Wednesday, March 20, 2019  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Mississippi State holds candlelight vigil for New Zealand shooting victims
On March 15th, 2019, 50 people were killed and 50 more were injured in a terror attack that targeted two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. On Tuesday, Mississippi State University's Muslim Student Association held a candlelight vigil in honor of the victims. People from various ethnicities and religions met at the Chapel of Memories. They say it's important for Muslim populations in the Golden Triangle area to feel supported at this time, and they are calling for people of all faiths to come together as one. "You know what I see in people of faith? Faith kind of prevails over all. They say in spite of this... In spite of this, we are going to go and pray and keep on praying and practicing our faith," said Professor Rani Sullivan. This is the second vigil of the school year for the Chapel. The first took place after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting last fall. MSU President Mark Keenum was also in attendance at the vigil and provided the opening address.
 
Bully's Closet soon to help student interview needs
When it comes to job interviews, the pros say "dress for the job you want," but for college students coming up with the money to achieve that look can be hard. But Bully's Closet at MSU is hoping to take care of some of that worry. "The Student Association saw a need for professional clothing for our students. Whether they want to interview for an organization or for internships, all of their professional endeavors, they are in need of professional clothing. So then we decided to start a closet where students can come and get clothes for those endeavors," said Mayah Emerson. It's called Bully's closet, and it could be a big help for those struggling with the cost of college. "Not all students may be able to afford those, and this gives them an opportunity to dress appropriately for interviews and other events," said Susan Seal. The President's Commission on the Status of Women and MSU Career Center set out to help bring in donations.
 
Summer Pole Conference Offers High-Voltage Demonstrations
Get plugged into new developments in overhead wood pole systems, including a demonstration of potential issues with powerline interactions, at a two-day conference this summer at Mississippi State University. Powerline 2019 is set for June 4-5 on the MSU campus in Starkville, Mississippi. Sponsored by the MSU College of Forest Resources and the North American Wood Pole Council, the conference features a full slate of presentations and education on overhead electricity systems. The program includes a field visit to the Mississippi State High Voltage Laboratory, the largest university-operated high voltage lab in North America. Demonstrations at the lab will feature what happens when a tree contacts a power line, insulator flashover on crossarms, ground shorts due to animal contact and flashovers caused by lightning strikes.
 
China has banned garbage imports, the United States turns to incineration
A 2018 National Geographic study found the United States exported nearly 40 percent of its waste to China until a 2017 ban halted the process. Now, the U.S. has increased its use of incineration, or burning of trash, causing health and economic concerns. Before this ban was put in place, U.S. cities made a profit by selling trash to China. Now, U.S. cities often pay for waste to be removed and taken to an incineration facility. Ray Bricka, a waste management expert and chemical engineering professor at Mississippi State University, explained why China stopped importing waste and what it means for the U.S. "You can recycle plastics (and other materials), but it's expensive," Bricka said. "There's no easy way to do it. It was costing China a lot." China's economic decision has caused waste to pile up in the U.S. and other countries.
 
Oktibbeha County Humane Society receives $150K grant
Oktibbeha County Humane Society would love to put itself out of business. Martha Thomas, OCHS director of development and community relations, said that's actually any animal shelter's goal. In order to achieve that feat, Thomas said OCHS is trying to decrease the animal population in Oktibbeha County. Earlier this year, OCHS received a $150,000 grant from PetSmart Charities to help fund Fido Fixers, a low-cost spay and neuter program that started at OCHS last May. Through the program, pet owners can bring their animals to the humane society for spaying or neutering at a subsidized rate if they meet certain household income standards (for example, $40,000 or less for a single-person home and $50,000 or less for a two-person household). With the additional $150,000 grant, Thomas said OCHS can fix up to 2,000 pets. Since May of last year, OCHS has fixed 1,600 pets. Thomas said OCHS will also purchase a "small unit" to help kennel animals before and after surgeries.
 
Former St. Joseph priests, other area clergy among those accused of sexual abuse
Two priests formerly associated with St. Joseph Catholic Church in Starkville were mentioned in a list of 37 former priests and members of the clergy accused of sexual abuse released by the Catholic Diocese of Jackson on Tuesday. Parishioners in the Diocese were notified of the forthcoming list by Bishop Joseph Kopacz, the highest-ranking church official in the Diocese, who said 30 of the accused clergy were the focus of sexual abuse allegations in Mississippi, while the others were accused of sexual abuse in other states. Diocese Chancellor Mary Woodward told media the victims were boys and girls ages 5 to 17, with the cases occurring from 1939 to 1998. District Attorney Scott Colom, whose office covers Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee and Oktibbeha counties, said on Tuesday that he could not comment on any possible investigations or communication his office might have had with the Jackson Diocese relating to the accused priests.
 
