Thursday, August 25, 2016  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State, law enforcement plan for game day traffic
Mississippi State University hosted a luncheon for local and state law enforcement officials on Wednesday to discuss plans for making MSU gamedays as smooth and safe as possible as the university prepares to welcome hundreds of thousands of football fans to campus this fall. The group discussed logistical details for ensuring fan security and helping drivers get on and off campus in an efficient manner.
Ukrainian ambassador to visit Mississippi State University
Ukraine's ambassador to the United States is scheduled to speak at Mississippi State University next week. Valeriy Chaly will be on campus next Wednesday for the MSU International Institute's Global Engagement Lecture Series. It is set for 2 p.m. at the Bost Extension North Auditorium, and it will be open to the public. The university says Chaly will discuss challenges to international security. The following day, Chaly will go to Jackson where he plans to speak with Governor Phil Bryant and officials with the Mississippi Development Authority.
Talking about sweet potatoes with Mississippi State researchers, growers
In Pontotoc, they had a field day Wednesday -- literally. It was the 4th Annual Sweet Potato Field Day, hosted by Mississippi State University. Growers, crop consultants and researchers were invited to the Pontotoc Ridge Flatwoods Experiment Station to compare notes on Mississippi's $172-million dollar crop. This season, more than 28, 000 acres were planted with this Southern specialty, up almost 10 percent from last season. People in the industry say it'll be very good crop this year. Stephen Meyers, Mississippi State's sweet potato extension specialist, spoke about how the Sweet Potato Field Day works. "Ideally, an event like this offers a two-way communication where we show the grower what we're doing as far as research and extension work goes," he said. "But they also provide input on if that's what we need to be doing, and where we can improve on the research and how it can be most effective in their production systems."
3 groups to handle Appalachian Regional Commission grant
The Shoals Entrepreneurial Center is partnering with the University of North Alabama and the Shoals Chamber of Commerce to implement nearly $1 million in grant funds designed to help communities and regions negatively impacted by changes in the coal economy. Entrepreneurial Center Director Giles McDaniel said the grant is the largest non-construction grant the center has ever received. McDaniel said the program will impact Colbert, Lauderdale, Franklin, Marion, Walker and Winston counties, the northeast Mississippi counties of Alcorn and Tishomingo, and Lawrence County, Tennessee. He said the Mississippi counties will be assisted through the entrepreneurial center's partners at the Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development at Mississippi State University.
Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau grant applications due Friday
Local non-profit groups and event organizers have until 5 p.m. Friday to submit applications for Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau's annual sponsorship grants. The yearly SCVB awards are given to establish long-term, self-supporting tourism and community development projects that boost the city's and county's economy and improve its quality of life. Winning applications may receive up to three years of financial support, and then projects have the opportunity to transition into receiving sustaining grant funding if they're deemed to have significant local impact. SCVB's grant program has awarded approximately $750,000 in the last 12 years. Recipients include Starkville Community Day, Mississippi Horse Park, Starkville Area Arts Council, Starkville Central Neighborhood Foundation, Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum, Starkville-MSU Symphony, Starkville Community Theater and Starkville Soccer Association.
Mississippi on track for fall 2018 completion of I-269
Dirt and bridge work for the entire Mississippi portion of Interstate 269 is finished, and the project remains on track for a fall 2018 completion, the Mississippi Department of Transportation said in an update Wednesday. MDOT said the next phase of work involves two paving projects, the largest of which has begun. I-269, the largest active MDOT construction project, eventually will form a horseshoe of nearly 60 miles from Hernando to Millington in Shelby County. It will be part of a bypass around Memphis as part of the planned Interstate 69 route from Canada to Mexico. When complete, I-269 is expected to transform areas along its largely undeveloped North Mississippi route that will run westward from Marshall County to near Hernando, where it will connect with Interstate 55/69.
