Friday, July 20, 2018  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Ladybirds are not fans of AC/DC and farmers should take note
In the 1980s Australian rock band AC/DC released the song Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution, but it turns out it is, at least for ladybirds. Researchers from Mississippi State University tested how various sounds affect ecosystems and discovered ladybirds -- also known as lady bugs or lady beetles -- drastically changed their behaviour when they were subjected to noise pollution. Assistant professor and self-confessed AC/DC fan, Brandon Barton, said the research zeroed in on ladybirds because they are one of the world's most important predators of agricultural pests such as aphids. Dr Barton said the crop trial showed that noise pollution created a domino affect in the ecosystem.
 
Judge to rule on mayoral Starkville election contest today
It's been more than a year since Lynn Spruill was sworn in as the mayor of Starkville, but today could see the final decision in a protracted election contest by Democratic challenger Johnny Moore. Judge Ford is still set to rule on the election contest today at 10 a.m. Two hearings were initially scheduled earlier this month, with the meeting for Thursday canceled for undisclosed reasons. Thursday's hearing was supposed to be a meeting of Judge Ford, the election commissioners and the legal counsels for both Spruill and Moore. Oktibbeha County Circuit Clerk Tony Rook confirmed to the Starkville Daily News and other local media on Wednesday that Judge Ford had canceled Thursday's hearing.
 
Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District board approves administrative moves
Overstreet Elementary School has a new interim principal after the Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Board moved former principal Tim Bourne to a new administrative position at Tuesday's meeting. At the meeting, trustees named Bourne the Director of Accountability, Accreditation and Assessment for the district. The board also named Cynthia Milons, head teacher at Starkville High School, Overstreet's interim principal. Both have taken their new positions effective immediately. Board member Lee Brand said he feels the position changes will allow both Bourne and Milons to use their strengths to benefit the district. He said Bourne's new position will help take data for the district as a whole and break it down for use at the classroom level.
 
Thunderstorms today, dangerous high temps through weekend in Mississippi
Dangerous heat will continue Friday through the weekend with widespread heat index values of 105-110 degrees with some locations, especially western portions of the Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana approaching 115 degrees. The National Weather Service at Jackson said severe thunderstorms are also possible along and north of Interstate 20 Friday evening through late tonight. These storms will be capable of damaging wind gusts and hail up to quarter size.
 
AG Jim Hood: 'Net' around info about road proposed near Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves home
The Mississippi attorney general said Thursday that he might ask the state auditor or another independent investigator to look at records about a $2 million state road that was proposed near the lieutenant governor's home. Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood said the key question is whether there was an effort to spend taxpayer money on a project that would increase the value of property owned by a public official. "It's not about whether or not there was undue influence," Hood said. "Legislators, that's their job. I mean, citizens call on them, you know, to inquire of agencies and things about those projects." Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves responded Thursday that Hood's letter is "political grandstanding by an ambitious Democrat running for office."
 
AG Jim Hood: Frontage road evidence could have been destroyed without letter
Attorney General Jim Hood said the "litigation hold letter" he sent Wednesday to Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, senators and other state officials would ensure emails and other correspondence related to the planned $2 million frontage road on Lakeland Drive are not destroyed. Without the letter, Hood said legislators and the lieutenant governor are not required to preserve their records since they exempt themselves from the state's public records laws. Speaking with the media on Thursday, Hood said the evidence needs to be preserved to allow "an independent investigator" to examine it. He indicated that the investigation might not be done by his office, but was vague on who else might do it. He refused to answer when a reporter asked if it might be the FBI. Hood downplayed Reeves' accusations that he sent the letters and started the investigation for political reasons.
 
