Thursday, October 17, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Big Mississippi universities propose tuition increases
Mississippi's two largest universities could increase tuition by 5 percent a year over the next two years, while three smaller universities could hold tuition flat, according to a plan a College Board committee considered Wednesday. While the board is likely to vote on the plan today, rules require a second vote after 30 days. That means increases can't become final until after the board meets in November. The plans would push tuition above $7,000 a year at the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi. Both Ole Miss and MSU plan increases of roughly 5 percent a year.
 
Bob Luke to chair East Mississippi Business Development Corporation
Despite a heavy hit to the local economy this year, business leaders are optimistic that Meridian and Lauderdale County can win new industries and businesses. At the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation's annual luncheon on Tuesday, outgoing chairman C.D. Smith passed the gavel to Bob Luke of LPK Architects in a room full of business women and men at MSU-Meridian. A native of Philadelphia, he attended East Central Community College and is a graduate of Mississippi State University. Luke is the managing principal of LPK Architects and his experience ranges from large healthcare facilities to historic renovations. Over the last several years, he has provided design and planning expertise for Mississippi universities with the most recent project being the expansion of Davis Wade Stadium at MSU.
 
MSU groups combine efforts for food, fiber, feed and fuel drive
The Plant and Soil Sciences Graduate Student Organization at Mississippi State University has joined with Students Taking Agriculture to Everyone to conduct the first annual Food, Fiber, Feed and Fuel Drive in Starkville. Dry goods and non-perishables will be collected for food banks. Slightly worn or new clothing items will be delivered to the Palmer House Thrift Store. Animal feed items will be donated to the pet adoption program at Mississippi State's Veterinary School, and donations for utilities will be directed to the Salvation Army's Utility Assistance Program.
 
Fancred, mobile app for die-hard sports fans, wraps up $1.5 million funding round
When last we heard from Fancred in May, the startup had engineered a pretty sweet cameo: during the company's pitch to investors at the conclusion of the TechStars Boston program, Sox slugger David Ortiz strutted onto the stage at House of Blues to help spark some enthusiasm. Five months later, the Sox are in the American League Championship Series, and Fancred is announcing that it has finished raising the $1.5 million it hoped to raise at TechStars Demo Day. The Sox were the first professional team to take ownership of their profile on Fancred, and Mississippi State was the first university to do so, says CEO Hossein Kash Razzaghi.
 
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary adding archaeology, chaplaincy degrees
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary's trustees approved an initiative to launch four new fully-online degrees, new degrees in biblical archaeology and chaplaincy and created seven new extension sites during their fall meeting Oct. 8. The master of arts (biblical archaeology) degree is the second program at NOBTS to utilize a mutual partnership with a state university. In this case, the partnering school is Mississippi State University and the MSU Cobb Institute of Archaeology. MSU will provide instruction for NOBTS students in specialized areas such as ceramic analysis and anthropology. MSU students will receive instruction in biblical languages and Semitic inscriptions from NOBTS faculty members.
 
Conference looks to boost outdoor recreation, tourism development
If you're thinking of developing an outdoor recreation/tourism-related business, it might be in your best interest to make a road trip to Alabama. The Mississippi State University Extension Service and MSU's Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development are promoting the annual Alabama-Mississippi Rural Tourism Conference Oct. 28-30. The event will be in Guntersville, Ala., and the theme is outdoor recreation. "The speakers will help participants understand what it takes to host large-scale events, such as hunting and field trial events, and market these attractions without losing their rural identities," said Becky Smith, assistant Extension professor in the MSU Department of Agricultural Economics. "Some of the greatest outdoor recreation and tourism attractions in the country are in Mississippi and Alabama. These resources provide opportunities for rural communities to generate dollars and jobs."
 
