Wednesday, October 16, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Mississippi State University Holds Cyber Security Awareness Week
Mississippi State is hosting several public programs for the next few days, examining critical issues of a hyper-connected, Internet-driven world as part of the university's 6th annual Cyber Security Awareness Week. University representative Tom Ritter helped in facilitating this week's awareness program of events. "What we want to do is, we want to raise student and faculty awareness about cyber security issues. And what resources there are in the state to help with these problems. And then finally to just make sure people are safe on the Internet," said Ritter.
 
Chadwick Lake track celebrated
It was sunny and cool Tuesday morning when Mississippi State students, faculty and staff, and Starkville citizens came together to celebrate the official opening and ribbon-cutting for the one-mile walking track at Chadwick Lake. Getting the track ready has been an undertaking for the MSU construction crew. The terrain around the lake created some issues as well as weather issues during the summer, but Joyce Yates, director of health education and wellness in MSU's Division of Student Affairs, said everything turned out perfectly. (Subscriber-only content.)
 
Mississippi State University Unveils A New Walking Track On Campus
A new one-mile loop track that is located around Mississippi State University's Chadwick Lake officially opened Tuesday morning. Guest speakers included Mississippi State President Mark Keenum, Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman, and several others, who spoke briefly on the importance of living healthy lives. Following the ceremony, guests had the chance to walk the track. The first 100 who completed the loop received a free pumpkin.
 
Theatre MSU prepares to begin 50th season
Mackenzie Dunn reveals the culprit in Mississippi State University's production of "Bloody Murder" before the first act is over. Dunn, a freshman majoring in architecture at MSU, plays Lady Somerset, a dowager of the kind that commonly appears in British murder mysteries. The difference, she said, is that Somerset knows "Bloody Murder" is not the first murder mystery she has been in. (Subscriber-only content.)
 
Mississippi State Program Is Taking Learning Outside Of The Classroom
It can be overwhelming for students to sit in a classroom soaking up information, but one new program at Mississippi State University is giving students a chance to put their knowledge to the test. Since January the Mississippi State's Center for the Advancement of Service Learning-Excellence, also known as Casle, is changing the way students learn in the classroom. "We have a chance to partner with the community in a very different way and there is several service learning centers across the country, but ours is unique because we combine our extension," says April Heiselt. The Casle program gives Mississippi State University students hands on experience outside of the classroom.
 
Wood Magic Fair At Mississippi State University
This week, thousands of fourth-grade students from around the state are attending the annual Wood Magic Science Fair on the campus of Mississippi State University. "...we are trying to teach them we've managed our forest responsibly and produce products that are sustainable," said associate Extension professor David Jones.
 
State Sen. McDaniel considers running against Cochran
Two-term state Sen. Chris McDaniel said Tuesday that he's leaning toward challenging longtime U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in the 2014 Republican primary. McDaniel told The Associated Press that he was still undecided as of Tuesday evening. He said he will go to his Ellisville home today, sit in his arbor and pray about it. "Right now, we're leaning toward running for U.S. Senate," he said. McDaniel spoke to AP hours after a consultant issued a news release saying McDaniel would hold a news conference at noon Thursday in Ellisville to discuss "a possible run for higher office."
 
Mississippi Tea Party Candidate to Announce Possible Cochran Primary Challenge
Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel is scheduled to announce on Thursday whether he will challenge six-term Sen. Thad Cochran in the GOP primary, according to invitations to the event from local tea party groups. "Mississippi state senator Chris McDaniel, a favorite of many Mississippi for Liberty and Tea Party members, stated just minutes ago that he plans to make an important announcement regarding his future political aspirations this coming Thursday, October 17th," wrote Mississippi for Liberty's Jim Cunningham to supporters, according to an email obtained by CQ Roll Call. McDaniel did not return a phone message on Tuesday. But in an interview with CQ Roll Call last month, McDaniel would not rule out a challenge to either Cochran or Republican Rep. Steven M. Palazzo.
 