AG Jim Hood on road investigation: 'It's my job, public wants to know'
Attorney General Jim Hood on Thursday said he sent letters to Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, state senators and others Wednesday to prevent them from destroying evidence before he or others can look into a now-halted state road being built from Reeves' gated neighborhood. "The reason for the litigation hold letter is that with the Legislature, there's no statutory requirement for preservation of emails, texts and documents because they are exempt from the Public Records Act," Hood said. "That ought not be, but that's why I stepped into this void. It's my job, my duty ... The public wants to know about this, and if I don't do it, the public will never know." Hood, a Democrat who is expected to square off against Reeves, a Republican, in next year's gubernatorial race, promised an "independent" investigation into the road and said he might involve or hand off to others.
 
Hattiesburg accountant Carl Nicholson indicted on federal tax charges
Hattiesburg accountant Carl Nicholson, whose clients include a couple convicted of tax evasion, was arraigned in federal court Thursday on 11 tax-related charges. A shackled Nicholson seemed unfazed by his arrest. He appeared affable, joking with his attorneys and supporters who attended the hearing. Nicholson was indicted under seal in June for conspiracy to defraud the government; four counts of making a false statement on an income tax return and six counts of willfully aiding and assisting in preparation of a false tax return. He pleaded not guilty on all counts. Nicholson was released on a $50,000 unsecured bond. His trial date is set for the court term beginning Sept. 10.
 
'That's going to be special': Tensions rise as Trump invites Putin to Washington
The White House announced Thursday that Vladimir Putin has been invited to Washington this fall, even as leaders in Washington tried to fully understand what happened when President Trump and the Russian leader met earlier this week in Helsinki. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the planned visit in a tweet, saying that national security adviser John Bolton extended the invitation and that "discussions are already underway." As the late afternoon tweet landed, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats was on stage at the Aspen Security Forum in the middle of an interview with NBC's Andrea Mitchell, who broke the news to him. Coats, clearly surprised, took a deep breath. Thursday's announcement was the latest unexpected turn in a week in which Trump has faced a torrent of bipartisan criticism.
 
Foreign Service officers fear Trump may erode diplomatic immunity
The White House's suggestion that it may allow Russia to interrogate a former U.S. ambassador, among other Americans, has infuriated U.S. officials who fear such a move would badly undermine core legal protections offered to foreign service officers overseas. Although the Trump administration tried to backtrack on the issue Thursday, the anger exposed the ongoing tensions between the White House and U.S. diplomats. It also left some asking whether President Donald Trump and his top aides understood a basic pillar of international diplomacy. The concept at stake is "diplomatic immunity" -- a long agreed-upon international rule that gives diplomats of any country protection from being legally prosecuted by the countries where they are serving in embassies and other outposts.
 
Will Southern voters be swayed by Democrats' health care attacks on GOP?
In southern states where Republican opposition to Obamacare has been strongest, Democrats are using heightened concerns about healthcare to woo undecided voters and challenge GOP candidates who don't support the Affordable Care Act and its key provisions. After Republicans ran against the ACA to regain control of the House in 2010, Democrats were reluctant to embrace Obamacare as polls showed only lukewarm partisan support for the health law. But as the law's popularity grew, Democrats saw an opportunity to fight GOP repeal efforts. The Republican effort to dismantle Obamacare has continued. Nine GOP-led southern states are part of a 20-state federal lawsuit that seeks to declare the ACA unconstitutional and scrap one of its most popular provisions, the one that requires insurance companies to offer coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.
 
White House withdraws 9th Circuit nominee amid criticism over his college writings
Senate Republican leaders on Thursday abruptly scrapped a vote on the nomination of Ryan Bounds for the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, a reminder of how a single GOP senator's objection can derail a judicial confirmation when all Democrats unite against it. The White House chose to pull the nomination rather than have it fail, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas said. It was a rare setback in President Trump's otherwise impressive record of appointing judges to the federal bench. The nomination of Bounds, 45, currently an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon, appeared to be headed for confirmation earlier in the day, despite the objections of both of Oregon's Democratic senators. But Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Senate's only African American Republican, said he had reservations about some of Bounds' college writings, which dealt with racial divisions on campus. The Alliance for Justice, a liberal legal advocacy group, said Bounds used "racist and offensive language" in writings while at Stanford.
 