Mississippi Civil Rights Museum gives deep look at galleries
The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is offering a series of programs to give visitors a deep look at each of its eight galleries. A free presentation examines the museum's first gallery, Mississippi Freedom Struggle, which tells about slavery and emancipation. It begins at 6 p.m. Thursday. A news release from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History says the program will feature a living history presentation by Natchez public historian Darrell White and two scholarly presentations.
 
Golden Manufacturing gets $18.2M uniform contract
U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) announced that a Tishomingo County company has been awarded an $18.2 million contract to manufacture uniforms for the Defense Department. Golden Manufacturing Inc. in Golden was awarded the competitive contract from the Defense Logistics Agency to produce uniforms for the Army and Air Force. "Golden Manufacturing has a well-established record of producing quality uniforms for our servicemen and women. This contract will allow it to continue that good work," said Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee. "I'm pleased a Mississippi company won this competitive contract opportunity."
 
Mississippi Hills awards nearly $180,000 in grants
The Mississippi Hills Heritage Area Alliance announced its fiscal year 2019 community grant winners at the DeSoto County Visitors office in Southaven on Tuesday. A total of 21 grants worth nearly $180,000 were awarded, impacting 10 counties within the 30-county Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area. "We are very excited to have another successful grant round and we look forward to working with each of these organizations," said Mary Cates Williams, executive director of the MHHAA. Most of the grant recipients were from Northeast Mississippi. Marshall County reaped the biggest total, with several organizations receiving nearly $63,000.
 
Mississippi lawmakers pass bill requiring school shooter drills
Lawmakers on Tuesday gave final passage to a bill meant to make Mississippi schools safer from mass shootings, including mandatory twice-yearly active shooter drills and a threat-reporting mechanism to be monitored by the state Department or Public Safety. The House voted 78-32 to approve changes made by the Senate to House Bill 1283 . The measure was held for the possibility of more debate by representatives unhappy that senators stripped out provisions for mental health education and evaluation, but it's likely to head to Gov. Phil Bryant for his signature. Senators last week removed provisions requiring schools to implement an evidence-based and age-appropriate mental health curriculum. The Senate also required parental consent for mental health evaluations. Opponents, backed by the Tupelo-based American Family Association, argued the provisions could trample on parents' rights without changes.
 
Heartbeat abortion ban passes Senate with no debate, awaits governor's signature
After Democrats declined to speak out against the legislation, the Senate easily passed its heartbeat abortion ban Tuesday, sending the session's most controversial bill to the governor's desk with no debate. Fifteen Democrats voted against the legislation, which would ban abortion as early as a woman's sixth week of pregnancy. Back in February, when the bill initially landed on the Senate floor, lawmakers in both parties had held up the vote for nearly an hour, with Democrats arguing the bill would outlaw abortions before many women even knew they were pregnant. Sen. Deborah Dawkins, D-Pass Christian, one of bill's most vocal opponents in February, said there was a feeling among Democrats that any opposition now was futile, though the senator did vote "hell no" when her name was called today. "I've debated it and debated it and debated it for years," Dawkins said, referring to the series of abortion bills taken up by the Legislature over the last decade. "And I don't mind doing it again, but it seems to fall on deaf ears."
 
Mississippi: No state regulation for some pre-packaged food
A new Mississippi law says the state Department of Agriculture will not regulate vending machines or "micro markets" that sell prepackaged foods. Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1206 on Tuesday, and it becomes law July 1. The bill defines "micro markets" as unattended self-checkout establishments that sell food in tamper-resistant packaging. The markets are inside buildings and have limited access. They are in places that can be reached by people who work in the building, for example, but not by the general public.
 
