Wednesday, November 26, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Hotter than ever: Egg Bowl rivals' merchandise still selling briskly
With the Bulldogs' and Rebels' football teams highly ranked for most of the season -- including a five-week stay at No. 1 for Mississippi State -- fans have been buying everything maroon and white and red and blue. Cynthia Short of New Albany is a fan of both schools. One of her sons is an Ole Miss fan and the other is a State fan. On Tuesday, she was at Sports Zone in Tupelo, looking for a gift. It's a scene repeated at stores in Oxford, Starkville, Tupelo, Jackson and all points in between. In the 36 years that The Lodge has been in business with all things maroon and white in Starkville, there's one item that's always been a top-seller: the ubiquitous cowbell. But for the first time, the store actually sold out of all of its cowbells.
Work to close parking area at Mississippi State
Mississippi State University officials say work on Lee Hall will force the closure of a nearby parking area Wednesday. School officials say starting at 7 a.m., Glenn Machine Works will use a large boom truck to do work on the historic building. Lee Blvd. will be closed west of the parking lot at Lee Hall, Cobb Institute and McCain Hall. The road closure will prevent access to the parking lot adjacent to George Hall and Magruder Hall.
Mississippi State Variety Trial Info Aids Farmers' Decisions
Farmers can't choose the weather or the prices they get for their crops, but they can choose the best seed for their growing conditions, thanks to research by Mississippi State University. MSU conducts extensive official variety trials each growing season to document the performance of seed varieties under different growing conditions. MSU offers variety trial information on corn, cotton, grain sorghum, peanuts, rice, soybeans, wheat, oats and forage. Brian Williams, Extension agricultural economist, said variety trial information can be of tremendous value to producers.
Deck collapse could prompt county building code discussions
Discussions on minimum building codes for commercial apartment complexes could begin after a Highlands Plantation deck collapse injured more than 10 people this weekend. At least 15 people were injured when two upper-level porches broke free from their St. Andrews Lane building moorings and fell Saturday. Charles Whitley, a Birmingham, Alabama-based engineer who visited the scene on behalf of insurance providers Monday, said rot and decay are believed to be contributing factors to the collapse. It is unknown if stringent building code requirements and inspections could have prevented the collapse, but Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors President Orlando Trainer said supervisors should at least hold discussions on implementing the rules after Oktibbeha County, like many other Mississippi counties, opted out last month from state legislation mandating their implementation.
Judge overturns Mississippi same-sex marriage ban
A federal judge on Tuesday overturned Mississippi's ban on same-sex marriage, but circuit clerks cannot immediately start to issue marriage licenses to gay or lesbian couples because the order was on hold for two weeks so the state can appeal. State attorneys say they will ask the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to block Tuesday's order by U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves. Mississippi has a 1997 law that bans same-sex marriage and a 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. "The Fourteenth Amendment operates to remove the blinders of inequality from our eyes," Reeves wrote. "Though we cherish our traditional values, they must give way to constitutional wisdom. Mississippi's traditional beliefs about gay and lesbian citizens led it to defy that wisdom by taking away fundamental rights owed to every citizen. It is time to restore those rights."
Judge overturns Mississippi same-sex marriage ban
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves on Tuesday handed same-sex couples a victory in their quest to overturn Mississippi's gay marriage ban. Reeves granted a preliminary injunction blocking the state's ban against same-sex unions as sought by the Campaign for Southern Equality and two lesbian couples who had sued in the state in federal court. But the judge also postponed the injunction from going into effect for 14 days in a legal maneuver called a "stay." In his 72-page order, Reeves said "Mississippi continues to change in ways its people could not anticipate even 10 years ago. Allowing same-sex couples to marry, however, presents no harm to anyone. At the very least, it has the potential to support families and provide stability for children."
Arkansas, Mississippi gay marriage bans overturned
Arkansas and Mississippi became the latest two states Tuesday to have their gay marriage bans overturned by federal judges, but there are no rushes to the altar as both orders are on hold so the states can consider appeals. Like several states, Arkansas and Mississippi had voter-approved constitutional amendments pass in 2004 that defined marriage between one man and one woman. In Arkansas, U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker ruled in favor of two same-sex couples who had challenged the amendment. They argued the ban violated the U.S. Constitution and discriminated based on sexual orientation.
