Thursday, October 30, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
MSU reminding fans that drones are prohibited at football games
With the proliferation of low-cost unmanned aircraft, sporting events around the country -- including Division I football games -- are seeing an increase in the number of drones hovering over stadiums and tailgating areas. According to Mississippi State University's chief research officer, these operators are flying in restricted airspace and pose a potential risk to everyone on the ground. "The Federal Aviation Administration has very specific rules about where unmanned aircraft may and may not fly," said David Shaw, the university's vice president for research and economic development and an authority on UAV policy. According to a recent FAA special security notice, the airspace above Davis Wade Stadium and other such venues are classified as "national defense airspace" on game days. Additionally, the FAA has two other policies that regulate operation of unmanned aircraft, Shaw noted.
'Howell at the moon' for Halloween at Mississippi State's South Farm
Halloween ghosts, ghouls and spooks of all ages are invited to "Howell at the Moon" with Mississippi State astronomers. University officials from the physics and astronomy department, including assistant professor Angelle Tanner, will open E.I. Howell Observatory on Friday for free 6:30-8:30 p.m. stargazing. Inclement weather or clouds will cancel the viewing. The observatory is located at South Farm, also known as the Leveck Animal Research Center. To reach the facility, stargazers should take Blackjack Road from state Highway 12 in Starkville to the intersection of Stone Boulevard, then turn south onto Stone Boulevard Extended and follow the signs to the site.
Williams calls for four-lane Blackjack Road project
If District 5 Supervisor Joe Williams gets his wish, a planned Blackjack Road tax increment financing package would fund a four-lane expansion for the congested thoroughfare. Williams called for a four-lane project Monday and said traffic issues near Mississippi State University's campus and expected residential development growth in the eastern portion of the county both require officials to re-think infrastructure improvements. In July, supervisors unanimously approved a $4.78 million-maximum TIF plan that, once expected housing developments are added to the tax rolls, will provide funding for numerous Blackjack Road improvements.
About a third of shrimp misrepresented, watchdog group finds
Shrimp fraud is a widespread problem in the Gulf South, according to an Oceana report. Released Thursday, it said about a third of shrimp the watchdog group sampled was misrepresented to consumers. Oceana described misrepresented as either mislabeled (one species swapped out for another), misleading (farmed species sold as shrimp from the Gulf) or mixed/mystery (several species in a bag that was labeled as containing a single species). Oceana said consumers generally aren't given enough information to make informed choices about shrimp, but Mississippi is doing something to help them. "The campaign that happened right after we left (fall 2013, when the sampling was done), Every Shrimp has a Tale, was very successful in highlighting traceable shrimp, responsibly caught," said Kimberly Warner, a senior scientist at Oceana.
Senate District 17 candidates offer platforms at MUW debate
The four candidates vying to represent District 17 in the state senate next year fielded questions on topics ranging from education to industry to gun control during a debate Tuesday at the Mississippi University for Women. An audience filling roughly half of the 200 seats in Poindexter Hall listened as Bill Canon, Bill Gavin, Bobby Patrick and Chuck Younger presented their platforms and discussed their plans if elected to represent a majority of Lowndes County in the next legislative session. The special election for the District 17 seat is set for Nov. 4. It was necessitated after Terry Brown, who had held the post since 2003, died of cancer in September. Next year is the last year of the term his death vacated. Members of the MUW student newspaper The Spectator moderated the debate and asked each candidate to answer eight questions before audience members were given the chance to ask some.
Cochran, Childers speak at Mississippi business event
Six-term incumbent Thad Cochran told Mississippi business leaders Wednesday that he will be in line for a committee chairmanship if Republicans regain control of the Senate. Speaking at a state chamber of commerce event in Jackson, Cochran stopped short of saying he would chair the Senate Appropriations Committee, a powerful spending panel he once led and of which he is still a member. He said it's too early to know who would lead which committee. His Democratic challenger in Tuesday's election, former U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, said in a separate speech that the U.S. is trillions of dollars in debt because nobody in Washington can balance a checkbook. The two Senate candidates spoke to hundreds of people Wednesday at Hobnob, a casual gathering sponsored by the Mississippi Economic Council.