Justices Take Up Racial Bias in Mississippi Jury Selection
The Supreme Court is hearing arguments over a Mississippi prosecutor's decision to keep African-Americans off a black death row inmate's jury in a murder trial. The appeal before the court Wednesday comes from inmate Curtis Flowers, who has been tried six times for the same crime. Three convictions were tossed out, including one when the prosecutor improperly excluded African-Americans from the jury. Two other trials ended when jurors couldn't reach unanimous verdicts. Flowers argues that the court should throw out his latest conviction and death sentence for killing four people because of racial bias in jury selection at his sixth trial. The Supreme Court tried to end discrimination in the composition of juries in 1986, but it has been harder to root out in practice.
 
Navy routinely buys defective ships
For the U.S. Navy, buying warships that are defective, unfinished or both has become the norm. The habit is expensive, dangerous and leaves overworked sailors to deal with faulty ships in need of repair from day one -- yet it has escaped sufficient scrutiny in Washington. Contrary to the Navy's own policy, and despite spending nearly $16 billion on average in each of the last 30 years on new warships, most U.S. combat vessels are delivered from private shipbuilders with flaws significant enough to impair the vessels' ability to perform missions or to keep crews safe, according to recent audits conducted for Congress. "I just wish there were people brave enough to say, 'Damn the torpedoes, this has to change,'" said Craig Hooper, a former vice president at Alabama shipbuilder Austal US. Spokesmen of the two main shipbuilders -- General Dynamics Corp. and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. -- declined to comment. Austal did not respond to requests for comment.
 
Devin Nunes sued a parody account with about 1,000 followers. Here's how many it has now
In suing two Twitter parody accounts for defamation, Rep. Devin Nunes amplified their audiences. One of the accounts, known as Devin Nunes' Cow, saw its followers on Twitter swell from just over a thousand to more than 135,000 in less than a day after the Republican congressman announced his lawsuit on Fox News. The anonymous writer behind the account continued to taunt the congressman. In one post, the author wrote, "Do process servers visit dairies, or will it come in the mail?" Nunes filed his lawsuit in Henrico County, Virginia early Tuesday. He's seeking more than $250 million from Twitter, a political strategist who is critical of Nunes on Twitter and the anonymous users behind the parody accounts, arguing the tweets damaged his reputation and were responsible for his narrower-than-usual win of his congressional seat in 2018. Legal experts say his case is a long shot. Not only is parody protected speech, public figures suing for defamation and libel are rarely successful. Other cases filed against Twitter related to activity on the platform have been dismissed.
 
Anti-Hunger Alliance: Mississippi group working against college hunger
They don't have enough money to keep up with college expenses and food. They don't have the luxury of ordering pizza or worrying about the freshman 15. These are college students in Mississippi struggling with food insecurity -- where their next meal is coming from. Simple staples like bread and peanut butter, say those who have helped launch campus food pantries, can make the difference between a passing for failing grade -- or staying in school and dropping out. Now, a newly formed statewide group -- the College and University Anti-Hunger Alliance -- is hoping to get organizations, individuals and community groups to band together to address hunger and food insecurity at colleges and universities. Its first meeting is being held Friday in Flowood for members of colleges and universities who have opened a food pantry or are contemplating opening one. Grace Rutledge, a social work intern who works at the Eagle's Nest, the University of Southern Mississippi's food pantry, says about 30-40 students use the food pantry each of the two days a week it's open.
 
Dr. Carmen J. Walters Named 14th President of Tougaloo College
Dr. Carmen J. Walters has been appointed the 14th president of Tougaloo College. Walters will succeed Dr. Beverly Wade Hogan, who is retiring June 30 after serving as the college's first female president for nearly 17 years. "I am tremendously excited about the selection of Dr. Walters, and it will be my privilege to pass the baton of leadership to her," Hogan said. "She brings a combined level of experiences, commitment and mature judgement that are useful in any leadership role. Her understanding and appreciation of the college's history and mission, as well as her demonstrated commitment to faculty and student success, will be impactful in moving the college into its best years." Walters earned a bachelor's degree in accounting and business administration from Southern University, a master's degree in postsecondary counseling from Xavier College and a Ph.D. in community college leadership from Mississippi State University.
 
