Thursday, April 6, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
MSU Libraries co-sponsor for bicentennial celebration Sunday in North Carrollton
Mississippi State University Libraries and the Cotesworth Culture and Heritage Center will sponsor a 2:30 p.m. program Sunday, April 9, in North Carrollton to celebrate Mississippi's bicentennial. The program is titled "Mississippi Land and Literature," and is part of a programming series to commemorate the state's agrarian and literary heritage. The April 9 event will feature Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist and crime novelist Neely Tucker, who will discuss the life of and accomplishments of Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist William J. Raspberry. Raspberry spent four years writing a regular opinion column for the Washington Post. He passed away in 2012 after a battle with prostate cancer. The Cotesworth Culture and Heritage Center is located at 6337 Highway 17 in North Carrollton. The event is free to the public.
 
Providing an assist to assistant teachers in MSU-Meridian program
Brandy Culpepper has dreamed of getting a degree in education -- now she can through a new initiative at Mississippi State University-Meridian that helps teacher assistants further their education to become licensed teachers. Culpepper is among other teacher assistants taking advantage of the PANTA (Professional Advancement Network for Teacher Assistants) initiative at MSU-Meridian. An elementary music teacher at Clarkdale, the mother of three girls said it was something she had always wanted to do but the opportunity was never there. Now as a PANTA student, Culpepper said, she can still work as a teacher's assistant, further her education, get a degree and teach. "The best thing about it is being able to work around a schedule that fits me, she said. " To support the new PANTA initiative at MSU-Meridian the East Mississippi Center for Educational Development announced a gift of $25,000 at the EMCED superintendent's meeting Tuesday.
 
Change order for Starkville Police Department flagpoles draws Perkins' interest
An innocuous request to install three decorative flagpoles atop Starkville Police Department yielded a strong warning to the future administration against raising additional banners from Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins Tuesday. Mayor Parker Wiseman said the building-mounted flagpoles, which were a $2,628.64 portion of an overall $27,942.42 change order for the ongoing renovation project, are intended to restore the building's historical features, rather than fly flags. The roofing choice -- one which restricts people from standing atop the facility -- and lack of a lift or tall ladder means the poles are expected to remain as a design feature, Wiseman said, instead of serving their primary function. Perkins, who has long advocated building a "first-class" facility for the police department, voted for the change order after saying future aldermen should not attempt to "backdoor ... a third flag."
 
Mississippi-based Thimblepress is gaining national exposure
Whether it's letter pressed greeting cards or confetti to help celebrate big moments, Thimblepress' studio and shop is filled with color. Founder and owner Kristen Ley turned her hobby into this business in 2012. "Truly getting to do this is getting to live a life dream, which I feel like a lot of people don't get to do," said Ley. Ley, a Mississippi State graphic design graduate, started a business in Charleston, South Carolina, with her friend after graduation. They were doing branding and marketing for other businesses. She later moved back to Jackson and took a marketing job and art was her after-work hobby. By 2012, she was ready to venture out and start her own business doing what she loves. Fast forward to today and those dreams are becoming reality faster than she ever prayed for.
 
Mississippi revenue up in March, but still short since July
Mississippi tax collections picked up slightly in March, after months of being in the doldrums. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports collections were 12.5 percent higher than expected for the single month. However, that was not enough to make up for other shortfalls since the budget year started last July. The state Department of Revenue says that collections are 2.2 percent below the estimate for the first nine months of the year. That is a nearly $81 million shortfall, overall, from July through March.
 
Mississippi gets $13M in grants to fix roads damaged in 2016
Mississippi will get $13 million in federal money to repair roads damaged by storms and flooding in 2016. Members of Mississippi's congressional delegation announced the grants Wednesday. The Federal Highway Administration will give $7.9 million to the Mississippi Department of Transportation to repair roads, embankments, bridges and drainage structures in 21 counties damaged by March 2016 storms. A second $5.1 million grant will be used for repairs required after flooding in August 2016 in Amite, Pike and Wilkinson counties.
 
Wicker to Trump: Protect religious freedom
A Republican U.S. senator from Mississippi and the attorney fighting the state's law targeting the gay community are making the same argument on religious freedom, though for vastly different reasons. Sen. Roger Wicker has signed a letter with 17 of his colleagues asking President Donald Trump to respect religious freedom. "We cannot be a country that financially punishes individuals for practicing their sincerely held religious beliefs or decides which practices are a valid part of a particular religious tradition and worthy of protection," the letter Wicker signed reads. Robbie Kaplan, the attorney for plaintiffs against Mississippi's HB 1523, completely agrees with that statement. In fact, it was her main argument Monday before a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Lubbock, Texas.
 
