Wednesday, May 10, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
School District And Mississippi State Set To Break Ground On Partnership School
Groundbreaking has been set for the Starkville Oktibbeha County School District Partnership School. The district and Mississippi State University will hold the ceremony on May 17th at 10 a.m. The 32-acre site can be accessed from the north entrance to the MSU campus at the intersection of Highway 182 and George Perry Boulevard. The new middle school will serve all sixth and seventh graders in the district and will allow hands-on training for the university's education majors. Teachers will also be able to incorporate some of MSU's resources into their curriculum. The Partnership School is expected to open in January of 2019.
Rick Travis named dean of Mississippi State's College of Arts and Sciences
Rick Travis, a longtime Mississippi State University faculty member and administrator, has been named dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, the university's largest academic unit, after serving in an interim role for the past year. Travis earned a 1993 doctoral degree and 1989 master's in political science at the University of Georgia. His undergraduate degree in international relations is from Memphis State University. Travis joined MSU in 1993 as an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration. He was promoted to associate professor and professor before serving terms as interim head of both his home department and the Department of Sociology, and associate dean for academic and student affairs for the College of Arts and Sciences.
Cartoonist Marshall Ramsey lauds state, speaks on career at Starkville Rotary
The Starkville Rotary Club meeting Monday at the Starkville Country Club was one of continuous laughter and enthusiasm as two-time Pulitzer prize finalist Marshall Ramsey spoke of his journeys as a Mississippian and cartoonist. Ramsey, a cartoonist for The Clarion Ledger, has not only been featured by The New York Times and USA Today but also is the author of three successful cartoon collections, two short story collections and a children's book. Throughout his 20-year career in Mississippi, Ramsey has commented on a wide range of events with his cartoons, including the tragedies of 9/11 and recently, the Mississippi State University's women's basketball historic win over the University of Connecticut in the national semifinals. Speaking of his time in Mississippi, Ramsey said the state has been good to him, so he's stayed despite having options to go other places.
Runoff candidates file campaign finance reports
Tuesday marked the deadline for candidates competing in runoffs to file campaign finance reports for the fundraising period starting on April 23 and ending May 6. The two runoff races on May 16 will be split between political parties, with the mayoral runoff for the Democratic Primary featuring local attorney Johnny Moore and property owner Lynn Spruill. The runoff for the Republican Primary for Ward 1 Alderman will see incumbent Ben Carver try to advance to the June 6 General Election over challenger Jason Camp. With no Republican on the mayoral ticket, the winner of the mayor's race will be decided Tuesday, while the winner of the Ward 1 GOP Primary will face Democrat Christine Williams in the June 6 General Election. Only candidates competing in the runoff were required to file pre-runoff campaign finance reports.
Governor applauds Avectus during Corinth visit
Gov. Phil Bryant on Tuesday in Corinth said Northeast Mississippi is the "growth corridor for the entire state" during a ceremony for a local company that provides 300 jobs. Bryant made the remarks during the ribbon cutting for Avectus Healthcare Solutions, which recently moved into a county-owned building that underwent a major renovation in downtown Corinth. "It is great to have a service industry like Avectus that provides these high-quality jobs in Corinth, Mississippi," Bryant told the crowd in the company's courtyard. Avectus works for hospitals and helps patients coordinate their medical benefits, said Operations Manager Chip Wood. The Mississippi Development Authority, Appalachian Regional Commission, the Corinth mayor and Board of Aldermen, the Alcorn County Board of Supervisors and local state legislators were praised for their efforts in making the Avectus project happen.
Governor to speak at Brookhaven Academy graduation
Gov. Phil Bryant isn't coming to Brookhaven Academy Friday just to give the commencement address. The state's chief executive is attending to watch an old friend graduate. Anna-Michael Smith is one of 34 graduates who will be receiving diplomas in John R. Gray Gymnasium at BA Friday. The ceremony begins at 7 p.m. and it is open to the public. Smith is the daughter of Mike Smith and Cindy Hyde-Smith, of Brookhaven. Her mom is the commissioner of agriculture and commerce for the state. The Smiths also raise cattle, which makes Anna-Michael a fifth generation farmer. Hyde-Smith said her daughter and the governor "go way back" to the teenager's diaper days. "He's known her pretty much her whole life," she said. The BA Cougar and Bryant often ride in the Dixie National annual parade together.
