desks. But studies have also found that the longer you stay at work, the more important it is to get outside of the office, even if it's just for a few minutes, because creativity can take a hit when you don't change environments. And in a knowledge-based economy, where innovation is what your workers produce, that can also be detrimental to the bottom line.
 
Mississippi's Historically-Black Universities Lobby for More Funding
Alumni from all three historically black universities in Mississippi have teamed up with members of the Legislative Black Caucus to lobby for more funding. The coalition is called Mississippi HBU Triangle. Their list of concerns include money for new dorms at Mississippi Valley, faculty and staff housing at Alcorn and $2 million for Jackson State's School of Public Health. Democrat Gregory Holloway, vice chair of the House University and Colleges Committee, says they want funding cut from Alcorn in 2001 restored.
 
Gershon steps down as dean of UM Law School
University of Mississippi School of Law Dean Richard Gershon announced Wednesday his plans to return to full-time teaching June 30, at the close of his fifth year as dean. "I have had the opportunity to think back about my many years as dean here and at other universities, and it became clear to me that my first love is teaching and the time spent with law students, and I miss it," Gershon said. "I'm very happy to be able to do what I love most at the university I've grown to love." University Provost Morris Stocks said Professor Deborah Bell will assume the role of interim dean until a national search for a new dean is completed.
 
UMMC won't accept Charity Horse Show donations
The administration of Batson Children's Hospital has asked the organizers of the Mississippi Charity Horse Show to discontinue donating proceeds from the event. "We are grateful for the generous support of the Charity Horse Show over the last several years," said Marc Rolph, associate director of public affairs for the University of Mississippi Medical Center. "This support has included not only monetary contributions, but also opportunities for patients under our care to be involved. Although we are comfortable the Mississippi show complies with all applicable laws for the protection of horses, the national controversy over the way Tennessee Walking Horses are trained and handled -- particularly those that perform in the 'Big Lick' style -- has brought us to this decision."
 
U. of Southern Mississippi team places 2nd in Shark Tank competition
Entrepreneurship students from the College of Business at the University of Southern Mississippi took second-place honors during the Alley Scholars Leadership Summit and Shark Tank competition held Feb. 28 at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The students won a cash prize of $2,500 and were led by Shonice Musgrove (senior, entrepreneurship major); Kimberly Loving (senior, entrepreneurship major); Georgia Justice (senior, entrepreneurship major), and Irene Morton (junior, human resources major). The Alley Scholars Shark Tank Challenge is designed to provide collegiate entrepreneurs a real-world experience to develop their business plan and network and with successful entrepreneurs and business professionals.
 
William Carey School of Education sees enrollment increase
The William Carey University School of Education in Hattiesburg has seen an enrollment increase in each trimester of the 2014-2015 academic year, school officials recently announced. Dr. Ben Burnett, dean of the School of Education, said the spring trimester saw the largest enrollment increase with a jump of eight percent. "Much of the growth is due to new online programs," said Dr. Burnett. The School of Education has recently upgraded existing programs or added new programs in online formats, including the specialist's degree in instructional leadership.
 
U. of Alabama student released from sorority after using racial slur on social media
The University of Alabama's Chi Omega sorority released one of its members Thursday after she allegedly sent a Snapchat containing a racial slur. UA administrators say she will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. "The University of Alabama is extremely disappointed when any student uses language that is disrespectful or offensive to any segment of the UA community," Deborah Lane, associate vice president for university relations, told student newspaper The Crimson White. In August 2014, a woman from the same sorority was kicked out and faced university discipline for a Snapchat sent during UA's Bid Day.
 
U. of Alabama professor Benstead co-authors article in the journal Science
A study published in the journal Science co-authored by a University of Alabama associate professor reports that nutrient pollution accelerates the breakdown of forest detritus in streams, affecting the food webs in the ecosystems. "The significance is ... what we are seeing in our experiments is what we are seeing over large parts of the world because of human pollution," said co-author Jonathan Benstead, an associate professor of biological sciences at UA. The paper, based on nine years of work between two experiments in forest streams in North Carolina, was published in today's edition of Science. The work was funded by the National Science Foundation and led by researchers at the University of Georgia.
 