Mississippi top in football, not economy, MECgoers say
Amid the pomp and politicking of Mississippi Economic Council's 13th annual Hobnob sat a smartly dressed Milton J. Chambliss, who despite eager assurances by its parade of public officials denied a statewide economic recovery. "We're not feeling it in our area, yet," said Chambliss, executive director of the Claiborne County Economic Development District. Chambliss was among an estimated 1,800 business leaders from across the state at the three-hour event Wednesday at the Mississippi Coliseum. It featured back-to-back speeches by nearly one dozen statewide elected officeholders, including Republican Gov. Phil Bryant. Bryant touted his administration's strides in recruiting industry and creating jobs, and he rattled off a list of business-friendly polls that put the Magnolia State at or near the top.
Judge denies, dismisses petition for hearing against Madison police
A Madison County judge denied the state of Mississippi's petition for a probable cause hearing on trespassing charges filed by Robin Mayfield against three Madison Police officers. Circuit Court Judge John H. Emfinger denied and dismissed the petition on procedural grounds, stating that "any prosecution for trespassing under this section should be commenced by the issuance of a citation, not by the issuance of an arrest warrant." Robin Mayfield said in a written statement she plans to re-file the charges in accordance with the ruling, and this is "not over." Mark Mayfield had been arrested by Madison police on May 22, in a case that drew national attention in the bitter Mississippi GOP primary between incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran and tea party challenger Chris McDaniel.
Commissioner agrees to compare property insurance premiums vs. losses across state
A growing coalition of Coast property owners is pressing for state legislation that would require insurance companies to report what they pay in claims by ZIP code. But Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney told the Sun Herald on Wednesday he will order up the numbers without a legislative mandate. Legislators in Alabama and Louisiana already required insurance companies to report premiums and losses paid by ZIP code. In Mississippi, bill sponsor Scott Delano of Biloxi said Chaney withdrew his support after the legislation passed the House. It died for lack of a compromise. Chaney said the bill, as originally written, was no good.
Re-election campaign gears up for Sen. Doty
Republican state Sen. Sally Doty held a fundraising event for her District 39 re-election campaign Monday evening. Hosted by the Hurst Review, the event attracted many officials of the Brookhaven and Lincoln County, as well as Gov. Phil Bryant. "This is just fabulous," Doty said of the turnout. "I always feel so supported by the city, and we have a lot of people who are active. Bryant spoke extensively about the success they've had in the Senate.
House candidate arrested on domestic violence charge
Eli "Sarge" Jackson, a Reform Party candidate for Mississippi's 4th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, was arrested Monday on a charge of simple domestic violence, according to a news release from the Forrest County Sheriff's Department. Jackson, along with four other candidates, is challenging Republican Steven Palazzo in the Nov. 4 general election. Democrat Matt Moore, independents Cindy Burleson and Ed Reich, and the Libertarian Party's Joey Robinson have all thrown their hats in the ring to challenge the two-term incumbent Palazzo. A retired Marine, Jackson lives in Hattiesburg and is a real estate investor.
No racial harm meant with 'Vote Black' signs, commissioner says
Tuesday's ballot in Coahoma County will have judicial races, a congressional contest and a couple school board spots. It will not have a candidate surnamed "White" or "Black." So, campaign signs urging voters to "Vote Black" and "Vote White" were met with skeptical curiosity when they began to appear in Clarksdale a couple weeks ago. "I was disappointed that race would be so overtly injected into a political system," said Circuit Judge Charles Webster. A 'Vote Black' sign was stuck into the ground next to one belonging to Webster, who is white. "That kind of race-baiting has no place in politics or anywhere else." Clarksdale city commissioner Buster Moton who in an interview with The Clarion-Ledger that he was the one who distributed them. The sign episode is the latest of several Moton has orchestrated recently.
