Wednesday, January 29, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Cold today? Hot tomorrow? Blame it on the jet stream
Call it a polar vortex. Call it a meridional flow. Or, just call it Mississippi. They all come to mind when you're talking about this winter's up-and-down-and-up temperatures, a phenomenon National Weather Service forecasters say isn't that unusual. It explains why Saturday, the temperatures are supposed to be in the low 70s after close to a week at freezing and below. Blame it on the jet stream, say NWS meteorologist Daniel Lamb and Mike Brown, Mississippi's state climatologist and a professor of meteorology at Mississippi State University. "We're seeing large troughs and ridges of cold air making it very far into the Deep South, and that's somewhat unusual," Brown said.
 
Rhodes Scholar Honored at Mississippi State
Mississippi State honored their Rhodes Scholar Tuesday evening. The reception for Donald "Field" Brown was held in Griffis Hall on MSU's campus. President Mark Keenum was on hand to recognize Brown for his dedication to his studies. The academic achiever says his family and friends helped him along the way.
 
Dan Camp, Mississippi State baseball honored with GSDP awards
The Greater Starkville Development Partnership honored Dan Camp, the former Starkville mayor who single-handedly transformed Starkville's most well-known neighborhoods into a widely praised New Urbanism development area, and other local business leaders for their service to community development on Monday. Other winners included the Mississippi State University baseball team, which was honored with the Crystal Pineapple Tourism Award. MSU baseball coach John Cohen and his 2013 squad received the Starkville Conventions and Visitors' Bureau's tourism award for last season's impact on local businesses.
 
Pulitzer Prize winner to read at Mississippi State
Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler will serve as the first Mississippi State University Institute for the Humanities Writer in Residence, reading selections from his fiction on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in McCool Hall's Taylor Auditorium on the MSU campus. The event is free and open to the public. This program is financially assisted by the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Mississippi Humanities Council. Butler's residency is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and its Institute for the Humanities, the Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College, the Mississippi Humanities Council, and the Office of the Provost.
 
Looking for food? MarketMaker expands
For those looking for food, there is good news out of Mississippi State University. Mississippi food businesses will soon have access to customers all over the world through the expansion of MarketMaker, a database of searchable food industry-related information. Through a new license with MarketMaker, not-for-profit company Riverside Research has exclusive rights to the database. Ken Hood, an Extension professor in agricultural economics at Mississippi State University, said the new agreement will benefit everyone involved. "The new globalization licensing agreement gives us a stronger link between the different groups, because of the resources available at Riverside," Hood said.
 
Meridian mayor to present McGrevey as CAO pick
The search for a new chief administrative officer for the city of Meridian appears to be over. Michael J. McGrevey is Mayor Percy Bland's selection for CAO. Bland will present McGrevey to the Meridian City Council next week. Bland said he believes McGrevey will be a good fit for CAO. "He knows this area. He has experience in economic development, in training, leadership and in fiscal management of large budgets," Bland said. He is a former vice president for finance and administration at Mississippi State University.
 
Nomination period open for Starkville Restaurant Week charities
Greater Starkville Development Partnership officials hope to build upon the inaugural Starkville Restaurant Week's success this year with minor tweaks aimed to streamline the event. This year's Restaurant Week is scheduled for March 17-23. Nominations for the event's charity aspect are open until Feb. 17 and can be made online. Last year, patrons filled the city's 32 participating restaurants during the week after spring break for a chance to experience Starkville's culinary offerings. The event specifically targeted Mississippi residents who live in a 60-mile radius -- about an hour's drive -- of Starkville, attempting to bring them into the city and plant the seed for future trips.
 
Higgins: Details on LINK future forthcoming
In September 2012, elected officials in Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties and senior staff with what was then known as the Columbus-Lowndes Development LINK announced a two-phase plan to establish the Golden Triangle Regional Development Authority. The agreement was designed to utilize a teaming of the three counties as a means of making the Golden Triangle the most attractive region in Mississippi for economic development. LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins confirmed that he met Monday with the regional steering committee formed to oversee the transition. "I think we're ready to go to the next level," Higgins said.
 
