Monday, October 12, 2015  SUBSCRIBE   
Sen. Thad Cochran: Mississippi gets $1.9M to detect food benefit fraud
The Mississippi Department of Human Services and Mississippi State University have been granted more than $1.9 million to help combat waste, fraud and abuse in the federal food benefit program. U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, in a news release Friday, said the two entities will team up to develop and install an early detection and fraud management system to analyze patterns of fraud within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Local entrepreneurs learn how to imagine their new business
Union Station was abuzz Wednesday morning with the sound of pre-meeting conversation as a capacity crowd filtered in for Meridian Main Street's "Just Imagine It" event. The fourth in a series, the seminar was for owners of existing businesses who are thinking of adding another service or business to what they offer. A lineup of local and state presenters covered a variety of topics, from local demographics and psychographics, to developing an online presence and how to innovate. Dr. Roberto Gallardo, of the Mississippi State University Extension Intelligent Community Institute, spoke about digital disruption. "Digital disruption is all about a mindset. It's all about understanding what the digital age is bringing," Gallardo said. "It boils down to mostly everyone has the tools to market, test, refine and eventually disrupt an industry."
As Halloween approaches, so does 'Dracula' at Mississippi State
The L.A. Theatre Works presentation of a legendary horror tale is the next Lyceum Series program at Mississippi State. "Dracula" will be performed Oct. 20 in Bettersworth Auditorium of the university's historic Lee Hall. The curtain rises at 7 p.m. -- or approximately 45 minutes after that day's sun has set. General admission tickets are $25 and may be purchased online or by visiting the Colvard Student Union, Suite 314. The play is based on Bram Stoker's novel that debuted in 1897 with little fanfare. Over the decades, however, the Irish author's gothic classic has been retold in numerous movie and television productions, as well as in numerous contemporary spin-offs.
Prospective students invited to Mississippi State's Music Discovery Day
Mississippi State's music department will welcome nearly a hundred prospective music and music education majors and their families Nov. 9 for the university's ninth-annual Music Discovery Day. Nov. 4 is the deadline for online registration at During a 9 a.m.-3 p.m. open house, high school juniors and seniors, as well as community college students, will have opportunities for one-on-one visits with faculty members and current students. Music Discovery Day provides a wonderful opportunity for prospective students to come see what life is like at Mississippi State and learn about all the exciting things that are happening in our department," said event coordinator Tara Warfield.
Hattiesburg company builds bones of Mississippi State dorms
Scott Smith has seen his share of large projects and tight-window orders during his 30 years in steel-frame component construction. But Smith said he never had been involved with a contract that required the kind of massive output over such a constricted timeframe as the one that Super Stud Building Products Inc. recently wrapped. The Hattiesburg company was subcontracted to build the bones -- steel studs and wall framings -- for a pair of new residence halls at Mississippi State University, a $60.5 million project that is scheduled to open for occupancy at the beginning of the 2016 fall semester. "The big thing I want to point out is that that steel for this was melted in Mississippi, processed and rolled in Mississippi, panelized in Mississippi and finally built in Mississippi," Smith said. "That's all Mississippi jobs. That's very seldom done, but on this project it was."
Fall a great time for kids to be outside
As the leaves begin to change colors, Mississippi State University experts have several suggestions for getting children more involved in outdoor activities. Leslie Burger, assistant Extension professor in the Mississippi State University Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, said kids copy the actions of their parents. If parents want their children to go outside this fall season, they must lead the way and become active and connected with nature themselves. Beth Bell, a family and consumer sciences agent with the MSU Extension Service in Tallahatchie County, suggested competing in a 5K run as a way for children and their parents to spend some quality outdoor time together.
Mississippi bracing for possible bird flu virus
The costliest bird flu outbreak in U.S. history that devastated chicken flocks in the Midwest earlier this year has Mississippi poultry farmers and state and federal officials preparing for the worst. According to the president of the Mississippi Poultry Association, Mark Leggett, the flu virus is carried by wild migratory birds, such as ducks and geese. Leggett said Mississippi has six broiler companies that raise meat chickens, and about 1,800 poultry farms around the state, mainly in East Central Mississippi. Gov. Phil Bryant, Commissioner of Agriculture Cindy Hyde-Smith, State Veterinarian Dr. Jim Watson, and officials with Mississippi State University have all been meeting to prepare for a response if the bird flu were to strike the state. "There has been a lot of coordination going on, and lessons learned from the way Iowa and Minnesota handled the problem," Leggett said. "A lot of work at the state and federal level has been going on all summer to prevent it, and how to respond if it does happen."
After maintenance issues, Starkville bolstering sanitation fleet
Starkville's purchase of a street sweeper and upcoming deals for garbage trucks will fill immediate needs for the city, but Mayor Parker Wiseman said Thursday he could not rule out future equipment buys if the sanitation department's expected revenues exceed conservative projections this fiscal year. Aldermen approved a $291,499 bid for a new street sweeper -- which includes the unit, delivery, a three-year warranty and quarterly preventive maintenance for three years -- Tuesday and OK'd another bid process to buy two 40-yard, front-loading garbage trucks for its commercial fleet.
