Thursday, June 6, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
 
MSU Honors Faculty With Awards
Faculty in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, and Agriculture and Life Sciences, as well as a member of the campus advising center staff, are 2013 selections for Mississippi State's annual faculty awards. Mark A. Novotny, head of the physics and astronomy department, was announced as the newest William L. Giles Distinguished Professor, the university's highest academic rank. The annual spring university-wide awards program is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and MSU Alumni Association.
 
County considers aerial mapping
Representatives of 20 counties, including Oktibbeha, met on the campus of Mississippi State University Wednesday to learn about an opportunity to have aerial mapping images updated. The effort, called the Northeast Mississippi Ortho Project, is a joint effort of the 20 counties in northeast and central Mississippi.
 
State GOP Leaders Have Small Influence In Tuesday's Municipal Elections
From north to south, Mississippi GOP leaders came out endorsing several mayoral candidates in this year's election. Political analyst Marty Wiseman, whose son won re-election in Starkville Tuesday, says considering the voting history of city elections, it's unusual for the Republican Party to make that move. "They concentrated on Ocean Springs, Meridian, Starkville. In Tupelo, gosh, it was Governor Bryant, Tate Reeves, Senator Cochran, Senator Wicker. It might have been ill-advised for the Republican Party to invest so much. Municipal elections are a little different from elections anywhere else. Citizens are concerned about services, police and fire, recreation, water and sewer. All of those things and the quality of those services are what stayed on the voters mind in a municipal election. You can't cut that by party very well, " said Wiseman.
 
Democrats perform well in Miss. mayoral contests
Democrats had a strong showing in Mississippi mayoral races Tuesday, capturing an open seat in Tupelo and unseating a Republican in Meridian. State Democratic Party chairman Rickey Cole said Wednesday that the Republican losses were personal defeats for Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and other GOP leaders who had campaigned for local candidates. State Republican Party chairman Joe Nosef had said in a mass email Sunday that some people were saying party affiliation didn't matter in mayoral races. "The truth is that it is more important than ever to elect Republicans at the local level," Nosef wrote. "This is the case not only because these officials have important jobs and make significant decisions, but also because many times these officials move on to higher office and impact the political process for years to come."
 
Mississippi Dems back letting poor buy private insurance
Democrats in the Mississippi Legislature said Wednesday they've come up with a way to provide health coverage to about 300,000 people without expanding Medicaid. The state could use federal money to help low-income people buy private health insurance, the Democratic lawmakers said. Arkansas lawmakers approved a similar plan earlier this year and are awaiting federal approval for it. "We're talking about a compromise here," state Rep. Cecil Brown, D-Jackson, said during a Capitol news conference attended by two dozen House and Senate Democrats.
 
Bryant opposes Dems' Medicaid expansion alternative
State House Democrats on Wednesday proposed an "alternative" to Medicaid expansion that would use federal money to buy insurance for 300,000 of the state's working poor, similar to a proposal in Arkansas. But Gov. Phil Bryant and other Republicans said the Democrats' plan is just a repackaged Medicaid expansion as called for with the Affordable Care Act, which they oppose. "After reviewing the plan recently passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in Arkansas, and after talking with officials of Health and Human Services, we believe we have a plan that will work, that is a real alternative to Medicaid expansion, and that would gain approval from Washington," said state Rep. Robert Johnson, D-Natchez, flanked by about 20 other lawmakers at the Capitol. But Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves issued statements panning the proposal.
 
South Mississippians react to Bryant's working-mother comments
South Mississippi was abuzz Wednesday over Gov. Phil Bryant's comments that U.S. education declined after women entered the workforce. Bryant made the remarks Tuesday at a forum at the headquarters of The Washington Post newspaper. The governor backpedaled from his remarks a little later in the day. School officials and working parents across the Coast had strong feelings about the governor's remarks. Lauren Braden of Ocean Springs is a working mom and adjunct professor at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Her only child is 2 years old and not in school yet, but Braden said she plans to work in order to "provide for her child the best possible life." "What (Bryant) said is rather appalling. I'm the product of a working mom myself," Braden said. "I'm in a position where I'm choosing to work and provide and show my child what you can do to achieve the American dream. Ours is to be able to provide for ourselves and live out our dreams -- not just stay in the kitchen and at home -- if that's what we choose. This is 2013, not 1957."
 
Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery pays tribute to Medgar Evers
As bells rang softly at Arlington National Cemetery on Wednesday, Myrlie Evers-Williams told the nation her late husband, civil rights icon Medgar Evers, will "forever live in our hearts." Former presidents, governors, congressional lawmakers and hundreds of others gathered at the cemetery, where Evers is buried, to pay tribute to him 50 years after he was shot and killed in his driveway in Mississippi. Wednesday's ceremony at an outdoor stage at Arlington National was one of several commemorating the 50th anniversary of Evers' death. Other events will be held in Mississippi over the next week, including a banquet and parade.
 
Index: Manufacturing in Southeast down; Miss. on bottom
Manufacturing activity in the Southeast slipped during May, but manufacturers maintained their workforce with some additional hiring despite decreases in new orders, production and finished inventory, according to the Southeast's Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) report released by Kennesaw State University's Econometric Center in the Michael J. Coles College of Business. Alabama and Florida experienced the highest numbers on the Southeast's Purchasing Managers Index, at 55.7 and 57.8, respectively. Mississippi and Tennessee recorded the lowest PMI, with 50.3 and 52.5, respectively. All of the Southeast states are still ahead of the national index, which fell to 49.
 
Senate farm bill stall will be felt across Capitol
The Senate's farm bill cloture vote Thursday morning poses a critical test for the Agriculture Committee leadership, which needs a strong showing to clear the way for passage Monday and begin to heal the breach sparked by revisions in the commodity title. Center stage is Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, who finds herself cast as the older sister charged with getting her siblings to finish their chores. But beneath her calm -- few are more adept at smiling and talking at the same time -- the Michigan Democrat knows her time is running short. Going forward, the most enduring challenge for Stabenow may be the regional and ideological divide, which cost her precious Southern votes last June and now, could mean the loss of well-placed allies from the Midwest.
 
Vilsack: Farmers Must Respond To Rising Temperatures
The political debate over the causes of climate change will go on. And on. But as far as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is concerned, farmers, foresters and ranchers need to respond right now to the impact of climate change on their businesses. "This problem is not going to go away on its own," Vilsack said Wednesday during a speech at the National Press Club. "You're going to see crops produced in one area no longer able to be produced, unless we mitigate and adapt now." Vilsack said that higher temperatures have allowed invasive species, such as the pine bark beetle, to destroy trees and crops. The heat also has stirred up more severe storms and damaging droughts, he said.
 
Verizon providing all call records to U.S. under court order
The National Security Agency appears to be collecting the telephone records of tens of millions of American customers of Verizon, one of the nation's largest phone companies, under a top-secret court order issued in April. The order appears to require a Verizon subsidiary to provide the NSA with daily information on all telephone calls by its customers within the United States and from foreign locations into the United States. A senior Obama administration official said Thursday that the purported order "does not allow the government to listen in on anyone's telephone calls" but relates only to "metadata, such as a telephone number or the length of a call." The official said such information "has been a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats to the United States."
 
China Seen in Push to Gain Technology Insights
A government-financed research institute in the Pearl River Delta in Shenzhen, China, boasts an impressive range of specialties, from robotics to nanomedicine to magnetic resonance imaging. But not all the cutting edge developments may be the result of indigenous innovation, according to American prosecutors, who last month charged three Chinese scientists at the New York University School of Medicine with taking bribes to share research findings with their real employers: the Shenzhen institute and a separate Shanghai medical technology company. Though considerable attention has been focused on Chinese cyberespionage efforts, the institute is at the vanguard of a related push to bolster China's competitiveness by acquiring overseas technology directly from Chinese scientists working in the United States and other developed countries, say American officials and analysts.
 
Patent reform catches fire
A new push for patent reform has emerged just two years after Congress approved sweeping legislation meant to reform the nation's laws. Once considered a pet issue for Silicon Valley, changing patent laws has become a high lobbying priority for bankers, retailers, restaurant owners, hoteliers and others who are concerned about the spread of frivolous patent lawsuits. Tech lobbyists said their phones are ringing off the hook from new allies who see their companies coming under threat from patent assertion entities, which critics refer to as "patent trolls."
 
Two USM officers receive awards
Two Southern Miss police officers have been recognized for outstanding service to their community. Officer Jared Pierce has received a life-saving award for his help in rescuing a motorist who sought shelter on the campus during the Feb. 10 tornado. And Detective Jason Powell has been awarded the Medal of Valor for his work in disarming a person on campus last November. "In this particular case, these were things that showed their actions to be exemplary," said Bob Hopkins, chief of Southern Miss Police.
 
Girls State officers elected; Attorney General Hood speaks to teens
More than 200 young women from across Mississippi took to the polls Wednesday for Girls State elections. The 65th session of Girls State is sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary and got underway Sunday at the University of Southern Mississippi. Attorney General Jim Hood also spoke to the Girls State delegates Wednesday. He told them about the ways technology can benefit -- and harm -- them. Hood also discussed the role he feels women will continue to play in the governmental setting.
 
