Tuesday, June 25, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Fans gather to cheer on the Bulldogs title attempt
Mississippi State baseball fans back home were just as wrapped up Monday night in the Bulldogs' quest for a national championship as the MSU faithful who were actually on the scene in Omaha. Fans seeking solidarity in numbers poured into the stands at Dudy Noble Field in Starkville and in eateries and watering holes in Tupelo to watch the Bulldogs play UCLA on the jumbo screen in the first of a best-of-three series. Scott Wetherbee is the MSU associate athletic director who came up with the idea of opening the stadium. "It's such a passionate fan base, we wanted to let them cheer together in a family-type atmosphere," he said. And with hundreds filling the stands before the game started, MSU officials will open the stadium again tonight.
 
Fans gather at Dudy Noble for first game of title series
If you can't bring the fans to Omaha, why not bring Omaha to the fans? At least, that was the thought in the minds of Mississippi State University athletics and facilities associates when they decided to open up the stadium at Dudy Noble Field for the first game of the College World Series championship Monday night. Senior associate athletic director Scott Weatherby said the idea was to give those unable to make the trip to Omaha the baseball field experience with their fellow Bulldog fans.
 
Mississippi State fans travel en masse for CWS finals
The way Mississippi State fans showed up for the College World Series finals, it made one wonder whether anyone was left in the Magnolia State on Monday night. Bulldogs fan Sherry Elmore was walking through the left-field concourse when she happened upon a neighbor who lives in the house behind her in Columbus, Miss. Small world, huh? Mississippi State spokesman Joe Dier estimated the maroon-and-white turnout at 8,000, roughly a third of the crowd at TD Ameritrade Park. Longtime CWS ticket chairman Herb Hames said he had never seen such a rush of fans pour into town for the finals.
 
Maroon Monday: Bulldog pride sweeps Internet
As Mississippi State prepares to take on UCLA in the college baseball national championship, fans from across the state are taking to the Internet to cheer on their Bulldogs. The hashtag #hailstate is expected to reach trending stage on Twitter as plenty of well-wishes flow in from the Bulldog Nation. Speaking of beards, MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin has added a photo-shopped beard to his Twitter profile picture in homage to the Diamond Dawg' affinity for facial hair.
 
MSU Art Department has Hand in MSU Success
Like so many athletes, baseball players often develop rituals to help bring luck: touching a sign before going onto the field, wearing the same pair of "lucky socks" in every game, following a very specific windup sequence before each pitch. For Ross Mitchell, Mississippi State's left-handed pitcher, the idea for a new ritual that he developed early in the year seems to be working as he and other Baseball Bulldogs begin the finals of the 2013 College World Series. In February, the sophomore business administration major from Smyrna, Tenn., contacted Critz Campbell to ask if the art department could create a particular sculpture. Mitchell told the associate professor who coordinates the department's sculpture emphasis that he needed a hand for the team to high-five prior to each game.
 
Bruin Turned Bulldog
Mississippi is teeming with fans ready for the College World Series championship series. But what about fans in Bulldog Country rooting for the other team? In all the excitement of Mississippi State playing for their first national title, UCLA has been the last thing on most fans mind. They've had an impressive season, but will their talent hold up to the enthusiasm of the Bulldog fan base. WCBI talks to one UCLA alum who moved to Starkville and has changed his tune.
 
College World Series: Local Mississippi State fans gather to cheer on Bulldogs vs. UCLA
When Mississippi State's Nick Ammirati lined out to deep right field in the sixth inning of Game 1 of the College World Series finals Monday night, Joe Abston sighed and spoke for Bulldogs fans everywhere. "This is just not our night, boys and girls," Abston said. Abston, a 1991 MSU graduate and outgoing Pascagoula City Councilman, was among nearly 50 Bulldogs fans and alumni who gathered for a College World Series watch party at Woody's Roadside bar and grill on Monday night. MSU lost 3-1 to UCLA in Omaha, Neb., turning Tuesday's second game into a do-or-die situation for the Bulldogs.
 
