Thursday, April 20, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Homeland Security chooses Mississippi for major drone project
After a highly competitive review process, the Department of Homeland Security selected Mississippi as a new base of operations for its drones, and much of the evaluation of how to best to use the devices will be done in South Mississippi. Mississippi State University will lead the major research-and-development project for the department's Science and Technology Directorate, the university and the state's congressmen announced Wednesday. "Mississippi has a number of unique assets that facilitate unmanned aircraft test flights that aren't found in many other places, and we can fly year-round," said Dallas Brooks, director of MSU's Raspet Flight Research Laboratory.
Homeland Security Launches Major sUAS Test Facility in Mississippi
Following what it calls a rigorous and highly competitive review process, Mississippi State University (MSU) has been chosen to lead a major U.S. Department of Homeland Security research and development project on small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS). The DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has selected Mississippi as the new base of operations, and an MSU-led partnership will oversee the initiative. "This is a great win for not only Mississippi State University, but our entire state, and I appreciate the support of our partners and federal, state and local officials," says Mark E. Keenum, MSU president. In a joint statement, Mississippi's congressional delegation welcomed the decision.
Homeland Security Selects Mississippi State Proposal for Small UAS Demonstration Range Facility
All members of the Mississippi congressional delegation today welcomed the decision to base in Mississippi the Department of Homeland Security's demonstration range facility for small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS), or drones. U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and U.S. Representatives Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) and Trent Kelly (R-Miss.) strongly endorsed the proposal developed by the Mississippi Partnership, led by Mississippi State University. The Mississippi Partnership plan was ultimately selected from among competing states by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate. This Department of Homeland Security designation further bolsters Mississippi's reputation for UAS operations and research. In May 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) selected the MSU Alliance for System Safety of UAS Through Research Excellence (ASSURE) to operate a new National Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems. In November 2016, the State of Mississippi became a full member in the Pan-Pacific UAS Test Range Complex.
Community college leader to address MSU-Meridian graduates
Andrea Mayfield, executive director of the Mississippi Community College Board, was announced as the spring 2017 graduation speaker for Mississippi State University-Meridian. Mayfield is scheduled to deliver the commencement address at a public program beginning at 11 a.m. May 5 at the MSU Riley Center for Performing Arts and Education, the university announced. More than 120 students are candidates for degrees. Mayfield, A Livingston, Ala., native, was named executive director of the community college board in December 2015 and has more than 21 years of experience in the Mississippi community college system, according to an MSU-Meridian news release. Mississippi State University recognized her in February 2016 as alumnus of the year for the College of Education.
At Mississippi State, Former Space Shuttle Engineer Talks About Ethics in the Workplace
Ethics. It isn't exactly rocket science, but it does have its place there. That was the message Wednesday at Mississippi State. Allan McDonald, former director of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor Project, spoke about the decisions on the ground that led to the Challenger disaster. McDonald was one of the first to raise concerns about compromised O-rings in the shuttle's booster rockets, and recommended against the launch. But those concerns were brushed aside due to the heightened publicity surrounding the Challenger mission. He spoke about the importance of standing by your convictions, even in the face of criticism. McDonald's presentation was part of the Bagley Distinguished Speaker Series.
SoS Delbert Hosemann: LLC startups booming
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said Mississippi is seeing "phenomenal growth" in new limited liability companies, which will eventually be a boon for the state's economy, with more than half its workforce employed by small businesses. "Those new limited liability companies will hire somebody," Hosemann said. "They'll buy something. They will build something. They will start a new company right here. These LLCs are the barometer for future growth in Mississippi. The corporate structure has settled out. It's level. This is our growth model." LLC startups for the first quarter of 2017 were at 6,068, compared to 5,642 last year, Hosemann said. (See more figures below).
