Monday, March 6, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State program helps students pursue medical careers
Mississippi high school juniors considering medical careers in their home state can participate in a five-week Rural Medical Scholars summer program at Mississippi State University. Applications for the May 28 through June 29 program must be submitted by March 20. "Mississippi still has the lowest number of physicians per capita in the nation, which limits access to care and contributes to many of the negative health issues plaguing our state," Ann Sansing, community health coordinator for the MSU Extension Service, said in a news release. The program is primarily funded by MSU Extension, with additional assistance from the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care at the state Department of Health.
Renowned South American photojournalist visits Mississippi State Wednesday
An Argentinian photographer recognized internationally for combining his art with humanitarian efforts will visit Mississippi State. Sebastian Suki Belaustegui comes to the university Wednesday, March 8 for a 6-8 p.m. address in Section U of the Colvard Student Union's second-floor Bill R. Foster Ballroom. Free to all, the presentation will spotlight some of his efforts to document cultural diversity, specifically among minority communities and tribes. Also free to all is "Africa in the Americas: The Heritage of African Communities in the Americas," an exhibit of Belaustegui's work on display through March 24 at the art department's Visual Arts Center Gallery at 808 University Drive. Belaustegui's MSU visit and the related event are supported by the College of Arts and Sciences' Institute for the Humanities and classical and modern languages and literatures department, along with the College of Architecture, Art and Design's art department.
'Starkchella' set for March 30 at Mississippi State's amphitheater
"Starkchella" is the title of a special Mississippi State event taking place March 30 to help raise awareness of healthy personal relationships and the prevention of sexual assault. Open to all, the 5-8 p.m. program at the university amphitheater offers a mix of music, talent and other activities. A fashion show is scheduled at 6 p.m. Event sponsors include MSU's departments of Health Promotion and Wellness, and University Recreation (formerly recreational sports), Office of Compliance and Integrity, Student Counseling Services, Holmes Cultural Diversity Center, Student Association, Fashion Board and Phi Mu and Pi Beta Phi sororities. While admission is free, those planning to attend should complete a registration form in advance at and present the completed ticket at check-in.
Are you tough enough for Mississippi State's 'Battle at the Lake'?
Members of the campus and local communities may now register for Mississippi State's "Battle at the Lake 2017." Open to all, the March 25 obstacle fitness challenge takes place 8 a.m.-noon on the Chadwick Lake walking track that adjoins the university's Joe Frank Sanderson Center. Activities will include a wall climb, hurdles, tire pulls, agility circuits, box jumps, bear crawls and a timed-trial run. Online sign-ups may be completed at A $20 participation fee will be collected prior to the start of activities. The event is organized by the MSU recreation department, with support from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi through the "MSU on the Move" initiative. A portion of the proceeds goes to the American Cancer Society's "Relay for Life" campaign.
OCH helping entrepreneurial teen achieve Mississippi State dream
New specialty items are available in the OCH Auxiliary Gift Shop, with the proceeds going toward helping one young girl with Down Syndrome achieve her goal of attending MSU's Access program. Lewisburg High School sophomore Morgan Tibbens, 17, wanted to raise money to attend the program, which helps students with mental disabilities transition into higher education, and got the idea to sell homemade bath bombs to help fund her dream. Tibbens named her academic fundraising venture Da Bombs. OCH Volunteer Services Coordinator Lauren Gardner heard about Morgan Tibbens through a friend and contacted her on Facebook to sell her bath bombs at the OCH Auxiliary Gift Shop.
Ward 2 race: Wynn now making independent bid, Jesse Carver declares as a Republican
Starkville's Ward 2 race saw a wholesale change before Friday's qualification deadline, as incumbent Lisa Wynn, who previously qualified this year as a Democrat, shed her party affiliation and is now running as an independent candidate. Meanwhile, Jesse Carver, the brother of Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver, declared as a Republican. To qualify as an independent, a candidate must have at least 50 registered voters sign off on the bid. Wynn turned in a list of 60 signatures to City Hall before Friday's 5 p.m. deadline, City Clerk Lesa Hardin said. The clerk was unable to vet those signatures by the end of the working week but is expected to do so Monday. If Wynn, 48, hits the threshold of 50 qualified signatures, she and Jesse Carver will face former Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk, a Democrat, in June's general election. Wynn did not give a reason for ditching her Democratic Party affiliation but said she and her supporters are "excited about the path forward."
