Monday, October 7, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Dawgs Football Growing Starkville's Economy
Rett Russell and Jill Kozer are in town for the weekend. Russell, a Starkville native, says he continues to watch his hometown change and grow. "Compared to the early days, there just weren't that many people, the stadium was small, it wasn't the event that it was now. There were tailgate parties but on a much smaller scale. Not it's amazingly huge," said Russell. "We were just talking about how this is just good for the economy, it's a great sight to see people walking around, I've noticed that the sororities are involved somehow, which is a great thing. So, I think it's great for the students and also the people who live here," said Kozer. For Jill and Rett, Bulldog Country is about football, family and fun rolled into one weekend.
 
'Don't stop living until you die'
Two years ago, when he was 93, Cloyce Matheny had this life advice for engineering students at his Mississippi State University alma mater: "Don't stop living until you die." Matheny never did, fervently following that advice until Wednesday, when he and five other members of Statesville's Front Street Baptist Church were killed in a church bus crash in Tennessee. He was 95. As a boy in Okolona, Miss., Matheny developed a yearning to fly, and later, as an aeronautical and aerospace engineer, he had become involved in the early days of space flight. Flying got him a wife, he told students at Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State two years ago. It was his first visit to the school since he graduated in 1941. The story was recounted in Momentum, the engineering college's yearly magazine.
 
Dixie Alley, Does it Exist?
Tornadoes are no stranger to Mississippi and west Alabama. And because we've had so many, some refer to this region of the country as Dixie Alley. We took this question to Meteorology Professor Dr. Grady Dixon at Mississippi State University, who clears the air. "I'm not a fan at all of the name Dixie alley because you're trying to define a geographic area with an already known geographic that is not the same. They're similar. But really, we have one big tornado region in the country," he said. In fact, in his recent nationally recognized research, he found that right here in Mississippi you have about six miles or so of tornado passing within you.
 
MSU Riley Center boosts Meridian's economy
Throughout the year and at all hours of any given day, the MSU Riley Center is bringing scores of visitors to the city, whether they are attending a conference, joining friends for a concert, or taking in a play. "The MSU Riley Center is one of the major contributors to our tourism demand here in Meridian and Lauderdale County. From performances to conventions, the MSU Riley Center provides a premiere facility to attract visitors to our community," said Dede Mogollon, executive director of the Meridian/Lauderdale County Tourism.
 
MSU student dies from gun-related injury
A Mississippi State University student died Thursday from wounds in a gun-related incident. The Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Department continues to investigate the death of Dustin Johnson, a 22-year-old geosciences major from Jackson. Oktibbeha County Sheriff Steve Gladney said the incident occurred around 1 a.m. Thursday east of Starkville, near Hickory Grove. Gladney said the department did not suspect foul play. University spokesman Sid Salter said the university mourned Johnson's loss. "Anytime we lose one of our students, the entire university is diminished and we extend our deepest sympathies to the young man's family," he said. (Subscriber-only content.)
 
Spirit of Oktibbeha: Karges' passion drives service
Alyson Karges believes in Starkville. As a native of the city, Karges is deeply rooted in the many things that make Starkville what it is today. She works at Mississippi State University as a researcher for the Social Science Research Center. She's a member of the Healthy Starkville Committee. She's on the board for the day care at First United Methodist Church. Karges wears many hats, but most importantly, she's a wife to Dylan, and a mother to three children: Cecelia Herbert, and Vivian and Claiborne Karges. (Subscriber-only content.)
 
Mural project plans underway
Lorrin Webb is a recent graphic design graduate from Mississippi State who has been all over the country that is thriving because of art. Because of her exposure to such artwork, Webb is now working to make Starkville a more visually appealing town through building murals. She's seen the artistic culture of Asheville, N.C. and Boulder, Colo. She's also travelled as far north as Canada and as far west as San Francisco. She said the one thing she noted at each place was the community's involvement with public art, and the lack of such in Starkville. (Subscriber-only content.)
 
C Spire to build data-processing site in Starkville
C Spire officials announced Thursday the company will build a $22 million data-processing center at Mississippi State University's Thad Cochran Research Park. C Spire will construct a 22,400-square-foot facility on the 6.5-acre site within the research park, which will feature Internet/network options up to 10 gigabytes-per-second symmetrical connections. Plans include the potential for at least two additional expansion phases, C Spire COO Kevin Hankins said. C Spire picked Starkville as its target city, Hankins said, because the area's lower natural disaster risk compared to other possible Mississippi sites, the park's multiple electricity sources and the economic development incentives. "Being in one of the major college cities in the state is also a big deal. We're encouraged by the relationships that can be built here," Hankins said.
 