When it comes to weeds there's strong, and there's Mississippi strong
There's something going on with Mississippi weeds. For reasons that have yet to be determined, Mississippi produces more documented herbicide-resistant weed species than any other state, according to a recent report from the Mississippi State University Extension Service. While new control technologies are on the horizon, for now, growers must battle one type or another of these super weeds year-round. Darrin Dodds, cotton specialist with the MSU Extension Service, said each year more weeds are identified as resistant to herbicides.
 
The art of puppetry at MSU Riley Center
The Education Department of the MSU Riley Center offered a workshop of 34 local teachers called "SHADOW STORIES: Exploring Story Elements Through Shadow Puppetry." The five-hour workshop was led by Daniel Barash, a Kennedy Center teaching artist from San Francisco, Calif.
 
Starkville sidewalk, landscaping report delayed until February
An upcoming review of Starkville's sidewalk and landscaping ordinances is delayed until February after Community Developer William Snowden was placed on unpaid medical leave for six weeks Tuesday. Aldermen extended Snowden's probationary period -- he was hired in February -- by 180 days and tasked the city clerk to deduct accumulated leave beyond the city's allowable policies from his pay. The request was initiated by Snowden. Community development employees will now report to Mayor Parker Wiseman.
 
Columbus council approves plans for retreat; Hardwick to facilitate
The Columbus City Council approved plans for a Dec. 5 strategic planning retreat to be held at the Plymouth Bluff Center. Phil Hardwick, project manager at the John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development at Mississippi State University, will facilitate the retreat.
 
Motions argued before Parvin's new murder trial
Judge Paul Funderburk will decide if Dr. David Parvin's previous testimony can be used in his new murder trial set to begin Nov. 12. "What matters is that the state produced evidence that left the defendant no choice but to take the stand and refute it," Jackson attorney James L. Robertson told the judge, referring to statements made by two of the state's expert witnesses. Testimony by those experts -- controversial Dr. Steven Hayne and visual reconstructionist Grant Graham -- was deemed as inadmissible by the Mississippi Supreme Court last April when it tossed Parvin's conviction and ordered a new trial. Parvin, a retired university economics professor, maintains that the shotgun he carried inside their home accidentally fired, killing his wife.
 
Maloney leaves West Point Link
Ron Maloney has left his post as the Golden Triangle Development Link's vice president of economic development for West Point and Clay County, Link CEO Joe Max Higgins confirmed Tuesday. Higgins said Maloney, who joined the Link in August 2012, has accepted a leadership role with a regional economic development group in his native Pennsylvania. Maloney came on board as the county's Prairie Belt Powersite was unveiled -- the same site that was selected by Yokohama Tire Company for construction of a $1.2 billion tire plant. Higgins credited Maloney for assisting in the effort to bring the global tire manufacturer to the Golden Triangle.
 
Task force looks for input on transportation
A task force created by the state Senate to look at Mississippi's transportation needs tentatively plans to hold at least three public hearings throughout the state to garner input. The public hearings will have to be held soon to give the Transportation Task Force time to compile recommendation to submit to the Senate at the start of the 2014 session in January. Senate Transportation Chairman Willie Simmons, D-Cleveland, had hoped to develop a consensus from the task force members on additional revenue, such as an increase in the tax on gasoline, to provide additional funds on the state and local level to improve roads and bridges. But absent that consensus from the task force, Simmons said, "listening sessions" could be conducted.
 
Registration still open for education symposium
Registration continues for an Oct. 29 event featuring former U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett. The Mississippi Education Symposium will begin at 9 a.m. at the BancorpSouth Conference Center. It is hosted by Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and co-sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Education. The symposium will focus on English and math teaching strategies, implementing the Common Core State Standards and incorporating technology.
 
To the Relief of Academe, Deal Is Reached to End Federal Shutdown
After weeks of bickering and brinkmanship, Congress has passed legislation to reopen the federal government and raise the nation's borrowing limit, ending an impasse that disrupted research and education, and averting a debt crisis that could have devastated colleges and the economy at large. President Obama then signed the bill into law, restoring the flow of federal funds to students and researchers, and allowing the reopening of the National Archives and other government facilities that academic researchers depend on. Most important, the measure prevents a national default that could have caused interest rates on student loans to soar and spending on student aid and research to slow or even stop.
 
