Tuesday, May 9, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
GOP gridlock: Ward 1 Republicans head to runoff
The drama in deciding a Republican winner in the GOP Primary for the Ward 1 Board of Aldermen seat saw yet another twist Monday and voters will now take to the polls again to resolve the most tightly contested local race this election season. A meeting was called by the Republican Municipal Election Committee on Monday at the Circuit Court office, which coincided with Republican candidate Jason Camp's request for reconsideration. The committee ruled in closed executive session that the vote tally now stands tied at 104 for both candidates, and a runoff will be held between Camp and Republican incumbent Ben Carver on Tuesday, May 16, to decide who will face Democrat Christine Williams in the June 6 General Election. Oktibbeha County Republican Executive Committee member Jack Forbus led the meeting on Monday and said the committee came to the tie decision following a discussion behind closed doors in executive session.
 
Jason Camp, Ben Carver primary heading to runoff next week
Ward 1 voters will head back to the polls May 16 to decide Republican Primary between challenger Jason Camp and incumbent Alderman Ben Carver after party officials rejected a previously accepted affidavit ballot Monday. After consulting with the Mississippi Secretary of State's office, the GOP Municipal Committee decided one of two contested affidavits cast in last week's election should not count, as the voter missed the 30-day window to register his address after moving from the county to Starkville. Another affidavit, which went unsigned and undated by a poll worker, was again deemed eligible by the group and deadlocked the two opponents at 104 votes each. The city is expected to certify the results of the primary Tuesday. Voters who participated in last week's Republican Primary and those who did not vote will be able to participate in the Ward 1 runoff. Those who voted in the Democratic Primary are not eligible to vote in the election.
 
MDOT: Legislature needs to act quickly on budget to avoid extra costs
The Mississippi Department of Transportation will not have to suspend contracts, costing taxpayers "tens of millions of dollars," if the Legislature passes a budget for the agency early in the planned June 5 special session. MDOT officials originally had said that if no budget was approved for the agency by May 15 that they would be forced to suspend contracts, placing additional costs on the already cash-strapped agency. But in response to an emailed question where Jason Scott, a spokesman for MDOT, was asked if the state would not lose any money if the Legislature passes a budget "in short order" in the June 5 special session, he replied, "If that happens, then, yes you are correct." MDOT has 2,100 active contracts totaling $3 billion for work on the state's highways and bridges.
 
Greg Snowden, Charles Young look toward special session
Gov. Phil Bryant has called a special session for next month to finalize the transportation budget and funding for the Attorney General's office. But the governor hasn't released specifically what items will discussed in the June 5 special session. But House Speaker Pro Tem Greg Snowden says lawmakers will use this opportunity to talk about funding for roads and bridges. "The thinking here is if we can get the Senate to engage with us on the topic, they may have different ideas, they may have better ideas. But we think it should be an issue that should be addressed," said Snowden.
 
Gov. Phil Bryant: David Chandler 'invaluable' to foster care system
After just over a year on the job, David Chandler, commissioner of Child Protection Services, was nationally cited Monday for his work with Mississippi's foster care children. During a ceremony in the governor's office at the Capitol, the National Council for Adoption presented Chandler with the Warren and Mary Alice Babineaux Award for his "exceptional leadership on behalf of children in the state's foster care system." After the ceremony, Gov. Phil Bryant praised Chandler, calling his contributions to Child Protection Services "invaluable." "The more David Chandler became involved (in the Department), the more we realized what we had not been able to see," Bryant said. "It's been a huge undertaking, but it's been an important one."
 
Blacks arrested 5 times more than whites in Madison County, lawsuit says
A class-action lawsuit filed Monday accuses the Madison County Sheriff's Department of targeting black residents with unconstitutional and sometimes violent searches and seizures, arresting them at nearly five times the rate of white residents. The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York City-based law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett filed the class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Jackson against Sheriff Randy Tucker and his deputies. Spokesman Heath Hall said the Madison County Sheriff's Department has not been served with the lawsuit "so we do not have any further comment."
 
