Friday, November 21, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
SLIM SMITH (OPINION): Possibly the best Egg Bowl ever
The Dispatch's Slim Smith writes: "The Egg Bowl was played Wednesday on the Mississippi State campus and for time first time ever, it didn't matter who won or lost. Ole Miss won on the scoreboard, 23-17, yet the partisan, standing-room-only crowd cheered anyway. When two Ole Miss players ran across the field after the final play flashing the Rebels' trademark 'Fins Up' sign, the Bulldog crowd laughed and cheered and applauded. Why not? Unlike the meeting which will take place in Oxford between these two old football rivals, Wednesday's game had not tinge of acrimony. Good plays were celebrated on both sides. The MSU cheerleaders and members of the university's pep band celebrated Ole Miss scores with the same enthusiasm they exhibited for Bulldog scores. ...By now, you have probably figured out that this was no ordinary Egg Bowl."
IHL approves 3.2 percent tuition increase
The state College Board in Mississippi has given its preliminary approval to increasing tuition by an average of 3.2 percent next fall. Mississippi residents would pay a statewide average of $6,718 for two semesters of full-time tuition and fees, up by $272. Rates for certain professional programs will go up by different amounts. The board acted Thursday during a meeting at Alcorn State University in Lorman. The board must vote again later to grant final approval. The largest increases would come at the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University, which would both raise tuition and fees 5 percent to nearly $7,500 a year. Universities say they need more money to increase faculty salaries, cover operation costs and make up for cuts to state support.
Sprinkler head failure damages Mississippi State dorm
For the second time this year, a Mississippi State University residence hall's fire suppression system faltered during a non-emergency situation, producing significant water damage and displacing students within Zacharias Village. Hurst Hall's fire system expelled enough water early Wednesday to damage 36 rooms and possibly displace as many as 72 female students, the university reported. MSU Chief Communications Officer Sid Salter said a recently installed sprinkler head fractured about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. The university was in the process of upgrading sprinkler heads in the dorm, and the one in question was installed Tuesday.
Mississippi State students helped with housing after dorm damaged
Mississippi State University leaders are reaching out to help students displaced from Hurst Hall after a component of the fire suppression system failed and caused substantial water damage in 36 of its rooms. The university says as many as 72 female students in the Zacharias Village residence hall are having to find a place to stay for the rest of the fall semester. Repairs to the water-damaged rooms are expected to be completed before the start of the spring semester. Students impacted by the damage will be helped as they move to other housing.
Mississippi State Student Showcases Art
A Mississippi State University art student will have his work on display up to the beginning of December. Tupelo native Michael Wilkerson's exhibit titled "From Nothingness" features a collection of ceramic pieces influenced by Asian culture. The display can be seen until Dec. 5 in the Colvard Student Union Art Gallery located on the second floor.
Glover Triplett: A half-century of no-till research
When Agronomist Glover Triplett and Soil Physicist Dave Van Doren launched their no-till corn project in 1963, they could not have dreamed their crop rotation/tillage plots would still be going more than half a century later and be part of a revolution in crop production that today encompasses over 100 million acres in the U.S. and millions more around the world. Fifty-one years later, their original OSU study is still going -- the longest continuously maintained no-till research plots in the world. Triplett retired from OSU in 1982, and he and his wife returned to Mississippi. He began a second career at Mississippi State University, where he had earned undergraduate and master's degrees. Today, at age 84, he continues to be actively involved in no-till and forage crops studies as research professor of agronomy for the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
State's new banking chief Charlotte Corley, an MSU alum, has deep roots in the business
Mississippi's bankers should have no difficulty recognizing the name of the state's new banking commissioner. Gulfport native Charlotte Corley has been a bank regulator in Mississippi her entire working life, having joined the Department of Banking & Consumer Finance as a bank examiner in 1985. She became banking division director in 2000, after a 13-year stint as a field examiner. Corley went to work for the banking department a year after receiving a bachelor of business administration degree with a banking and finance major from Mississippi State University.
