Wednesday, May 14, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Report: Job training key to economic growth
The Golden Triangle has the potential to become one of the most dynamic small-area economies in the U.S. if Lowndes, Oktibbeha and Clay counties' leaders are prepared to invest in education and expansion efforts, according to an economic and community development study delivered to community leaders Monday. The Golden Triangle's best chance for success is to concentrate on workforce training efforts and develop another large research and development park in connection with Mississippi State in an attempt to bolster the university's economic impact on the region, said William Fruth, president of the Florida-based independent economic research firm POLICOM Corporation.
 
Creating a dynamic economic region
The results of a comprehensive economic development study were laid out Tuesday in Mayhew at EMCC. An economic research firm conducted the study which evaluated all educational and industrial activity in Lowndes, Clay and Oktibbeha counties. A commercial and residential real estate agent in the crowd told us the excitement a university like Mississippi State brings to the region is invaluable. Scott Farmer with Coldwell Banker said, "When you're around a university, there's enthusiasm. Everyone's life is just starting. There's the educational aspect of this area and just the pride."
 
Despite tornadoes, state's poultry growers optimistic
The poultry industry is riding a wave of success, propelling it from a strong 2013 into another year with promises of favorable market prices and lower production costs. John Michael Riley, an agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said several issues will influence poultry profits in 2014. "We expect poultry to ramp up production this year because of factors that are hurting beef and pork," Riley said. Tom Tabler, Extension poultry specialist, said Mississippi poultry numbers have remained steady, but nationally, expansion efforts are underway.
 
MSU to Confer 2 Honorary Degrees at Spring Commencements
Because Mississippi State prioritizes global food-security research and outreach, the university will honor two international famine-relief leaders with honorary degrees. During the university's Friday and Saturday spring commencements, approximately 2,800 students will receive academic degrees during the Humphrey Coliseum ceremonies. Ertharin Cousin, executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and one of Time's 100 Most Influential People this year, is the featured speaker for both programs. She also will receive an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree at the 10 a.m. Saturday graduation. MSU alumnus and Brazilian native SebastiĆ£o Barbosa will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree at the 7 p.m. Friday commencement. After he received master's and doctoral degrees in entomology from MSU, he helped lead eradication of the Mediterranean fruit fly in South America.
 
Congressmen to hear veterans' concerns
Congressmen will gather to hear the concerns of area veterans at the Mississippi State University campus on Wednesday. The Mississippi president of the Council of Military Officers Association of America says veterans and organizations are invited to meet with Congressman Jeff Miller, the chairman of the House Committee of Veterans' Affairs, and with Mississippi's 1st District Congressman Alan Nunnelee and 3rd District Congressman Gregg Harper to voice any complaints or needs.
 
Extension Service Marks 100 Years
The Mississippi State University Extension Service is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The Lauderdale County office hosted an open house Tuesday to celebrate the occasion. "During the one hundred years, we have changed with the times," said Patty Swearingen, county coordinator. "Used to be, people thought if you were something with the extension, it was all cows and just farming. But of course, we have changed with the technology." People who came to the open house could view educational exhibits and got to taste Mississippi State cheese and dairy products.
 
Group for LGBT equality laws in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas
A national group plans to seek anti-discrimination state laws to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas. Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said Tuesday that the Washington-based group is spending $8.5 million for its "Project One America" in the three southern states. The three states do not have laws to protect people from being fired from a job or evicted from housing because of sexual orientation. "You're just as likely to be gay in Meridian as you are in Manhattan," Griffin said during a news conference at the Mississippi Capitol.
 
Pike County Trooper accused of rape no longer employed by MHP
A Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper accused of raping a woman during an early April traffic stop is no longer employed by the Department of Public Safety, a spokesman said. DPS spokesman Warren Strain said Tuesday that the trooper in question is no longer with MHP, but was unable to comment further, as the matter is a personnel issue. The trooper was accused, but not arrested, when Pike County deputies responded to Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center on April 5 when a woman claimed she had been raped earlier that day, officials said.
 
