Tuesday, April 18, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State youth institute gets alumni support
A pair of Mississippi State University alums have rolled out a plan to raise funds in support of the World Food Prize Mississippi Youth Institute (WFP-MSYI) at MSU. Barry and Lana Knight of Cordova, Mississippi, recently announced plans to create the Barry and Lana Knight World Food Prize Mississippi Youth Institute Fund, which will provide support for engaging Mississippi's high school students through MSU's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "We are pleased to be the state's host for this incredibly valuable program that engages high school students in real-world problems and prepares them as future leaders," said Scott Willard, associate dean and professor for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and WFP-MSYI state coordinator. "The Knight's generous support for this program is an outstanding demonstration of their investment in our youth and the welfare of people around the world."
Oleta Adams to share musical journey in 'Heart Behind the Music' at MSU Riley Center
Singer-songwriter Oleta Adams' long musical journey brings her to Meridian this week when she'll be part of "The Heart Behind the Music" Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the MSU Riley Center in downtown Meridian. Adams, a soul, jazz, and gospel artist, will be joined by three country music singer/songwriters: Richie McDonald, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Lee Roy Parnell. The quartet will take turns presenting songs and stories about life in the music business. The youngest of three girls and two boys, Adams spent her formative years in Seattle, and later Yakima, Wash. Her musical abilities were first noticed in the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, where her father served as minister.
Restaurants buy-in to help lure visitors to Starkville
It's impossible for Jennifer Prather, the Greater Starkville Development Partnership's special events coordinator, to be physically present in all 31 diners participating in Starkville Restaurant Week, guiding wait staff and assisting them through the event, but her playbook can. A copy of the playbook, a binder directing restaurant staffs on the ins and outs of the week's charity and promotional aspects, was left at many locations as a way to answer questions and troubleshoot any issues that might arise during the seven-day event. To help spur local participation, the Partnership added a charity aspect in which patrons ordering entrees at participating restaurants can vote to decide which one of three organizations will receive a $5,000 donation, including Mississippi State University's T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability.
Starkville High senior approaches 13 years of perfect attendance
In baseball, when a pitcher has not given up a hit going into the late inning, no one is supposed to mention it. It is one of the game's great superstitions that talking about a no-hitter is jinx. Jackson Rosinski isn't much of a baseball fan, though, and not particularly superstitious. So, as his own impressive streak continues, he simply shrugs his shoulders at the thought that something may yet disrupt it. Rosinski, 17 and a senior at Starkville High School, has attended school for the past 2,378 consecutive days. He hasn't missed an official day of school since entering kindergarten, in fact. His father said what's true of their only child is true of his parents, too. David is the sports information director at East Mississippi Community College. Nadine is the secretary at the College of Business at Mississippi State University. "Neither of us miss work very often, if at all," David said.
Regions plans $23 million Hattiesburg facility, 90 more jobs
Regions Bank announced Monday that it will build a 75,000-square-foot operations center in Hattiesburg at a cost of $23 million and add 90 jobs. The facility will accommodate employees now working in three locations in downtown Hattiesburg, the bank said in a news release. Birmingham-based Regions Financial Corp. is by far the largest bank operating in Mississippi, with $125 billion in assets as of Dec. 31. It has 1,700 locations in 16 states, including 137 branches in Mississippi. The state of Mississippi is providing $1 million for site preparation, and in sewer and water improvements in conjunction with the city. Hattiesburg will repair and repave a road leading to the site and contribute $167,000 for water and sewer improvements. The city and Lamar County are providing property tax abatements for 10 years, according to the Area Development Partnership.
Ingalls wins $7 million contract for assault ship
Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula is being awarded a $7,016,664 cost-plus-fixed fee contract for post-delivery planning yard services in support of the LHA-7 amphibious assault ship for Naval Sea Systems Command. Services include post-delivery planning, material procurement and support services for post-delivery availability, fitting-put availability, post shakedown availability and emergent work. The contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative contract value to $90 million.
Judge: Mental health lawsuit against state can continue
Federal Judge Henry Wingate has ruled that the lone minor in the 7-year-old federal lawsuit against the state over children's mental health services can file an amended lawsuit and continue with the case. Attorneys for the state argued against allowing an amended complaint and wanted the case dismissed. Wingate said in his ruling that over the course of the litigation, several plaintiffs had reached adulthood and therefore were no longer proper plaintiffs. Last month, Wingate ruled a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against the state mental health system should remain separate from the lawsuit over children's mental health services. Wingate's decision came after U.S. Magistrate Judge Mike Parker in December agreed to a request by the state to merge the cases.