Bulldogs great ambassadors for state | Zack Plair (Opinion)
Zack Plair, editor of the Starkville Daily News, writes: "Starkville this week has reminded me even more of my hometown of Warren, Ark., in that there might actually only be 6,000 people left in town. The rest have headed west. And why not? Lord knows I wish I was in Omaha, Neb., watching the Mississippi State University baseball team make history, win or lose. So many locals made the pilgrimage last-minute, either by car, bus or plane, to let those young men know as loudly as possible that they won't have to take college baseball's biggest stage alone. They've gone to show how proud this community is of its university and of the program now showing a national audience its very best."
 
Mississippi off bottom of Kids Count list
Mississippi children are finally off the bottom of the list for Kids Count, a national report that gathers state statistics on the well-being of children and families, a national organization says. It's the first time in 24 years that the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which organizes the Kids Count report, has put Mississippi at 49th instead of 50th. "While the health and education indicators have improved somewhat, keeping Mississippi out of its perennial 50th spot, the high percentage of children living in poverty coupled with children living in households whose parents lack secure employment continue to be of concern," said Linda Southward, Mississippi Kids Count director and a research scientist in Mississippi State University's Social Science Research Center.
 
Survey: Mississippi 49th in U.S. in child well-being
Mississippi is 49th overall for the well-being of children, according to a new national survey released Monday. The Anne E. Casey Foundation has done its Kids Count survey 24 years, and this is the first time Mississippi has not ranked 50th. "While the health and education indicators have improved somewhat, keeping Mississippi out of its perennial 50th spot, the high percentage of children living in poverty coupled with children living in households whose parents lack secure employment continue to be of concern," Linda Southward, the Kids Count director for Mississippi, said. Southward is a professor at Mississippi State University's Social Science Research Center.
 
Mississippi State science program receives national award
A Mississippi State University program for elementary students has been recognized for teaching environmental and natural sciences. The Youth Environmental Science program received the third place Gulf Guardian Award in the Environmental Justice and Cultural Diversity category. Leslie Burger and Jessica Tegt, Mississippi State University Extension Service faculty in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, created the program two years ago. The duo has taught more than 1,200 students each year and studied the program's impacts on science learning.
 
Freedom for Parvin could begin soon
Dr. David Parvin, convicted of killing his wife, may get out of prison soon on bail. A spokesman for his attorneys said they were not quite sure when he will be released. Parvin's 2011 conviction in Monroe County was overturned and his case sent back for trial recently after the Mississippi Supreme Court recognized problems with testimony at his trial. The 73-year-old retired Mississippi State University economics professor has been serving a life sentence in East Mississippi Correctional Facility.
 
Supervisors name interim county attorney
Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors during its recess meeting Monday appointed local attorney Haley M. Brown as interim county prosecutor effective July 1. She will replace longtime county prosecutor Roy Carpenter, who will retire June 30. The county will hold a special election in November to allow voters to select a permanent replacement.
 
Bryant: Medicaid special session starts Thursday
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said Monday that he's calling lawmakers into special session at 10 a.m. Thursday to keep the state's Medicaid program alive and funded once the new state fiscal year begins July 1. The Republican is not asking lawmakers to expand Medicaid, which is an option under the federal health care law that President Barack Obama signed in 2010. Many Democrats have been pushing to expand Medicaid or to allow low-income working people to use federal subsidies to buy insurance on the private market.
 
Legislature called into Medicaid session
The Mississippi Legislature will return in special session at 10 a.m. Thursday to try to fund and re-authorize the Division of Medicaid before it is repealed at midnight Sunday. Gov. Phil Bryant announced the special session Monday afternoon. If the Legislature is unable to reach agreement, chaos and uncertainty would be created for the federal-state agency and the 644,000 elderly, disabled, poor pregnant women and poor children who receive their heath care through Medicaid.
 