C Spire to build $20 million center in Golden Triangle
Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins may not know all the ins and outs of high technology, but he knows a good thing when he sees it. That's what he told a crowd of local officials and community leaders Thursday before C Spire announced it would build a $20 million data processing center at the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park. Higgins emceed for a handful of speakers at the event, held in the High Performance Computing Collaboratory at the research park, as C Spire announced it would break ground on its 22,400 square-foot center next month.
 
Deer population having impact on farmland yields
While hunters may see Mississippi's 1.75 million white-tailed deer as potential antlers on their walls, many farmers see reduced crop yields instead. Bronson Strickland, associate Extension professor in the Mississippi State University Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, said the impact of Mississippi's deer population varies depending on who is asked. Despite the negative effects on crop fields, Strickland said white-tailed deer remain an important species, both ecologically and economically to Mississippi. "As long as we have white-tailed deer on the landscape, there will be conflict. But overall, the white-tailed deer is one of Mississippi's most prized wildlife resources, and the good far outweighs the bad," he said.
 
Deer population poses problems for farmers
While hunters may see Mississippi's 1.75 million white-tailed deer as potential antlers on their walls, many farmers see reduced crop yields instead. Bronson Strickland, associate Extension professor in the Mississippi State University Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, said the impact of Mississippi's deer population varies depending on who is asked. "It's a complicated issue that depends on perspective," Strickland said. Strickland said deer consume millions of pounds of forage every day in Mississippi, and this consumption has a big impact on Mississippi's forest lands, prairies and crop fields. Despite the negative effects on crop fields, Strickland said white-tailed deer remain an important species, both ecologically and economically to Mississippi.
 
As statewide totals dwindle, Golden Triangle farmers see an increase in cotton acres
They are out there now, those pieces of stray cotton crowding the edges of some Golden Triangle roads. For decades, around this time of year when farmers head into fields to harvest, cotton has been roadside scenery in Mississippi. Jay Hoover, a Noxubee County farmer, was driving a road with cotton-white edges last week and said, "I guess you could call it fall's decoration." At its peak, around 1930, Mississippi had four million acres of cotton planted across it. There was a saying -- "Cotton is king." But those words don't stand so true anymore. There are a handful of reasons behind the lower number of statewide acres, said Darrin Dodds, the state's cotton specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
 
Sorghum crop late, but yields looking okay
Mississippi's farmers showed their ability to adapt when wet spring weather forced many of them to change their planting intentions from corn, cotton and soybeans to late-planted grain sorghum. "This year it rained from about March 25 through mid-May, which had a huge impact on delaying planting and actually switching crop intentions," said Erick Larson, state corn and sorghum specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "The delay in planting corn acres, plus the likelihood that some producers had herbicides down that restricted cropping choices, contributed to a few more acres of grain sorghum this year."
 
Growers conference planned in November
Fruit and vegetable growers can learn the latest techniques at a conference Nov. 13-15. The Mississippi Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference and Trade Show will be held at the Silver Star Conference Center in Choctaw. The conference is open to new and experienced growers and other interested individuals. Experts from the Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will deliver many of the sessions.
 
School plans narrowing but still undecided
The Commission on Consolidated Starkville School District Structure laid out two plans to address short- and long-term, merger-created logistical needs Thursday but did not cement options on how to successfully join the two systems' student populations in 2015. Previous working ideas include preserving East and West Oktibbeha County elementary schools -- both campuses go up to the sixth grade -- while moving county high school students to Starkville High School. How the consolidated school system will tend to middle school students remains an unanswered question.
 
Partnership increasing advertising, salary line items
Increased Greater Starkville Development Partnership revenues will help pay for more advertising and marketing, a tool CEO Jennifer Gregory says directly impacts tourism and out-of-town spending in Starkville. The organization, which is now fully devoted to community development after area officials entered into an economic development contract late last year with the Golden Triangle Development Link, posted a budget that accounts for $17,000 in new revenues from chamber members' investments and an Oktibbeha County Economic Development Authority contract.
 
One down, and more to come
As economic developers and business representatives shook hands after C Spire announced it will construct a $22 million data-processing facility in Starkville, local leaders trumped up the successful relationship between Oktibbeha County and the Golden Triangle Development Link, and set their sights on the next job-producing investment. While Starkville has successfully marketed itself as a high-tech job destination with ties to a major research institution, manufacturing jobs would give employment opportunities to a broader segment of the community.
 