Palazzo, Nunnelee held hard line; voted against shutdown resolution
Mississippi Republican Reps. Steven Palazzo and Alan Nunnelee voted against a resolution last night that ended the 16-day partial government shutdown. Republican Rep. Gregg Harper and Democrat Bennie Thompson and U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, both Republicans, voted for the resolution. Cochran, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, says the bipartisan plan should be followed by an agreement that will reduce debt by changing spending.
 
Region's legislators weigh in on deal struck
Northeast Mississippi's congressional delegation weighed in Wednesday on the deal struck to end the government shutdown and avert a default crisis, but there were no radical changes of position compared to earlier statements in opposition to a shutdown and to the Affordable Care Act.
 
Republicans grapple with stinging defeat
ObamaCare remained nearly unchanged as Congress voted to reopen the government and avert default Wednesday night and President Obama signed the legislation early Thursday. The only provision touching the healthcare law that was included – requiring income verification for subsidy recipients – was one that Democrats said was redundant and that House Republicans had already stripped out of their final proposal on Tuesday. Republicans will head into the next round of budget battles having borne the brunt of the blame for the shutdown and near-default, with polls showing the party's approval rating at historic lows.
 
Tea party is loser in budget showdown
The tea party lost. Big. It and its well-funded allies tried every tactic _ daring President Barack Obama to tinker with the Affordable Care Act, tying up the Senate and insisting on dramatically reduced government spending. In the end, it got nothing. Obamacare survives without a scratch. Longer-term budget issues will be hashed out later. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who led a marathon talkathon last month, not only failed to create any momentum for his cause, he wound up alienating party colleagues. At the same time, public support for the tea party dropped. "The tea party is less popular than ever, with even many Republicans now viewing the movement negatively," said a Pew Research Center poll released Wednesday.
 
Former Mississippi Congressman Taylor considers a rematch against Palazzo
Gene Taylor is considering a run for the 4th District congressional seat he held for two decades, but if he runs it probably will be as a Republican. "I wrestle with it," said Taylor, who as a Democrat was defeated in 2010 by Republican U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo. He said the urge gets stronger when he remembers the good things he did. "You realize you made a difference," he said. "I was never a very good Democrat," he said. "So I could be just as bad a Republican."
 
Farm bill conferees huddle
The Farm Bill's top four negotiators met Wednesday and authorized staff to step up discussions on the commodity title in anticipation that the full House-Senate conference could begin the last week of October. The meeting, hosted by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas in his Longworth offices,was the first since the House finally appointed its conferees last Saturday. Present were Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and her ranking Republican, Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, as well as Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House side. "I think we can get a farm bill. They sounded optimistic to me," Cochran told Politico outside.
 
Energetic talk: Barbour pushes energy policy during Southaven speech
Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told an audience at the Southaven Chamber of Commerce Annual Membership and Awards Luncheon at the Landers Center Wednesday that energy is the key to a regrowth of the American economy. Barbour said, "Energy is the most important thing we can use to improve the economy." The former Republican governor said the American economy continues a slide and recovery from the recession has not helped the bottom line. The former governor has stated in recent speeches that energy is the number one issue that can drive the state's economy. Barbour said workforce training was second and the third key issue was logistics. But, Barbour has stressed energy in particular because it has the most potential for the country to get an economic boost in the short term.
 
Rolls-Royce unveils second engine-test site at Stennis Space Center
When James Guyette joined Rolls-Royce in 1997, he never imagined the company would have a presence in Mississippi. Not only does Rolls-Royce now have plants in Pascagoula and Meridian, but Wednesday the company celebrated the opening of its second outdoor jet-engine testing facility at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County. The expansion cost $50 million, bringing Rolls-Royce's investment at Stennis to $90 million. The recognition that (Rolls-Royce) brings to the state is immeasurable," Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Brent Christensen said. The expansion is expected to result in 35 new high-tech positions when the site is fully operational.
 