Democrats Lose Youth Vote: Millennials Turn to the GOP
Democrats have lost ground with millennials compared to past election cycles --- a development that suggests the country's youngest voters are open to both parties, according to a new Harvard Institute of Politics poll. The nationwide poll of more than 2,000 adults ages 18 to 29, conducted Sept. 26 to Oct. 9, found significant political divisions across racial lines, no significant gender gap in the age group, and a slight Republican advantage among definite voters going into the 2014 midterm election. "A lesson here, for us, is that young people, millennials, are no longer the political outliers that they once were," said John Della Volpe, the Harvard Institute of Politics polling director, on a conference call with reporters. "In contrast to where we were four years ago, the youth vote is very much up for grabs politically."
Outlook for states' pot legalization measures goes from solid to shaky
With pot sold openly to any adult who wants it in Colorado and Washington state, marijuana advocates were hoping restrictions in other states would fall like dominoes this election season, opening the way for a push in Congress to change federal drug laws. They were not anticipating a multimillion-dollar wager against them by a casino mogul. Or a spike in voter anxiety amid bureaucratic stumbles in regulating the nascent recreational pot market. Or an unfortunate cellphone video from a rowdy frat bar called Boots N Buckles. Now, legalization measures are teetering in Florida, Oregon and Alaska, states where supporters were confident of victory only a few months ago. It's all enough to seriously harsh the mellow of pro-pot advocates.
Top Louisiana health official to those fighting Ebola: Don't come to conference in New Orleans
Louisiana's top health official is warning researchers and medical professionals who've fought Ebola in West Africa to stay away from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene's annual conference in New Orleans, set to begin Sunday. "We do hope that you will consider a future visit to New Orleans, when we can welcome you appropriately," Kathy Kliebert, state Secretary of Health & Hospitals and Kevin Davis, director of the Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness, say in the Oct. 28 letter to the society. Bloomberg News reported the letter "disinvites" anyone who has cared for Ebola patients within the last three weeks. Close to 3,600 people have registered to attend the annual conference.
Apple CEO Tim Cook: 'I'm Proud to Be Gay'
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said he was "proud to be gay" in a personal essay published Thursday by Bloomberg Businessweek, publicly acknowledging it for the first time. Cook, 53 years old, said he strongly values his privacy but was talking about his sexuality because he felt it allowed him to do something to help others. "I don't consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I've benefited from the sacrifice of others," he wrote. Cook said in his essay that plenty of his Apple colleagues know he is gay. In the past, he has been outspoken about equality, including writing in The Wall Street Journal to support a federal bill to prevent job discrimination based on sexuality.
U.S. GDP grows at 3.5 percent in third quarter
The U.S. economy grew at a 3.5 percent annualized rate between July and September, the government said Thursday morning, providing fresh hope that a stubbornly slow-footed recovery could be gaining speed. The latest gross domestic product figure, released by the Commerce Department, slightly exceeded analyst predictions and caps America's strongest six-month period of expansion since 2003. It also follows the Federal Reserve decision Wednesday to end its bond-buying program, a sign of confidence that the economy no longer needed its "booster shot" injection. Growth in the third quarter was driven by continued solid spending on consumer goods and got an extra boost in two key areas.
UM Food Bank continues to grow, gains support
The Oxford and Lafayette communities have made a push to eradicate hunger by providing for those in need. The University of Mississippi's Food Bank is one way in which students can receive help. The UM Food Bank, located in Room 213 Kinard Hall, first opened in November 2012. Senior Jessica Brouckaert, who served as founding co-director for the food bank for two years, said the idea for the food bank originated nearly a year prior to its opening. She said that while she is no longer the director of the food bank, she is still available to help the food bank where needed. Brouckaert said the food bank has been more than a resource for students; it has also been an example of how students and faculty members can work together to accomplish a goal.