Trump cites Jackson pool ruling to defend travel ban
Jackson's strategy of closing public swimming pools instead of integrating them in the 1970s has made its way into President Donald Trump's defense of his travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries. In a recent filing, Trump's Justice Department briefly cited a 1971 Supreme Court decision in which justices ruled 5-4 that the pool closures were OK and that the Jackson officials' motives in closing the pools should not dictate whether the action is unconstitutional. Hence, Trump's numerous calls for a "Muslim ban" on the campaign trail should not be considered in the suit challenging his travel ban, the attorneys argued. It's too hard to determine intent, they suggested. It has a 'Wizard of Oz' quality," said constitutional law expert and Mississippi College School of Law professor Matt Steffey. "'Don't look at the man behind the curtain.'"
Behind Comey's firing: An enraged Trump, fuming about Russia
President Donald Trump weighed firing his FBI director for more than a week. When he finally pulled the trigger Tuesday afternoon, he didn't call James Comey. He sent his longtime private security guard to deliver the termination letter in a manila folder to FBI headquarters. He had grown enraged by the Russia investigation, two advisers said, frustrated by his inability to control the mushrooming narrative around Russia. He repeatedly asked aides why the Russia investigation wouldn't disappear and demanded they speak out for him. He would sometimes scream at television clips about the probe, one adviser said. The news stunned Comey, who saw news of his dismissal on TV while speaking inside the FBI office in Los Angeles. It startled all but the uppermost ring of White House advisers, who said grumbling about Comey hadn't dominated their own morning senior staff meetings.
Comey's dismissal had nothing to do with Russia probe, Trump and aides say
As calls for an independent prosecutor intensify on both sides of the aisle, President Trump and aides argued Wednesday that the firing of FBI Director James Comey had nothing to do with the agency's ongoing investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. "The Democrats have said some of the worst things about James Comey, including the fact that he should be fired, but now they play so sad!" Trump tweeted. White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, speaking on MSNBC's Morning Joe and other television news programs, said the FBI director's overall record subjected him to dismissal. Sanders cited the recommendations of Justice Department leaders who said Comey had lost his effectiveness as the bureau's leader -- in part because of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Hurricane Prep Tour Arrives Before FEMA Administrator Does
When the hurricane hunters and other federal officials came together Tuesday to promote emergency preparedness, there was no Senate-confirmed director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be found. The acting administrator is Bob Fenton, a longtime FEMA official who has been running the show since January and is the regional administrator for Region IX, based in the West. "Although we haven't had a major hurricane hit us in the United States in the last 10 years, we need to be prepared because it only takes one," Fenton said at Tuesday's event at a hangar at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The White House announced on April 28 that President Donald Trump intends to nominate Brock Long to be FEMA administrator. Long served for about four years as the director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency through 2010.
U.S. Census director resigns amid turmoil over funding of 2020 count
The director of the U.S. Census Bureau is resigning, leaving the agency leaderless at a time when it faces a crisis over funding for the 2020 decennial count of the U.S. population and beyond. John H. Thompson, who has served as director since 2013 and worked for the bureau for 27 years before that, will leave June 30, the Commerce Department announced Tuesday. The news, which surprised census experts, follows an April congressional budget allocation for the census that critics say is woefully inadequate. And it comes less than a week after a prickly hearing at which Thompson told lawmakers that cost estimates for a new electronic data collection system had ballooned by nearly 50 percent.
Shepard Smith talks about being gay man in Ole Miss speech
Longtime Fox News anchor Shepard Smith has opened up about his sexuality and the impact it has had on his career. Smith mentioned in a recent speech at the University of Mississippi that he had never stood in front of a group of people to talk about being gay, but added that he has "nothing to hide." Smith says he began living his "truth" within the past decade. He says he never "outed" himself because he didn't think he was "in." Smith told students he spent many years constantly working, in part because he didn't want to deal with his sexuality. Now, Smith says he doesn't think about his sexuality much. He says he goes to work, covers the news and goes "home to the man I'm in love with."