Documents reveal NSA's extensive involvement in targeted killing program
It was an innocuous e-mail, one of millions sent every day by spouses with updates on the situation at home. But this one was of particular interest to the National Security Agency and contained clues that put the sender's husband in the crosshairs of a CIA drone. Days later, Hassan Ghul -- an associate of Osama bin Laden who provided a critical piece of intelligence that helped the CIA find the al-Qaeda leader -- was killed by a drone strike in Pakistan's tribal belt. The U.S. government has never publicly acknowledged killing Ghul. But documents provided to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden confirm his demise in October 2012 and reveal the agency's extensive involvement in the targeted killing program that has served as a centerpiece of President Obama's counterterrorism strategy. But beyond filling in gaps about Ghul, the documents provide the most detailed account of the intricate collaboration between the CIA and the NSA in the drone campaign.
 
Why U.S. Taxpayers Pay $7 Billion A Year To Help Fast-Food Workers
If you hit the drive-through, chances are that the cashier who rings you up or the cook who prepared your food relies on public assistance to make ends meet. A new analysis finds that 52 percent of fast-food workers are enrolled in, or have their families enrolled in, one or more public assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps) Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). That's right: With a median wage of $8.69 per hour for front-line fast-food jobs -- cooks, cashiers and crew -- workers are taking home a paycheck, but it's not enough to cover the basics, according to the authors of "Fast Food, Poverty Wages." "The taxpayer costs we discovered were staggering," says co-author Ken Jacobs of the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California, Berkeley.
 
Microsoft releasing Windows 8.1, a year in making
Microsoft is releasing its long-awaited Windows 8.1 upgrade as a free download starting Thursday. It addresses some of the gripes people have had with Windows 8, the dramatically different operating system that attempts to bridge the divide between tablets and PCs. Windows 8.1 still features the dual worlds that Windows 8 created when it came out last October. On one hand, it features a touch-enabled tile interface resembling what's found in tablet computers. On the other, there's the old desktop mode where the keyboard and mouse still reign. he release comes as sales of traditional desktop and laptop computers continue to decline because consumers are spending money instead on the latest smartphones and tablets.
 
Entrepreneurial Alliance prepares city of Oxford for future
Local entrepreneurs hosted an event in the Innovation Hub at Insight Park Tuesday night to talk about the future of Oxford with an entrepreneurship and technological perspective. The event was hosted by the Environmental Defense Fund's Entrepreneurial Alliance and Innovate Mississippi as well as many other companies, including FNC Inc. and the Chamber of Commerce. Panel members included Max Hipp, president and CEO of the Environmental Defense Fund; Bill Rayburn, CEO and co-founder of FNC Inc.; Elizabeth Randall, founder of Randall Real Estate Investments LLC; Ed Meek of HottyToddy.com; and Malcolm White, director of the Mississippi Development Authority's Tourism Division. Despite all the good things Oxford brings to the table, White believes the city and state itself is also a paradox when attracting outsiders to come in. "There is a negative image attached to Mississippi that must be corrected," White said.
 
Pinkston chosen for journalism award at Ole Miss
Randall Pinkston, winner of three national Emmys and one Edward R. Murrow Award as a network correspondent, will receive the 2013 Samuel Talbert Silver Em Award from the University of Mississippi. The award will be presented to Pinkston on Thursday during a luncheon at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics on the Ole Miss campus. Pinkston, a native of Yazoo County and Millsaps College graduate, retired in May after 33 years with CBS. In September he joined the new Al Jazeera America team as a national correspondent.
 
