Tuesday, February 4, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Mississippi Launches Website and Mobile App to Connect Employers and Job Seekers
Gov. Phil Bryant on Monday unveiled a first-of-its-kind interactive resource that pairs employers and job seekers through both a website and a mobile application. Bryant first announced the new effort in his 2014 State of the State Address. The site and app function as a one-stop shop, allowing job seekers to search for openings based on job type, location or academic degree required and allowing employers to post openings at no cost and make connections with qualified candidates. The Mississippi Works system was developed through a partnership with the Governor's Office, MDES and nSPARC, a nationally recognized research center at Mississippi State University.
 
Governor announces Mississippi Works job system
The state of Mississippi has launched a first-of-its-kind interactive resource to pair employers and job through the Internet and mobile applications. The Mississippi Works system features specific portals for both returning veterans and college students Graduates can search for openings based on their academic degree. The Mississippi Works system was developed through a partnership with the Governor's Office, MDES and nSPARC, a nationally recognized research center at Mississippi State University.
 
State Website Acts As Tool For Job Seekers
At an event in Jackson yesterday, a new website was unveiled that will connect job-seeking Mississippians directly with employers around the state. The site -- mississippiworks.org -- provides those looking for a job in Mississippi with real time data about job openings and career development training. Mimmo Parisi is the site's architect he says the site is completely new and innovative compared to other job placement websites. "A normal commercial website is done just to provide a service." said Parisi. "'Okay, here's a job. Here is how you can apply for a job.' It doesn't really provide any intelligence behind the system to say 'here's a job that really fits you, in this particular labor market, based on the needs in your state."
 
Magnolia State ranks last in Internet accessibility, census shows
Mississippi is at the bottom of the list when it comes to Internet accessibility in the home, the U.S. Census Bureau's latest Current Population Survey shows. Only 64.8 percent of Mississippians live in a household with Internet. But the numbers came as no surprise to Andy Collins, who works with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and participated in a study of Mississippi Internet usage in 2011. Collins said there are four factors that play into a person not having Internet in their home -- living in a rural area, having less than a high school education, making less than $30,000 per year and being a single parent with children under the age of 18. Roberto Gallardo, who also works with the Extension Service, said Internet access is quickly becoming a vital tool for success. "The benefits of it are just tremendous," he said.
 
Mississippi State in running to open new chapter of prominent honor society
Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest honor society for the liberal arts and science with 280 chapters across the United States, is considering Mississippi State University's application for opening its chapter. Only about 10 percent of the nation's institutions of higher learning have Phi Beta Kappa chapters. A five-member Phi Beta Kappa delegation visited MSU's Starkville campus Wednesday and met with different groups while on campus. They began their first full day with a meeting with President Mark Keenum followed by a meeting with Provost Jerry Gilbert. R. Gregory Dunaway, dean of MSU College of Arts and Sciences, said in an email the site visit went well and the delegation was impressed with MSU's commitment to the ideals and values of Phi Beta Kappa. Dunaway said the College of Arts & Sciences and other administrative offices are supporting the chance of opening a MSU chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.
 
MSU Holds Suicide Prevention Seminar
The stress and pressures of college life can be overwhelming for some students. It can lead to feelings of isolation, depression and even to thoughts of taking their own life. "Balancing studies, balancing schools, balancing intramurals. It's just hard to keep it all together," says Karen Lambdin, a graduate student in Mississippi State University's Psychology Department. Students filled McCool Hall at MSU on Monday to learn more about suicide prevention. Dr. Thomas Joiner of Florida State University presented his theory about the causes of suicide and what can be done to prevent it.
 
Dan Rather to Speak at Mississippi State
One of the major names in U.S. television news history will speak Feb. 18 at Mississippi State. Dan Rather, CBS Evening News anchor from 1981-2005, will be the special guest of the university's Student Association for a 7 p.m. program in the Colvard Student Union's Foster Ballroom. His presentation is another in the SA's ongoing Global Lecture Series. "Leadership Principles from the World's Most Powerful Leaders" will be the title of his remarks. After speaking for 45 minutes, the Texas native will take questions from the audience.
 
Soybean board offering irrigation-efficiency meetings
Several upcoming meetings hosted by the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board (MSPB) will address increasing irrigation efficiency for the state's farmers. The three meetings will feature Mississippi State University Extension Service irrigation specialist Jason Krutz, Ph.D., and other agricultural specialists, who will discuss how greater irrigation efficiency can positively impact farmers' profit potential. The meetings are open to all Mississippi farmers.
 