Bleak February revenues complicate budget prep
As lawmakers press forward on crafting next fiscal year's budget, revenue collections in the current year continue to fall well below projections. The state collected $25.6 million less than projected in February, bringing the year's revenue shortfall to $133 million. Gov. Phil Bryant, who has twice slashed agencies' budgets this year to offset dwindling revenues, may be forced into another round of cuts. I'm very concerned," said Rep. John Read, R-Gautier, also the chairman of the House Appropriations Commitee. "When these low numbers come in, it makes us proceed very, very cautiously... It's going to be a tight year (next fiscal year), but that's just the nature of this game. We're going to get through it." "We will continue to live within our means, and it is not a bad thing to reduce the size of government," House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, said on Friday.
Work on MAEP rewrite goes on quietly by consultants
Presumably, work on the rewrite of the landmark Adequate Education Program is ongoing in the Mississippi Legislature, though it is difficult to find anyone in the Capitol who knows much about it. Both chairs of the Education committees, Sen. Gray Tollison, R-Oxford, and Rep. John Moore, R-Brandon, say they are not involved in the effort to rewrite the mechanism that provides state funds to local school districts. Rep. Richard Bennett, R-Long Beach, who appeared at one point to be the point person in the House on rewriting the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, also says he is not involved in the rewrite. When House Appropriations Chair John Read, R-Gautier, was asked about the rewrite effort during a recent meeting of his committee, he also said he did not know anything about it. In other words, the work is being done at the highest legislative levels, by House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, who presides over the Senate.
Analysis: Mississippi legislators love to try to micromanage
Every year, Mississippi legislators deal with bills that could fall under the heading: Things You Shouldn't Have to Tell a Sensible Adult. A case in point this year is Senate Bill 2305 , which says drivers must slow down and give space on the road to rural mail carriers who are making deliveries. Failure to do so would be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $250 to $1,000. No sensible adult should have to be told to mind their manners behind the wheel, but the legislation was clearly written because some folks can't seem to find their brakes or move over and give a decent amount of space when they see the mail carrier's flashing lights. The bill passed the Senate 52-0 and the House 115-1, and is headed to Gov. Phil Bryant. Legislators also love to micromanage, especially when it comes to education.
Senate passes bill allowing on-site craft brewery sales
Craft brewers are one legislative step away from being allowed to sell their beer on the premises of breweries themselves. The Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would allow Mississippi breweries to sell their own beer by bulk (up to 576 ounces per day per customer, or about two cases of beer) and in on-site brewpubs, where visitors can order and drink beer on the premises. The bill now moves back to the House for concurrence on slight amendments made by the Senate. If approved there, it will head to the governor's desk for signature. Proponents of the bill, both Republicans and Democrats, believe the bill will increase tourism and level the playing field for Mississippi breweries.
Mississippi state Senate amends, then approves House craft brewery bill
A bill that would allow craft breweries in Mississippi to sell beer to go and for drinking at tap rooms has passed the Senate. Small brewers such as Lazy Magnolia in Kiln, Chandeleur Island Brewing Co. in Gulfport and Biloxi Brewing have been able to offer limited "tastings" after visitors go on a tour of the brewery but they can't sell any to be taken home. Although the Senate passed the House version of the bill, its Finance Committee had made some changes. That means HB 1322 will have to go back to the House, which can either accept the Senate changes or ask for a conference committee to hash out the differences between the two bills. Coast breweries seems confident the bill will wind up on Gov. Phil Bryant's desk. Chandeleur said it is brewing a mystery brew in honor of HB 1233 to be unveiled July 1, which would be the effective day of the new law. Lazy Magnolia and Biloxi Brewing have posted screen shots of the legislation's cover sheet.
Senator: Feds shut down more than 100 bridges in Mississippi
The chairman of the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee says inspections by the Federal Highway Administration have led to the closure of more than 100 crumbling bridges in the past week. Sen. Willie Simmons, D-Cleveland, warned his colleagues Friday that they might get some calls over the weekend about the closures. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves responded: "Thank you, Sen. Simmons. Random timing, I'm sure." State Aid Engineer Carey Webb with the Office of State Aid Road Construction said his department is working to compile a list of the closures -- all on local roads -- and did not have an immediate figure for how many locations had been shut off. The office serves as the administrative agency for counties and informs them of which bridges have to be closed.