USM unveils new graduate business education program
The College of Business at the University of Southern Mississippi has launched a new graduate program for those looking for more business education regardless of their course of study. In fact, the program was born out needs of those in the health care arena. Dr. Faye Gilbert, dean of the Southern Miss College of Business, noted that colleagues in the health sciences -- nursing in particular -- sparked the idea for a graduate certificate program. "They asked us to consider a certificate in business foundations to provide options for medical professionals to acquire the business basics needed to manage the organization," said Gilbert.
 
U. of Southern Mississippi receives bronze Golden Eagle
A bronze Golden Eagle statue was erected at the University of Southern Mississippi Wednesday afternoon. The 22-foot tall statue was created by Idaho artist David Anderson, and was donated by Chuck Sciana, who also gave a donation for the College of Business last year. Erecting the statue took about an hour, and is now in front of Southern Hall on the Hattiesburg campus. The statue rests on an eight-foot pedestal, and features a time capsule at the base. A similar bronze statue was placed on the Gulf Coast campus sized at 11-feet tall.
 
USM's Madson previews Alcohol Awareness Week events
Dr. Michael Madson spoke to USM's Luckyday Scholar students Wednesday, previewing the events that would take place during College Alcohol Awareness Week. The events will begin Monday, and will be aimed toward educating students on safe drinking practices. Madson has been speaking to various students, including freshmen, fraternities and sororities, and residence halls. The talks are not designed to discourage drinking but rather to teach students how to drink responsibly and safely. Some tips mentioned were always using a designated driver, drinking water between alcoholic beverages, and always knowing where your drink is and what is in it.
 
Tougaloo College holds Founders' events
Tougaloo College wraps up its 144th Founders' Week activities on Saturday and Sunday with events including the unveiling of historic markers with the names of icons of the Civil Rights Movement. The weeklong events coincided with the 18-month long commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement. On Saturday, the school will hold the "2nd Annual Unveiling and Dedicatory Ceremony" for the Woodworth Chapel Legacy Initiative. The program will begin in historic Woodworth Chapel and proceed to the Memorial Plaza for the dedicatory ceremony. Tougaloo College, in north Jackson, was a hub of activism in the 1960s. The private, historically black college has been sponsoring events this summer to let high school and college students hear civil rights veterans talk about integrating all-white venues such as libraries, lunch counters and waiting areas of bus stations.
 
Noted sports columnist Christine Brennan to speak at U. of Alabama
Sports columnist Christine Brennan will discuss sports journalism and diversity during a free event on Oct. 25 as part of "Through the Doors," the yearlong commemoration of the 50th anniversary of UA's successful integration. Brennan will present a lecture titled "Sports in the 21st Century: Diversity at the Starting Line" at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in the Ferguson Center Theater on campus, according to a release from UA. Brennan is a columnist for USA Today and contributor to ESPN, ABC, NPR and Fox Sports Radio.
 
Troubling trends seen in student housing; some complexes see dip in occupancy rates
The mayor's Student Housing Task Force got a statistical breakdown of the number of apartments -- both traditional and student-based -- that are currently in Tuscaloosa, are under development or remain in the planning stages. And from the numbers, Tuscaloosa has about all it needs for this and possibly next year. Currently, the University of Alabama's growth of about 1,000 students each year since 2007 has led to an occupancy rate of 97 percent. But according to David Wilson of Rock Advisors, that percentage of occupied spaces could soon change. "Tuscaloosa is the envy of all other (apartment) markets across the state," Wilson said. "This is a healthy market, but changes are coming."
 
LSU president calls for reinvestment in higher education
Like when Congress donated federal land in the 1860s to establish universities, or when World War II veterans flocked to colleges as part of the G.I. Bill, or when the Russian satellite Sputnik first started orbiting Earth, LSU President and Baton Rouge Chancellor King Alexander told the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge on Wednesday that the United States needs some kind of a spark that will trigger a new era of investment in higher education. "We need to take off these blinders as a state and as a nation. We led the world from 1892 to 1995," Alexander said. "There is a public benefit of investing in higher education." If the trend holds -- states slashing funding for colleges and universities -- Alexander predicts that public higher education institutions will disappear in the next half century.
 