German auto supplier to bring 600-plus jobs to Lee County
A German automotive supplier will employ hundreds in a new facility in Lee County. Wednesday afternoon, local and state economic development leaders will gather at the Tupelo Lee Industrial Park South in Shannon to make the announcement. State and local leaders declined to give details about the project, and said more information will be released at the 1:30 p.m. ceremony. The Daily Journal has learned the company is Grammer AG of Amberg, Germany, and the project will bring more than 600 jobs.
 
Committee OKs teacher pay bill; mandated late start worries some educators
The Senate Education Committee has approved a House bill to ensure teachers get a full pay check for August. Some worry a new law that takes effect this year mandating that public school districts can start no earlier than the third Monday in August will affect teacher pay. Teachers have expressed concern that they may not work the required 15 days in August to get a full paycheck. Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison said House Bill 71, which was passed Wednesday by his committee, would remedy the situation by saying licensed school district employees shall be paid in equal monthly installments beginning in the first month of employment, regardless of the number of days worked in any particular month by the employee.
 
Merger bill eyes four school districts in region
Four Northeast Mississippi school districts would be consolidated under legislation proposed by Rep. Brad Mayo, R-Oxford. Amory and Aberdeen would be merged, while the Okolona and Chickasaw County districts would be consolidated in Mayo's proposal, which consolidates 21 districts into 11. He conceded Tuesday the legislation is not likely to pass this year. He introduced the same legislation during the previous two sessions. He joked that he is approaching consolidation "whole hog" while other legislators are doing it "nickel and dime, and right now nickel and dime is winning." In the past two sessions, West Point and Clay County have been consolidated and Oktibbeha and Starkville have been put on a path toward consolidation. Plus, districts in Bolivar and Sunflower counties have merged.
 
Bloated school payrolls, other woes fuel talk in Legislature of district mergers
Reports of decrepit buildings, illiterate high school students and bloated employee rolls could fuel another round of school district consolidation by the Mississippi Legislature. Bob Strebeck, who runs the Leflore County system since the state took control last year, told Senate Education Committee members Tuesday that conditions in the 2,800-student system are the worst he's seen in six districts where he's been conservator. Strebeck said former administrators hired twice as many teachers as needed and gave employees raises just before the state took over. "There was absolutely no academic accountability, there was no financial planning and the school district needs to be restructured," he told the committee. Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison, R-Oxford, said that mismanagement and academic failure are unacceptable. One solution to such struggles appears to be more school district consolidations.
 
Farm bill on track for House passage
The House is set to approve a new five-year farm bill in a bipartisan vote on Wednesday despite some opposition from liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans. House GOP leaders are rushing to the floor with the measure, which would cost $956 billion over 10 years, less than 72 hours after its release. That follows a strategy Republican leaders used to win votes on a two-year budget deal in December and a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending measure earlier this month. Lobbyists from a broad swath of agriculture groups have thrown their muscle behind the bill, including the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers Union. Both Northern commodity groups like the National Corn Growers Association and Southern groups like the USA Rice Federation also back the bill.
 
Plenty of winners and losers in new farm bill
Soybean and catfish farmers, dairy food manufacturers, U.S. cattlemen and the organic food industry all counted themselves among the big winners this week, following the release of the farm bill conference report. Much less pleased are meat processors, champions of the food stamp program and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). The farm bill's four principal negotiators -- Reps. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) and Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) -- completed what some were starting to think might be an impossible task, potentially ending nearly two years of partisan bickering, when they submitted a unified, five-year farm bill for review by the full House and Senate Monday night.
 
Palazzo's gay-marriage post sparks Facebook debate in Mississippi
There wasn't much of a Mississippi connection at this year's Grammys. There were a couple of artists from France with robot personas and a young woman from Texas who sang like she was from Mississippi. And U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, District 4. Palazzo didn't care for the wedding ceremony at the end of the broadcast at about 11 p.m. and he took to his campaign's Facebook page to voice his displeasure. By 1 p.m. Tuesday, it had 1,700 likes and 685 shares. And it had 1,362 comments, many of them contrary to Palazzo's position.
 
Mississippi delegation reacts to State of the Union
To President Obama's call Tuesday night for House Republicans to stop trying to repeal his signature Affordable Care Act, drawing an ovation from Democrats, Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker had a tart reply. "I think that's going to be troubling for Democrats when election time comes around," he said, pointing to polls showing that ObamaCare's popularity has plummeted. Wicker and fellow members of Mississippi's Republican delegation to Washington responded to Obama's State of the Union address by assailing what they portrayed as his big government solutions to the weak economy and the nation's widening economic inequality. But Mississippi Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson said that Obama's proposals, including a big bump in the minimum wage, new job training initiatives and higher earned income taxes "reflect a core vision of House Democrats: that a strong, thriving middle class is essential to a strong prosperous America."
 
