Monday, June 12, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
MSU Lyceum Series announces variety of entertainment for upcoming school year
A nostalgic trip down Abbey Road will open Mississippi State's 2017-18 Lyceum Series. The university's long-running performing arts program launches Sept. 12 with a concert titled "Cellophane Flowers: A Beatles Tribute." As with the school year's four other Lyceum events, it will begin at 7 p.m. in the Bettersworth Auditorium of historic Lee Hall. In addition to traditional season-ticket packages, Lyceum organizers again are offering a mini-series option with attendance to any three of the five program selections. Mini-series tickets also come at a discounted rate and with guaranteed reserved seating. "MSU's Performing Arts Committee worked very hard this year to bring a variety of productions that will enhance the cultural opportunities available to the MSU and Starkville communities," said Stephen Cunetto, committee chair and associate dean of MSU Libraries.
Mississippi State fashion program gets national recognition
A creative program in the Mississippi State University School of Human Sciences is again nationally ranked. A report from has listed the MSU Fashion Design and Merchandising program as 34th overall and fifth in the South and the fashion merchandising program as 37th nationally and ninth in the South. The website is a popular resource for students hoping to study fashion. Ranking criteria is based on reputation, selectivity, curricula, faculty, value and geographic location. "When a potential student begins looking online for fashion programs, it is great that Mississippi State is listed in this group of Top 50 fashion schools," said School of Human Sciences Director Michael E. Newman. "Our programs are growing rapidly because we have great faculty, students and alumni who are getting our name out there."
Date and location of Bulldog Bash 2017 announced
The Mississippi State University Student Association has announced that Bulldog Bash will take place on Friday, Sept. 15, leading up to the SEC home opener against the LSU Tigers. The 2017 edition of Bulldog Bash will take place in downtown Starkville at the intersection of Jackson Street and Main Street. The decision was made to move to this location because of the recent growth of Bulldog Bash and safety concerns of previous locations. Bulldog Bash was created in 1999 to help kick off SEC football play for the MSU Bulldogs and is designed to bring the university, student body, alumni and the larger community together in one night of fun.
Marilyn James leaves legacy of student advocacy at MSU-Meridian
Marilyn James was home from the University of Alabama in the summer of 1988 when she decided to take a statistics class at Mississippi State University-Meridian. The class, taught by Habib Bazaryi, helped change the trajectory of her life. James, student services manager at MSU-Meridian, spent more than 26 years with Mississippi State and was recently honored with a retirement reception for her service. Her last official day with the university will be June 30. "I still remember how small and intimate that statistics class was," recalled James. "And Dr. Bazaryi had a way of teaching statistics like nobody else I've ever encountered. I told my mom, 'I think this is the place for me.'" In 1989, with the help of Jones and MSU-Meridian's first dean, David Moffett, James became the first work-study student at the Meridian campus and years later was responsible for overseeing all work-study students both on the College Park and Riley campuses.
MSU Extension Service marks National Healthy Homes Month
The Mississippi State University Extension Service is celebrating National Healthy Homes Month by equipping Mississippians with the knowledge to solve ho the sing challenges. The month-long celebration, coordinated by MSU Extension's Healthy Homes Initiative, provides opportunities to engage in local activities and empowers families to protect themselves from hazards in their homes. June's theme is "Healthy Homes: Just What the Doctor Ordered," with emphasis on healthcare providers and institutions. Some of the educational focus will be on home assessments, home-hazard health screenings and healthy home maintenance, said David Buys, health specialist with the MSU Extension Service.
Camp Jabber Jaw Completes 18th Year at Mississippi State
The T.K. Martin Center on Mississippi State's campus was overrun by campers Friday morning. The 18th annual Camp Jabber Jaw kicked off earlier this week. The camp is designed for kids with special needs and who use augmentative and alternative communication technologies. Each year the camp has a theme. This year's theme was time travel. Every day of the week long camp, campers got to do hands on, fun activities with each time period. Parents of campers were welcome to attend each day of camp. The parents got the opportunity to interact with other families going through the same steps.