Improved sales tax returns observed locally
Columbus received nearly $50,000 more in sales tax diversions for this month than it did in November 2013. Returns from the Mississippi Department of Revenue totaled $727,524 this month, according to data provided by Columbus Chief Financial Officer Milton Rawle. Perhaps not surprisingly with the traffic generated by a successful football season at Mississippi State, Starkville's returns for this month were also up significantly over the previous November. The city received a check from MDR for $532,513 this month compared to $496,970 in November 2013. That's a $35,543 difference. Revenues for West Point, however, were down significantly.
Taco Del Mar opening in Starkville
A Taco Del Mar is opening in Starkville. The restaurant chain offers "offers a fast, fun and delicious alternative to traditional Mexican food," according to its corporate website. The first one opened in Seattle in 1992. The Starkville restaurant will be located in Cotton Crossing Shopping Center on Russell Street. A Facebook page dedicated to the spot states it will open sometime this month. The owner told The Dispatch he would know more definitively in coming weeks. In Mississippi, there are four Taco Del Mars -- one in Flowood, one in Clinton, one in Hattiesburg, one in Ridgeland.
Airbus offers severance packages to employees
With the sale of helicopters down in the U.S. and globally, Airbus Helicopters has made voluntary severance packages available to its Lowndes County employees. "As a result of the sales slowdown, we are trying to make adjustments to the staffing levels, not unlike most other companies," Bob Cox, senior manager of communications with Airbus, told The Dispatch in an email Wednesday. "Rather than involuntarily lay off employees, we have offered a voluntary severance package that will be attractive to some people." Airbus, an aircraft manufacturer, operates a 350,000 square foot plant in the Golden Triangle Industrial Park, where it assembles helicopters. It employs roughly 250 people there, according to Cox.
Analyst: KiOR Columbus plant may end up sold as scrap
Finding a buyer for the idled KiOR biofuels plant at Columbus would be a tough sell, according to Pavel Molchanov, an equity analyst who had covered Pasadena, Texas-based KiOR Inc. until it filed for bankruptcy protection on Nov. 9. The state will be fortunate to recoup 10 percent to 15 percent of the $69.4 million balance left in a $75 million no-interest loan it made for the plant at Columbus, Molchanov said. The plant may well be sold for scrap, Molchanov said. "Unfortunately, the state of Mississippi is going to be left high and dry," he said. The Mississippi Development Authority says it is working to recoup its investment in the KiOR plant. "MDA, along with its counsel and financial advisors are diligently working toward solutions that protect the state's investment to the maximum extent possible in the KiOR project," agency Chief Marketing Officer Marlo Dorsey said in an email on Tuesday.
Mississippi firm first to get USDA label
Hankins Inc. in Ripley has secured the first U.S. Department of Agriculture biobased certification for forest products since the 2014 farm bill made them eligible for the procurement and labeling program. It received USDA approval for its kiln-dried southern yellow pine products. "This should open up new markets for the southern yellow pine products from Mississippi, and that can mean more jobs and economic growth in the long run," said U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, who as ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee worked to expand the BioPreferred program.
State's casinos took in more winnings in October
A strong performance by Mississippi's Gulf Coast casinos boosted gambling revenue to $167 million in October. The figure bested the $165.5 million lost by gamblers in October 2013.
Report: Mississippi could see 12,000 new jobs, $244M in annual revenue from eastern Gulf drilling
Mississippi could gain more than 12,000 jobs and nearly $244 million per year in revenue by 2035 if areas of the eastern Gulf of Mexico now off limits to oil and gas exploration are opened, a new report says. According to the report released by the American Petroleum Institute and the National Ocean Industries Association, investment in the state could hit $679 million per year by then. The report, conducted by Quest Offshore Resources on behalf of the industry groups, said that spending could total $6 billion over the 18-year study period.
