Wednesday, January 11, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Mississippi State better than Ole Miss, ranking finds
Mississippi State University is the best college in the state, according to a recent ranking. Niche, a data-analytics website, compared federal data on 1,647 four-year colleges across the country to determine the best college per state. The website looked at academics, admissions, financial value, student life and reviews from students and alumni to obtain the ranking. The study put significant value on a school's academics and value. MSU ranked just ahead of the University of Mississippi with an A grade for academics compared with a B-plus for Ole Miss.
 
Louisiana, Mississippi Experts to Speak at Dairy Conference Jan. 12
The LSU AgCenter and Mississippi State University Extension Service will host the 2017 Mississippi Louisiana Dairy Management Conference on Jan. 12 in Tylertown, Mississippi. Presentations will address milk quality in the Southeast, robotic milking, market conditions and the federal Veterinary Feed Directive. Speakers include experts from LSU, MSU and Iowa State University. For more information, contact MSU Extension dairy specialist Amanda Stone at amanda.stone@msstate.edu or 662-769-9941.
 
District 2 Judge Larnzy Carpenter injured in three-car accident
An Oktibbeha County justice court judge is recovering after he was injured Sunday in a three-car accident. District 2 Judge Larnzy Carpenter was taken to OCH Regional Medical Center after his vehicle, which was stationary at the intersection of Highway 25 and Longview Road, was struck by a driver attempting to avoid another automobile. Central Oktibbeha County Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene at about 9 a.m., Chief Joe Pennell said, and first responders were forced to use hydraulic rescue tools to extract Carpenter from his vehicle. Safety discussions about the Highway 25-Longview intersection and nearby Old Highway 25-Poor House Road began last year after multiple traffic accidents were reported in the area.
 
Former Gov. William Winter moves out of intensive care unit
Former Mississippi Gov. William Winter remains in fair condition as he recovers from head injuries after falling on his icy driveway. University of Mississippi Medical Center spokeswoman Ruth Cummins says Winter was moved Tuesday from the intensive care unit to a regular room at the hospital. The 93-year-old Winter was walking his miniature schnauzer, Charlie Brown, when he slipped and fell Saturday outside his north Jackson home. It happened a day after a storm system left a coating of sleet in central Mississippi as it moved through the South.
 
Senators Wants to Penalize Presidents of Public Universities for not Flying State Flag
A bill penned by Republican Senator Mike Seymour of Jackson County, requires all Mississippi public colleges and universities to display the official state flag with the confederate emblem on all campus buildings. Presidents of institutions who don't comply with the proposed law would have 25 percent of their salary withheld until they do so. "The bill is just basically putting it into law that we will fly whatever state flag we will have. But we will fly it. The citizens tax dollars are paying his salary to go against the will of the people," said Seymour. Democratic Senator Willie Simmons of Greenville says the majority of the universities have taken the flag down because some people are offended by it. "Their supporters, their alumni are telling them the flag is a thing of the past that we currently have. If they want to continue to be competitive and recruit and bring students in from throughout the world they have to listen to those students. They have to listen to those staff," said Simmons.
 
Treasurer, governor: End gender pay gap in Mississippi
This session, a bipartisan effort may be taking shape in the Mississippi Legislature regarding the gender wage gap. With one bill sent to committee and another coming down the pike, both authored by Democratic representatives, Republican State Treasurer Lynn Fitch is voicing her support for gender financial equality in the workplace. "This is critical," Fitch said. "This is a time where we should move beyond and move to the future. This is not a partisan issue. This is the right thing to do." Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican, said Tuesday he "unequivocally" supports equal pay for equal work. "While the authors have in the past used this and similar bills to score cheap political points, I welcome a serious conversation about the issue," Bryant said. "I unequivocally support women receiving equal pay for equal work."
 