Magic Johnson to visit Jackson State University next week
Basketball legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson will visit Jackson State University on Tuesday. He'll speak to business students enrolled in the school's entrepreneurship program from noon-12:20 p.m., followed by an address to the general student body from 12:45-1 p.m. at Rose E. McCoy Auditorium. Since leaving the NBA after his playing career was cut short by contracting HIV, Johnson has developed a broad range of business interests, including a chain of multiplex movie theaters aimed at inner cities.
Reeves to speak at dedication of Meridian Community College's welding center
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is scheduled to speak at Meridian Community College's dedication of its new welding technology center Friday morning. Ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. at MCC's Workforce Development Center on Highway 19 North. The public is invited to attend. The facility will enable MCC to more than triple its capacity to train welding students, school officials said. The $1.5 million, 11,500-square foot metal structure, located on the north side of the Workforce Development Center, was donated to MCC by 31-year college trustee Tommy Dulaney. Funding for its erection, equipment, and additions was provided by Lauderdale County. Its proper name will be the Structural Steel Services Welding Technology Center, in honor of the local steel fabrication company owned by Dulaney.
Auburn tackles Bama, food insecurity in 20th-annual food drive
Nestled on the Auburn/Opelika line, the East Alabama Food Bank's Community Market looks like a small grocery store. Natural light pours through the windows and onto the market's shelves, highlighting the rows of canned goods, fresh produce and baby items. The Community Market relies on donations from businesses and the community to keep its shelves stocked. This time of year, supplies run low. Since 1994, Auburn University has helped tackle that scarcity through the Beat Bama Food Drive. The drive kicked off Oct. 13 and will run through Nov. 24 with food donation barrels set up around Lee County. Since 1994, the universities have provided a combined total of 3.3 million meals to food insecure Alabamians.
U. of Florida conducting study on football concussions
University of Florida football fans haven't had much to cheer about this year, but the season might turn out positive for some UF researchers. Since the season started in August, those researchers have used sensors installed in the helmet padding of 30 players and a computer software system in an ongoing test to measure the force, length and location of hits to the head and improve understanding of how to prevent, diagnose and treat concussions. "We are still trying to find objective ways to detect concussions and help us know when someone is recovering so they can return to play," Dr. James Clugston, a UF team doctor and assistant professor of community health and family medicine, said.
UGA trying to get word out about campus sexual assault
University of Georgia officials may be facing an uphill battle as they try to get the word out about sexual assault in Athens. On a campus of about 10,000 workers and 35,000 students, only about 100 showed up for a Wednesday evening "Open Dialogue on Sexual Assault" -- not enough to fill a classroom for 200 people, noted Janyce Dawkins, head of the UGA Equal Opportunity Office, which sponsored the forum. The office is in charge of making sure UGA is in compliance with Title IX, a federal law designed to prevent gender discrimination. The office is also responsible for investigating reports of sexual assault on the UGA campus -- instead of the UGA Student Conduct Office, which investigates instances when students and student groups may have violated other UGA policies.
Former U. of Kentucky president Lee Todd resigns faculty position, takes job with start-up
Former University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. has resigned his faculty position in the College of Engineering to join a Louisville software company. Louisville's Business First reported that Todd has been named board chairman and chief strategist for FacilityOne, a building management software company. "What drew me to FacilityOne was the combination of innovative people and technology and a very strong, referenceable customer base," Todd, 68, said in a news release from the company. He served as president of UK from 2001 to 2011, implementing a Top 20 Business Plan to improve UK's stature among research universities.
International nuclear official praises Texas A&M's contributions
When Yukiya Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, made his first trip to the U.S. this week, Texas A&M was the first public university he visited. "Texas A&M is known globally as a university having very high technology including in the area of nuclear science and technology," Amano said on Wednesday, the final day of his three-day trip. "IAEA and A&M have cooperated for many years and that is why I am visiting the university to further increase cooperation." A&M and International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, have worked together since 1998 to further nuclear technology.