Feds: White prison gangs operate in Mississippi, Oklahoma
Federal prosecutors said Thursday that alleged members of white supremacist prison gangs in Mississippi and Oklahoma have been arrested on racketeering charges tied to violent crimes and drug distribution. The Justice Department said in a news release that 13 of the 14 people indicted in Mississippi and all 11 indicted in Oklahoma are in custody. Prosecutors said those indicted are believed to be members of Aryan Brotherhood Mississippi, or members or associates of Universal Aryan Brotherhood of Oklahoma -- whites-only gangs that use Nazi symbols and have crime operations inside and outside prisons.
Governor seeks tourism promotion boost
Gov. Phil Bryant wants more people to know about Mississippi's tourism opportunities. To spread the word about Mississippi, the Republican governor has proposed spending an additional $5.1 million to advertise the state's tourism amenities. The tourism proposal was part of Bryant's $6.2 billion budget recommendation he released last week in advance of the Legislature convening in January to begin the task of funding state government for the new fiscal year, which starts July 1. Currently, the state spends $3 million annually on tourism advertising -- the lowest in the nation, according to Mississippi Tourism Director Malcolm White. He said Bryant is the first governor in memory to propose increasing the amount spent on tourism marketing.
Ruling: Mississippi abortion law remains blocked
A federal appeals court said Thursday that it won't reconsider its earlier ruling that a 2012 Mississippi abortion law is unconstitutional. The decision means the law remains blocked and Mississippi's only abortion clinic remains open. The law required abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The U.S. Supreme Court established a constitutional right to abortion in its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
Mississippi-based lobbying firm expands into West Virginia
Capitol Resources LLC is expanding its lobbying firm into West Virginia by joining forces with Conrad Lucas. Lucas, an attorney based in Charleston, West Virginia, provides government relations and public affairs services. In addition, he serves as the chairman of the West Virginia Republican Party, where the GOP just won the state House and state Senate for the first time since 1928. With the expansion, Capitol Resources now has offices in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Rollback of environmental regs might not be best move for Republican Congress
Some environmental groups are warning that the Republican takeover of Congress could result in a major attack on environmental regulations. Mitch McConnell from coal-heavy Kentucky, expected to be the new Senate Majority Leader, has said his top priority next year is to rein in the Environmental Protection Agency. But the Republican election victories won't necessarily result in a rollback in environmental protections, said Dr. Jerry Emison, a professor of political science and public administration at Mississippi State University who was former acting regional administrator of EPA. "The mistake that the Republicans have repeatedly made on the environment in the past 30 years, whenever they have gained control of institution like Presidency or Congress, is they have misread the American public's view concerning the environment," Emison said.
Mississippi Republicans blast immigration order
President Barack Obama is overstepping his authority and ignoring the wishes of voters by issuing an executive order protecting millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation, Mississippi's Republican members of Congress said Thursday. In a nationally televised address Thursday, Obama said congressional inaction made his executive order necessary. Mississippi GOP lawmakers said Obama is providing amnesty to undocumented immigrants and ignoring the wishes of voters who gave Republicans control of the Senate in the next Congress and expanded the GOP's majority in the House. Rep. Bennie Thompson, the lone Democrat in Mississippi's congressional delegation, applauded Obama's effort.
Republicans Weigh Legality of Obama's Immigration Move
The president's immigration-overhaul plan has ignited a debate over the legal boundaries of his power, leaving Republicans exploring whether they could litigate claims that his actions violate the law. The Obama administration says it is acting within its existing authority and exercising "prosecutorial discretion" by allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the country and work legally by "deferring action" on their status. The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, in a 33-page memo released Thursday night, backed the legality of the president's actions. Republicans counter that President Barack Obama plans to go further than predecessors in molding immigration policy, effectively rewriting immigration laws without action from Congress and violating the Constitution.
Republicans confront own worst enemy on immigration
Just two weeks ago, Republicans handed President Obama a humiliating defeat at the polls, winning full control of Congress. But already, party leaders fear that the conservative uproar over the president's immigration actions will doom any hopes for a stable period of GOP governance. The moves announced Thursday night by Obama -- which will protect millions of illegal immigrants from deportation -- have sparked an immediate and widening rebellion among tea party lawmakers that top Republicans are struggling to contain. The debate is also a test of whether the party can contain the controversial and sometimes offensive comments that have often hindered attempts to bolster support for Republicans among Hispanics.