Supreme Court sides with Galanis family in appeal
A civil lawsuit against 21 Apartments' ownership may go forward after the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled the complex could be held liable for failing to warn Andreas Galanis of his roommate's alleged violent tendencies. Bobby Batiste, the roommate, was convicted of murdering Galanis in 2008, and the victim's family went on to sue the apartment complex's owners for failure to provide a reasonably safe premises, failure to warn about the violent tendencies and failure to perform adequate background checks.
Luke Bryan concert goes off without a hitch
Local law enforcement had mentally braced itself for a long evening last Wednesday, when thousands converged upon a farm near Artesia to see a country music star. But the fifth stop on the Luke Bryan Farm Tour went on with little incident, according to Lowndes County Sheriff Office deputy Billy Wood. Wood was among approximately 60 deputies -- some reserve or part-time -- who helped provide security and manage traffic surrounding the concert. He said other than a few fights, the show was a success. Ten people were arrested by LCSO, primarily for disorderly conduct or public intoxication, Wood said. He said no tickets for driving under the influence were issued by LCSO on the scene.
Gulfport's Mississippi Aquarium would eclipse Coast tourist attractions
The Mississippi Aquarium planned for Gulfport's waterfront would create a visitor experience "significantly larger in scale" than any Coast attraction, a marketing study says. The Gulfport Redevelopment Commission, which owns 12 acres downtown where the aquarium would be built, is talking about an initial investment of $40 million. Mayor Billy Hewes believes the money will be there. The city already has a $24.5 million commitment from the Mississippi Legislature, and is requesting BP Restore Act funds to make up the difference. Education will be a big part of the aquarium's mission. The city is forging partnerships with the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Lab for marine science and Mississippi State University's veterinary school.
Prairie Industrial Site assessment moves ahead
The second phase of assessment of the 308-acre Prairie Industrial Site is underway. In a recent public hearing, representatives of Earthcon, Stanley Consultants and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality provided an overview of their findings during the first phase. The environmental assessment was made possible through a $350,000 federal Brownfields grant awarded to the county and city of Aberdeen last year. The county and city jointly own the Prairie Industrial Site located on property formerly occupied by the much larger Gulf Ordnance Plant, which manufactured munitions during World War II.
State employees paying more for piecemeal insurance
Thousands of Mississippi government and school employees could be paying less and -- or have better dental, vision and other supplemental insurance coverage if they had a statewide contract. But instead, each of more than 100 state agencies plus school districts and higher education entities has its own smaller contract with its favorite insurer. There is no requirement to competitively bid or get proposals for the best price or coverage. And some Mississippi-based insurance companies say out-of-state companies -- some that may be sidestepping rules, regulations and taxes -- are getting many agencies' business. They say they're being shut out in a process that is not very transparent or open for competition or regulated for fairness.
School-funding initiative supporters outraise opponents
The most expensive ballot initiative campaign in Mississippi history got costlier in September, as supporters of the Initiative 42 education funding measure continued to outraise opponents. However, opponents for the first time reported substantial contributions in filings Friday with the secretary of state, including from top Republican officials and state trade associations. Better Schools, Better Jobs --- the political committee backing Initiative 42 -- raised $357,000 in September. Of that, all but $40,000 came from the New Venture Fund, a Washington, D.C., charity that has given Better Schools, Better Jobs nearly $2 million over two years. One opposition group, the Improve Mississippi Political Initiative Committee, raised $200,000 last month.
Transportation sleeper issue in Mississippi election?
For Gaylon Reed, the choice is stark -- break the law or let his rice crop rot in the field. The 47-year-old Reed has been farming on the Panola-Quitman county line with his father for 29 years. All that time, he's driven trucks and tractors across the bridges on Mississippi 6 that connect his family's fields and link them to ports where grain is shipped. But last fall, state transportation officials called farmers and other haulers to a meeting in Clarksdale and told them the artery's bridges are so deteriorated that they were unsafe for heavy trucks to cross. For a time, Reed said, officials were ticketing trucks exceeding weight limits. Reed's case illustrates Mississippi's struggle to maintain roads and bridges. Amid talk of education and the economy, transportation is a less prominent issue in this November's election. But a major push to improve state funding could be coming in the 2016 Legislature, which means officials elected this fall will decide whether Mississippi will raise taxes to pay for asphalt and bridges.
'Mailbox wars' key to Mississippi House campaigns
The campaign in the mailbox is beginning for residents of certain Mississippi legislative districts. Every trip to the porch, the end of the driveway or the apartment's mailbox cluster between now and Nov. 3 may bring a flyer promoting or attacking a candidate running for a local House or Senate seat. Especially in the House of Representatives, where a member represents 24,000 people, direct mail is one of the most effective ways to communicate with voters. The districts are typically so small that most people who see local television and radio ads don't live in the district. Increasingly, campaign finance reports reflect spending on Facebook and other online ads, although even those can be hard to target down to a legislative district. But the mainstay of campaigning, besides knocking on doors, is the mail.