Genetic Weapon Against Insects Raises Hope and Fear in Farming
Scientists and biotechnology companies are developing what could become the next powerful weapon in the war on pests -- one that harnesses a Nobel Prize-winning discovery to kill insects and pathogens by disabling their genes. By zeroing in on a genetic sequence unique to one species, the technique has the potential to kill a pest without harming beneficial insects. That would be a big advance over chemical pesticides. "If you use a neuro-poison, it kills everything," said Subba Reddy Palli, an entomologist at the University of Kentucky who is researching the technology, which is called RNA interference. "But this one is very target-specific." But some specialists fear that releasing gene-silencing agents into fields could harm beneficial insects, especially among organisms that have a common genetic makeup, and possibly even human health.
 
Drones Could Be Coming to American Skies Sooner Than You Think
On message boards and Facebook groups, he's known as Trappy. Fellow drone hobbyists call him an "aerial anarchist" and marvel at the videos he's taken with his five-pound foam aircraft of the Statue of Liberty, the French Alps and the Costa Concordia, the Italian cruise ship that ran aground in the Mediterranean in 2012. But ask officials at the Federal Aviation Administration, and they'll tell you Trappy is a 29-year-old Swiss thorn in their side named Raphael Pirker, someone who flies recklessly, flaunts the agency's rules and might even threaten its slow, careful plans for the safe integration of commercial drones into American skies. In 2011, the FAA slapped Pirker with a $10,000 fine after he flew his Styrofoam drone around the University of Virginia while filming an ad for the university's medical school. With that, the most famous pilot in the underground drone world became a test case for the FAA's authority to prohibit people from making money off their hobby. Pirker has asked a judge with the National Transportation Safety Board to throw out the fine, and a decision is expected any day now. In the meantime, the case exposes what would seem to be a rather large loophole in the law.
 
UMC purchase of Landmark hits snag
A member of the Landmark Center's ownership consortium has balked at the terms of the building's pending sale to University of Mississippi Medical Center, the hospital's chief executive told lawmakers Tuesday. Dr. James Keeton said during a budget hearing before a House Appropriations subcommittee that the hospital's lawyers are still negotiating purchase terms. The ownership consortium, whose members are in the Northeast, and UMC agreed to a $6.25 million sale price last year. "One of the sellers has some concerns over the liability rules the state has in place," Keeton said. One possibility to get around that, Keeton said, is to employ a strawman strategy in which another buyer purchases Landmark and the hospital buys it from that third party.
 
Bill Would Finance New UMMC Med School Building
Lawmakers are advancing a $31 million bond bill to finance a new medical school building at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. House Bill 787 passed the Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday. It moves to the full House for more debate. After that, it would go to the Senate. UMMC officials say the current medical school building is decades old and is inadequate for today's needs. Gov. Phil Bryant is among the officials supporting construction of an up-to-date building on the Jackson campus.
 
TVA honors L-O-U community for sustainability
The Tennessee Valley Authority recognized Oxford, Lafayette County and the University of Mississippi as a Valley Sustainable Gold Community at a ceremony Tuesday at Ole Miss' Innovation Hub. The L-O-U community is the only one outside of Tennessee to earn a designation in the program, which aims to help communities improve and catalog sustainability efforts to make them more attractive to industrial and business prospects. Several initiatives were cited in LOU's successful bid, from transit and local food production to the solar panels on the university's Center for Manufacturing Excellence.
 
Ole Miss grad, doctor's son, sentenced for causing miscarriage
An Ole Miss graduate who tricked his girlfriend into taking an abortion pill so she would miscarry their baby was sentenced to 13.8 years in prison on Monday. John Andrew Welden, of Tampa, Fla., was handed nearly the maximum sentence he could receive as part of a plea deal in which he admitted to forging his father's name to a prescription. His father is a Florida fertility doctor. Welden's father, who was not involved in the crime, was in the courtroom in the weeks preceding sentencing.
 