USM tuition increase 'discouraging,' but students on Mississippi Coast campus will pay it
Pam Medders hadn't heard tuition would be going up at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast next year, but the high cost of higher education was already on her mind. Medders, a single mother with two children, had just received her current tuition bill. "It's a little steep," the future social worker from Biloxi said. "I have a Pell Grant and small scholarship and it's still not enough." And she doesn't expect social work will make her rich. "It's more of a passion," said the transfer student from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College's Jefferson Davis campus in Biloxi. Still, she'll stick with her university education. She's not alone.
Top lobbyist visits USM, calls midterm elections 'big positive' for Mississippi
A top lobbyist in Washington, D.C. spoke to a nearly full house Thursday at the University of Southern Mississippi about his communication strategies that influence the nation's policy. Tony Podesta, also known as the "King of K Street," is the founder and chairman of the Podesta Group. His trip to USM was hosted by the School of Mass Communication and Journalism. Podesta said the recent shift in the United States Senate will have a great impact on Mississippi, since now seven-term Senator Thad Cochran will be named chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "That's an enormously important post for his home state," said Podesta. "He'll be able to do things that are important to Mississippi."
USM students deliver baskets of love today to those in need
The University of Southern Mississippi School of Social Work will deliver its fall semester "Thanksgiving baskets" this morning to needy families across Harrison County. This year, six different cohorts of Social Work majors collected food, household items, toys, shoes, bowling and movie tickets and other items for these families. In addition this year, an anonymous business has adopted a family of their own, with a budget of $1,000 for their family.
Delta State students protest program cuts
Late Wednesday morning a group of students with connections to the communication studies and theatre arts program and journalism program met on the Delta State University quad to hold a "funeral" and say their goodbyes. These programs are two of five that were eliminated in the recent budget cuts due to lack of graduates. The funeral was led by Michael Ewing, instructor of communication studies/theatre arts, and Conor Bell, a journalism major and writer for The Delta Statement. Emotions were all across the board from sad, to bitter, to angry about the loss of these programs and faculty members.
Outreach efforts aim to address Mississippi's obesity struggles
Can farm-fresh produce turn the tide on Mississippi's obesity battle? Two Mississippi organizations are betting on it, helping hundreds of metro-area residents eat healthier for Thanksgiving. For two hours at the Jackson Medical Mall on Thursday, volunteers gave out fresh vegetables and healthy recipes to UnitedHealthcare members to promote better eating habits, one person at a time. Insurance provider UnitedHealthcare and Alcorn State University joined forces to go around Mississippi, giving out farm-grown vegetables to folks. In previous Farm to Fork events, members of the general public could purchase a bag of vegetables for $5, with proceeds going to ASU.
Florida State shootings hit close to home at U. of Florida
Amid a blazing hot trail of social media feeds, news reports and text messages from Tallahassee, University of Florida students were faced with the reality that the Thursday morning campus shooting at Florida State University could happen here. In fact, as reports emerged that three people had been shot about 12:30 a.m. at FSU's Strozier Library, a wave of concern broke out among students roughly 150 miles away at UF's Library West. In response, UF police positioned officers around the main library on campus and around the Marston Science Library. It only took minutes for the longstanding rivalry between the two universities to melt into one united front against campus violence.
Gov. Rick Perry returning to Aggieland for Texas A&M commencement convocation
Gov. Rick Perry will return to Aggieland next month as the Texas A&M commencement convocation speaker. "We are obviously delighted that Gov. Perry has accepted our invitation to address our December graduates and their families and friends," Interim President Mark Hussey said in a statement. "Gov. Perry will undoubtedly present a message that will resonate with those Aggies who will be entering the next phases of their lives -- be it beginning their careers, continuing their education at graduate or professional schools, entering the military or pursuing other endeavors." Perry, a 1972 Texas A&M graduate, was a member of the Corps of Cadets and twice elected a yell leader.