Furniture Market expects good showing this week
With preregistration numbers up nearly 30 percent and available space 99 percent filled, the Spring Tupelo Furniture Market is positioned to have another good show this week. That is, if Mother Nature cooperates. "The weather is good, at least around here," said Kevin Seddon, market president. "It's the rest of the country that we're keeping an eye on." New to the market this year is an event set aside for community college and university students to explore opportunities in the furniture industry. Seddon said a Saturday luncheon has been set for students who will get a chance to meet with industry and market officials and get a tour of the market.
 
Mississippi conservative stats waver slightly
Mississippi remains predominantly a conservative state, though a smaller percentage of its residents categorize themselves as such. An annual Gallup poll places the Magnolia State as the second most conservative, up from the previous year's fourth place slot but still short of the No. 1 position the state held in 2011 and 2012. The 2014 poll results placed Wyoming as the reddest in the country while Washington, D.C., took the top spot for most liberal. Meanwhile, slightly less than 48 percent of Mississippians identify as conservative, the lowest percentage in the last five Gallup polls released on this topic.
 
Poll names most, least religious states
Mississippi is the most religious state in the nation and Vermont is the least, according to a new poll. Mississippi had the most residents of any state in 2013 say religion is an important part of their daily lives and they attend services almost every week or more, according to a Gallup poll released Monday, with 61 percent of its citizens very religious. Vermont had the fewest of the states, with 22 percent of its citizens very religious. Mississippi and Vermont have topped their respective lists since Gallup began polling on the subject in 2008, with little variance in the top states each year.
 
Fight over amount of teacher pay raise a possibility, ranking Dem says
The ranking Democrat in the state House praised Republican Speaker Philip Gunn for supporting an across-the-board teacher pay raise. But Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, says there could be a drawn-out fight this legislative session between Democrats and Republicans over how much of a pay raise to give the state's roughly 34,000 teachers. "The speaker of the House came out and said he was for an across-the-board pay raise," Moak said, speaking Monday at the Stennis-Capitol Press Corps luncheon in Jackson. "We are glad that he did that. We know we are on the same page."
 
Panel OKs teacher pay raise
The House Education Committee passed legislation Monday that could result in Mississippi's public school teachers garnering a $4,250 raise over a four-year period. The final two years of the pay package would be contingent on state revenue growth being more than 3 percent. Plus, for teachers with more than five years of experience to receive the increase, they must meet three of 22 separate benchmarks, from having an advanced degree, to receiving a positive recommendation from the school principal, to having a good attendance record. Rep. Bobby Moak of Bogue Chitto, who is the House minority leader, pointed out Democrats tried to pass a $5,000 across-the-board raise for teachers last year. Speaking at the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute/Capitol press corps luncheon Monday, Moak indicated that Democrats might offer their own proposal on the House floor.
 
House teacher pay raise plan: $4,250 over 4 years
The House unveiled its Republican-led teacher pay raise plan on Monday -- a proposal that would give teachers with less than five years' experience $4,250 over four years, providing the economy keeps growing. Initial response from Democratic lawmakers was that the raise is too paltry. Senate leader Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves questioned how the state will pay for the plan, estimated to cost $180 million over the next four fiscal years.
 
Gunn eyes teacher raise up to $4,250 over 4 years
House Speaker Philip Gunn and fellow Republicans want to give a $1,500 raise to most public school teachers in 2015 and 2016, and a projected raise of around $2,750 over the following two years, assuming state revenue continues to grow at a healthy rate. The House Education Committee approved the plan Monday, with House Republicans joining Gunn shortly afterward to announce it in a news conference. Reaction to the announcement was mixed, with some education groups favoring it. Democrats and some other teacher groups, though, objected to veteran teachers having to meet benchmarks.
 
Bryant backs Cochran but criticizes attack ad
Although he endorsed incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran in a Sunday op-ed in The Clarion-Ledger, Gov. Phil Bryant on Monday criticized an attack ad against Republican challenger Chris McDaniel. "I'm disappointed in that --- it's just not something that's necessary," Bryant said on Monday of the recent "Whoever" ad against McDaniel from the Mississippi Conservatives super PAC. "I would urge them to stop the Republican-on-Republican attack. I believe it was Ronald Reagan who talked about the 11th commandment -- thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican."
 
Fundraising fizzles for many in Tea Party
Many Tea Party candidates are fizzling with their fundraising -- an early sign they might struggle to upend the entrenched incumbents they're challenging in this year's primary elections. A number of more conservative candidates running against Republican incumbents have failed to impress in their most recent year-end fundraising reports. This cycle, Tea Party activists point to Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel's (R) strong fundraising quarter against Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) as evidence their message still resonates. But McDaniel's impressive haul of $500,000 against the veteran Cochran's meager $340,000 was the exception for the fourth quarter period instead of the rule. McDaniel has been endorsed by all four major conservative outside groups: Club for Growth, Senate Conservatives Fund, FreedomWorks and the Madison Project.
 