House effort to end fiscal crisis collapses, leaving Senate to forge last-minute solution
Top aides to Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are working to finalize plans to raise the debt limit through Feb. 7 and end the 16-day-old government shutdown, after a House Republican effort to forge a solution collapsed Tuesday in humiliating failure. The inability of House lawmakers to agree on details of a bill left Washington lurching toward a critical borrowing deadline with no clear plan for avoiding a government default. Senate leaders quickly moved to pick up the pieces, saying they were "optimistic" that they could advance an alternative proposal. But it was unclear whether the bipartisan deal being struck could pass the Senate before the Treasury Department exhausts its borrowing power Thursday.
 
Lott: Bipartisanship, communication keys to ending shutdown
It's been nearly six years since Trent Lott held a seat in the U.S. Congress. But the former Senate majority leader still had plenty to say about the nation's leadership on day 15 of the federal government shutdown. "I'm disappointed, like everybody else," he said Tuesday morning before delivering the closing address at the 53rd annual meeting of the Southern States Energy Board at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino. "I had hoped they could find a way to come together." Before his speech, Lott recalled his time as a young senator after he took office in 1972. "When I went into the Senate I was a young, warrior-type guy, I raised a lot of Cain and got nothing done." He said after about six months he realized it was time to change his style.
 
Trent Lott opens up about the government shutdown
Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott was in Biloxi Tuesday to speak at the Southern States Energy Board. But before he spoke about energy, Lott told the crowd he had to address the elephant in the room and talked about the government shutdown. "What we need in Washington now is strong leadership from top to bottom, it begins at The White House," Trent Lott said, "President Obama needs to engage, needs to sit down." Lott served in the House and Senate for nearly 35 years and admits it was not always easy. "When I was Senate majority leader and Bill Clinton was president, we met all the time. Did we have a nice easy time? No. We had a lot of disagreements, but we found a way to reach an agreement we thought was good for the country," Lott said.
 
Leaders preach importance of solidarity at energy conference
To former U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, when it comes to discussing everything from jobs to national security in America, energy is a topic worth mentioning. "The great news story in America today is energy," Lott said Tuesday morning at the 53rd annual meeting of the Southern States Energy Board. "Even while our economy has been struggling along, there have been great things happening with energy." Lott was the closing keynote speaker at the two-day conference, hosted at the Beau Rivage Casino Resort by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, who chairs the Southern States Energy Board committee.
 
Former Mississippi Gov. Barbour insists Kemper power plant is a good deal
Haley Barbour on Tuesday told the Gulf Coast Business Council the price of natural gas is sure to rise and that will make Mississippi Power's Kemper plant a good deal over the long haul. Barbour is on a speaking tour around Mississippi talking about energy and defending Kemper. He said gas likely will go up because natural gas "is such a fabulous fuel."
 
Barbour: Energy is key to economic growth
Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour offered up a laundry list of ingredients necessary to attract new industry and spur economic growth, including a trained work force, upgraded technology and logistical ability to move resources and products from point A to point B. But the key, then and in the future, will be sustainable and affordable energy sources, Barbour said. "The sector that can be more critical in creating economic growth -- not just in the short term, but in the long term -- ...is energy because there is no part of the economy that at some stage isn't dependent on energy," Barbour said during a Hattiesburg Rotary Club luncheon Tuesday at Southern Oaks House and Gardens.
 
PSC: Mississippi Power should justify Kemper spending
Regulators say Mississippi Power Co. needs to submit more evidence it has spent money prudently on the power plant it's building in Kemper County. The state Public Service Commission voted 3-0 Tuesday to require more information from Mississippi Power on the $4.75 billion it is spending to build the coal-fueled power plant in eastern Mississippi. The Sierra Club, which opposes the plant, had asked commissioners to reject the spending by the subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Co.
 
South Mississippians vocal in opposing offshore drilling at DMR meeting
Offshore drilling opponents cited damage to the environment and quality of life and devastating effects on tourism as reasons the state Department of Marine Resources should stop in its tracks a Mississippi Development Authority move toward drilling in state waters. Their comments came after the Commission on Marine Resources heard an update by DMR on an MDA request to determine if its offshore exploration and drilling rules are compatible with the DMR coastal program.
 