Report on state revenue completion lagging
With the month of September quickly approaching, the report detailing Mississippi revenue collections for the month of July is still not complete. Normally, the staff of the Legislative Budget Committee has the monthly reports completed within a few days of the end of the month. But the July report has created unique problems. Debbie Rubisoff, director of the Budget Committee staff, said changes made to the method of collecting state revenue during the 2016 legislative session is having to be incorporated into the July report -- the first of a new fiscal year. In addition, while the revenue report has not been completed, various reports indicate general tax collections on income, retail items and other items is $14 million short of projections for the month of July.
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves talks BP money priorities in South Mississippi
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves met with Coast lawmakers Wednesday morning to discuss a strategy for spending millions of BP settlement dollars on economic development projects in South Mississippi. Some $750 million in BP money will flow through the state legislature over the next 15 years. Reeves says 100 percent of that money should be spent in South Mississippi, which bore the brunt of the oil spill damage. "My personal view is that we ought to spend all of this money in South Mississippi, and that is what I am going to be working very hard to do. I'm also a realist. We cannot allow this to become an us vs. them argument," said Reeves. Flanked by more than a dozen coast lawmakers, the lieutenant governor said a "united front" is needed to convince lawmakers from North Mississippi that those millions of BP dollars belong here in South Mississippi.
AG Jim Hood talks mental health, cyber crime at Meridian Rotary Club
Speaking before the Meridian Rotary Club Wednesday at Northwood Country Club, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood discussed a variety of topics, including controversial HB 1523, also known as the Religious Freedom Act, cyber crime, mental health and some of the things his office has accomplished. "The state had four lawsuits filed against the state because of HB 1523. That's another case where we spent millions of dollars. I believe in religious liberty, but HB 1523 wasn't it. Someone in the legislature didn't get any legal advice," Hood said. "The people who supported the bill misrepresented to the people who go to church what it did. They represented to the people that pastors would have to marry gay people and bakers had to bake cakes for gay people. That was not true and all it got us was sued." Hood said his office is making inroads cutting down on cyber crime.
Mississippi Supreme Court candidates campaign in Southaven
Three of the four Mississippi Supreme Court candidates running for a seat on the high court in the Nov. 8 general election campaigned in Southaven on Tuesday with an appearance before the DeSoto County Republican Club at the group's August meeting. A crowd of about 100 people gathered inside the BankPlus Training Center in Southaven to hear the high court hopefuls speak. Circuit judges Robert "Bobby" Chamberlin of Hernando and James T. "Jim" Kitchens of Caledonia along with attorney Steve Crampton of Tupelo gave remarks and took questions from the audience. John Brady of Columbus had campaigned earlier in the week in Olive Branch but was unable to attend Tuesday night's forum. Chamberlin noted that with the retirement of Justice Ann Lamar of Senatobia from the Supreme Court, DeSoto County and Northwest Mississippi would be without representation if someone else were to be elected.
Rep. Trent Kelly meets with farmers in Columbus
Congressman Trent Kelly met Wednesday afternoon with farmers in Columbus. Representative Kelly sits on the House Ag Committee. This was just an informal meeting to talk about the farmers concerns and answer their questions. Kelly discussed some strict EPA regulations and how it is affecting farmers. He also talked about the possibility of trading cotton, soybeans and other goods with Cuba. Other topics came up, including the performance of VA clinics in the area.
Trump rallies faithful, rakes in money in Jackson
Donald Trump in Jackson made an appeal for African-American votes, vowed to continue to take a hard line on illegal immigration and raked in a reported $1.2 million or so in campaign donations Wednesday night. "Hillary Clinton is a bigot who sees people of color only as votes, not as people," Trump, flanked by Gov. Phil Bryant, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and a UK leader of the Brexit movement, said to a crowd of thousands at a rally at the Mississippi Coliseum. The crowd was vastly white, but Trump said he plans to change "the Democratic Party taking the vote of African Americans for granted."
Thompson, NAACP blast Trump for intolerance
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson and state NAACP President Derrick Johnson said if presidential candidate Donald Trump wanted to signal a change in his campaign to attract support from people of color, he would have sat down with the leadership of black majority Jackson. During a Wednesday news conference at the state NAACP headquarters in Jackson on the day Trump is to rally in Jackson, Thompson said: "You can't fool people by saying you have changed." Thompson also criticized Trump for not disavowing support from the Klan and David Duke.