School's out for... winter? College students enjoy time off
For Mississippi students, snow days are quasi-mythical events that take place in movies and for friends and relatives living north of the Mason-Dixon Line. However, with a wintry mix moving through the Pine Belt on Tuesday, students of all ages got the chance to stay at home and enjoy a day away from their classrooms. Shauna Pichette, a University of Southern Mississippi master's student in counseling psychology, is no stranger to snow. A native of Wisconsin, Pichette said she was surprised it took moving to Mississippi to finally get a snow day. It's really exciting because I haven't had a snow day in five years, and it didn't even take that much snow to get a snow day," she said.
 
Profile: MVSU President Dr. William Bynum
Dr. William Bynum, the new president of Mississippi Valley State University, has a big challenge in front of him. He has set lofty goals for keeping the college viable by addressing the problem with declining enrollment. Bynum plans to nearly double enrollment from its current level of 2,203 to 4,000 students by infusing the vision of "One Goal (student success), One Team (university and community stakeholders working together), and One Valley (school pride and spirituality second to none)." Bynum plans to increase enrollment by being one of the most student-centered institutions in the country.
 
JSU Opens New Apple Store, Starbucks
Tiger Tech @ JSU, an Apple Authorized Campus Store located on the first floor of the Jackson State University Student Center, will host its grand opening Jan. 31 at 10 a.m. Tiger Tech offers discounts to students, faculty and staff on Apple computers and products, such as iPads, iMacs, iPods and MacBook Pros, as well as many Apple accessories. JSU unveiled its new on-campus Starbucks during a grand-opening ceremony Jan. 24 on the ground floor of the H.T. Sampson Library on the university's main campus. SodexoMAGIC, the university's food-services provider, brought Starbucks to the university to ensure the availability of high quality coffee and pastries for the Jackson State community.
 
Delta State student wins national Grammy contest
Delta State University's Delta Music Institute student Jessica Faith rocked the competition recently after being named one of three winners in the 2014 Grammy Amplifier Center Stage contest thanks to her song "If I Told You." Faith, a freshman from Monticello, Ark., impressively took home the victory after going up against nearly 2,700 contestants. The platform allows musicians to share tracks via SoundCloud for a chance to have their music shared online by a panel of musical icons. Amplifier Center Stage selected the three winners based on the number of online social media shares and likes -- or "amplification."
 
East Mississippi Community College license plates available
East Mississippi Community College license plates may soon be available. The state of Mississippi will print the new license plates once 300 are pre-ordered, according to a press release issued by the school. The plates will feature EMCC's name, logo in the trademark red and white colors, as well as school's two national football championship. The tag will cost $51, with $32.50 going to EMCC.
 
Alumnus offering U. of Alabama students $50,000 for startup competition
A University of Alabama alumnus is sponsoring a $50,000 competition open to UA students who want to start their own business. The Edward K. Aldag Jr. $50,000 Business Plan Competition, hosted by UA's Culverhouse College of Commerce, will present three students with the winning business plans startup funding and in–kind services. "If you need a job, create one," said a statement from J. Michael Hardin, Culverhouse's dean. "And this project is designed to do just that. It's a great way for students to transform their ideas from concept to reality. Small business is key to economic growth, and the more we help fuel small businesses, the more we impact Alabama's economy."
 
U. of Florida researcher anticipates rising consumer confidence
This year should give consumers more reason for optimism than they have seen since 2007 with housing and stock markets recovering, the European economy stabilizing and Congressional budget battles on hold, according to a University of Florida researcher. Increased confidence is already starting to show in Florida, particularly among seniors, with a budget deal to fund the government through 2015 and little tolerance for a showdown in Congress over raising the debt ceiling, according to Chris McCarty, director of UF's Survey Research Center in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
 
Rein in security agencies, UGA expert says
The kind of massive government spying program on U.S. citizens the National Security Agency is conducting is just what the founding fathers feared when they drew up the U.S. Constitution, University of Georgia political science professor Loch Johnson said. "This is precisely what our founders counseled against," said Johnson in the university's annual Founders Day lecture in the UGA Chapel. The day commemorates the signing of UGA's charter by Abraham Baldwin in Savannah on Jan. 27, 1785.
 