State revenue collections start out strong
Mississippi revenue collections were $19.6 million above the revenue estimate for September and $64.3 million above for the first quarter of the fiscal year. The revenue estimate is important because it represents the amount of money the Legislature appropriated during the session earlier this year to fund state government for the fiscal year starting July 1. If revenue came in significantly below the estimate, the governor or the Legislature -- or both -- would be forced to cut budgets. The strength of the state's tax collections also is viewed as an economic indicator. Revenue collections for September were 4.1 percent above the estimate and a whopping 15.1 percent above the amount collected the prior September. Still, all is not rosy.
 
Legislature focuses on education reform
There is no easy answer to the challenges that poverty places on many Mississippi residents. As lawmakers try to find solutions to help break the cycle, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves believes one of the greatest levers they can pull is improving schools. "We believe one of the biggest roles we as a government can play in addressing poverty is improving educational opportunities for our kids," Reeves said. "You've seen a pretty significant push in the Legislature for education reform and for bringing competition into the public realm of education, and I think that is important."
 
3rd-grade language proficiency low
When the third-grade reading "gate" goes live in 2015, nearly half the state's third-graders may be at risk of being held back. More than 16,200 Mississippi third grade students, or 44 percent of them, tested less than proficient in language arts on the Mississippi Curriculum Test 2, an average of 2012 and 2013 state test scores indicates. Using the same data, the Mississippi Department of Education identified 39 target schools in 29 districts with the highest percentages of third-graders who were not proficient in language arts. Target schools will issue third-graders a sample test this spring and have access to professional reading coaches funded by the literacy-based Promotion Act, which mandates the reading gate.
 
Analysis: Bryant trusts no part of federal health overhaul
If there's one thing Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant makes perfectly clear, it's this: He doesn't like the federal health overhaul. Whether you call the law by its official name, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or by what Republican Bryant calls it, "Obamacare," the governor says it's too invasive and expensive. During an interview with The Associated Press this past week, Bryant reiterated his opposition to the law, but in a way that raised almost as many questions as it answered.
 
Some of state's poor left without insurance
A 20-something person earning up to $25,000 annually living in the Jackson area can purchase the least expensive plan on the health care exchange for $8 per month, or it is $28 monthly for a family of four earning $50,000. For a person living outside of the Jackson metro area, where these is less competition, the least expensive plan will cost the same individual $75 per month, according to information gleaned from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. But an individual living in Mississippi earning less than roughly $11,500 annually -- or less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level -- will not have access to insurance. A 2011 study by the Center for Mississippi Health Policy estimates that there are more than 170,000 people without health insurance in the state earning less than the federal poverty level. Tuesday marked the first day insurance could be purchased on the exchange.
 
Campaign finance case part of nationwide push
The recent court decision declaring part of the state's campaign finance laws unconstitutional is part of a nationwide effort to turn back laws restricting citizen participation on ballot initiatives. Paula Avelar, an attorney with the Virginia-based Institute for Justice, said Friday his libertarian organization seeks to take such cases before the U.S. Supreme Court for a final decision on this and other similar state laws. "If these laws are too onerous for unions or corporations, they're also on individuals and their neighbors," he said, referring to the controversial Citizens United decision by the nation's highest court that opened the doors to unlimited political spending by deep-pocketed groups or businesses. State Sen. David Blount, D-Jackson, is one legislator warning that such rollbacks will prevent citizens from knowing who is giving what to support or fight constitutional changes.
 
The Big Shell Game: What you need to know about your hospital bills
Welcome to the American health care system. It's a $1.7 trillion industry with some 17 million employees and a $663 billion payroll -- all buoyed by the biggest pricing shell game in recent history. Hospitals artificially inflate prices to the point of meaninglessness so they can recoup payments from insurers demanding increasingly larger discounts, all the while squeezing out the uninsured. It's a vicious cycle: The higher the prices, the bigger the discounts, which leads to higher prices and then bigger discounts. The true cost of health care eventually becomes obscured. The true cost, by the way, is the pea under the proverbial shell. Good luck finding it.
 
Boehner Ties Deal to Talks on Debt
The government shutdown enters its second week with the two parties still bitterly divided and Republicans increasingly tying the fight to a fast-approaching deadline to avoid a default on U.S. debt. House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said Sunday he wouldn't bring up bills to fully reopen the government or increase the country's borrowing limit unless Democrats agree to broader talks aimed at trimming the deficit. The speaker insisted he couldn't muster enough votes to pass either one without the concessions.
 