Special session Thursday won't include Medicaid expansion talk, governor says
State lawmakers are expected to be back at the Capitol on Thursday to deal with Medicaid funding and reauthorization, but Gov. Phil Bryant hasn't included Medicaid expansion as an option for discussion. Bryant set the special session for 10 a.m. Bryant, who is opposed to Medicaid expansion, didn't include expansion in the special session. In a special session, lawmakers are supposed to consider only what the governor places in the call. State Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, said Bryant's move came as no surprise. He hinted that the governor may not have the power to limit the Legislature from considering Medicaid expansion. "Let's just say we will look forward to this special session," Moak said Monday.
 
Lawyers analyze Supreme Court decision on affirmative action
In the initial flurry of e-mails and Twitter comments about the Supreme Court's ruling Monday on affirmative action, the metaphor of choice was football. The Supreme Court had punted, the comments said, by sending the case back to a federal appeals court for further review. And in some ways, the Supreme Court didn't appear to be shifting the law, referencing its past rulings as defining its course of action in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, in which Abigail Fisher, a white woman rejected for admission by the university, said that her rights had been violated by UT-Austin's consideration of race and ethnicity in admissions decisions. And it's certainly true that the decision didn't have the sort of finality many had expected. But a number of other legal experts -- some of them strong supporters of affirmative action -- are reading Monday's decision as going well beyond a punt.
 
Lacking Definitive Ruling on Affirmative Action, Both Sides Claim Victory
The Supreme Court's decision to send a thorny affirmative action case back to the lower courts for additional review left both sides claiming victory on Monday. Civil rights groups that favor race-conscious admissions cheered the ruling, arguing that the court had upheld its 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger. That decision supported the principle that states have a compelling interest in achieving student diversity but required that any plan to include race as a factor in admissions should be subjected to strong scrutiny. Experts without a strong stake in the case said that neither side should feel fully triumphant, and that the issue was far from resolved.
 
16th Section revenue tops $89 million
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said Monday that revenue from 16th Section land leases reached $89.2 million for fiscal year 2012, which ended last July. The money goes to school districts. "This $89 million will help alleviate some of the financial headaches faced by our school districts today," Hosemann said in a press release. "In times of serious cutbacks and strict budgets, we were able to increase revenue generated on these public lands to benefit education."
 
New state law gives some military families more school choices
This week, the Mississippi Department of Education will be sending notices to all school superintendents explaining a new state law that will affect many military families. The law gives families that live on base more flexibility in deciding which school district to enroll their child. "This is one of the most important bills that I've had passed personally, because of the quality of life issue for the military," said Rep. Richard Bennett of Long Beach, the lead author of House Bill 879.
 
House GOP pulls Agriculture spending bill
The Agriculture Department's annual budget has been pulled from the House calendar in the wake of last Thursday's defeat of a five-year Farm Bill. Even after the loss, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) had spoken confidently of turning next to the $19.45 billion measure which also funds the Food and Drug Administration and Commodity Futures Trading Commission. But House legislative notices no longer list the spending measure for this week's floor schedule, and the GOP's message machine has shifted to energy bills.
 
Analysis: History not just tucked away in books
As Mississippi schools are increasing efforts teach civil rights history, they could turn to people who are still living, and whose memories are still sharp, for firsthand accounts of what it was like to challenge segregation in the Jim Crow South. These are the kinds of lessons that bring history to life.
 
Election challenge: Ware contests outcome of June 4 mayor's race
Controversy has swirled for weeks over the outcome of the June 4 Hattiesburg mayoral election. Now a court of law will determine the legitimacy of Mayor Johnny DuPree's 37-vote victory over challenger Dave Ware. On the last day that he was eligible to do so, Ware filed petitions Monday in the circuit courts of Lamar and Forrest counties contesting Mayor Johnny DuPree's certified election win. Ware's 19-page petition, filed against DuPree and the Hattiesburg Municipal Election Commission that certified the election, cites numerous instances of voter irregularities that violate state law.
 