Mississippi State community remembers an icon
Hank Flick spent 45 years at Mississippi State University as a professor of communication. Flick passed away Thursday at the age of 73 just about a year after he retired from teaching. Hannah Bateman was one of his hundreds of students and she is remembering his eccentric personality. "It's funny because he had a nickname for everybody in class," Bateman said. "Mine was pretty simple. It was HB, my initials. He had some pretty funny ones for everybody else." She like many others instantly had a favorite professor. "Teaching was his passion and you could really tell it," Khristi Edmonds said.
Longtime Mississippi State professor, announcer Hank Flick dies
Hank Flick, a longtime Mississippi State University professor of communication, has died. Flick impacted thousands of students over his 45-year career at the university, a news release said. He was 73 years old. "Hank was a legendary teacher; the best testament to that is the deep impact he made on the countless students he taught over the years," College of Arts and Sciences Dean Rick Travis said. "The generations of students who had Dr. Flick for a class will still have vivid memories of what they learned. The communication skills he taught are etched deeply into so many MSU alumni."
Death can't silence echoes of Hank Flick's voice
For years, Mississippi State fans were graciously welcomed to the Hump or Scott Field with a "Good, good afternoon," or a "Good, good evening." And with those bellowing words and distinctive nasally delivery, you knew it was game on. Yes. Hank Flick had a way with words. A passionate way, you might say, and perhaps even quirky. He brought a sportsman-like energy behind the mic, a delivery Bulldog fans, as well as those from the opposing teams, became dearly accustomed to, often joining in on his introductions. If imitation is indeed flattery, then Hank Flick set the bar. The Bulldog faithful, both young and old, all have their stories and memories of his voice. He was a tradition, just like cowbells and the "Maroon & White" cheer. And that's why on Thursday, when word spread of his untimely death, we all felt we lost something deeply cherished from our game day excitement.
Artist's 'Stark Vegas' design steps into spotlight
Sports Center has a little -- and in some cases a lot of -- just about everything when it comes to sports apparel. The sprawling retail store at Highway 12 and Louisville Street in Starkville even has its own resident artist. It might not be the future Evelyn Collins imagined when she graduated from Starkville Academy and headed to college, first at East Mississippi and later at Mississippi State, where she earned with a bachelor's degree in fine arts, but her job at Sports Center fulfills her creative urges. She's designed or adapted all sorts of logos for all sorts of clothing. But she never really thought about socks. Who thinks about socks, right?
Spokesman: MBI investigation of shooting will be done 'by the book'
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation's probe of a June 3 officer-involved shooting in Starkville has not yet yielded charges against an injured Starkville man. Those charges, MBI spokesperson Warren Strain said last week, could come after 18-year-old Zyterrious Gandy recovers from his wounds. An update on his condition was unavailable last week after the Starkville resident was stabilized following the incident and then airlifted to a Jackson-area hospital. For now, Strain said, MBI will move methodically and deliberately to determine what led to two rounds of gunfire on South Wedgewood Road last weekend. Investigators must still interview the involved officers and wounded Starkville resident, and continue to analyze images captured by officers' body and dash cameras and other evidence, he said. "(The investigation) will be done by the book, by the numbers, regardless of the end result. It's an incredibly thorough process," he said.
Car wash concept to open second Starkville location at former Denny's site
Another Starkville eatery has closed its door for good and plans are in the works to add a different type of business to the lot on Highway 12 next door to Shipley's Do-Nuts. Signs on each customer entrance of the Starkville Denny's reads: "Denny's of Starkville is now closed. We thank you for your patronage." The Denny's sign facing out onto Highway 12 now features a "coming soon" banner for Super Sonic Carwash. Super Sonic Carwash has one Starkville location near the intersection of Industrial Park Road and Highway 12. Starkville's Super Sonic Supervisor Adrian Williams told the SDN the company would maintain its current location and add an additional location where Denny's is located on Highway 12.
