Tuesday, July 9, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Stennis Institute set to begin ACLP by 2015
Mississippi State University is about to help a regional community improvement program extend its reach deeper into the state.
 
Cottage Food Operations law in effect
Will Reed operates Native Son Farm in Tupelo. A significant portion of his naturally-grown vegetables he grows through a Community Shared Agriculture operation. "People are starting to raise their produce and bringing them to the farmers market. Plus, people know when they go to a farmers market there's high quality vegetables and products there for them to get," Mississippi State University Extension Agent Dr. Dennis Reginelli said.
 
Oktibbeha County property values rise again
Oktibbeha County officials are reporting that assessment values increased by about 1.5 percent during the 2012-13 fiscal year. Records obtained from County Administrator Don Posey's office reflected the total assessed value of real and personal property in Oktibbeha County rose by more than $5 million from 2011-12 to $341.9 million. That figure includes assessed values for all property in the county and its municipalities, except property belonging to Mississippi State University.
 
Judge extends injunction on gun law; confusion about open carry legislation ongoing
Allowing people to walk down city streets with guns would create a frenzy, an attorney argued Monday in Hinds County Circuit Court. Attorney Lisa Ross, seeking to block House Bill 2 from taking effect, said a person could openly carry a weapon into a day care center if it becomes law. Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd on Monday extended until Friday his June 28 injunction blocking the law from taking effect. He said he will rule by then on a further extension. Ross had asked Kidd to extend the injunction until the Legislature is called into a special session to address it or until the 2014 regular legislative session. But supporters say Mississippi's constitution already allows open carry.
 
Filmmakers focus on U.S. manufacturing
It's not a coincidence that Vincent Vittorio and Nathaniel Thomas McGill wear New Balance shoes. The company is the only athletic shoe maker still manufacturing in the U.S., a fact not lost on the filmmakers. But the duo, who are touring the country to highlight their feature-length documentary, "American Made Movie," aren't necessarily making a grand statement with their choice of footwear. It's more about raising awareness of how companies doing business in the U.S. impact their communities -- eating at local restaurants, buying at local stores, paying taxes, etc. Before touring Itawamba Community College's Manufacturing Solutions Center in Belden, they visited Viking Range Corp. in Greenwood.
 
Hall wins early state release from Beef Plant case
The only Mississippi Beef Plant scandal defendant to do state and federal prison time is free on early release, Mississippi Department of Corrections records show. Richard Hall turned 53 two days before his supervised freedom on July 6, more than a year into an eight-year sentence. The beef plant scandal began as a seemingly well intentioned effort by the state Legislature to promote agricultural jobs in the north part of the state.
 
Former senator Jim Bean dies
"A friend to business, a champion to rural health, a true statesman -- not a politician." Those were the terms used to describe former Mississippi senator, James L. "Jim" Bean of Hattiesburg, who died Sunday at Wesley Medical Center. During his time in the Legislature, Bean was chairman of both the Senate Committee on Insurance and the Public Health Committee. "Sen. Bean was probably one of the most gracious, truly helpful senators that I had the pleasure of working with during my career," said Ted Alexander, president of the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation and former president of Pearl River Community College.
 
Former Mississippi lawmaker Jim Bean dead at 80
Former state Sen. James L. "Jim" Bean of Hattiesburg, who championed rural health care and programs for children and the elderly, died Sunday in Hattiesburg. He was 80. Bean, a Republican from Hattiesburg, represented Forrest, Lamar and Perry counties in the Senate from 1986 to 2000. Bean led efforts passing legislation establishing primary health care centers around the state. Bean also tried to rally support to get the Big Three college football programs to schedule games with each other. When Mississippi State University and USM announced in 2009 that they would resume play, Bean was elated.
 
Report: Cantor raps committee chairmen over farm bill votes
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told a group of Republican committee chairmen Monday night that their votes against last month's failed farm bill were "unacceptable," according to a report in the National Review. According to the report, Cantor told the chairmen that leadership was more likely to usher their bills to the floor if they remained loyal on key votes. Cantor's anger -- reportedly triggered by a sense of betrayal after leadership supported the chairmen's amendments on the $939 billion package -- was a sign that some Republican leaders were surprised by how their colleagues voted in the 234-195 defeat.
 