Sen. Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven hopeful hospital bill will survive
Sen. Sally Doty, R-Brookhaven, is hopeful a bill that would allow non-profit hospitals to recover bad debt from any state tax refund will survive after it stalled in the Senate last week. The Senate delayed House Bill 687 Thursday that would allow the state to withhold income tax refunds from Mississippians who owe debt to public and private non-profit hospitals and community colleges. Those who owe debts greater than $100 to nonprofit hospitals and $25 to community colleges could have tax refunds withheld. The practice is already used for uncollected four-year university and child support debts, but if the bill passes, nonprofit hospitals would be the first private entity able to draw state assistance to collect outstanding debts.
Ingalls, ship sponsor Kay Bowen Webber Cochran christens NSC, Kimball
Hundreds gathered at Ingalls Shipbuilding Saturday morning to witness the christening of the seventh National Security Cutter, the Kimball (WMSL 756). Saturday's christening had a unique flavor as Kay Bowen Webber Cochran, wife of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran adorned in vibrant color jacket was the center of attention as the ship's sponsor and was charged with the duty of christening the ship. The ship's namesake is Sumner Increase Kimball who organized the United States Life-Saving Service (USLSS) and served as the General Superintendent for 37 years. The USLSS eventually merged with other federal services to become what is now known today as the U.S. Coast Guard. Gov. Phil Bryant, along with U.S. Rep Steven Palazzo, Ingalls president Brian Cuccias, prospective commanding officer of the Kimball Capt. David Ramassini were among the speakers in attendance.
Comey Asks Justice Dept. to Reject Trump's Wiretapping Claim
The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, asked the Justice Department this weekend to publicly reject President Trump's assertion that President Barack Obama ordered the tapping of Mr. Trump's phones, senior American officials said on Sunday. Mr. Comey has argued that the highly charged claim is false and must be corrected, they said, but the department has not released any such statement. Mr. Comey, who made the request on Saturday after Mr. Trump leveled his allegation on Twitter, has been working to get the Justice Department to knock down the claim because it falsely insinuates that the F.B.I. broke the law, the officials said. Mr. Comey's request is a remarkable rebuke of a sitting president, putting the nation's top law enforcement official in the position of questioning Mr. Trump's truthfulness.
Spokeswoman: 'I don't think' Trump accepts Comey's denial of wiretap claims
A White House spokeswoman on Monday said she doesn't think President Trump accepts the FBI Director James Comey's denial of the president's claims that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower before the election. "No, I don't think he does," Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America." Trump claimed Saturday that Obama had his "wires tapped" in Trump Tower before his presidential victory. White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Sunday called the reports about "potentially politically motivated investigations" before the 2016 presidential election "very troubling."
Bernie Sanders backs unionization campaign in Mississippi as Democrats draft populist agenda
On Saturday, workers in the middle of a union drive at the Nissan plant in Canton, Miss., stopped to hear from a special guest: Sen. Bernie Sanders. The onetime presidential candidate, now the Democratic caucus's point man on political outreach, came to the "March on Mississippi" event both to help the United Automobile Workers' campaign and to send a message about what opponents of President Trump should be doing. The Mississippi march, organized by the United Automobile Workers and joined by the NAACP and the Sierra Club, comes as Democrats are reintroducing themselves to voters who drifted toward Trump's populism last year. At the rally itself, facing throngs of workers and activists who'd come to hear him speak, Sanders hit on familiar themes. America, he said, was "in a race to the bottom" for low wages labor standards.
Avian influenza detected in Tennessee chickens
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture announced on Sunday that a strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), informally known as bird flu, was detected in a commercial chicken flock in Lincoln County in southern Middle Tennessee. The Department of Agriculture was alerted to an increase in the number of chicken deaths at a commercial facility on March 3. Subsequent state and federal testing revealed the presence of H7 HPAI in the facility's flock. According to a news release from the Department of Agriculture, the targeted facility is currently under quarantine, as are approximately 30 other poultry farms in the area. Officials are monitoring flocks within the quarantined area and "depopulating" the infected flock. So far, no other flocks have shown the increases in mortality associated with the disease.
Robyn Tannehill to be next mayor of Oxford
Robyn Tannehill has become the mayor-elect of the City of Oxford. Friday at 5 p.m. was the deadline for any other citizen of Oxford to qualify for the mayoral race. Because no one else entered the race, Tannehill is now officially running unopposed, making her the next mayor of Oxford. Tannehill announced her candidacy after current mayor Pat Patterson announced that he would not be running for a third team, following in the footsteps of his predecessor, former mayor Richard Howorth. Tannehill has been a resident of Oxford for nearly 30 years -- originally as a student at Ole Miss, and becoming a full-time resident upon graduation. During her time in Oxford, Tannehill has served the school district's parent teacher organizations and co-chaired the $30 million bond referendum that went toward the construction of the new high school.