Trump and Cuba Should Start Dialogue: Mississippi Governor Says
The Trump administration and the Cuban government need to start a dialogue, the Republican governor of Mississippi said on Wednesday during a trip to the Communist-led island to scout trade opportunities for his state. "That's the first step: trying to get that dialogue going in a very positive manner," Phil Bryant said in an interview, adding that he had found his trip "encouraging." Cuba watchers are looking closely for signs of how President Donald Trump will deal with the country. The governor, who had just met with Cuba's trade minister, said it was key "not let too much of the political conditions in the United States become overwhelming." "Sometimes people have a narrative of Mississippi as if it's 1960s, and it's not, and it's not the 1960s in Cuba," he said, citing changes like growth of private businesses.
Mississippi gains ground in public health emergency prep
Mississippi has plenty of work left to do, but a national report card shows the state has made significant gains in being prepared for public health emergencies. Since 2013, Mississippi improved in four out of the five broad categories on the National Health Security Index, according to a report released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "It appears Mississippi is improving at a faster rate than the country as a whole," said University of Kentucky Professor Glen Mays, who lead the team of researchers. Mississippi still lags the nation with a score of 6.3 out of 10, compared to a national average of 6.8. States in the Deep South and Mountain West continue to trail states in the Northeast and on the West Coast.
Rep. Trent Kelly disappointed by political impasse in Congress
For Trent Kelly, the first major piece of legislation taken up by the U.S. House of Representatives may have achieved little, but it revealed much. Rep. Kelly, who represents north Mississippi, said the health care bill that was debated, but never voted on, is emblematic of a bigger problem. "I was extremely frustrated with the heath care deal," said Kelly, the guest speaker at Tuesday's Columbus Rotary Club meeting at Lion Hills Center. "What's I know is that we've got to put together a health care system that works for the people because if we allow the current health care system to remain as it is, good people are going to suffer." Health care was the first big issue addressed by the Republican-led 115th Congress and seen as an effort to make good on a long-standing promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. But the Republican replacement plan met stiff resistance from both the left and right. Kelly said, he too, had serious reservations about the plan. Kelly said the debate over health care is symbolic of a bigger problem.
Oxford political events center attention on national issues with U.S. Senator Roger Wicker
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker was the hot topic of conversation for local political groups in Oxford, on both sides of the political spectrum. Tuesday morning, The Oxford Pachyderm Club, a new group for Republicans, held its inaugural meeting with speeches from Ward 6 Alderman candidate Jason Bailey and Wicker (R-Miss.) at the Country Club of Oxford. Bailey, who is running for re-election, took the podium first. The incumbent alderman spoke about how Oxford has been evolving over the past 20 years since he graduated from Oxford High School in 1997. When Wicker spoke, he praised the recent confirming of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and a recent trip that he made with his wife, Gayle, to Israel. There, he met with Michael Oren, the former Israeli Ambassador to the United States. Later that evening, a "town hall" meeting was held at the Oxford Conference Center by a group of concerned citizens as part of Action Together Oxford.
Small, vocal crowd protests Rep. Steven Palazzo, who wasn't there
A half-dozen people carried signs and chanted for the media outside the congressional district office tucked away in the back of a strip mall not far from the Interstate 10/Cedar Lake interchange. Their main complaint was a common one: Rep. Steven Palazzo's refusal to hold town halls to hear their concerns. "We want a town hall," they chanted at one point. But Palazzo didn't hear them. No one from his office ventured out after earlier telling the group Palazzo wasn't there. There were people from Ocean Springs, Gulfport, Biloxi and Diamondhead but no out-of-towners. And none of them was getting paid. Some members of Congress contend the town halls and rallies are being funded by billionaires such as George Soros who are also busing in outside agitators.
Young Women Make Economic Strides As Young Men Fall Behind In U.S.