Many students to receive less financial aid
The Mississippi Legislature, having to slash budgets to deal with sluggish revenue collections, has cut the amount of financial aid about 3,400 students will receive for the upcoming academic year. The change to the financial aid program is expected to close a funding gap of about $3 million for the upcoming year. "It is a good news story that more Mississippians are going to college to earn a degree," Jennifer Rogers, director of the Mississippi Office of Student Financial Aid, said in a news release. "Unfortunately, the growth in college-going has resulted in a costly increase in demand for state aid. We look forward to working with the Legislature and postsecondary institution leaders to identify a sustainable solution for state financial aid." In addition to the growth in the number of students, the Legislature has cut the amount of money going to student financial aid, like it has cut most every program.
 
Kennedy to give Wolfe lecture Thursday at MUW
Alum Peggy Wallace Kennedy will present the Nell Peel Wolfe lecture at The W on Thursday, April 6 at 6 p.m. in Nissan Auditorium. The daughter of former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, Kennedy attended the university in the late 1960s as it was being integrated. Her lecture will be presented as part of the Forum Series sponsored by the Gordy Honors College and will also be the culminating event in the university's year-long commemoration of the 50th anniversary of its desegregation. Kennedy was 13 when in 1963 her father famously made his "stand in the schoolhouse door," attempting to block two black students from enrolling at the University of Alabama. She grew to adulthood without an explanation from her father for his actions. Later, as a mother and educator, she came to see that by finding her own voice and working for racial reconciliation, she could counter his earlier philosophy and tactics.
 
Alleged Mississippi College carjacker identified
Clinton police have identified a suspect in the weekend carjacking of a student in the parking garage at Mississippi College. Following numerous tips through Crimestoppers as well as from concerned citizens, Omar Bankhead of Clinton has been identified as the suspect in the crime. Bankhead was last seen in the San Antonio, Texas area and is wanted by law enforcement in that state for a separate crime. At 4:33 p.m. on Sunday, a man approached a student and demanded her vehicle. The suspect took the vehicle, a white 2015 Kia Optima, and was last seen heading east on U.S. 80.
 
U. of Alabama trustees to weigh tuition increases
Committees for University of Alabama System board of trustees will consider tuition increases for medical students and new construction projects including an archive facility at UA when they meet Thursday in Huntsville. The finance committee will consider a tuition increase for medical, optometry and dentistry students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the UA College of Community Health Sciences. Details will be released at the meeting Thursday, which will be in the Student Services building at University of Alabama in Huntsville. The physical properties committee will consider a proposal for a new $6.2-million university archive facility at UA's Tuscaloosa campus. The facility will be a 14,919-square-foot addition to the existing book storage facility at 1425 14th St., according to the agenda packet.
 
Sunny Golloway has one last legal option after judge dismisses lawsuit against Auburn
The legal battle between Auburn University and former head baseball coach Sunny Golloway is not over, though a federal judge has most recently ruled in favor of the defendants and dismissed the case. Previously, the defendants -- listed as the Auburn Board of Trustees, Athletic Director Jay Jacobs, former CEO David Benedict, Senior Associate Athletic Director Rich McGlynn, former Director of Baseball Operations Scott Duval and Baseball Administrator Jeremy Roberts -- had filed a motion on June 17, 2016, to dismiss a complaint originally filed by Golloway. That complaint, filed on May 24, 2016, accuses the defendants of breach of contract, defamation, fraud and tortuous interference with Golloway's contract after his dismissal with cause as Auburn's head baseball coach. On March 21, United States Magistrate Judge Charles S. Coody recommended that the defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint be granted and that the case be dismissed with prejudice.
 
Carville floats idea of renaming Parade Ground after LSU's first superintendent, a Union general
Before his famous "March to the Sea," scorched earth warfare during the Civil War and outright refusal to run for president, William Tecumseh Sherman in 1860 became the first superintendent of the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy -- now known as Louisiana State University. It also was a name he despised for a school he dearly loved, only to leave the following year and join the Union army after the war began. LSU bears no formal memorial to its first leader. In fact, to some in the Deep South, his name is an insult to their ancestors. But national political commentator and LSU alumnus James Carville, along with Jonathan Earle, dean of LSU's Honors College, hope to preserve his legacy at the university and have started a campaign to rename the Parade Ground in his honor.
 