Hundreds rally in Jackson against Confederate sign on flag
Civil-rights leader Myrlie Evers-Williams, Mississippi-born rapper David Banner and a prominent South Carolina lawmaker are calling on Mississippi to remove the Confederate battle emblem from its state flag. About 400 people took part in a change-the-flag rally Oct. 11 outside the Mississippi Capitol. No alternative design was proposed, but rally leaders said the flag is racially divisive. Three men holding large flags with various Confederate emblems watched the rally from a distance across the Capitol lawn. Despite widespread discussion of the flag in recent months, including rallies by people supporting it, there has been little movement to make a change.
Choctaw chief to focus on election reform, economic growth
At her inaugural speech earlier this week, re-elected Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Chief Phyliss J. Anderson vowed to reform the tribe's election process. This year, and in 2011, members of the MBCI's 17-member Tribal Council voted to overturn run-off election results in which Anderson was pitted against former Chief Beasley Denson. In both cases, the tribal council ordered another run-off with Anderson emerging the victor. In the second runoff earlier this year, Anderson beat Denson by a 52-48 percent margin and her re-election was finally upheld. David Vowell, president of the Community Development Partnership for Philadelphia and Neshoba County, said Anderson will play a vital role in promoting area growth.
Anita Hill champions equality during Jackson visit
Anita Hill, a champion for women's rights and equality, drove home the idea that "a home is more than bricks and mortar" during the Mississippi Women's Economic Security Policy Summit on Saturday at the Jackson Convention Complex. Hill, a professor of social policy, law and women's studies at Brandeis University, made no reference to 1991 when she accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in the workplace. Instead, she focused on the idea of where one lives as an indicator of access to equal opportunity. "Think about all of the things that turn on home," said Hill, author of the 2011 book, "Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race and Finding Home." An audience of 400 people, mostly women, attended the summit sponsored by the Mississippi Women's Economic Security Initiative Leadership Team.
Congressman Gregg Harper: House needs to focus on its efforts
As House Republicans bicker over who should replace outgoing Speaker of the House John Boehner, Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) said they need to focus on passing bills and helping elect a new president. On Thursday, Harper's choice to replace Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), withdrew his candidacy for speaker in the Republican-controlled House. Boehner told the Associated Press he will remain speaker until his party can solve their internal struggle with a conservative caucus within the Republican party. For Harper, the House needs to return to functioning as an elected, legislative body. "We have to get back to regular order," Harper said while visiting Meridian for the groundbreaking of the $45 million Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience. "We have some appropriation bills that we have to do."
Insurance Dropouts Present a Challenge for Health Law
Stephanie Douglas signed up for health insurance in January with the best intentions. She had suffered a stroke and needed help paying for her medicines and care. The plan she chose from the federal insurance exchange sounded affordable -- $58.17 a month after the subsidy she received under the Affordable Care Act. But Ms. Douglas, 50, who was working about 30 hours a week in Yazoo City, Miss., as a dollar store cashier and a services coordinator at an apartment complex for older adults, soon realized that her insurance did not fit in her tight monthly budget. She stopped paying her premiums in April and lost her coverage a few months later. In Mississippi, even though 95 percent of those who enrolled -- more than in any other state -- received subsidies, the state still has had among the highest rates of attrition from marketplace plans this year. Experts also point to another factor behind dropping or losing coverage: confusion.
How Common Core quietly won the war
Note to 2016 GOP contenders: The Common Core has won the war. Republican presidential candidates are still bashing the divisive K-12 standards. Donald Trump recently called the Common Core a "complete disaster," and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz proclaimed they should be abolished -- along with the Education Department. But it's too late. Ask most any third grader: Just as Common Core and rigorous standards cheerleader-in-chief, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, prepares to step down, the standards that naysayers love to call "Obamacore" have become the reality on the ground for roughly 40 million students -- or about four out of every five public school kids. As Common Core becomes more commonplace in public schools (and in many Catholic schools), some prominent Republicans concede they've lost their battle.
Princeton professor Angus Deaton wins Nobel Prize in economics
Angus Deaton, a professor at Princeton, has won the Nobel Prize in economics for his research into how people rich and poor make decisions about what to buy and how much to save. Recognizing Deaton for his "analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare," the Nobel Prize committee cited his diverse contributions to study of consumer spending, with particular attention to the world's poorest. Deaton has changed how economists think as well as how they conduct their research -- helping bridge the divide between those who study the choices of individuals and those who study the greater economic forces that shape countries.
