Monday, July 21, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Women Empowered Leadership Conference Hosts 30 High School Women at Mississippi State
The inaugural Women Empowered Leadership Conference gave 30 high school participants a new outlook on higher education, entrepreneurship, politics, health and a range of other issues at Mississippi State. The university's Shackouls Honors College hosted the young women, all rising high school juniors and seniors representing the states of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. Chris Snyder, honors college dean, said the conference was the brainchild of MSU junior Jamie Aron of Jackson. Snyder said the honors college, Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President and other campus partners stepped in to assist in supporting and executing the event.
 
Mississippi State student presents design ideas for Corinth
Corinth park and tourism officials are now armed with ideas how to improve the Crossroads Regional Park renovation and expansion. Mississippi State University's Carl Small Town Center gave design feedback last week from MSU School of Architecture student Hannah Waycaster, with oversight by Carl Center Director John Poros. Waycaster has been working on design ideas based on feedback from survey responses of park users. Working from the park's current design and usage, Waycaster presented two design ideas – one designated a maximum softball plan and the other a maximum soccer plan.
 
New head named for Mississippi State department
A biochemist with 37 years of experience has been named head of Mississippi State University's Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology. Jeff Dean, acting director of the Institute of Bioinformatics at the University of Georgia, will officially begin work at MSU on Aug. 1. Dr. Dean brings a wealth of experience into the Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology, and Plant Pathology department," said George Hopper, director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "We are excited to have someone of his research caliber join the university and lead one of the fastest-growing departments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences."
 
Tony Bennett sings the standards at MSU Riley Center
He has more than 450,000 likes on Facebook, more than 80,000 Twitter followers, and he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award -- 13 years ago. With six decades of work, accolades and hits behind him, Bennett can still pack the house for his live shows. He's coming to the MSU Riley Center Saturday on July 26 for a 7:30 p.m. performance.
 
State beef ambassador: Lee County resident Kayla Neal to represent Mississippi in Denver
In June, Kayla Neal was named Mississippi Beef Ambassador by the Mississippi Beef Council. It's her job to spread the benefits of eating beef and to share recipes. Neal was selected as an ambassador based on her 4-H involvement, her academic work at Mooreville High School and her interview skills. Those interview skills will be put to the test in September, when she'll travel to Denver, Colorado, to compete with kids from about 20 other states to become National Beef Ambassador. The national title comes with scholarship money that Neal would like to spend at Mississippi State University, where she hopes to study veterinary medicine.
 
As China grows less cotton, door opens to more U.S. sales
China is growing less cotton --- millions of bales less --- and that spells opportunity for the U.S., despite China having 50 million to 60 million bales of its own cotton sitting in reserves. "Three years ago, China produced 35 million bales; two years ago, 32 million bales; last year, about 31 million bales," says O. A. Cleveland, Jr., Extension economics professor emeritus at Mississippi State University and a veteran cotton analyst.
 
State's row crops topic of field day
Growers and consultants are invited Aug. 13 to the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Center for a look at late-season issues affecting the state's row crop acreage. The free half-day field day begins with registration and exhibits at 11 a.m. Visitors will make several stops in the research station fields to examine current crop conditions and hear reports and information. "The field tours will look at late-season crop issues in corn, soybeans, cotton, rice and peanuts," said Jeff Johnson, director of the research station in Stoneville.
 
First African American female in Mississippi officially on U.S. District Court
Investiture for United States District Judge Debra M. Brown -- the first African American woman to hold a seat on the U.S. District Court -- was held Sunday in Greenville. The Yazoo native took the oath at the Washington County Convention Center. Brown is a University of Mississippi Law School graduate and former Jackson attorney. Brown, who also holds a degree in architecture from Mississippi State University, was confirmed unanimously by the Senate.
 
New Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks commissioner appointed
Bill F. Cossar was sworn in as the latest appointment to the Commission on Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks this week. Cossar will represent northeast Mississippi's District 1, replacing John C. Stanley IV. The Charleston native and Mississippi State University alumnus is an Entergy Mississippi retiree, cattle rancher and an avid sportsman.
 
Mississippi native wins naval award
A Mississippi native with degrees Mississippi State University is the recipient of a naval award for his innovative contributions to human-device interaction principles for the warfighter. Michael Hamilton was honored last week with the Dr. Charles J. Cohen Award of Excellence for Science and Technology at an awards ceremony. Hamilton, who earned his bachelor's, master's and doctorate at MSU, has worked three years in the Human Systems Integration Branch of the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Dahlgren, Va., a research and development center that serves as a specialty site for weapon system integration.
 