Florida House takes aim at private higher ed foundations
University and state college foundations would be prohibited from using public funds to pay for their employees and would have to disclose most of their records, under a bill approved Wednesday by the House Appropriations Committee. The bill is an outgrowth of a House review that showed state universities were spending $53 million in public funds to support employees in the largely private foundations, which are also known as direct-support organizations. The review also showed state colleges were spending $9.9 million in a similar fashion. The $53 million in university spending on foundation employees included $11.7 million for the University of Florida, $10 million for the University of Central Florida, $9.6 million for the University of South Florida and $7.3 million for Florida State University.
 
Tennessee campus gun measure killed in state Senate
Legislation to expand access to guns on Tennessee's college campuses was killed by its Senate sponsor Wednesday, after college officials railed against the effort. State lawmakers have worked for years to allow more people to carry guns on public campuses -- they passed a law last year allowing full-time college employees to bring their firearms on campus. This year's bill, which would have expanded that right to part-time employees, was tabled in the Senate Education Committee, likely sidelining it for the rest of the year. The Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Frank S. Niceley, applied only to part-time security guards. The House amended its version of the same bill to include all part-time employees. State college officials -- including campus police officers and administrators and the Tennessee Board of Regents and University of Tennessee college systems -- were opposed to either measure.
 
U. of Tennessee Sex Week founder says it's here to stay
Five years ago when she was a sophomore at the University of Tennessee, Brianna Rader was growing tired of seeing students with no idea where to go to find birth control or answers to questions about sexual assault. She began doing some research and learned about Harvard University's Sex Week. "I thought that was really cool, and why can't UT have a Sex Week?" said Rader, now 25 and living in San Francisco. A few months later, after lots more research and planning, Sex Week at UT -- and the controversies that have followed it through the years -- was born. Rader, who co-founded Sex Week with fellow student Jacob Clark, said she had no idea of the controversy the event would generate both on campus and from state lawmakers.
 
Missouri students, lawmakers disagree about whether to create standards for university mental health services
Before she started college, two of Mary Hart's uncles committed suicide. As a sophomore at MU, one of her best friends reached out to her for help, knowing Hart was a member of the Mizzou Student Suicide Prevention Coalition. Hart guided her to the MU Counseling Center, where she was told she would have to wait two months for an appointment. Within those two months, Hart found her unconscious in her car, after a suicide attempt. Hart's friend is now doing better, but wait times and understaffing at university counseling centers across the state have seen little improvement. Now a junior at MU, Hart shared her story Wednesday at a hearing of the Missouri House Committee on Health and Mental Health Policy. The committee was hearing testimony on HB 920, which would seek to establish standards and guidelines for higher education mental health services. Dozens of students filled the hearing room in support.
 
Congress and White House appear to back return of year-round Pell in upcoming budget bill
Many more college students soon may be able to use Pell Grants to pay for summer courses, with the likely return of so-called year-round Pell. Republican leaders in the U.S. Congress and the Trump White House back the reinstatement of year-round Pell eligibility, according to a wide range of sources. However, increased spending on the grants, which experts have estimated at $2 billion per year, likely would be offset by a cut of at least $1.2 billion to Pell's current surplus of $10.6 billion. The Obama administration eliminated summer Pell eligibility with the backing of the Republican-led Congress in 2012, three years after its creation. The Obama White House cited budget pressure and questions about the program's effectiveness in making the cut. But experts have argued that the move was purely about money, as Pell's overall costs had ballooned rapidly as more students returned to college in the recession's wake.
 
New CUPA-HR study looks at faculty hiring, pay for chairs and adjuncts, and more
Nursing, psychology, English, math and music are the top disciplines for tenure-track faculty hires at four-year institutions, according to a new survey from the College and University Professional Association-Human Resources. These 2016-17 academic year hires were generally new Ph.D.s, and the English finding in particular might -- emphasis on might -- hearten those facing the field's notoriously difficult tenure-track job market. Historically CUPA-HR has focused on disciplinary gaps, while the American Association of University Professors has issued an annual report -- due out soon -- on institution-by-institution averages. CUPA-HR's new survey includes salary information about 237,231 full-time faculty members at more than 700 campuses.
 
Survey: Teachers Talk Politics to Students, Despite Divisive Atmosphere
Months after the 2016 presidential election, a majority of educators say that national politics have created a sharp divide among students, leaving teachers grappling with how to handle classroom conversations about controversial issues. But most said they aren't shying away from politics, despite the topic's contentious nature. That's according to a survey conducted in February by the Education Week Research Center. More than 830 K-12 teachers and other school-based instructional staff members who are registered users of Education Week's edweek.org website responded to an email invitation for a survey about their experiences teaching about controversial topics in a time of division.