Here's the good news about young adults in the U.S. over the past four decades: More of them are working full time and year-round. In 1975, close to 67 percent of adults from ages 25 to 34 were employed full time, and that share increased to 77 percent by 2016, according to a new report on young adults by the U.S. Census Bureau. A closer look at the numbers, though, reveals a gender divide -- with young women making economic strides and young men falling behind. The percentage of young men in the U.S. workforce has not shifted much from just under 85 percent in 1975. But the share of young women working full time has jumped from just shy of one-half (49 percent) to more than two-thirds (70 percent) over the past four decades. And more of them are moving into higher income brackets: The share of young women earning $60,000 or more (in 2015 dollars) increased from around 2 percent to 13 percent.
MUW and Blueline to present 'The Taming of the Shrew'
The Department of Theatre at Mississippi University for Women and Blue Line Shakespeare present "The Taming of the Shrew" Thursday through Saturday, April 20-22 at 7:30 p.m. in Cromwell Theatre. "The Taming of the Shrew" is a comedy centered around a woman whose rebellion against her family has caused her to act with shrewish behavior. When she meets her perfect match, will everything change? "It's really a pleasure to be back producing a show with Blue Line at our alma mater," said co-artistic director Mary Wildsmith. "Mississippi is such a culturally rich area -- the idea behind Blue line Shakespeare is to create a chance to give back, both to The W, the department that trained us and the region as a whole." Doors open at 7 p.m., and the performance will begin promptly at 7:30 p.m. The show will run 1 hour 35 minutes.
What is graphene? State-of-the-art technology based in Oxford
State-of-the-art technology will soon be coming to Mississippi. And it will be arriving in a material already used to strengthen tennis rackets, increase the longevity of lithium ion batteries and in paint to reduce corrosion. With the launch of the National Graphene Association in Oxford, founder Ed Meek hopes a new technology revolution will start in the Magnolia State. The association also has offices in Nashville and Washington D.C. Currently, four Mississippi universities are working with graphene, said Allison Buchanan, CEO of Oxford-based New Media Lab, National Graphene's parent company founded by Meek. The University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, Jackson State University and the University of Southern Mississippi are all working with the product, she said.
Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour to speak at Ole Miss' law school on Friday
The University of Mississippi Law School Student Body will host former Gov. Haley Barbour at noon Friday in the Khayat Law Center, Room 2094, as part of the LSSB Speaker Series. "We are very excited to have Gov. Haley Barbour as our keynote speaker for the final LSSB Speaker Series event of the year," said Gregory Alston, LSSB president. "Gov. Barbour, having worked on the national stage and forefront of government policy and politics, is one of the university's most distinguished alumni. "Gov. Barbour has represented Ole Miss and the state of Mississippi with integrity, and we look forward to having him." In 2004, Barbour took office as Mississippi's 63rd governor. The following year, after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, Barbour earned national recognition for his quick and decisive response to the disaster.
Work may begin soon on UMMC children's hospital wing
Work could begin by the end of the year on a $180 million expansion of the University of Mississippi Medical Center's hospital for children, officials said Tuesday. Vice Chancellor LouAnn Woodward told the Health Affairs Committee of the College Board Wednesday that fund-raising is nearing a point where work can begin, even though the 10,000-employee medical center has been hit by a budget shortfall. The new tower would be a major expansion of the Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital, one of the hospitals on the medical center's Jackson campus. It would take the current neonatal intensive care ward and create individual private rooms, where parents could stay near their child more comfortably. The new building would also include a pediatric intensive care unit, operating rooms and imaging devices designed especially for children.
USM students head to DC to make case for physical education funding
Two University of Southern Mississippi kinesiology students are heading to Washington, D.C., to plead for physical education funding. Alex Faulk and Alison Hughes plan to meet with Mississippi senators and representatives to urge them to continue appropriating revenues for K-12 physical education. "We're going to make sure the money stays where it is," Faulk said. "We need (physical education), especially in Mississippi." Evelyn Gordon, assistant professor of sport coaching education, said P.E. is federally funded through ESSA -- the Every Student Succeeds Act. She said ESSA was not fully funded this year. She is wary lawmakers may try to reduce future physical education monies in the act. Research shows physically active students are more likely to earn an A in math or English.