Starkville tech firm wants to reach the world
Gary Butler returned to his home state of Mississippi in 2006 to start his own business, to apply the lessons he learned while working for a technology company in Cambridge, Mass. Eight years later, Butler's technology-solutions company, Starkville's Camgian Microsystems, has established itself as one of the state's most notable tech firms, but Butler says the launch of a product this fall could bring a new, global customer base to Camgian's doorstep. Butler decided to base Camgian in Starkville to draw on what he says is a talented pool of engineers and other scientifically oriented talent associated with Mississippi State University.
 
Oktibbeha County to address LINK, Communiversity requests today
Oktibbeha County supervisors are expected to sign a new agreement for economic development services with the Golden Triangle Development LINK Monday, thereby continuing a two-year relationship with the organization and opening the door for potential city and county bond issuances for a new industrial park and funding pledges for a tri-county workforce development center. Starkville aldermen approved their end of the contract Tuesday, and Greater Starkville Development Partnership's umbrella of organizations, including the Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority, also previously committed to the deal. The three entities will give the LINK a combined $350,000 for economic development enticement, while four Oktibbeha County representatives will serve on the LINK's board of directors. Two of those representatives will also serve on the organization's executive committee.
 
Millage decrease unlikely in Starkville with infusion of school money
Starkville school board members are expected to approve a transfer of almost $500,000 in excess 1986 bond monies to the city during a special board meeting Tuesday, which in turn will position the city government to legally transfer the money back for Greensboro Center renovations. Once Starkville School District again receives the money, it could take about three months for planning and bidding processes to conclude before the district begins addressing structural deficiencies with the historic campus. SSD Superintendent Lewis Holloway said he does not foresee adjusting the district's upcoming Fiscal Year 2014-2015 in correlation with the incoming money as those funds were approved almost 30 years ago specifically for renovation projects.
 
New proposal trims, tweaks Starkville landscaping ordinance
City staff members say they have produced a user-friendly landscaping ordinance after making minor tweaks to Starkville's current rules and cutting down the size of the document by about 20 pages. Community Developer Buddy Sanders and City Planner Daniel Havelin presented the trimmed down document to aldermen Tuesday during the city's first public hearing on the matter. The city is expected to hold a second public hearing on the changes during the board's first August meeting and could approve the matter after discussions.
 
Tax numbers in West Point signal bright future
Sales tax revenue is up in West Point. A lot. Altogether, the city received $128,098 more in sales tax revenue from the Mississippi Department of Revenue for the last fiscal year than it did for the previous. A big part of that increase is this: Last year Japanese tire maker Yokohama broke ground on what will eventually be a 5 million square foot manufacturing plant in the town. Yokohama has said the facility, slated to be at full capacity by 2023, will bring up to 2,000 jobs to the area through the next decade. Despite the fact that the facility is still in the construction phase and has not yet produced a tire, Mayor Robbie Robinson, in an interview last week, said Yokohama is certainly part of the sales tax revenue increase.
 
Young farmers' plight: State regulations hinder sustainable chicken farm's sales
Two Clay County farmers are changing the way people think about livestock farming and in the process, they hope, changing the state's regulations for the way small farmers sell their meat. Ali Fratesi, 27, and Dustin Pinion, 28, raise chickens and pigs at Beaverdam Fresh Farms a few miles west of downtown West Point in Cedar Bluff. They also work with other small farmers to create buying clubs, an easy way to bring fresh and locally produced food to people around the region. This year, agents from the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce brought to their attention a regulation that keeps them from selling their poultry in markets which has cut their sales almost in half.
 
Severstal selling plants, including Severstal Columbus
Russian steel company Severstal is exiting the U.S. market, selling a pair of steel plants to AK Steel and Steel Dynamics for about $2.33 billion. Word of a possible sale began to circulate earlier this year as the West threatened sanctions against Russia for its activity in the Ukraine, but Severstal has not among those companies targeted by those actions. Steel Dynamics Inc. said today that it will pay about $1.63 billion for Severstal Columbus.
 