Trump centers Mississippi speech on race, immigration
Jackson, Miss., was the political epicenter of America for about an hour Wednesday night as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and a who's who of state and national politics rallied support for Trump's bid. Trump touched a range of topics, from race to immigration to his challenger, Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. Trump harshly criticized Clinton, a former secretary of state and U.S. senator at times. He called her "a bigot," for what he called taking the votes of people of color for granted, and he said she "has betrayed her duty to our people," referring to Americans Sticking to a recently renewed effort to appeal to African American and Hispanic voters, Trump spent much of his speech in Jackson discussing race. After the speech, Bobby Moak, chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party, criticized state officials for appearing with Trump, whose record he said includes disparaging women, minorities and military families.
Leader of British movement to leave EU joins Trump at rally in Mississippi
Republican nominee Donald Trump is linking his "movement to take back the country" to Britain's surprising vote to leave the European Union. The architect of the withdrawal campaign, known as Brexit, joined the GOP presidential nominee on stage during a rally late Wednesday in Jackson, Mississippi. "If I was an American citizen, I wouldn't vote for Hillary Clinton if you paid me," said Nigel Farage, the outgoing leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party. Only moments before, Farage had denounced President Barack Obama for urging the British, before the June 23 referendum, to reaffirm their commitment to the European Union, and said he would not try to influence the American election.
Trump Calls Clinton a Bigot as British 'Brexit' Leader Stumps for Him
Thousands of miles away from home, in a solidly Republican state, a British populist politician came here on Wednesday to deliver "a message of hope and a message of optimism." "You have a fantastic opportunity here," said Nigel Farage, the outgoing U.K. Independence Party leader in Britain who is credited with leading the Brexit movement months ago. In a campaign that has staked its reputation on "America First," the presence of a foreign politician was as unexpected as a Republican presidential candidate campaigning in a deeply conservative state with 11 weeks left in the election. For the rest of the rally, Mr. Trump ran through most of his standard stump speech, repeatedly harping on the immigration plan of Mrs. Clinton and accusing her of playing identity politics and delivering his harshest criticism of the candidate's relationship with minority voters. "Hillary Clinton is a bigot who sees people of color only as votes, not as human beings worthy of a better future," Mr. Trump told the crowd.
Hillary Clinton takes aim at Donald Trump's ties to 'alt right' world of radical conservatives
No major presidential nominee in recent history has been as openly adored by white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other right-wing extremists as Donald Trump, and on Thursday, Hillary Clinton will make the case that he should be held accountable for their embrace. In a speech in Reno, Clinton will seek to define the insurgent breed of ideology that has fueled Trump's rise as a dangerous cancer on the nation's political discourse. She is taking aim at the so-called alt-right movement, a loosely defined and relatively new network of anti-establishment activists on the right that extends from mere outside-the-box protectionist thinkers to flagrantly racist and anti-Semitic hatemongers.
Mississippi Islamic State recruit gets 8 years in prison
A Mississippi man who once tried to join the Islamic State group credited arresting FBI agents with saving his life as he was sentenced to eight years in prison Wednesday, telling a federal judge he didn't then understand what the Islamic State represented. U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock sentenced Muhammad Dakhlalla after he pleaded guilty in March to one count of conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization. He was also sentenced to 15 years of probation. The 22-year-old Dakhlalla said he was misled by internet videos he watched with former fiancee Jaelyn Young that showed Islamic State members helping people in Syria and Iraq. He said he changed his mind after watching television news coverage of Islamic State attacks while jailed.
Mississippi ACT scores dip as all high school seniors tested
Mississippi's ACT scores fell sharply in the first year that all public school seniors in the Magnolia State took the test. The state's 2016 high school graduates made an average composite score of 18.4 on the college entrance exam, dipping below the 19 that students scored in 2014 and 2015. The dip wasn't a surprise, as it includes results from spring 2015, the first time the state paid for all high school juniors to take the test. Statewide, the number of students who took the test rose by more than 6,000 to almost 36,000. Mississippi's composite score was 49th among the states.