Medicaid facing similar deficit issues
David Dzielak, executive director of the Mississippi Division of Medicaid, had a simple response when asked by legislators Tuesday what the contributing factors were leading to the deficit request he is seeking for his agency. "We're not appropriated the money we asked for," was his simple answer. The agency, which provides health care for about 760,000 disabled, elderly and poor children and poor pregnant women in Mississippi, is requesting a deficit request of $75.1 million from the 2017 Legislature for the current fiscal year, which ends July 1. But, as Dzielak pointed out, that is nothing new. Dzielak said he has had to deal with requesting deficit funding from the Legislature all six sessions he has served as Medicaid executive director.
 
No insurance, no car tag: bill moves forward
A bill that would require Mississippians to prove they have vehicle liability insurance before they could renew their auto tags cleared committee on Tuesday and heads to the full House. "No insurance, no tag," said House Insurance Chairman Gary Chism, R-Columbus. "That's how we're going to do it. (Department of Revenue) has a new computer system and every county clerk's office will be on it by Nov. 17. This (bill) would go into effect July 1, 2018." Mandatory auto insurance is an age-old battle in the Mississippi Legislature, and an estimated 25 percent to 30 percent of Mississippi motorists drive uninsured, costing other motorists in insurance premiums and after wrecks with the uninsured.
 
Proposed bill could help families battling infertility
Mississippi legislators are considering a bill that could help families battling infertility. The proposal requires insurance policies to cover pregnancy and maternity benefits and also provides coverage for infertility treatment. Right now, all families in Mississippi have to pay out-of-pocket for procedures like in vitro fertilization, which costs as much as $20,000 for one round. Infertility affects one in every eight couples in Mississippi.
 
Lawmakers discuss potential impact of an Obamacare change
It's almost time for President-elect Trump to be sworn in and one campaign promise was the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. Many lawmakers didn't have an answer to the question of how the uncertainty of Obamacare's future will impact Mississippi. "We hear reports of block granting money to states which will mean the federal government will give us a set amount of money and we at that point would choose how to spend it," said Rep. Sam Mims, House Public Health and Human Services chairman. "So we're looking at ways how that will impact us. So, we're still doing lots of research and really listening to what's happening in Washington." Even insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney has said he doesn't think there will be a change overnight. Many legislators agreed and said that even if there is an overhaul, it may not impact budgeting until next session.
 
Bill: Fine drivers who smoke in vehicles with children
A state lawmaker wants to fine anybody smoking in a vehicle with a passenger under the age of 6. Rep. John Hines, D-Greenville, has filed House Bill 377, known as the "Mississippi Protection from Secondhand Smoke for Children Act," which would fine such smokers $25. If the bill passes, a person would be guilty of a misdemeanor if caught smoking in a vehicle with a child passenger. Hines said his bill would apply to any motor vehicle, except a school bus, a church bus, or other public conveyance, that is required by federal or state law or regulation to be equipped with a passenger restraint system. "I have nothing against smokers," Hines said. "This bill was filed to protect the safety of children."
 
Democrats elect their leaders in Senate
Democrats have elected their leaders in the state Senate. Sen. Bill Stone of Holly Springs was elected chairman of the Mississippi Senate Democratic Caucus on Tuesday. He replaces John Horhn of Jackson, who resigned as chairman because he is running for mayor of Jackson in this year's election. Democrats control 20 of the 52 seats in the Senate. Sen. Derrick Simmons of Greenville was chosen as vice chairman.
 
Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves seek Jackson airport ruling
Two of the state's top Republican leaders want a federal judge to rule on a case about legislation that would give control of the Jackson airport to state officials. Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, through federal court filings, have asked for a judgment on the case. During the 2016 session, lawmakers approved legislation that would replace the five-member board of commissioners selected by Jackson officials with a nine-member commission appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor and supervisors in Madison and Rankin counties as well as Jackson officials.
 