Pew: State's Lawmakers Could Do More To Prepare For Next Recession
The non-partisan Pew Charitable Trust says Mississippi lawmakers could be doing more to prepare for the next economic downturn. Pew's Brenan Erford says now that revenues are growing, lawmakers to need to reassess how much they are saving. Mississippi is one of 38 states with a statutory requirement to put money in reserve. But Erford says lawmakers should go further and craft a savings system that adjusts to changing economic growth, rather than a one-size fits all approach.
 
Lt. Governor Reeves on a mission to cut costs
With three legislative sessions behind him, Mississippi's Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is talking about the record of success the state is having both in saving money and in reallocating some of those savings into education and public safety. As lieutenant governor, Reeves is tasked with presiding over the Mississippi Senate, which means he appoints standing committees of the Senate and refers all Senate bills to committees. During a recent interview with The Meridian Star, Reeves said the responsibility of keeping some bills off the table is as important as deciding which to refer for action.
 
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves Wants to Improve Mississippi's Education
Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves believes reforming Mississippi's education will make the state more competitive. Education, public policy, and a balanced state budget are just a few of the many things in which Reeves has been at the forefront of changing since he was elected in 2012. "We are in a position in Mississippi in which we need more college graduates," said Reeves. "We also need more individuals to graduate from our community colleges that either go on to earn four year degrees, but also those who are earning a skill and learning a skill that they can put to use and provide for their families." Reeves says for that to happen, we must continue to invest in education and continue to improve the education attainment level.
 
Palazzo Hopes To Update Commercial Launch Law this Year
The chairman of the House Science space subcommittee said July 17 he is still hopeful that an update to commercial launch law can make it through Congress before the end of the year, but he warned time may run out on another space-related bill. "It is my hope, before this Congress is finished, that we will be able to get some updates to the CSLA [Commercial Space Launch Act] passed," said Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) in a keynote address at the Future Space 2014 conference in Washington. Palazzo also offered a qualified endorsement of the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which has supported commercial satellite and launch deals in recent years. "I do believe it's something we should probably continue, but it needs to have some necessary reforms," he said.
 
Mississippi lawmakers support Ex-Im Bank
It's been about five years since Tony Malik decided to "dabble" in foreign exports and asked the Export-Import Bank to help him complete a deal to sell window components to a customer in Chile. This year, his company, Magnolia Metal & Plastics, expects $300,000 in sales to that customer, and Malik hopes to find others in South America. "For me it's been a real success," Malik, co-owner of the Vicksburg company, said of his experience with the Export-Import Bank. But Malik is nervous about the fate of the bank, which helps companies in Mississippi and across the country export products overseas. With only weeks left before the summer recess, Congress is debating whether to reauthorize the bank's charter and lending cap. Most of Mississippi's lawmakers support reauthorization.
 
Bryant to Obama: don't send immigrants here
Gov. Phil Bryant is among governors who have sent letters to President Obama concerned over the border crisis and potential for "secretive attempts to funnel the immigrants into states without consent." Bryant in his Friday letter said, "To the extent permitted by law, I intend to prohibit the federal government or its agents from housing large numbers of new illegal immigrants in the state of Mississippi."
 
Neshoba to host Cochran, Childers
When Thad Cochran last spoke at the Neshoba County Fair in 1997, he had to dispel rumors that he would be a candidate for governor in 1999. "I really think it is my duty to the people of Mississippi and to the people of the U.S. Senate to continue my service in the Senate," he told fairgoers on a hot August day in 1997, echoing similar comments he made at the 1996 fair. Cochran, now 76, is scheduled to speak for the first time since 1997 at the historic Neshoba County Fair political speakings on July 31. There will be no speculation about the six-term incumbent U.S. senator running for governor.
 
Neshoba County Fair could shape Senate race
Mississippi's 2014 U.S. Senate race has been dominated by a bitter Republican primary that never seems to end. One of the state's largest political gatherings, the Neshoba County Fair, could help shift the focus to a Democrat-versus-Republican narrative heading toward the Nov. 4 general election. The Democratic nominee for Senate, former U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, is scheduled to speak at the fair for 10 minutes on July 31. Six-term Republican Sen. Thad Cochran is scheduled for 10 minutes just after Childers. Cochran's campaign staff originally said he would speak at the fair only if the Senate isn't working in Washington. They were firmer last week in saying he will show up at Neshoba.
 