Former Ole Miss professor charged with murder
A former Ole Miss classics professor was charged with second-degree murder on Aug. 19 in Springfield, Missouri. Edward Michael Gutting, 43, reportedly entered the home of retired co-worker Marc Cooper, 66, and stabbed him to death. Molly Pasco-Pranger chair of the Classics Department, was a colleague of Gutting' when he was a professor in the Classics Department on campus from 2003 to 2011. Pasco-Pranger said the university asked her not to say anything more about the charge. "This is a tragic situation in Missouri," Pasco-Pranger said. "Those in our department feel awful for both our former colleague and his family and especially for the victim and his family." Jon Scott, director of university communications, said the university consulted with the legal department and will not release any more information about Gutting at this time.
Researchers at USM search for Zika-carrying mosquitoes
For the last few months, Professor Donald Yee and his team of researchers at the University of Southern Mississippi have been hard at work searching for a specific type of mosquito. The species of mosquito is called Aedes Aegypti. "This is the type of mosquito that's been implicated in spreading Zika throughout portions of South America and the Caribbean," Yee said. He said this type of mosquito has not been in Mississippi for at least 20 years, but the health department fears it may return. "We've surveyed all 82 counties in the state. We've done this four times throughout the summer and we have yet to find any Aedis Aegypti mosquitoes," Yee said.
Official: Many High School Grads Not Ready For Community College
The head of Mississippi's community colleges says more than half of the students in community college are at risk of dropping out of school because they don't finish high school ready to do college-level work. Dr. Andrea Mayfield is Executive Director of the state Community College Board. She told a legislative working group this week 60 to 80 percent of junior college students require remediation. Mayfield tells MPB's Ezra Wall the challenge of remediation takes its toll on community colleges.
Northeast Mississippi Community College Development Foundation sets fundraising record
Northeast Mississippi Community College's Development Foundation had a record-setting fundraising year for 2015-16, raising more than $1.2 million for the college and its students. During its recent retreat the foundation's board of directors presented NEMCC president Ricky Ford with a check for $1,253,000 raised during the 2015-16 academic year and dispersed through awards and grants. Patrick Eaton, NEMCC vice president of institutional advancement and executive director of the foundation, said the check represents the foundation's annual giving to the college. Eaton said the money has already been allocated and spent on various projects and needs. Last year, the foundation's annual giving surpassed $1 million for the first time. Eaton said this year's total funds raised now top that record.
UGA losing two of its women deans
University of Georgia Provost Pamela Whitten launched a women's leadership initiative last year, designed to get more women in the pipeline for administrative and other leadership positions at UGA. That road has gotten a little steeper in recent weeks, however, with the resignation of two of UGA's five women deans. Sheila Allen announced to faculty in the College of Veterinary Medicine earlier this month that she would be stepping down effective Dec. 1 to take a job with the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. Stefanie Lindquist, dean of UGA's School of Public and International Affairs, is stepping down effective Sept. 1. Lindquist has taken a job as deputy provost, vice president for academic affairs and professor of law and political science at Arizona State University.
UGA seeks to push back starting date for fall 2017 semester
Next fall semester may start a little later than originally scheduled at the University of Georgia. Classes began Aug. 11 this year, the earliest start date in at least 12 years and perhaps the earliest ever. For now, the UGA school year is scheduled to begin even earlier in fall, 2017 -- on Aug. 10. But a committee of the UGA University Council voted Wednesday to recommend pushing back the start of fall semester, 2017, a few days, to Monday, Aug. 14. The committee also wants to start the Spring 2018 semester later -- on Monday, Jan. 8 instead of Thursday, Jan. 4. Starting the semesters later would also change the date of UGA's spring commencement in 2018, from Friday, May 4 to Friday, May 11.