White House official says Obama would accept short-term agreement on debt ceiling
President Obama would accept a short-term increase in the federal borrowing cap , rather than one lasting a year or more, a senior White House official said Monday. The statement was an acknowledgment by the administration that it may not be possible to reach a deal on a long-term increase in the debt ceiling before a critical Oct. 17 deadline. Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, said members of Congress ultimately have the responsibility to decide how often they want to raise the debt ceiling, although he argued that an extended hike is preferable.
 
Once the Deciders on Spending, Appropriators Now Follow the Leaders
There's little doubt that if the two lawmakers who share control of the budgets of most federal programs had their way, fiscal 2014 would have started Oct. 1 with the federal government operating on a normal basis. But Congress clearly is not setting budget and spending priorities the way House Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers or Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara A. Mikulski would like. Instead, the government shutdown has highlighted the dramatic change in power that has diminished the influence of what once were two of the most powerful committees in Congress. Over the recent raucous years of upheaval in Congress, the biggest change for appropriators came in 2010, when they lost their power to deliver money for specific projects and causes through earmarks.
 
Scalia bemoans 'nasty time' in Washington
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said it is a "nasty time" in Washington --- when many of the social interactions between Democrats and Republicans have ceased. On the opening day of the Supreme Court session, New York Magazine published a wide-ranging interview with the conservative justice. "It's a nasty time," he said. "It's a nasty time. When I was first in Washington, and even in my early years on this Court, I used to go to a lot of dinner parties at which there were people from both sides. Democrats, Republicans." He added, "It doesn't happen anymore."
 
In new term, Supreme Court may steer to right on key social issues
The Supreme Court term that opens Monday gives the court's conservative bloc a clear opportunity to shift the law to the right on touchstone social issues such as abortion, contraception and religion, as well as the political controversy over campaign funding. If the justices on the right agree among themselves, they could free wealthy donors to give far more to candidates and parties and clear the way for exclusively Christian prayers at local government events. In other cases due to be heard this fall, the justices are likely to uphold state bans on college affirmative action and block most housing bias claims that allege an unfair impact on blacks and Latinos.
 
Getting traction on world stage: Kubota officials visit Hernando
Tetsuji Tomita, executive vice president and president of the Strategic Business Division of KUBOTA Corporation, bowed graciously to Hernando Chamber of Commerce Director Susan Fernandez and Hernando city officials upon his arrival in the DeSoto County seat of government. There were smiles and handshakes all around as a host of city officials and economic development representatives each bowed in return Friday. Tomita flew into Memphis International Airport and then drove to Hernando for one of the largest international Kubota dealer conventions and equipment showcases ever held in the Mid-South. Nearly 1,200 dealers from across the nation converged on a seven-acre tract known as the Crossroads PUD at the corner of Green T and U.S. Highway 51. The tract is being marketed as a potential site for a national or international corporate headquarters.
 
America, China and space science: Chinese? You're not welcome
The American government views China's space programme with suspicion. Chinese taikonauts are, for instance, banned from the International Space Station, which despite its name is largely an American venture. Most recently, this frosty attitude was on display at an international space conference that took place in Beijing at the end of September. NASA---the world's biggest space agency---was notable chiefly by its diminuitive presence. Its boss, Charles Bolden, had to seek a special dispensation even to be there. The frostiness is beginning to affect scientific research, too. Over the past few days Chinese researchers, including some who work at American universities, have been told that their nationality means they are not welcome at a conference on exoplanets due to be hosted at NASA's Ames research centre in California next month. Incensed, several prominent American astronomers have said that they will boycott the meeting in protest.
 
UM outlines response to 'Laramie Project' incident
The University of Mississippi will require every student in attendance at Tuesday night's performance of "The Laramie Project" play to attend an educational dialogue session. The university sent a statement late Friday afternoon from the Bias Incident Response Team, a six-person committee of faculty and staff members tasked with investigating discrimination claims. The committee was looking into reports that students disrupted the theater department production and allegedly used gay slurs. Their statement does not call for suspensions for any of the involved football players. It does state that university leaders encourage "faculty, staff, students and community members to fully support our LGBTQ community by attending and supporting PRIDE week activities." The university's previously scheduled Pride Week will be this Monday to Friday.
 
Ole Miss delivers punishment in homophobic slur incident
Ole Miss will punish all the members of a disruptive and harassing play audience, at least one member of which allegedly used a homophobic slur. The school's Bias Incident Response Team, responding to the events Tuesday during an on-campus performance of "The Laramie Project," announced Friday afternoon its findings and penalties. Because of conflicting reports and the difficulty in finding the person that the cast and crew said used a slur, the entire audience will be required to go through an "educational dialogue session led by university faculty and allies." Cast members also are invited to participate.
 