McDaniel tells supporters he's willing to pay the price
State Sen. Chris McDaniel doesn't mind being a sacrificial lamb if he challenges the outcome of the Republican U.S. Senate primary runoff -- as long as it means a more honest election system for the state of Mississippi. That's what he told a room of about 100 supporters Saturday afternoon during a Truth and Justice Tour stop in Pearl. Unfazed by a 45-minute wait, the crowd's energy was high as people expressed anger at alleged voting irregularities McDaniel claims cost him the win.
 
McDaniel says state GOP should be purged
Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel said Friday that other Republicans used "race-baiting" to hurt him in a U.S. Senate primary, and the GOP needs to be "purged" of people who use racially inflammatory campaign techniques against members of their own party. In an interview Friday on "Focal Point," a talk-show on American Family Radio in Tupelo, McDaniel criticized Cochran's campaign and political action committees that supported the incumbent. "If Chris McDaniel had asked African-Americans to vote for him rather than complaining about them participating in the process, he might have won the election," Cochran campaign spokesman Jordan Russell told The Associated Press Friday in response to McDaniel's radio interview.
 
McDaniel: Republican leaders 'betrayed' conservatives
State Sen. Chris McDaniel and some 65 supporters shared a sense of outrage during Friday's meeting at the Summit. It was part of McDaniel's "Truth and Justice Tour" that began in Olive Branch on Thursday and continues into next week. "The conservative movement in this state feels betrayed," McDaniel said. Starkville resident Mary Cole, 72, said she fears for the country's direction and believes McDaniel is the man to help turn things around. "I've been a Republican all my life, but today, because of what happened, I'm not a Democrat, I'm not a Libertarian and I'm not a Republican," Cole said.
 
Black Southern Voters, Poised to Play a Historic Role
Southern black voters don't usually play a decisive role in national elections. They were systematically disenfranchised for 100 years after the end of the Civil War. Since the days of Jim Crow, a fairly unified white Southern vote has often determined the outcome of elections. This November could be different. Nearly five decades after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, black voters in the South are poised to play a pivotal role in this year's midterm elections. If Democrats win the South and hold the Senate, they will do so because of Southern black voters. Southern black voters have already made their mark on this year's midterm elections. Last month, Senator Thad Cochran defeated a Tea Party challenger with the help of a surge in black turnout in a Republican run-off in Mississippi.
 
Separatists said to have received antiaircraft training in Russia
The United States has gathered a significant body of evidence that Ukrainian separatists have been trained on Russian territory in recent weeks to fire antiaircraft missiles, according to American military and intelligence officials who have raised alarms over the reports. Among other weapons, U.S. officials said, the separatists have been trained in using mobile antiaircraft batteries -- missile systems that could be moved around on vehicles and are thought to have been used in the downing of a Malaysia Airlines jet Thursday. James O. Poss, a retired Air Force major general, said the SA-11 was a sophisticated antiaircraft system that relies on advanced data links to coordinate its radar and missile launcher. "It would require training and fairly skilled operators to use," he said.
 
UM's master plan aims to meet needs, stay faithful to its architectural legacy
Planning construction, renovation and other physical changes for the University of Mississippi campus is an exercise in hitting moving targets. More students create a need for more housing, academic, administrative and service space. New buildings and features take up former parking, the loss of which creates a need for more perimeter parking and transit. The constant aging of infrastructure, ongoing technological changes and even emerging expectations such as sustainability add to the complexity. Enter the campus master plan, a flexible guide for meeting growing and changing needs on the campus while keeping it recognizably Ole Miss.
 
Valley State decides to buy, not rent, modular housing
Mississippi Valley State University now plans to buy modular housing units, rather than lease them. The College Board approved the purchase plan. It had earlier approved a lease plan. Higher Education Chancellor Hank Bounds told the College Board that Valley will save money by purchasing because it will be able to resell the units when it's done with them. "What we have learned is that purchasing the units is actually less expensive than leasing them," Bounds said. College Board officials estimated that Valley will spend up to $900,000 for the modular units, about $200,000 to set them up and connect utilities and up to $90,000 for a few weeks of hotel rental.
 
Fresh food lovers crowd Alcorn Farmers Market for annual festival
Fresh food lovers joined the health conscious Saturday on Catherine Street in Natchez. Representatives with the Alcorn State University Extension Program visited Alcorn's Natchez Farmers Market to help promote nutrition and wellness. The event was Alcorn's annual Fruit and Vegetable Festival and Extension Awareness Day.
 