Authorities arrest three in armed robbery at UGA dorm
Authorities this weekend captured three of four suspects who were wanted in connection with a burglary and armed robbery at a University of Georgia dormitory. The suspects were identified as friends of a UGA student who were visiting the campus after having gone downtown Saturday night, UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said. The incident happened early Sunday morning at Busbee Hall in East Campus Village, after the suspects left downtown and without the student they were visiting being present or with knowledge of what they were going to do, Williamson said.
 
UK HealthCare to move some medical services to former Dillard's at Turfland Mall
UK HealthCare will lease and renovate the former Dillard's store at Turfland Mall to consolidate a large number of health services that now are scattered across the city, officials said Tuesday. The space will cost as much as $20 million to renovate. UK HealthCare will spent roughly $2 million a year on maintenance, operations and a 15 year lease on the property, said Darrell Griffith, executive director of the Kentucky Medical Services Foundation, the billing arm of UK HealthCare. University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto called the new clinic "a kick-start" in the redevelopment of the Turfland Mall property, which opened in 1967 and was Lexington's first enclosed shopping mall.
 
Mold mars 600,000 U. of Missouri volumes stored at off-campus facility
University of Missouri Libraries officials face tough choices as they consider what to do with 600,000 mold-covered books at an off-campus storage facility. The volumes are stored at Subtera, an underground storage facility off Stadium Boulevard in north Columbia. Jim Cogswell, director of MU Libraries, said library staff discovered the mold problem in October. An on-campus environmental health and safety officer has been studying the issue since then and last week issued a report that identified the mold as aspergillus and/or penicillium -- common types of mold that don't pose a health threat, MU spokesman Christian Basi said.
 
U. of Missouri opens sites for free tax assistance
Starting Tuesday, the University of Missouri and MU Extension are opening its Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites around the state for residents to get help with their tax returns. The two MU campus sites, which offer free tax preparation help to households that earn less than $58,000, served nearly 1,500 families last year. Andrew Zumwalt, an assistant extension professor for financial planning and a member of MU Extension faculty, said in a news release that students who help clients prepare their taxes have gone through IRS training and certification.
 
Title IX experts disagree about Missouri's obligation in Menu Courey case
It's a question of interpretation and who really knew what and when they knew it. That's the not entirely satisfying answer to the question of whether a University of Missouri employee ought to have alerted the university to the allegation that a student athlete, Sasha Menu Courey, was saying she'd been sexually assaulted. A news release from the MU News Bureau on Tuesday answered some questions about Menu Courey's allegation of sexual assault by at least one MU football player. What remains unanswered is the broader question of if and when the university is legally obligated to investigate under Title IX.
 
Obama Puts Focus on Job Growth and Training Programs
In a State of the Union address that centered on job growth and economic opportunity, President Obama called on Congress to increase spending on scientific research, create more manufacturing "hubs" on college campuses, and expand job-training programs at community colleges. Mr. Obama also touted his administration's efforts to provide students with more information about college costs and outcomes, and to graduate more low-income students, mentioning the White House's recent "College Opportunity Summit" with college leaders. He cited the administration's efforts to remake career-training high schools, and to limit loan payments for borrowers in income-based repayment. But the president steered clear of the criticisms of college costs prominent in his State of the Union addresses last year and the year before. And he offered no new proposals for making college more accessible and affordable.
 
Obama Sells Race to Top, Early-Childhood Education in State of the Union
President Barack Obama placed education at the center of a broad strategy to bolster economic mobility and combat poverty---calling on Congress in his State of the Union speech to approve previously unveiled initiatives to expand preschool to more 4-year-olds, beef up job-training programs, and make post-secondary education more effective and accessible. "Last year, I asked this Congress to help states make high-quality pre-K available to every 4-year-old," said Obama, whose education agenda in his second term has shifted away from K-12 toward prekindergarten and college affordability. "As a parent as well as a president, I repeat that request tonight. But in the meantime, 30 states have raised pre-K funding on their own. They know we can't wait." Obama used his speech to mount an indirect defense of the common-core standards and a more spirited, direct defense of the program that spurred states to adopt them: Race to the Top.
 
Obama calls for expanded apprenticeships, review of federal training programs
In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Obama called for expanded access to apprenticeships and improved job training programs at community colleges that are better-aligned with the skills that employers demand. In line with the overarching economic themes of his speech, Obama also spoke about the power of higher education to improve lives. In a speech that was generally devoid of dramatic new initiatives, he touched briefly on various aspects of his higher education agenda, but did not push for any significant new legislative or executive action on those issues. He did, however, call on Congress to boost money allocated to scientific research.
 