Ole Miss offsets electricity use with renewable energy certificates
The University of Mississippi has offset a portion of the electricity it uses through the purchase of renewable energy certificates. The purchase, which came about as a recommendation of the UM Energy Committee, allows the university to lower its carbon footprint, support the development of renewable energy technologies and practice resource stewardship, a tenet of the UM Creed. "RECs are a simple and efficient way to immediately integrate renewables into an energy portfolio," said Larry Sparks, vice chancellor for administration and finance. "This is an important next step for UM that complements our long history of increasing energy efficiencies, lowering energy utilization rates and investing in renewable energy installations on campus."
USM dedicates $30-million Asbury Hall
The new home of the College of Nursing at the University of Southern Mississippi has officially opened. A ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony for Asbury Hall was held Friday afternoon. The $30 million facility is larger than Harkins Hall, the former nursing building, which opened in 1975. It has more laboratory and classroom space and includes an academic resource center. The Asbury Foundation gave $4 million to construct the building. "We feel very excited about reaching a milestone that's taken many years to complete," said Katherine Nugent, dean of the College of Nursing.
Free training, nutrition classes for 100 at USM
Mary Peters is eating right and getting her exercise these days. Peters, 62, an instructor in the math department at the University of Southern Mississippi, is one of 98 Southern Miss faculty, staff and students who are taking advantage of free personal training and nutrition advice through the Healthy 100 program. "I have high cholesterol and I'm diabetic so I qualify for the program," Peters said. "I've lost inches. I can see by the way my clothes fit." The Healthy 100 program is part of the university's Health is Golden campaign, funded by a grant from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation. It offers group personal training and nutrition classes at no cost to 100 people affiliated with Southern Miss.
Jackson State's Interim President Praises Trump's HBCU Executive Order, Other Presidents Cast Doubts
Jackson State University's interim President Dr. Rod Paige applauded President Donald Trump's executive order in support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country. Trump's order creates a board of advisors on HBCUs that reports to him as well as effectively moves HBCU programs to the executive office instead of the Department of Education. Paige, a former U.S. Secretary of Education under George W. Bush, said he was encouraged by Trump's executive order. "HBCUs have played an integral role in providing access to education and to the American dream for minorities for nearly two centuries. We are encouraged by the White House Initiative on HBCUs and look forward to the enhanced visibility and the opportunity to develop strategic partnerships with other agencies," Paige said in a press statement.
HBCUs await Trump's budget plan
Presidents of historically black colleges and universities welcomed recent outreach efforts by the Trump administration but said the true test of that goodwill will come when the White House unveils its budget plan. "The budget will be a starting point," said David Beckley, president of Rust College in Holly Springs, Miss. "I want to withhold judgment. I want to believe that you would not have these men and women parade to Washington for a show and tell and you do nothing. I'm going give them the benefit of the doubt. We all wait with great anticipation to see what the response will be." Beckley and nearly 80 other presidents of HBCUs met Feb. 27 with President Trump and other top officials at the White House. They also participated in a daylong conference Tuesday hosted by Republican lawmakers Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Rep. Mark Walker of North Carolina.
Residents to meet on Delta State golf course closing
A group of Cleveland residents will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at Mississippi Consignment Sales on MS Highway 8 East to discuss possible ways of keeping the Delta State University golf course open. The public is invited but especially those who live or own property around the course and avid golfers. Delta State announced last week that in light of budget cuts the course would be closed effective June 30. "Regrettably, the cabinet has been put in the difficult position of closing the university golf course to achieve savings in our budget -- necessary because of the continuing state budget cuts," President Williams N. LaForge said. The closure will translate into nearly $250,000 in savings for the university, which is needed to offset $1.1 million in state budget cuts from this fiscal year alone. There is no plan to repurpose the course at this time. James Rutledge, vice president for Finance and Administration, said the closure would not affect current golf course employees.
Olon Ray, creator of Mississippi's first online college program, dies
Olon Edward Ray of Saucier was one of the most prominent visionaries for education in Mississippi. He is credited with spearheading the state's first online community college classes in the 1990s while serving as executive director of the state Community College Board from 1990 until his retirement in 2002, said Becky Cade, his former assistant. "When I worked for him while he was on the Community College Board, he pushed us to implement technology in education," Cade said. "He believed that education was the way out of poverty and he saw technology as a way to accomplish that." After just a few semesters of offering online classes, Ray established the first two-year online degree program. "He took all of us to a higher level," Cade said. "It was a collective effort, but Olon was the visionary." Ray died Friday at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg. He was 76.