State employees to undergo sexual harassment training
Gov. Phil Bryant issued an executive order Tuesday that requires all state employees to take online sexual harassment training. The order comes in the wake of a 2016 sexual discrimination settlement with the Department of Homeland Security and a sexual harassment settlement by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics from the same year. "I have signed Executive Order 1392. It requires employees of all state agencies to complete the online Sexual Harassment Awareness and Prevention training course," Bryant said in his Facebook post announcing the move. Bryant has expressed frustration in having to deal with sexual harassment and discrimination in state agencies after the two settlements became public.
 
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann decries Homeland Security move
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann on Tuesday added his voice to a chorus of electoral officials nationwide criticizing a federal Homeland Security agency decision designating election systems as "critical infrastructure." In an interview, Hosemann told Mississippi Today that the "sudden decision" to make the designation was an example of the federal government over-reaching its responsibilities: "Article 1 of the Constitution gives the states the right to run our elections. We didn't just make this up." In announcing the decision on Friday, Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson said the designation would place the electoral infrastructure -- such as voting rolls, polling places, election machines -- under the watch of his agency on a similar status as the power grid and the internet.
 
Jeff Sessions to senators: I'd stand up to Trump as AG
Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions fervently rejected "damnably false" accusations of past racist comments Tuesday as he challenged Democratic concerns about the civil rights commitment he would bring as Donald Trump's attorney general. He vowed at his confirmation hearing to stay independent from the White House and stand up to Trump when necessary. Sessions laid out a sharply conservative vision for the Justice Department he would oversee, pledging to crack down on illegal immigration, gun violence and the "scourge of radical Islamic terrorism" and to keep open the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. But he also distanced himself from some of Trump's public pronouncements.
 
In Chicago farewell, Obama warns of threats to democracy
Barack Obama said goodbye Tuesday night to a nation that delivered him a historic presidency and challenged Americans to fulfill democracy's promise as a new era of government in Washington, led by Republicans and President-elect Donald Trump, is about to begin. Even as Obama exits the world and national stage in little more than a week, he pledged to an estimated 18,000 gathered at McCormick Place in his adopted hometown of Chicago that his social and civic activism will continue -- as a citizen. Joined by first lady Michelle Obama, daughter Malia, and Vice President Joe Biden, the president credited Chicago with playing a crucial role in his path to public service. Daughter Sasha remained in Washington because of a Wednesday morning school exam, the White House said. "I first came to Chicago when I was in my early twenties and I was still trying to figure out who I was, still searching for a purpose in my life," Obama said in a nationally broadcast speech.
 
McCain and Thornberry to propose major defense budget increase
Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) and House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) are planning to pitch about $640 billion in national defense spending for the coming 2018 fiscal year, sources tell Morning D. The proposal, which could come as early as this week, is the most concrete sign yet that defense hawks plan to seize upon President-elect Donald Trump's upset victory to push for a boost in defense spending in a big way and pursue a major military buildup. The plan for the national defense budget -- encompassing the Defense Department's base budget and national security programs under the Department of Energy but excluding the Pentagon's war account -- could mean a hike of upwards of $50 billion from projected national defense funding for fiscal 2018.
 
Construction Continues at Mississippi University for Women
Most universities in the state returned for the spring semester, but Mississippi University for Women gets one more week. However, construction on campus is still in full swing. They're finalizing improvements to the library and will be opening a new speech language and pathology building soon. MUW President Jim Borsig says projects like landscaping and sidewalk improvements are also underway. Most popular right now, is the tools they are using. "We've gotten a lot of attention for our robot which actually helps us be more efficient use of the space on that site and it's the same technology that Amazon uses for fulfillment of orders and so it's really been attracted a lot of attention," says President Borsig.
 
Mississippi State, Ole Miss ranked high for online MBA
Two Mississippi universities have been ranked high when it comes to earning an MBA online. U.S. News & World Report tied Ole Miss at number 21 nationally when it comes to earning a Master of Business Administration online and Mississippi State University tied at number 18. According to the report, earning a master's degree in business administration is one of the most popular and growing graduate programs a person can take.
 