Obama to announce new climate change rules today
President Barack Obama today will announce a long-awaited federal strategy that not only is expected to sharply cut the country's greenhouse gas emissions but also will address the sweeping effects of climate change already occurring in many communities. Obama today in a speech at Georgetown University will announce a national plan to reduce carbon pollution, including a plan that has at its centerpiece the use of the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions at older power plants.
 
U. of Tennessee report: Federal sale of TVA could lead to breakup
A new University of Tennessee report finds that if the federal government decides to go ahead with divesting the Tennessee Valley Authority, the public utility could be broken up among several private power generators in the region. The study conducted by the school's Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy was released on Monday. It finds that it would be unlikely that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would approve the sale of the entire TVA to a single company. President Barack Obama's 2014 budget proposal calls for a strategic review of the TVA, the nation's largest public utility with 9 million customers in seven states from Virginia to Mississippi.
 
UGA Foundation won't pay for domestic partner health insurance
The University of Georgia Foundation won't pay for domestic partner benefits, the group announced Monday. Meeting on St. Simons Island last week, the foundation's board voted unanimously, with one abstention, that the group should not finance health benefits for unmarried partners or their children. The board cited two reasons in a news release: Such benefits don't fall under the mission of the UGA Foundation, and that the foundation is not truly separate from the state, since its fundraising and other operations are carried out or supported by UGA employees.
 
Dasburgs give U. of Florida $1.5 million to endow chair in engineering
The University of Florida has received a $1.5 million gift to establish a new professorship in the College of Engineering. UF announced Friday that the gift would be used to create the John H. and Mary Lou Dasburg Chair in Engineering, named after the donors of the gift. The Dasburgs committed the gift in May, UF spokesman Steve Orlando said. "John and Mary Lou's commitment impacts the role that the College of Engineering can play in not only advancing UF, but in creating the workforce and innovation needed to advance economic development in the state of Florida," Dean Cammy Abernathy said.
 
Construction company official says Texas A&M equine center work had been going smoothly
An executive with the company working on its first Texas A&M construction project, an equine facility in College Station, said construction was going well before Saturday's building collapse that injured five workers. Tom Hansen, senior vice president for Gamma Construction Co., said the injured workers were employed by subcontractor Ramco Erectors Inc. of Houston. He said construction was halted Saturday after the frame of a 300-foot English riding arena collapsed around 11 a.m. A Texas A&M University System spokesman said the complex is the first A&M project for Gamma, which is headed by Aggie alumnus and donor Keith Williams.
 
U. of Missouri student leader joins loan rate effort
The University of Missouri's student body president has joined a national effort to prevent a large increase in student loan rates. Missouri Students Association President Nick Droege recently joined 100 other student body presidents from across the nation in an effort to draw attention to the growing student debt crisis. Unless Congress acts in the next week, subsidized Stafford student loan interest rates are set to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.
 
U. of Missouri Venture Out builds new high ropes course
The University of Missouri's Venture Out program is building a new high ropes course called Odyssey. The course will complement the low ropes course, repelling tower and the Alpine Tower that MU students and members of the community have been climbing since 1994. Venture Out coordinator Bryan Goers said Odyssey will help to reduce the traffic on the 19-year-old Alpine Tower, as well as create new educational opportunities for the organization. "This will allow us to do intentional team-building on that next level," Goers said.
 
Virginia audit seeks to find what's driving up college costs
It's the question that everybody wants an answer to: Why is college tuition so high? There's no shortage of potential culprits. At various times in the past few years, areas such as intercollegiate athletics, decreased state support, federal aid programs, the price of highly skilled labor and the growth of administrative bureaucracy -- among others -- have all come in for a share of the blame. But sophisticated analyses of the revenues and costs associated with public higher education institutions have been few and far between, complicating efforts to control both cost (what institutions spend) and price (what colleges charge students).
 