Picayune 'headmaster,' church pastor speak out on graduates' forged diplomas
The administrator who forged a signature on high school diplomas she issued at a Picayune private school said she doesn't understand some of the criticism being leveled at her. And the pastor of the church where classes were held offered a heated defense. Candice Downey oversaw Christian Academy of Picayune. Earlier this week, she sent out letters to the parents of graduating students that said she'd forged the signature of the Pearl River County School District superintendent on the diplomas. On Friday afternoon, Downey told the Sun Herald she'd opened the school as a means to help students in financial trouble who needed to graduate. She said she tried to get accreditation for the school, but when that failed, she said she didn't know what to do. "I don't know why I did it," she said. "It's really a bad situation. I don't understand how it happened."
U. of Alabama's 'Machine' candidate for SGA president faces ethics violations
A candidate for the University of Alabama Student Government Association President has been found guilty by the university of three campaign violations. As punishment, Jared Hunter will not be able to actively campaign through Monday, March 6 -- the day before elections. In an opinion piece written for the school newspaper The Crimson White, Hunter said he was supported by the "Machine," an underground student organization that is made up of traditionally white fraternities and sororities and is thought to have controlled campus institutions for decades. According to documents from UA, Hunter committed two "major" campaign ethics violations and one "intermediate" campaign spending limit violation.
Researchers investigate three cases of rare cancer among former Auburn University students
Most patients diagnosed with uveal melanoma, a rare eye cancer, have never even heard of the disease. But Allyson Allred, then 31 and living in Hoover, had some idea what she was facing when doctors made the diagnosis back in 2001. Through her church, Allred had prayed for a Vestavia Hills woman struck with the same cancer one year earlier -- an acquaintance who also lived in Auburn University dorms during freshman and sophomore year. Allred reached out to the woman and they quickly became friends. Their unofficial cancer sorority grew by one more 11 years later, when another classmate from the same set of neighboring dorms came down with the rare condition. Soon after, researchers began taking notice.
U. of Tennessee trustees OK $375K in administrator bonuses
University of Tennessee trustees gave initial approval to pay out nearly $375,000 in bonuses to its seven top administrators Friday, including two chancellors who have already left their posts. UT President Joe DiPietro stands to receive $101,816. Former Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek, who stepped down Feb. 15, could receive $41,563. Former Institute of Agriculture Chancellor Larry Arrington, who retired Sept. 1, could see $40,973. The incentive payments were approved by trustees at the executive and compensation committee Friday morning at the Knoxville campus. The bonuses will go to the full board for a vote at its March 29 meeting in Chattanooga. he bonuses are part of an incentive plan the board adopted in 2012 and then tweaked last year. The board grades its president, chancellors and other top executives on measures like enrollment growth, expanding research and fundraising.
Black leaders call on UGA to further discuss future of unearthed remains at Baldwin Hall
Black leaders called on University of Georgia administrators Saturday to at least listen to what they have to say before proceeding with plans to reinter remains found from more than 100 unmarked graves as contractors remodeled and expanded a UGA building. Workers on the Baldwin Hall project discovered the first bodies in late 2015. University officials temporarily halted the project, at first expecting only a few burial sites, but archaeologists eventually excavated 105. UGA last week announced the results of DNA testing of 30 of the burials containing enough material to test. Almost all the 30 were identified as African American, though a couple were not, including one of Japanese descent, according to the DNA tests.
Recognized thinker on media's future to speak at U. of Kentucky
Tom Rosenstiel, considered one of the nation's most recognized thinkers on the future of media, is to speak March 8 on the University of Kentucky campus. Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute, is to speak at 3 p.m. March 8 in the Great Hall of the Margaret I. King Library. His speech is the latest installment of the "Challenges to Journalism" series at the UK School of Journalism and Media.
Louisiana's college campuses crumbling
Louisiana's college campuses are crumbling under the weight of $1.7 billion in deferred maintenance. "Our facilities are disintegrating from the inside out," said University of Louisiana System President Jim Henderson. "It's a huge issue for us." Leaky roofs, mold- and mildew-stained ceilings, threadbare carpet, pipes propped up by two-by-fours and parking lot potholes deep enough to rattle the shocks of a Humvee can be found from Louisiana Tech University to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, from Northwestern State to LSU-Shreveport and from the University of Louisiana at Monroe to Central Louisiana Technical Community College. The LSU System alone has more than $1 billion in deferred maintenance needs, including $718 million at its Baton Rouge campus.