Police: Texas A&M freshman sold MDMA through her dorm
An 18-year-old Texas A&M freshman was selling ecstasy out of her dorm room, police said. Texas A&M University police executed a search warrant for a dorm at Dunn Residence Hall in October to find almost 24 grams of ecstasy in various forms, along with less than two ounces of marijuana, according to court documents. They had received a call from a fellow resident about marijuana in the room five hours earlier, police said in the probable cause affidavit. Ashton Renee Penney, a general studies major from Mansfield, was charged with first-degree felony manufacture and delivery of ecstasy, punishable by up five to 99 years in prison, as well as Class B misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
Missouri international student enrollment increases 5.2 percent
More and more students are leaving their home countries to attend school in Missouri. International student enrollment is increasing throughout Missouri's colleges and universities, including the University of Missouri. Between the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years, Missouri experienced more than a 5 percent increase in international student enrollment, according to the Institute of International Education's 2014 Open Doors report. International enrollment at MU continues to increase. According to the university's International Center, 2,879 international students were enrolled as of fall 2014, an increase of 303 students since the previous academic year.
How Obama's Action on Immigration Will Affect Higher Education
President Obama's decision to extend limited legal status to up to five million of the nation's 11.4 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally will open the doors to college to more people. But Republican governors who are fuming on the sidelines may try to stand in the plan's way. Here's a look at what colleges can expect.
What Obama's immigration executive actions mean for higher education
President Obama formally announced Thursday evening a series of controversial executive actions he plans to take to reform a "broken" immigration system -- policies that have implications for undocumented college students as well as international students who study at American universities. The most sweeping part of Obama's plan is to grant millions of immigrants who entered the country illegally a temporary reprieve from deportation. Obama's most significant actions affecting higher education directly, though, relate to international students. In explaining his much-anticipated executive actions during an evening address from the White House, Obama invoked higher education to make the case for what he views as a more pragmatic immigration policy that aligns with the country's values.
Obama Unveils Immigration Plan, Lifts Deportation Threat for Millions
President Obama unveiled plans tonight for the most sweeping executive action on immigration in decades, easing the threat of deportation for the parents of millions of America's K-12 schoolchildren. By offering temporary legal status to an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants, along with an indefinite reprieve from deportation, Obama's action will ease longstanding concerns among educators about separating school-aged children from their parents and guardians.
One college distances itself from Bill Cosby; others stick with him
At least one college is distancing itself from Bill Cosby, the once-family-friendly comedian who has been accused of sexual assault by more than a dozen women. Cosby's involvement in higher education is extensive. He has been among the most prominent and generous donors to historically black colleges, especially with a $20 million donation to Spelman College. He was leading the capital campaign at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania until a few months ago. Cosby has also been a trustee at his alma mater, Temple University, since 1982. Temple is standing behind Cosby.

Vandy prepares for the cowbells
Teams have tried many different ways over the years to prepare themselves to play inside Davis Wade Stadium and its raucous atmosphere created by thousands of clanging cowbells. SEC newcomer Derek Mason, in his first season at the helm of Vanderbilt, might have come up with one of the most unorthodox methods to prepare himself for what he will experience personally on Saturday. "I've been listening to (cowbells) on my iPod for about 20 minutes a day," Mason said. "Hopefully that helps me understand how to think through the process as the game's going on." Even MSU coach Dan Mullen was a bit taken aback when he heard of Mason's approach. "I've never heard of that one before, but obviously it's interesting," Mullen said.
Mississippi State's De'Runnya Wilson overcomes first-year struggles
De'Runnya Wilson struggled to find the words to describe his first season. Wide receivers display an extroverted personality. They're always open -- even when they're not. They can catch every pass thrown to them. No defender can cover them. It verges on arrogance. Mississippi State's wide receiver had none of it last year. "My freshman year, it was the worst year of my life in sports," the sophomore said.
