Tuesday, July 7, 2015  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Mississippi State vets pioneer surgical method for horses
When Henry Wilson of Columbus noticed the eye of his beloved horse, Tender, was changing color, he knew something was wrong and did not waste any time getting her to a veterinarian. Recognizing that Tender had a serious eye issue, the local veterinarian referred Wilson to the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine. MSU veterinarians diagnosed Tender with chronic uveitis, an inflammatory disease that causes eye tissue swelling and often leads to blindness. "Uveitis can be painful, and in the short-term, we can treat the condition with pain and anti-inflammatory medications," said Dr. Caroline Betbeze, assistant clinical professor of ophthalmology at MSU-CVM. "We were able to manage Tender's pain with medications, but Tender's eye was irreversibly blind, and, in those cases, long-term relief is often achieved through removing the affected eye. And that's what we recommended for Tender."
 
Coming up: Bryson at MSU Riley Center July 17
Popular '70s and '80s R&B crooner Peabo Bryson will take to the MSU Riley Center stage on July 17. Bryson's extensive soul music repertoire includes the hits "Feel the Fire," "Reaching for the Sky," "I'm So Into You," "Crosswinds," "Let the Feeling Flow" and "Can You Stop the Rain." In 1985, he appeared on the soap opera "One Life to Live" to sing a lyrical version of the program's theme song. Bryson's vocals were added to the regular theme song in 1987 and his voice was heard daily until 1992. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $59 and $53 at the MSU Riley Center Box Office
 
Jeppie Barbour: We won't be 'bossed around by a bunch of Yankees'
The Confederate battle emblem should remain on the Mississippi flag because it honors ancestors who fought for the South in the Civil War, a brother of former Gov. Haley Barbour told about 40 supporters of the state banner at a rally Monday outside the state Capitol. "They were fighting for the freedom of the South not to get bossed around by a bunch of Yankees," Jeppie Barbour told reporters after he spoke on the Capitol steps. About 40 people -- all of them white -- participated in the rally. As a bagpiper played "Dixie," several Mississippi banners or freestanding rebel flags fluttered in breezes that brought little relief on a hot, muggy day.
 
Pro-Mississippi flag rally held at capitol
With the brother of former Gov. Haley Barbour as keynote speaker, Magnolia State Heritage Campaign rallied Monday on the steps of the Mississippi Capitol to express support for the state flag. Jeppie Barbour took a position that put him on the opposite side of his son. After the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting last month, Henry Barbour, a national committeeman for the Republican Party, said the Mississippi state flag needed to be changed. Jeppie Barbour said his son is wrong. Guest speaker William Flowers, vice chairman for the League of the South in Georgia, another Southern heritage preservation group, came from Atlanta to show his support.
 
Oil spill money: Where will it go?
Almost $600 million of the $2.2 billion Mississippi will receive from BP as part of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement will be set aside for environmental research and economic development. The $582 million in earmarks are part of the RESTORE Act -- federal legislation that dedicates 80 percent of fines related to the oil spill to the Gulf Coast -- as penalties for BP's violation of the Clean Water Act resulting from the 2010 rig explosion and gusher that spilled more than 300 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality will administer the money once a project has made it through the levels of state and federal approval to qualify for the funding. Until then, the money will be held in a trust account, said Nicole Webb, a spokeswoman for Gov. Phil Bryant.
 
Regulators to discuss Kemper refunds for Mississippi Power customers
Regulators plan to discuss Tuesday how to obey a state Supreme Court order to refund about $350 million that Mississippi Power Co. has collected from customers to build a power plant in Kemper County. All three public service commissioners favor allowing customers to choose between refund checks or credits on future bills. Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley says the commission is likely Tuesday to suspend an 18 percent rate increase enacted in 2013 for the plant. In June, the Supreme Court ruled the increase was illegal and ordered refunds. Commissioners say it could take several months to work out refund methods.
 