USM student researching early days of Mobile Street history
A University of Southern Mississippi doctoral student in history is researching the early years of the Mobile Street area in Hattiesburg. Eve Wade, a native of Chicago, will host a lecture and present some of her research at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the African-American Military History Museum. The lecture is titled, "The Rise of Mobile Street, 1884-1920." Wade's research explores the migration of African-Americans from rural to urban areas of the South, before many of those same people moved on to large, northern cities. Much of her work is in her dissertation titled, "Becoming Bronzeville: The Origin of the Black Metropolis in a Southern City." Her lecture is co-sponsored by the Center for Study of the Gulf South.
Delta Music Institute at DSU seeks votes for community prize
Citizens of Bolivar County can make the community thrive with only one vote. The Delta Music Institute of Delta State University recently submitted a short video to a social impact program, called A Community Thrives. A Community Thrives, or ACT, is a program that enables community members to act on ideas that improve the people, organizations, government, and businesses around them by equipping them with the resources they need to thrive. ACT has partnered with USA Today Network to allow individuals and organizations in local communities pitch creative ideas on why ACT should provide funds that will help bring change into the community. DMI created a short video proposing a Creative Economy Incubator to nurture and support small businesses.
JSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble reaching out to high school students
The Jackson State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble brought the sound of music to an audience on the campus Wednesday night. They perform across the state and the nation and 73 students with majors in everything from pre-med to criminal justice make up the group. Some come from as far away as the Virgin Islands. This year they have reached out to high school students to encourage an interest in music. The conductor is Lowell Hollinger. "What we have done this year, we've tried to do some, what we consider outreach," Hollinger said. "And the way we do that is by having our concerts at different high schools or different venues in the city, specifically JPS, because we're really encouraging high school students to understand that the Sonic Boom of the South is not the only thing that Jackson State University does."
Northeast Mississippi Community College job fair draws hundreds
Jennifer Harris, with freshly printed resumes tucked neatly into a leather portfolio, was on a mission Tuesday at Bonner Arnold Coliseum on the campus of Northeast Mississippi Community College. "I've got a job, but I'd really like to be doing something different," she said. Harris was among some 400 attendees at Northeast's annual Spring Job Fair, which drew nearly 70 businesses, manufacturers, colleges and other exhibitors hoping to add qualified workers. Several four-year colleges were hoping to land students who would finish their schooling at their respective schools. "We had a really good turnout," said Carrie Cobb, a career technical counselor at Northeast that spearheaded the job fair. "We had people come from all around the state and outside the state, with some from Tennessee, Arkansas and Alabama."
East Central Community College cancels WarriorFest, reschedules baseball games
East Central Community College canceled the 2017 WarriorFest scheduled for Saturday because of the likelihood of thunderstorms. WarriorFest is an annual spring event sponsored by the ECCC Alumni Association. The Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges baseball doubleheader between ECCC and Itawamba Community College scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, has been rescheduled to Friday. The games are scheduled for 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Clark-Gay Baseball Complex on the campus in Decatur. "Unfortunately because of the activities we had planned for this year's WarriorFest we must make a decision sooner rather than later in the week," David LeBlanc, ECCC's director of alumni relations and the foundation, said in a statement. "Having the event on Saturday was key to WarriorFest being the high-quality event that people expect from East Central Community College and for it to be an enjoyable event for our alumni and friends."
Biloxi mayor: We cannot have a repeat of 2017 spring break
Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich said Tuesday the spring break weekend April 7-9 was far from being safe and beautiful for residents and visitors. "We cannot and will not have a repeat of what was experienced," he promised at the Biloxi City Council meeting. Gilich said the Biloxi Black Spring Break events bring "a positive economic impact," but crowds swelled from about 35,000 last year to 60,000 this year, he said. "That's about a 70 percent increase," he said. But calls for police service jumped from 323 last year to 1,096 this year -- a 300 percent increase, he said. Biloxi Police Chief John Miller said spring break in the last few years was mostly a traffic event, but this year they saw more bad behavior. James Crowell, president of the Biloxi NAACP, compared the problems with trash at spring break to Mardi Gras and the traffic issues to Cruisin' The Coast.
