Tuesday, May 28, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
 
NCAA regional could bring new economic boost
The news that Mississippi State University was chosen to host an NCAA regional baseball tournament gave more than just baseball fans something to cheer about. It’s a move that could prove very beneficial to the local economy. Sid Salter, director of University Relations at MSU, said the university estimates at least a $2 million impact on MSU and Starkville as a direct result from the tournament. Salter said that number could go as high as $3 million depending on weather and “how the tournament plays out.” [Subscriber-only content.]
 
American Legion Boys State camp underway at MSU
A group of young men are spending a week at Mississippi State University to attend a leadership camp. The Mississippi American Legion Boys State is for high school students who are entering their senior year and have a strong interest in local and state government. This marks the 70th year that students are able to attend a week-long camp and learn how elections work and what they can do to get involved in their community to make a difference. State and local leaders will also address the campers throughout the week about what it's like to work in a government leadership capacity.
 
CREATE to hold State of Region meeting on Friday
Issues important to Northeast Mississippi will highlight Friday’s State of the Region Meeting, presented by CREATE Foundation’s Commission on the Future of Northeast Mississippi. The public is invited to the free event, which begins with registration at 8:30 a.m. at the BancorpSouth Conference Center. The program begins at 9:30 a.m. Mississippi State University’s College of Education and the Ole Miss School of Education have launched a new Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program. The schools’ deans, Dr. Richard Blackbourn and Dr. Ryan Niemeyer, will describe the joint effort of the two universities.
 
Stennis Airport hopes to land drone operation
Hancock County is lobbying for a big part in the next frontier in aviation. Leaders are hoping to land an FAA research and development site for drones. Potentially, it's a $90 billion industry with hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide. "The purpose of the test site is to figure out how to safely and ethically fly unmanned aerials systems in the national air space, just like a manned aircraft is flown," said James Poss, retired major general. "Mississippi has a whole bunch of advantages that I don't think a lot of the other competitors for this bid are going to have," Poss said. South Mississippi is already home to drone manufacturing in Moss Point, some test flights at Camp Shelby and research at Mississippi State University.
 
State working with groups working to extend Internet access in rural areas
Internet connectivity is spreading through rural Mississippi but there is still work to be done. Internet access needs can vary widely and adoption of this connectivity still remains a hurdle, say groups working on these challenges. The governor’s office and the Mississippi Broadband Connect Coalition could not give a figure for the percentage of the state still without broadband access. Both say there are very few places that do not have some sort of access. Jason Dean, managing director of Mississippi Broadband Connect Coalition, said his organization’s focus is on broadband availability and an adoption program. “There’s a lot of coverage if you take in cable and cellphones, but we’re trying to get more people to use it,” he said. “Education, health care, government services and workforce training have to create demand drivers.” According to a Mississippi State University study, 70 percent of state residents are adopters -- meaning they use broadband Internet.
 
Governor hints at Medicaid special session
Gov. Phil Bryant took time out Memorial Day to address the impending Medicaid controversy. He hinted at a special session in coming weeks. The governor said Democratic lawmakers are sending mixed signals about their support for Medicaid with their votes against the system in their push for expansion. He said while Democrats are holding the legislature hostage, some Republicans are working around that stalemate. The group is pushing for a vote on the current Medicaid System. "That could happen as early as next week. If not there are six members of the House of Representatives all Republicans that are asking as to whether or not the ethics commission will allow them to vote. They have some concern. So we feel like it's important for every member to have the opportunity to vote," said Bryant.
 
Bryant, Hosemann still are looking at board mergers
A spokesman for Gov. Phil Bryant says he still plans to try to consolidate or eliminate the scores of boards and commissions that govern various state agencies. But thus far, there’s been no action on the issue by Bryant and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, whom the governor asked during his 2012 inaugural address to study the possibility of reducing the number of boards and commissions. In the summer of 2012, gubernatorial spokesman Mick Bullock said, “Gov. Bryant and Secretary Hosemann have been reviewing these boards and plan to offer recommendations to the Legislature in the 2013 session.” But the 2013 session came and went with no recommendation and no changes. Despite that, Bullock said recently the issue is not dead.
 