A Deep South college town carries his name, but New Hampshire's general is no local fixture
If you follow college football, you know the significance of the scoring play that took place halfway through the fourth quarter of last week's marquee match-up. Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon ran four yards for a touchdown, toppling the previously unbeaten Mississippi State University Bulldogs from their No. 1 ranking. The loss moved the epicenter of college football away from the university's hometown of Starkville, Miss. Starkville -- as in Gen. John Stark, the beloved, irascible Manchester-area resident who beat the British in the Revolutionary War, guaranteed our liberties, and memorialized our Granite State spirit with his timeless utterance, Live Free or Die. Not only New Hampshire admires Stark. His renown has extended far beyond our granite substrate to a town 1,300 miles away, in the hill country of northeastern Mississippi.
Local legend 'Shorty' McWilliams receives high praise from Mississippi State
When Mississippi State hosted Arkansas on Nov. 1, Newton native Tom "Shorty" McWilliams became the sixth member elected into the Mississippi State Ring of Honor. McWilliams played for the Bulldogs in 1944 and from 1946-48, earning All-SEC honors in all four seasons. From his tailback position, he helped guide MSU to records of 8-2, 7-3 and 4-4-1 in his last three seasons on campus. After graduating from Mississippi State, McWilliams went on to play two seasons of professional football, including a one-year stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1950. But McWilliwams would suffer a significant knee injury which would cut his career short. From there, McWilliams returned to Meridian where he went into the restaurant business, taking over as owner of Weidmann's restaurant, alongside his wife, Gloria Weidmann McWilliams.
Vivians keys Bulldogs' upset in WNIT
Mississippi State saw its season end last year on 3-pointer at the buzzer in the quarterfinals of the Women's National Invitation Tournament. But the Bulldogs were able to bounce back in a big way Thursday night by upsetting No. 17 West Virginia 74-61 to advance to the Preseason WNIT championship game. The Bulldogs will host Western Kentucky on Sunday at 2 p.m. for the title. "I really feel like this is a tremendous win for our program," said MSU coach Vic Schaefer. "I was proud of our toughness tonight. I didn't think there were too many times where we got out-toughed tonight and we take great pride in that."
Mississippi State hoops a part of 2015 Puerto Rico Tip-Off
Mississippi State will fly south during the early portion of its season next year. The Puerto Rico Tip-off announced its eight-team field for the 2015 season on Thursday. Mississippi State was one of them. It's the second high-profile tournament Mississippi State has played in under Rick Ray. The Bulldogs played in the Maui Classic in his first year. MSU played in the Las Vegas Classic last year and is scheduled to play in the Corpus Christi Coastal Challenge this year. Both tournaments consisted of four teams, half that of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
Man charged with strong armed robbery following incidents on Alabama-Ole Miss football weekend
A Desoto County teenager has been charged with strong armed robbery following two incidents in Oxford during the weekend of the Ole Miss-Alabama football game. Treston Dowell, 18, was arrested on burglary and petit larceny charges by law enforcement in Desoto County on October 13. While in custody, he told officials he had information about two robberies in Oxford on October 4 and 5. Police say during the interview, he admitted to robbing two people in Oxford.
Vanderbilt rape case attorney suspended
A defense attorney in the Vanderbilt rape case has received an 18-month suspension from practicing law, according to the Board of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court of Tennessee. Herbison will serve the first 60 days on active suspension and the remaining 16 months on probation. Herbison is one of the attorneys representing former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Vandenburg, who is charged with three others in a rape case.
DAVID CLIMER (OPINION): U. of Tennessee rape allegations yet another test for Butch Jones
The Tennessean's David Climer writes: "In his 23 months on the job at Tennessee, Butch Jones has faced a number of challenges. A losing attitude had infiltrated the Vols program. The roster needed rebuilding. The fan base had to be unified. But the events of recent days have provided a challenge of a different kind. UT players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams have been suspended from the team in the aftermath of rape and sexual assault allegations. Like they say, there's nothing in the coaching manual for this."

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