U. of South Carolina freshman continues to recover; had a 'very good day'
After three days of trauma and worry, the family of Martha Childress on Wednesday had a good day. That's because the 18-year-old University of South Carolina freshman had a good day. The highlight, her uncle Jim Carpenter said, was a phone call from country music star Hunter Hayes. She also sat in a chair and visited with friends for the first time since she was shot early Sunday morning while waiting for a cab in Five Points. "She was thrilled," he said. "She was on cloud nine." Childress had attended Hayes's concert at the S.C. State Fair just hours before she was struck by a random bullet early Sunday morning in Five Points.
 
U. of South Carolina chairman: No interest in Charleston law school
The University of South Carolina has no interest in buying the private Charleston School of Law, the Columbia college's trustees chairman said Wednesday. The Charleston School of Law's expected new owners, Florida-based InfiLaw System, have welcomed sales pitches from USC and College of Charleston, The (Charleston) Post and Courier reported. College of Charleston said it would meet with InfiLaw officials about the future of the law school. USC has the state's only other law school. USC trustees chairman Gene Warr said his alma mater is taking a pass on the Charleston school, though he has not heard of any contact between the colleges.
 
U. of Tennessee grants Jimmy Haslam top alumni award amid Pilot probe
The University of Tennessee has granted its top alumni award to Jimmy Haslam amid an ongoing federal investigation into his family's company, Pilot Flying J, and its legal settlement with thousands of trucking company customers. Haslam is the CEO of Pilot, the country's largest diesel retailer, and the owner of the NFL's Cleveland Browns. His brother, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, is also the chairman of the university's board of trustees. The state's flagship public university announced with little fanfare recently that Jimmy Haslam was one of four people given its Distinguished Alumnus Award, the school's highest honor for graduates who have "excelled in their field on the national or international stage and have brought credit to UT." Federal agents in April raided Pilot's Knoxville headquarters. An affidavit in the case revealed that the company had systematically cheated customers in a scheme that was well known among the sales staff.
 
At Vanderbilt, 'Orange Is the New Black' actress talks of gender change
LaVerne Cox embraces who she is: a woman, an African-American and transgendered. Cox, a cast member of the critically acclaimed Netflix series "Orange Is the New Black," on Wednesday evening told a Vanderbilt University crowd that each of the elements that make up her identity should be celebrated. "It think it's important for me to name all of these intersections," she said. "Those intersections weren't something I've always been proud of." Cox, known for her role as transgender inmate Sophia Burset in the Netflix prison series, was at Vanderbilt as the featured speaker for the school's LGBTQI office's National Coming Out Week. She told stories from her life as an example of how a transgender woman of color could survive and thrive.
 
Vanderbilt School of Engineering to open cutting-edge research lab in MetroCenter
When Vanderbilt University last year began the hunt for someone to chair its civil and environmental engineering department, a Purdue University professor who founded a massive laboratory studying the reliability of energy and transportation systems surfaced as a top candidate. Now, Doug Adams is in Nashville, and he is bringing his lab and four-person research team with him. A new, 20,000-square-foot Laboratory for Systems Integrity and Reliability is scheduled to open in MetroCenter in January, allowing Vanderbilt graduate students to execute experiments on full-scale aircraft, wind turbines and automotives. The lab will work with the U.S. Department of Defense and large manufacturers, including Boeing and General Motors, to help test new and existing products.
 
Texas A&M official Rodney McClendon announces resignation
Texas A&M's vice president for administration has announced his resignation. Rodney McClendon let his staff know this week that he would step down on Oct. 31. McClendon said in an email to staff that he was resigning because his boss, A&M President R. Bowen Loftin, was similarly stepping down. Loftin announced in July that he would resign to return to a faculty role. McClendon did not return a request for comment. It is unclear who will replace McClendon in the vice president role. A university spokesman did not return a request for comment.
 