Student loans can be a financial trap
Longtime Mississippi journalist Charlie Mitchell writes: "The takeaway here -- the practical hint to families with prospective college students and those who are students today -- is to do everything possible to avoid borrowing a penny or a penny more than is absolutely necessary. Government guarantees of student loans (to attend legitimate schools) was a good idea. A college education is a wonderful thing to have. But loans of any type can be a trap for the unwary, especially when they're so easy to get and the due dates sound so distant."
 
State GOP needs to get real
Mississippi newspaper publisher and columnist Wyatt Emmerich writes: "We lost. We lost in the U. S. Senate. We lost in the U. S. House of Representatives. President Obama signed the legislation into law. Republican candidate Mitt Romney made the repealing of Obamacare a centerpiece of his campaign. We lost yet again. It is time our state Republican leaders acknowledge reality and begin making plans for the accommodation of Obamacare. To do otherwise would be irresponsible. No doubt, Philip Gunn, Tate Reeves and Phil Bryant don't want to taint their conservative credentials, but sometimes you have to be a statesman and not just a politician. A billion dollars is a lot of money to turn away on principle."
 
Republican Lawmakers Forming Mississippi Senate Conservative Coalition | Sam R. Hall (Opinion)
The Clarion-Ledger's Sam R. Hall blogs: "Sen. Michael Watson, R-Pascagoula, sent out a release [Monday] announcing the formation of the Mississippi Senate Conservative Coalition. ...On one hand, it's odd for Republicans to form a conservative coalition within a legislative body controlled by a Republican majority and a Republican presiding officer. However, if you've been reading some of political editor Geoff Pender's columns, you'll know this goes back to several Republicans who feel Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves has punished them for their support of former Sen. Billy Hewes, who Reeves defeated in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor. That the press release includes Medicaid, it will be interesting to see if they take issue with Reeves' handling of the issue to date."


SPORTS
 
UCLA beats Mississippi State 3-1 in opener of CWS finals
Mississippi State's quest for an NCAA College World Series title remains alive, but it's going to take a national championship effort from the Bulldogs ...plus two wins. UCLA's pesky offense scratched for just enough hits -- six -- and runs to defeat MSU 3-1 Monday of the first game of their best-of-three series in front of 25,690 at TD Ameritrade Park. Game 2 between the Bulldogs (51-19) and Bruins (48-17) is scheduled for 7 p.m. today on ESPN. If MSU wins and forces a Game 3, it would be played at 7 Wednesday.
 
MSU needs win tonight to keep World Series title hopes alive
UCLA lived up to its scouting report in Game 1 of the College World Series final: pitching and defense. For the fourth consecutive game, the Bruins held their opponents to a single run. Mississippi State became UCLA's latest victim in a 3-1 defeat on Monday. The Bruins took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series. Game 2 will be today at 7 p.m. Mississippi State will be the visitor. Mississippi State (51-19) suffered its first loss since June 2.
 
Girodo stands tall in long relief again
If this was the last appearance for Chad Girodo in a Mississippi State uniform, it was a mighty fine one. The senior left-hander turned in yet another strong long-relief outing on Monday, keeping MSU close in what turned out to be a 3-1 loss to UCLA in Game 1 of the College World Series finals.
 
Mississippi State faces do-or-die contest today against UCLA
Adam Plutko limited Mississippi State to a run on four hits in six innings, and UCLA survived some anxious moments to beat the Bulldogs 3-1 in Game 1 of the College World Series finals Monday night. The Bruins (48-17) are one win from their first national championship in baseball and the school's record 109th in a team sport. Mississippi State must win Game 2 tonight to keep alive its hopes for its first NCAA title in any sport.
 