As Biotech Seed Falters, Insecticide Use Surges In Corn Belt
Across the Midwestern corn belt, a familiar battle has resumed, hidden in the soil. On one side are tiny, white larvae of the corn rootworm. On the other side are farmers and the insect-killing arsenal of modern agriculture. We've reported on earlier phases of this battle: The of rootworms resistant to one type of genetically engineered corn, and an from scientists for the government to limit the use of this new corn to preserve the effectiveness of its protection against rootworm. It appears that farmers have gotten part of the message: Biotechnology alone will not solve their rootworm problems. But instead of shifting away from those corn hybrids, or from corn altogether, many are doubling down on insect-fighting technology, deploying more chemical pesticides than before.
 
Oxford and Lafayette County brace for population increase
From Sunday alcohol sales to parking on the Square, Oxford residents don't always agree on everything, but there is one thing about Oxford and Lafayette County that everyone can agree on: it is growing at a considerably fast rate. "It absolutely has grown," said Richard Lowe, manager of Rebel Bookstore. "You can tell since I got here (10 years ago) that there has been a rise in student and general population, definitely." According to numbers provided by the Oxford Chamber of Commerce, Lafayette County has grown from 40,007 residents in 2002, to 49,433 residents in 2012. "(Business) seems to have an upward trend as the city grows," Lowe said. "Our store is half text books and that's from the student population, so we don't have a ton of growth, but there is definitely a progression."
 
Judge dismisses lawsuit in Ole Miss player's death
A former University of Mississippi football player's family's wrongful death lawsuit has been dismissed, circuit court records show. Ed Egdorf of Houston, Texas, representing the family of Bennie "Buster" Abram III of Southaven, said Monday the legal action was more about getting answers than money, although he said the 20-year-old's family received $50,000 from the University of Mississippi and another $275,000 from an NCAA insurance policy. "Ole Miss recognized it needed to make some changes, the NCAA too, for policies about players," Egdorf said. Lawsuit defendants included the university, then-coach Houston Nutt, other coaches, Chancellor Dan Jones, the State College Board, UM Athletic Association Foundation, the NCAA, two hospitals and some medical staff.
 
Scientists Research Aquatic Phenomenon To Prevent Death of Marine Life
Marine scientists at the University of Southern Mississippi are studying low oxygen levels in the waters south of the barrier islands, including some popular fishing reefs. The waters off the coast of Mississippi are teeming with life -- fish, shrimp, crab, oysters. But in the heat of summer, there are pockets here of what scientists call hypoxia. Southern Miss professor Charlotte Brunner says the oxygen in these areas is so low that marine life can't survive in it.
 
Madison attorney named to College Savings Board
Madison attorney Cory Wilson is the newest member of the College Savings Mississippi Board of Directors. Wilson, an attorney with Heidelberg Steinberger Colmer & Burrow, began serving on the nine member board on July 1. He was appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant to represent the Second Congressional District. "I am so honored that Cory agreed to join the board and work with this exceptional team," said State Treasurer Lynn Fitch, whose agency oversees College Savings Mississippi and the state's two 529 plans. "I look forward to contributing to the future direction and growth of the MPACT and MACS savings programs, which help Mississippi kids access higher education," said Wilson.
 
U. of Alabama names Carl Pinkert vice president of research
Carl Pinkert will replace Joe Benson as vice president of research at the University of Alabama beginning Nov. 1. Benson, who has served as vice president for research at UA since 2009, will step down once Pinkert joins the UA administration, according to a release from UA. Benson is also the interim UA provost. Pinkert now is associate vice president for research at Auburn University. He joined Auburn in 2006 as associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Veterinary Medicine and a professor of pathobiology.
 
Alabama governor signs legislation allowing academic credit for military service, extension of in-state tuition
Supporters say a pair of recently signed military-focused bills -- both dealing with education for service members and their families -- could give Alabama an edge in any future Base Realignment and Closure reviews. Gov. Robert Bentley signed the bills in a ceremony held in Montgomery at the end of June. The bills were drafted by the Military Stability Commission. The first bill allows military members and veterans to receive academic and professional licensure credit for skills they acquire in the military. The other bill extends in-state tuition fees for active service members, their spouses and dependents that are stationed in Alabama.
 
U. of Alabama issued nearly 55,000 parking tickets in 2012-13 school year
The University of Alabama issued nearly 55,000 parking tickets and citations during the 2012-2013 school year, according to recently released data. With enrollment at just over 33,500 for fall 2012, the citations amount to more than one ticket per student on average. The citations span more than 30 different categories, ranging from failure to register for a parking permit to parking on grass. Ronnie Robertson, director of transportation services, said in March about 60 to 75 percent of levied fines are actually collected. This is due to the large number of visitors who park on UA's campus -- whether it be for a football game or college tour -- who don't have parking decals.
 