Aurora Flight Sciences Drone Project Lacks Pentagon Orders Needed to Stay Aloft
A Virginia contractor is waging a difficult campaign to provide the Pentagon a different type of surveillance drone, featuring propellers on the wings and unmatched endurance. Aurora Flight Sciences Corp., of Manassas, Va., has spent five years working on the lumbering Orion -- with two engines producing a normal cruising speed below 90 miles an hour -- and last year the drone won the world flight-endurance record for an unmanned aircraft by staying aloft for 80 hours. But so far, neither that pedigree nor an increasingly public marketing campaign by the financially strapped company has overcome skepticism from military brass favoring larger contractors building much faster drones. At this point, Orion hasn't snared any orders from the military, and its builder is scrambling to line up foreign customers and private financing to avoid shuttering the entire program. It has no orders to fill at a Mississippi plant the company designed to build a dozen Orions annually.
Cyberwar Ignites a New Arms Race
Countries toiled for years and spent billions of dollars to build elaborate facilities that would allow them to join the exclusive club of nations that possessed nuclear weapons. Getting into the cyberweapon club is easier, cheaper and available to almost anyone with cash and a computer. A series of successful computer attacks carried out by the U.S. and others has kicked off a frantic and destabilizing digital arms race, with dozens of countries amassing stockpiles of malicious code. The proliferation of these weapons has spread so widely that the U.S. and China---longtime cyber adversaries---brokered a limited agreement last month not to conduct certain types of cyberattacks against each other, such as intrusions that steal corporate information and then pass it along to domestic companies. Cyberattacks that steal government secrets, however, remain fair game.
Why religion still matters: Church attendance down, but those who go more devout
It could be hard to make your way to pray at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Manhattan on Sunday mornings. There's the distraction of New York City pulling you elsewhere -- the pace, the intensity, the famousness of it all. Then there are the thoughtful, sometimes vital, diversions of the St. Bart's community itself: the outdoor cafe, the homeless shelter, the Thomas Merton books in the lobby. There are invitations to programs ranging from mindful eating to Bible study, yoga, and tai chi. Amid these distractions, hundreds nevertheless do find their way to pray on Sunday mornings at the imposing complex on Park Avenue. The congregation knows its job: Sit, stand, recite familiar prayers in between the Scripture readings, sermon, and announcements. The tableau on Sundays at St. Bart's symbolizes an important reality about religion in America: It is far from dead, even though it may not always seem that way.
MUW's Welty Gala to feature best-selling author, satirist P.J. O'Rourke
This year's Mississippi University for Women's Welty Gala will feature best-selling author and political satirist P.J. O'Rourke. O'Rourke, who was called "the funniest writer in America" by both Time and The Wall Street Journal, will speak at the gala on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. in the Mary Ellen Weathersby Pope Banquet Room on MUW's campus. The Welty Gala is part of the Welty Series, which MUW holds every October in honor of the university's world-renowned alumna, writer Eudora Welty. The university will also host the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium Oct. 22-24. "The Welty Gala is an important event to raise scholarships for well-deserved students," MUW President Jim Borsig said. "Also, it is an opportunity for the community and the area to experience well-known speakers."
Campus Book Mart a one-stop shop in Oxford
Campus Book Mart has been in Oxford for 25 years. But it's only been in the current location for a few months. Back in May and June, the store began a transition from the old location in the Oxford Mall. For a while they maintained both locations. Now Campus Book Mart is located in one place, the Oakwood Plaza Shopping Center between Anytime Fitness and Johnson's Discount Furniture. Store Manager Matt Johnson said they are enjoying their new home, but it's still a work in progress.
UM faculty authors to face off in 'Literary Death Match'
Faculty members of the University of Mississippi Department of English will compete in the first Oxford edition of "Literary Death Match" at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Powerhouse. "'Literary Death Match' takes place around the nation and around the world -- Shanghai, Paris, London, now Oxford -- celebrating literary talent," said Beth Ann Fennelly, professor of English and director of the Ole Miss master of fine arts program in creative writing. "If I had to summarize what it is, it would be a cross between a literary reading, 'American Idol' and a stand-up comedy show." Proceeds will benefit the Barry Hannah Fund, which the MFA program uses to recruit students.
Confederate symbolism conversation comes to the Grove at UM
The conversation surrounding the Confederate flag came to the Grove when a group began handing out #finsup #flagsdown stickers Saturday. Nearly a dozen students, alumni and faculty led by Mary Alex Thigpen wore and handed out the stickers in favor of removing the Confederate symbol. Many tents in the Grove have for some time now sported Confederate flags or emblems, like that of Forrest Daws, a Wayne County native who played basketball for Ole Miss in 1999. "Actually, I'm offended that people look at that and automatically assume I'm racist because they have no earthly idea why I fly that flag," Daws said. Donald Cole, assistant provost and assistant to the chancellor concerning minority affairs, came to meet the people who volunteered to hand out stickers. "I wanted to come and meet some of the people who are associated with it," Cole said. "The group wanted to do things the right way: nothing confrontational, just educational."