Summer vacation plans change quickly for Bulldogs' fans
Aileen Dean was lounging on a North Carolina beach last Friday enjoying a family vacation. That was before Mississippi State's baseball team threw her a curveball. When the Bulldogs defeated Oregon State 4-1 to reach the finals of the 2013 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park, Dean's vacation plans changed. Immediately. "We had another 10 days of vacation left (in North Carolina), but we knew we couldn't stay there," she said.
 
Northeast Mississippi Bulldogs win CWS ticket lottery
Two former Prentiss County high school quarterbacks -- Booneville's Seth Pounds and Baldwyn's Gregg Tucker -- connected on game-winning passes Monday morning. Standing in a driving rainstorm and braving 40-50 mph winds outside TA Ameritrade Park, Pounds and Tucker waited with hundreds of other diehard Mississippi State fans for an opportunity to purchase reserve seat tickets for Game 1 of the College World Series championship between the Bulldogs and UCLA.
 
Dier hopes his ninth Omaha trip a charm
Joe Dier has been to eight of the nine College World Series the Mississippi State Bulldogs have played in. The school's longtime sports information assistant has a good excuse for the one he missed. "I wasn't here for the first one in 1971," said Dier, who's worked with MSU athletics since 1978. "I was a senior in high school and living in Alaska." Dier even made a trip to the CWS in 2010 when the Bulldogs weren't here. It was the final year the tournament was played at historic Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium.
 
Bulldogs' bark gets muffled | Brad Locke (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Brad Locke writes: "The TD Ameritrade Park looked like Dudy Noble Midwest on Monday night, but once the game started, it rarely sounded like it. That's because UCLA, which didn't have nearly the fan turnout as Mississippi State did, had possession of the mute button. Right-handed pitcher Adam Plutko silenced the Bulldog bats, which had been hot all postseason, as the Bruins took Game 1 of the College World Series finals, 3-1."
 
In College World Series, No. 1 Rarely Finishes No. 1
College baseball will crown a new national champion this week, but the team that wins -- either UCLA or Mississippi State -- doesn't necessarily hold a claim to the title of the best in the sport. In fact, the College World Series may be the worst NCAA championship at determining its sport's best team. A top-seeded team has not won the College World Series since Miami in 1999. That contrasts sharply with men's basketball, which has had the top overall seed win in each of the past two years.
 
MSU's Ray doesn't want assumptions where team stands
The Mississippi State Bulldogs will be one year older and have more experience when they hit the basketball court in the fall for head coach Rick Ray's second year with the program. Even though the fact is true that there is more familiarity with everyone associated with the Bulldogs, Ray warns that there is still some work to do. Ray doesn't want there to be any assumptions as far as where everyone stands moving forward.
 
5-star recruit calls Ole Miss racist, says school has monthly KKK rallies
Marlon Humphrey went on a Twitter rant Monday about Ole Miss, claiming the school was racist and had monthly KKK rallies on its Oxford campus. The five-star defensive back from Hoover High School in Alabama tweeted, seemingly out of nowhere, Monday that "Ole Miss was racist haha." After receiving some tweets from Ole Miss saying that tweet wasn't accurate, Humphrey went on a Twitter binge to prove his point. Humphrey has since backed off his stance.
 
Aaron Hernandez could be the poster boy for a league-wide SEC drug policy | Kevin Scarbinsky (Opinion)
Columnist Kevin Scarbinsky writes: "Two words for any coach, administrator or fan who thinks the SEC doesn't need a league-wide drug policy: Aaron Hernandez. Before the New England Patriots tight end got himself mixed up in a murder investigation, before he got hit with a civil suit for allegedly shooting a man after a night at a strip club, Hernandez played at Florida. He played tight end for the Gators, played it so well that he became the first SEC player to win the John Mackey Award as college football's best tight end. So how did someone with his talent and production slip all the way to the fourth round in the 2010 NFL Draft?"



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