Tea Party Patriots launch new super-PAC
Tea Party Patriots, a prominent national group, is launching a super-PAC to engage heavily in Senate races and plans to target at least three Republican incumbents. Jenny Beth Martin, the group's president, highlighted Senate races in South Carolina, where Sen. Lindsey Graham faces four primary challengers; Kentucky, where Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is facing a challenge from businessman Matt Bevin; and Mississippi, where Sen. Thad Cochran is facing a challenge from state Sen. Chris McDaniel, as priorities for the political action committee.
 
Senate advances farm bill
A new five-year farm bill advanced toward final passage Tuesday, after a strong bipartisan Senate vote Monday night to limit further debate and expedite action. The 72-22 vote caps two years of struggle that badly split the old farm and food coalition. The final product represents a landmark rewrite of commodity programs, but even now, all eyes are returning to corn prices and three sets of numbers that will tell a lot about the topsy-turvy world facing the new law before spring plantings. Indeed, never before has there been a farm bill with such a robust crop insurance program combined with a price-sensitive commodity title, all in a period of changing prices.
 
Eating too much added sugar may be killing you
Sugar not only makes you fat, it may be killing you. Consuming too much added sugar -- in regular soda, cakes, cookies and candy -- increases your risk of death from heart disease, according to a new study, the largest of its type. "The risk of cardiovascular disease death increases exponentially as you increase your consumption of added sugar," says the study's lead author, Quanhe Yang, a senior scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other research has tied a high intake of added sugars, especially sugar-sweetened beverages, to many poor health conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
 
UM Writing Center to move to Lamar Hall
By fall 2014, the University of Mississippi's Writing Center will move from the third floor of the J.D. Williams Library to the second floor of Lamar Hall, located just off the Grove. Bob Cummings, director of the Center for Writing and Rhetoric, said the move was a decision made in the 2009 Quality Enhancement Plan, in which the university renewed its commitment to teaching writing. The move will hopefully make the writing center more prominent and closer to classrooms, according to Cummings. "If it's easier to get to the writing center, and the writing center is in view, it is more likely students will remember the services and use the services," he said.
 
Mississippi College to host regional dyslexia conference for parents, educators
Mississippi College will host a regional dyslexia conference on Wednesday. Parents and educators will be briefed on the latest research into the affliction by national experts, officials of the Mississippi Department of Education and local school leaders. The program is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the college's campus in Clinton.
 
Display on U. of Alabama's history of slavery to open
he opening event for "Unchaining Alabama," a research project by a University of Alabama student into slavery's history at the Capstone, will be Thursday on the third floor of UA's Gorgas Library. The event will be at 5:30 p.m. in the A.S. Williams III Collection in Gorgas. It kicks off a monthlong display based on work by UA senior Benjamin Flax, who is researching UA's ties to slavery as part of an independent research project supervised by history professor Josh Rothman, director of UA's Summersell Center for the Study of the South. Flax hopes the work will inspire further scholarship on the subject and an open, honest discussion of the topic.
 
Toomer's Corner decision expected Friday
An update to the new Toomer's Corner design plans is expected at the Auburn University Board of Trustees meeting Friday. Dan King, assistant vice president for facilities at Auburn University, said a proposal has been drafted, which asks that the design be implemented in two phases. "The proposal being put forward to the Board of Trustees is to complete the project in two phases," King said. "Phase one could consist of removing the contaminated soil and replacing it with clean soil, replacing the brick pavers at the corner, and creating a circular seat wall in accordance with the design published earlier this year."
 
LSU exceeds fundraising goal for engineering complex
LSU has exceeded its goal of raising $50 million in private donations needed to renovate Patrick F. Taylor Hall. The plan is to turn it into a high-tech engineering complex that can compete with any other engineering school in the country. Monday's announcement from Gov. Bobby Jindal means LSU has held up its end in the $100 million public-private partnership first announced in October 2012. The partnership calls for the state to match every dollar LSU raises as part of the Breaking New Ground campaign. LSU has, so far, raised $52.5 million, eclipsing the original goal, and doing it three months ahead of schedule, Jindal said.
 
U. of Georgia business school dean finalists to visit campus
A search for a permanent dean for the University of Georgia's business school may be near its end. Four finalists for the job are scheduled to give public presentations and meet with administrators, faculty, staff and students over the next two weeks, the university has announced. Three of the finalists are administrators from other colleges, the remaining finalist is a department head and professor in UGA's Terry College of Business. This is the second time UGA has mounted a search for a Terry College dean within about a year. UGA administrators postponed the search last spring after three candidates gave presentations on the campus in late April and early May.
 