Congressmen don't plan to attend local forums
No members of the state's congressional delegation plan to attend a pair of public forums this week organized by Northeast Mississippi constituents. The U.S. Congress is in the midst of a two-week work period, which typically means more visibility from senators and representatives in their home districts and states. U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran and U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker have no plans to attend either event, according to staff members for the men. According to a spokesman, Cochran conducted official travel last week, including meetings that involved Mississippi State University's partnership with a university in Morocco. Congress is also in the midst of ongoing talks over federal budget appropriations, with April 28 as the next deadline. Cochran chairs the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.
Othmani Receives US Senator Thad Cochran, Western Sahara Tops Priorities
As his first official activity as Head of Government, El Othmani welcomed the US Senator William Thad Cochran to discuss the relationship between the US and Morocco. By hosting Cochran as his first guest, Prime Minister El Othmani clearly stated his will to work with the US on many critical international issues. Senator Cochran is the current senior United States Senator from Mississippi. He also acts as the president of a commission within the US Congress focusing on the different aspects of cooperation between the US and Morocco. He is on visit in Morocco as the head of a US delegation. The visit of Senator Cochran is very strategic for Morocco. Indeed, by hosting Mr. Cochran as his first guest, Prime Minister El Othmani clearly stated his will to work with the US on many critical international issues.
A Republican Favorite, NASA Escapes Trump's Budget Ax
Space exploration was left relatively unscathed when President Donald Trump released his first budget request in March -- especially when compared with other science and technology programs. The National Institutes of Health, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, climate change initiatives and energy research were all significantly cut in the budget outline, but NASA funding barely received a scratch with a $19.1 billion line item for fiscal 2018. That proposed 0.8 percent reduction compared to fiscal 2017 annualized levels is a much smaller decrease than the proposed changes to the other science programs, some of which are facing up to an 18 percent loss of federal funding. NASA has 20 facilities throughout the country and is represented by several powerful Republican lawmakers -- as well as Democratic ones. There are also two facilities in Mississippi and one in Alabama -- all of which are represented by Republican senators, including Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran and senior appropriator Richard C. Shelby.
MUW's Howard Art History Lecture Series to feature leading scholar
Mississippi University for Women will host the Diane Legan Howard Art History Lecture Series, featuring Dr. Carol Crown, professor emerita at the University of Memphis, Wednesday, April 19 at 5:30 p.m. Crown will discuss JJ Cromer: "The Environmental Drawings of a Self-Taught Artist" in the Mary Evelyn Stringer Auditorium of Summer Hall (Art & Design) followed by a wine and cheese reception. The event is free and open to the public. During her 40 years of distinguished service, Crown served as chair of the Department of Art at the University of Memphis from 1982 to 1992. She established the Dorothy Kayser Hohenberg Chair of Excellence in Art History and founded the Institute of Egyptian Art and Archaeology. The W's lecture series was established in 2012 to honor Diane Legan Howard's passion for the arts.
Oxford to host March for Science on Earth Day
Scientists will take all the support they can get on Saturday, April 22. The Oxford March for Science will start on the University of Mississippi campus and travel about one mile to the Oxford Square. "It's not open only to scientists. It's open to everybody," said Marco Cavaglia, associate professor of physics and astronomy at Ole Miss. "Actually, we want more non-scientists to join than scientists." Patterned after the March for Women, the March for Science was designed to highlight the importance science and scientists have in society. "There will be a main march in Washington, D.C.," he said. The marches also are meant to spotlight cuts to research funding included in President Trump's initial budget proposal.
U. of Southern Mississippi homecoming set for Oct. 14
The University of Southern Mississippi Alumni Association has announced Oct. 14 as the date for Homecoming 2017. The Golden Eagles football team will battle the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in M. M. Roberts Stadium. A full week of activities and tradition will be hosted across all areas of campus beginning as early as Monday, Oct. 9. Trademark events include the 19th Annual Southern Miss Alumni Homecoming Scholarship Golf Tournament, the prestigious Alumni Hall of Fame Banquet, annual Awards Ceremony and Business Meeting, and the Homecoming parade. A full list of events is at SouthernMissAlumni.com. The site will continue to be updated as Homecoming events are finalized.