Farm Bureau: Don't kill old farm bills while passing new one
Leaving the old farm bill laws in place could result in doubling the retail price of milk and force the government to buy up domestic dairy products, but don't get rid of them when passing a new farm bill, two big agriculture groups warn in separate letters to recently named conferees. The American Farm Bureau Federation -- the largest U.S. group representing and lobbying for farmers -- says in a letter sent Tuesday it is pleased that both the Senate and House have named conferees to craft a unified farm bill to replace the one that expired Sept. 30 and is sending each of those conferees a letter with the group's priorities. Both Senate and House farm bill versions contain plenty of good support programs for the nation's farmers, the Farm Bureau notes. But there are also many troubling aspects that the group would prefer to see left on the cutting floor when the conferees are done.
 
Military corrects hate group mislabeling
A Camp Shelby briefing earlier this month grabbed the attention of the U.S. Army, which issued a correction after the instructor told active-duty and reserve soldiers that a Tupelo-based religious group was classified as a hate group. A soldier at the briefing contacted Fox News with his story after submitting a photo of a slide where the American Family Association was compared to Westboro Baptist Church, according to columnist Todd Starnes. "The slide was not produced by the Army, and it does not reflect our policy or doctrine," Army spokesman Troy Rolan wrote in an email to The Clarion-Ledger. "It was produced by a soldier conducting a briefing which included info acquired from an Internet search." Rolan said the information was not obtained from any official Army sources, nor was it approved by any senior level leaders or counselors.
 
Shutdown problems few so far at U. of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi has weathered the partial government shutdown with minimal damage so far. "It's mainly an aggravation at this point," said Gordon Cannon, vice provost for research. But problems loom on the horizon if the shutdown does not end soon. Last week, Secretary of Veteran Affairs Eric Shineski told Congress that tuition and stipends for military veterans and eligible family members will come screeching to a halt at the beginning of November. That would be bad news for the 700 Southern Miss students who receive financial aid from the VA. As for the university's $60 million to $70 million annual external research operation, Cannon said the shutdown that began Oct. 1 has thrown a minor wrench in the works. "Everyone is a little nervous right now," said Cannon, regarding the inability of researchers to submit funding applications.
 
What Happens When Government Shutdown Ends?
It seems that Washington lawmakers are getting closer to ending the shutdown. A local expert talks about what happens when it's all over. "It's hard to say what we expect to see," said University of Southern Mississippi associate professor of political science Allan McBride. He said one thing we can expect is to see this possibly happen all over again next year.
 
News anchor Chuck Scarborough to be honored at USM symposium
The sole 2013 inductee into the Southern Mississippi Mass Communication and Journalism Hall of Fame is an Emmy-winning alumnus who for nearly 40 years has been among the most prominent local television journalists in the largest media market in the United States. The School of Mass Communication and Journalism's annual symposium, titled "A Legend Comes Home: Honoring Chuck Scarborough" will be held for the first time in conjunction with the university's Homecoming activities. Scarborough, who is in his 39th year as news anchor for WNBC-TV in New York, will be inducted into the School of Mass Communication and Journalism Hall of Fame during the symposium's luncheon Oct. 24 in the Thad Cochran Center on the Hattiesburg Campus.
 
Financial diet discussed with Delta State University faculty
President Bill LaForge held a meeting Friday at Broom Hall to discuss the budget cut that Delta State University is expected to endure for approximately the next two terms. LaForge began by explaining that the budget cut is simply an exercise in "belt-tightening" in order to trim unnecessary expenses. "For the last eight to 10 years we've had a decline in enrollment," said LaForge, "not only a student enrollment decrease but also our cash reserve ...as our enrollment has gone down, our expenses have gone up. We can't deny that we need to go on an expense diet," said LaForge. "This is a great opportunity for us to take a look at how we do business."
 
LaForge to formally take oath at Delta State
A week of events will precede the formal installation of William N. LaForge as the eighth president of Delta State University. The Investiture Ceremony takes place on Nov. 1 at 10:30 a.m. in the Bologna Performing Arts Center on campus in Cleveland. The week will conclude with the university's homecoming game on Nov. 2. U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., will be the keynote speaker for the main event. LaForge was chief of staff to Cochran during his time in Washington, D.C.
 