New director takes the helm at Alabama Museum of Natural History
John Friel began work Monday as the new director of the Alabama Museum of Natural History at the University of Alabama. "Alabama's incredible biodiversity over the ages is the primary story that we strive to tell at the Alabama Museum of Natural History," said William Bomar, executive director of University Museums. "Friel's background makes him the right person to lead the staff in telling this story." Friel previously was the senior research associate in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University and served as the curator of fishes, amphibians and reptiles at Cornell's Museum of Vertebrates.
 
Lawsuit: Complaints of sexual harassment, unequal pay, misused funds at LSU prompted instructor's retaliatory firing
A former LSU School of Art and Design instructor claims the university fired her in retaliation for making formal complaints about gender disparity in her pay, sexual harassment at the school and misappropriation of student fees. Margaret "Margot" Herster, the plaintiff in a federal lawsuit against the university, said what bothers her most about the way she was treated at LSU is not the sexist name-calling, the fact that her male counterparts received nearly twice as much money as she did or that the course fees her students paid were illegally siphoned for other uses. If Herster and LSU fail to negotiate a settlement soon, testimony of possibly dozens of LSU employees and administrators regarding her allegations that include a professor allegedly rating female professors' breasts and references to "funny business in the dark room" between male instructors and female students could be aired in court at trial.
 
LSU Foundation will still break ground on $10.5M headquarters, magazine reports
The LSU Foundation will still break ground on its new $10.5 million headquarters on Nicholson Drive on Friday, despite the LSU athletics department decision to delay construction on its $12 million nutrition center, according to Business Report. LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said in the statement released on Tuesday that "climate of austerity" surrounding the university made the timing of the groundbreaking inappropriate. Funding for the nutrition facility will come from private sources but Alleva said he thought it best to "move in a more deliberate manner." The LSU Foundation headquarters, which will be built by using private funds and a financing deal, will go on as planned this spring.
 
Louisiana higher ed leader plans new initiative for legislative session
Louisiana Higher Education Commissioner Joe Rallo is planning to hold regular meetings with various stakeholders from across the state during the upcoming legislative session. The new "Commissioner's Roundtable" initiative has been planned as a way to keep business and industry leaders, faculty, staff and others outside of Baton Rouge engaged in legislative issues related that will impact higher ed throughout the session. Rallo, who took on the job in January, set out on a statewide listening tour earlier this year. He has since met with more than 1,000 people across 45 parishes.
 
Lynda Coon to Lead U. of Arkansas Honors College
The University of Arkansas said Thursday that Lynda Coon has been named dean of the Honors College, succeeding Bob McMath, who retired in August. Coon is associate dean of fine arts and humanities in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Religious Studies Program in the college. In 1995, she helped launch the Honors Humanities Project in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. She is the author of two books on the history of Christianity in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages.
 
Attempt to Cut Arkansas Lottery Scholarships Fails in Senate
A proposal to cut lottery-funded scholarships in half for incoming college freshman and change the program's eligibility requirements narrowly failed before the Arkansas Senate Thursday after opponents said the move would hurt minority and low-income students. The Senate voted 17-9 in favor Thursday, but the bill needed 18 votes. The sponsor of the proposal said he'd bring the measure back before the Senate next week since several lawmakers were absent because of a winter storm that hit the state. Republican Sen. Jimmy Hickey of Texarkana said the changes are needed because of the lottery's dwindling revenue. Voters approved the lottery in 2008 to raise money for college scholarships, and the state began selling tickets in 2009.
 
American Family Association claims U. of Florida student group bigoted against Christianity
The American Family Association, the right-wing Christian organization opposed to gay marriage and "the homosexual agenda," has decided to create its own map of organizations it deems "anti-Christian." Among the 200 organizations AFA has identified on an interactive map is a student group at the University of Florida -- Gator Freethought. Michael Johns, president of the student group, told USA Today he had no idea why AFA singled out his group. On its website, AFA said the groups identified on its map "openly display bigotry toward the Christian faith." The Southern Poverty Law Center as labeled the Tupelo, Mississippi-based AFA as an anti-LGBT hate group.
 