Louisiana higher ed leaders promise 'bold' changes, which could include mergers, closures
Louisiana higher education leaders with the Board of Regents promised they would deliver a plan of "bold" recommendations for changes to the state's colleges and universities by January. Those recommendations could likely include plans for merging or closing institutions, changing two-year colleges to four-year universities and vice versa, and transferring a college or university from the control of one system to another. The plan will then go to the Louisiana Legislature, which has the power to implement such changes. The directive comes from state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, a Slidell Republican, who said she wants to see higher education officials do their part to strengthen their financial position as state resources have become increasingly limited in recent years and could continue on that path into the future.
U. of Missouri graduate student group rallies for union recognition
The Coalition for Graduate Workers at the University of Missouri hopes to keep up its momentum in the new school year, with a focus on getting university officials to recognize the group as a union. Leaders of the effort called for change during a noon rally on campus Wednesday -- the third day of the new semester -- that attracted more than 100 people. The coalition's primary focus this year will be on getting university recognition for the union -- either through an agreement or a court ruling -- so graduate student assistants can negotiate a contract, said coalition spokesman Joseph Moore. The coalition filed a lawsuit in Boone County in May seeking legal recognition as a union.
Third-party presidential candidates offer contrasting approaches to higher ed
The presidential campaign has featured considerable debate about free public higher education, student debt and other issues related to the cost of college. But Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump aren't the only ones talking. The Green Party presidential candidate is making a play for Bernie Sanders supporters with a plan to cancel all student debt, while the Libertarian Party nominee has promised to end the Department of Education. Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee, has said she wants to be the "plan B" for Sanders supporters. So far, Johnson is attracting more support in the polls than is Stein. Third-party support tends to drop as Election Day gets closer, but this is in any number of ways an unusual election year.
U. of Chicago warns incoming students not to expect safe spaces or trigger warnings
Looking for safe spaces on campus or trigger warnings on a syllabus? Incoming students at the University of Chicago have been warned they won't find either in Hyde Park. They all received a letter recently from John Ellison, dean of students, which went beyond the usual platitudes of such letters and made several points about what he called one of Chicago's "defining characteristics," which he said was "our commitment to freedom of inquiry and expression." Ellison said civility and respect are "vital to all of us," and people should never be harassed. But he added, "You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion and even disagreement. At times this may challenge you and even cause discomfort."
Lott, Meacham weigh in on 2016 race at Mississippi Book Festival
Jackson-based consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "Pulitzer Prize winning author Jon Meacham and former U.S. Senate Republican Majority Leader Trent Lott spoke at an afternoon session at the second annual Mississippi Book Festival this past weekend. Seated in the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the Mississippi State Capitol, Meacham shared insights from his latest book, 'Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush,' while Lott's perspectives drew from his book, co-authored with former Democratic Majority Leader Tom Daschle, 'Crisis Point: Whey We Must - and How We Can - Overcome Our Broken Politics in Washington and Across America.' ...Lott and Meacham discussed the atmosphere that has produced the 2016 presidential campaign. 'I think both parties have missed where the American people are. I missed it...both parties have not been listening...I think both parties -- and maybe all of us -- have been coasting,' Lott said."
Legislative committees mostly quit spending long hours on the budgets
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "At the first meeting of the working groups formed by Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who presides over the Senate, and House Speaker Philip Gunn to look at the state's spending and taxing policies, Senate Appropriations Chair Buck Clarke, R-Hollandale, lamented, 'We haven't really been doing our jobs.' One can surmise Clarke was saying the working groups formed by the speaker and lieutenant governor would allow legislators to better perform one of their core functions -- to provide oversight of the executive branch of state government. And by all means Clarke's candor is refreshing. How often do you hear politicians say they have not been doing their job? But with all due respect to the Senate chairman, who is one of the most amicable and in truth hard-working individuals in state government, the working groups are not needed for legislators to do their job or 'to do the deep dive' into the funding of state governmental agencies."