Married Ole Miss profs write new Delta thriller
Tom Franklin and wife Beth Ann Fennelly are two of the nicest people you'll ever meet. They've broken new ground in the University of Mississippi's MFA program, where the couple fondly calls Oxford home. Separately, their works have earned tons of praise. As a writing team, they're as unstoppable as the Great Flood of 1927. Franklin and Fennelly's joint effort, The Tilted World, is a tale of "murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, dynamite and deluge -- and a man and a woman who find unexpected love." It begins a few weeks before the Good Friday Flood of 1927 in the fictional town of Hobnob, Miss..
 
U. of Alabama Greek voters could be 'disenfranchised' by Horwitz's legal team, lawyer says
Cason Kirby's attorney asked a Tuscaloosa judge to dismiss Kelly Horwitz's election contest Tuesday, saying Horwitz's legal team is on a "fishing expedition" to disenfranchise University of Alabama Greek voters. Kirby's attorney Andy Campbell and Horwitz's legal representatives, James Anderson and Ginger Buck, met before Tuscaloosa County Circuit Judge James Roberts Tuesday morning at a preliminary hearing leading up to a trial set for Oct. 31. Anderson and his team say the votes of as many as 397 District 4 voters -- the vast majority of which are University of Alabama fraternity and sorority members -- should be thrown out due to lack of residency requirements, in addition the possibility of intimidation or election misconduct in the form of promising free drinks and concert tickets for votes.
 
U. of Alabama President Judy Bonner updates progress establishing a more 'inclusive' Greek system
University of Alabama President Judy Bonner said Tuesday that 23 minority women, including 14 black students, had accepted bids so far from traditionally white sororities during a mandatory open bidding process meant to increase diversity in the Greek system following allegations of racial discrimination during fall recruitment. Bonner characterized the news as a step toward a more inclusive Greek system. She acknowledged last month that despite progress since the integration of the campus in 1963, the community had remained mostly segregated. While the UA Faculty Senate generally applauded Bonner's comments about the progress, the senators said the university also needed a public statement to discourage retaliation against students who speak out against misconduct, citing a history of retaliation against student whistle-blowers in the Greek-dominated campus politics.
 
23 minorities have accepted bids with traditionally white sororities at Alabama, Bonner says
In her third video addressing efforts to increase racial diversity in the University of Alabama Greek system, university president Judy Bonner said although fraternities and sororities are far from their final destination, significant progress has been made in the last few months. In a progress report on the desegregation of traditionally white sororities on campus, Bonner said the continuous open bidding process, which allows sororities to offer bids to new members after formal recruitment ends, has been a major success.
 
Historian David McCullough urges Auburn University students to love learning
David McCullough walked across the stage in the center of the Auburn Arena and took his place behind the podium, surrounded by a warm round of applause. "Thank you for that enthusiastic welcome," he said to the crowd of Auburn University students, faculty and guests. "I hope it's equal when I close." When he exited the stage 45 minutes later, McCullough received a standing ovation. McCullough added modern audiences can learn more from history than simply what to be thankful for. Giving a nod to the current government shutdown and issues in Congress, McCullough said history teaches cause and effect relationships and advocates learning for mistakes. "History is an antidote to the hubris of the present," he said. "It's also an aid to navigation in difficult, dangerous times."
 
World culture presentation set this Sunday at Auburn University
Two Auburn University professors will discuss learning from world cultures in a free, public presentation Sunday at the Auburn Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. The lecture, "Learning from World Cultures," will start at 3 p.m. and features professors Maria Martinez Witte, of Panama, and Dr. Patricia Johnson, of Mexico. The third annual presentation will be hosted by the International Women for Peace and Understanding. The focus of this year's presentation is Latin America, and Witte and Johnson will talk about the history and culture of their native countries.
 
Vanderbilt University's Kirkland Hall evacuated
Hazmat personnel are still on the scene at Vanderbilt University's main administration building Kirkland Hall, which was evacuated Wednesday morning because of a suspicious envelope found this morning, according to school officials. Vanderbilt security found the envelope at about 7:41 a.m., spokesman Jim Patterson said. Dogs have also been on the scene to try and determine the contents of the envelope.
 