UF researchers: Privately insured fare better than uninsured or patients with Medicaid
As the legal battle over federal tax credits that helped millions of Americans buy health insurance unfolded before the U.S. Supreme Court this week, a recent study led by two University of Florida Health doctors detailed the health advantages for patients with private insurance. Published online in February in the journal Neurosurgery, the study used a national database to review more than 566,000 hospital admissions for brain tumor cases from 2002 to 2011 and concluded that patients with private insurance had shorter hospital stays and were less likely to die or develop an infection or other serious condition during their hospital stay than people with Medicaid and the uninsured.
 
U. of Kentucky and Fayette County Schools cancel Friday classes
The University of Kentucky announced Thursday afternoon that it is canceling classes for Friday. Only Plan B (essential) employees are required to report to work. UK HealthCare hospitals and clinics will be open. UK said it would continue with its planned events Friday and Saturday for Merit Weekend. Employees supporting those efforts were to report to work in consultation with their supervisors.
 
Aggies, Texas A&M faculty, staff split on campus carry laws
Texas college students, faculty and staff with concealed handgun licenses came one step closer to being able to carry on campus last month, but Texas A&M University is divided on whether the possible passage of Senate Bill 11 would be detrimental or beneficial to student safety. Although Chancellor John Sharp wrote in a Feb. 11 letter during the bill's public hearing stage that the system will not have a position on the issue and not oppose campus carry, A&M's Student Senate overwhelmingly supports campus carry while the Faculty Senate adheres to the stances of campus police and psychologists around the country who oppose it.
 
U. of Missouri students, faculty take 'It's On Us" pledge to combat sexual assault
University of Missouri students, faculty and administration vowed to combat sexual assault during the "It's On Us" campaign event Thursday. People lined up at the MU Student Center to sign pledges and become part of the national campaign initiated by the Obama administration in September 2014. The campaign aims to prevent sexual assault at universities and colleges, according to a fact sheet from the White House. The administration has partnered with about 70 corporations, athletic organizations and advocacy groups to support the campaign. Some partners include the NCAA, the Southeastern Conference and MTV. MU is one of approximately 200 schools to join the campaign, said Katie Harbinson, the MU "It's On Us" campaign coordinator.
 
U. of Idaho dean of students resigns after failed attempt to punish fraternity
Tensions between University of Idaho administrators, a fraternity and the chapter's alumni have ended with the university's dean of students suddenly announcing his resignation after less than three months on the job. Just prior to the announcement, sanctions brought against the fraternity over hazing allegations were dropped. In the last year, several colleges and universities have made serious attempts to rein in negative fraternity behavior. Punishing fraternities can be a messy process, however, placing student affairs employees in the crosshairs of Greek organizations and their powerful alumni. In some cases, to lose such a battle also means it's time to find a new job.
 
For 529 College-Savings Plans, a Big Challenge Is Setting the Record Straight
For years, advocates of 529 college-savings plans have struggled to persuade people that they're more than just tax shelters for the rich. The backlash that hit after President Obama proposed taxing the plans to help pay for his free-community-college proposal gave the advocates new talking points as they gathered here this week for their annual meeting. If nothing else, the kerfuffle shined a spotlight on a savings strategy that most Americans know nothing about. "All of a sudden, 529 plans were all over the news," said Roger Michaud, a senior vice president at Franklin Templeton Investments, one of the companies that manage the state-sponsored plans, during a break in the College Savings Foundation's meeting. "We were able to point to statistics that show that these plans aren't just for wealthy people."
 
Arizona budget deal would eliminate all state funds for 3 large community college districts
Arizona has a reputation for frugality with regard to state support for higher education, but a deal reached this week between Governor Doug Ducey and legislative leaders is leaving educators in the state stunned. The agreement would completely eliminate state support for the three largest community college districts in the state -- while also imposing deep cuts on the public universities. With state support for public higher education dwindling generally, experts on community colleges have for several years been lamenting the reality of states (including Arizona) where the share of state support for community colleges is in the single digits. But until now they haven't been talking about zero state support.