Biofuel case: $4.5M for KiOR investors under federal settlement
A federal judge has approved a $4.5 million settlement for private shareholders of failed biofuel maker KiOR, and a lawsuit by the state of Mississippi seeking to recover a much larger amount continues. U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal issued the order Monday in Houston approving the settlement, intended to partially compensate 23,000 shareholders for money they lost because of decreases in KiOR's stock price. Former KiOR CEO Fred Cannon, lead investor Vinod Khosla and former Chief Financial Officer John Karnes are to pay the money under the settlement. Lawyers are to receive $1.5 million of the $4.5 million, plus expenses.
Drug overdose deaths reach record in Mississippi
Mississippi drug overdose deaths have reached a record high -- boosted in part by heroin, sometimes laced with the even more dangerous fentanyl. "Mississippi is emerging on the brink of a super pandemic," said state Bureau of Narcotics Director John Dowdy. In 2016, Mississippi saw at least 211 deaths from drug overdoses -- the highest in state history. Dowdy derived that number from death certificates. He suspects the real number is much higher as evidenced by drug tests, which would increase the deaths to 220 (with oxycodone detected in 45 deaths and fentanyl detected in 33 deaths). But not every coroner uses the state Crime Lab, Dowdy said. The state Department of Health puts the number of drug poisoning deaths, excluding homicides and suicides, at 274.
Surprise: State budget picture better than thought
With about two weeks left in the fiscal year, the state's financial condition is in significantly better shape than previously thought. Through the month of May, state revenue collections are $43 million or (0.87 percent) above the official estimate, according to information compiled in recent days by the staff of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. Earlier this month it was reported that Department of Revenue collections through May were $154.3 million below the official estimate that was used in the 2016 legislative session to construct a budget for the current fiscal year. House Appropriations Chairman John Read, R-Gautier, said recently he is optimistic revenue collections will improve. "Maybe they (revenue collections) will turn around and next year we will have some more money" to appropriate and avoid additional budget cuts, Read said.
Legislative leaders still not providing budget comparisons reflecting change
Attorney General Jim Hood, Mississippi's only statewide elected Democrat, says his office is absorbing larger budget cuts than any other state agency. Hood said the appropriation bill approved by the Legislature in Monday's special session will provide the agency 28 percent less funding than the Legislature provided in the 2015 session for the fiscal year that started July 1 of that year. While those cuts, by any measure, are substantial, in reality it is difficult to determine whether they are larger than all other state agencies. The reason is that in the 2016 session the Legislature passed the Budget Transparency and Simplification Act that substantially changed the state's budgeting process. But the legislative leadership has not released information detailing how those changes impact each agency.
U.S. Ag Secretary pledges focus on rural America
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue pledged in Cleveland Friday that the federal government will be a facilitator in helping rural America recover from the Great Recession. "We've all kind of heard of the joke, 'I'm from the federal government and I'm here to help,' but I want to tell you, I'm here from the federal government and we're not going to hurt you," said Perdue, the nation's 31st Agriculture secretary. Perdue tied efforts to help rural America recover economically to President Donald Trump's proposal to rebuild the nation's infrastructure. The remarks by the former Georgia governor came at the 82nd annual meeting of the Delta Council, an economic development organization that represents 18 Delta and part-Delta counties in the northwest region of the state.
Gov. Phil Bryant applauds White House infrastructure plans
President Trump is promising to streamline the federal approval process for building roads, bridges, pipelines and tunnels, a move Gov. Phil Bryant said he would welcome. Bryant said it would help Mississippi and other states "if we can get some of the overburden, deregulation out of infrastructure management." "Look, we understand some is necessary, particularly with the environment -- nobody cares more about the land, water and air more than we do," Bryant said Thursday. "But 25 percent, for example, of dollars now spent on the budget for transportation goes to things other than infrastructure -- maintenance, repair and construction." Bryant joined other lawmakers, including several governors from the Gulf Coast, at a summit on infrastructure at the White House Thursday. The event was one of several the White House hosted during what it called "Infrastructure Week."