Tougaloo names Dr. Carmen J. Walters 14th president; alumni express concerns
The search for Tougaloo College's next president is over. Earlier this week, the Tougaloo College Board of Trustees announced its new leader -- Dr. Carmen J. Walters will become Tougaloo's 14th president, the second woman to serve in the position. Walters' appointment follows the retirement of Beverly Wade Hogan, the college's first woman president, after 17 years in the post. Walters has worked as an executive vice president of enrollment, student success, and institutional relations at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College for the past six years. She said in a news release that becoming president at the 150-year-old private historically black college is a "dream come true. While boosters laud the appointment, the selection process was not without controversy. In an unsigned letter dated Feb. 14 and addressed to college trustees, members of the selection and a national alumni group, a group calling itself Tougaloo Alumni for Accountability and Progress, or TAPP, asked the committee to consider candidates other than the two finalists for the job, Walters and Dr. Melva Williams of Southern University at Shreveport.
 
New college courses train teachers to help elementary students with autism
Children with autism now have more tools to help them learn behavioral skills to transition into mainstream classes. The Mississippi Autism Board and the Behavior Analysis Association of Mississippi announced classes that are equipping teachers with the skills to become Registered Behavior Technicians. The news was shared Tuesday at the State Capitol. The courses will help teacher bring children with autism and other developmental disorders out of their shells. "A huge appreciation to Holmes Community College and William Carey for establishing our first registered behavior tech programs in the state," said Mississippi Autism Board incoming Chair Dr. Kasee Stratton during the announcement. Mississippi State and the University of Mississippi are also launching Applied Behavior Analysis Master's programs.
 
Bright Future: Cathedral senior excels in Scholastic Writing Awards
Who said science buffs cannot love English, too? Mallory Hinson, a senior at Cathedral High School and a medical enthusiast, entered the Mississippi Scholastic Writing Awards competition in December, and earned second place for her essay and will be attending an awards ceremony next month at the Eudora Welty House and Garden in Jackson, she said. Hinson's prize-winning essay, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Puritan Society," is a critical analysis of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter" that tips a hat to the famous sermon by Jonathan Edwards, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," she said. When she graduates, Hinson said she plans to study biochemistry with a concentration in pre-med at Mississippi State University.
 
Pearl River Community College breaks ground on new science building
Construction of a new science building on the Poplarville campus of Pearl River Community College will begin sometime in the next few weeks. A groundbreaking ceremony for the facility was held Tuesday morning. The project will include an extension of the current science building, which will house new lab space and offices. Renovations will also be made to the existing building. State bond money is paying for the work, which totals just under $6 million. PRCC President Adam Breerwood said construction should begin within the next 45 days and should take a little more than a year to complete.
 
External review of U. of Kentucky archaeology praises two recently eliminated units
An external review of the University of Kentucky's Department of Anthropology last year praised two archaeology units that are now being dissolved, resulting in the firing of 12 staff members. "It is the view of the Review Committee that the Archaeology Units represent some of the strongest and best-known portions of the University of Kentucky's Department of Anthropology," according to a copy of the February 2018 review obtained by the Herald-Leader, conducted by faculty from Texas A&M University, the University of North Carolina, Michigan State University and UK. "They have trained virtually all of the professional archaeologists in the state, and have created innovative educational and outreach programs and activities." Last week, UK announced that it would eliminate the two programs and hire two new faculty and an educational director, recommendations that officials said were guided by the external review.
 
Two LSU Lab School administrators facing personnel action, according to state audit
A newly released audit alleges top administrators at LSU Lab School started a private company so they could pick up additional money from an after-school program for students at the prominent Baton Rouge school, running afoul of university policy. One of the two administrators, Secondary School Principal Frank Rusciano, is also accused of allowing his wife to make use of school staff, computers, facilities and supplies for a private business of hers, the Louisiana High School Correspondence Course. Rusciano also is accused of receiving at least five free trips for himself and a guest from a private travel agency. The school used the agency to organize an annual school trip to Washington, D.C. The auditors found that, in accepting these trips, Rusciano created "at least an appearance of, if not an actual, conflict of interest." LSU Lab School was formed more than a century ago as a "laboratory" for LSU students training to become teachers. The school has evolved into one of the state's highest-performing public schools.
 
Amid scams, should South Carolina regulate companies that collect student loan debts?
Amid scams and soaring student loan debt, a South Carolina lawmaker is calling for more oversight of companies that collect on student loan debt. The Student Loan Bill of Rights Act would require any company that wants to operate in the state and collect on student loan debt to be licensed through the state's Commission on Higher Education. The commission, after collecting $1,800 in fees, would investigate the company's finances, criminal history and more. Banks and their subsidiaries would not need to apply for a license, according to the bill. "People are really, in many instances, being taken advantage of," said bill sponsor Rep. Jerry Govan, D-Orangeburg. "We're trying to provide some oversight." In the last 10 years, student loan debt has grown faster in South Carolina than any other state, according to a 2019 report from Experian.
 
