Tuesday, April 4, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Starkville farmers market returning Tuesday
Starkville Community Market will hold its first Tuesday offering this week from 4-6 p.m. at Fire Station No. 1 Park. About eight to 10 vendors are expected to sell early spring produce and other goods at the event, SCM manager and Greater Starkville Development Partnership special events coordinator Jennifer Prather said, and more growers and producers are expected to join when the market's Saturday offerings begin May 6. "We've spoken to new vendors outside of Starkville about new offerings, like baked goods and goat's cheese and milk. We're looking to increase the variety," she said.
Oktibbeha supervisors name Emily Garrard interim road manager
The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors named a temporary replacement for the open county road manager position and its meeting on Monday. Supervisors announced County Administrator Emily Garrard as the interim road manager following the retirement of Victor Collins, after more than three decades with the county. Garrard has worked with the county since 2002, serving as comptroller from 2002 to 2014, before becoming County Administrator. "Mainly what I will be doing is just making sure everything runs smoothly until they can get a permanent road manager on board," she said. Supervisors also unanimously approved a set of resolutions to move forward with a project by Southern Cross Transmission to build a new transmission line through the county.
Treasurer to governor: Put pay equality on special session agenda
Gov. Phil Bryant said he will not take up pay equity in the special session, despite a request from State Treasurer Lynn Fitch. In a letter dated March 22, Fitch, who has been a vocal proponent of equal pay, asked Bryant to address pay equality if he calls a special session. Friday, Bryant said he, and he alone, would set the session's agenda. "I will not consider the political preferences of any group or individual deciding the agenda of the special session. It is my intent to focus primarily on budget and revenue issues," he said. According to The Gender Wage Gap in Mississippi, a paper published in December by the University Research Center in Jackson, women in Mississippi earn 27 percent less than men in the state. Nationally, women earn 20 percent less than men, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research.
AG Jim Hood decries 'petty partisan moves' by Legislature
Attorney General Jim Hood did not mince words Monday, suggesting the Legislature stop meddling in day-to-day operations of his office. His comments ranged from the failure of the Legislature to appropriate money for his office -- necessitating a special session to correct that oversight -- to legislators' efforts to set up a review panel over his office and complaining about how long it takes him to turn over money from settlements he wins in court to the state's general fund. "When legislators start worrying about somebody else getting credit for something, you know, that's frustrating," he said. "And it's worse now than I've seen it in my last 13 years as attorney general where people do these little petty partisan moves that don't help people."
AG Jim Hood believes his office will be funded
Attorney General Jim Hood said Monday he is "confident" the Legislature would pass budgets to fund his office and the state's transportation system before the new fiscal year begins July 1. The 2017 session of the Mississippi Legislature ended last week without budget bills to fund Hood's office, the Mississippi Department of Transportation and the state Aid Road Program, which provides state funds to help with the upkeep of major county thoroughfares and bridges. The Legislature and Gov. Phil Bryant have conceded a special session is needed to deal with the budget bills. There has been criticism by some members of the Republican legislative leadership of Hood, the only statewide elected Democrat, for contracting with outside attorneys to pursue lawsuits primarily against large corporations.
Attorney general attacks lawmakers for 'playing games' with his budget
Attorney General Jim Hood said Monday some lawmakers are "playing juvenile games" when it comes to his budget. Lawmakers ended their regular session last week without approving a funding bill for the upcoming budget year, which begins July 1, for the Department of Transportation and the attorney general's office. The governor will have to call a special session to deal with the budgets for the agencies and anything else he chooses to include. "I'm confident they will approve a budget for us and the Department of Transportation," Hood said Monday, prior to the start of the Crime Victims' Rights Week awards program at the Walter Sillers Building.
MDWFP names wildlife director
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks has named a new Wildlife Bureau director. Russ Walsh comes to the agency from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Prior to his employment there, Walsh spent six years with MDWFP as a private lands biologist. Serving as the top wildlife official in the department, Walsh is charged with formulating and directing a comprehensive statewide program to conserve and manage the wildlife resources of Mississippi. And it's a job that economically affects many Mississippians. According to the Mississippi State University 2016 Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources report, hunting and wildlife watching create over $1.9 billion in economic impacts in Mississippi annually.