UM to rework Whirlpool facility for recreation, transportation
The University of Mississippi plans to renovate part of the old Whirlpool plant across Highway 6/278 from the main campus to expand campus recreational offerings and another part as a transportation hub. "We are looking to add to our recreational facility, but the Turner Center (the current campus recreation center) cannot expand," said Ian Banner, campus architect and director of facilities planning. "We are looking to utilize part of the old Whirlpool building -- part of it, not all by any means -- to revitalize what we can, to remove what we can't use and to turn it into a full-blown recreational center. Inside it will have court spaces, climbing spaces, the general rec center features that you'd typically see. It's not intended to replace the Turner Center; it's a both/and, complementary thing."
USM second stop on college cotton manufacturing/marketing project
Dozens of business students from across the Magnolia State were at the University of Southern Mississippi Friday for the second part of a project to learn more about manufacturing and merchandising opportunities using cotton. A Cotton Coterie at Scianna Hall gave students a chance to hear from professionals in apparel manufacturing, small business development and fashion show management. It is all part of Mississippi Cotton: Weaving Futures 2015, which is a partnership among USM, Mississippi State University and Delta State University.
Rust College settles with accusers
Rust College paid an undisclosed sum to settle a sexual misconduct case brought by three former students at the Holly Springs campus. By settling the civil case, the college, president David Beckley and former professor Sylvester Oliver avoided what could have been an intensive trial. "The case has been settled and the terms are confidential," said Sam Cherry, senior partner for the Cochran Firm in Memphis that represented the women. "Our clients are all satisfied."
U. of Alabama joins nationwide initiative in STEM fields
The University of Alabama is among approximately 25 institutions nationwide working together to develop resources to help create sustainable change and improve participation by minority women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. "The goal is to bring together nationally institutions that are doing a lot of great things and begin to share best practices and information, what works what doesn't, and build a broad coalition of partners that help with the recruitment and retention and persistence of women in STEM," said Patty Sobecky, UA associate provost for academic affairs.
Controversy amid U. of Alabama homecoming queen crowning
The 2015 homecoming queen contest, like many other campus elections at the University of Alabama, saw reports of voting improprieties. The latest controversy was sparked early last week by the release of photos of alleged conversations between members of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority chapter in which the young women were reminded to support Phi Mu sorority member Katelyn Katsafanas instead of fellow sorority member Halle Lindsay. The Alpha Gamma Delta members were warned of the social and political consequences of publicly supporting Lindsay in place of Katsafanas, who is reportedly backed by the campus' secretive organization of fraternities and sororities called the Machine, which has long dominated campus politics by successfully turning out a reliable voting bloc for candidates it selects.
Burglaries, sexual offenses at Auburn University declined in 2014, Clery Act report shows
Auburn University saw a decrease in burglaries and sexual offenses in 2014 compared to 2013, according to the university's annual Clery Act report. Since 1990, universities across the United States have been federally mandated to collect crime statistics and create annual Clery Act reports from that data for the public. This year, Auburn University 's main campus report detailed crimes committed on campus in 2014. There was a decrease in burglaries: 34 in 2013 and 22 in 2014. Auburn Police Division Chief Paul Register said the division has been working to reduce the number of burglaries since 2008.
Arkansas Poultry Industry Braces for Bird Flu
Many Arkansans are looking skyward, eager to see migrating ducks from the north flying though the state when hunting season opens in November. Many other Arkansans are looking in the same direction, but with anxiety rather than eagerness. The ducks bring with them both the potential of hunting enjoyment and bird flu -- also known as highly pathogenic avian influenza, the dreaded H5N2 virus. A string of outbreaks this past spring, when migratory birds were flying north, devastated Minnesota and Iowa and even touched briefly in north Arkansas. Dustan Clark is the poultry veterinarian for the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture's Cooperative Extension Service and associate director of the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science. His job during the Boone County outbreak was to contact hobby growers -- people who keep a few chickens in their backyard -- within a 6.2-mile radius of the infected farm and alert them of the danger and see if the backyard birds showed signs of infection.
Cotton Inc. Honors U. of Arkansas Cotton Breeder Fred Bourland
Fred Bourland, a cotton breeder for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, will be inducted by Cotton Inc. into the 2015 class of the Cotton Research & Promotion Hall of Fame. Bourland, director of the division's Northeast Research & Extension Center in Keiser (Mississippi County), will be honored in December with four members of the Hall of Fame's second class of inductees. In a career of more than 40 years, Bourland developed valuable plant measurements and techniques that aided the release of more than 85 cotton lines. Bourland came to the UA Division of Agriculture in 1988 after leading a cotton breeding program for 10 years at Mississippi State University.
Developer sticking around to work out kinks at White Creek housing on Texas A&M campus
The White Creek Apartments student housing development on Texas A&M University's west campus officially opened its doors for move-in Aug. 22, but more than a month later there are still some kinks to work out. The speed at which developer Balfour Beatty constructed the complex as it approached the move-in date is part of the reason why workers are still seen around the complex on Discovery Drive more than a month later, officials say, and workers could still be present around Christmas. "We would have loved Balfour Beatty to be long gone, but they will be here as long as they need to until it is completely finished," Carol Binzer, director of administrative and support services for the A&M Department of Residence Life, said. "The goal is to have the property exceed the expectations of residents."