Second U. of Missouri provost candidate speaks at forum
A second University of Missouri provost candidate addressed questions about shared governance and the push to increase MU's Association of American Universities standing at a Wednesday morning forum. John Wiencek, interim provost and vice president of academic affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University, told a 70-person audience of mostly faculty members his personal story before fielding questions for more than an hour. Wiencek used his experience as an administrator -- at the provost, vice provost, dean and department levels -- at two institutions, the University of Iowa and Rutgers University, to illustrate his knowledge of the Association of American Universities. While AAU stressors are a part of faculty life at MU, Wiencek said the university's mission to educate. "I really like the University of Iowa model: 'Value teaching first,' " he said. "If you don't want to teach students first, we don't want you here."
Purple handprints symbolize U. of Missouri's pledge against sexual violence
Purple paint-stained palms marked a pledge against sexual violence taken Wednesday by about 50 University of Missouri students, Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin and other administrators. The gesture was the centerpiece of an event called "These Hands Are Not for Hurting," sponsored by the Missouri Students Association. The pledge is part of an ongoing campaign launched in mid-September by MSA. The campaign launch video, "Enough is Enough," was shown at Wednesday's event before guest speakers, Loftin, Danica Wolf, who is the coordinator of the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center, and MSA Vice President Matt McKeown spoke about the importance of preventing sexual violence.
Survey of college presidents shows mixed views on climate surveys, politics
Twenty-eight percent of public four-year college and university presidents say they feel pressure from their governors to conduct their presidencies in ways that differ from their judgment about what's best for their institutions. That is among the findings of the latest snap poll of presidents -- conducted by Gallup and Inside Higher Ed -- on breaking issues. A total of 620 presidents responded to the latest survey. The results showed that a considerable minority of public university presidents (but very few private college presidents, who typically have less interaction with state politicians) appear to have a tough balancing act with respect to their governors.
In the Final 'Gainful Employment' Rule, a Key Measure Vanishes
The Education Department will release on Thursday the final version of its "gainful employment" rule -- the subject of years of intense debate, revision, and litigation. When it does so, it will add one last twist to the rule's winding plot: One of two metrics for judging career programs has disappeared altogether. Under the revised rule, programs will no longer be held accountable for their cohort default rates, which describe the percentage of borrowers who are defaulting on their student loans. Instead, the programs will be evaluated based solely on their graduates' debt-to-earnings ratios. The change is a win for community colleges, but student and consumer advocates say the change weakens the rule, allowing programs to saddle some students with unmanageable debt.
State Initiatives Widen Reach of ACT, SAT Tests
Nearly half of states -- and individual school districts in most others -- have contracted with the nation's two biggest college-testing programs for some form of wide-scale administration in high school so that no student will have an excuse for passing up the opportunity to take the ACT or SAT college-entrance exams. But the growth in statewide college-admissions testing also comes at a time when the testing landscape in high schools is uncertain and increasingly crowded. Separate K-12 assessments tied to the Common Core State Standards in reading and mathematics are coming on line in the spring, and some states are mulling which testing route to take with their older students: Should the college-admissions tests be another layer of testing, or could they do double duty for accountability purposes?

Mississippi State's Prescott: I've been pressing lately
Dak Prescott took advantage of his first impression. Mississippi State's quarterback introduced himself to the nation at LSU with 373 yards of offense and three scores. It helped capture the Bulldogs' first win in Baton Rouge since 1991. He solidified his spot as bonafide college football star with 345 yards of total offence with five touchdowns against Texas A&M. He combined for 700 yards of total offense and eight touchdowns, with a 70-percent completion percentage, against the No. 8 and 6 teams in the country. Since then, he's completed 36 of 67 passes the last two games against Auburn and Kentucky with three interceptions. After starting 5-for-5 against the Wildcats, he completed 5 of his next 14. This is not lost on the junior.
Dan Mullen laughs off questions regarding his future at Mississippi State
Coaching the top team in the country comes with its share of distractions. The College Football Playoff Selection Committee released its first-ever rankings on Tuesday. Mississippi State topped the list. It's a tribute to the work Dan Mullen has done in Starkville. It's work other fan bases have noticed and have already started lobbying for their schools to pry him away from Mississippi State. "I kind of laugh it all off. I don't really pay a whole lot of attention to that stuff," Mullen said. "I don't know if anybody in our program really pays much attention to that stuff." Mullen has three years remaining on his contract at Mississippi State.