Ole Miss Online MBA program named among best in America
The University of Mississippi's Online Master of Business Administration program has been named as one of the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The rankings, released Tuesday, place Ole Miss at No. 22 nationally. "We are excited for the recognition of the outstanding education received in the online MBA program," said Ken Cyree, dean of the UM School of Business Administration. "We strive to provide similarities of the on-campus experience, but with the flexibility of the courses needed while working or living in another location."
 
U. of Southern Mississippi reorganizing colleges, departments
Southern Miss is in the proposal stage of reorganizing colleges and departments at the university. Faculty and staff members have been submitting proposal ideas for how to merge different departments. School officials said a steady decline in state funding has led them to look at ways to make the college more efficient. A temporary proposal drafted by the Division of Academic Affairs highlights plans to combine departments with fewer than 10 full-time faculty members with larger academic units. The university has not announced which departments they are planning to merge, but its goal is to not hinder students in the process. "We don't anticipate any immediate action on student's progression," USM Provost Steven Moser said. "In fact, anything that we would bring in we would grandfather the current students to the current programming."
 
USM professor: Democrats can grill Jeff Sessions, but likely not stop confirmation
The first of president-elect Donald Trump's nominees for his cabinet appeared before a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions answered questions about closing Guantanamo Bay, banning Muslims from the U.S. and illegal immigration. He also denied allegations of past racial insensitivity. One University of Southern Mississippi professor thinks Trump won't have too much trouble getting Sessions and his other nominees confirmed. Allan McBride, associate professor of political science, said Democrats can't do much to block confirmation. "The Democrats just don't have the votes," said McBride.
 
Alcorn State awash in hard water 'emergency'
Alcorn State University could soon receive $4 million from the Legislature for a new water system; the House might vote as early as Wednesday. Rep. Jeff Smith, R-Columbus, chairman of the House Ways and Means committee, said Tuesday that Alcorn State, an historically black college in Lorman, is facing a "major emergency" with its current water system. Alcorn State officials said the water is safe for use and consumption, but that the current treatment system does not effectively remove hardness from water. "The hardness of the water is damaging and shortening the life expectancy of mechanical systems. To remedy this issue, the university is requesting funds to replace the current Cation-Exchange treatment plant installed 15 years ago with a reverse osmosis membrane-type water treatment plant," said Clara Ross Stamps, an Alcorn vice president.
 
Lawmakers work on emergency bill for Alcorn State water
Lawmakers are expected to pass an emergency borrowing bill to give Alcorn State University up to $4 million to fix its campus water system. House Ways and Means Chairman Jeff Smith, R-Columbus, told his committee Tuesday it would be on standby to meet as soon as a bill is drafted, because "Alcorn needs some fresh drinking water." He said he understands the school has temporary water arrangements and has worked with the Department of Finance and Administration to line up a contractor to make repairs. Because of its rural location in Lorman, Alcorn State has to supply many of its own utilities, including water and natural gas.
 
Tulane University's Madison Campus Closing
The Tulane University School of Continuing Studies will close its campus in Madison later this year to focus on sites closer to its main campus in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, as well as expanding its online courses. Tulane will continue to offer classes in Madison through spring 2017 and will work with students so they can complete their degrees on schedule. The institution has partnered with Belhaven University to help current students complete their studies nearby, allowing them to transfer course credits and enroll in comparable degree programs after Tulane closes. Tulane will also assist Madison campus staff and faculty in finding new professional opportunities. Belhaven plans to establish a new graduate campus in Madison that will offer degrees in nursing, education and business administration, among other fields.
 