Pearl River Community College struggles with budget cuts
Pearl River Community College officials are struggling to finalize their budget after the Mississippi state legislature slashed the school's funding. The Picayune Item reports that the school is expected to see a $1.5 million reduction in their funding for the upcoming year. The $1.5 million represents a 10.2 percent cut. The college's president-elect, Adam Breerwood, says he does not want to raise tuition or cut staff but isn't sure that's possible.
Meridian Community College student named international vice president for Phi Theta Kappa
Meridian Community College student Jerod (Jay) Fritts said he was overwhelmed after being named Phi Theta Kappa's International Division II Vice President. "My heart was pounding, I was in shock and disbelief," Fritts, an MCC sophomore, said. "Time seemed to just stand still." Fritts was one of five international students tapped for an officer for Phi Theta Kappa, the international academic honor society for community and junior college students. The honor was handed out at the PTK convention held in Nashville earlier this month. Looking ahead, Fritts plans to pursue a career in the medical field. He's a biochemistry major hoping to get into medical school, become a doctor and own his own clinic one day.
Protests planned: Tensions rise as groups plan to converge on Auburn
Hate-speech promoter and alt-right leader Richard Spencer's vow to defy Auburn University's cancellation of his planned Tuesday night event has led to a volley of calls to action by opposing factions that threaten to descend upon Auburn at the same time. Police and university officials are urging normal caution be observed for such political events, but they also are taking precautions "and will staff as appropriate to mitigate or address any issues or safety concerns." Political activist groups from strongly opposite platforms spent Monday encouraging their supporters to come to Auburn and participate in Tuesday protests. Neither the university nor local police would comment on what they expect Tuesday, nor on the validity of the various web sites, many of which contain posts from anonymous contributors.
Meet the new LSU Foundation president, learn about his dual role
The main university fundraising arm on Monday named J. Bryan Benchoff to hold the dual role of president for the private LSU Foundation and vice president of institutional advancement for the LSU System. Benchoff currently is vice president of university advancement for Ohio University and president and chief executive officer of the Ohio University Foundation, a dual position in which he has served for nearly six years. That university's foundation has more than $600 million in assets. LSU sought an opinion from the Louisiana Board of Ethics that would allow the head of LSU's private endowment foundation, who answers to the foundation board, to also work as a university vice president, who answers to the LSU System. Investments in LSU's $616.5 million endowment, which helps fund academic and capital projects, have been losing value over the past couple of years.
Dillard to Receive Honorary Degree from U. of Arkansas
Dillard's Inc. of Little Rock Chairman and CEO William T. Dillard II is one of two people receiving honorary degrees this spring from the University of Arkansas. The UA announced the recipients on Monday. Dillard will receive a doctor of business degree during the commencement ceremony on May 13. Dillard is the oldest son of the late William T. Dillard, the founder of the publicly traded department store chain. Dillard II graduated from what is now the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the UA in 1966 with a bachelor of science in business administration. He began working in the family business in 1967. He succeeded his father as CEO in 1998 and was named chairman in 2002. Like his father, Dillard is a member of the Walton College's Arkansas Business Hall of Fame.
After trespass warning, U. of Florida affirms commitment to unity
University of Florida President Kent Fuchs and Dean David Richardson sent a letter Monday to all employees reaffirming the school's commitment to unity and diversity after a man not affiliated with the university harassed two employees last Thursday. Thomas John Kelly, 54, was trespassed from all UF property after he blocked Sharon Austin, the director of UF's African-American Studies office, and her assistant, Sharon Burney, in an office and ranted about reverse-racism. Now, it is even more important than ever to work to bring our campus community together," Fuchs and Richardson wrote. "There is no room for threats and fear tactics on our campus. Statements and symbols of hate that hurt, intimidate or disparage others undermine our inclusivity goals." Richardson is the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean.
U. of Tennessee gets $9.9 million in NASA funding for aviation research
A team of researchers led by the University of Tennessee Knoxville is the recipient of a $9.9 million grant from NASA that will go toward the development of a more aerodynamically capable aircraft. The award, announced earlier this month, is part of an overall $50 million investment NASA is making in university research teams studying aviation innovation. The UT-led team will focus specifically on creating a more aerodynamic airplane wing with the goal of reducing energy use and leading to more efficient aircrafts, according to Jim Coder, the lead researcher on the project and an assistant professor in the department of mechanical, aerospace and biomechanical engineering at UT. Other contributors to the team are Penn State University, Texas A&M University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Old Dominion University, the University of Wyoming and two aviation companies: Boeing Corporation and Airfoils, Inc.