Local law enforcement braced for the worst, pleased with outcome of protests at Auburn
The appearance of alt-right leader Richard Spencer on Auburn University's campus Tuesday night resulted in three arrests after one altercation, protests, peace rallies and not much else. Local law enforcement say they are pleased with the "mostly peaceful" event. "Our goal was to make sure that we provided a safe and peaceful environment for those that chose to come. I think we were certainly successful in doing that," Capt. Lorenza Dorsey with the Auburn Police Division said on Wednesday. Three arrests were made Tuesday during the only incident surrounding Spencer's talk, Dorsey said. Ryan M. King, 38, of Montgomery, Benjamin L. Hansen, 19, of Trussville, and Seth M. Waldon, 27, of Mobile, were arrested following a fight in front of Foy Hall. There were no other reports of damage, vandalism or general unrest throughout the evening, Dorsey said.
Twitter VP to address Auburn's 100+ Women Strong Leadership and Development Conference
Twitter vice president Chris Moody, a 1990 Auburn electrical engineering graduate, will serve as the keynote speaker for Auburn University's fifth annual 100+ Women Strong Leadership and Development Conference on Friday at 11 a.m. in the Shelby Center for Engineering Technology. AU's Samuel Ginn College of Engineering will host the event. Auburn's 100+ Women Strong program is comprised of alumni and friends of the College of Engineering who are dedicated to giving back their time and resources to being the force to recruit, retain and reward Auburn women in engineering. Registration, open to the first 150 Auburn University students, will begin at 10:30 a.m. followed by the keynote address from Moody.
Tee Time Fashion Show displays U. of Alabama students' creations
Family and friends gathered to view students' creations at the Tee Time Fashion Show at the University of Alabama's Doster Hall on Wednesday. The annual spring fashion show features creations by students in the College of Human Environmental Sciences' department of clothing, textiles and interior design. The students create looks that focus on a mix of sustainable design using alternative materials or knit jersey fabrics. About 35 sophomores, juniors and seniors participated in this year's event.
U. of Tennessee student newspaper cuts print edition to twice weekly
The University of Tennessee's student-run newspaper, the Daily Beacon, is cutting its print frequency to twice weekly after 50 years of printing five days per week. The change, which will start in the fall of 2017, was announced Tuesday in an editorial by the paper's current and incoming chief editors. "We'll still be The 'Daily' Beacon, publishing news, entertainment and sports content online Monday through Sunday, but the print copies will be less frequent, include more pages and only consist of the best-written, researched and relevant articles to our campus community," wrote Bradi Musil, outgoing editor-in-chief, and Alex Holcomb, incoming editor-in-chief. "We aren't removing print from our priority list; we're placing it where readers want it." The move reflects the declining trend in print media at both student and professional outlets.
Won't let St. George 'tear community apart,' Mayor Broome, LSU chief say
East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and LSU President F. King Alexander vowed Wednesday to work together again, if necessary, to defeat a possible second attempt to carve out a new city in the southeastern part of the parish. Broome addressed some 30 people late Wednesday afternoon at the LSU Journalism Building as part of the 2017 John Breaux Symposium that focused on the intersection of race and public policy. As Broome fielded questions, Alexander brought up the 2015 petition movement to create the City of St. George in the southeastern part of the parish. "We worked together successfully about a year and a half ago to make sure the city wasn't split in half," Alexander said. Alexander referenced a PBS "Frontline" documentary that partially painted St. George as a racial issue, and he asked Broome how Baton Rouge could avoid the return of the St. George movement.