UGA engineering professor gets $1 million to work on milk cooler
A University of Georgia engineer has received $1 million to continue working on a milk cooler designed to help dairy farmers, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, who lack access to refrigeration, according to a news release from the university. The milk cooler, developed by William Kisaalita, a professor of biological and mechanical engineering in the UGA College of Engineering, uses the principle of evaporative cooling to quickly bring the temperature of milk to a safe holding temperature.
 
U. of Florida lawyers: Gun suit has no legal standing
Florida Carry Inc. has no legal standing to sue the University of Florida and President Bernie Machen over its firearms policy, lawyers for the university said in a five-page motion to dismiss filed Friday. The motion, filed on behalf of UF by Barry Richard, a shareholder with the Greenberg Traurig law firm, attempts to shoot holes in Florida Carry's arguments that UF illegally restricted the rights of students, faculty and staff to keep firearms on campus. "The complaint fails to allege that even one member, much less a substantial number of members, are substantially affected by an alleged University violation of the cited statutory provisions," Richard said in his motion to dismiss.
 
Emails in UF law dean search become bone of contention
A University of Florida law school professor and member of the committee searching for a new dean for the Levin College of Law has sent an email to law school faculty warning them that their communications could be made public, reassuring them that most of their emails had been deleted "as they came in." "Very few of you have sent me emails, and I mostly deleted your emails as they came in," Lyrissa Lidsky, associate dean for International Programs at UF Law, said in an email sent Sunday to law school faculty after a public records request was made for emails related to the search. "Nonetheless, I thought you might appreciate a reminder that all emails you send the search committee may be subject to being turned over to the press or public."
 
Texas A&M Qatar campus hails ties to oil company
The world's largest oilfield company has been recognized by Texas A&M University at Qatar. The university praised oil company Schlumberger as "an essential knowledge-sharing partner" last month at an event in Education City. The university also paid homage to the company's donation of a software suite that enables Aggies to train and further improve skills on reservoir modeling and history matching. The longtime collaboration between the university and Schlumberger has focused on research, educational support and an exchange of expertise, especially in the areas of reservoir simulation and oil and gas production, according to a press release from A&M.
 
Mizzou Baptist Student Union builds bonds during trip to Cuba
Fourteen University of Missouri students had one item on their agenda when they went to Ciego de Avila, Cuba, this month: relationship-building. The visit was unlike a normal mission trip, but the students and their three advisers from the Mizzou Baptist Student Union said it was still very rewarding. "Normally on a mission trip we build something or help in a soup kitchen or do a lot of different menial jobs, and willingly," Baptist Student Union Director Jerry Carmichael said. "This time, there weren't any of those to do. The pastor said the first day we met, 'The only thing you're going to be building in your time here is building relationships.' That was a very significant part of the trip, and the best part for us."
 
Tennessee Governor Proposes Free Community College
Tennessee's governor said on Monday night that by using lottery money the state should pay for two years of community or technical college for all high-school graduates. Gov. William E. Haslam, a Republican, included the proposal in his State of the State address as a key part of his higher-education agenda and a means of increasing the percentage of state residents with a college degree. The governor's plan, which he called the Tennessee Promise, would be paid for entirely with an endowment, seeded by reserves from the state's lottery, according to a news release from the governor's office.
 
Lawmaker alleges colleges require aid applicants to fill out fee-based form
The top Democrat on the House of Representatives Oversight Committee on Monday asserted that more than 100 colleges may be violating federal law by either requiring students to submit fee-based forms for federal student aid or insinuating that such forms are needed to access that aid. In a letter to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Representative Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland wrote that the institutions "appear to be establishing additional requirements for students to complete costly additional forms" such as the CSS Profile, in order to be considered for any financial aid.
 
Bill to Help Veterans Pay Tuition Advances
The House passed legislation on Monday that would require public universities to charge veterans in-state tuition rates or face a financial penalty. The bill would help veterans who end up living in a new state once their service has ended and who find that the federal government's reimbursement will not fully cover the higher tuition rates that generally apply to students from out of state.
 
President Obama to launch new plan for highspeed Internet in schools
President Barack Obama will visit a middle school in Adelphi, Md., just outside Washington on Tuesday to announce a public-private plan to help more schools and libraries get high-speed Internet connections. Across the nation, more than 70 percent of schools don't have the high-speed broadband or wireless they need to use digital devices and help students learn at their own pace, Cecilia Munoz, the White House director of the Domestic Policy Council, told reporters on a conference call. Most schools are connected, but often can handle only one or two devices per classroom, or can't stream video in more than one classroom at a time, Munoz said.