Texas A&M looks to steal the show at SXSW
Texas A&M University is looking to get its name out in front of new audiences next week as it prepares to participate in the interactive week of the South by Southwest Festival in Austin. With six days of events scheduled for Friday through March 15, the university is expected to show off a range of academic research and technology developed by its faculty. Amy Smith, senior vice president, chief marketing and communications officer at A&M, said she hopes the university can take advantage of the festival's global attention to share with the world the work being done at Texas A&M. "It's a global stage, and it's an important place for us to be able to present who we are," Smith said. "We want to show that we're a university that really has a tremendous amount of things going on if you put us toe to toe with any private or public university."
Trump's International Policies Could Have Lasting Effects On Higher Ed
Trump administration policies toward refugees and immigrants, as well as a recent racially-charged shooting in Kansas, have some international students thinking twice about enrolling in American colleges and universities. Relatives of the Kansas shooting victims are urging other Indians to not send their kids to study in the U.S. The shooter, who is behind bars, killed one of the three people who were shot. It's too soon to know if international applicants or enrollees will decline nationally. But uncertainty and fear linger over whether Trump's political actions, rhetoric and tweets will freeze the flow of international students. More than a million international students attend American colleges and universities. While opposition to a travel ban by most U.S. colleges and universities is about academic freedom and diversity, it's also very much about protecting their budgets. Higher education in America relies, in part, on foreign students, who often pay full fare, helping universities to meet budgets and subsidize American students.
Accessibility order: Berkeley to delete publicly available educational content
The University of California, Berkeley, will cut off public access to tens of thousands of video lectures and podcasts in response to a U.S. Justice Department order that it make the educational content accessible to people with disabilities. Today, the content is available to the public on YouTube, iTunes U and the university's webcast.berkeley site. On March 15, the university will begin removing the more than 20,000 audio and video files from those platforms -- a process that will take three to five months -- and require users sign in with University of California credentials to view or listen to them. The Justice Department, following an investigation, in August determined that the university was violating the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. The department reached that conclusion after receiving complaints from two employees of Gallaudet University, saying Berkeley's free online educational content was inaccessible to blind and deaf people because of a lack of captions, screen reader compatibility and other issues.
Concentrated power waxing in Mississippi Legislature
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "Concentrated power in the Legislature waxes and wanes with the attitudes of rank and file members. At times, Speakers of the House and Lieutenant Governors have wielded dictator-like power. At other times, members have risen up and made the bodies operate more democratically. Concentrated power is waxing once again as rank and file legislators cede power to their leaders. The Mississippi Constitution intends for the House and Senate to be deliberative bodies wherein the elected members discuss and debate the diverse views of their constituents as they formulate policy and law, not fiefdoms ruled by powerful Lieutenant Governors and Speakers. Indeed, the Constitution awards no strong powers to either office except that the Lieutenant Governor shall be the convening 'president of the Senate.' The vast power amassed in these offices is yielded by rank and file members through their rules and through tradition."
Mississippi breweries can taste victory
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Dennis Seid writes: "It's been a hard-fought process for Mississippi microbreweries, which have been fighting for years to get a bigger piece of the lucrative craft beer business, valued at more than $22 billion. Mississippi has fewer than a dozen craft beer breweries, but that could soon change. Last week, the Mississippi Senate, by a 42-8 vote, passed HB 1322, a critical piece of legislation that will grow and expand the fledgling industry in the Magnolia State. Now it's up to the full Legislature to pass the bill, then have it go on to Gov. Phil Bryant's desk for him to sign it. ...It took getting more people talking at the table to push through the legislation. Among the key supporters was the Mississippi Beer Distributors Association, which did not back last year's proposals."
Legislature is operating as designed
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "Tuesday was a major "killing deadline" in the Legislature, and as usual for this time of session, each chamber appears to have a collective bad case of the red hiney over the other one killing its bills. ...By week's end, the flow of the milk of human kindness between the upper and lower chambers had dried to a trickle, prompting one first-term House member to inquire: 'How many House bills have to die before we raise up?' ...But, actually, it's not really all fouled up. The Legislature is, painful and frustrating though it is to watch, generally operating as it was designed. ...The answer: legislative bodies in our representative republic were designed to be slow, ungainly, contentious and inefficient, at least in passing laws and taxes. The only thing worse than a do-nothing legislature is one that does too much."