Mississippi LGBT religious objections law argued on appeal
A lesbian couple from Mississippi traveled to Texas and spent their second wedding anniversary watching arguments in a court case that they believe could affect whether they face officially sanctioned discrimination in their home state. Brandiilyne Mangum-Dear said she and her wife, Susan Mangum, were married in California in 2015, a few weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. The Mississippi Legislature in early 2016 passed a law that would let merchants and government employees cite religious beliefs to deny services to same-sex couples. Gay and straight plaintiffs sued the state of Mississippi, and a federal district judge halted the law before it could take effect in July 2016, ruling that it unconstitutionally establishes preferred beliefs and creates unequal treatment for LGBT people. The law started as House Bill 1523.
Mississippi proclaims Confederate Heritage Month
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has again proclaimed April to be Confederate Heritage Month. The proclamation does not specifically mention slavery, and is similar to ones previously issued by Republican Bryant. Other Mississippi governors, Democrat and Republican, have made similar proclamations. The Mississippi Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans posted Bryant's proclamation on its website during the weekend. Bryant spokesman Knox Graham confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday that the document was signed and issued by the second-term governor on Friday -- the same day Bryant was on the Gulf Coast for a state bicentennial celebration that drew a crowd of thousands. "As I've said in the past, I believe Mississippi's history deserves study and reflection, no matter how unpleasant or complicated the matter may be," Bryant said in a statement Monday.
Why this rocket scientist is running for Congress
It may not take a rocket scientist to run for office, but Tracy Van Houten wants to prove there's room for one in Congress. "As an engineer, I'm a complex problem solver. I'm a strategist. I'm always developing long-term strategy and the tactical implementation plans to go along with it," says Ms. Van Houten, an aerospace engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory who has worked on the Mars Curiosity rover and the mission to Jupiter's moon Europa. "Those things should be key to our lawmakers." Van Houten is one of 24 mostly Democratic candidates vying Tuesday in the primary for the seat vacated by new California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. The race gives an early glimpse into the phenomenon of political newcomers, mostly on the left, trying their hand at politics in the wake of President Trump's successful bid for the White House, some pundits say.
Sexual assaults on Ole Miss campus cause concern
Authorities on the Ole Miss campus are alarmed after two sexual assault reports have been filed within the last two weeks. Police say the last assault was on March 31. "[The victim] left a location on Poole Drive and was walking to the intersection of Fraternity Row and Chapel Lane. The assault took place outside," said Chief Tim Potts of the Ole Miss Police Department. According to the campus police, the second assault happened in a fraternity house two weeks ago. They say in both cases the suspect was a white male. This is raising concern for police and students. Many were not shocked. "I guess it's because all the fraternities have been having spring parties, and we have been having a lot of tourists on campus," added Paxton Foster, an Ole Miss student.
Southern Miss Professors Receive Excellence Awards for Academic Research
Nine University of Southern Mississippi faculty members from the College of Arts and Letters were recently selected to receive the esteemed Aubrey Keith and Ella Ginn Lucas Endowment for Faculty Excellence Award. The highly competitive and prestigious award was established in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Aubrey K. Lucas to support and reward faculty distinction in instruction and research. In an effort to support faculty, the endowment can be used for travel, laboratory expenses, wages, books, audiovisuals, or other sources. "The College of Arts and Letters is proud of the strength of its faculty and the diverse and fascinating creative and scholarly projects that they are pursuing," said Dr. Maureen Ryan, dean of the College of Arts and Letters. "From Irish monks to trumpets to teaching in Thailand, we testify to the importance of the arts, humanities, and social sciences in the contemporary university."
Millsaps College to honor Edgar, Kaplan, Mabus with honorary degrees
A ground-breaking journalist, a nationally-known litigator, and a former Mississippi Governor and Secretary of the Navy have been named honorary degree recipients for the 2017 commencement exercises on May 6 at Millsaps College. Joanne Edgar, Roberta Kaplan, and Ray Mabus will receive the degrees during the 9:30 a.m. commencement on the Millsaps campus, the college said in a press release. "We are proud to welcome these outstanding individuals back to the Millsaps campus, and to recognize their contributions to our state and our nation," said Dr. Robert W. Pearigen, president of Millsaps College. "Each of them has made a lasting impact across the country and beyond."
Millsaps partners with community colleges to make student transfers easier
Millsaps College has signed agreements with Mississippi's 14 community and junior colleges to make it easier for students to transfer from one to the other. Under the agreements, coursework at the two-year schools lines up with the curriculum at Millsaps, making it easier for students to transfer credits and earn a bachelor's degree. This agreement is not unique. For example, East Mississippi Community College has signed similar agreements with Blue Mountain College, Mississippi State University-Meridian and the Mississippi University for Women.