Cochran, colleagues defend travel with aide
As the race between incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel enters its final weeks, Cochran is facing questions about his executive assistant, Kay Webber, frequently traveling with him on overseas Senate trips. Cochran spokesman Jordan Russell and others say Webber, 76, has worked for the senator for 33 years, is a key employee and trusted advisor. Russell said here's nothing unusual about her, or other assistants, traveling with Cochran or other senators. He said other Cochran staffers usually attend the trips as well. And, he said, the trips have frequently resulted in jobs for Mississippi.
 
Tea Party bounces back -- but can it last?
National Tea Party groups breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday night after notching two much-needed primary wins as they work to overcome early disappointments this cycle. But the groups' victory lap may be premature, as conservatives face even tougher fights in a series of upcoming primaries that are less likely to turn out in their favor. Tea Party groups have perhaps their best shot at taking down an incumbent senator in Mississippi, but Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), appears to be holding strong against his primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel. While Tuesday night's primaries confirm it's too early to declare the demise of the Tea Party, it's also too early to tell if a good Tuesday night showing foretells better news down the line for the movement.
 
Nebraska a rare win for outside groups
Conservative outside groups finally got a win Tuesday, if not a scalp. Ben Sasse's victory in the Republican primary for Nebraska's open Senate seat gives much-needed validation to a constellation of entities that invested big and would have been in a tough spot with activist donors had things not gone their way. The only real opportunity for the big outside groups to defeat a sitting senator this year (in other words, get a scalp) is not until June 3 in Mississippi, where Sen. Thad Cochran faces a stiff challenge from state Sen. Chris McDaniel. This made getting a win in Nebraska so key, without which fundraising could start to dry up.
 
House race heats up: Dickey, Weathers to spar for Democrat nod
The U.S. Representative's race in the First Congressional District is heating up with two Democrats battling to gain the Democratic nomination to face the GOP incumbent in the fall. Ron Dickey, a U.S. Army veteran and former law enforcement officer, is seeking the Democratic Party nomination in the June 3 primary race against Rex Weathers of Tishomingo County for the U.S. House of Representatives post. The winner of that contest will face incumbent U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee, of Tupelo in the Nov. 4 general election.
 
Climate Change Deemed Growing Security Threat by Military Researchers
The accelerating rate of climate change poses a severe risk to national security and acts as a catalyst for global political conflict, a report published Tuesday by a leading government-funded military research organization concluded. The Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board found that climate change-induced drought in the Middle East and Africa is leading to conflicts over food and water and escalating longstanding regional and ethnic tensions into violent clashes. In addition, the report predicted that an increase in catastrophic weather events around the world will create more demand for American troops, even as flooding and extreme weather events at home could damage naval ports and military bases. In an interview, Secretary of State John Kerry signaled that the report's findings would influence American foreign policy.
 
Alabama School of Law taps Vanderbilt professor as new dean
A Vanderbilt law professor has been named the next dean of the University of Alabama School of Law. UA on Tuesday announced Mark E. Brandon, a professor of law at Vanderbilt University, as the next law school dean. "The law school is a terrific place. To be dean of the law school is a huge challenge and probably the high point of my career," Brandon said. Brandon's appointment is effective July 1, according to UA. The school has been led by interim dean William Brewbaker, the William Alfred Rose Professor of Law at UA, since the retirement of Dean Emeritus Ken Randall in July 2013.
 
LSU graduation ceremonies on Thursday and Friday
About 4,000 students will graduate from LSU this week. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus will deliver the keynote address at the main commencement ceremony, which is scheduled to begin with an academic processession at 6:45 p.m. Thursday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. "(Mabus) brings a wealth of leadership knowledge and experience that will be beneficial for our graduating class to hear, and we look forward to his talk and the advice he gives to our students," LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander said in a news release.
 
LSU plans campus emergency exercise
LSU will conduct a full-scale campus emergency exercise next week that will close off parts of campus to the general public. The university is asking that people avoid the Quad and central part of campus as much as possible Tuesday evening for the drill. "The focus of this exercise is to engage the university's emergency procedures and allow public safety agencies and community partners to improve emergency planning efforts through practice," LSU Police Chief Lawrence Rabalais said in a news release. "LSU, the city-parish of East Baton Rouge and participating agencies appreciate the public's cooperation."
 