Groups make statements about race at U. of Missouri homecoming parade
Tensions were high during the University of Missouri's 2015 Homecoming Parade, as activists took to the streets to protest what they say is an uninviting culture for minorities at the school and in Columbia, with one group causing a detour after blocking the parade route. About a dozen members of local churches and the group Race Matters marched in the parade Saturday morning to support student inclusion and tolerance. Demonstrators carried a black-and-gold banner that said "Columbians for Diversity: We support our minority students." This year's Homecoming came at a time when race relations are squarely in the spotlight at MU.
After Killings in Oregon, Colleges Face Threats -- and Take No Chances
Not long ago, a threat scrawled on a bathroom wall probably wouldn't have provoked the panic that spread like wildfire across Eastern Kentucky University last week. But the graffiti vowing to "kill all by 10-8-15" surfaced just days after a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College, in rural Oregon, left 10 people dead. Similar threats have cropped up on campuses nationwide, some of them undoubtedly copycat crimes by troubled people craving attention. Few people last week were ready to assume they were hoaxes. Campuses have been forced to be much more vigilant since the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech, which left 33 people dead. "One of the things that has changed across the country is that different people across the campus are coordinating and exchanging information about what a person is up to," said William F. Taylor, president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators.
Shootings at two campuses in same day each leave a freshman dead
Shootings at two universities Friday morning each left a freshman dead. The shootings came a week after a lone gunman killed nine people and injured seven more at Oregon's Umpqua Community College in the third-most-deadly mass shooting ever to occur on a college campus. The events Friday shook the campuses where they took place, Northern Arizona University and Texas Southern University, but nervousness about security extended well beyond those campuses. A number of colleges around the country responded to threats last week, with some campuses shutting down for a day or more and others on heightened alert while reports of threats were investigated. While experts on campus crime stressed that they did not see patterns in the shootings over the last two weeks, there is little doubt of growing concern.
Why are gun violence researchers becoming an endangered species?
Amid the bloodbaths of 21st-century America, you might think that there would be a lot of research into the causes of gun violence, and which policies work best against it. You would be wrong. Gun interests, wary of any possible limits on weaponry, have successfully lobbied for limitations on government research and funding, and private sources have not filled the breach. So funding for basic gun violence research and data collection remains minuscule. There are public health students who want to better understand rising gun-related suicide rates, recent explosions in firearm murders in many U.S. cities, and mass murders like the one this month at an Oregon community college, where a lone gunman killed nine people. But many young researchers are staying away from the field.
Hazing and Drinking Deaths at Asian-American Fraternities Raise Concerns
The number of Asian-American fraternities and sororities has grown over the last generation as the children and grandchildren of immigrants, feeling shut out of existing Greek organizations, began to create their own. And as those groups have spread across the country, some have replicated not only the social networking of other fraternities, but also their excesses. It is difficult to say whether abuses are more common in Asian-American organizations than in others. There are no official statistics on fraternity deaths and injuries across the United States. But people who have studied the issue say they have been surprised by the number of episodes, given that Asian-American fraternities occupy just a small corner of the collegiate Greek world.
JIMMIE GATES (OPINION): Whispers grow louder at Jackson State
The Clarion-Ledger's Jimmie Gates writes: "There are glowing reports of record enrollment at Jackson State University and accolades for university President Carolyn Meyers. Meyers was selected as the Historic Black Colleges and Universities Digest's Female President of the Year in 2014. Jackson State was named an Apple Distinguished School for 2013-15. In March, Meyers' contract was extended for four years by the state College Board. It would appear everything is rosy at my alma mater, but I keep hearing, 'What is going on at Jackson State?'"
BILL CRAWFORD (OPINION): College scorecard stirs interest and concern
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "Misleading or useful? That's the question surrounding the updated College Scorecard website published by the U.S. Department of Education. (See ... Okay. How reliable is this information? Answers vary. ...So how useful is all this? As another counselor told Education Week, it's 'a piece of the puzzle, but just a piece.'"
DENNIS SEID (OPINION): Furniture industry still viable presence
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Dennis Seid writes: "Last week, Ashley Furniture Industries announced plans to build a 175,000-square-foot addition to its Ecru facility. Since opening there in 1994, Ashley has grown leaps and bounds not only in Northeast Mississippi, but across the country. ...Ashley's announcement is just the latest in what has been a pretty good year for the furniture industry in Northeast Mississippi. ...Today, according to the Franklin Furniture Institute at Mississippi State University, furniture manufacturers employ about 19,000 workers, while suppliers employ another 21,000. That's the most since the first quarter of 2011. That some companies are willing to invest and expand speaks to the viability of the industry in the region."