OUR OPINION: General Atomics expands with more technology jobs
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "General Atomics, a prized industrial investor in south Lee County, announced Monday morning with the fanfare of a gubernatorial visit that it will add 80 jobs and a $12 million investment at its campus in the Tupelo-Lee Industrial Park South. The company, with an international high technology profile and headquartered in San Diego, will add capacitors to its production lines, in the process increasing employment to about 150 people with jobs that pay an average of about $47,900. ...There was a time arguably when Northeast Mississippi had a difficult time attracting high technology industries like GA, but intense workforce development and emphasis on education attainment in high school, community colleges and universities has changed the dynamic of what our region can offer and the investors who show interest."
 
OUR OPINION: Farm Bill poised to move with strength in center
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "U.S. House and Senate conference committee negotiators, after months of meetings and more than two years of general debate, have approved a new Farm Bill -- a $1 trillion piece of legislation affecting every state and every aspect of agriculture, including human nutrition. ...Support is not unanimous, with opposition coming from some conservatives and some liberals for different reasons, but with seemingly solid support from the political center in both parties and a host of special-interest farm lobby organizations. ...The sphere of influence supporting final passage includes Speaker John Boehner, Ohio; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada; Agriculture Chair Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Michigan; and Ranking Sen. Thad Cochran, Mississippi, plus other counterparts on the House side. ...Of importance in Mississippi, Cochran managed a provision that would have reversed the move of catfish inspections out of FDA and into the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service."
 
PHIL BRYANT (OPINION): It's Time to End the Mississippi Bashing
Gov. Phil Bryant writes for POLITICO Magazine: "Politico Magazine's recent article 'The States of Our Union... Are Not All Strong' has Mississippi ranked as 51 -- the 'worst' among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. As governor of Mississippi, I disagree. The author herself admits that the method behind assigning these rankings was neither scientific nor comprehensive, so I'll provide the rest of the story, if you will, and reveal the truth about this great state. There is no other state in the nation quite like Mississippi. We are, after all, a crossroads: There is no other place with such a rich, diverse tradition of art, music, literature and culture, and no other place that so routinely defies expectations. ...From the Delta Blues to the beaches of the Gulf Coast, from our growing automotive manufacturing corridor to our world-class research universities and thriving business climate, Mississippi has something for everyone. I invite you to visit and see for yourself."
 
SID SALTER (OPINION): Chemical shortages have some states rethinking execution
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Are we headed back to firing squads in Wyoming or Missouri? Will Virginia bring back the electric chair? The gallows still operate in three states -- Delaware, New Hampshire and Washington. Will more follow? A dwindling supply of the chemicals necessary to formulate the 'cocktail' combination of drugs used in the lethal injection process to execute condemned inmates -- coupled with legal challenges to both the chemicals used and the various combinations of them as used in executions -- has led a number of U.S. states that use the death penalty to reconsider bringing back gas chambers, electrocutions or firing squads. ...I covered two executions in the gas chamber in the 1980s. I covered two executions by lethal injection after executions resumed under that process in 2002. From those experiences, I learned that it is one thing to discuss the death penalty in the abstract. It is quite another thing to witness the actual implementation of it."


SPORTS
 
Bulldogs' Davis trying to work his way back up depth chart
Jacoby Davis was recruited to run the show as Mississippi State's point guard during Rick Ray's rookie season last year. However, things did not go as planned. Davis tore the ACL in his left knee during a July workout prior to the 2012-13 season causing him to miss the entire year. Davis' injury left Trivante Bloodman as the Bulldogs' only point guard last season. With Davis healthy and the addition of freshman I.J. Ready, MSU now has three capable point guards on its roster.
 
De'Runnya Wilson makes transition from football to hoops
De'Runnya Wilson went home to realize his dream. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound freshman met his high school teammates near halfcourt inside Coleman Coliseum. Less than an hour earlier, Mississippi State suffered a 19-point loss to Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala.. It's not a game the Bulldogs want to remember. But it's one Wilson will never forget. "Just having a uniform on, just being able to be on the bench ...it was an experience," Wilson said. "The atmosphere, I really learned from it. Just be able to be out there. It was a great feeling."
 