Texas A&M cadet killed in crash remembered as 'sociable, confident young man'
Caleb Tate kept his word. When a prior commitment forced him to leave early from a service project at the Salvation Army last Saturday, he came back after his colleagues had left and mowed the church lawn, said Robert Scoggins, a friend and fellow Texas A&M cadet. Tate, a 20-year-old Seguin native with plans to join the U.S. Navy, died Tuesday from injuries sustained during a motorcycle accident on Monday. The Corps of Cadets plans to hold an Echo Taps ceremony in Tate's memory in the Quad Thursday at 10:30 p.m.
 
U. of Missouri homecoming king candidate pushes gender boundaries
Josie Herrera is heavily involved at the University of Missouri: leading an Alternative Spring Break trip, serving on two Tap Day societies and participating in a sorority. When Herrera decided to apply for Homecoming royalty, getting involved became more complicated. As a student who identifies as "gender queer" -- as neither man nor woman but encompassing parts of both -- Herrera was stuck with choosing between running for king or queen. "I got there, and it was two different sheets, men and women," Herrera, a journalism student from Miami, said. "So I signed up anyway under the men's category." From there, Herrera was chosen as a Top 30 candidate out of 124 applicants. That's as far as Herrera thought it would go; Top 30 was the goal. Then the Mizzou Alumni Association called, saying Herrera, who used to go by Laura, made the Top 10.
 
Helping Faculty Members Use Technology Is Top Concern in Computing Survey
As professors step out from behind lecterns to stand beside laptops or in front of cameras -- or both -- the top concern for campus information-technology departments across the country is how they can help faculty members move smoothly into the digital age of learning. That's one finding of the Campus Computing Project's annual survey of senior technology administrators, released on Thursday. The survey found that as technology continues to grow on campuses---through both online classes and the increasing ubiquity of mobile devices---the ability of faculty members to use and integrate technology is a big concern. Another worry is the effectiveness of information-technology spending. This year's survey data are based on answers from chief information officers and other senior IT officials at 451 two- and four-year, public and private colleges across the U.S.
 
Knowledge for earnings' sake: Good teachers have a surprisingly big impact on their pupils' future income
There are few policy questions to which improving the quality of education is not a reasonable answer. Yet assessing teachers is far from straightforward. Pupils' grades or test scores may reflect any of a host of influences, not just the standard of instruction. Neither can one take for granted that good teaching, however it is measured, will translate into better lives for its recipients. In two new working papers , Raj Chetty and John Friedman of Harvard University and Jonah Rockoff of Columbia University deploy some statistical wizardry to tease out the value of teaching. Good teachers, they find, are worth their weight in gold.
 
STU ROTHENBERG: For GOP, the Damage Is Undeniable | Stuart Rothenberg (Opinion)
Stuart Rothenberg writes for Roll Call: "The deal to open the government and raise the debt ceiling may be done, but the damage to the national Republican Party is considerable. One GOP consultant -- who clearly hails from the more conservative end of his party -- didn't hold back recently in slamming the 'no compromise' conservatives who led House Republicans off the political cliff with a government shutdown and by flirting with a debt default. 'We will be weaker when we negotiate with Democrats next time, and we proved that President Obama doesn't need to negotiate with us,' he said on the condition of anonymity. ...All of this leaves two questions. First, are we going to see a replay of the last few weeks in January and February, when the current budget deal expires? And second, will a full-scale Republican civil war -- which could be played out in Senate races from Kentucky to Kansas and Mississippi -- follow?"
 