U. of South Carolina president: Columbia's Five Points district not safe after midnight
Calling it a turning point in a rash of high-profile crimes, University of South Carolina president Harris Pastides said Tuesday the Five Points entertainment district is no longer safe after midnight and called for Columbia to add police patrols to the area after a female student was paralyzed by a stray bullet fired over the weekend. Pastides considered asking USC's 31,000 students to boycott the popular neighborhood hangout of bars, restaurants and shops after meeting on Monday with Martha Childress' family in the hospital. Pastides said his anger was eased by talking to students and hearing Childress, an 18-year-old freshman, wants to come back to school. "This has been one of the roughest weeks of my presidency," said Pastides.
 
Five Points merchants express outrage over lack of action on gangs
Outrage over the latest shooting in Five Points is at a boiling point as merchants say they had warned police that an innocent bystander was going to become a victim if they did not get violence under control. "They have an inability to acknowledge the problem and, No. 2, they have an inability to fix the problem," said Joe Wilson, who owns three bars in Five Points. "They're ruining us, and for what? Because they want to build up Bull Street? Because they want to build up Main Street? Everyone has told them what the problem is, and they've ignored it." An 18-year-old University of South Carolina student was paralyzed after she was struck by a random bullet early Sunday morning.
 
Search committee formed for U. of Georgia vice president
University of Georgia President Jere Morehead recently appointed a committee to coordinate a national search for the university's next vice president for development and alumni relations. The committee will recommend finalists to succeed Tom Landrum, who will be retiring at the end of the academic year on June 30 after nearly 40 years of service to the institution. "This position will be vitally important as we continue planning and early fundraising efforts during the silent phase of our comprehensive campaign to advance the University of Georgia," Morehead said. "A successful campaign will be transformational for the institution, so the vice president for development and alumni relations will play a key leadership role in the senior administration."
 
Louisiana legislators unhappy with projects list; Jindal cuts out college campus maintenance
When Gov. Bobby Jindal finalized a list of construction projects that the state would fund, he purged millions of dollars for maintenance on college campuses across Louisiana and for a high speed rail project. The maintenance dollars were aimed at trimming a backlog in repairs at public colleges. State Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, said he would like to know the governor's thought process for nixing $76 million for the Southern, LSU, University of Louisiana at Lafayette and community and technical college systems to spend on maintenance. "I'm at a loss without more information on what his thinking is. I'll certainly want to look into it because deferred maintenance at our universities is important," Claitor said.
 
In U. of Florida speech, Chomsky chastises media for its coverage
Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus of linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, philosopher, activist and author, spoke to a packed house at the Phillips Center on Tuesday evening in honor of the Civic Media Center's 20th anniversary. Chomsky has published more than 100 books and writes a column regularly for the Huffington Post. He is an outspoken critic of myriad political and social issues such as the American mainstream media's reporting and U.S. foreign policy. His speech, titled "Policy and the Media Prism," focused on American foreign policy and how that policy is typically covered through "the prism of the media."
 
U. of Florida student resilient in his battle with leukemia
The room in Tolbert Hall at the University of Florida that Chris Abeleda shares with his roommate, Avi Khorran, is cluttered. Clothing, shoes and bags are scattered around the floor, rows of basketball shoes are stacked under the loft beds, posters are on the walls, and books and notebooks lay haphazardly on desks. It's the same room the two occupied last fall, before Chris was diagnosed with leukemia and had to withdraw for a semester to start chemotherapy.
 
Tensions flare at U. of Florida anti-abortion protest
A small cadre of anti-abortion protesters set up sidewalk placards in the middle of Turlington Plaza Tuesday, surrounded by several student groups promoting their own causes, including the College Democrats, the American Cancer Society, the Vietnamese Student Organization. Between class periods, hordes of students wove past the graphic images purporting to be photos of actual aborted fetuses, hurrying to get to their next destination. Some appeared not to notice, others who did quickly looked away. The anti-abortion group Created Equal brought their traveling show of graphic pictures to UF in hopes of getting students to think and talk about abortion.
 
U. of Missouri researchers consider role of genetically modified crops in feeding world
With the World Food Programme estimating that there are 842 million undernourished people in the world today, the John Templeton Foundation has offered grants to 14 teams to answer the question, "Can genetically modified crops help feed the world?" The Templeton Foundation held a workshop yesterday morning at the University of Missouri Bond Life Sciences Center to allow researchers from the four Missouri projects, including the two from Mizzou, to give a brief overview of their work. Marc Linit, associate dean of research and Extension for the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, said it feels good that MU has so many researchers working on the question.
 