A Powerful, and Provocative, Voice for Southern Food
Like the South itself, John T. Edge is complicated. He is part scholar and part kingmaker, a conscientious white man in a Billy Reid sport coat who makes his living wrestling with the food legacy of a region built on slavery. Mr. Edge has a new book, "The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South" (Penguin). It spans 60 years, starting with the cooks whose food fueled the Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott in 1955 and ending with a South of new immigrants, where the fried okra might be sprinkled with fish sauce or the barbecue ribs doused in gochujang. Mr. Edge took the name potlikker -- the nutrient-rich broth left at the bottom of a pot of greens -- from his dissertation, which he wrote in 2002 after he left a corporate sales job and headed to the University of Mississippi to study race relations.
Exhuming a dark past: Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum's 7,000 coffins
As many as 7,000 coffins lie beneath a 10-acre patch of undeveloped land on the campus of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. The people buried in those coffins lived and died at what was once known as the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum. Opened in 1855 and operated until 1935, the asylum housed about 35,000 patients over the course of eight decades, said Molly Zuckerman, an associate professor at Mississippi State University. How will the remains --- and the heartbreaking history each coffin contains --- be exhumed? Rather than re-bury the coffins somewhere else with little acknowledgment of the institution's past, officials in Mississippi have proposed building a memorial and visitor's center on the hospital's property.
Up to 7,000 coffins found at Mississippi medical campus
Up to 7,000 bodies are buried on the grounds of a Jackson, Miss., medical center, college officials said. The site, an undeveloped 10-acre parcel on the grounds of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, was once the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum. From 1855 until its closure in 1935, the asylum housed about 35,000 patients institutionalized for depression, schizophrenia or other mental illnesses. When they died, they were buried on the grounds. The medical center is studying a cheaper alternative, an in-house exhumation project which would include a memorial to the patients, preservation of the remains, a visitors' center and a laboratory to study the remains. The $4 million proposal calls for historical research that would offer insights into life at the asylum and methods of dealing with institutionalized patients. "It would be a unique resource for Mississippi," said Molly Zuckerman of Mississippi State University's Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures.
Thousands of Bodies Rest Under the University of Mississippi Medical Center Campus
In 2013, a construction crew doing road work on the campus of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson discovered 66 bodies from the Mississippi State Asylum, which was on the site from 1855 to 1935. Seth Augenstein at Laboratory Equipment reports that a year later, while building a parking garage, radar scans revealed at least 2,000 more bodies on the site known as Asylum Hill. Now, experts believe there may be as many as 7,000 bodies on the 20-acre plot of land, which the campus hopes to develop. "Removal of the bodies will cost hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars because ethical and professional standards within archaeology have to be followed in their removal," Molly Zuckerman, a biological anthropologist at Mississippi State University, tells Augenstein.
David Davies to serve as Grand Marshal for USM's 2017 Commencement
Spring commencement at The University of Southern Mississippi promises to be special for Willie Tubbs and Dr. David R. Davies, with Tubbs set to receive his Ph.D. and Professor Davies serving as commencement grand marshal. Dr. Davies, director of USM's School of Mass Communications and Journalism, is Tubbs' dissertation advisor so he'll be juggling grand marshal duties while also hooding Tubbs upon receipt of his degree. A former dean of the USM Honors College, Davies joined the University's Department of Journalism faculty in 1991. His research specialties include the press and Civil Rights Movement, and trends in American newspapers since World War II. He was an associate dean of the College of Arts & Letters in 2006-2007 and dean of the Southern Miss Honors College from 2007-2014. Before entering academia, he was a reporter for 10 years in Arkansas for both the Arkansas Democrat and Arkansas Gazette.
Senator wants hearings on U. of South Carolina's out-of-state tuition discounts
A state senator wants hearings into tuition discounts S.C. colleges use to recruit out-of-state students, citing a report from The State newspaper on the University of South Carolina's enrollment strategy. Meanwhile, newly released data show USC offered more than $84.1 million in tuition discounts to out-of-state students last year. That figure is twice the amount The State previously reported, based on data provided by a state agency that oversees colleges. South Carolina's flagship university school has awarded more than $515 million in tuition discounts to nonresidents over the past 10 years, the new numbers show. USC has defended its growing out-of-state enrollment and use of tuition discounts. Tuition paid by out-of-state students helps pay to educate in-state students, USC says, adding it currently educates more S.C. residents than ever before.