Pearl River Community College President William Lewis sets retirement date
William Lewis, 70, the president of Pearl River Community College since July 2000, will retire June 30, with almost 50 years of public service in various Mississippi educational institutions. Lewis informed the PRCC Board of Trustees of his decision Tuesday during its monthly meeting. On July 1, Adam Breerwood, vice president for the Poplarville campus and Hancock Center, takes over as PRCC's 11th president. In April 2015, the PRCC Board of Trustees designated Breerwood president-elect of the two-year college, to succeed Lewis upon his retirement. Lewis, a native of Clinton, earned a bachelor's degree from Mississippi College as well as master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi. During his service to the state's public education system, his experiences as a professional educator have included teaching, coaching and administrative assignments in Mississippi's public schools, community colleges and universities.
 
Auburn University's online master's degree programs rank high in U.S. News & World Report
Auburn University's online master's degree programs in business, education and engineering are listed among the top programs nationally in the just released 2017 U.S. News & World Report Best Online Programs rankings. In the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business, the online MBA program placed 10th in the nation, while its non-MBA online graduate programs also were ranked 10th among such programs. The online master's degree programs offered by the College of Education ranked 10th among programs in that field of study. The Samuel Ginn College of Engineering's online master's degree programs ranked 20th among those programs, up from 27th last year. "The high rankings reflect our faculty's commitment to providing an excellent education for our distance learning students," said Timothy Boosinger, Auburn University provost and vice president for academic affairs.
 
UGA launches MBA-engineering dual degree program
The University of Georgia is launching a new dual degree program that will allow students to earn a bachelor's degree in engineering and an MBA within five years. The program, offered through the university's Terry College of Business and its College of Engineering, is the first and only combined Bachelor of Science and MBA degree offered at an institution in the University System of Georgia. "We are pleased to add the new engineering and MBA dual degree combination to our innovative educational offerings to provide motivated engineering students with the business skill set that will equip them to excel in today's workforce," said Terry College Dean Benjamin C. Ayers.
 
LSU online programs ranked by U.S. News & World Report's 2017 Best Online Programs
LSU online programs were ranked nationally by U.S. News & World Report's 2017 Best Online Programs. The LSU Online MS in construction management is ranked 8th among public colleges and universities and 11th overall on the list of 65 ranked programs by the magazine. LSU Online Flores Masters Business Administration Program is tied for 38th among public colleges and universities and tied for 47th overall on its list of 239 ranked programs. "Our programs are only a few years old and for them to already be highly ranked shows the dedication of our faculty and staff in making these programs the best we can for people looking for an online educational opportunity," Louanne Bergman, LSU director of online programs, said in a press release.
 
U. of Florida College of Education's online graduate program gets high rating
The University of Florida's College of Education is ranked the top online graduate education program by U.S. News and World Report, the magazine announced Tuesday. The ratings are based on student engagement, student services and technology, admissions selectivity, faculty credentials and training and peer reputation, according to the magazine. UF's education college offers eight degree programs that are catered to working teachers. More than 1,750 students were enrolled in the programs in 2016.
 
U. of Florida researchers find two new invasive mosquitoes
Two more tropical disease-carrying mosquitoes have been found on the U.S. mainland for the first time, caught in traps near Florida's everglades. The scientists involved say this could raise the risk of mosquito-borne viruses reaching people and birds, but a state health official says it's too early to sound an alarm. The new arrivals from Latin America and the Caribbean -- Culex panocossa and Aedeomyia squamipennis -- were trapped in October in rural areas bordering Everglades National Park by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences entomologist Nathan Burkett-Cadena and Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory researcher Erik Blosser.
 
Jeb Bush, son discuss leadership at Texas A&M forum; parents also in attendance
Bringing together three generations of the Bush family in one room, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush kicked off the 20th anniversary year of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Center with an evening discussing the current U.S. political climate and sharing key lessons he has learned throughout his political career. The 2016 Republican presidential candidate was joined Tuesday evening by his son, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, and his parents, Barbara and former President George H.W. Bush. In the midst of teaching a 10-day course -- focusing on the responsibilities of state leadership -- at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M, Jeb Bush began the event by noting some of the key events and political battles that took place during his tenure as the governor of Florida, including the 9/11 attacks, his administration's decision to end affirmative action in the state and several damaging hurricanes.
 