IHL considers Jackson State president finalists
College Board officials on Monday met behind closed doors with the goal of tapping the next leader of Jackson State University. In executive session, trustees conducted second-round interviews with finalists on the University of Mississippi Medical Center campus. A spokesperson, citing board policy, did not release the names of candidates or the number of applicants being considered. Rod Paige, the former U.S. secretary of education, is serving as interim president of the roughly 10,000-student campus. Paige's service excludes him from being in the running. During the public portion of the meeting, Higher Education Commissioner Glenn Boyce said that, after each candidate's interview, board members would be asked to share their thoughts on the interviewee.
 
University Libraries to present Summer Bicentennial Lecture Series at Southern Miss
University Libraries' Special Collections at the University of Southern Mississippi is continuing its celebration of Mississippi's Bicentennial with two summer lectures that will examine Mississippi's film industry and Mississippi as a landscape for literature. The summer series will begin June 7 with Nina Parikh, deputy director of the Mississippi Film Office, and conclude July 12 with Margaret McMullan, an award-winning author and Mississippi native. Mississippi's film history is rich with stories inspired by Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, John Grisham, and many more. Mississippi is also the birthplace of some of the most recognizable names in the industry, such as Morgan Freeman, James Earl Jones, Parker Posey, Gerald McRaney, Jim Henson, Elvis Presley and Oprah Winfrey. Mississippi is also the location of a number of notable films that include A Time to Kill, The Help, O, Brother Where Art Thou? and My Dog Skip.
 
Delta State graduates encouraged to be fearless and true
Former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice and current Board of Trustees member for Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, Ann H. Lamar was the Keynote Speaker at Delta State University's 90th Commencement ceremony Saturday. "This ceremony marks the end of your time here at Delta State, but it marks the beginning of a new and exciting time in your life. You have worked hard to get here today. You've reached your goals and we can rejoice with you today. Many of you will indeed begin your journey into adulthood today, and you do so in very challenging times," said Lamar in her keynote speech. Lamar, who graduated from DSU in 1974, revealed to the graduates her doubts about her career path after college. Lamar said she had originally graduated from the university with a bachelor's degree in home economic education and had no desire to pursue a career in the field of law.
 
Copiah-Lincoln Community College tuition to rise starting in fall
The price of an education at Copiah-Lincoln Community College soon will rise. The Co-Lin Board of Trustees announced Monday plans to raise student tuition and fees in response to state funding cuts. Co-Lin President Ronnie Nettles said the tuition increases are necessary after the Mississippi Legislature cut funding to the state's community colleges by $28 million or approximately 10 percent. He said all of the state's 15 community colleges are considering tuition increases. In addition, a new fee will be assessed for select career and technical programs.
 
Next phase of University Boulevard project begins
The intersection of University Boulevard and Fifth Avenue will be temporarily closed through May 27 for the latest phase of an ongoing road improvements project on the east side of the University of Alabama. The intersection closed Monday as crews pulled up the pavement. A new connector road linking University Boulevard and Johnny Stallings Drive between BBVA/Compass Bank and the Capstone College of Nursing was partially open on Monday, allowing traffic to turn off University Boulevard. The new connector was built to help alleviate traffic congestion at the University Boulevard and Fifth Avenue intersection. The entire project, which is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 4, includes replacing concrete slabs with asphalt and adding medians, landscaping, a transit lane, a bike lane and making lighting improvements.
 
Auburn professor says correspondence shows the real Harper Lee
For years, a professor at Auburn University exchanged letters with Harper Lee, with the subject of correspondence ranging from their mutual love of Southern literature to things happening in Alabama. Wayne Flynt, professor emeritus of history at Auburn, has recently published a book called "Mockingbird Songs: My Friendship With Harper Lee," a collection of the dozens of letters he and the "To Kill A Mockingbird" author wrote to one another between 1992 and shortly before her death in 2016. Flynt first met Lee, who he called "Nelle," in 1983 through her older sister, Louise. He kept nearly 100 letters that Lee had written to him every couple of months over the years, with the majority of the correspondence taking place between 2004 and 2016. The book also includes letters from Lee's oldest sister, Alice, and Flynt's wife, Dartie.
 