Same-sex couples have few private workplace protections in Mississippi
The U.S. Supreme Court has declared same-sex marriages legal but huge gaps remain in protecting gays, lesbians and transgender Americans from discrimination in private-sector hiring, firing and worker benefits. So says Matthew Steffey, a Mississippi College School of Law professor whose expertise includes civil rights and constitutional law. "Married in the morning, fired in the afternoon" is how one commentator put it last weekend. Steffey would not think that assessment to be off target. It comes down to Mississippi "quite possibly having no protections for gay people," he said. Because employers in Mississippi are free to reject applicants based on sexual preferences, it follows that they have a free hand in dismissing workers who are in a same-sex marriage or withholding company benefits they provide other married couples, he said.
 
NIH sees reversal of fortune with proposed funding boosts
After a dozen years of flat funding, the National Institutes of Health has become a top target on Capitol Hill -- not for less money but more, potentially billions more by 2020. It's a remarkable turnaround for the huge medical research agency, one triggered by a confluence of circumstances. Fears that the United States is losing ground to international competitors in science and technology synched with lawmakers' need to show frustrated voters that they can work in a bipartisan manner, and NIH offered "an easy win" on both, advocates say. Add in the institutes' director, Francis Collins, a scientific celebrity with guitar-playing, motorcycle-riding everyman charm, who has wooed over 300 lawmakers in recent years. Plus crowds of patients flooding the halls of the Capitol and headlines about the fantastic promise of new cancer immunotherapies.
 
U.S. Agencies Conduct Cyberwar Games
The Pentagon, Department of Homeland Security, National Security Agency and a host of other agencies joined British officials and a number of private companies for a three-week cyber war game, testing 14 teams on a range of simulated attacks on two continents. The exercise, held in June at a military facility in Suffolk, Va., aimed to prepare the U.S. military, security officials and others for what some believe is the next frontier in warfare: cyberattacks. One big difference this year was the invitation to some banking and energy officials and others to participate, as the U.S. government was seeking to test the various industries that could be forced to respond in the event of a cyberattack.
 
Code Specialists Oppose U.S. and British Government Access to Encrypted Communication
An elite group of code makers and code breakers is taking American and British intelligence and law enforcement agencies to task in a new paper that evaluates government proposals to maintain special access to encrypted digital communications. On Tuesday, the group -- 13 of the world's pre-eminent cryptographers, computer scientists and security specialists -- will release the paper, which concludes there is no viable technical solution that would allow the American and British governments to gain "exceptional access" to encrypted communications without putting the world's most confidential data and critical infrastructure, in danger. The report is being released a day before James B. Comey Jr., the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Sally Quillian Yates, the deputy attorney general at the Justice Department, are scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the concerns that they and other government agencies have about "going dark" -- the fear that new encryption technologies will prevent them from monitoring the communications of kidnappers, terrorists and other adversaries.
 
States face shaky financial futures; pensions at risk
States are mounting an uneven fiscal recovery from the Great Recession, with energy-rich states leading and Northeastern states with big pension obligations lagging, a new study shows Alaska, the Dakotas, Nebraska and Florida are on the most solid financial footing, according to rankings of the 50 states released Tuesday by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Illinois are at the bottom. The Mercatus Center, a public policy research group, ranked the 50 states based on how well each state government planned spending from annual budgeting to cash to pay bills, to funding for pensions and long-term plans in fiscal 2013 -- the most recent year for which data was available -- as well as their future financial prospects.
 
Is this cold, rural state home to the nation's healthiest democracy?
One of the nation's whitest, coldest and most rural states may have a new superlative to add to the list: most democratic. After taking 22 factors into account, Maine's democracy ranks healthiest in the nation in a new report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the advocacy wing of the liberal Center for American Progress. Alabama's was weakest, though even top-ranking Maine was far from perfect. "One of the messages throughout this report is that every state has room to improve," says Lauren Harmon, associate director for voting and democracy campaigns and an author of the report. Measuring democracy is, of course, subjective.
 