Bush School speaker: Tough times for diplomacy
The current state of the diplomatic profession in the United States is, in a word, "poor," said Ambassador Ronald Neumann during a talk Tuesday on the Texas A&M University campus. In a lecture at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum focusing in part on America's current diplomatic posture, the former ambassador to Algeria, Bahrain and Afghanistan described the current administration as one that "radiates contempt for diplomacy." He did note somewhat of an improvement from the administration's first year but said the "cuts inflicted" by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did more to harm diplomacy in one year than he thought possible. About a quarter of senior diplomats were lost during that time, Neumann said, and the hiring freeze imposed by Tillerson led to massive shortages in Washington, D.C. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has lifted that freeze, but Neumann said the damage will be hard to unwind. "Too many" embassies still have no ambassadors, he said, and many critical senior positions in the U.S. also remain empty.
 
U. of Missouri police officer fired for blackface photo
A University of Missouri police officer has been fired after a photo emerged of him wearing blackface. The image of a man made up as rapper Flava Flav was sent to the university Tuesday morning and office Marcus Collins was fired a few hours later after admitting it was him in the image. Chancellor Alexander Cartwright issued a statement, saying the university will not tolerate racist behavior. The fast action by MU won praise from a local activist group, Race Matters, Friends, but raises questions about how thoroughly the university investigated Collins and the motives for acting so quickly, said Stephen Graves, director of undergraduate studies in the MU Black Studies Department. "Any time you have gotten a photo by 9 a.m. and by 11:30 that person is fired, it had to have been a hell of a conversation," Graves said. "I think you do society a disservice when you don't allow for conversation and the police officer involved to explain himself. That person needs to step in front of a camera and explain the behavior, the who, what, where, why and when."
 
House Democrats' election bill makes it easier for college students to vote, experts say
Before last year's midterm elections, GOP politicians were derided for their apparent attempts to suppress the vote of college students, whose views tend to swing liberal. But some of the barriers students encounter in voting -- confusion over registration deadlines, state voter identification laws -- would likely crumble with the massive election reform package the House of Representatives passed earlier this month. HR 1 -- named for its prominence in the House Democrats' agenda -- passed 234 to 193 along party lines and has been controversial for the major electoral shifts it would bring about: automatic voter registration, restoration of the voting rights of those who have served felony sentences and the creation of a public finance system, which would give congressional and presidential candidates a six-to-one match for small donations. Some of the bill's less recognized provisions specifically focus on college students, and activists and elections experts said in interviews that the legislation would generally benefit students. However, a Republican-controlled Senate, which has made clear its disdain for the bill, all but guarantees it will not advance.
 
Loneliness soars among teens along with social media use, study says
Teens whose face time with friends is mostly on their phones are the loneliest of all, but even those who mix real-world socializing with social media still are increasingly isolated, a report out Wednesday shows. Loneliness isn't just an age thing; it's generational, says the author of the study, San Diego State University psychology professor Jean Twenge. The percent of high school seniors who said they often felt lonely increased from 26 percent in 2012 to 39 percent in 2017. The number of 12th graders who said they often felt left out also increased, from 30 percent in 2012 to 38 percent in 2017. The data and study, published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, are from nationally representative surveys of 8.2 million U.S. adolescents between 1976 and 2017. The study comes as the topic of loneliness gains considerable interest in the health care field because of its link to mental and physical health, as well as life expectancy.
 
How Many Public Universities Can 'Go Big' Online?
From Massachusetts to California, as many as two dozen state university systems, individual flagship campuses and other public universities are talking publicly (or quietly) about undertaking ambitious online learning initiatives. Some are focused on enrollment or revenue growth, some on better serving the millions of working adults or other populations of Americans that traditional higher education has historically struggled to reach. Some aim to join the ranks of regional or even national players like Arizona State, Southern New Hampshire and Western Governors Universities; others strive to retake or hold on to state residents now studying online at institutions elsewhere. "The time for us to act is now," Marty Meehan, president of the University of Massachusetts, said in announcing the system's online plan in a speech last month. "It's predicted that over the next several years four to five major national players with strong regional footholds will be established. We intend to be one of them." Whether they're thinking big or small, wanting to move fast or slow, in one way or another institutions and states want to move more aggressively into online education than they have heretofore -- raising several key questions.
 