SID SALTER (OPINION): Sen. Thad Cochran pushing back on federal flood standards
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, this week again called on the Obama administration to provide additional details on its efforts to establish a new federal flood risk standard despite resistance from Congress. That push from Cochran came soon after the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the 'wind versus water' debate -- legal, moral and practical -- that developed in the wake of that historic storm. ...Mississippians on the Gulf Coast face the same challenges today they did before Katrina -- particularly in terms of insurance."

Mississippi State hosts LA Tech in All Bulldogs' matchup
A much-needed home stand began with positive results for Mississippi State as they used two touchdowns in the first two minutes of the game to roll past Troy on Saturday, 45-17. MSU's defense has gotten better nearly every week. The Bulldogs had a dominating first half against an outmatched Trojan offense. When MSU's starting defensive line was in the ball game, the Bulldogs had nine tackles for loss and three sacks. The Bulldogs are back home this week with a tough non-conference challenge in the form of Louisiana Tech (4-2) at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Dan Mullen believes Mississippi State running game will click with more plays
Through the first quarter of play, Mississippi State's punter led the team in rushing. Its backup quarterback produced the most rushing yards at the half and through three quarters. At the end of MSU's 45-17 win against Troy on Saturday, its fourth-string tailback totaled the most rushing yards. "I think we've got to find more consistency in the running game," MSU coach Dan Mullen said. Mississippi State ran the ball 33 times against Troy. It was the first time all season the Bulldogs attempted at least 30 rushes in consecutive games.
Nick Fitzgerald has strong showing for Bulldogs in place of Dak Prescott
The Mississippi State football team has been blessed at the quarterback position the last two seasons. Dak Prescott has led the Bulldogs to new heights and holds 21 school records. Bulldog fans haven't worried about the play of the quarterback, but with Prescott is in his final year, someone will have to take his place in 2016. The last two home non-conference games have shown Nick Fitzgerald is capable of leading the Bulldogs. "As he was going through the offseason, he really showed better command of learning the offense and understanding what's going on out there on the field," MSU coach Dan Mullen said.
Sparked by week of practice, Mississippi State defense smothers Troy
Mississippi State's practice "went live" last Tuesday for the first time since August. Plays ended when defenders ripped the ball-carrier to the ground. Ryan Brown sniffed out a reverse and tackled the runner in the backfield. It foreshadowed the 3.5 tackles for loss the senior recorded in MSU's 45-17 win against Troy on Saturday. "Anybody can do it unblocked," MSU coach Dan Mullen barked at the defense as it celebrated. On the next play, Brown rushed the edge and drove Nick Fitzgerald into the ground for the sack. "I really feel like he challenged the defense big time this week," junior A.J. Jefferson said. "I feel like we answered the bell."
Mississippi State's defense answers Dan Mullen's challenge in rout
Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen challenged his defense in practice this week. After what he felt was an average performance in the first five games, Mullen wanted to see more of an edge from his players, so he told his defense, "Don't step on that field unless you're ready to play our style of defense and get after people." MSU responded Saturday in a 45-17 victory against Troy at Davis Wade Stadium. "We had 11 guys on the field playing nasty and running to that football," Mullen said. "I liked that edge we kind of had to us. Guys were playing with that chip on their shoulder."
Mississippi State's Ryan Brown named SEC defensive player of the week
Ryan Brown terrorized Troy last weekend. The Mississippi State defensive end tallied seven tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack in MSU's 45-17 win. Those numbers earned the Bulldog senior SEC Defensive Player of the Week. Smith is the sixth MSU defensive lineman to receive the award in program history. With his performance, Brown joined current NFL standouts Benardrick McKinney (2014) and Fletcher Cox (2011) as the only MSU players in the last five years to collect at least 3.5 tackles for loss in a game.
Former Mississippi State All-American Tom Goode passes away
Former Mississippi State football All-American and assistant coach Tom Goode died Thursday at age 76. Goode, a native of West Point, played for the Bulldogs from 1958-60. Goode earned a starting spot at center and linebacker in 1958. He earned All-Southeastern Conference honors in his first two seasons with the Bulldogs. In 1960, he was named the first Kodak All-American in school history. A 1960 graduate of Mississippi State, Goode was elected into the Mississippi State Sports Hall of Fame in 1976 and to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.
Tom Goode remembered for giving back to players, coaches
Tom Goode left a positive lasting memory on everyone he met. The former West Point High School and Mississippi State football player passed away Thursday at the age of 76. After graduating from West Point High, Goode went to MSU, where he made a name for himself on the 1957 freshman squad. He earned a starting spot at center and linebacker the following season on the varsity team. He was an All-Southeastern Conference selection twice, and was named the first Kodak All-American in school history during the 1960 campaign. "He was so revered in West Point because he was one of the great athletes to come out of West Point," said Jim Ellis, the radio voice of the Bulldogs, who was raised in West Point. "He was a person who always loved his roots. Loved who he was."