Texas A&M presentation addresses future of unmanned flight technology
While the idea of unmanned aircraft taking to the skies may be the stuff of science-fiction nightmares for some, former drone pilot Michael Menard said the technology has the potential to be much more beneficial than it is often given credit for. Menard, who serves as chief test pilot at the Texas A&M University--Corpus Christi Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence and Innovation, spoke at Texas A&M's Bush School of Government and Public Service on Monday evening, sharing his insight into the role unmanned aerial vehicles are playing in both military and civilian realms. Danny Davis, a senior lecturer at the Bush School, said he invited Menard to the "Unmanned Systems: The Faceless Frontline" event, which was designed to explore the role of unmanned systems and robotics as well as how they are changing national security. Menard was joined at the event by explosive ordinance disposal expert Sgt. James Woodward of the College Station Police Department.
PayScale rankings of ROI have influence (and significant limitations)
Blame it on PayScale. Rankings providers like Money and Forbes have incorporated the data into their formulas, the American Institutes for Research's College Measures is working with numerous states to produce their own measures of college economic payoff, and even the federal government, in its College Scorecard, has included a measure of postcollege earnings in the outcomes data it provides. The newest entry into the mix, The Equality of Opportunity Project, uses graduate earnings data to show how well (or poorly) colleges help their graduates climb rungs on the country's economic ladder. Many college leaders dislike the metric, but the public eats it up -- and PayScale feeds its appetite.
Traitor or hero, Snowden still a success on college lecture circuit
It's been nearly four years since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden spilled some of the most deeply held secrets of the National Security Agency, emerging from obscurity to become a central figure in a global debate about surveillance and secrecy. Now, nearly every week, Snowden hops on his computer from his exile in Russia for a video chat with university students, techies or privacy advocates in some corner of North America. Never in modern times has an accused enemy of the U.S. state had so much access to the public, or so divided people about where he lands on the spectrum from "traitor" to "hero." It's at universities where Snowden seems to be in greatest demand. The list of those that have paid to hear him speak is long, and includes not just illustrious private institutions like Princeton, the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins University but also publicly funded ones such as Ohio State University, University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Arizona and the College of William & Mary in Virginia.

Bulldogs on rise in national baseball polls
Mississippi State keeps on winning, so the Bulldogs keep on rising in all the national polls. After taking two of three games from South Carolina over the weekend, which was State's fourth-straight Southeastern Conference series win, it now sits solidly inside the Top 20 in major national polls. The Bulldogs are now 11th in the country according to Baseball America, while Collegiate Baseball places them 14th. Mississippi State is 15th in the D1 Baseball poll and 16th according to both USA Today and Perfect Game. MSU is now 25-13 overall and 10-5 in SEC action. The team is tied for second in the overall Southeastern Conference standings, just one game behind first-place Arkansas, despite the fact the Bulldogs continue to play with several key pieces out or hampered by the injury bug. "I can't even speak highly enough about the effort and the fight and the grit that our guys that are in a jersey and available for us right now are giving us each and every day," MSU head coach Andy Cannizaro said last week.
Mississippians finish Boston Marathon
The fastest Mississippi runner in this year's Boston Marathon was a 31-year-old man from Columbus. Thomas Witter crossed the finish line in 3:02.20 on Monday, which put him No. 1,701 overall and first among those from the Magnolia State. Another finisher, Bret Beauchamp of Oxford, was caught by an Associated Press photographer helping a runner cross the finish line. Here's a list of the 27 finishers from Mississippi...
Fantasy sports companies fold as legislative battle resumes
The daily fantasy sports industry sharply contracted since the online games offered by companies like FanDuel and DraftKings sparked court and legislative battles across the United States last year. More than two-thirds of companies that existed this time last year have shuttered, changed focus or joined with competitors, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, the industry's lobbying arm. The legal landscape, meanwhile, remains unsettled, and the industry is again engaged in a costly, state-by-state legislative push. Roughly half of all U.S. states have seen proposals introduced to legalize and regulate the industry. Arkansas has so far passed new legislation, joining 10 other states from prior years: Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Tennessee and Virginia.

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