Here's what Bernie Sanders didn't tell you about Nissan in Mississippi
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "On Saturday, the United Auto Workers, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, actor Danny Glover, the NAACP, and fellow political travelers brought the 'March on Mississippi' to Canton to continue to peddle the narrative that 'workers' rights equals civil rights.' ...Here is what Sen. Sanders didn't tell the people attending the 'March on Mississippi.' Since opening in 2003, Nissan has employed more than 6,000 Mississippians and created an additional 2.9 jobs for every job at the plant. A 2016 study by Mississippi State University's National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center shows approximately 25,000 direct and indirect jobs created throughout Mississippi that link to Nissan. Nissan also generates $300 million in annual state and local tax revenues."

Mississippi State expects few changes before Wednesday's rematch with LSU
It was barely thirty minutes after the end of a months-long season, and Mississippi State men's basketball coach Ben Howland was already talking -- excitedly so -- about the next one. Therein lies the anticipation for the postseason, which MSU (15-15, 6-12 Southeastern Conference) begins in the opening round of the SEC Tournament Wednesday in Nashville. "We're real excited to start playing in a new season now," Howland said. "We know the next game we lose, it's over. We have to have everything on the line in terms of our effort, our intensity, our preparation." MSU's new season begins with a very familiar opponent: LSU, forcing the Bulldogs to face the Tigers twice in a span of five days. MSU finished its regular season with an 88-76 win over LSU on Saturday. "This will be a much more difficult game with LSU at a neutral site, on a court our guys aren't familiar with," Howland said. "I understand that very clearly, so hopefully we can have a good game. It's difficult. It's a whole new season for them, too. They're very talented and they can really score the basketball."
I.J. Ready plays starring role as Bulldogs rout Tigers on Senior Day
I.J. Ready's final parting gift from Humphrey Coliseum was a net. For Ready's Senior Night on Saturday, the final home game of his career, Mississippi State changed the nets hanging over the floor where Ready has played a significant portion of his 3,013 career minutes. As a gift on his way out, Ready found one of the old nets waiting for him in the locker room after MSU's 88-76 win over LSU. "It was a great thing for I.J. to go out winning his last home game with his parents here and playing as well as he did," MSU coach Ben Howland said. "He really played like a senior, like the one senior we had." MSU will face LSU again in the first round of the SEC Tournament on Wednesday in Nashville. MSU won the first two meetings by an average margin of 14.5 points.
Mississippi State tops LSU to snap 7-game skid
Quinndary Weatherspoon had 18 points as Mississippi State snapped a seven-game losing streak with an 88-76 win over LSU on Saturday. Weatherspoon was 8 of 11 from the field and led a balanced scoring attack for the Bulldogs. Aric Holman and Xavian Stapleton each had 14 points for Mississippi State (15-15 overall, 6-12 SEC) in the regular-season finale. Tyson Carter drained a 3-pointer at the first-half buzzer and the Bulldogs led 48-30 at halftime. The Bulldogs shot 57 percent in the first half and LSU struggled at 37 percent. The Bulldogs open the SEC tournament Wednesday in Nashville, Tenn. They'll face LSU for the third time this season.
Gamecocks beat Bulldogs for third straight SEC tournament title
3-peat. The black words on the white dry erase board were the final by-product of a heart-felt performance by the South Carolina women's basketball team. Facing its largest deficit of the game entering the fourth quarter, top-seeded South Carolina used a 19-4 final 10 minutes to pull away and beat second-seeded Mississippi State 59-49 in the championship game of the Southeastern Conference tournament before a crowd of 7,715 at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. "We just feel like we didn't execute down the stretch," MSU coach Vic Schaefer said. "Morgan and T(eaira) both carried us offensively. (They) really put us on their backs, made some really, really tough shots, some good shots, and competed. You just want them to go out there and lay it on the line. I thought our kids did that."
Mississippi State baseball drops rubber game of Oregon series
After a pair of one-run contests to begin the series, the series finale was no different as the Mississippi State baseball team fell 6-5 at Oregon in 11 innings. Jake Mangum extended his career-long hit streak to 25 games with a single in the third and was 4-for-6 with a double and an RBI on the day. Ryan Gridley now has an eight-game hit streak after going collecting three hits. Brent Rooker, Luke Alexander and Hunter Stovall each had two hits. Elijah MacNamee led the Bulldogs with two RBI. Spencer Price (1-1) took the loss in relief. He tossed 2.1 innings and allowed one run on one hit and struck out a batter. Ryan Cyr pitched a career-best 5.2 innings in relief, striking out a career-high seven batters and allowing just one run on two hits for the Bulldogs.