SPORTS
 
Mississippi State baseball welcomes San Diego for three-game series
For the first time this season, Mississippi State's baseball team enters a weekend trying to bounce back. After winning their first 13 games of the season -- outscoring opponents 115-34 during that stretch -- the No. 9 Bulldogs find themselves in an unfamiliar position as they attempt to rebound from a stunning 3-2 loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday night. MSU coach John Cohen began looking forward immediately after the unexpected defeat. "As crazy as it sounds, this can be a good thing if we use it the right way," said Cohen. "Do you learn from it? Do you grow from it? Those are the questions that we will have to answer this weekend." The weekend has now arrived. And with it comes an opportunity at redemption for MSU (13-1), as it opens a three-game series with San Diego (4-6). Game 1 of the series will begin today at 4 p.m.
 
Mississippi State women still looking to host
Mississippi State has already advanced further in the SEC Tournament this year under coach Vic Schaefer and have yet to even play a game. The Bulldogs have never gone beyond the second round during Schaefer's first two seasons. This year, MSU was able to secure a No. 3 seed which also comes with the benefit of a double bye. The 11th-ranked Bulldogs play the late game tonight in Little Rock, Ark., against Kentucky, which defeated Vanderbilt on Thursday. State has a lot at stake tonight in terms of its seeding and host chances for the NCAA Tournament. The latest NCAA Tournament projection from ESPN's Charlie Creme has the Bulldogs hosting as the No. 4 seed.
 
Kentucky women top Vandy to advance to SEC quarterfinals against Mississippi State
Kentucky was like a faucet in an old house. When the No. 12 Cats were hot, they were scalding and when they were cold, they were Arctic. In the second round of the Southeastern Conference Women's Basketball Tournament, UK twice had double-digit leads and saw them disappear because of cold shooting. But the Cats had just enough to top the Commodores 67-61 at Verizon Arena. It was UK's ninth straight win over Vanderbilt and helped push the Wildcats (22-8) into the quarterfinals, where they will meet No. 11 Mississippi State on Friday night.
 
ADAM MINICHINO (OPINION): Statement time arrives for Mississippi State women's basketball team
The Dispatch's Adam Minichino writes: "It's statement time. Five months ago, expectations was the operative word associated with the Mississippi State women's basketball. With another nationally ranked recruiting class coming in, many expected MSU to build on a 22-14 season that saw it reach the quarterfinals of the Women's National Invitation Tournament. A school-record 26 victories later, MSU will put its No. 3 seed to the test at 8:30 tonight (time approximate) against No. 6 seed Kentucky in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference."
 
Bulldogs look for positive finish against Missouri
In each of his first two seasons as Mississippi State's men's basketball coach, Rick Ray watched as his team crumbled down the stretch. The Bulldogs endured 13-game losing streaks both years as MSU struggled to finish on a high note. It's happening again. After blowing their third halftime lead in nine Southeastern Conference road games in a 66-56 loss to Vanderbilt Wednesday night, the Bulldogs have now lost seven of their last eight games and have suffered five consecutive losses for the second time this season. With the regular season winding to a close, the Bulldogs have just one chance to finish on a positive note. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Saturday's 5:30 p.m. matchup is with the one team the Bulldogs have beaten in the last eight games.
 
Mississippi State's using season finale to aid tornado relief fund
Nearly a year ago, while Tupelo attempted to rebuild after a tornado ripped through the city, Rick Ray and Mississippi State traveled north to help the cleanup effort. Nearly a year later, the Bulldog basketball team continues to assist those who were affected by the deadly tornadoes. In Saturday's regular-season finale against Missouri, the program is asking fans to help in their efforts. The game will be a part of MSU's Tornado Relief Initiative where fans can donate non-perishable food items, clothing, blankets, flashlights and batteries.
 
Robinson hopes improved 40-time forces focus on football
Three-tenths of a second erased more than 1,500 yards of offense in the Southeastern Conference. Former Mississippi State running back Josh Robinson ran a 4.7-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine two weeks ago. It ranked 23rd among running backs and .28 seconds slower than Michigan State's Jeremy Langford's 4.42 Since the Combine, more has been made about Robinson's 40-yard dash than his second-team All-SEC season last year. Robinson came through when he needed to. With scouts from all 32 teams attending MSU's Pro Day, Robinson ran a 4.61 40. It ranks as 13th best compared to the time posted at the Combine. "You know why I'm here. To run the 40. That's why I'm here," Robinson said.



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