Operations manager gives tour of Asics in Byhalia to DSU president
Delta State alumna, Joyce McCown, recently hosted a tour of the ASICS America Distribution Center for Delta State President Bill LaForge and Executive Director of Alumni-Foundation Keith Fulcher. McCown graduated from Delta State with a bachelor's degree in business administration and is now the operations manager at ASICS. She oversees the daily operations of shipping, receiving, special projects, and added services at the over 500,000 square foot distribution center located on 38 acres north of her alma mater in Byhalia.
 
College for Kids at Meridian Community College
More than 600 children are registered to participate this year in Meridian Community College's College for Kids. Now in its 16th year, College for Kids is offering 37 classes in a two-week period this year, from June 3-7 and June 10-14. Participants selected from a wide variety of classes ranging in arts, sports, dance, beauty, healthcare, and outdoor, among many others.
 
Bedbug menace target of new Auburn University research project
Sleep tight, and don't let the bedbugs bite. It's a old saying that until more recent years cautioned children against a more-or-less imaginary nocturnal pest. But the common bedbug that seemed eradicated in most industrialized countries by the 1950s -- thanks in part to the environmentally unfriendly pesticide DDT -- has been making a comeback since the late '90s. And Auburn University's Zach DeVries is breaking new ground in bedbug research after the insect pest's decline caused much of the scientific community to lose interest decades ago, the university announced Wednesday.
 
Auburn University hosts junior high school students for veterinary camp
This week, 30 junior high school students are enjoying a unique type of summer camp. They're not swimming or paddling canoes, but they are sticking their hands inside a cow's stomach and learning how to shave down the teeth of a horse. The students are participating in Auburn University's fourth summer of veterinary camps, where they're learning about all types of animals from large mammals to fish. "They really get a little of everything," said Kris Street, administrator in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
 
Louisiana scholarship transparency bill passes
Members of the LSU and Southern University system governing boards will have to disclose which students receive scholarships from them, if Gov. Bobby Jindal agrees to a bill that received final passage Wednesday. Senate Bill 31, sponsored by state Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, requires the boards to post the list of its scholarship recipients annually on their websites and to provide a list to the Louisiana Legislature. The list will have to include the name of each recipient, the board member who gave the scholarship and the annual dollar value of the award. Refusal to submit the information would suspend board members' ability to give scholarships.
 
U. of Georgia jumps into digital summer school today
The University of Georgia's launch of 36 new online summer school courses appears to be a success. About 1,100 students had signed up to take the summer courses as of Wednesday, said Kris Biesinger, acting director of UGA's new Office of Online Learning. Classes begin today for both the digital courses and the University of Georgia's regular summer school. UGA administrators asked professors last year to submit proposals for summer courses, hoping the courses might boost summer school enrollment, which has slumped recently, and help some students graduate faster. The courses will count just like any other UGA course, and the tuition students pay is the same as for classroom instruction in Athens.
 
Montevideo out as Red & Black publisher
Harry Montevideo is out as publisher of the Red & Black, the student newspaper's board of directors has announced. Red & Black advertising director Natalie McClure will take over as acting general manager and will oversee daily operations while the board of the newspaper looks for a permanent replacement for Montevideo. No reason was given for Montevideo's departure in the Red & Black's announcement, which praised his 30-year tenure at the University of Georgia student newspaper. Montevideo was briefly in the news himself a year ago when he scuffled with a student reporter during a walkout by student editors and reporters over control of editorial content in the Red & Black.
 
Tennessee college tuition hike to be lowest in years
Tennessee college students will see a lower increase in tuition thanks to improved state funding. The Tennessee Board of Regents Committee on Finance and Business Operations this week recommended increases of 3 percent for each of the state's 13 community colleges and 1.4 to 6 percent for the Regents' six universities. The full Board of Regents will vote on the recommendations on June 21. The recommendations are lower than recent years because of budget allocations recommended by Gov. Bill Haslam and approved by the General Assembly that provided increased general operating dollars for higher education for the first time in more than a decade.
 
Texas A&M cricket club searching for new pitch before summer demolition
Texas A&M's field for the world's second most popular sport is about to disappear beneath a 60-acre mixed-use development planned by the Texas A&M System. Texas A&M faculty and staff are working to secure a home for the school's cricket club, but its players are worried about their team being homeless and that they might not have a place to play before the next season begins. For years, it had been expected that the construction of the new commercial-residential development would displace the students who live in the 50-year-old married student housing apartments along University Drive, but the blow to the relatively unknown and not-too-popular-in-America sport has pretty much flown under the radar.
 