National sports writers respond to Ole Miss controversy
The accusations of Ole Miss athletes hurling anti-gay slurs at student performers during a play in Oxford this week has drawn the attention of national sports writers, prompting some to call for disciplinary actions. Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde wrote a scathing editorial on Thursday, calling on head coach Hugh Freeze to bench any player identified as a participant in the ordeal. "OK, Hugh Freeze. Time to lead," wrote Forde on his online blog. "Lead your football players at Mississippi out of ignorance and into understanding. Lead your young men toward accountability. Show that the remarkably, distressingly resilient track record for intolerance at Ole Miss can be changed for the better."
 
Ole Miss finds no evidence football players used homophobic slurs
After the University of Mississippi investigated allegations that an estimated 20 football players disrupted a university theater production of "The Laramie Project" with "borderline hate speech" on Tuesday night, the university found no evidence that any players used any anti-gay slurs. Because of what the university's Bias Incident Response Team deemed "conflicting reports" surrounding the incident, all the students and student-athletes in attendance of the show Oct. 1 will be required to attend an educational dialogue session, the response team said in a statement released Friday evening.
 
Ole Miss officials unable to verify athletes disrupted campus play with homophobic slur
The University of Mississippi says it has not been able to verify reports that athletes led the disruption of a campus play with gay slurs and inappropriate laughter. University officials said earlier that some freshman athletes participated. Nobody gave names or accused specific students of misbehaving during "The Laramie Project," a play about the beating death of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyo., the six-person Bias Incident Response Team reported Friday. The report says the dark theater made it hard to identify specific people, and early reports differ about the frequency, volume and source of comments.
 
Ole Miss chancellor campaigns in West Point
The University of Mississippi is hoping to spread the word about new in-state recruitment initiatives in the Golden Triangle, and as part of the campaign, Chancellor Dan Jones made stops Thursday in West Point and Columbus. Among the items for discussion, Jones addressed some of the difficulties faced by higher learning institutions, including tuition increases, which he said sometimes hindered student opportunity, particularly in Mississippi.
 
Army ROTC program to close at USM
University of Southern Mississippi officials say they are baffled as to the reason why the U.S. Army plans to close its Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. "It is a bit of a puzzle to us," said Steven Moser, dean of Southern Miss' College of Arts and Letters. "We're just very anxious to pursue whatever effort we need to do to reverse this decision to ensure this program continues at Southern Miss." U.S. Army officials sent a letter to Southern Miss President Rodney Bennett last month, informing him of the decision to close the program at the end of the 2014-15 academic year. It is one of 13 programs nationwide scheduled for closure -- and the only one in Mississippi. Five other ROTC programs in the state (Jackson State University, the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, Mississippi Valley State University and Alcorn State University) will remain open.
 
Co-Lin Community College sees performance improvement
The Copiah-Lincoln Community College Board of Trustees wrapped up agenda items swiftly Thursday afternoon, providing a report on overall student performance, approving construction projects and setting goals for the future. Student performance showed significant progress in specific areas of study when compared to other community colleges in the state, according to Dr. Jane G. Hulon, vice president of instructional services.
 
'Retire' is not in English professor's vocabulary
Judy Wiggins still finds time to teach and learn after 30 years as an English instructor at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Although she "retired" four years ago, she still teaches an online class for Co-Lin and four exercise classes for seniors on campus. The former humanities coordinator at Co-Lin still leads the exercise classes because of what it provides for students and her. The online class on study skills is geared to new students in the all-important transition from high school to college.
 
Forum to discuss U. of Alabama's path to diversity
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the University of Alabama Retiree Association will host forum about UA's path to diversity on Tuesday at the Bryant Conference Center on campus. Katie Hall, marketing public relations assistant for the OLLI, said the community forum coincides with "Through the Doors," the university's yearlong effort to commemorate the successful integration of campus. Hall said the nonprofit, which organizes a couple of forums a year, thought the topic of UA's progress since the civil rights movement would complement the university's efforts.
 
Bonner tells Alabama fraternities to be inclusive after discrimination allegations during fall recruitment
University of Alabama President Judy Bonner expects fraternities on campus to take steps to make their chapters more inclusive, following a similar effort required of the Capstone's sororities in the wake of allegations of racial discrimination during fall recruitment. "President Judy Bonner has met with the fraternity presidents and other fraternity representatives to make clear her expectation that, like the sororities, they also will take proactive steps to remove barriers and ensure inclusivity and accessibility in their organizations," according to a statement released by UA Media Relations Director Cathy Andreen. UA is reviewing and evaluating current membership recruitment practices in all of its Greek organizations, she said.
 