Former Auburn University band director, 95, enjoys surprise flight
They were children running about the airport happy to be going up with their dad in an airplane. He was excited for them. As a pilot who shared ownership in a Cessna, he was able to take his kids up whenever he liked. At 95, he is not able to do this anymore. His kids understand that, and so on a Monday afternoon after several days of rain, the children returned to the airport with their dad. They were excited for him. He was about to go up in a Cessna. When David A. Herbert's family told him that his surprise birthday present was a flight in a Cessna, courtesy of Auburn University's Flight Education program, his sky-blue eyes lit up. He tapped his cane and calmly sat and waited his turn.
 
U. of Georgia to donate sturgeon to Atlanta food bank
The University of Georgia and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are donating 1,900 pounds of California white sturgeon that had been part of a research study to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. UGA associate professor Doug Peterson said in a statement Monday that researchers didn't want the sturgeon to be thrown out. Although fish used in studies are normally disposed of, Peterson says research only involved testing a fish's swimming ability. UGA officials say three live sturgeons also were donated for a Tennessee Aquarium exhibit.
 
Online course deal gains support at Texas A&M
A proposal for Texas A&M to offer free online courses is closer to fruition and has garnered the support of several top administrators. Provost Karan Watson gave a brief update and held a question-and-answer session at Monday's faculty senate meeting about a report released last week that urged A&M administrators to join EdX -- a nonprofit organization that offers the massive open online courses. "There is a sense of, with caution and with faculty engagement, we should continue to explore entering a world of MOOCs in a very defined and confined fashion," Watson told the crowd.
 
Texas A&M makes 'best buy' list of colleges
Texas A&M University has made it on the "best buy" list of the 2014 edition of Fiske Guide to Colleges, a book by former New York Times higher education editor Edward B. Fiske. The university is one of 21 public institutions across the nation that was added to the list of schools that "fall into the inexpensive or moderate price category," said Liz Kelsch, assistant publicity manager for the book's publisher, Sourcebooks Inc. "The list is based on a price-value equation," Kelsch said. "Most of the schools on the list have four or five-star academic ratings." Jim Kracht, assistant provost for undergraduate studies at Texas A&M, said he's not surprised the university made the list. "A&M has become one of the top-ranking research universities in the U.S.," Kracht said.
 
U. of Missouri's Carbon Recycling Lab at work on water-recycling toilet
Miso soybean paste, cellulose, yeast, psyllium husk, oleic acid, sodium chloride, potassium chloride and calcium chloride. That's a recipe for fake poop. Engineers at the University of Missouri's Carbon Recycling Center are getting pretty good at processing this hummus-colored sludge with their water-recycling toilet. Their effort is part of the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The MU lab is working with engineers at Duke University to develop a new toilet technology for water-scarce parts of the world. "The problem is, everybody creates poop," said Nikolas Wilkinson, a recent master's degree graduate working in the lab over the summer. "And it's obviously biologically hazardous, so you have to do something with it."
 
Higher ed leaders urge slow down of MOOC train
As scores of colleges rush to offer free online classes, the mania over massive open online courses may be slowing down. Even top proponents of MOOCs are acknowledging critical questions remain unanswered, and are urging further study. Dan Greenstein, the head of college access at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, now wonders aloud if MOOCs are a "viable thing or are just a passing fad." Gates has agreed to spend $3 million for wide-reaching MOOC-related grants. But Greenstein said higher ed is suffering from "innovation exhaustion," and MOOCs are part of the problem.
 
As Student-Loan Rates Rise, Advocates Fume
Student financial-aid advocates are clinging to hopes that Congress will reverse the doubling of interest rates for federally subsidized student loans to 6.8 percent when it returns from recess, even as they voice disappointment about lawmakers' failure to stave off the increase prior to the July 1 deadline. "It feels like the same old story now with Washington broken," said Rory O'Sullivan, the policy and research director for Young Invincibles, a Washington-based nonprofit advocacy group. "This time around, there were lots of policy ideas about how to fix things, and even then, we couldn't get anything done. It's pretty disappointing."
 