Texas A&M's Mark Hussey to transition from administration to faculty
Mark Hussey, who has served as vice chancellor and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University since 2008, will step down from his post and transition to the faculty, according to A&M President Michael K. Young. Young sent a memo to students, faculty and staff detailing the change Tuesday evening. Hussey was appointed to the vice chancellor and dean position in December 2008. He served as interim president of the university in 2014 after R. Bowen Loftin left the school. During his tenure, Hussey managed the design and construction of the Texas A&M Agrilife headquarters buildings on campus and more than doubled giving for scholarships and other programs. He initiated a series of programs, including the AgriLife Advanced Leadership Program.
 
U. of Missouri Office of Advancement employees rewarded for record fundraising year
At the end of a record fundraising year, 20 employees in the University of Missouri's Office of Advancement were rewarded with incentives ranging from $1,000 to $8,000. MU spokesman Christian Basi said the 20 employees, including three senior staff members, received a total of $54,000 in bonuses. MU recorded $171 million in pledges and new cash donations in fiscal year 2016, which ended June 30, up from $23.3 million in fiscal 2015 and $164.5 million in fiscal 2014. Two large pledges totaling nearly $39 million boosted the total. Basi said the Office of Advancement is in line with many university fundraising offices around the country in rewarding employees for exceptional performance.
 
Diversity groups urge no vote on Jeff Sessions, citing record on protection of minority rights
Civil rights and diversity groups are stepping up their opposition to Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions's nomination for U.S. attorney general, citing among other concerns his record opposing affirmative action and minority protections. At the same time, statements from Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for education secretary, are raising concerns among some about her commitment to understanding issues of race. The issue of affirmative action in particular is likely to surface in continued scrutiny of Betsy DeVos, Trump's nominee for education secretary. In arguing against a Michigan law allowing affirmative action in 2003, DeVos wrote in a Detroit News op-ed that "race is irrelevant and should be irrelevant." Many college educators say race remains relevant in the United States and that such seemingly pro-equity statements suggest a lack of awareness or sensitivity.
 
Despite Risk of Backlash, Texas Politicians Advance a 'Bathroom Bill' Like North Carolina's
Given the boycotts, bad press, and legal headaches North Carolina's bathroom bill caused that state, some Texans were taken aback when the state's lieutenant governor declared that keeping transgender people who were born as men out of women's bathrooms would be at the top of his legislative agenda. "Martin Luther King said our lives begin to end the day we become silent on things that matter," Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Republican, said in announcing his support for Senate Bill 6. The measure, which he and its author, State Sen. Lois W. Kolkhorst, also a Republican, have dubbed the "Texas Privacy Act" and others call the "Texas Bathroom Bill," obviously matters -- a lot -- to Mr. Patrick. A spokeswoman for the NCAA declined to comment on the Texas bill, but she forwarded an article that outlined the association's concerns about the North Carolina bill.
 
Study explores how universities deploy faculty and link to professors' pay
A common criticism of the faculty reward system is that it tends to value research over teaching. A just-released working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research offers new evidence in support of that contention, suggesting that the number of students a professor teaches has relatively little to do with their compensation. Disciplines with bigger class sizes do tend to offer better pay. But the highest-paid faculty members within departments tend to teach fewer undergraduates and fewer undergraduate courses than their lower-paid colleagues. The paper also suggests that changes in faculty pay over time have more to do with discipline than number of students taught, and that universities adjust to various cost pressures by increasing class size and other means. Yet the paper asserts that universities behave "rationally" in making such decisions, and suggests that prizing research output over teaching doesn't necessarily affect educational quality. Over all, the paper seems to dispute assertions that higher education spending -- at least on instruction -- is wasteful or inefficient.
 