All-black U. of Alabama production excites director
Many factors affect how the University of Alabama Department of Theatre and Dance picks its season. Educational challenges weigh heavily. The costume department might get more intense work out of period finery; set or lighting designers might wish to bite into something vast but open to interpretation. Actors want to get on stage. It's complicated by the growth of the department. Enrollment soared in the past decade, not just because of the severed relationship with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, which moved more grad students from Montgomery to Tuscaloosa. As the number of blacks grows in the department, directors blind-cast, racially, when they can. But that can't work in shows centered around racial issues, such as last season's "Othello" and "Show Boat." And antique pieces such as "Show Boat" often reflect decades-old attitudes that don't play as well with modern audiences.
 
Dog collar device helps track Auburn University's eagles
It'd be odd to think that Auburn University's eagles, Spirit and Nova, are flying around Jordan-Hare Stadium with a dog collar device on their backs, but they are. This year, the Southeastern Raptor Rehabilitation Center made a change from using a telemetry device to triangulate an eagle's position to using Tagg, which pinpoints the animal's location. "This is just a newer technology," said Janet McCoy, a Raptor Center spokesperson. "You can find the birds with your cellphone." Tagg the Pet Tracker liked the idea of its products on the Auburn eagles so much they donated several of the devices, which cost close to $100, to the Raptor Center.
 
Bob Graham, others talk national security at U. of Florida
After 9/11, U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., co-chaired the commission on weapons of mass destruction that looked at the intelligence community before and after the attacks. The commission predicted that a weapon of mass destruction would be used somewhere on the globe before the end of 2013, and it would be a biological or chemical weapon and not a nuclear weapon, now former Sen. Graham said Friday during a panel discussion on national security at the Phillips Center in Gainesville. "That moment happened Aug. 21," Graham said, when Syrian forces released sarin gas on rebel forces in Damascus, killing a reported 1,400 people.
 
U. of Florida expert finds cats may offer clues for an HIV vaccine
A Gainesville scientist has discovered that cats might provide promising clues for an HIV vaccine. Janet Yamamoto, a petite and fiery professor of immunology at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine who has spent the past 30 years studying feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), has identified a common region in FIV and HIV: part of a protein on the virus that is critical to its survival and may be key to a vaccine.
 
Group for disabled Aggie veterans holds first event
A Texas A&M student organization hosting paralympic sports for veterans held its first event Friday evening. Retired U.S. Marine Col. Jerry Smith, director of the Veteran Resource and Support Center, had high praise for the group and its community service. He said A&M is home to more than 700 student veterans. "There's the typical student activities and organizations, but this one is unique in that there's an athletic or sport component to it, but there's also a wellness component to it," Smith said. "They kind of draw strength from each other and what they do throughout the event."
 
U. of Missouri leaders debate proposed fee
Currently, the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri is the only college or school that doesn't charge a supplemental fee. The MU Faculty Council would like to change that. During the council's meeting on Thursday, a motion was brought forward recommending the Dean of the College of Arts and Science and the provost pursue the creation of a supplemental fee for the college. The College of Arts and Science currently only charges laboratory fees, but no supplementary fee. Doug Wakefield, professor and director of the Center for Health Care Quality, questioned if faculty council should wait until the dean makes a formal request. "Should we be talking about supporting the College of Arts and Science rather than being up ahead of them?" he asked.
 
Federal Agencies Revamp Standards for College Cybersecurity Program
Nearly 200 college and university cybersecurity programs will have to reapply for a coveted federal designation under new curriculum standards being rolled out by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The retooling of the joint National Centers of Academic Excellence program includes the elimination of dated, controversial federal training standards. They are being replaced with curricular blocks, dubbed "knowledge units," that officials say will enable colleges to develop cybersecurity focus areas while also allowing them to respond to employers' needs in a fluid marketplace.
 
Yale searches for stinker adding feces to dryers
Yale University hopes to solve a case of whodungit by identifying the stinker who has been soiling students' laundry by sticking human feces inside clothes dryers. The culprit has been dubbed the "poopetrator" and is being blamed for at least four incidents in the past month in the laundry room at Saybrook College. "We have asked our students not to leave their laundry unattended, the affected machines have been thoroughly disinfected and we are actively seeking information about who the perpetrator might be," Saybrook Master Paul Hudak told the Yale Daily News. "That's about all we can do." Hudak said Yale police are investigating. Officials at the Ivy League school also are considering changes to laundry room access.
 