U. of Missouri bone marrow drive hopes to influence even more lives
When University of Missouri junior Brandon Pilas decided to get his cheek swabbed during his freshman year at the Homecoming Blood Drive, he had no idea how that swab for cheek cells would change his perspective on life. Joyce Jones, Delete Blood Cancer's donor recruitment coordinator, said Pilas is one of 326 MU student matches and is one of 50 students who have completed a transplant. On Monday, the first day of the drive, 508 people were added to the registry, making the campuswide total 6,104 people.
 
Supreme Court Appears Likely to Uphold Racial-Preference Bans
The U.S. Supreme Court appeared on Tuesday to be leaning toward upholding state prohibitions on race-conscious admissions at public colleges as the justices heard arguments in a lawsuit challenging a ban passed by voters in Michigan. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, widely regarded as the swing vote in the case, joined justices with more-conservative reputations on racial matters in expressing skepticism toward the argument that Michigan's ban represented a discriminatory restructuring of the political process to put members of minority groups at a disadvantage in influencing admissions policies. Only two liberal members of the court -- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia M. Sotomayor -- voiced sharp criticisms of the Michigan measure, adopted as an amendment to the state's Constitution in 2006.
 
Training the Faculty
Faculty development is like a computer. Unless maintenance is performed at a regular basis with relevant updates, both risk becoming outdated to the point where students are unable to benefit. That was the analogy used by two technology officials from St. Mary's University of Texas as they presented their university's approach to faculty development in Anaheim, Calif., on the first full day of seminars during the annual Educause conference. Speaking to a crowd of about 25 university IT officials, Jeff Schomburg, director of the St. Mary's Center for Instructional Technology, and Michael Chen, executive director of the center's academic technology services division, said IT officers need to convince their administrations that, like replacing old computer hardware, investments in faculty development can't be a one-time expense.
 
Sandusky fallout costs Penn State more than $50 million
The money Penn State has spent in legal and consulting fees for the Jerry Sandusky scandal has topped $50 million. Penn State's latest update shows the university has spent $50,459,828 through July 31 for work done by more than three-dozen firms. That's up $1,025,962 from what the university spent through June 30, according to monthly updates provided by Penn State. The potential total cost of the scandal skyrockets to more than $158 million when factoring in the dollar value of the total settlement offers with Sandusky claimants and the full NCAA fine, which the university is paying in yearly installments.
 
EDITORIAL: State needs to reward good teachers with merit pay
The Sun Herald editorializes: "There are more than 32,000 teachers in Mississippi's public schools. To say each and every one of them should be paid the same would be counter-productive. And to suggest that each and every one of them should be given an equal pay raise would continue to reward low performers at the expense of our best teachers. Yet that is what the Mississippi Association of Educators wants from the Mississippi Legislature: a one-size-fits-all pay raise for public school teachers. Gov. Phil Bryant opposes that notion and supports pay raises based on merit. We agree with the governor. But Mississippi needs a better way to evaluate the merit of those tens of thousands of teachers."
 
BRIAN PERRY: Gunn talks to the people
Consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "'I recently was introduced to a crowd as a "Christian politician" and someone in the back yelled "Make up your mind!"' House Speaker Philip Gunn said to laughter in Vicksburg last week on his second annual 'Mississippi Solutions: An Ideas Tour.' Gunn traveled to Clinton, Clarksdale, Olive Branch, Oxford, Corinth, Starkville, Vicksburg, Natchez, Laurel and Pascagoula to 'take the Legislature to the people.' 'Not everyone can travel to Jackson to speak with the Governor or the Legislature. We want go to the people and let them tell us problems, and if they have solutions, to hear those as well. We picked cities to give everyone in the state a location within an hour of their home,' Gunn said on the road between Clinton and Vicksburg. I was given the chance to ride along with Gunn on one leg of the tour."
 