Looking for a solution to the jump in student loan interest rates
Students all over the country are the victims of an impasse cutting across party lines in Congress that led to the loan rate increase, effective July 1. Some Democrats are pushing for a short-term extension of low rates, while a bipartisan group of senators is seeking support for different variations of a proposal to deal with the problem over the long term by linking interest rates to the bond market. That long-term change, a central idea of recent proposals by Republicans, Democrats and the White House, would tie all federal student loan interest rates to the government's cost of borrowing. This could help student and family borrowers by offering low rates and getting the matter out of the political arena, according to University of Michigan professor Susan Dynarski and Indiana University professor Don Hossler, both experts on higher education.
 
With Vote Scheduled, Senate No Closer to Answer on Student Loans
A week away from Washington with appearances at parades, barbecues and picnics did not push senators any closer to agreement on how to deal with expired federally subsidized student loan rates. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., filed cloture Monday on a Democrat-sponsored one-year extension of the expired fixed rate of 3.4 percent for subsidized Stafford loans, likely setting up a Wednesday procedural vote. But the politics around the issue are much more complicated, as Democrat Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and independent Angus King of Maine, who caucuses with Democrats, are set to present the details of their deal with Senate Republicans at the party's lunch Tuesday. They, too, would like a vote on their plan, but no assurances had been made as of Monday that they would get one.


SPORTS
 
Preseason honors continue to come in for Bulldogs
The Maxwell Award wasn't about to make the same mistake two years in a row with Tyler Russell. The Mississippi State University senior quarterback was put on the list in late October last season after the Bulldogs started 7-0 and Russell, at the time, was 122-of-203 (60.1 percent) for 1,573 yards, 15 touchdowns and one interception. The Maxwell Award has been given annually to the country's best college football player since 1937. Having been the first player in school history to appear on the list last year, Russell is now the first player at State to make the watch list in consecutive seasons.
 
MSU's Russell, Perkins make Maxwell Award watch list
Mississippi State quarterback Tyler Russell and running back LaDarius Perkins were named to the watch list for the 77th Maxwell Award, and sophomore linebacker Benardrick McKinney was included on the watch list for the 19th Bednarik Award, the Maxwell Football Club announced Monday. The Maxwell Award has been given annually to America's College Player of the Year since 1937, while the Bednarik Award goes to the College Defensive Player of the Year.
 
Report: Padres expected to sign Renfroe with $2.6M bonus
Mississippi State University junior outfielder Hunter Renfroe will sign a professional contract with the San Diego Padres organization today. A report from Baseball America executive editor Jim Callis stated Renfroe would be signing a deal which will include a bonus of $2,678,000. The bonus is the exact slot amount according to MLB for the 13th overall selection in the 2013 draft. Sources close to the situation have informed The Dispatch Sunday that Renfroe the negotiations between the player and the club have been going more than well and both sides are simply waiting for an appropriate date to make the announcement. Renfroe, who is represented by Bo McKinnis, is expected to announce his signing today or Wednesday.
 
Former Mississippi State star Hunter Renfroe, Padres eye deal
Hunter Renfroe is in San Diego and close to signing a deal with the Padres, according to MLB.com. Renfroe is the club's only pick from the first 10 rounds to remain unsigned. The Padres are still $83,000 under their allotted draft pool money. That money could be used to sweeten the deal with the Mississippi State right fielder. The slotted amount of money for the 13th overall pick is $2.678 million. The junior right fielder is the final Bulldog baseball player to sign a deal after being drafted and is one of five first rounders yet to have signed. Adam Frazier (Pittsburgh), Kendall Graveman (Toronto), Chad Girodo (Toronto), Luis Pollorena (Texas), Evan Mitchell (Cincinnati) and Daryl Norris (Detroit) all reached deals with the teams who drafted them.
 
Florida Football's Top Lawyer
Aaron Hernandez arrived at the University of Florida in 2007 with a few disadvantages: He was far from his home in Bristol, Conn., and was only 17 years old, having graduated early from high school. But because he played for the Florida football team, he had a powerful ally from the moment he arrived on campus: criminal defense attorney Huntley Johnson. In addition to donating at least $4,500 to Florida's athletic fund since 2011, according to booster-club records, Johnson, a 66-year-old graduate of Florida's law school, has become the go-to attorney for Florida athletes who get into trouble with the law. Over the past two decades, the Gainesville lawyer has represented dozens of Gators players in criminal cases ranging from allegations of misdemeanor assault to felony burglary. So prevalent is Johnson at the side of accused Gators that in a 2009 article, the Orlando Sentinel described him as the football program's "defensive MVP."



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