Amid enrollment declines, speakers consider the shape of the English major
What does -- or should -- the English major look like? Members of an ad hoc committee on the major presented Friday at the Modern Language Association's annual convention. They reviewed findings from their inquiry into what changes English departments have made or are considering making to their requirements for undergraduate majors. The full report from the committee, which was formed by the Association of Departments of English, is forthcoming and its inquiry ongoing, but some of the preliminary observations that came up during Friday's presentations include a movement away from common required survey courses, the widespread availability of writing-related tracks within English majors and an increased attention to career planning. A minority of programs seem to require courses in Shakespeare.
 
Funding Twists, Tight Budgets Loom for States at ESSA's Debut
Changes to the way spending on schools must be reported under the Every Student Succeeds Act -- along with a dramatic political fight in Washington about proper use of federal money in schools -- are part of the picture as schools prepare for the new environment under ESSA come the 2017-18 school year. With the election of Donald Trump to the presidency and Republicans' continued control of Congress for at least the next two years, the prospects for increased education funding are not stellar in the near future. Last month, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed a continuing resolution for the federal budget that funds the government through April 28. The resolution does not make significant changes to K-12 funding and puts off longer-term education spending issues until later this year.
 
Adults toss around words without thought
Longtime Mississippi journalist Charlie Mitchell writes: "It's not often that the Kids' Page, a syndicated feature printed in some newspapers, inspires a grown-up, but it can happen. Last week's page focused on the Jan. 15 birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Along with a word search, crossword puzzle and brief bio of the civil rights leader, there was a game to match terms associated with social activism to their definitions. The brevity and clarity of the definitions was compelling. Too often, perhaps, the words used in the game are tossed around by grown-ups without any thought given to their very precise and direct meanings."


SPORTS
 
Quinndary Weatherspoon leads Mississippi State past Arkansas, 84-78
Mississippi State made more national news for its early season non-conference losses than most anything else over the first few months of the college basketball season. Don't look now, but the youthful Bulldogs --- with only one senior on the roster -- might just have figured things out after those early losses to the likes of Central Florida, Lehigh and East Tennessee State. Led by 25 points from sophomore Quinndary Weatherspoon, Mississippi State (11-4, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) won for the fifth time in six games with an 84-78 victory at Arkansas on Tuesday night. It's the first time the Bulldogs, who beat LSU on Saturday, have won back-to-back road conference games since 2011.
 
Hogs on first skid; Bulldogs' 12 three-pointers ensure losing streak
Arkansas' basketball team has lost back-to-back games for the first time this season. Mississippi State beat the Razorbacks 84-78 Tuesday night in Walton Arena before an announced crowd of 8,007 after Arkansas lost 97-71 at No. 6 Kentucky on Saturday night. "I'm obviously disappointed tonight with our performance," Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. "It starts with me and preparing our guys to play against a Mississippi State team that was hungry and very, very confident." The Bulldogs (11-4, 2-1 SEC), who beat LSU 95-78 in Baton Rouge on Saturday, won back-to-back conference road games for the first time since 2011 when they won at Tennessee and Arkansas.
 
Bulldogs force feed 'Spoon
Quinndary Weatherspoon made a tough three-pointer with an Arkansas hand in his face on his first shot Tuesday night. Mississippi State's sophomore guard hardly slowed down, torching the Hogs for 25 points in the Bulldogs' 84-78 victory on Tuesday at Walton Arena. Weatherspoon, who is recovering from a sore wrist, made 8 of 11 shots -- including 6 of 7 from three-point range -- in 34 minutes. "My teammates got me open shots, and I was able to knock them down tonight," Weatherspoon said. "It's all about reps," Mississippi State Coach Ben Howland said "He's a great shooter. He just needs more reps. There's no hesitation. He's just confident." "He made a pretty big difference," Arkansas guard Dusty Hannahs said.
 