East Central Community College Holding Kids' College
While most children are out for the summer, a group of kids are on the campus of East Central Community College in Decatur learning various sports and skills while taking "college" classes. Kids' College will be held for the next two weeks were students signed up to take different classes, with one favorite being the Chefs in Training. "Every day has a theme and everyday has a lesson, every day has a little bit about why chefs do what they do," explained Barry Karrh, chef at ECCC and Kids' College. While learning is going on in the kitchen, across campus on the tennis courts, Kids' College students are learning how to play the sport of tennis. "We started on forehands and they all seem to be picking it up really good, and we are going to work from there, we will probably work on a little back hands today, play a couple of little games, and throughout the week we will learn more strokes, lean serves, volley, and work on some footwork," explained Pete Mazzella, tennis coach at Kids' College.
 
Is the LSU lakes project for the 'elite' who live there or the greater Baton Rouge community?
Perhaps more than any other spot in Baton Rouge, the LSU lakes are where state's flagship university and Baton Rouge community come together. Stroller-pushing parents and senior citizens jog or walk alongside college-T-shirt-wearing students. On nice days, the gravel parking lot that sits between the two largest lakes -- University and City Park lakes -- fills up quick. But are the lakes -- which are slated for a major revitalization project -- a community asset enjoyed by all of Baton Rouge, or just those fortunate enough to catch sunset reflections from their front porch? A 2011 LSU lakes usage survey conducted by BREC suggests it's more than just the residents who live around the lakes who take advantage of the view. Twenty-nine percent of Baton Rouge residents said they regularly visit the LSU lakes. When it comes to those age 45 and younger, the number jumps to nearly one-in-three.
 
WGTA-TV is now broadcasting and WUGA-TV is no more
Television station WGTA took to the air on July 1, officially ending the University of Georgia's involvement in the TV broadcasting business. New owner Marquee Broadcasting closed on the previously announced $2.5 million sale of the former WUGA-TV and recently converted the station from noncommercial into a commercial enterprise affiliated with three networks that specialize in "classic" TV shows and movies. For the moment, the only cable outlet with the station's programming is a local enterprise in Toccoa, where the station is now located after its move from the UGA campus.
 
Despite Hurdles, Students Keep Switching Colleges
Some 3.6 million students entered college for the first time in the fall of 2008, at the height of the Great Recession. Over the next six years, they transferred 2.4 million times, ricocheting between two- and four-year public and private colleges, often across state lines, according to a report being released Tuesday by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. "This has huge implications for the growing number of states with performance-based funding," Afet Dundar, associate director of the research center and one of the report's authors, said in an interview. Such formulas reward or penalize colleges based in part on the number of students they graduate or retain from year to year.
 
Army shuts down controversial Human Terrain System, criticized by many anthropologists
The Human Terrain System set off intense debates among anthropologists and other social scientists when the U.S. Army in 2005-6 introduced the idea of embedding scholars with military units in Iraq and Afghanistan. In theory, the scholars would help the military understand ethnic groups that were mysterious to soldiers, potentially saving the lives of Americans and those who lived in the region. But from the program's start, many anthropologists and others saw the program as a violation of their disciplines' ethical standards. Protests from anthropologists didn't stop the military program -- or the participation of some scholars. But the Army last week confirmed to journalists that the program had quietly been phased out -- not because of the ethical concerns, but because of the lack of ground forces for which the program was designed.
 
House, Senate Bills Would Cut Education Department Funding
Despite a veto threat from President Barack Obama, Republicans in both chambers of Congress are pushing through appropriations bills for fiscal 2016 that adhere to congressionally mandated spending caps and would cut billions of dollars from the U.S. Department of Education and eliminate a slew of federal education programs. The Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives passed its funding bill on a party-line vote, 30-21, on June 24. The proposal would provide $64.4 billion for the Education Department, a $2.8 billion cut from fiscal 2015, and eliminate 20 programs, including School Improvement Grants, the Preschool Development Grant, and Investing in Innovation. A day later on the other side of the Capitol, the Appropriations Committee in the Senate passed its spending plan on a party-line vote, 16-14. The proposal would provide $65.5 billion for the Education Department, a $1.7 billion cut, and eliminate 10 programs.