Bulldogs to play in 2018 College Classic at Minute Maid Park
The 2017 season is just getting underway but Mississippi State is already making plans for next year. The Diamond Dogs have accepted an invitation to play in the College Classic at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas March 2-4, 2018. Also participating in the event at the home of the Houston Astros will be Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Houston, Louisiana-Lafayette and Sam Houston State. MSU will play all three non-conference opponents with the schedule being released at a later date. The Ragin' Cajuns are the only non-SEC team the Bulldogs have faced before, going 1-3.
Spring practice provides routine for Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State
Spring practice's arrival was a godsend of sorts for Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. "I'll definitely take practicing over workouts at 5 a.m. any day," he said. Beyond a break from early-morning workouts, spring practice should bring a certain level of comfort for Fitzgerald: being a redshirt junior who enrolled in January before his redshirt season, this spring is Fitzgerald's fourth at MSU. This spring schedule offers something different for Fitzgerald: offseason practice as the established starter. MSU coach Dan Mullen said Fitzgerald will, "always be competing for a job, because (freshman quarterback) Keytaon (Thompson) came and wants to play," but also recognizes the difference in the spring practice for a returning starting quarterback. Everything is different for Fitz this spring," Mullen said.
Mississippi State broadcaster Jim Ellis to retire from calling football, men's basketball
Jason Crowder can't help but laugh at his favorite Jim Ellis call, one the radio announcer made of the Burke Masters grand slam home run in 1990 that sent the Mississippi State Bulldogs baseball team to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. Bart Gregory, who now calls MSU baseball on SEC Network+ but spent years working alongside Ellis, mentioned the same call among his favorites. Crowder laughs because he knows what Ellis thinks of that call. "Jim doesn't necessarily like that call, but everybody loves it because it was one of those moments where Jim got caught up in the moment," said Crowder, the voice of Mississippi State women's basketball and East Mississippi Community College football. "In that moment, Jim Ellis, he was a fan. He got caught up in the moment, and I loved it. I thought it was great radio."
Don't tweet that, U. of Tennessee may pull your scholarship offer
Potential Tennessee football recruits beware -- the Vols have hired someone to watch you on social media. The UT football program subscribes to a service that monitors recruits on social media. The company provides UT with "pages and pages" of information to look over and alerts them if any red flags arise with recruits. "The benefit of that is we don't have to spend hours and hours and hours searching. It comes right to us now," said Bob Welton, UT's director of player personnel. "I like those things. The coaches talk about them in the staff meeting." Welton and Tennessee women's tennis coach Alison Ojeda were part of a panel that spoke on Tuesday at Scripps Lab Theater during UT Social Media Week. Put on by UT's College of Communication and Information, the panel was titled " 'Manning' Your Reputation: How to use social media to grow your online presence."
Harvey Updyke ordered to make monthly payments, will need 338 years to fully repay Auburn University
Under his new payment plan, Harvey Updyke will need more than 338 years to repay the remaining $812,784.48 he owes in fines and restitution to Auburn University. Updyke was ordered to make higher payments after a hearing was held in Opelika on Wednesday. Updyke, who pleaded guilty in 2013 to poisoning the Toomer's Oaks, must pay $200 every month in restitution beginning in July. Previously, Updyke was under an order to pay $350 every three months. Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes argued Updyke's payments should be increased to $500 a month, according to court documents. However, Updyke said he was the sole-income earner for his family and lived on a fixed income. He was also required to submit a budget to the court with his income and expenses.
U. of Louisville To Pay Back Taxes On Adidas Swag, Club Memberships for Athletics Staffers
The University of Louisville owes $96,000 to the Internal Revenue Service after an audit found it wasn't paying taxes on Adidas freebies given to staffers in the athletics department. Roughly $200,000 worth of Cards clothing -- polos, workout gear and the like -- handed out to coaches is a fringe benefit and taxable, according to the IRS audit of the university's wages in 2014 and 2015. Since the clothing is not required for work and can easily be worn off the clock, U of L should've been considering the fair market value of the clothes to be gross income subject to tax, the audit said. The IRS found that U of L also neglected to treat as taxable income golf club dues for four employees, worth about $25,000 a year.

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