Fake social media posts exploding globally, Oxford study finds
Russia's social media blitz to influence the 2016 U.S. election was part of a global "phenomenon" in which a broad spectrum of governments and political parties used Internet platforms to spread junk news and disinformation in at least 48 countries last year, an Oxford University study has found. Including U.S. government programs aimed at countering extremists such as Islamic fundamentalists, about $500 million has been spent worldwide on research, development or implementation of social media "psychological operations" since 2010, the authors estimated. "The manipulation of public opinion over social media platforms has emerged as a critical threat to public life," the researchers wrote. They warned that, at a time when news consumption is increasingly occurring over the Internet, this trend threatens "to undermine trust in the media, public institutions and science."
 
What It Takes to Get an Abortion in the Most Restrictive State in the U.S.
With the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Democrats and abortion rights groups have warned of a threat to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion legal nationwide. Already, American women face increasingly different paths to getting an abortion, depending on their state. "It doesn't make a difference if it's legal if it's inaccessible," said Diane Derzis, owner of Jackson Women's Health Organization, the only remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi. "And it's definitely inaccessible to many people." Here's what it takes to get an abortion in two states with distinct approaches. California is one of eight states that have no major abortion restrictions. Mississippi is among the most restrictive states in the country. This spring, Mississippi banned nearly all abortions after 15 weeks.
 
IHL commissioner talks diversity, faculty salaries at listening tour's Lyceum stop
Commissioner of Higher Education Al Rankins spoke to Ole Miss students and faculty and Oxford residents at the Lyceum on Tuesday, where he answered questions on University culture, environment, finances and external relationships. The commissioner's open forum at Ole Miss was part of his "Listening Tour," on which Rankins will visit public universities throughout the state. Rankins began the meeting with expressing great interest in hearing the community's concerns and input about the university. Rankins said his main goal as commissioner is to focus on education attainment within the state of Mississippi. "I think that is the key in solving many of the socio economic issues that we face in this state," Rankins said. "It is key for our state moving forward."
 
Ole Miss alumnus starts scholarship, prints book, to honor twin brother
One year ago this week, Ole Miss graduate Benson Reed Ingram took his own life after years of suffering from anxiety and depression. Thanks to his twin brother Lee, that's not where Ben's story ends. In the year since his brother's death, Lee Ingram embarked on a journey to, as he put it, learn more about his brother and preserve his legacy. This led to the creation of the Benson Reed Ingram Scholarship, which, once funded, will be awarded to at least one Ole Miss junior accepted as a late entry into the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. Not long after Ben's death, Ingram said he embarked on a sort of scavenger hunt to discover more about his brother and his time at Ole Miss. Ingram admitted the aftermath of his brother's death was a devastating time for his family. However, he also said the determination to make his brother's final act work for good was there from the beginning.
 
July 30 is EC Day at the Neshoba County Fair
The annual EC Day at the Neshoba County Fair celebrating East Central Community College in Decatur is scheduled for Monday, July 30, at the Neshoba County Fairgrounds in Philadelphia. ECCC alumni, students and prospective students and their families, and all fair goers are invited to attend. The ECCC Collegians rock-n-roll band, the Warrior cheerleaders and the Centralettes dance line are some of the entertainment scheduled for 1 to 2 p.m. at the Founders Square Pavilion. East Central Community College President Billy Stewart is scheduled to provide a college update, and representatives from the college's student services, alumni, athletics, MI-BEST, and Families First offices will be on hand.
 