U. of Memphis struggling to find building for contract school
The University of Memphis will no longer have use of a vacant church property for its new middle school, sending the university back to square one just months before the school's launch. It also raises concerns for Shelby County Schools board members, who approved the school to open based on that location. A deal to use a facility at Highland and Spottswood owned by St. Anne's Catholic Church fell through, the university confirmed, but would say only that a Memphis Business Journal story citing financial reasons was correct. A change in location could prove problematic from a practical standpoint, as the university has five months to get the school up and running, but could also further challenge U of M to create a diverse student body. "It's a very surprising turn of events," SCS board member Michelle McKissack said. "I think at this point, it's on the University of Memphis to continue to honor the original intent of University Middle school."
 
Wake Forest professors demand that university do more about photographs of admissions leaders
Wake Forest University has in recent weeks faced an unusual twist on the debates at many colleges over old yearbook photos showing students posing with Confederate flags. At Wake Forest, first the dean of admissions and then the associate dean of admissions were in February found in separate photos from the 1980s, when they were students at the university, posing in front of the Confederate flag. Both officials issued apologies. Nathan O. Hatch, the president, said he accepted the apology of Martha Allman, the dean. Some noted that, under Allman, Wake Forest has adopted policies (such as test-optional admissions) that have been credited with diversifying the student body. But this month, both student and faculty groups have issued statements asking why it took a public protest about the photos (students brought them to an open forum) to prompt Wake Forest to take a public stance. And many question whether the president should have accepted an apology for something that caused great pain to black students. To many on the campus, the fact that these photos were of admissions leaders -- people charged with evaluating applications -- made the photographs particularly troublesome.
 
Aspiring Doctors Seek Advanced Training In Addiction Medicine
The U.S. Surgeon General's office estimates that more than 20 million people have a substance-use disorder. Meanwhile, the nation's drug overdose crisis shows no sign of slowing. Yet, by all accounts, there aren't nearly enough physicians who specialize in treating addiction -- doctors with extensive clinical training who are board certified in addiction medicine. The opioid epidemic has made this doctor deficit painfully apparent. And it's spurring medical institutions across the country to create fellowships for aspiring doctors who want to treat substance use disorder with the same precision and science as other diseases. Now numbering more than 60, these fellowship programs offer physicians a year or two of post-graduate training in clinics and hospitals where they learn evidence-based approaches for treating addiction. Such programs are drawing a new talented generation of idealistic doctors -- idealists like Dr. Hillary Tamar.
 
Wicker's politically unpopular vote to maintain separation of powers was the right one
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: The social media hysteria, threats of political retribution, and withering criticism of Mississippi senior U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker's vote in favor of a resolution of disapproval for President Donald Trump's Feb. 15 national emergency declaration aside, Wicker's vote was the right one. As Wicker and the other 11 Republican senators who voted for the resolution made clear, they were not opposed to construction of the southern border wall that Trump has championed and that was the goal of Trump's national emergency declaration. What they opposed -- and rightly so -- was the establishment of the precedent that a U.S. president can circumvent Congress to pay for what he wants rather than earning Congressional approval for that expenditure. More to the point, Wicker's vote signals that he fully understands that conservative Republicans won't always occupy the White House and that the next occupants might just be liberal Democrats or even Socialists like Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


SPORTS
 
Mississippi State rolls past Little Rock
Senior Jake Mangum moved into the top 15 on the SEC career hits chart with his third-career five-hit performance to pace the Mississippi State baseball team in its 15-4 victory over Little Rock on Tuesday night at Dudy Noble Field. Little Rock (6-15) scored four runs in the top of the first inning, but State (19-2) answered back with four runs in the bottom of the first inning to knot the score. An Elijah MacNamee RBI fielder's choice in the second inning gave the Maroon and White a lead they would not relinquish. "We did feel like we could come back," said MSU coach Chris Lemonis. "I didn't know it would be right there in the first inning, but we knew it would be a bullpen game for both teams. Now that you're in conference play and midweeks, it is about how you manage your [bullpen]. With us having two game this midweek, it makes it real tricky. We were hoping for a better start [at Samford], but we do have confidence in our offense, and I feel that we could score some runs."
 