Governor to help dedicate Meridian Community College-Riley Workforce Center on Friday
The Meridian Community College-Riley Workforce Development Center receives its dedication at 10 a.m. Friday with a ceremony open to the public. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant is scheduled to be the keynote speaker. The 81,000-square-foot facility, which has been open for use since the end of January, occupies the site of an old Wal-Mart building on Highway 19 North. The project that began in 2007 when MCC purchased the Wal-Mart building and began to develop the property on a piecemeal basis. The college landed two major grants in 2015 – a $3.7 million award from the Riley Foundation and another of $1.5 million from the Economic Development Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, MCC President Scott Elliott said.
Auburn's Raymond J. Harbert College of Business to break ground Friday on $40M facility
Fifty years after Auburn University founded a school of business, the Raymond J. Harbert College of Business will celebrate the groundbreaking of a facility that will play a vital role in its future growth. The college will host a groundbreaking ceremony Friday at 2 p.m. for a second building that will house graduate programs and classroom and meeting spaces for undergraduate and graduate students. The event is open to the public. A $15 million lead gift from 1982 alumnus Raymond J. Harbert will help fund the $40 million facility. The five-story building will feature nearly 100,000 square feet of classroom and meeting space. Auburn University's Board of Trustees approved the project in September. Lowder Hall will remain the administrative hub of the Harbert College, but the second facility will address needs that did not exist when Lowder Hall opened in 1992.
La. scholarship bill sure to spark argument as groups spar over requirements
In a bipartisan but controversial push, two state lawmakers have filed bills that would make it harder for students to earn a Taylor Opportunity Program for Students award. The measures were filed separately by state Reps. Franklin Foil, R-Baton Rouge, and Gene Reynolds, D-Dubberly. The bills are virtually identical and will be debated during the 2017 regular legislative session, which begins April 10. Both also will be opposed by the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, which is named after the founder of the popular scholarship. Under current rules, high schools students must achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 to be eligible for TOPS. Both bills would increase that to 3.0 for the basic TOPS award, called "Opportunity."
U. of Missouri System president outlines timeline for budget cut decisions
The University of Missouri System plans to cut its budget between 8 and 12 percent, which could mean layoffs of faculty and staff, closing of centers and institutes and ending degree programs with low enrollment, UM President Mun Choi said Monday in an email. The cuts would affect the university system's budget for fiscal year 2018, which begins July 1. The budget cuts are in response to a continued decline in enrollment and Gov. Eric Greitens' proposed budget that calls for slashing $40.4 million from the university's basic appropriation for fiscal year 2018, Choi said in the email. The email was sent Monday to UM System staff and faculty and faculty, staff and students at each of the system's four campuses.
U. of Missouri names new law school dean
An associate dean at the University of Florida's law school was named Monday as the next dean of the University of Missouri's School of Law, effective July 1. Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky, associate dean for graduate and non-J.D. programs at the University of Florida's Levin College of Law, has been a faculty member at the college since 1984 and clerked for U.S. Judge Jospeh Sneed in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals before that. Lidsky has taught classes on torts, social media and cyber law, mass media law, constitutional law and the First Amendment, according to a news release from MU. Lidsky will be paid $330,000 annually, MU spokeswoman Liz McCune said in an email.
U. of Missouri to close three more residence halls
Center, Responsibility and Discovery residence halls will not be available to students next year. They are the latest to be taken temporarily offline by the MU Department of Residential Life, bringing the total number to seven. Although freshman enrollment for the 2017-18 academic year isn't available yet, Residential Life has decided to temporarily close Center, Responsibility, Discovery, Respect, Excellence, Schurz and McDavid residence halls next year, MU spokeswoman Liz McCune said. Two more halls, Laws and Lathrop, have been or are scheduled to be demolished by the end of the summer to make way for two new halls. Freshman enrollment for the 2016-17 academic year was substantially lower than previous years. It dropped by 1,470 students, or 24 percent, bringing the total number to 4,738.
Bernie Sanders, Democratic colleagues introduce new free-college bill
Seeking to offer an alternative vision to that of President Trump and congressional Republicans, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Democratic colleagues on Monday unveiled new legislation Monday to make public colleges and universities tuition-free. Competing free-college plans offered by Sanders and Hillary Clinton were central to the Democratic presidential primary last year. But with the new bill, as well as Medicare for All legislation, Democrats are looking to keep a focus on the difference between their priorities and those of the new president. Both proposals have no realistic chance of passing soon but could help energize the party's progressive supporters.