LSU students' cost-efficient sunshade keeps elementary school students protected
Something cool just happened at Brusly Elementary School. A group dedicated to sun safety joined forces with a team of LSU students to design and install a cost-efficient playground sunshade to keep BES's 700-plus students protected during outdoor playtime. Stumped by the high cost of sunshades, the Lauren Savoy Olinde Foundation approached LSU professor Mary Beth Lima to see her students could come up with a design for less than $10,000. Cost per shade project can average $20,000 to $90,000, the foundation said in a news release. Lima, of the LSU College of Engineering, teaches a service learning class that designs and implements new playground builds. Students designed a three-pole shade sail using locally sourced materials and volunteer labor.
 
At 17, Halls student is one of youngest grads ever at U. of Tennessee
At 17, Kristina Kravchenko finds nothing unusual about the fact that she will be graduating this month with a bachelor's degree as one of the youngest-ever graduates from the University of Tennessee Knoxville. That's because in the Kravchenko family, graduating from college as a teenager is not unusual. Kravchenko, whom the university confirmed is one of their youngest-ever graduates, follows in the footsteps of an older sister who graduated from the University of Florida at 18 and an older brother who graduated from UT at 19. Among the seven siblings, a fourth child also started college around age 14, though he did not graduate. "My sister started it and some of my other siblings did it, so I was like, 'I might as well do it too,'" said Kravchenko, who lives in Halls. More than 4,000 students are scheduled to receive diplomas from UT over three days starting on Thursday.
 
Texas A&M University System elects Charles Schwartz as new chairman
Prominent trial attorney Charles W. Schwartz was elected today to serve as chairman over the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents after being named four years ago to the governing body. Regents also re-elected San Antonio businesswoman Elaine Mendoza to the vice chairman slot. Schwartz, whose term expires Feb. 1, 2019, replaces former Board of Regents Chairman Cliff Thomas, who will remain on the board. Earlier this year, Gov. Greg Abbott re-appointed the Victoria resident to a second term on the board that expires on Feb. 1, 2023. Schwartz is a nationally known securities litigator and mergers and acquisitions expert who graduated from The University of Texas School of Law in 1977 and Harvard Law School with an LL.M. in 1980. Mendoza is founder, president and CEO of Conceptual MindWorks, Inc. (CMI), a biotechnology and medical informatics company.
 
Police use stun gun after U. of Missouri student allegedly flees arrest
Police used a stun gun on a University of Missouri student Saturday morning after the man allegedly ran from an arresting officer, the MU Police Department said. MUPD Maj. Brian Weimer said a single officer on patrol arrested John G. Meyers , 20, of Kansas City, shortly after midnight at 601 Rollins St. The patrolling officer said he saw a man he identified as Meyers urinating in public and got out of his vehicle to speak to him, Weimer said. When the officer tried to arrest Meyers, Meyers pulled away and tried to kick the police officer, Weimer said. Meyers began running from the officer, who used a stun gun on Meyers before arresting him, Weimer said. Meyers did not respond to a telephone message from the Tribune seeking comment. The University of Missouri's student directory lists him as a junior. Police arrested Meyers outside the Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity House, but it is unclear whether Meyers or his arrest was associated with the fraternity.
 
Results of 2016 survey show U. of Missouri faculty concerns
If given the chance, slightly more than half, 56 percent, of University of Missouri faculty -- tenured, tenure-track and non-tenure track -- said that they would choose to work at MU again. That is one finding of a report from the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education, which surveyed faculty in February 2016. A report on the results, released Monday by the MU Office of the Provost, also showed that faculty saw: transparency and interaction between leadership and faculty as an ongoing challenge; compensation as not keeping up with peer institutions nor equitable across departments and gender, ethnic and racial lines; and problems with workplace climate, facilities, inequity regarding women and faculty of color and the role of non-tenure track faculty. "The issues that are identified in the survey are important," MU Faculty Council chair Ben Trachtenberg said. "Diversity and inclusion, compensation -- those are issues that we've been talking about for a while now."
 