Mississippi State baseball rolls past Little Rock, 15-4
Senior Jake Mangum moved into the top 15 on the SEC career hits chart with his third-career five-hit performance to pace the Mississippi State baseball team in its 15-4 victory over Little Rock on Tuesday night at Dudy Noble Field. Little Rock (6-15) scored four runs in the top of the first inning, but State (19-2) answered back with four runs in the bottom of the first inning to knot the score. An Elijah MacNamee RBI fielder's choice in the second inning gave the Maroon and White a lead they would not relinquish. Redshirt-junior Jack Eagan (1-0) got the win in relief, with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless work. He walked one, hit two batters and struck out three. Freshman Brandon Smith threw four scoreless innings of relief with a career-best five strikeouts. Junior Riley Self posted one scoreless frame and freshman Bryce Brock closed out the game with two scoreless innings.
 
Diamond Dawgs rise to No. 2 in national rankings
The good times continue to roll for the Mississippi State baseball team Monday following a 3-1 record last week. The Diamond Dawgs were ranked No. 2 in D1Baseball.com's latest poll, up from No. 6 the week prior, following a 2-1 road series win over then-No. 5 Florida this past weekend and an 18-1 victory over Grambling State last Wednesday. MSU's 4-2 loss in the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader against the Gators was its first in 15 games. "I am happy for our guys," head coach Chris Lemonis said after the Florida series. "We played hard. We played with a lot of intensity. We competed all weekend long, even in the nightcap. That was a really good game, and some balls just went their way and not ours. That is one of the best teams in the country and I am really happy with our effort."
 
Breaking down Mississippi State's road to third-straight Final Four
Reaching the Final Four used to be a pipe dream for Mississippi State women's basketball. Now it's almost expected. The Bulldogs are once again a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, which makes their path to a third-straight Final Four much easier than what most of the other 63 teams in this year's bracket are facing. Easier -- not easy. Vic Schaefer's team will be put to the test over the course of the next three weeks. Every team in the field knows what's on the line for the Bulldogs. Therefore, they've got bullseyes on their backs. Who do the Dogs have to fend off to reach the final weekend of the women's basketball season? Here's a round-by-round look.
 
Teaira McCowan is center of attention in women's NCAA tournament
It's Saturday at suppertime, but Teaira McCowan holds off on the meal waiting for her. Instead, she sits in a quiet corner at Humphrey Coliseum after practice to discuss what has been a transformative four years at Mississippi State. McCowan doesn't relish talking about herself, but she knows it's necessary. Just like pushing through the drudgery of individual workouts in the offseason. Or holding back the emotion that wants to burst out after she blocks a shot, just to make sure she doesn't pick up a technical. She's the Bulldogs' star, the SEC player of the year, the SEC tournament MVP, an espnW first-team All-American, an expected WNBA draft-lottery pick in April. She's averaging 17.8 points and 13.5 rebounds for the Bulldogs, the No. 1 seed in the Portland Regional in the women's NCAA tournament. Mississippi State has lost in the national championship game the past two years, and McCowan was a key factor in the Bulldogs getting that far.
 
March Madness picks: Predictions for Mississippi State versus Liberty
Mississippi State is going for its first NCAA Tournament win since 2008 against Liberty on Friday in San Jose, California. The Flames have never won an NCAA Tournament game, but according to analysts and experts across the country, it isn't going to be very easy for Mississippi State to keep it that way. Algorithm-based prediction website FiveThirtyEight.com states there is a 79 percent chance Mississippi State moves on to the second round, but the human element has the Bulldogs on upset watch. Here are who some college basketball personalities from major outlets across the nation are picking in Friday's game between No. 5 seed Mississippi State and No. 12 seed Liberty.
 
Liberty prepares for NCAA tourney first round against a Mississippi State team that is 'athletic as all get-out'
Liberty men's basketball coach Ritchie McKay doesn't remember exactly what time in the wee hours Monday morning he finally decided to close his laptop and get a few hours of sleep. There was not a wasted minute after the conclusion of the Selection Show watch party at the Vines Center until he finally said, "Enough is enough," and stopped immersing himself in game film of Mississippi State. He studied every intricacy, noted each tendency and chronicled the strengths and weaknesses of the Bulldogs. McKay wanted to ensure anything Mississippi State threw at Liberty in Friday's first round of the NCAA Tournament was covered during the practices in Lynchburg before the team flies to San Jose, California. "They're athletic as all get-out," McKay said before Monday's late afternoon practice. "When you can rotate really three, four bigs in at the same time and all can score and defend and have just incredible length that poses some challenges for us. We don't have that same size and weight."
 