Higher Education's Megagift Boom Hits New Highs, Survey Shows
Big gifts to higher education last year topped $6 billion for the first time, continuing a postrecession surge in eight- and nine-figure donations to colleges and universities even as data suggest giving from their smaller contributors is declining. Donors made 194 gifts of $10 million or more to higher education last year, also a new high, according a new survey by Marts & Lundy, a fundraising-consulting firm. A decade ago, just before the Great Recession, higher education received just 124 gifts of that size. "Megagifts continue to drive 'megacampaigns' at colleges and universities," concluded the report. The data on gifts from big donors come as higher-education officials worry over a decline in overall giving.
FAPE designed for all students at all levels
Angela Farmer, an assistant professor in Mississippi State's College of Education, writes: "Free and appropriate public education, commonly referred to as FAPE, is a guarantee to students under IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. While these acronyms are standard fare in the dialog of educators, they are terms which often require additional explanation for others within the stakeholder community. Most recently, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a child with special needs in a case whereby there was disagreement between the school and the family regarding the level of support the child was receiving. ...FAPE is but one tool available to help ensure that children are afforded an appropriate education. There is a plethora of viable teaching approaches to support, encourage, and levitate student learning so that children can realize their true potential."

Mississippi State at home for a pair against Florida International
Mississippi State will try to keep the momentum going as it takes on Florida International in a two-game midweek set. The Diamond Dogs (19-10) have reeled off seven straight wins. First pitch tonight and tomorrow are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and lead into Super Bulldog Weekend where MSU will host Kentucky. FIU is 16-11 on the season and have won series over Rice and UAB the last two weekends. Tonight will mark the first ever meeting between the Bulldogs and Panthers.
Mississippi State cracks college baseball poll, Ole Miss falls out
After a sweep of arch-rival Ole Miss in Oxford, Mississippi State is entering one college baseball poll for the first time this season. The Diamond Dogs rank No. 22 in the latest BaseballAmerica.com poll. Ole Miss, previously ranked No. 20 in the poll, is no longer ranked following MSU's sweep. Southern Miss, also not previously ranked in this poll, moves to No. 21. Oregon State ranks No. 1 in this poll.
Mississippi State's Brent Rooker receives another SEC honor
For the second time this season and third time in his career, Mississippi State's Brent Rooker was selected as the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week. Rooker went 7-for-17 with five doubles, a triple, one home run, five RBIs and four runs scored while extending his hitting streak to 14 games. The junior first baseman from Germantown, Tennessee leads the nation in doubles (18) and tops the SEC in batting average (.422), slugging percentage (.890), on-base percentage (.511), RBIs (43), total bases (97) and stolen bases (14). He also ranks second in the league in hits (46) and home runs (9).
Mississippi State's NCAA run may be sign of things to come
Mississippi State's unexpected presence on the biggest stage in women's basketball might be a sign of good things to come for the program. The Bulldogs burst into the ranks of the nation's elite with a run through the NCAA Tournament that ended with a 67-55 loss to South Carolina in the national championship game on Sunday. But the title game did little to take the shine off a breakthrough season, which included a stunning 66-64 overtime win over UConn on Saturday that broke the Huskies' record 111-game winning streak. "These kids believed. They made it happen," Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer said. Now the Bulldogs are out to prove they weren't a one-year wonder.
Expectations to be high for Mississippi State women hoops next season
The odds are strong that South Carolina and UConn will make the trip to next year's Final Four in Columbus, Ohio. Traditional powerhouses Notre Dame, Baylor and Stanford are good bets, too. Now, Mississippi State has joined the exclusive club. Expectations will be high for the Bulldogs after they knocked off UConn and reached the national championship game before losing to South Carolina on Sunday to end their best season in program history. That is the case partially because of what Mississippi State accomplished, but also because of what the Bulldogs will bring back. Mississippi State is expected to return 10 of its 14 players. The group of returnees include leading scorer and guard Victoria Vivians, starting point guard Morgan William and starting center Teaira McCowan.
Bulldogs wrap season with record No. 2 USA Today Coaches Poll ranking
Mississippi State wrapped a historic 2016-17 season with another record ranking as the Bulldogs finished No. 2 in the final USA Today/WBCA Coaches Top 25 Poll. The Bulldogs finished the year with a program-best 34-5 record and advanced to the program's first Elite Eight and Final Four. In the national semifinal, Vic Schaefer's squad halted UConn's 111-game win streak to advance to the NCAA championship game for the first time. The Bulldogs set the single-season wins record for the third-straight year, and they also claimed a program record for SEC wins as they went 13-3 to match the top league finish in school history with a second-place showing.