Mississippi State earns special victory at Tennessee
The Dispatch's Adam Minichino writes: "The Mississippi State women's basketball team earned a place in a very special group of teams Sunday. In the 30 seasons the Tennessee women's and men's basketball teams have called Thompson-Boling Arena home, the Lady Volunteers entered their game against the No. 4 MSU Bulldogs with a 422-33 mark (92.7 percent) in the venue. For perspective, MSU coach Vic Schaefer has a 70.4-percent winning percentage as coach at MSU (107-45) and a 54.7-percent winning percentage (187-155) in 12 years as a head coach. Those numbers aren't too shabby, but they pale in comparison to Tennessee's dominance at home. Schaefer, who was a longtime assistant and associate head coach at Arkansas and Texas A&M, knows all too well about the power of the Lady Volunteers' home court, which is why the significance of MSU's 74-64 victory Sunday at Thompson-Boling Arena wasn't lost on him."
 
Mississippi State's Jake Mangum named preseason All-American by Perfect Game
Jake Mangum finished last season as a Freshman All-American and begins his sophomore campaign at Mississippi State as a second-team Perfect Game Preseason All-American. Mangum won the SEC batting title last spring, hitting .408 to go along with a dozen doubles, three triples, a home run, 28 RBIs and six stolen bases while making 43 starts in the outfield. The Pearl native was named the SEC Freshman of the Year, first team All-SEC and received seven All-America selections in 2016.
 
Mississippi State's Leo Lewis named freshman All-American
After leading all Southeastern Conference freshmen in tackles, Mississippi State linebacker Leo Lewis was named to the 2016 Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-America Team, the organization announced prior to Monday's College Football Playoff National Championship. The SEC and Big Ten each placed six players on the 34-member team, while the Pac-12 and ACC had five players from their respective conferences. The 12-person panel of nationally-prominent writers represented each of the FBS conferences along with independents in selecting the team. Lewis, a native of Brookhaven, is the first Bulldog to ever be named to the FWAA Freshman All-America Team, which was established in 2001.
 
Mississippi State's Richie Brown headed to East-West Shrine Game
Mississippi State linebacker Richie Brown has accepted an invitation to participate in this year's East-West Shrine Game. Brown will return to Tropicana Field where the Bulldogs won the St. Petersburg Bowl two weeks ago. The East-West Shrine Game is set for a 2 p.m. kickoff on Jan. 21 and televised on NFL Network. Brown led MSU in tackles the past two seasons and finished his career with 299 tackles, 21 for loss, 10 sacks, five interceptions, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
 
For diverse Cowboys, Dak Prescott is the ultimate unifier
At the end of the locker room at the palatial facility of the Dallas Cowboys sits a room with a hidden set of cubicles. Teammate Cole Beasley strolls by, on his way to the shower. "Whassup, Pops?" Dak Prescott calls out. Beasley nods in stride, and then disappears behind a wall. Prescott lounges on the padded leather seat of an unassigned locker. It's Thursday of Week 17. One of the most prolific regular seasons for a rookie in NFL history will soon be his, and Prescott is reflecting on how he took control of the most valuable sports franchise in the world. The clearest example comes in the form of another unexpected visitor, different from Beasley in one obvious way.
 
Bulldogs in the NFL
Mississippi State has had 21 former players active on NFL rosters this season. Each week, the Daily Journal checks in on how those Bulldog alumni are performing at the professional level.
 
New developmental league could mark shift for college football, NFL
When junior quarterback Deshaun Watson led Clemson past Alabama in a championship game thriller Monday night, it was another reminder of a lifeblood to the multibillion-dollar college football industry: a monopoly on players three years or fewer removed from their high school graduating class, who by rule are ineligible to enter the NFL Draft. What if some of those players didn't have to wait to go pro? The people behind a new professional league that hopes to launch in 2018 say they don't intend to compete with the NCAA. They have a long way to go financially and otherwise just to get their venture off the ground. But if they can play even one season, paying the bills and cutting 18- to 22-year-olds in on the action, it's easy to see where the impact could be significant.



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