Mississippi State football: No extra pressure for Keytaon Thompson
Mississippi State's Keytaon Thompson is taking all of the first-team reps for the second straight spring. But unlike last year, Thompson is the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs, instead of simply filling in for an injured Nick Fitzgerald. Thompson, who's 2-0 as a starter, said he feels comfortable and confident taking on that role full-time this spring. "There's not any extra pressure," Thompson said. "Each time I step on the field whether I'm out here by myself or it's a team practice, I always want to be the best that I can be regardless." Things are starting to come more naturally for Thompson after a full year in Joe Moorhead's offense. "I'm a hundred times more comfortable," Thompson said. "After going through a season, a spring and a camp, I know how this offense works and how we game plan, just the words that we use -- it's a big difference."
 
New Hebron native Mike Jones back to coach MC basketball
Mississippi College President Blake Thompson announced that athletic director Mike Jones will return to the bench for his 17th season as the head coach of the men's basketball program. Jones is a native of New Hebron, and is married to the former Jane Cooper of New Hebron. They have two children and six grandchildren. Jones, a 2018 inductee into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, steps back onto the sidelines of the court that bears his name following 15 years of service solely as the athletic director for his alma mater. This will be his third stint as the leader of the Choctaw basketball program, coaching a total of 16 years (1988-2002 and 2006-08) and compiling a school record of 332 wins. "I'm looking forward to the opportunity to get back on the bench and coach again," Jones said. "As Dr. Thompson and I reviewed the program, he approached me about returning to the sidelines. I spent a lot of time in prayer and felt the Lord steering me back to lead this team."
 
Missouri's enrollment sees jump in SEC states after move
Jonah Roberts never had to guess what he would see on his television screen each Saturday in the fall. Not when he called Tennessee, a state that features two Southeastern Conference schools, home. And not with a dad who graduated from the University of Alabama. "It didn't matter who it was," said Roberts, a senior at MU. "That's what we watched on Saturdays -- SEC football." Other conferences seldom made appearances on the screen. It was almost exclusively SEC coverage, and that attitude extended past Roberts' television. Discussions about SEC sports dominated many of his conversations with friends. "For kids from Tennessee, it's a bond," Roberts said. "It's a connection. It's important. It's a talking point. It's what everybody knows. It's what everybody watches." It's what put SEC sports among Roberts' top five reasons for selecting a school. In addition to finding a place that fit his educational, financial and social needs, Roberts wanted to attend a university where he could support sports teams similar to the ones he grew up watching. He chose Missouri, along with an average of 158 Tennesseans per year since the Tigers joined the SEC in 2012.
 
Ex-Auburn assistant basketball coach pleads guilty
Former Auburn University assistant coach and 13-year NBA veteran Chuck Person pleaded guilty Tuesday to a bribery conspiracy charge in the widespread college basketball bribery scandal, ensuring that none of the four coaches charged in the probe will go to trial. Person, 54, of Auburn, Alabama, entered the plea in Manhattan federal court, averting a June trial. He and his lawyer declined to speak afterward and made a quick exit from the courthouse. Prosecutors said Person accepted $91,500 in bribes to steer players with NBA potential to a Pittsburgh-based financial adviser. As part of the plea, he agreed to forfeit that amount. Person said he committed his crime in late 2016 and early 2017. Person's plea falls in line with those recently entered by three other former assistant coaches at major college basketball schools. In one recorded conversation, prosecutor said, Person warned an Auburn player to keep his relationship with the financial adviser a secret.
 
NCAA can't keep tournament games away from legal gambling
As the NCAA prepares for its first basketball championships since the Supreme Court allowed legal sports betting to expand, the body governing college sports remains opposed to gambling on its events. But it's not denying reality, either. The NCAA had a longtime ban on bringing championships to places where sports wagers were legal. That was suspended last year in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to end an effective monopoly for Nevada. Three women's tournament games will be played this weekend in Mississippi, where people have been betting on college sports since last summer, and men's Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games will be played next week in Washington at Capital One Arena, which could have a full-service onsite sportsbook by this time next year.



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