Can Trump solve the land-grant ag research problem?
Deferred maintenance on facilities at land-grant universities across the country is threatening to undercut U.S. agricultural research efforts and, with that, the long-term competitiveness of the American farmer. President Donald Trump's promised infrastructure package could be a solution to the staggering backlog, but competition for federal dollars if Trump comes through will be fierce. Anticipating that, the Association for Public Land-grant Universities is working with farm groups to prepare a pitch to get Congress and the administration to use the expected infusion of cash to help fix or replace aging labs, greenhouses and other facilities, where researchers labor in an effort to develop solutions to feed the world's growing population.
How Donald Trump is highlighting divisions among Southern Baptists
Ask a historian about the newest tensions in the Southern Baptist Convention, and you'll hear words like theology, polity and methodology. Dig a little deeper into those tensions, closer to the congregational level, and you'll hear words like evangelism, missions and morality. Those are some of the pulpit-and-pew level tensions straining the faith, fellowship and funding in the Nashville-based Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. Those tensions -- racial, sectional, but mostly generational -- have been forming for more than a decade, thanks in large part to the rise of social media and millennials, and will be on full display this week when the convention holds its annual meeting in Phoenix. They flared considerably -- and publicly -- during last year's presidential campaign when old guard Southern Baptist leaders like Richard Land and new generation leaders like Russell Moore began to clash over Donald Trump.
Decision time at the Supreme Court: Rulings expected soon on religion, free speech, immigration
It's decision time at the Supreme Court, as the justices prepare to hand down the final rulings of their current term by the end of this month. They are due to rule in 21 cases, including disputes over religion, free speech and immigration that could have broad significance. This year's term has been quieter than normal. It began in the fall when eight justices were waiting for the presidential election to decide who would fill the seat left vacant by the death of Antonin Scalia. New Justice Neil M. Gorsuch arrived in mid-April in time to hear about a dozen cases. Most of this year's docket was taken up with cases that asked the justices to clarify the law, not settle a highly contentious issue. Before their summer recess, the justices are also expected to act on several pending appeals.
New research: Russia has developed cyberweapon that can disrupt power grids
Hackers allied with the Russian government have devised a cyberweapon that has the potential to be the most disruptive yet against electric systems that Americans depend on for daily life, according to U.S. researchers. The malware, which researchers have dubbed CrashOverride, is known to have disrupted only one energy system -- in Ukraine in December. In that incident, the hackers briefly shut down one-fifth of the electric power generated in Kiev. But with modifications, it could be deployed against U.S. electric transmission and distribution systems to devastating effect, said Sergio Caltagirone, director of threat intelligence for Dragos, a cybersecurity firm that studied the malware and issued a report on Monday. And Russian government hackers have already shown their interest in targeting U.S. energy and other utility systems, researchers said. "It's the culmination of over a decade of theory and attack scenarios," Caltagirone warned. "It's a game changer."
A Bold Plan to Exhume 7,000 Bodies Buried on a Mississippi Campus
As best as anyone can remember, the first bodies were discovered because the University of Mississippi Medical Center needed a new place to do laundry. This was back in the early 1990s, when the construction of new laundry facilities necessitated new pipes, which necessitated digging, which unearthed the unmarked graves. Forty-four of them, coffins of pine wood, laid out neatly in rows. No names. "At that point people were reminded, 'Oh yeah, there's a cemetery here," says Ralph Didlake, the director of UMMC's Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities. Didlake has since joined anthropologists, historians, and archeologists in forming a group called the Asylum Hill Research Consortium. They're proposing to exhume the remains and build a joint memorial, visitor's center, and research lab to honor the memory of these patients. Since the initial excavation, Mississippi State University anthropologist Molly Zuckerman says she's gotten regular emails and calls from people who believe their ancestors were patients.