SPORTS
 
Mississippi State women among nation's best in NCAA basketball attendance
Another season attendance record has placed Mississippi State women's basketball among the nation's best in the final attendance rankings released by the NCAA Monday. The Bulldogs set the program record for the second-straight year as 67,598 attended 18 games at Humphrey Coliseum, an average of 3,755 per game. State wrapped the home slate with a 55-47 win against Ole Miss in front of a crowd of 7,326 that ranked as the largest ever to watch a women's college basketball game in the state. MSU's average attendance improved by 1,435 from the 2013-14 campaign, the fourth-highest increase in the nation and second in the SEC.
 
Five under/overachievers for Mississippi State
Not every five-star prospect molds into an NFL draft pick. Walk-on's don't always remain on the bench. Mississippi State built its first 10-win regular season with bricks of overachievers; from former walk-on Ben Beckwith to Josh Robinson, who went from sleeping in his car to the Indianapolis Colts. This season presents another opportunity for players to shine from relatively nowhere. But it also provides a chance for those underachievers to produce. Here's a look at a few Mississippi State's under/overachievers.
 
Former Bulldog Papelbon named MLB All-Star for sixth time
Former Mississippi State pitcher Jonathan Papelbon was named to the 2015 Major League Baseball National League All-Star team, MLB announced late Monday night. With his sixth career selection to the Midsummer Classic, the Philadelphia Phillies closer tied Will Clark for most all-star nods in MSU history. In his fourth season with Philadelphia and 11th big league campaign overall, Papelbon owns a 1.65 ERA in 31 appearances and is a perfect 14-for-14 in save opportunities. The right-hander has struck out 34 batters and walked just seven, holding hitters to a .213 average at the plate.
 
Ole Miss has launched investigation into alleged violations
Ole Miss issued a statement Monday saying that it has offered its "full cooperation" to the NCAA and has launched its own investigation into allegations made by Laremy Tunsil's stepfather of multiple potential rules violations. "We take the obligations to the NCAA and SEC very seriously, and we will continue to educate, monitor and enforce all applicable rules. Any reports are speculation until this process is complete," the statement said. Chris Howard, the NCAA's director of enforcement for football, questioned Lindsey Miller, Tunsil's stepfather, for what Miller estimates was three hours on Friday, The Clarion-Ledger confirmed.
 
Alabama coaching salaries continue to rise
It's a good time to be a highly successful assistant football coach, especially in the SEC. With programs bringing in record-setting revenues nearly every year, some of that cash has been reinvested into assistant coach/staff salaries, and the University of Alabama football program is no exception. The UA football program brought in nearly $100 million in revenues in 2014. A decade earlier, in 2005, that total was approximately $43 million. During that same span, pay for UA's top assistant coaches rose at an even higher rate. During coach Nick Saban's tenure in Tuscaloosa, the program has proven its willingness to pay top dollar to keep its assistant coaches, and Alabama has had to fend off other SEC schools from poaching Kirby Smart, including Georgia and LSU among others.
 
Nike to Outfit U. of Michigan Sports Teams
Nike Inc. will take over the rights to outfit the University of Michigan sports teams next year, unseating Adidas AG from one of its most prized American sports contracts. Nike and Michigan agreed to a deal in principle that would begin with the 2016-17 season and run through at least 2027, with an option to extend until 2031, according to a statement from Michigan. Terms of the deal weren't immediately available but are expected to be announced next week, the statement said. Nike had been the Michigan Wolverines' athletic gear supplier for more than a decade until Adidas took over the contract in 2008. Nike has been increasingly aggressive in going after contracts held or coveted by Adidas and Under Armour Inc.



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