Biding their time: Carter, Thomas poised to anchor Bulldogs' line
Cole Carter and Jake Thomas may not be household names to many Mississippi State fans right now. But both youngsters are expected to be instrumental in the Bulldogs' future success along the offensive line. Carter is the second team left tackle as a sophomore while Thomas is a back-up at both guard spots as a redshirt freshman. Both positions are graduating seniors following this season. Both players grew up within the borders of Lowndes County with Carter starring as a tight end at Caledonia while Thomas was a Team USA selection and a four-year starter at Columbus High School.
Mississippi State defense matches up well with Arkansas offense
For much of the season, the Mississippi State defense has faced offenses that depend on finesse to put up yardage. On Saturday, the Bulldogs will face an Arkansas squad that relies heavily on a power ground scheme with a hefty offensive line to pave the way. No. 1 MSU (7-0, 4-0) hosts Arkansas (4-4, 0-4) at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday in a game to be televised by ESPN2. Head coach Dan Mullen knows his defense will have a different challenge compared to past opponents, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. "I do not know if it is any more or less difficult, it is just different," Mullen said. If past results this season are any indication, MSU should match up well with the Razorbacks.
Does Dan Mullen hate Ole Miss?
Dan Mullen refuses to refer to Ole Miss by school's name. Instead, he replaces the proper noun with "The School Up North." But does that mean Mississippi State's sixth-year coach hates the Rebels' coaches and players? Mullen appeared on the Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday, where he was asked that question. "That's a pretty fair assumption. People always look at the rivalry. There's nothing personal about any individuals, about any of their players," Mullen said. "I know and recruited a lot of their players. Their coaches, I know and have a lot of respect for them. I think it's more just a dislike for the institution as a whole."
Mississippi State Graduation Success Rate highest since 2005
Mississippi State's athletic program combined for a score of 84 in the annual release of the NCAA's Graduation Success Rates. It represented the school's highest score since the formula's inception in 2005. The number is up five points from last year's total of 79. The score is a measure of the four-year cohort from 2004-07. The national overall average is 82. Men's tennis, women's tennis, women's golf and softball – earned perfect scores of 100. Eight Bulldog programs exceeded the GSR national average: baseball, men's track, men's tennis, women's basketball, women's golf, soccer, softball and women's tennis.
NCAA awards grant to MVSU to boost student-athletes' academic performance
The NCAA Accelerating Academic Success Program has awarded a $900,000 grant over three years to Mississippi Valley State University to support its efforts in building an academic support program for athletes. "The administration and faculty embrace the idea that athletes are students first. Their primary purpose for attending MVSU is to earn an undergraduate degree," said Dr. William B. Bynum, MVSU's resident. The program, headed by Sherese Parker, director of student athlete academic services, will have three academic counselors and a learning specialist who will also serve as the life skills coordinator.
Aggies unveil Adidas uniforms honoring 1939 national championship team
Texas A&M fans finally got a full look at the throwback uniforms that the university's equipment staff has been teasing on Twitter since Sept. 16. According to the university press release, the uniforms the Aggies will wear this Saturday against Louisiana-Monroe are designed as a tribute to A&M's 1939 national championship team. They combine an old-style look with the latest Adidas TECHFIT Shockweb technology. The most noticeable part of the uniform is the helmet. According to Texas A&M associate athletic director for football Justin Moore, the helmet is the key part of the uniform.
Judge rebuffs request to exit Vanderbilt rape case
"Attack upon attack upon attack." That's how a Nashville prosecutor described the methods of defense attorneys in the Vanderbilt University rape case during a court hearing Wednesday. The latest target? Judge Monte D. Watkins. Defense attorney John Herbison requested that the judge remove himself from the rape case involving four former university football players. Herbison said the judge didn't follow the law when communicating with prosecutors to arrange for a live video stream during a pretrial hearing earlier this month.

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