Immigration debate begins to shift
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "A decade ago, while serving as state auditor, Phil Bryant offered taxpayers a performance audit entitled 'The Impact of illegal Immigration on Mississippi: Costs and Population Trends.' ...The conclusion was that illegal immigration was costing Mississippi taxpayers about a net $25 million annually...Fast forward a decade. Phil Bryant is now in his second term as Mississippi's governor. Illegal immigration remains a potent political issue both in Mississippi and in the current presidential campaign. Republican Donald Trump's success in the GOP primaries was linked, in part, to his stance on immigration. ...But it's also noteworthy to point out that nationally, the entire issue of illegal immigration is evolving, shifting and changing. Here in Mississippi, as nationally, new voices are being heard on the issue from perspectives that are different than a decade ago."

Mississippi State's offensive line vows to decrease sacks allowed
Mississippi State's offensive line surrendered 32 sacks last season with Dak Prescott at quarterback for the majority of them. The total was nine more than the Bulldogs have ever surrendered under coach Dan Mullen and offensive line coach John Hevesy, and with a dual-threat option like Prescott who could evade other potential sack situations. The degree of difficulty in protecting MSU's quarterback, whether it be Damian Williams, Nick Fitzgerald or Nick Tiano this season, only increases this year. Prescott's replacement won't know the offense as well and nor will he possess the same escapability. The line also lost starting left tackle Rufus Warren and guard Justin Malone. Yet confidence isn't lacking.
Bulldogs' Jiles, Cleveland suffer serious injuries
Mississippi State's cornerback depth was dealt a major blow as coach Dan Mullen revealed that seniors Tolando Cleveland and Cedric Jiles will both miss significant time. Cleveland tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and will miss the entire 2016 season, while Jiles suffered a broken right arm and will be out until mid-season. In response to those injuries, both sophomore Jamal Peters and redshirt freshman Maurice Smitherman have moved from safety to corner. "Injuries are tough on us because we're already a very young team," Mullen said. "It's not the single injury, it's the trickle down affect. It hurts with the development, especially when you have a young team.
Where Mississippi State turns after injuries to both first-team corners
Mississippi State's defense was slated to be at the very worst pretty good. Brandon Bryant and Kivon Coman anchor the back at safety with Mark McLaurin and Jamal Peters as backups. At linebacker, Richie Brown returns as the team's top tackler along with Gerri Green and J.T. Gray, who also finished within the top six in tackles. Up front, A.J. Jefferson is back after a team-high 13.5 tackles for loss, and Johnathan Calvin recorded four sacks in the spring game. The only questions revolved around cornerback, with Taveze Calhoun and Will Redmond both in the NFL. Tolando Cleveland represented the silver lining with 10 starts last year as a junior. Then, coach Dan Mullen announced Cleveland would miss his entire senior season after tearing his left ACL. Cedric Jiles will also be out until October with a broken right arm. It means Mississippi State will start the season without its top three cornerbacks.
USM unveils football locker room renovation
Southern Miss unveiled its football locker room renovation to players and coaches Wednesday. It was met with rave reviews as evidenced by the raucous atmosphere throughout the new space for more than 30 minutes. Athletic director Bill McGillis said the cost of the project, which took about eight months to complete, was approximately $1.3 million. Fully furnished with state-of-the-art lockers and a new floor plan that adds more space to the existing footprint, the locker room renovation is part of a series of facility upgrades Southern Miss announced earlier this year. McGillis, who said Southern Miss is now the only college football team in the country with its own custom-made ping pong table, added there are still a few additions to be made.
Sources: NCAA's Ole Miss investigation expands beyond Laremy Tunsil
The NCAA's protracted investigation of Mississippi has taken a new twist within the last month -- investigators have interviewed players at two or more rival Southeastern Conference schools about their recruitment by the Rebels, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports. NCAA Enforcement representatives have visited Auburn and Mississippi State, and perhaps at least one more SEC Western Division school, this summer to speak with players who were recruited by Ole Miss. The players were granted immunity from potential NCAA sanctions in exchange for truthful accounts of their recruitment, sources said. Those interviews indicate that the NCAA investigation has expanded beyond the spring focus on former All-American offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.

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