James G. Hill may have been first Aggie to hit Omaha Beach on D-Day
On the anniversary of D-Day each year, Robert Keathley makes a point to go by the grave of a former Texas A&M student and World War II veteran he's made a hobby of researching after a chance encounter with the man at a dominoes party held by his parents in 1964.
 
UAH confirms fiberglass chaff near origin of 'Redstone blob'
The mystery of the "Redstone blob" that formed Tuesday near the north end of Redstone Arsenal may be getting solved. The Severe Weather and Radar research groups at the University of Alabama in Huntsville tweeted moments ago that it has confirmed fiberglass chaff has been found near Zierdt Road, which is about the point of the blob's origin. The blob has been the source of much speculation since it randomly appeared Tuesday.
 
Student loan fight set in Senate
The Senate is set to vote on two separate bills to keep low the interest rates on student loans, but the issue is far from settled. Senators will vote on Thursday on dueling proposals that aim to stop interest rates from doubling on July 1. Without any congressional action, interest rates on millions of subsidized federal student loans would double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. The votes are both expected to fail largely on party lines, instead setting markers to guide Senate debate over the next month. But with immigration looming next week --- and set to dominate much of this month's Senate floor time -- lack of progress on student loans could set up a last-minute showdown.
 
Watchdog Halts Action on Researchers at UAB
The federal Office for Human Research Protections announced on Wednesday that it would suspend action against the University of Alabama at Birmingham, which it said in March did not adequately inform parents about the risks to their premature infants of enrollment in a large research trial. In a letter dated Tuesday, the watchdog office still maintained that researchers had not properly informed parents, and that it could still require that the university and 22 other trial sites, which include many of the country's top research universities, take corrective action. But it also acknowledged that federal guidelines about a researcher's obligations needed to be clarified and issued. On the office's Web site, the federal Department of Health and Human Services announced that a public meeting to debate such guidelines was forthcoming.
 
Legislators target UW-Madison and investigative journalism center
Legislation that would bar University of Wisconsin professors from working with a nonprofit journalism center and kick the center off the Madison campus is a "direct assault" on academic freedom, the UW journalism school's director says. In a 12-4 vote during the wee hours of Wednesday morning, the Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee introduced a motion that would prohibit the nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism from occupying its two offices in a campus building at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The provision would also prevent University of Wisconsin employees from doing any work related to the investigative journalism center.
 
Nation's High School Graduation Rate Nears a Milestone
At the beginning of the last decade, before concerns about the nation's graduation rate ascended to prominence on the policy agenda, only about two-thirds of U.S. public school students were finishing high school with a regular diploma. A new analysis from the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center finds that the graduation rate for America's public schools stands just shy of 75 percent for the class of 2010, the most recent year for which data are available. With graduation rates approaching all-time-high territory, there is reason both to be encouraged and to keep a focus on the efforts that have driven progress. But there is a flip side to these gains: Far too many young people are still failing to complete a meaningful high school education.
 
Presley preaches populism
Consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "Speaking at the Stennis Institute and Capitol Press Corps luncheon this week, Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley said he doesn't care for labels like 'pro-business and anti-business' that get thrown around. He argues keeping rates low for small businesses is pro-business, even if it comes at the detriment of publicly regulated utilities and their economic development projects, actions others may term anti-business. But if you look at Presley's style, roots and philosophy the clear label for his politics is 'populism' -- a throwback to the rural Hill County anti-corporationism and common man appeal of former Governor and Senator James K. Vardaman (minus Vardaman's racial politics). ...Blessed with a famous name (Elvis was his second cousin), Presley has parlayed his populism into successful politics."
 
Governor, don't blame just mamas | Patsy Brumfield (Opinion)
The Daily Journal's Patsy Brumfield writes: "Earlier this week, Mississippi's governor blamed America's educational decline on two-worker families, especially mothers, who work outside the home. At least 50 percent of us know that women who work outside the home hold down two jobs. Just because we have extra-residential employment has never negated whatever it takes to keep the home fires burning, the kids fed and the laundry done. ...It's a bit disheartening to realize that 174 years after Mississippi became the first state in the nation to grant married women the right to hold property in their own names that some people still regard women's primary responsibility to be in the home. It's also frustrating to have lived the past 30-plus years of historic legal gains for women's rights to see that narrow-minded views are alive and well in our state's high-placed political positions."