U. of South Carolina-Upstate cuts center tied to gay event, Senate sidesteps book debate
The debate over gay-themed subject matter on S.C. public college campuses took two dramatic turns Tuesday. The University of South Carolina Upstate eliminated the center that sponsored a gay culture symposium this spring as part of $450,000 in cost cuts for next year. School leaders said that sponsorship did not lead to the 15-year-old center's demise. Meanwhile, state senators voted Tuesday to require Upstate and the College of Charleston to spend nearly $70,000 to teach the Constitution and other U.S. founding documents. That is the same cost as the colleges paid for gay-themed books that they assigned to freshmen last fall.
 
Interim co-director named permanent leader of Mizzou Online
After three years of serving as an interim co-director for Mizzou Online, Kim Siegenthaler is now the director of the University of Missouri's online program. "What's happening with distance education at MU is really exciting," she said. "It's great to have the opportunity to help shape that. It really is a changing landscape." Mizzou Online offers more than 90 graduate and undergraduate degrees and certificates. The most recent degree addition was an online master's in public health, which was announced in early April. The first session of the new program starts this summer. Administrators for months have been discussing the need to expand distance education efforts to meet student needs.
 
Square co-founder, Bloomberg News reporter among Missouri commencement speakers
A Bloomberg News reporter and the co-founder of the mobile payment company Square are among the scheduled speakers at the University of Missouri's spring commencement this weekend. Angela Greiling Keane, a Bloomberg News White House correspondent and an MU alumna, will speak at the School of Journalism ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mizzou Arena. Jim McKelvey of Square, a system that makes it possible to accept credit cards on iPhones, will speak at the Honors College ceremony the next morning. The ceremony, at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Mizzou Arena, will also feature Jim Held, the founder of Stone Hill Winery in Hermann, who will speak and will receive an honorary degree from MU.
 
Protesting commencement speakers: What happened to free speech on campus?
The decisions by both International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagarde and Robert Birgeneau, former chancellor of the University of California, to withdraw as planned commencement speakers are only the latest in a rash of controversies this commencement season. Other planned speakers have all either been disinvited from speaking or withdrew in the face of significant student protest. The phenomenon isn't new; it's become such a rite of passage in the spring that some free-speech advocates have started calling the spring "disinvitation season." But it's a trend that some believe is growing, and that many observers worry is shifting college campuses away from being a free marketplace of ideas.
 
BOBBY HARRISON (OPINION): Lawsuit reform traces itself to several sources
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "The old gang is getting back together for a 10-year anniversary/celebratory mass back-slapping event. The gang that pushed changes through the Legislature to make it harder to sue a business in Mississippi is holding events to look back and forward as it relates to the state's civil justice system. Last week key legislators who pushed the changes through in a special session in 2004 called by then-Gov. Haley Barbour spoke to the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute/capitol press corps luncheon. the Mississippi Economic Council, a key player in the tort changes, will hold an event today to hear from those key legislators, Barbour and others. No doubt, the changes to the civil justice system that culminated with the 2004 special session represent a milestone event in Mississippi -- in terms of the court system as well as the political system."
 
SID SALTER (OPINION): Chemical shortages thwarting efforts to 'sanitize' the death penalty
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Can we really 'sanitize' the death penalty so as to avoid pain and suffering by the condemned inmate? The botched execution of an Oklahoma death row inmate brings that question front and center -- a question that is worthy of public debate across the U.S. and certainly in states like Mississippi that utilize the death penalty."


SPORTS
 
Ole Miss, Mississippi State in contention for SEC West title this weekend
Ole Miss and Mississippi State head into the final weekend of baseball regular season with a chance to the win the Western Division championship of the Southeastern Conference. Meanwhile, Southern Mississippi sits in third place in Conference USA and is one of four teams that has already qualified for the C-USA Tournament, which will be held at Pete Taylor Park on the Southern Miss campus on May 21-25. MSU put itself in this position with key extra-inning victories on Sunday. Cody Brown of Biloxi drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 12th inning to lift MSU past Tennessee 4-3. "It's all about finding a way on a Sunday in this league," MSU head coach John Cohen said after the Sunday win.
 
Mullen encourages game attendance during 'Road Dawgs Tour' here
MSU Head Football Coach Dan Mullen spoke last week to a crowd in the Neshoba County Coliseum, saying everyone needed to keep supporting MSU sports, not just football. "I'm glad to see all of you came out to support us," he said. The stop in Philadelphia was the last for the 2014 Road Dawgs Tour.



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