Earnings Gap Narrows, but College Education Still Pays, Report Says
The earnings gap between young college graduates and their peers with only high-school diplomas has narrowed slightly in recent years, but adults with bachelor's degrees still make significantly more over their careers, according to a report released on Monday by the College Board. The expansive triennial report, "Education Pays 2013: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society," examines the value of college in both financial and nonfinancial terms. The goal is to "call attention to ways in which both individuals and society as a whole benefit from increased levels of education," the authors write. Debate over the return on investment of higher education---and whether such a tally is the right way to determine its value---has intensified as tuition has risen faster than family income.
 
Vouchers don't do much for students
Ever since the administration filed suit to freeze Louisiana's school voucher program, high-ranking Republicans have pummeled President Barack Obama for trapping poor kids in failing public schools. The entire House leadership sent a letter of protest. Majority Leader Eric Cantor blistered the president for denying poor kids "a way into a brighter future." And Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal accused him of "ripping low-income minority students out of good schools" that could "help them achieve their dreams." But behind the outrage is an inconvenient truth: Taxpayers across the U.S. will soon be spending $1 billion a year to help families pay private school tuition -- and there's little evidence that the investment yields academic gains.
 
EDITORIAL: Bennett has solid vision for U. of Southern Mississippi
The Hattiesburg American editorializes: "It's hard to believe that University of Southern Mississippi President Rodney Bennett has only been on the job for about six months. It's definitely been a busy six months. From tornado recovery to naming a new athletic director, Bennett has had his work cut out for him since April. But the former vice president for student affairs at the University of Georgia is more than up to the job. Bennett visited with the Hattiesburg American editorial board on Wednesday, and we couldn't have been more impressed with Southern Miss' 10th president."
 
SAM R. HALL: Rising health care costs hurting higher ed funding | Sam R. Hall (Opinion)
The Clarion-Ledger's Sam R. Hall writes: "Over the past few months, a number of university presidents have sat down with our editorial board to discuss what their institutions are doing and the challenges facing them. Most of the discussions inevitably turn to funding, which is clearly the biggest challenge facing our public colleges and universities. ...University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones said last week that the reason lawmakers continue to cut funding for state universities is because the universities can simply raise tuition to overcome the shortfalls. And it's an easy fix from the perspective of lawmakers because they can go home saying they kept spending under control and didn't cut taxes. But the easy fix for lawmakers has become a real problem for state universities."
 
OUR VIEW: Tuesday: A step backward
The Dispatch editorializes: "On the same day students disrupted a play in Oxford about the murder of a gay man, a federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of a woman who was denied a permit to open a gay bar in Shannon. It's Mississippi 2013, but it could just as easily be Mississippi 1963, if these two incidents are an accurate portrayal of where we are when it comes to attitudes about gay rights. At a time when 14 states and the District of Columbia have approved laws that would permit gay couples to marry, Mississippi seems to scarcely acknowledge that gays have even the most basic of rights, including the right to be treated with common decency or open a business. ...When a gay person is denied the right to open a business and when it's socially acceptable to ridicule and verbally abuse a gay person, it seriously questions how far we have come."
 
SLIM SMITH: A matter of respect | Slim Smith (Opinion)
The Dispatch's Slim Smith writes: "In his book, 'An Education of a Lifetime,' former University of Mississippi Chancellor Robert Khayat tells the story of his recollection of one of the most traumatic events in the university's history -- the riots on the Ole Miss campus associated with James Meridith's enrollment at the school's first black student in 1962. ... 'When I was a kid, discrimination is something we knew about. Because of that, respect was the value that was emphasized in our home.' That value has been a thread that continued through Khayat's life and was most challenged during his tenure as chancellor at Ole Miss. His insistence on disassociating the university from its long-held allegiance to the symbols of the Old South is appreciated today, but was the cause of painful dissension at the time."
 
BILL CRAWFORD: Rock-brain politics ruining America
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "'If (re-election) means more to you than your country,' he said, 'when we need patriots to come out in a situation when we're in extremity, then you shouldn't even be in Congress.' That was former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson crying out for some 'good 'ol common sense' in Washington... ...Simpson was a friend and colleague of the late Sonny Montgomery. He, Sonny, and the late Senator John Stennis exemplified patriotic leaders willing to use common sense and put America first, ahead politics and self-interest. Today, allies wonder if our democratic republic will ever function properly again."
 