Local speakers to address tourism conference at Auburn University
Chick-fil-A executive Ryan Magnon and international business consultant Patrick McGaughey are headlining the Alabama Governor's Conference on Tourism this Saturday through Tuesday at The Hotel at Auburn University. Southern Living publisher Greg Schumann and managing editor Claire Machamer will also be at the conference to give attendees an inside look at the magazine's operations and its social media strategy. "More than 250 tourism professionals from across the state will be attending this three-day educational conference," said state tourism director Lee Sentell.
 
As U. of Kentucky competes for top students, more lower-income kids left behind
Hannah Moore graduated from George Rogers Clark High School this year with all the right boxes checked off for college acceptance: a 4.0 GPA, National Honor Society member, cheerleader, and community volunteer. Moore, who lives with her mother, always dreamed of going to the University of Kentucky, but in the end she didn't bother applying. It was "out of reach." Moore is part of a growing group of students who can't consider UK, said her guidance counselor Robin Detring, as the state's flagship university shifts resources away from assisting low-income students and toward chasing top scholars.
 
Louisiana student loan debt averages $22,789
About a third of what Jessica Potts makes each month as a teacher goes toward paying off her student loans. The LSU graduate still has about $40,000 to pay off -- at the rate of $800 a month. "I want the American dream, too ... the house, the car, everything, but at this time I can't afford it," she said. Potts' story is a familiar one for many Louisiana college and university graduates. Nearly half of the class of 2012 in Louisiana graduated owing something. The average debt load was about $22,789. Politicians from across the country and across the political spectrum have been trying to come up with ways to address the problem of student debt.
 
Law Grads Still Finding Tight Market
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock's Bowen School of Law said it is reducing its enrollment for the fall because of the tight job market for new attorneys. "We are shrinking things during this era in response to the employment trends," said Michael Schwartz, the dean of the UALR Law School. For the fall of 2013, there were 139 students enrolled in UALR's law school, and it's anticipating between 125 and 130 students this fall, he said. Nine months after graduating, only 51 percent of UALR's 2013 graduating class was employed in long-term, full-time positions requiring bar passage, according to statistics from the American Bar Association.
 
University Village demolition to begin Monday at U. of Missouri
On Monday, Marschel Wrecking LLC will begin the demolition process of University Village, nearly five months to the day of a walkway collapse that killed firefighter Lt. Bruce Britt. University Village, on Providence Road near the Stewart Road intersection, closed June 30. It housed graduate students and their families. The demolition process will include putting up fences, bringing in equipment and ridding the buildings of asbestos, University of Missouri spokesman Christian Basi said. He didn't know how many days of prep work would precede building demolition.
 
Youth learn entrepreneurship at U. of Missouri camp
The businessmen judging the business pitch competition on the University of Missouri campus yesterday had some hard choices. The competition was the conclusion of the Build-a-Business camp held this week -- a program of the 4-H Center for Youth Development and University of Missouri Extension. Other activities during the week included developing a business plan, a visit to the Regional Economic Development Inc. business incubator and some street business marketing.
 
U.S. Seen as Weak on Global Research Collaboration
Higher-education observers say that global research collaboration is far from common at universities in the United States. Hampered by traditional organizational silos, turf battles or just plain inaction, offices that oversee research and those responsible for institutions' global strategy too often fail to identify and work toward shared goals. It is a missed opportunity in an era when research and researchers alike increasingly cross borders -- one-quarter of all scientific papers now have co-authors from two or more countries, according to the National Science Foundation. And at research universities in particular, campus efforts to internationalize may ring hollow if they do not have research at their core.
 
The Lure of Taxable Debt
Some universities are increasingly forgoing one benefit of their nonprofit status, issuing taxable bonds, to avoid regulations and because of market conditions that defy conventional wisdom, according to officials at an annual conference of college business officers. Governments and nonprofit entities -- including both public and private nonprofit colleges -- have long been able to borrow money using tax-exempt bonds. The bonds allow lenders to skip paying taxes on the interest they earn. That's an incentive for lenders to lend money cheaply to institutions that serve a public purpose. Common sense suggests that these tax-exempt bonds would be the best way for colleges to borrow money. But that may not be true in some cases, particularly for 30-year bonds, and business officers may be increasingly open to using taxable bonds.
 