JIMMIE GATES: Benefits of lottery are no joke | Jimmie Gates (Opinion)
The Clarion-Ledger's Jimmie Gates writes: "I was sitting in a transportation task force meeting recently, when a state legislator uttered the word "lottery" as a means to help pay for maintenance and improvements of our bridges and highway system. The legislator may have thrown out the word as a joke since, year after year, a lottery bill never comes close to passage in the Legislature. Mississippi is one of only seven states without a lottery. ...I think it would be wise for the state to consider a lottery to fund education or public service projects, but do I think we will see a lottery anytime soon in this state? The answer is no."


SPORTS
 
Former Mississippi State QB Lee follows his heart
Last year, Tyson Lee was on the fast track in a front office position with the St. Louis Rams at age 24. The former Itawamba Community College and Mississippi State quarterback had dreams of one day becoming an NFL general manager. But as glamorous as that life-style would be, it was ultimately not what Lee had in his heart and where his priorities lie. "I was going to work my way from the bottom to the top and be a GM one day and be a millionaire," Lee said. "But I knew at the end of the day I wouldn't be fulfilling the call of my life that God had for me." Lee decided to leave the NFL in May and return home, accepting a full-time position with Mississippi State's Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In this capacity, Lee now works alongside campus FCA director Bill Buckley to strengthen and encourage the faith of all MSU student athletes in every sport on a daily basis.
 
Mississippi State needs consistency from kicker Bell
Dan Mullen figured out how to handle two quarterbacks. His next task might be to sort out his kickers. A Tyler Russell concussion opened the door for backup quarterback Dak Prescott. Devon Bell may see his opportunities drop because of performance. The sophomore is 5 of 10 on the season, three of the five makes coming within 30 yards. From 30 or more yards, Bell is 2 of 7. Not good. "He's a pretty mentally tough kid. He's done a really good job this week at practice of not worrying," Mullen said. "...And just working technique. We changed one thing on his plant foot."
 
Mississippi State looks for defensive line help on the recruiting front
The focus for Mississippi State's remaining spots to the 2014 football recruiting class will be the defensive line. Even with the verbal commitments of Greenville-Weston's Gerri Green, Pelham, Ala., native Braxton Hoyett and Oxford defensive end Darius Liggins, the Bulldogs aren't satisfied with the haul to help the front four. "I think when you look at the landscape of what this Mississippi State is trying to do, it's going to be all about defensive line," 247Sports.com Mississippi State editor Paul Jones said. "You look at some of the kids that are going to wait until February and they're all on the defensive line. It's so hard to protect how this will play out in recruiting but this really has shaped up like you'd have to expect with a sprinkling of four-star guys and a lot of three star guys."
 
New drug charge added to ex-South Mississippi athlete Marcus Bullard's case
Former Long Beach High and Mississippi State University basketball player Marcus Bullard has been arrested on a charge of possession with intent to distribute spice, also known as synthetic marijuana. Bullard, 38, was booked at the Harrison County jail Tuesday night. Details of his arrest were not immediately available Wednesday from the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the arresting agency. Bullard was a standout player at Long Beach High before he helped lead MSU to the Final Four in 1996, but his brushes with the law fouled his chances for the 1998 NBA draft.
 
First Task for Panel in New Playoff System: Easing Suspicions of Bias
On paper, the credentials of the 13-member college football selection committee announced Wednesday appear above reproach. Yet even as the mechanics of their mission -- to seek a true Football Bowl Subdivision champion -- were rolled out, officials acknowledged it would be hard for the members to be perceived as neutral enough to satisfy fans' scrutiny. And with tens of millions of dollars at stake in what will now be a true postseason, the committee will surely be scoured for bias. So let the controversies for the 2014-15 season begin. "We will make this as transparent as possible," the committee's chairman, Jeff Long, said. The appointment of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the committee came under fire even before it was officially announced. Rice was provost at Stanford from 1993 to 1999 and oversaw its athletics, including the football program's budget, recruiting, coaching personnel and bowl appearances. "I've been in enough positions to respect people with different views," Rice said Wednesday.



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