Despite heartbreak, Bulldogs have bright future
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Logan Lowery writes: "The loss to South Carolina will stick with this team throughout the summer and into the fall as it begins preparations for the 2017-18 season. The birth of a new team has already started as new names -- Myah Taylor, Bre'Amber Scott, Nyah Tate, Jordan Danberry and Jonkia Garvin -- replace the outgoing senior class. But those four seniors have left a solid legacy and foundation to build on. That was Schaefer's first signing class after arriving in Starkville, and recruiting has only gotten better since then. This season may have ended in heartbreak, but somewhere in the near future I suspect it will be Schaefer climbing a ladder to cut down the net after a national championship."
SEC's strong NCAA tournament performance equals big money
The Southeastern Conference's best NCAA Tournament run in more than a decade means the rich get richer. The SEC earned 16 units from this year's NCAA Tournament, buoyed by South Carolina's surprise Final Four run, which equates to a more than $27 million payday for the conference. Each game played in the NCAA Tournament is worth approximately $1.7 million this year, paid out in a six-year interval out of the NCAA's basketball fund. From this year's NCAA Tournament run alone, each SEC school will receive approximately $1.825 million annually for the next six years. (The SEC divides its take into 15 shares -- one for each school and one for the conference). Every school benefits from the deep runs South Carolina, Florida and Kentucky all made in this year's tournament.
USM looking to make history vs. Ole Miss Tuesday at Trustmark Park
The spotlight on Southern Miss got a little brighter on the eve of its scheduled matchup against Ole Miss at Trustmark Park. On Monday, coming off a 5-0 week, the Golden Eagles officially found themselves in each of the major college baseball polls. D1baseball.com and Collegiate Baseball gave Scott Berry's club (24-5 overall, 8-1 in Conference USA) the highest rankings of the bunch at No. 17. The USA TODAY Coaches' Poll put Southern Miss at No. 20. The Golden Eagles landed at No. 21 in Baseball America's rankings and was put at No. 24 in Perfect Game's poll. Southern Miss will put its continued success on the line at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday against a Rebel squad that has struggled in recent weeks. Ole Miss was swept at home by Mississippi State last week.
A-Day offers extras for Crimson Tide fans
For this year's A-Day game, Alabama athletics is offering fans a chance to purchase options such as locker room tours starting at 8:30 a.m. Seating options include field suites, seats in the north and south zone and press box seating. Other experiences include the chance to stand in the tunnel as the team enters the field, pregame field access, delivering the game ball to the referees prior to kickoff, standing in the VIP section for the Walk of Champions, getting a picture on the field and the chance to be on the field during halftime festivities. The game, free to the public, is set for a 2 p.m. kickoff on April 22 at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Tommy Tuberville, former Auburn football coach, running for governor of Alabama: GOP chief
Tommy Tuberville may not be ready to confirm he's running for Governor of Alabama, but the head of the state's Republican party indicated the former Auburn football coach is all in. Alabama Republican Party Chairperson Terry Lathan tweeted that the count of those running for governor is now two. Tuberville has filed two reports with the Alabama Secretary of State's office. The first is the formation of a principal campaign committee with Tuberville as its only member and the second is a financial disclosure form revealing a loan of $100,000 Tuberville made to himself to start a campaign. In an interview last week with AL.com, Tuberville said he is considering a run because he "truly wants to help the people because I have seen a lot of things in this state that can be improved." He stopped short of confirming run, however, saying he's in the process of talking to residents and community leaders in the state before making a decision later in April.
Report: Cowboys' Tony Romo retiring from football for broadcast gig
Tony Romo is expected to retire from football and head to the broadcast booth, according to a published report on Tuesday. The Dallas Cowboys, where Romo spent the duration of his 14-season NFL career, gave permission to other teams to contact Romo on Monday. Instead of continuing his pro career, the Cowboys will release the 37-year-old quarterback to allow him to pursue broadcasting, ESPN reported. Romo has been linked to CBS. Romo has three seasons left on his contract with the Cowboys, but he's been supplanted by Dak Prescott as the starter. Romo suffered a back injury in the preseason last year and didn't start a game for the Cowboys as Prescott led the franchise to a 13-3 record in the regular season.

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