Mississippi State volleyball earns dominating victory against Georgia
In one of the most dominating performances of the season to date, the Mississippi State volleyball team swept Georgia 3-0 on Sunday afternoon in a Southeastern Conference match at the Newell-Grissom Building. Set scores were 25-17, 25-11, 25-18. MSU (13-6, 3-3 SEC) took control from the start, as Georgia led only three times in the match, all in the second set. Georgia tied the score at least once in each set, but couldn't prevent MSU from earning the sweep. The win snapped an eight-match losing streak to Georgia and also marks the first sweep against Georgia since Nov. 16, 1979. The third win in SEC play also eclipses last season's total of two.
Red Bruffett's two goals help push Mississippi State past No. 20 Kentucky
Propelled by a two-goal performance by freshman Red Bruffett, the Mississippi State women's soccer team defeated No. 20 Kentucky 3-0 in a Southeastern Conference match at the MSU Soccer Field. The victory for MSU (4-7-3, 2-3-2 SEC) was the first win against a ranked opponent since Oct. 16, 2011, when it defeated No. 11 Florida 1-0. MSU also snapped a five-game losing skid to Kentucky. The four wins on the year eclipses last year's total of three. The margin of victory was MSU's largest in a SEC match since a 3-0 victory against Arkansas on Oct. 4, 2002. With the win, MSU climbed two spots into 10th in the league. The top 10 squads qualify for the SEC tournament on Nov. 2-8 in Orange Beach, Alabama.
Love for statistics drew Mississippi State's Kyle Niblett to sports world
Kyle Niblett was drawn to sports statistics at a young age. Growing up in Gainesville, Florida, Niblett read The Gainesville Sun every morning and would flip to the Major League Baseball boxscores and memorize everything he could. The Mississippi State assistant director of media relations and social media coordinator never realized his passion could turn into a career. "I was always into sports and I was always into stats, but I never computed the two together," Niblett said. "I always kind of had a good idea I wanted to do sports and I wanted to do something statistical just because I had a really good memory and a real passion for sports, but I never knew the concept of sports information or public relations."
Jazzmun Holmes learning how to fit in at Mississippi State
The intake and exhale says a lot about Jazzmun Holmes' first week of practice with the Mississippi State women's basketball team. Even though it only takes a few seconds, Holmes' deep breath sounds like it is trying to push something out of the way. "Intense. Very intense. Fast. A lot of learning, learning new things, learning new people," Holmes said of her first week as a Bulldog. Holmes was then asked to describe the feelings behind her response. Her second comment revealed even more about the depth of that breath. "It has been tough," Holmes said. "I know I cried the first day we had practice. I just got over it, put on my big-girl pants and went with it."
Exam fraud, recruit payments among NCAA accusations against UL-Lafayette, ex-assistant
The NCAA has accused former Louisiana-Lafayette assistant football coach David Saunders of exam fraud and providing recruits payments for living and educational expenses, as well as failing to comply with an NCAA investigation. "We take the allegations very seriously and have fully cooperated with the investigation," UL-Lafayette Director of Athletics Scott Farmer said in a statement released Sunday afternoon. "We've been committed to finding the truth as much as the NCAA." The first major allegation involved six prospective recruits taking their ACT exams at Wayne County High School in Mississippi, where the NCAA alleged Saunders set up a prospective student-athlete to take his test while also arranging for ACT supervisor Ginny Crager to "complete and/or alter" the answer sheet to receive a better score.
Documents, former players point to Steve Sarkisian's alcohol use at Washington
Steve Sarkisian's strange behavior in the days surrounding high-pressure, high-profile college football games isn't unique to his time at USC. Some regarded the coach's conduct, specifically the use of alcohol, as an issue during his five seasons leading the University of Washington's program. Sarkisian's lone court record in Washington state is a routine speeding ticket and he wasn't publicly disciplined by the university. But his actions raised concern among some of his players and others closely associated with Washington's program. One former Huskies player said he smelled alcohol on Sarkisian at team meetings, an allegation that bears some resemblance to reports by USC players that their coach "didn't seem right" during a meeting Sunday morning, and statements by others close to the Trojans football program that he seemed unstable during a recent game at Arizona State.
When Black Knights Air It Out, the Play Develops at 4,000 Feet
In order to deliver the game ball to the referee before home games at Michie Stadium, Army engages in a death-defying ritual. If visibility and wind conditions are favorable, five seniors make a 4,000-foot jump to midfield, the target they trained to hit through hundreds of practice sessions. The parachute team, which was established in 1958 and has been delivering game balls at home games since the mid-1970s, comprises 32 cadets who compete at the national and collegiate level in parachuting and skydiving disciplines. Cadets join the team during their plebe, or freshman, year and train six days a week. "You need to control your descent rate as well as your forward penetration rate, how fast you are going forward," said David Hart, a senior from Endwell, N.Y., who is on the team. Some members exhibited such great control during a recent practice that it appeared they were almost hanging in midair.

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