William Carey opens pharmacy school: 'Maybe we can end the shortage'
Hattiesburg resident Gloria Rawls had always wanted a career in the medical field. The 2015 William Carey grad is finally pursuing her dream. She's one of 58 students in the first class to enter Carey's new School of Pharmacy on the Tradition Campus in Biloxi. Carey's program is only the second in the state and it's the first professional school on the Coast. For Rawls, the location is perfect. She wouldn't have been able to attend pharmacy school at Ole Miss, the state's other program, because she has a son, 10, and a daughter, 6. "I think this is great," she said. "I can drive right down the road. I'm excited and ready for it to start." This first class of students will be looking for jobs in two years, 10 months. Carey has an accelerated program. It usually takes four years to get a degree, but students here will be taking classes year-round in four terms of 10 weeks each.
 
East Mississippi Community College's 'Mr. Johnny' serves up food, hospitality for 45 years
Johnny Boyd, 60, began working in in the cafeteria on East Mississippi Community College's Scooba campus as a dishwasher before he was old enough to drive. Forty-five years later, "Mr. Johnny," as he is called by students, can be found most days in the same cafeteria where he now serves as head chef. "These are my kids," Boyd said of the students, many of whom he helps feed two, and sometimes three, times a day. "They will come and say, 'You must have cooked this Mr. Johnny because it is so good.'" Recently, Sodexo, which operates the cafeterias on EMCC's Scooba and Golden Triangle campuses, presented Boyd with a 32-inch flat screen TV and a plaque recognizing his 40 years of fulltime employment with the Scooba cafeteria, which is located in the F.R. Young Student Union. Boyd was promoted to a fulltime position in the cafeteria at the age of 20 after having worked there since the age of 15 as a part time dishwasher. A lot has changed over the years since he was first hired.
 
Six honored by U. of Alabama business school
The founder of Sister Schubert's Homemade Rolls and the frontman of the country music band Alabama are among the 2018 inductees to the University of Alabama Culverhouse College of Business' Alabama Business Hall of Fame. They will be honored in a Nov. 15 celebration at the Hyatt-Regency Birmingham-The Wynfrey Hotel. Barnes founded her bread company in her home kitchen using her grandmother's yeast-roll recipe. She transformed the business into a national brand that produces more than 9 million rolls per day with distribution in each state in the country as well as abroad. She attended Troy University, Auburn University and UA. The Hall of Fame was founded in 1973 by the college's Board of Visitors to honor individuals in business who have brought lasting fame to the state of Alabama.
 
U. of Alabama to begin charging for after hours, weekend parking
Students attending the University of Alabama will have an added expense when they hit the books this fall. It will now cost $100 per year to park a car on campus after hours and on weekends for students who do not already have a pass, according to the University of Alabama's Transportation Services Division. Students and staff who already purchase a normal daytime parking pass will not have to purchase an evening pass. The only people who will need these permits are those who need to park on campus after hours, according to a University spokesperson. The new "evening permit" is available now, as the additional rules were put into effect earlier this month. UA's Transportation Services tells CBS 42 that the new policies were put in place to avoid abuse of current free parking, saying students were parking cars overnight and leaving them in lots and parking decks into the following day.
 
Drone fans explore the world of engineering, including robotics, at Auburn's Drone Camp
At age 14, Georgia resident Dawson Pent already knows what he wants to be when he's older: either a robotics or electrical engineer. And he's not alone. Many of the students who participated in the Drone Camp through Auburn University's Office of Professional and Continuing Education this summer either have an overall interest in science or wish to one day pursue a career in the field. "I want to program things, and I just thought this would be a really cool thing to do," Pent said of Drone Camp. "You learn about the anatomy of it, you fly it, and you also get to program it." During the course of the week, campers learned about drones and how to pilot them. Equipped with engineering notebooks, campers were also taught about engineering design and were challenged to put their hands-on skills to the test in different games and activities.
 