GEOFF PENDER: Palazzo starting to act the part | Geoff Pender (Opinion)
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "Republican U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo looked masterful last week and provided his party some badly needed cover and good P.R. amidst a maelstrom of bad press over the government shutdown. ...But Palazzo appears to be a man who has grown into his role. The stumbling of his first couple of years appears to have been replaced by more resolute confidence. He's more recently stared down various factions of his own party, stood his ground. His recent no nuclear waste storage in Mississippi stance is evidence of this."
 
SID SALTER: Holder, feds seek bypass on voting rights issues
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "On the battle over the government shutdown, the Obama administration narrative continues to be that Republicans shut down the government because they didn't get their way on Obamacare. There may be some truth to that, but if so, Republicans don't have the market cornered on playing hardball for do-overs on public policy. President Obama and his surrogates continue to repeat that narrative at every opportunity. Clearly, the Obama administration doesn't see the parallel between GOP actions on Obamacare and the very same tactics on the part of the Obama administration's U.S. Justice Department on the issue of voter ID and the recent Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act. The argument that Voter ID equates with voter suppression is bogus and the majority of the Supreme Court has ruled that Section 5 unfairly discriminates against a region of the country."


SPORTS
 
Mullen faces former school in next game for Bulldogs
Homecoming on a college campus is usually a special time. This year's Mississippi State homecoming is especially special for head coach Dan Mullen. Mullen leads his Bulldogs (2-3) into a homecoming showdown with the Bowling Green Falcons (5-1) this Saturday. Mullen got his first full-time coaching gig at a FBS school at Bowling Green. He was the quarterbacks coach from 2001-02 under head coach Urban Meyer. "We had a great time at Bowling Green," Mullen said on his Sunday teleconference. "It was one of my first full-time coaching positions. We had great time and had a lot of fun. I think we learned a lot. We really cut our teeth up there." The Bulldogs and the Falcons kickoff at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
 
Rebels, Bulldogs focus on rebounding | Daily Journal
Both area SEC teams will try to bounce back from disappointment this week, and odds may favor Mississippi State to have the better chance to do that. Following a 59-26 home loss to No. 10 LSU, the Bulldogs will entertain Mid-American Conference foe Bowling Green (5-1)for homecoming. For the Bulldogs, Dan Mullen carried on the quarterback suspense until the first play when Dak Prescott took the first snap as the starter. In the end both Prescott and Tyler Russell played and played to their strengths.
 
One minute dooms Bulldogs vs. LSU
Mississippi State trailed by five points at the start of the fourth quarter. In a matter of 36 seconds the deficit grew to 19. "We were in a position going into the fourth quarter going into a tight game to win the game," MSU coach Dan Mullen said. "At the end of the third quarter I started seeing guys push a little bit, trying to go making a play instead of doing your job and then making a play when it presents itself." The first minute of the fourth quarter highlighted Mississippi State's eagerness to make a play, which instead led to more mistakes.
 
Longtime Southern Miss Athletic Department member Larry 'Doc' Harrington dies at 81
Longtime Southern Miss Athletic Department member Larry "Doc" Harrington died Saturday morning. He was 81. Doc Harrington's career with the University of Southern Mississippi spanned nearly 40 years. "Few people have dedicated their life to Southern Miss and Southern Miss athletics like Doc Harrington," said Athletics Director Bill McGillis. "Doc and the entire Harrington family have been a part of the university and its athletics program for a long, long time and continue that involvement even today." Harrington was involved in more aspects of the school's athletic department than anyone else in the department's history.
 
Loftin violated 'minor' NCAA rule with tweet to Texas A&M football recruit
Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin received a talking-to this summer after he inadvertently committed a secondary NCAA infraction by tweeting a top football recruit, according to documents obtained by The Eagle. On June 14, Loftin -- who is known not just for his colorful bow ties, but also student engagement and active social media use -- tweeted out a seemingly innocuous message: "Enjoyed meeting you yesterday during your visit to #TAMU." Loftin has 26,640 followers on Twitter. David Batson, Texas A&M's director of athletics compliance, said an athletics department staffer caught the tweet, which was later deleted by Loftin. Batson said Loftin, who has sent out nearly 5,000 tweets, simply didn't know the NCAA rule.



The Office of Public Affairs provides the Daily News Digest as a general information resource for Mississippi State University stakeholders.
Web links are subject to change. Submit news, questions or comments to Jim Laird.
Mississippi State University  •  Mississippi State, MS 39762  •  Main Telephone: (662) 325-2323  •   Contact: The Editor  |  The Webmaster  •   Updated: October 7, 2013Facebook Twitter