Called to the White House, Business Leaders Attest to NIH's Value
Not even two months ago, the Trump administration shocked the biomedical research community by proposing an 18-percent cut to the budget of the National Institutes of Health. On Monday at the White House, that attitude began to look like ancient history. Ushered into the Executive Mansion by a contingent of biomedical industry chiefs, NIH leaders spent two hours with top administration officials -- followed by a visit with President Trump himself -- carefully explaining the economic and human-health importance of the federal investment in medical science. Specific spending figures for the NIH were not discussed during the session, though the encouraging budgetary implications of the conversation seemed pretty clear, several participants said afterward. "It was consciousness-raising," the NIH's director, Francis S. Collins, told reporters afterward.
 
For-Profit Task Force No More
In the midst of a push late in the Obama administration to crack down on abuses by for-profit colleges, the Department of Education launched an interagency task force to coordinate oversight of the sector with other governmental agencies. The idea was that the Education Department and other federal agencies like Veterans Affairs, the Treasury and the Securities and Exchange Commission would be more effective at overseeing for-profit colleges with limited resources if they knew what work the other agencies were doing. Liz Hill, the press secretary for the Department of Education, said to her knowledge the task force hasn't been discontinued and still exists. But that contradicts reports from multiple sources among higher ed advocates and on Capitol Hill who say the task force is basically done or has suspended any activities.
 
Big boost for black college students in new 2017 federal budget: More generous aid
Black colleges and universities got a big win in the new federal budget: a major expansion of the Pell Grants used by thousands of their students. The bill expands Pell Grants for the nation's low-income college students by providing the help for three semesters instead of just two per calendar year. About 1 million students nationwide could benefit from the average $1,650 in additional grant money in the 2017-18 academic year. The year-round restoration will run the government about $2 billion a year, education experts say. About 8 million students receive Pell funding, which helps them attend two-year and four year colleges and universities. The change, contained in the bill that keeps the government running through Sept. 30, will be especially helpful to students attending the nation's historically black colleges and universities. About 70 percent of the nearly 300,000 students who attend the country's 100-plus HBCUs are Pell Grant recipients.
 
College commencement speeches in 2017: It's a no-Donald Trump zone
Caution: If you attend a campus commencement address this spring, you could be entering a no-Trump zone. Most college and university graduation speakers contacted by USA TODAY said they would not address the elephant in the stadium. And mention of the president and party politics has been conspicuously absent from the speeches that already have been given. "If they invited a politician to speak, they'd get what they expected. Since they didn't, I'll take that as a direction" and avoid the subject, said former NASA astronaut Kathryn Thornton, who may speak about space exploration at Sweet Briar College in Virginia. This year, many campus speakers are politicians – Joe Biden at Cornell, Colby and Harvard, Hillary Clinton at Wellesley and Medgar Evers College in New York City, Bernie Sanders at Brooklyn College, Sen. Elizabeth Warren at UMass-Amherst and Wheelock College, Vice President Mike Pence at the Naval Academy and Notre Dame and Trump as the Coast Guard Academy.
 
Prosecutors Taking Tougher Stance in Fraternity Hazing Deaths
After downing a dangerous amount of alcohol and suffering severe internal injuries during a fraternity hazing, a 19-year-old college sophomore died. Not long ago, the story might have ended there, except for some hand-wringing and litigation. Instead, prosecutors filed criminal charges on Friday against 18 Penn State students in the death of the man, Timothy Piazza. The case offers the latest evidence of the harder line prosecutors have started taking when initiation rituals end in death from alcohol or physical abuse. At Baruch College, Northern Illinois University, Fresno State University and elsewhere, fraternity hazing deaths that might once have been labeled regrettable accidents have resulted in criminal charges against students.


SPORTS
 
Has Mississippi State found another starting pitcher?
Mississippi State learned over the weekend against Texas A&M that it can win a series despite its ace losing the opener, its first four hitters going 0-for-16 in the finale and its closer not appearing. While all of that is eye-opening, overcoming those obstacles demonstrated what had already been suggested a few times before; the Bulldogs are a gritty bunch this season. So, the most important new discovery for the Bulldogs in winning two of three against the Aggies is that they may have found a reliable weekend starter to go along with Konnor Pilkington, the team's No. 1 guy. That would be Denver McQuary, who pitched five innings in a win on Friday.
 