U. of Florida to build parking garage, raise decal prices
University of Florida officials have heard the woes about its parking situation for decades, and it seems their faculty and staff will be paying for a partial solution -- with annual parking decal costs going up 22 percent over a four-year span. UF faculty and staff members who bought orange parking decals withstood a 7 percent price hike last year, and are set to face a 7 percent increase next May, then 4 percent hikes each of the next two years. After the first 7 percent jump, annual orange-lot parking decals will go from $378 a year to $434 by 2020. "We tried our best not to throw it on them all at once," said Craig Hill, associate vice president for UF Business Affairs. The decal-price increases will help pay for a new six- or seven-story, 1,900-spot parking garage, called Garage 14, on Gale Lemerand Drive at what is known as UF's commuter lot.
 
Here's how to get free textbooks (and possibly improve your grade) at the U. of South Carolina
As the cost of college continues to increase, a growing number of University of South Carolina students may be able to save money by getting their textbooks for free. Free digital textbooks -- which academics call Open Educational Resources, or OERs -- can help reduce the $1,000 USC students and $1,346 Clemson University students pay every year for books and supplies. At least 24 professors in seven different colleges at USC offer OER textbooks for their students online, free of charge, said USC Librarian Aimee Freeman. Clemson offers a similar program, according to its website. Though USC lets professors make the final call on what to use as textbooks, the university -- and especially student government -- has encouraged professors to switch to free online textbooks. Student Body President Taylor Wright said he met with Provost Joan Gabel on Monday and she was "100 percent on-board" with enabling professors to switch to OERs, something USC spokesman Jeff Stensland confirmed.
 
U. of Missouri forms education partnership with Navy center
University of Missouri administrators have signed an education partnership agreement with the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division of Naval Air Systems Command in China Lake, California. The agreement is designed to put MU faculty, researchers and students in a position to partner on advanced national security development efforts. The partnership, including interdisciplinary researchers from MU's College of Arts and Science and College of Engineering, will foster the exchange of ideas, research and equipment and provide students internships and career development opportunities. The center's mission is to provide support for naval aviation aircraft, weapons and systems operated by the U.S. Navy and Marines.
 
Former DC Interns Share How They Got Their Feet in the Door
Capitol Hill interns are often assumed to be college students with a natural political network. They've got an "in" in D.C. or they have -- a word most people hate -- "connections." But for the thousands of interns who flock to the Hill and Washington over the summer, who you know isn't the only path to the nation's capital. There are a number of programs that help them get a foot in the political door. Madeline Peterson was a rising senior when she interned last summer at the Republican National Committee through its Eisenhower Intern Program. Since graduating from the University of Alabama, she has signed on as a special assistant at the RNC. "I do feel fortunate in that when I was an intern last summer, people were very willing to help me network, and I didn't have any connections in politics, in D.C. especially, because I'm not from the area," the 22-year-old Illinois native said.
 
Peril for Private Colleges: A Survey of Business Officers
Private four-year colleges may be getting real about their institutions' financial future, to judge by the views of the men and women closest to their balance sheets. Inside Higher Ed's 2018 Survey of College and University Business Officers finds that just 44 percent of chief financial officers at four-year baccalaureate colleges say they are confident their college will be financially stable over the next 10 years, down from 52 percent a year ago and 54 percent in 2016. That has the chief business officers of those institutions thinking much more seriously than they have in the past about taking drastic measures. Business officers over all are modestly more confident about their institutions' financial sustainability over a decade than they were last year. Public college CBOs are more upbeat than their private college peers.
 
Some Colleges Cautiously Embrace Wikipedia
LiAnna Davis remembers when people didn't want to talk to her at academic conferences: "I had this woman one time who held her folder up over her head and was like, 'Don't let my department chair see me talking to you guys, but I'm so glad you're here.'" Davis works for Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that was once considered anathema to the academic mission. She's director of programs for its higher-education-focused nonprofit arm, Wiki Education. Academics have traditionally distrusted Wikipedia, citing the inaccuracies that arise from its communally edited design and lamenting students' tendency to sometimes plagiarize assignments from it. Now, Davis said, higher education and Wikipedia don't seem like such strange bedfellows. At conferences these days, "everyone's like, 'Oh, Wikipedia, of course you guys are here.'"
 