SPORTS
 
Graveman frontrunner to start Saturday
Kendall Graveman vividly recalls sitting in the dugout at Florida's McKethan Stadium two years ago, glumly watching Florida celebrate a super regional victory over Mississippi State. He does not want a repeat of that simmering day in Gainesville. "That taste is still in your mouth," Graveman said. "You don't ever lose sight of that, no matter now long you play. The guys that were on that team, we still remember that feeling that we sat there in Gainesville in the other dugout and just sat after the game. That's one thing you don't lose sight of." Graveman and the No. 14-ranked Bulldogs have another crack at a super regional when they play Virginia this weekend. Game 1 in Charlottesville is set for noon Central time Saturday.
 
MLB Draft splits Mississippi State's attention
One pick after the New York Yankees selected a high school pitcher named Andy Pettitte, the Minnesota Twins' clock started. With the 12th pick of the 22nd round of the 1990 MLB amateur draft, the Twins selected John Cohen, outfielder, from Mississippi State. While this took place, Cohen sat in a dugout in Omaha, Neb., oblivious to the situation. "That's a strange sensation. When you're playing in the College World Series and somebody says, 'Oh hey, by the way, you were just drafted by the Minnesota Twins. Congratulations,'" Cohen said. Now Mississippi State's coach, Cohen feels the same way about the draft now as he did when the Minnesota Twins called his name nearly 25 years ago.
 
Renfroe ready for major league liftoff
"He's the closet thing to a five-tool guy that I've seen in college baseball in a long time," said Mississippi State baseball head coach John Cohen. "When you talk to a lot of professional organizations, some of them say, 'This guy doesn't exist a whole lot in college baseball anymore.'" That sums up why Hunter Renfroe is likely to hear his name called in the first round of the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft. It is sure to mark the fulfillment of a life-long dream, while providing long-term financial stability for Renfroe, but most importantly, for the first time in a long time, he'll be able to breathe. Mississippi State will catch a plane to Charlottesville, Va., late Thursday afternoon, which means there's a possibility Renfroe could be drafted while flying in the air, but once he touches down he'll be floating on cloud nine.
 
Wahl, Renfroe, Bray leads Mississippi's MLB prospects
Former Vancleave standout Colin Bray leads the Mississippians expected to get picked in the Major League Baseball draft this week. Mississippi State outfielder Hunter Renfroe and Ole Miss pitcher Bobby Wahl are considered locks to go in the first round. Renfroe will go among the top 12 selections and keyed MSU's run to the Super Regional. The Bulldogs' best-of-3 series will be at Virginia, starting on Saturday. Three other players are expected to hear their names called early on Friday: Ole Miss catcher Stuart Turner, MSU shortstop Adam Frazier and Ole Miss pitcher Mike Mayers.
 
McDonald vs. Gallagher today
Ally McDonald has a tough chore today in the Mississippi Women's Golf Association State Amateur Championship. The Fulton native, Mississippi State golfer and two-time defending State Am champion is paired against former professional and 11-time State Am champion Cissye Gallagher in a semifinals match at Old Waverly. Wednesday's match-play semifinals were postponed because of rain. McDonald and Gallagher won quarterfinals matches earlier in the day. "I've seen Ally play hundreds of holes in college, but I don't remember if we've played against each other," Gallagher said. McDonald wasn't sure if they've played, either, but she was looking forward to the showdown.
 
Homan in unfamiliar territory
Clay Homan's quest to defend his title this week at the Mississippi Golf Association's State Amateur Championship could be hampered by his unfamiliarity with the course – Grand Bear in Saucier -- and his lack of playing time this spring. Homan, whose Mississippi State coaching duties limit his play, has overcome that obstacle to win back-to-back state titles. "It's always a challenge to get my game in shape for the State Am," he said. "I played in a 4-ball this weekend and saw how rusty I really was." Homan knew the courses -- Old Waverly (2011) and Reunion (2012) – where he won his championships. However, playing Grand Bear, a 7,000-yard Jack Nicklaus-designed course, is another matter.
 
Mississippi State values SEC revenue sharing plan
The Southeastern Conference has led the way when it comes college sports. This year was no different. The SEC will distribute approximately $289.4 million to the 14 schools in the league as part of the revenue sharing plan for the 2012-13 fiscal year, which ends Aug. 31.
 
Stricklin promises Bulldogs will be SEC contenders
Scott Stricklin formally met the Bulldog Nation on Wednesday. He wasted no time stating his objective for the program, to factor into the Southeastern Conference title without fail. "Our goal No. 1 is we're going to compete for an SEC championship every single year," Stricklin said. Stricklin, the former head coach at Kent State and a one-time Georgia Tech assistant, was officially introduced as the new baseball coach by Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity on Wednesday. Stricklin's contract will pay him roughly $575,000 a year for six years with a longevity bonus at the end, McGarity said.



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