U. of Florida expects $120 million in new funding from state budget
The budget approved by Florida lawmakers Monday adds about $120 million in new funding for the University of Florida, including money for Zika and medical marijuana research. Included in the new money for UF is $55 million to hire new faculty and provide raises for current faculty and graduate students. Tuition will not change for the coming academic year, but a new block tuition plan will be implemented for freshmen arriving in fall 2018. The budget, which awaits approval from Gov. Rick Scott, includes money for several big-ticket items. "We are especially pleased that the Legislature provided enough funding to complete the Norman Hall project a year earlier than expected," said UF spokesperson Janine Sikes, in an email to The Sun. "The Legislature also approved $17 million for building maintenance for UF."
LSU researchers part of team that found early ancestor may have coincided with modern humans
Another species of man lived alongside of us, modern humans, in Africa relatively recently, according to an international study in which LSU participated. It's the first time scientists have demonstrated that another species in the family of humans, sharing some of the same traits as our ancestors, lived near the first modern humans in Africa, said Juliet Brophy, LSU Department of Geography & Anthropology assistant professor and co-author of one of several related scientific journal articles published Tuesday. Homo sapiens began in Africa, then migrated around the world. Homo naledi was a primitive, small-brained hominin whose remains were found in the Dinaledi Chamber of the Rising Star Cave near Johannesburg, South Africa.
Former UGA student gets 10-year sentence in drug deal that ended in murder of fellow student
A former University of Georgia student is waiting to be sent to prison for his role in a drug deal that ended in the murder of a friend and fellow UGA student two years ago. Lucas Amsler Raposo, formerly charged with felony murder for the shooting death of Min Seok "Mike" Cho during a 2015 drug deal that Raposo had set up, had the murder charge dropped in January of this year after his defense attorney argued that his client was not legally responsible for Cho's death. Three weeks ago, on April 19, Raposo entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty to two counts of possession with intent to distribute marijuana in return for a 10-year prison sentence.
U. of Missouri Student Health Center to continue covering behavioral health services
Behavioral health visits offered to students by the student health fee will continue to be covered after July 1, according to an email sent Tuesday from the MU Student Health Center. Currently, the student health fee offers up to four visits with psychologists and psychiatrists through the Student Health Center. An email sent by the Student Health Center in March indicated the student health fee would no longer cover those services, according to previous Missourian reporting. The March announcement from the Student Health Center received strong reactions from MU students and faculty. "The change was made based on feedback from the campus community," MU spokeswoman Liz McCune said in an email.
GOP student groups mirror tactics of national organizations
National right-wing organizations often view academe with disdain, seeing it as a place where right-wing values are squelched. Their interests lie more with Republican student groups, which they support with splashy signs and money to help espouse a particular brand of conservatism. During last year's presidential campaign, many of those GOP campus organizations pointedly declined to endorse Donald Trump, rejecting his statements about women, immigrants and Muslims, among others, as inconsistent with their principles. But these days, the speakers the groups invite to campus spout rhetoric just as harsh (or worse) than Trump's. Right-leaning campus groups said in interviews they don't attempt to ignite discord, but that in planning certain events -- like the case of Ann Coulter's canceled speech at University of California, Berkeley -- they simply sought to bring an alternate view to their campuses.
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves wears role of obstructionist well
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "In this song and dance leading up to the June 5 special session about whether the Legislature is going to find more money to spend on the state's transportation needs, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves has positioned himself as the no man. While the Republican lieutenant governor acknowledges that there are expensive infrastructure problems facing the state and local governments that need to be addressed, Reeves has thus far rejected or cast aside every idea offered by the House leadership. Reeves has rejected diverting the tax collected on internet sales to transportation needs. He offered nary a kind word for the proposal of House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, to allow local governments to increase the motor fuel tax within their borders with the consent of the voters to provide funds for infrastructure. And while Reeves was willing to issue bonds during the regular session for transportation improvements, the bond bill died when the House and Senate leadership could not agree on the particulars."

Don't count out the Diamond Dogs
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Logan Lowery writes: "Somehow and someway, Mississippi State just keeps on winning. This Diamond Dogs team that is seemingly held together by Band-Aids and bubble gum is currently tied with Florida atop the SEC standings with two weekends remaining. MSU took two games at Texas A&M over the weekend for its sixth conference series victory this season. Going back to last year, the Bulldogs have claimed 15 of their last 18 SEC series -- something that hasn't happened in Starkville since 1988-89. And believe it or not, State has a better league record (16-8) than it did at this point last year (15-9) when it won the SEC outright."