SPORTS
 
Bulldogs continue to place focus on defensive end
Rick Ray simply is a big picture type of coach. And while it may be confusing to some for when the Mississippi State coach continues to speak about his team's defensive breakdowns after a game in which they score 49 points, defense will continue to be the primary focus. "In the second half, they shot 55 percent from the field," Ray said during the radio post-game interview after MSU's 55-49 loss at Vanderbilt Saturday. "It doesn't matter what our worries are on offense. If you make stops on the defensive end in the second half, you have a chance to win the game." Ray understands the margin of error for MSU (13-8, 3-5 in Southeastern Conference) is so thin that suffocating defense is the only way they're going to break its current 13-game road losing streak.
 
Mississippi State baseball team will continue to pair starting pitchers
The Mississippi State baseball team will continue to limit its starting pitchers to pitch counts in the opening month of the season for the third-straight season. MSU pitching coach Butch Thompson plans to use as many as eight pitchers in modified starting outings for the season-opening four-game series against Hofstra on Feb. 14 at Dudy Noble Field. "We like it as a staff because we have decisions to make before we start Southeastern Conference play as to who we want to be out there, and I've got to have a bunch of young men pitch to determine that," Thompson said. "Using this system forces us to determine who slots in well where."
 
Oswalt gives back at Mississippi State baseball banquet
Through his 36-year life, Roy Oswalt has played for many professional teams, but only one label has fit: He's a Weir, Miss., guy. "I remember growing up in Weir and not having a bunch of big leaguers around town, and as much as I can give back to those folks is what I need to do," Oswalt said. "I always tell them that if I can come from a town of 500 people and make it to the bigs then you have a wonderful opportunity here to be looked at." Oswalt is at the point in his life when it's critical he gives back because he has accomplished so much. On Saturday as the guest speaker for the Mississippi State's baseball team's First Pitch Banquet, Oswalt thought it would be a perfect time to repay the state and communities that supported him regardless of the professional jersey he wore in his 12-year professional career.
 
Bulldogs hope depth provides final piece to softball puzzle
Mississippi State senior catcher/infielder Sam Lenahan enjoys being surrounded by talented players. "You really want to be pushed every day in practice, that is the best way to become a really great player," Lenahan said. "It is one thing to be pushed by the coaches. It is another thing to be pushed by your teammates. "This team is different the last couple of teams we have had here. We have so many great players that you have to come ready to work every day. Nobody is guaranteed a spot. You have to keep pushing hard to keep your spot in the lineup. It is a good feeling when you know the players playing behind you are just as talented." MSU will play five games this weekend in the Bulldog Kickoff Classic.
 
Mississippi State women have all of answers vs. Georgia
The Mississippi State women's basketball team had all of the answers Sunday. Whether it was a 3-pointer from the left wing from Savannah Carter or a trey by Kendra Grant from the other side, MSU denied Georgia at every turn en route to an 80-657 victory before a crowd of 2,286 at Humphrey Coliseum. Martha Alwal had a team-high 20 points and seven rebounds to lead three players in double figures. The number of players that reached double digits for MSU (16-7, 3-6 Southeastern Conference) wasn't as important as the fact that all nine Bulldogs who played scored. "I just loved how we competed today," MSU coach Vic Schaefer said.
 
Troopers: Alcohol likely a factor in Auburn coach Danielle Downey's fatal car wreck
Days after a fatal car wreck left an Auburn golf coach dead, state troopers believe alcohol may have been a factor in the accident. According to the crash report released by the Alabama State Troopers, it is believed alcohol played a part in the death of Auburn coach Danielle Downey, who died following a car accident near Auburn Thursday night. "We are still awaiting toxicology analysis by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences to confirm, but the investigating Trooper's opinion is that alcohol was a contributing factor," Sgt. Steve Jarrett said in an email. The report also included a statement from a friend of Downey's, who said that she and others had gone to a downtown Auburn restaurant earlier that night for dinner and drinks.
 
Football operations director leaving Tennessee program
Brad Pendergrass has resigned from his position as director of football operations, Tennessee announced on Monday. Pendergrass held a similar role under former coach Derek Dooley and was retained by new coach Butch Jones when he was hired after the 2012 season. This was the second stint at UT for Pendergrass, who began as a student manager under former coach Phillip Fulmer. He was later a graduate assistant and full-time recruiting assistant. He also held administrative positions at Mississippi State and Wisconsin before returning to UT in 2010.



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