Pearl River Community College coach: Team's bout with mumps unfortunate
Michael Avalon, Pearl River Community College's head baseball coach, became part of a select group in April. He was one of three PRCC baseball coaches and seven players to come down with the mumps. One other student at the school also got the contagious disease for an outbreak of 11 cases total. Avalon said, fortunately for him, he did not experience the flu-like symptoms that knocked out some of the others. According to Mississippi Department of Health procedure, Avalon remained quarantined in his home for five days after symptoms appeared. His mother, who is undergoing radiation for breast cancer, had to report Avalon's illness to her doctor because he had seen her within the two-day contagion window before he got symptoms. The PRCC outbreak began in mid-April with two cases on the baseball team. It rapidly spread, despite the college's precautions such as frequent cleaning of the clubhouse and training room and hand sanitizer located liberally where the players congregated.
 
Tennessee athletes bring international flavor to living situation
An Italian, a Mexican, a South African and an American sit around a dinner table. It's not a joke. It's a daily routine for four University of Tennessee athletes. Lorenzo Scalise, a golfer from Milan, Italy, Juan Carlos Serrano, a golfer from Mexico City, Ryan Coetzee, a swimmer from Phalaborwa, South Africa, and Jack Smith, a golfer and Webb School of Knoxville graduate, share an off-campus apartment where they prepare home-cooked meals nearly every night. They share their cultures, engage in lengthy conversations and always provide plenty of laughs. Raised in an era when American family dinners have dwindled and people are more interested in their phones than each other, the roommates have embraced an old-school approach to meals. For Scalise and Serrano, it helps ease the homesickness.
 
UK football: Behind the scenes of the rebranding of Commonwealth Stadium to Kroger Field
It was like a magic act performed on campus last week when officials yanked a sheet off a large picture of Commonwealth Stadium to reveal the rendering of the new name: "Kroger Field." Presto change-o! But it takes quite a bit more than that to formally alter the name of a 44-year-old venue that sits in a conspicuous place in the city and on campus. There's quite a bit of physical, emotional and digital magic still to be done. "Obviously there's a lot of roads to go down, but we're doing our best to figure out what those roads are and how to accomplish it," said Nathan Schwake, Kentucky's associate athletic director for marketing and licensing. One of those roads seemed really obvious, but UK had to find a way to navigate it.
 
Tim Tebow gets ESPN contract extension, cites 'passion of SEC fans'
Just a couple of weeks after ESPN laid off a number of on-air personalities, Tim Tebow is getting an extension. In a press release, ESPN has announced a contract extension for the former Heisman Trophy winner. "Over the last three years ESPN and the SEC Nation crew have become like family," Tebow said. "I love the passion that SEC fans bring to our set every Saturday morning and I look forward to continuing to share my own love of the game with fans on ESPN and SEC Network." The former Florida Gators' quarterback will continue as a college football analyst on SEC Network's traveling pre-game show "SEC Nation." In 2016, Tebow signed a minor league baseball contract with the New York Mets and currently plays with the Columbia Fireflies.
 
Reports: 2 top administrators resign from Auburn football program
Jamie Croley and David Gunn, two top administrators in Auburn's football program, have resigned from their positions, according to multiple reports. Brandon Marcello of 247Sports first reported the news. Croley, the director of football operations and coach Gus Malzahn's brother-in-law, has been managing the logistics for the Tigers since 2013. He held the same position at Arkansas State, Malzahn's last stop, in 2012. Croley is leaving to work at a foundation that Malzahn and his wife, Kristi, intend to start, per the 247Sports report.
 
Wild hogs: Reservoirs of disease
Most everyone who has encountered wild hogs knows the non-native species is a problem. Feral swine destroy crops, root up food plots and outcompete deer and other native wildlife species for food. But pigs present another danger: leptospirosis. "Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection," said William McKinley, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks wildlife biologist. "It's common in the environment. "Multiple animals can get it including deer and humans. Wild hogs are a reservoir for it, meaning they are walking around shedding it everywhere. It is primarily passed through urine." Not only are wild hogs shedding the disease, they seem to be doing a lot of it.



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