Ole Miss, Mississippi State softball players earn All-SEC honors
For the first time in school history, Ole Miss has landed three players on the All-SEC postseason awards list, as sophomore Kylan Becker, junior Kaitlin Lee, and freshman Morgan Bruce earned All-SEC accolades. Two Mississippi State players earned SEC honors. Infielder Caroline Seitz made the first team, and center fielder Amanda Ivy made the all-defensive team. The teams were announced Tuesday, before today's start of the SEC tournament. Rivals Ole Miss and MSU meet in the opening round at 1:30 p.m. Seitz led the Bulldogs in home runs with nine and in RBIs with 44. She hit .323 with 10 doubles and 91 total bases. Ivy hit .267 with seven doubles. She had a .935 fielding percentage with three assists.
Mississippi State remembers, mourns Kaelin Kersh
Jaquarius Wilson knows better than most that Kaelin Kersh was someone people went out of their way to get to know. Wilson entered the Mississippi State track and field program with Kersh as a freshman in the fall of 2013. The two bonded immediately and built a friendship that began in the halls of the dormitory they shared and stayed strong through their graduations last weekend. Wilson, the MSU track and field team, the MSU athletic department, and others remembered and mourned Kersh at a prayer group Monday afternoon. Kersh, 22, was killed in a car accident just days after graduating from MSU. "I thank God for putting her in my life," Wilson said. "Anytime I saw her it would be something positive. I'm glad she was in my life. She was a good influence."
Funeral for Mississippi State athlete killed over the weekend has been set
A spokesman with Mississippi State University says the funeral service for an MSU athlete killed in an accident over the weekend has been set. The funeral for Kaelin Kersh is set for Sunday, May 14, at 2 p.m. at Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi. The Mississippi Highway Patrol says Kersh, 22, was riding in the backseat of a car when it was struck Sunday by a MHP sport utility vehicle at Highway 182 and Mayhew Road east of Starkville.
LSU officials tell athletes not to wear gear if they talk publicly about Alton Sterling
Louisiana State University has asked its athletes not to wear the institution's gear or use its "branding" if they share public opinions about the case of Alton Sterling, a black man whom Baton Rouge police fatally shot last year. Free speech advocates said in interviews they believe wholehearted support for athletes' First Amendment rights would actually boost LSU's image, especially at a time when free expression has been hotly debated on college campuses. The U.S. Department of Justice announced last week it would not file federal charges against the Baton Rouge police officers who killed Sterling, though charges could possibly be pursued at the state level. Prominent former LSU athletes have spoken out following Sterling's death.
Florida coach Jim McElwain calls it a fish story
What had been a light and casual question-and-answer session with a few members of the media Tuesday night took a serious turn at the end when the Florida coach was asked about a photo that has gone viral on social media and been linked to him. "Well, first and foremost, I don't know who it is, but it isn't me," McElwain said, before speaking to the Titletown Gator Club. McElwain was referring to a picture that started popping up on social media over the weekend of a smiling, naked man lying on top of a dead shark on the deck of a boat. Many have now run with that, inferring (and joking) that it actually is McElwain in the photo, even though the man in the photo appears much heavier than McElwain. Based on his response Tuesday, McElwain is clearly disturbed that something that isn't real, that he says isn't true, could get twisted into what it has become. When asked his feeling on how something like this could become a story, he said, "I guess that's for you guys to answer. In the world that we live, what is a story. I just know this: it isn't me."
Kentucky to pay Monmouth total of $180,000 for games in NYC, Rupp Arena
The University of Kentucky men's basketball team is headed to Madison Square Garden for the second year in a row. The Wildcats will take on Monmouth University in the inaugural Citi Double Cash Classic in New York City's famed arena on Saturday, Dec. 9. The teams will meet again during the 2018-2019 season in Rupp Arena, Monmouth announced Tuesday. The 2017 game will be the first-ever meeting between Kentucky and Monmouth. Per the contract between the schools, Kentucky will pay Monmouth $90,000 for each game. Monmouth, coached by former North Carolina point guard King Rice, has won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular-season title the past two years.

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