Resignations unrelated to Epps scandal, warden says
The abrupt contract cancellations by Mississippi Correctional Management President Irb Benjamin to run two facilities housing state inmates amid the fallout of a statewide prison scandal has raised questions about the longtime lobbyist's role, if any, in the alleged corruption. But Benjamin said it's completely unrelated. Benjamin told the Alcorn County Board of Supervisors on Thursday that he will resign as warden of the Alcorn County Regional Correctional Facility on Dec. 1, just one year into a two-year contract to run the prison. His announcement came three weeks after he informed the Grenada County Board of Supervisors his intentions to withdraw from a seven-year contract to oversee the Grenada County Jail. Officials from both counties said they had no warning of the decisions and questioned Benjamin's timing.
ACLU to monitor punishment in Mississippi schools
Mississippi's disproportionate use of harsh punishments like seclusion and restraint on disabled and minority K-12 students will get extra scrutiny by the American Civil Liberties Union, which this month won a $350,000 grant to monitor the practice. The grant, awarded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, will fund the two-year project spearheaded by ACLU of Mississippi. During this time, the ACLU will not only monitor use of restraint and seclusion in school districts but will engage key stakeholders in advocating for the phasing out of this practice in favor of positive behavior interventions. "No child should be subject to abuse, particularly at school," said Jennifer Riley-Collins, executive director of the ACLU of Mississippi.
Is the tea party ready to chill out?
Most of their candidates were crushed this year, even as their party won big. Now, many tea party activists are embracing a strategy for 2016 that's strikingly at odds with the movement's take-no-prisoners approach. It's time, they say, to show a little restraint. It was a miserable year for the tea party, with its highest-profile candidates all losing to establishment-backed incumbents. In Mississippi, conservative challenger Chris McDaniel bested Republican Sen. Thad Cochran on primary day but fell short in a runoff that still has the right crying foul.
Illegal immigrants could receive Social Security, Medicare under Obama action
Under President Obama's new program to protect millions of illegal immigrants from deportation, many of those affected will be eligible to receive Social Security, Medicare and a wide array of other federal benefits, a White House official said Tuesday. In his speech Thursday night, the president touted his plan as a means of bringing accountability to a broken immigration system, under which 11 million or more people are estimated to be living in this country illegally. For those who work, that includes payroll taxes, also known as FICA taxes, because they are collected under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act. Federal law says that people who pay the taxes and are deemed "lawfully present in the United States" can collect benefits under those programs when they become eligible. They may also receive survivor and disability benefits.
Government rule could cripple commercial drone flight
One of America's most popular consumer drones, the DJI Phantom 2, is surprisingly cheap, lightweight and easy to fly, and lots of wedding photographers, farmers and real estate agents now depend on it for eyes in the sky. But federal rules could soon require that, before flying their three-pound whirlybirds, they'll first need pilot licenses -- certification that can cost $10,000 and demand many hours flying aircraft that control nothing like a little drone. The proposed Federal Aviation Administration rules, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, could add a big new burden onto the first generation of small businesses using drones to cheaply shoot video, map land or monitor crops.
MUW to offer MFA in creative writing
Mississippi University for Women will soon offer a new low-residency master's of fine arts program in creative writing. Last week, the Board of Trustees of Institutions of Higher Learning approved the university's proposal to offer the program, which is set to launch in August 2015, pending approval of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Building on a successful undergraduate concentration in creative writing and events such as the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium, the MFA program will include coursework in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and drama. Existing faculty in the Department of Languages, Literature, and Philosophy will teach many of the classes, though the university anticipates hiring additional faculty.
Missions Work to Take MUW Student to 11 Countries
Mississippi University for Women student, Kristen Shreiner of Columbus, in 2015 will travel to 11 countries to empower orphans, as well as victims of sex trafficking. A junior elementary education major, Shreiner will begin traveling in January with a 55-person squad that will break into seven teams in each country. The trip is being organized by Adventure Missions, an interdenominational missions organization that focuses on discipleship, prayer and relationships. Missions are nothing new to Shreiner, who grew up in Belgium, where she worked in an orphanage. She also has also traveled to Milwaukee to work with the homeless.
U.S. Supreme Court justices to visit U. of Mississippi
U.S. Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Elena Kagan will speak at the University of Mississippi next month in a session open to the general public. The University of Mississippi School of Law will host the meeting on Dec. 15 at 10 a.m. in Fulton Chapel. The conversation will be moderated by Jack Nowlin, associate dean for faculty development and professor of law at the UM School of Law. Nowlin is a constitutional law expert. "It would be a great day for the law school and university community if we had just one U.S. Supreme Court justice coming," said Richard Gershon, UM law dean. "It is truly special to have both Justice Kagan and Justice Scalia at Ole Miss. It is an honor for us to have these outstanding jurists here."