U. of Kentucky students among trio indicted on kidnapping, assault at $2.5M house
Three men have been indicted in connection with the February kidnapping, robbery and assault of a man at a $2.5 million house near the Hartland Estates neighborhood in Lexington. One of the three and a fourth defendant were indicted on a charge of trafficking in more than five pounds of marijuana. John Nathaniel Cooper, 36, Zachary Ernest Costin, 21, and Ethan Hunter Hatfield, 20, were all indicted on charges of kidnapping, robbery and assault. Costin and another man, Andrew N. Ward, were each indicted on a charge of criminal conspiracy to traffic in more than five pounds of marijuana. At the time of their arraignment in March, Costin was identified as a University of Kentucky student, and Hatfield was taking a semester off from UK as he recovered from a broken leg.
Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory unveils new headquarters
The Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory celebrated its 50th birthday Tuesday with a gift that will see the agency through many more years. Marking its milestone anniversary with more than 100 attendees, the TVMDL celebrated the grand opening of its new 93,000-square-foot, $53 million headquarters Wednesday, equipping the agency with several important new features. "What a better way to celebrate a birthday than with a brand new building?" Texas A&M University System Vice Chancellor and dean for agriculture and life sciences Mark Hussey said. "Here, TVMDL will continue to serve as the backbone of an animal disease surveillance system that protects not only our state, but this nation and the world as well." Bruce L. Akey, director of the agency, said the facility, located off Agronomy Road in College Station, is the new home base for the agency's testing operations.
U. of Missouri student groups want UM System to divest interest in fossil fuels
Representatives from MU student government organizations are calling on the University of Missouri System to discontinue allowing its endowments to fund fossil fuels. The Missouri Students Association passed a resolution Tuesday night asking the UM System to divest from funding fossil fuel companies through the system's $1.5 billion Endowment Pool by 2022. The resolution also asks the system to provide financial support to the green energy sector. The Mizzou Energy Action Coalition, a student environmental organization and advocates for the system's divestment since 2013, submitted the resolution. The student group alleges that roughly $10 million of the endowment fund is invested in fossil fuel companies.
State support for higher education increased in 2016, not counting Illinois
It's impossible to examine state higher education finances in 2016 without separating the collapse in Illinois from a more nuanced picture across the rest of the country. State and local support for higher education in Illinois plunged as the state's lawmakers and governor were unable to reach a budget agreement and instead passed severely pared-down stopgap funding. Educational appropriations per full-time equivalent student in the state skidded 80 percent year over year, from $10,986 to $2,196. Enrollment in public institutions dropped by 11 percent, or 46,000 students. That situation proved to be enough of an outlier that it weighed down several key markers in the 2016 State Higher Education Finance report from the State Higher Education Executive Officers association, which is being released today.
Berkeley says Ann Coulter may not appear there next week
The University of California, Berkeley, told students who planned to bring writer Ann Coulter to campus next week that they could not do so, saying the university has "been unable to find a safe and suitable venue" for the event. Coulter, who revels in controversy, announced that she would show up next week anyway. The controversy is likely to add to an intensifying debate over free speech on American college campuses. Just this week, Auburn University tried to prevent Richard Spencer, a white nationalist, from appearing, but let him speak when a federal judge gave the university no choice. Auburn, like Berkeley, cited safety concerns. And in February, Berkeley called off a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, then a Breitbart editor known for inflammatory campus rhetoric, amid a violent protest by "anti-fascist" groups from off campus and a large nonviolent protest by students.
Steve Holland: compassionate, intelligent and crazy like a fox
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Of all the characters I've come to know in almost four decades of writing about Mississippi politics, none is more memorable than State Rep. Steve Holland, the Democrat from Plantersville. Holland, 61, made public that he has been diagnosed with dementia and plans to retire at the end of his current term. That plan accomplished, Holland will have served for 36 years in the Mississippi Legislature. While this column might in the minds of some take on the feel of an obituary, that's not what I'm attempting. I just think I'd prefer to give Holland his roses while he can still smell them. I've known him since his days on Capitol Hill on the staff of U.S. Rep. Jamie Whitten. Despite not often agreeing on politics and knocking heads on some specific public policy issues, I have long considered Holland a friend."