UVA professors object to a senior fellowship for high-ranking Trump surrogate
The University of Virginia's Miller Center for the study of the U.S. presidency, public policy and political history likes to hire thinkers who have worked within presidential administrations, Republican and Democrat alike. Indeed, the current center roster includes faculty members and fellows who have served under each president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. But some employees of the center and broader university are objecting to the appointment of a new senior fellow. Marc Short, currently President Trump's director of legislative affairs, is scheduled to begin at Virginia next month. Some critics of the appointment say that working closely with Trump should automatically exclude one from work at the nonpartisan Miller Center. Some don't. Yet all critics agree that Short is unfit for work at Virginia, charging that he is too aligned with Trump on key issues -- including the president's controversial response to the violence in surrounding Charlottesville, Va., last year.


SPORTS
 
Mississippi State's Nick Fitzgerald tweaks throwing mechanics
In two seasons as Mississippi State's starting quarterback, Nick Fitzgerald has never had a season completion percentage greater than 56 percent; only seven times in those 25 starts has he finished a single game above 65 percent. Now he plays for a coach, Joe Moorhead, who expects a 65 percent completion percentage for the season. Even while rehabilitating a gruesome ankle injury, Fitzgerald spent an offseason working his way to that number. At Southeastern Conference Media Days Wednesday, Fitzgerald revealed that he has spent some time this offseason tweaking his throwing motion. "It's very small tweaks that are going to make me a more consistent passer," Fitzgerald said.
 
Mississippi State's Aeris Williams added to Doak Walker watch list
Mississippi State senior running back Aeris Williams was added to the preseason watch list for the Doak Walker Award on Thursday. The Doak Walker Award is presented annually to the top running back in college football. Williams was also a preseason candidate for the honor last year. The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder from West Point ran 236 times for 1,107 yards and six touchdowns in 2017 and also caught 16 passes for 142 yards. Williams eclipsed 100-yards in four games last fall and was the first running back to rush for over 1,000 yards since 2014.
 
Could New Orleans one day host SEC Media Days?
With SEC Media Days making the move to Atlanta this week after 33 years in the area of Birmingham, Alabama, the doors may be opening for the four-day event to begin traveling to other cities in the southeast. The event returns to Hoover, Alabama, in 2019, but the question then becomes: Where could the event go in the future? SEC associate commissioner Herb Vincent said conference officials will meet soon to weigh the pros of cons of moving out of Hoover. While the SEC hasn't decided if it will bid out sites after 2019, Vincent listed Nashville, Dallas, Orlando and New Orleans as locations under consideration. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said Monday he would like to see the event travel. They haven't talked in-depth about New Orleans yet, Vincent said, and they would have to ensure it's not too far from other schools, but it's one that would be considered.
 
NFL, union to postpone anthem plan enforcement
The NFL and National Football League Players Association have agreed to halt enforcement of rules regarding the new national anthem policy while the two sides work on a resolution. The league and its players union issued a joint statement late Thursday, hours after The Associated Press reported that Miami Dolphins players who protest on the field during the anthem could be suspended for up to four games under a team policy issued this week. Miami's anthem policy came after the NFL decided in May that teams would be fined if players didn't stand during "The Star-Spangled Banner" while on the field. The league left it up to teams on how to punish players.
 
NCAA to Study Possible Effects of Widespread Legal Wagering
The NCAA plans to study how the expansion of legalized betting could affect college athletics and member schools. The NCAA announced Thursday it will create a working group of "subject matter experts" to assess areas such as officiating, NCAA rules, federal and state laws, and the use of integrity services. NCAA leadership has already called for federal regulation on sports betting. NCAA rules prohibit sports wagering by athletes and athletic department employees. "While we certainly respect the Supreme Court's decision, our position on sports wagering remains," said Donald Remy, NCAA chief legal officer. "With this new landscape, we must evolve and expand our long-standing efforts to protect both the integrity of competitions and the well-being of student-athletes."



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