May brings leadership to point guard position for Mississippi State women
Maturity, growth, learning. Trust Katia May when she tells you it takes more than three ingredients to become a point guard Vic Schaefer trusts. But the Mississippi State senior can point to those three things and tell you how each one has played a role in her transformation into the floor general Schaefer wants to lead his team. Schaefer only needs to highlight one number -- 15 -- to illustrate how much May has improved since last season. "The most important statistic for a point guard is not assist or turnover it is the 'W'," Schaefer said. "We try to impart on them we have no chance to win if you are turning it over."
 
More high rankings for Mississippi State baseball
Mississippi State received two more Top 10 preseason baseball rankings on Monday. The Diamond Dogs were selected sixth to begin the season by Perfect Game, while Baseball America slotted MSU eighth. It was the Bulldogs' third Top-10 preseason ranking, having been picked No. 2 overall by Collegiate Baseball last month. State went 5-0 against the top three teams in Baseball America's poll last season, sweeping No. 1 Virginia in the Charlottesville Super Regional, eliminating No. 2 Oregon State from the College World Series with two wins and also defeating No. 3 Indiana in Omaha, Neb.
 
Mississippi State baseball ranked in top 10 of two more polls
Coming off its ninth NCAA College World Series trip, the Mississippi State baseball program was ranked in the top 10 in Baseball America and Perfect Game's preseason polls, each organization announced Monday. Perfect Game has coach John Cohen's club No. 6, while Baseball America ranks MSU No. 8. MSU will open the season at 4 p.m. on Feb. 14 against Hofstra. Co-captains Wes Rea and Ben Bracewell and preseason All-Americans Jonathan Holder and Ross Mitchell will try to help MSU get back to the College World Series.
 
Mississippi State's Cohen to speak at Boys and Girls Club event
The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Golden Triangle believe it has hit one out of the park with this year's speaker for its Sports Talk Charity Fundraiser. This year's event will be held on Thursday at the East Mississippi Community College Golden Triangle Campus Lyceum Auditorium and the guest speaker will be Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen. "Anytime we can bring a proven winner to come in and speak, it's a great thing," Dale said. "After their trip to the College World Series, we're excited to have him so we can hear a little bit about that journey. Hopefully that will inspire some of our members and parents and sponsors that will be there." The doors open for a silent auction at 6:30 p.m., then the dinner begins at 7 p.m. "Ticket sales have been going good, but we have a few more if people are interested, but we're expecting a great turnout," Dale said. (Subscriber-only content.)
 
Bulldogs still looking at options to complete football staff
Two distinctly different directions could be taken by the Mississippi State football program with its open assistant coaching position. It's been nine days since a school release stated "contract adjustments for the remainder of the MSU coaching staff are expected to be announced in the near future" and therefore, allowing for the assumption that staff promotions could be in effect. With National Signing Day less than two weeks away, it's unknown whether MSU will make staff changes announcements until after the 2014 recruiting class is complete.
 
U. of Tennessee requesting more 'Battle at Bristol' tickets after allotment of 40,000 is claimed
The 40,000 tickets allotted to Tennessee for the 2016 football game against Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway have been claimed, the University of Tennessee announced on Tuesday. The Vols agreed last year to play Virginia Tech on Sept. 10, 2016, in a game that could be one of the highest attended sporting events in American history. Both schools were allotted 40,000 tickets for the game. UT said the school had taken deposits for 35,000 of the tickets; the remaining 5,000 would be reserved for students. UT said it planned to ask the speedway for more tickets to the event.
 
Long road ahead in Northwestern athletes' move to unionize
The Internet -- or at least, the piece of the Internet where people pay moderate attention to college sports -- blew up Tuesday afternoon with the news that some number of Northwestern University football players are seeking to unionize. The apparently unprecedented step is a potential watershed moment for athletes in commercial sports programs like those at Northwestern, who were lauded by outspoken critics and sports columnists who have driven much of the public interest in whether athletes deserve more than they're getting for all the revenue they bring institutions in the era of highly commercialized sports. If they succeed, the athletes could gain a crucial say in hot-button issues like safety rules, revenue sharing and scholarship limitations. But if one thing is clear now, it's that that's a big "if."



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