Ole Miss tuition to increase this fall
Incoming students must brace themselves for an expected hike in tuition fees across all Mississippi public universities. The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning has announced there will be an increase in tuition fees starting fall 2017 at Mississippi's eight public universities. The measure is intended to compensate for the state budget cut announced earlier this year. Many students are away for the summer but those on campus are fretting on hearing about the recent development. "I'm not completely aware about how much the fees will go up, but the thought of it is has got us worried, " said Sneha Patel, a junior in biochemistry. "I'm looking forward to the upcoming semester and really hope the increase does not stress (students) out too much," Patel said. Some students are raising concern that it will deter prospective students.
Job fairs at UM address workforce needs for new campus dining options
The University of Mississippi's upgraded dining options will offer far more choice than ever when students arrive on campus this fall. The new restaurants also will create 250 new jobs, and several upcoming job fairs aim to fill them. The biggest improvements will be made to the dining experience at the Ole Miss Student Union, which is undergoing a massive renovation and expansion project. The university, Ole Miss Dining and Aramark have announced several new dining options, including a McAlister's Deli, Which-Wich, Chick-fil-A, Panda Express and Qdoba. Ole Miss Dining is seeking a number of employees with a variety of skill sets, ranging from dishwashers, general utility workers and food service workers to cashiers, food prep workers and experienced culinary professionals to fill positions at these locations.
Residency programs continue to grow at Hattiesburg hospitals
Looking at numbers from the Office of Mississippi Physician Workforce, it's not hard to see why officials from Forrest General Hospital and Merit Health Wesley decided to institute residency programs aimed at training and retaining new physicians in the Hattiesburg area. According to that 2015 data, there are a growing number of physicians in the state approaching retirement age, with 30 percent of all in-state physicians age 60 and older. Based on those numbers, the organization estimated the state needs 1,656 more active physicians, or 689 more active primary care physicians, to meet the state median. So far, the residencies are doing exactly as intended to address that issue, with the first residents at Forrest General ready to complete the program and those at Merit Health Wesley not far behind.
Walk-in orientation available at East Central Community College
New and transfer students planning to attend East Central Community College in the fall may take advantage of weekday 'walk-in' orientation sessions on the Decatur campus. Walk-in orientation is available as of June 12 Mondays through Thursdays from either 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The college will be closed July 4. Fall classes begin Aug. 14. Students attending a walk-in orientation should first go to the admissions office in the Smith Student Union Building to obtain their log-in information and orientation agenda. Students then go to the Success Center in the Burton Library to view online orientation information and register for classes. Following registration, students will tour the campus.
U. of Alabama research on snakes could help treat diabetes
Could the answer to treating digestive ailments like diabetes and Crohn's disease be slithering around in a laboratory at the University of Alabama? Stephen Secor, a professor of biological sciences at UA, hopes so. "This all kind of started as, 'Hey let's do something crazy,' and come to find out, we found these amazing results," Secor said. Secor's involvement in this research began in 2015, when he earned a National Institute of Health Transformative Research Award. Secor will use the five-year, $296,430 grant to study the pancreatic beta cells of four species of snakes: the Burmese python, the boa constrictor, the green tree python and diamondback water snake. Two of the snake species are able to double the size of their pancreas, the organ that produces and releases insulin to control blood sugar, in just a few days.
Auburn University honors former president, first lady with naming of new performing arts center
Outgoing Auburn University President Jay Gogue and First Lady Susie Gogue will be remembered across campus in more ways than one, but now their names will be imprinted on its grounds at the new performing arts center, which Friday was named in their sakes. The university's board of trustees met Friday morning and unanimously approved naming the new center, which is expected to open in summer 2019, the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center. The center is planned for South College Street across from the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. It is funded through a $25 million gift from Auburn alums John and Rosemary Brown and additional fundraising efforts. The board also heard a presentation for a proposed budget for Fiscal Year 18 that will include a projected $21 million increase in available funds from an increase in tuition.