BOBBY HARRISON: State's conservatism will face tests | Bobby Harrison (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "The conservative wing of the conservative party in one of the most conservative states in the nation is attempting to garner more influence. The Conservative Coalition of the state Senate, formed in the early summer, seems at times to be at odds with Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, a fellow Republican who has been one of the state's most vocal proponents of fiscal restraint. The leader of the group, Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, has said he is considering a run for the U.S. Senate against Thad Cochran, should the political veteran, who has not faced a serious challenge since 1984, opt to run again in 2014. And to top it off, the Marshall County Republican Party has voted to censure -- whatever that means -- both Cochran and fellow U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, a Tupelo Republican, for not being conservative enough. Through the years, both Cochran and Wicker routinely have graded out as two of the most conservative members of Congress by national nonpartisan organizations." But now, according to some, they are not conservative enough.
 
SID SALTER: Mississippi's anti-methamphetamine law works
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "While the country was mesmerized by high school chemistry teacher Walter White's descent into ruin in the TV series 'Breaking Bad,' the truth is that methamphetamine manufacture is a filthy, dangerous and soul-crushing affair. Mississippi gets smacked around pretty good when people compare incidences of economic progress, education, health outcomes and income. Our people get pretty tired of hearing the latest measure in which our state ranks 50th. But there's a new example in which Mississippi was among national leaders in an initiative to do something proactive to impede the manufacture of methamphetamine in Mississippi -- an enterprise that had reached epidemic proportions prior to the courageous 2010 act of the Mississippi Legislature in adopting key legislation to make meth manufacture substantially more difficult in the state."


SPORTS
 
Mississippi State wants perfection on defense
Mississippi State's preseason revolved around creating a defense that lived in the opponents backfield. Midway through the season, the numbers tell varying stories as to how well defensive coordinator Geoff Collins' scheme works. "I don't know if we played a great defensive game for the duration," MSU coach Dan Mullen said after the team's 21-20 win against Bowling Green last Saturday. "I've got a lot of trust on our guys on defense. We've got to trust that guys need to make plays, step up in key moments to make plays."
 
Mississippi State AD seeks advice on Dudy Noble Field renovation
Davis Wade Stadium's renovation should be finished within a year, so Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin and company turned their attention to Dudy Noble Field. The athletic program hosted a meeting in Starkville on Monday and in Jackson on Tuesday to harvest suggestions from those who use the MSU baseball team's ballpark the most --- its fans. "We deserve the very, very best," Stricklin said as he opened the forum. He introduced the four architects, all Mississippi State alumni, from Weir Boerner, which is a firm based in Jackson.
 
Mississippi State makes statement in women's basketball recruiting
Vic Schaefer and the Mississippi State women's basketball program have made a statement on the recruiting trail. As the final pieces of the Class of 2014 come together, Schaefer and the Bulldogs hope they have done everything they can to convince Shakayla Thomas to join them in building a championship program. Thomas, a 6-foot small forward from Sylacauga (Ala.) High School, is rated the No. 12 player in the Class of 2014 according to Dan Olson's College Girls Basketball Report and espnW's HoopGurlz. She was in Starkville last weekend on an official visit with Scott Central High standout Victoria Vivians, a recent verbal commitment to MSU, and Blair Schaefer, the daughter of Vic Schaefer and another verbal commitment to MSU.
 
Museum's open house to honor hall of famers, including MSU's Bailey Howell
Sunday will be a special time for the families of three local athletes who all consider Starkville their home and have gone on to become hall of famers in their respective professional sports. The Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum plans to recognize Mississippi State's Bailey Howell, as well as James Thomas "Cool Papa" Bell and Jerry Rice, for their contributions on the national stage. An open house is scheduled between 1:30-3 p.m. to view a permanent exhibit for the honorees at the museum on Sunday and the public is invited to attend. The museum is located at 206 Fellowship Street.
 
Nashville to host 12 straight SEC basketball tournaments
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive announced in May that the conference wanted a primary site to host its men's basketball tournament. Nashville has gotten the nod. Bridgestone Arena will host the SEC men's tournament nine times and the women's tournament three times from 2015 to 2026, a source told The Tennessean on Monday, giving Nashville an SEC basketball tournament for 12 consecutive years. The men's event will be here from 2015-17, 2019-21 and 2023-25, the source confirmed. The women's event will be here in 2018, 2022 and 2026. Nashville was considered the front-runner for its central location among SEC universities, the size of the city and the rave reviews it received after tournaments. The completion of the Music City Center and the addition of more downtown hotels enhanced the city's profile.



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