‘I’d Buy Them Drinks’ -- Haley Barbour Explains Why He’d Rather Support Less-Conservative Republicans Than Lose Elections
Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, whose been active in conservative politics for going on five decades, called the infighting among Republicans “the enemy of victory.” In an interview with TheBlaze contributor Mallory Factor, Barbour lamented that some conservative organizations are spending too much money trying to beat Republicans in primaries, resulting in Democrats winning the seats in the general election. “That’s bad for our country, I would rather have Olympia Snowe today than Angus King. I mean, I would celebrate, I’d buy them drinks if we could have her back compared to left-wing ‘independent’ who took her place,” Barbour said in a video interview (below). “Purity in politics is the enemy of victory.” Barbour said Republicans must put the most emphasis on what they have in common, and manage the differences.
 
Less conservative America poses challenge to Republicans
Although the controversies dominating political headlines eventually might undermine President Obama's standing with voters, a longer-term reality – a declining number of people who identify themselves as conservatives – could cause much more trouble for his Republican opponents. Republicans won big in the 2010 midterm election, taking control of the House and numerous state legislatures. That victory corresponded with a significant increase in the percentage of Americans calling themselves conservative, particularly on economic issues. Since then, however, the percentage has steadily declined, according to an annual "values and beliefs" survey conducted by Gallup.
 
Confidential report lists U.S. weapons system designs compromised by Chinese cyberspies
Designs for many of the nation’s most sensitive advanced weapons systems have been compromised by Chinese hackers, according to a report prepared for the Pentagon and to officials from government and the defense industry. Among more than two dozen major weapons systems whose designs were breached were programs critical to U.S. missile defenses and combat aircraft and ships, according to a previously undisclosed section of a confidential report prepared for Pentagon leaders by the Defense Science Board.
 
Lawmakers Nix Obama's Food Aid Overhaul, but Discuss Compromise
A White House-proposed overhaul of the United States’ $1.4 billion food aid program is not going to happen, at least not in as ambitious a form as the administration requested in its fiscal 2014 budget. Lawmakers and officials with the U.S. Agency for International Development are now in negotiations on a smaller package of changes that supporters of the overhaul hope could pave the way for incremental updates to the system of food aid delivery. The administration’s proposal, which would have loosened requirements on how much of the food the United States sends to hungry people around the world has to come from U.S. farmers on U.S. ships, “is just way too far, way too aggressive,” said Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., a member of the Senate Agriculture and Appropriations committees. It “never had much of a chance.”
 
Miss. notes 50th anniversary of Woolworth's sit-in
Fifty years ago, an angry white mob attacked a racially mixed group that sought to integrate a whites-only lunch counter in Mississippi's capital city. On Tuesday, the anniversary of the Woolworth's sit-in, education and tourism officials are unveiling a marker to commemorate the pivotal event in the state's civil rights movement. The marker is part of the Mississippi Freedom Trail, a series of signs the state began putting up in 2011 to recognize people who challenged segregation and racial oppression. The new marker will be beside Capitol Street near the old Woolworth's, which, like many former downtown Jackson retail stores, has been closed for decades. On May 28, 1963, a small group of students and faculty from Tougaloo College, a private and historically black institution in north Jackson, drove 10 miles to the downtown and sat at the lunch counter at the five-and-dime store near the Governor's Mansion. Though they sat peacefully, their actions were radical.
 
Gulf Coast Research Lab to open new building in Ocean Springs, its first since Katrina
The view of the Mississippi Sound from the front porch of the Field Studies Building at USM's Gulf Coast Research Lab is panoramic. Perched on a piece of high ground at the lab, the new $1.2 million utilitarian building is designed to withstand practical use for decades. The ceilings are high, the floors are stained concrete, and each room has a drain, "so the whole place can be hosed out," said lab spokeswoman Martha Brown. Field studies is one of the major missions of the lab that was established in the late 1940s by the Institutes for Higher Learning, but now belongs to USM, serving more than 55 affiliate universities around the country.
 
Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport takes in 4 stranded sea lions
Four young sea lions stranded on California beaches have a new home at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies. Marine biologists don't know why more than 1,000 sea lion pups have been abandoned on California beaches since January -- more than three times the usual number -- prompting the declaration of an "unusual mortality event" from San Diego to Santa Barbara. "It's unprecedented," said Moby Solangi, executive director of IMMS in Gulfport. "It looks like something is changing in the environment." IMMS is the only public display facility in the United States that has a permit to acquire stranded sea lions, said Solangi, and is the first public display facility outside California to receive the abandoned pups.
 
Jackson State ready to begin classes in Madison
Jackson State University will open its new campus in Madison on Tuesday. JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers and other university officials will be on hand for the grand opening. JSU officials say day classes as well as evening, weekend and online courses will be offered. JSU says classes will be offered in business, criminal justice, education, health care administration, human resource development, philosophy, principle-centered leadership and technology. JSU officials say they expect about 300 students this summer and 500 in the fall.
 
U. of Tennessee wants to take over city-owned campus streets
University of Tennessee officials are looking to take over all 4.1 miles of city-owned streets in the heart of campus -- and the city of Knoxville appears willing to let them. The proposal, which includes major roads like Volunteer Boulevard, Andy Holt Avenue and Lake Loudoun Boulevard, will go before the university Board of Trustees at its meeting in Knoxville next month. The plan then will have to be approved by the State Building Commission before going to the Metropolitan Planning Commission, likely in phases. For the university, the change in ownership means it can do any landscaping, construction and road closures without permission. To the city, it means nearly a dozen roads that will no longer have to be maintained on the city’s dime.
 
U. of Kentucky Symphony wows Chinese audiences with American music
The University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra returned to Lexington this week after a 14-day concert tour in China, where its performances received warm receptions. Skip Gray, director of the UK school of music, called the trip "a huge success." "The students played beautifully. They performed in great performance halls. Wherever we went we were well received. I can't imagine it being much better," Gray said. The 78-member orchestra played in premier concert venues in Shanghai, Yangzhou, Hangzhou and Tianjin. The tour ended at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, where the orchestra played to a practically sold out audience in the 1,600-seat concert hall.
 
States Raise College Budgets After Years of Deep Cuts
After cutting spending on public colleges and universities during the economic crisis, many state governments have begun to boost higher-education budgets once again. The new funding reflects the brightening financial picture in many state capitals. Tax revenue in 47 states rose last year, according to Census Bureau data. Government revenue collections for all states increased by an average of 4.5%. "It's going to be a better year for higher education," said Julie Bell, who oversees education issues at the National Association of State Legislatures, which represents state lawmakers. Not all states are increasing education spending. Budget hawks in some states argue university administrators haven't cut wasteful spending enough and could do more. Others argue schools are doing a poor job of preparing students for life after college.
 
UCLA tells professors not to apply for major new pharmaceutical grant
These days many research universities are constantly looking for new grant competitions and encouraging their faculty members to apply. On Friday, the University of California at Los Angeles took the unusual step of telling professors not to apply to a major new grant competition from a pharmaceutical company, saying that the program violated university rules. An e-mail marked "urgent" was sent Friday to all faculty members and deans about the Discovery Fast Track Competition, which was just announced this month and for which the sponsor -- GlaxoSmithKline -- is approaching faculty members directly, bypassing technology transfer offices at universities.


SPORTS
 
Central Arkansas has tasted success at Dudy Noble
There is plenty of excitement about Mississippi State hosting an NCAA regional for the first time in 10 years, but a look at the three teams coming here this weekend should have a sobering effect. The No. 14-ranked Bulldogs learned Monday that South Alabama, Mercer and Central Arkansas also will participate in the Starkville Regional. MSU is familiar with all three teams, but especially Central Arkansas, which came into Dudy Noble Field the weekend of March 8-10 and took two of three games. MSU and UCA, the No. 4 seed, will meet at 7 p.m. Friday following No. 2 South Alabama versus No. 3 Mercer. The double-elimination regional will end either Sunday or Monday.
 