U. of Alabama defeats Auburn in Beat Hunger food drive
The University of Alabama met its goal of collecting more than 300,000 pounds of nonperishable food and beat Auburn University in the annual contest between the rivals to collect donations for their respective regional food banks ahead of the Iron Bowl. "I am really excited and proud of what we accomplished this year," said senior Abbie Bunn, the executive team leader for the drive at UA. Alabama collected 300,049 pounds during the five-week competition. Auburn collected 198,041 pounds. The results were announced Tuesday during an official weigh-in ceremony for the competing Beat Auburn, Beat Hunger and Beat Bama food drives.
Auburn professor: U.S. not meeting international standards for Ebola screening
The United States is not meeting international standards during its airport screenings for pandemics such as Ebola, Auburn University Professor David Pascoe said, who serves as the U.S. delegate on the International Standards Committee for Thermal Imagers for Human Temperature Screening. "We need to be measuring a person's core temperature with infrared cameras, which the current screening with lasers does not do," said Pascoe, a kinesiology professor in the College of Education's School of Kinesiology. "The current screenings, as shown in the media, are capturing a temperature measure taken from various locations from which large differences in temperature are observed over a small surface area."
Crowd gathers for peaceful Michael Brown memorial on LSU campus
More than 200 people gathered on LSU's campus Wednesday night to hold a memorial for Ferguson, Mo., teen Michael Brown and others whose deaths they believe illustrate tensions between law enforcement and the black community. A white police officer shot and killed 18-year-old Brown, who was black, in the middle of a street in August, setting off a wave of demonstrations that made national headlines. A grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson set off more violent protests in Ferguson and elsewhere shortly after it was announced Monday night. But LSU's event, which was organized by an LSU student, was non-violent and mostly solemn.
UGA geography prof John Knox named state's top professor
University of Georgia geography professor John Knox has been named the Georgia Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, becoming the first UGA professor to win the prestigious award since 2004. Knox is richly deserving, according to former students such as Matt Daniel, who took courses with Knox in the geography department's atmospheric sciences program. Knox's research area is atmospheric sciences, and he often gets students involved in his research, if they're interested.
On college campuses, students stunned by 'demon' description of Michael Brown
When Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, a black teenager, spoke of the moments just before the shooting, he described a David-vs.-Goliath battle -- with himself as the little guy. The officer's characterization of the size difference between himself and Mr. Brown -- Brown was reportedly about one inch and 80 pounds larger than Wilson -- has sparked outrage across the country. From Los Angeles to the District of Columbia, student protests have largely stood against the grand jury decision. And some individuals are pushing back against Wilson's description of the events surrounding Michael Brown's death. When Lamar Richardson, a senior at Columbia University, read Wilson's testimony, he says that he felt disgust and disbelief.
Tradition in the Cross Hairs as Rape Allegations Rock UVa
Honor wasn't enough this week at the University of Virginia. An article by the magazine Rolling Stone, detailing the brutal gang rape of a freshman woman at a fraternity party in 2012, has blown a hole in the institution's storied legacy as the genteel "academical village" founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819. The article, published on November 19, hit at the end of a difficult semester at the institution, which has dealt with heightened scrutiny about safety after the killing of a sophomore, Hannah Graham, whose body was found last month, weeks after she disappeared. But more than that event, the Rolling Stone article has touched a raw nerve on the campus, sparking outrage from students and alumni who say the university has too long ignored the problem of sexual assault in order to preserve a veneer of respectability.
Obama administration seeks to cut off some aid to poorly performing teacher prep programs
The Obama administration on Wednesday unveiled its controversial regulation that would link some federal funding for teacher preparation programs, in part, to the rate at which their graduates get jobs and how well they perform at the schools where they are hired. The proposal is aimed at bolstering the quality of American teacher education programs by prodding states to hold the programs more accountable for how well their graduates teach. It also calls for states to collect and publish more robust information about teacher preparation programs with an emphasis on outcomes. "Teachers too often arrive unprepared to for the realities of the classroom," Education Secretary Arne Duncan told reporters Tuesday.
BRIAN PERRY (OPINION): Hosemann vs. Reeves?
Consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "There is some fire to the smoke rumors that Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann may challenge incumbent Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves in the Republican Primary next year. The real question is, 'Why?' It would be a formidable challenge. Hosemann, 67, and Reeves, 40, both are battle tested."
SID SALTER (OPINION): Epps probe should bring private prison review
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "It's not merely the Mississippi prison vendor contracts that should draw scrutiny in the wake of the Chris Epps corruption probe. The state's private prison contracts should also be examined. Why? Because the Epps indictment draws into question not just the vendor contracts Epps signed and brokered, but the overall direction of the state's correctional system under his watch. The rise of private prisons in Mississippi has been meteoric and hard to explain."