Report: College Aspirations Fall Short of Reality for Many Low-Income Students
Many low-income students have high aspirations when it comes to college. However, they often don't have the means or preparation to enroll and succeed. New research out July 17 from ACT Inc. and the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships finds that while 95 percent of ACT-tested students from low-income families said they wish to pursue some type of postsecondary education, only 59 percent enroll in college right after high school. Overall, 87 percent of all ACT-tested graduates indicate they want to go to college and 71 percent of them do. There is also a gap in preparation by wealth, the report finds.
 
PAUL HAMPTON (OPINION): Truth, justice and the American why
The Sun Herald's Paul Hampton writes: "If you spot a brightly colored VW Beetle broken down near D'Iberville on Monday, please contact the nearest Democrat who will be happy to get the Chris McDaniel Truth and Justice Tour back on the road. (I know it sounds like a Madonna tour but I'm relatively certain it isn't.) What it is, is gold for the Democrats. Lamps of Liberty flickering? Don't worry. Democrats will be right there with a tanker full of gasoline. The Senate seat is still a pretty safe bet for the GOP with Sen. Thad Cochran as its candidate. Democrats, though generally credited with putting the senator over the top in the runoff, secretly pined for McDaniel, hoping he would have just this kind of meltdown in the midst of the general election campaign."
 
GEOFF PENDER (OPINION): Who's running for what in 2015
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "In normal times, with the Neshoba County Fair and a state office election year approaching, all kinds of names would be popping in political circles -- who might run for what state office -- and jockeying and fundraising would be full tilt. These are not normal political times in Mississippi politics, with the GOP U.S. Senate primary malingering and half the state Republican Party hatin' on the other. The Thad Cochran-Chris McDaniel -- establishment vs. tea party -- battle will certainly have an impact on next year's elections and even beyond. But no race lasts forever, and there is some other state election buzz afoot."
 
SAM R. HALL (OPINION): Senate primary needs to end so healing can begin
The Clarion-Ledger's Sam R. Hall writes: "The Republican primary for U.S. Senate has been on of the costliest in this state's history, and it's time for it to end. The cost of which I speak is not monetary but human. Friendships destroyed. Marriages rocked. Careers torn down. Felony charges filed. Vile, raw emotional outbursts becoming near daily occurrences. Even a tragic suicide that left a family burdened with grief and anger and rage. ...it seems clear now that the only person who can usher us to the end is Chris McDaniel."
 
SID SALTER (OPINION): Black voters in GOP runoff a step forward, not backward
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Part of the narrative being offered in some quarters in the wake of what has been the strangest party primary in the state's recent history is that efforts to gain increased black voter participation in the Republican U.S. Senate primary somehow 'set race relations in Mississippi back 50 years.' How incredibly ridiculous that claim sounds from a historical perspective! Here we are in Mississippi during the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer -- a time in which people were being murdered for engaging in voter registration efforts among black communities in the state -- listening to people claim that legal black voter participation in a Republican primary is a step backward in the state's race relations. Freedom Summer's battles weren't fought over the right of black voters in Mississippi to participate in the primary elections of one party or the other. Those battles were fought over the right to vote -- period."


SPORTS
 
NCAA mulls adding early signing day for college football
A second signing day for college football will happen in the near future. Southeastern Conference coaches welcome a second signing period, but are divided on the time frame. Some prefer an early signing day after Thanksgiving, while others want it in December, when junior college players sign. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive is open to the idea of adding a second signing period, speaking about the subject at the league's media days last week. Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen believes a second signing day will eliminate the number of players switching schools each year. "It binds the prospect to the school," Mullen said.
 
Midsummer Event, Midseason Form for SEC Fans
Harrison Flick, 21, stood in the lobby of the tallest building in this strip-mall suburb, wearing a Mississippi State football jersey. He was stoic about being the only Bulldogs fan in a sparse crowd Tuesday, the second morning of the Southeastern Conference's media days. "It's hard," he said. "I've learned to deal with it over the years." The scene in the same hotel two days later could not have been more different. About 100 fans clogged the lobby. A few supported Georgia, one was the aunt of a Kentucky player and the rest were there for Alabama. "Roll, Tide!" they shouted, rolling the vowel in "roll." The 30th edition of the SEC media days was the first to run four days, to accommodate the conference's expansion to 14 teams from 12 in 2012. It began earlier in July than ever before, too, six weeks before the season. "They have a lot of chutzpah to start this when they do," said Paul Finebaum, whose daily show is must-listen radio for many in the South.



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