SPORTS
 
Brent Rooker's walk-off blast lifts Bulldogs in 10 innings
Having already lost 8-3 to Florida International on Tuesday, Mississippi State was on the verge of being swept in the midweek after falling behind the Panthers 6-1 by the third inning on Wednesday. But the Bulldogs battled their way back behind the bat of Brent Rooker. The junior first baseman crushed a pair of two-run home runs including one in the bottom of the 10th to give MSU a 9-7 walk-off win. "Anytime you're playing at home, you don't want someone to come in here and push you around for two straight days," said MSU skipper Andy Cannizaro. "I was really glad our guys rebounded from yesterday and came out here and won a really big ballgame today." After Jake Mangum led off the final inning with an infield single, Rooker stepped in and drilled a 2-1 pitch just to the right of the batter's eye in center field for his SEC-leading 12th homer of the season off FIU reliever Cain Spangler.
 
Brent Rooker's walk-off homer leads Mississippi State
Brent Rooker just keeps on hitting. Rooker clubbed a walk-off two-run homer in the 10th inning to lead Mississippi State over Florida International University, 9-7, Wednesday night at Dudy Noble Field. Rooker went 3-for-4 with two home runs and five RBIs. He is now hitting .436. Hunter Vansau was 3-for-5 with two RBIs. The Bulldogs (20-11) tied it at 7 with two runs in the eighth. Rooker's walk with the bases loaded scored one run and then Luke Alexander scored on a passed ball.
 
Newcomer Montez Sweat impressing this spring for Mississippi State
Relentless. Ask Mississippi State players and coaches about how edge guy and newcomer Montez Sweat has performed this spring and there is a good chance a couple of things will happen. First, the person answering the question will raise his eyebrows or his eyes will light up. Then, the word "relentless" will be used if not in the first sentence, certainly by the time the second one is completed. "Even when he is on one side of the field, he makes plays on the other side of the field," outside linebacker Gerri Green said. "Most guys, that's not a common play and it should be more common, but he makes that play every day. Every time you watch film, you see him make that play. That's why ...he plays with that relentless style."
 
Women's hoops' season to be celebrated during Super Bulldog Weekend
The City of Starkville and Mississippi State will celebrate a historic 2016-17 women's basketball season during Super Bulldog Weekend festivities. On Friday, the City of Starkville will host a "Hail State Family Party" on the plaza in front of City Hall. The Bulldogs will ride fire trucks up Main Street to the plaza, where at 4:30 p.m. a special ceremony will be held recognizing the first Final Four in program history. From there the Bulldogs will head to Nusz Park for the 6 p.m. SEC softball contest against South Carolina. Seniors Ketara Chapel, Dominique Dillingham, Chinwe Okorie and Breanna Richardson will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The second-ranked Dawgs will then throw out T-shirts in the second inning. On Saturday, Vic Schaefer's squad will sign autographs prior to the Maroon and White spring football game from 2-3 p.m. in the North End Zone concourse of Davis Wade Stadium. Following the spring game, the team will head to Dudy Noble Field/Polk-DeMent Stadium for MSU's 6 p.m. baseball contest against Kentucky.
 
End of the line for special Mississippi State seniors
Mississippi sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes: "As the final seconds ticked down in the women's national championship game, four Mississippi State seniors fought tears and tried to comfort one another. That's to be expected. Their college careers ended one victory short of the first national championship in Hail State history. They were heartbroken after Sunday night's 67-55 defeat at the hands of Southeastern Conference nemesis South Carolina. ...Some day, hopefully soon, the hurt will subside and they can celebrate what they accomplished, which was plenty. ...'These seniors have been very, very special,' coach Vic Schaefer said. "They believed in a vision five years ago when we recruited them, when it wasn't easy to believe. ...These kids believed. They made it happen. ...They're always going to have a special place in my heart because of what they've accomplished, for believing and trusting in us."



The Office of Public Affairs provides the Daily News Digest as a general information resource for Mississippi State University stakeholders.
Web links are subject to change. Submit news, questions or comments to Jim Laird.
Mississippi State University  •  Mississippi State, MS 39762  •  Main Telephone: (662) 325-2323  •   Contact: The Editor  |  The Webmaster  •   Updated: April 6, 2017Facebook Twitter