Mississippi State won't need extra motivation this week
Mississippi State senior safety Jay Hughes doesn't need an inspirational speech from Dan Mullen this week. Hughes said MSU's opponent in its regular-season finale will provide all the inspiration. "Nobody on the team needs motivation," Hughes said. "We know who we're playing, and we know how big of a deal it is." No. 4 MSU will have a number of goals on the line at 2:30 p.m. Saturday (WCBI) when it takes on No. 18 Ole Miss at Vaught Hemingway Stadium in Oxford. "This week changes everything being a rivalry week," Mullen said. "We have to leave it all out there on the field."
Mississippi State's Dak Prescott ready 'to take care of business' in Oxford
Dak Prescott began his week of preparation for Ole Miss with the Egg Bowl Trophy. Before discussing the rivalry, the junior placed his hand on top of the gold trophy that sat next to the podium. "This is pretty," Prescott said. His fourth-quarter led comeback in Starkville last year helped Mississippi State recapture possession of the Golden Egg in overtime. The performance etched Prescott's name into Bulldogs lore. "People will remember for a long time Dak's great game in Baton Rouge and certainly this type of game," said Rocky Felker, who played, coached and now works as the director of player personnel at Mississippi State. "The importance of the Egg Bowl that's been placed on it this year and the fact that both teams have had really good years. It can mean a lot."
Quarterbacks take center stage at Egg Bowl
One had a night to forget. The other put on a performance that was unforgettable. That was the difference in the 2013 Egg Bowl, a 17-10 overtime victory for Mississippi State. The night to forget belonged to Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace, who tossed three interceptions, failed to lead his team to the end zone and fumbled on the final play of the game to seal the seven-point loss. On the other side, the unforgettable part of the game was delivered by MSU quarterback Dak Prescott, who entered the game with his team trailing 10-7 halfway through the fourth quarter and put the Bulldogs on his back as they rallied for their sixth win of the season. In just over 10 minutes of game time, Prescott passed for over 100 yards and added the dagger, a two-yard touchdown run in overtime that provided the difference.
Ole Miss eyes ways to slow Mississippi State's Prescott
Ole Miss is aware that there is more to Mississippi State than quarterback Dak Prescott. But in talking about No. 4 Mississippi State (10-1, 6-1 Southeastern Conferee) in advance to the Egg Bowl, it begins with the potential Heisman Trophy finalist taking the snaps. "They're a very good football team," Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. "Dak Prescott makes them better than very good." As No. 18 Ole Miss (8-3, 4-3 SEC) prepares for Saturday's game (2:30 p.m, CBS), figuring out how to slow Prescott is job No. 1.
Mississippi State LB Holmes' fifth season has been his best
With his degree already in hand and a newborn son, Christian Holmes had a choice to make over the summer. The Puckett native had merely been a role player on special teams during his first four years and had to decide if it was even worth returning to Mississippi State for a fifth. Holmes ultimately chose to come back and has enjoyed a career resurgence this fall. "I didn't know whether to transfer, play football here or go to work," Holmes said. "I just prayed about it and am still here and the success has come. I had to wait five years for it, but it was all worth it in the end."
Bulldogs remain fourth in College Football Playoff ranking
As the first-ever College Football Playoff draws near, Mississippi State remains in the thick of the conversation. On Tuesday night, for the fifth straight week, MSU held steady in the College Football Playoff Selection Committee's Top Four. After the unveiling of this week's rankings, College Football Playoff Committee Chairman Jeff Long was asked how strong MSU's grip on the No. 4 spot is at the moment. "Well I think they're holding strong where they're located now," said Long. "While they only have one win over a currently ranked Top 25 win, they do have wins over teams that were previously in the Top 25. The committee takes that into account. They view those teams as when those games were played."
Same Top 4 in Rankings, but College Football Playoff Keeps Things Interesting
Before this season, those who favored going from a two-team playoff under the Bowl Championship Series to a four-team playoff -- without expanding to six or eight teams, as some had hoped -- cited the Goldilocks principle. Four teams, they said, would increase fans' interest and teams' opportunities without diluting the most intense regular season in American sports. Four teams, they argued, were just right. Heading into Week 14 -- the traditional rivalry weekend otherwise known as Hate Week -- advocates for a four-team playoff seem vindicated.