Message sent to Mississippi State ahead of Alabama series
Andy Cannizaro sent a message to his Mississippi State team in its 5-2 loss at South Alabama Tuesday night. The 15th-ranked Bulldog were seemingly going through the motions during non-conference play at Stanky Field against the Jaguars. Despite the close score, Cannizaro started substituting pitchers for position players and vice versa. A total of seven players saw action in new roles in the final three innings. "It wasn't an outcome thing, it was more of an effort and focus thing," Cannizaro said. "I just didn't see that drive to win the ballgame from our guys. I felt like we were there because the schedule said we had a game instead of showing up ready to play with some energy, passion and aggression." Cannizaro hopes the lesson was learned and his club returns to form as it hosts Alabama (15-22, 2-13 SEC) this weekend.
Mississippi State's Andy Cannizaro: No-brainer for Ryan Gridley to miss game
Shortly after Andy Cannizaro was hired in December, shortstop Ryan Gridley informed the new Mississippi State coach of a future and uncommon scheduling conflict. The wedding of Gridley's sister Samantha and her boyfriend of eight years, David, was scheduled for April 22 in Nashville. The Bulldogs were scheduled to play Alabama on April 22 in Starkville. Gridley intended to be with his family, which he referred to as the most important thing in his life. "I told him, 'Coach Cannizaro, I discussed this with Coach (John) Cohen at the time and now that you're the head coach, I need to let you know that this is very important to me and my family,'" Gridley said. "I also told him, 'If you want me to stay, you are my head coach and I will respect your decision. If you don't want me to go and need me to play, I will stay for you and the team.'" Cannizaro didn't need much time to offer an answer. "To me, it was an absolute no-brainer," Cannizaro said. "He needs to go there."
Decision to return paying off for Mississippi State's Brent Rooker
Brent Rooker didn't have to return this year. The Mississippi State slugger led the Bulldogs to an SEC Championship as team captain last season and topped the club with 11 home runs and 54 RBIs. The Minnesota Twins took notice of his talents and selected Rooker in the 38th round of the MLB Draft. But instead of joining 11 of his teammates in signing professional contracts, Rooker was the lone draftee that decided to return to school. "I felt like I had a lot more to accomplish at the college level," Rooker said. "I thought we as a team had another really good chance to have a good season and I wanted to be a part of that. It was an opportunity to play in the SEC one more year and develop more. I wanted to experience playing at Mississippi State and enjoy it while I could because it's a special place."
Mississippi State's Richie Brown, Dominique Dillingham up for McWhorter scholarship
Mississippi State football player Richie Brown and women's basketball player Dominique Dillingham were both nominated for the H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete post graduate scholarship. The Southeastern Conference will pick a male and female recipiant to win a $15,000 post graduate scholarship while the other 26 finalists receive a $7,500 post graduate scholarship. The winners will be announced on April 27. Brown had a 3.52 grade point average while earning his degree in industrial technology and is currently pursuing a master's degree in business. Dillingham posted a 3.57 GPA while earning her degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in clinical exercise physiology.
11 Alcorn State players arrested in connection with fight
Eleven Alcorn State football players have been arrested in connection with a fight that broke out on the school's Lorman campus on Monday, April 10. Claiborne County Sheriff Frank Davis said charges had been filed against each of the players by other students, and that more arrests were likely to be made Thursday. "These are students who were involved in the incident who were harmed," he said. The charges against the players are all misdemeanors, and range from malicious mischief to simple assault. The fight, which started in the school cafeteria, was captured on several cell phone cameras and widely circulated last week. Alcorn football coach Fred McNair did not immediately return a phone call Wednesday evening.

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 20, 2017Facebook Twitter