Tough regional schedule offers Mississippi State chance to prove itself
The euphoria from Sunday’s regional host announcement turned into a bit of confusion. The baseball tournament committee released its 64-team bracket on Monday, pitting Mississippi State against Central Arkansas, the only non-conference team to beat the Bulldogs this season. “It was kind of like, really?” Mississippi State junior Hunter Renfroe said. “They’ve had our number so far.” The Bears took two out of three from the Bulldogs in a series in March. Central Arkansas holds a 3-1 all-time record over MSU. The regional kicks off Friday with South Alabama (42-18) against Mercer (43-16) at 2 p.m. Mississippi State (43-17) and Central Arkansas (39-20) play at 7 p.m.
 
Bulldogs welcome familiar foes to Starkville Regional
The Mississippi State University baseball coaching staff won't have to look far into the archives for scouting material on its regional opponents. A day after being selected to host a NCAA baseball regional for the first time in a decade, No. 14 MSU (43-17) learned the other three teams joining them this weekend at Dudy Noble Field have been opponents on the schedule in the past two seasons. MSU closed the season by securing a host bid, which was considered a lock by all the national analysts by the end of last week, with wins in seven of its last nine contests, including a 3-1 mark at last week's Southeastern Conference tournament in Hoover, Ala.
 
Bulldogs ready to get Bradford back in lineup
The one question surrounding the Mississippi State University baseball program is the health status of junior center fielder C.T. Bradford. Bradford, missed the final three games of the Southeastern Conference tournament in Hoover, Ala., due to a severe quad injury. The former Mr. Baseball in the state of Florida out of high school had started the first 57 games of the season before being held out of the lineup during MSU's 5-3 victory over the University of South Carolina Wednesday. MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson described Bradford's injury as a "hip flexor" Friday on the Head-to-Head show, the state-wide sports radio program.
 
Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Jackson State headed to NCAA baseball regionals
Mississippi State will host some familiar foes at Dudy Noble Field in the first round of the NCAA baseball tournament, while Ole Miss and Jackson State hit the road in the first round of the 64-team tournament that begins Friday. The tournament opens with 16 four-team, double-elimination regionals. Best-of-three super regionals will be held next week, with those winners moving to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. The Bulldogs (43-17) will play host for the 12th time in Starkville at Dudy Noble Field. MSU takes on Central Arkansas (39-20) at 7 p.m. Friday.
 
Jackson State relishes shot in NCAA tournament
Jackson State has waited years for another chance to prove it can compete with the nation's best baseball teams in the NCAA tournament. The Tigers will get it in their first trip to the postseason since 2000. No. 4 national seed LSU (52-9) -- and its home crowd of 10,000-plus fans at Alex Box Stadium -- will be waiting when Jackson State (34-20) takes the field at the double-elimination Baton Rouge regional on Friday. But after years of frustration just trying to make the NCAA tournament, the opportunity to knock off one of college baseball's most storied programs is something catcher Jose Cruz relishes.
 
John Pawlowski out as Auburn baseball coach
John Pawlowski is out as Auburn's baseball coach after five seasons of mixed results and three straight seasons without an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs confirmed the decision Monday afternoon, just hours removed from learning of the Tigers' postseason fate. Pawlowski's annual guaranteed contract is worth $340,000. He is due $415,250 total because of his buyout, according to documents obtained by AL.com earlier this year. His contract was scheduled to end in 2015.
 
Rutgers Backs Athletic Director After Charge of Abuse
Earlier this month, Rutgers named Julie Hermann, a longtime official in Louisville’s athletic department, as its athletic director, hailing her as the right person to help repair the university’s image after a scandal involving the abusive behavior of its former men’s basketball coach. But less than two weeks after her appointment, Hermann and Rutgers officials are defending her character amid allegations that she also used abusive language toward her players when she was the volleyball coach at Tennessee in the late 1990s. The players contended in a letter at the time that she had called them “whores, alcoholics and learning disabled,” and they accused her of making the team endure “mental cruelty,” according to a report published by The Star-Ledger of Newark on Sunday.



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