RICK CLEVELAND (OPINION): Scrambled Eggs: Tales From Ole Miss-Mississippi State Rivalry Lore
Mississippi syndicated sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes for Grantland: "Ole Miss began playing football in 1893. Mississippi State -- then called Mississippi A&M -- fielded its first team two years later. Although natural rivals located just 93 miles apart, they could not agree to play one another until 1901. Truth is, the two have never agreed on much of anything. ...Truth is, though, State and Ole Miss supporters loved to loathe one another before football factored in. In the beginning, this was a rivalry of class, which predates the creation of Mississippi State. Many considered Ole Miss, established in 1848, a last bastion of post–Civil War southern aristocracy. ...Out of that mistrust, what is now Mississippi State opened its doors in 1880."
Vivians honored as Mississippi State women return to national rankings
Monday was a good day for the Mississippi State women's basketball team. Coach Vic Schaefer and the Bulldogs learned Monday morning that the Southeastern Conference named guard/forward Victoria Vivians the SEC Freshman of the Week. The 6-foot-1 standout from Scott Central High School also was named College Sports Madness' SEC Player of the Week after she earned MVP honors in leading MSU (4-0) to the Preseason Women's National Invitation Tournament title. MSU's victories against then-No. 17 West Virginia and Western Kentucky that wrapped up the Preseason WNIT championship helped MSU climb into The Associated Press Top 25 poll at No. 25.
Mississippi State women move to 5-0 by routing Louisiana Monroe
Get your Fatheads ready because Kendra Grant is back. Through the first four games of the season, Mississippi State women's basketball fans had to wave their Fathead, or poster-board sized cutout, of Grant's face for all of the Bulldogs but her because an injury kept her out of action. That all changed Tuesday night. Grant only played six minutes in No. 25 MSU's 80-46 victory against the University of Louisiana at Monroe before a crowd of 2,954 at Humphrey Coliseum. The positive side of Grant's appearance is her shooting form is still intact. The senior guard swished her first shot of the season with 10 minutes, 56 seconds remaining to extend the Bulldogs' lead to 63-28.
No. 25 Bulldogs romp at home
Sherise Williams scored 15 points to lead No. 25 Mississippi State to an 80-46 win over Louisiana-Monroe on Tuesday night. The Bulldogs (5-0) were playing their first game since rising into the Top 25 on Monday. MSU held Louisiana-Monroe to 2-of-18 shooting in the first half as Bulldogs marched out to a 48-13 lead at the break. "I was concerned about a letdown, but we didn't have it," MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. "We came out and played well in the first half."
Iron Bowl rivals, cancer-fighting freshmen will be side-by-side at Auburn-Alabama game
Corbyn Wile, 19, of Enterprise, is Bama, through and through. The University of Alabama freshman has three sisters who went there before her. Kayla Perry, 19, is Auburn, orange and blue. The Auburn University freshman from Birmingham knew at age 13 this school was for her. They're on opposite sides when the two schools meet Saturday in the classic Iron Bowl football game. But they are fast friends. They stand united against one thing: Cancer. Both have it.
Parts of Kyle Field's west side won't be going home with Aggies after LSU game
Fans hoping to take home a piece of Kyle Field after Thursday's game are out of luck, according to a spokesperson for the Texas A&M University System. "The north side of the stadium is being reclad; it is not being demolished. We are not salvaging any of the west side of the stadium for sale or auction," Terry McDevitt, interim director of communications for the Texas A&M System, wrote in an email to The Eagle. Last season, fans were offered a chance to buy 450 square feet of turf for $400. This year, the turf is being hauled off and fans will have to clear out as soon as possible. Two hours after the game ends, Kyle Field will no longer be a football stadium -- it'll be a construction zone.
Reasons for resignations of Tennessee basketball's Howard, Rush remain unclear
During his first day as a Morehead State graduate assistant in 2009, Adam Howard helped a staff member load a moving truck, completed hours of office work and babysat for his new boss, Donnie Tyndall. It was an unglamorous start to a coaching climb that elevated Howard from errand runner to Tyndall's right-hand man. Howard was promoted to assistant coach the following season. Tyndall offered him the same role when he moved to Southern Miss in 2012. And after Howard drove Tyndall from Hattiesburg, Miss., to New Orleans for an interview with UT athletic director Dave Hart on April 21, Tyndall asked the 29-year-old if he was ready to be an assistant in the SEC. But Howard's UT career ended after only two games. The staff member who had worked alongside Tyndall the longest resigned on Monday, the latest twist for a UT program that has been under much scrutiny since Southern Miss announced it is cooperating with an NCAA review of potential violations that reportedly occurred during Tyndall's tenure.

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