Ex-LSU prof: firing 'political correctness run amok'
The war of words between LSU and a former tenured education professor fired by the university in 2015 is heating up in Baton Rouge federal court as a judge considers a civil rights lawsuit filed against the school. Teresa Buchanan claims she was fired for using vulgar language, saying her free speech and due process rights were trampled by LSU Chancellor F. King Alexander and other top administrators, and she wants monetary damages and her old job back. She worked for LSU for nearly two decades. "This is a case of political correctness run amok," Buchanan's attorneys argue in a recent court filing. LSU contends its termination of Buchanan was appropriate and necessary to protect students from her verbally abusive behavior.
President Kent Fuchs: U. of Florida on track despite resignations, overruns
The last few days of May were admittedly tough for University of Florida President Kent Fuchs. General counsel Jamie Lewis Keith resigned while under investigation. Dean of Students Jen Day Shaw resigned rather than be fired for writing a giddy recommendation for UF's former deputy Title IX director Chris Loschiavo, who was fired last year for using his work computer to buy pornography. Meanwhile some recent Sun articles regarding cost overruns for construction of the house for UF's president that included improper bidding and a proposed pricey new pool may have struck a nerve with him -- he affably chided The Sun in an interview that more is going on at UF than houses and pools. Despite it all, Fuchs is optimistic that UF is still on track to its long-stated goal of becoming a top public university.
UGA Law School: public interest fellowships at record high
A record number of students in the University of Georgia's School of Law got public service fellowships this summer, the law school reports. The 36 students got grants that added up to $68,000, up $15,000 from the year before. The surge in public interest fellowships reflects increased funding from donors, said Alexander Scherr, the law school's associate dean for clinical programs and experiential learning. "We've always had a large number of students interested in public service," he said. But now alumni and outside funders have stepped up to allow more fellowships, he said. It's also a reflection of how students' career goals have shifted in the past few years, he said.
U. of South Carolina president sells former Columbia home, but he isn't going anywhere
University of South Carolina president Harris Pastides and his wife have sold the Columbia home that they lived in when Pastides was the dean of USC's Public Health School. But don't panic. The popular president -- who lives on campus in the president's house -- is not going anywhere, a USC spokesman said Friday. Property transfer records show Pastides sold the house on Holliday Road in northeast Richland County, near Sesquicentennial State Park, for $363,500 on May 26. To keep Pastides on the job, USC's trustees have offered the 63-year-old a "retention bonus" of $300,000 in July 2018, and bonuses of $350,000 every year from July 2019 until he steps down.
Texas A&M system chancellor says upcoming hotel a 'jewel,' second only to Kyle Field
Texas A&M University is taking competition with its peer universities in the Southeastern Conference beyond the realm of athletics to campus amenities, predicting the forthcoming hotel and conference center will easily top its counterparts across the country. Officials of the Texas A&M University System had a topping-out ceremony for the yet-to-be-named hotel and conference center being constructed on the College Station campus Friday where Chancellor John Sharp praised the facility as a "crown jewel," second only to its neighbor just across the street -- Kyle Field. "This is going to be an iconic place," Sharp said. "The only place on this campus that will be more remembered, more frequented and more well-know is the building across the street... Where else can you walk across the street to go to a football game or across the railroad tracks to go to a baseball game?"
U. of Missouri medical school growing clinical, research programs amid cuts
When the University of Missouri faced a decision of whether to impose immediate, deep cuts or tap reserves for $20 million when Gov. Eric Greitens announced mid-year restrictions on state support, the School of Medicine chipped in $3.1 million for use by other campus divisions. MU Health Care, the university-owned hospital and clinic system, also provided $3 million. MU Health Care shows a healthy bottom line and patient fees pay the salaries of clinical faculty in the school. And as MU undergoes changes because of continued funding deficits and directives to find money for reallocation, the School of Medicine will be one of the major beneficiaries of those reallocated dollars. While the campus overall suffers from enrollment woes, the School of Medicine isn't having any difficulty filling its 128 annual slots for medical degree candidates and the other slots for academic students, an official said.
U. of Missouri to more strictly enforce freshman housing policy
In an effort to raise funds, the University of Missouri plans to increase enforcement of a housing policy that requires first-time freshmen to live on campus. The proposal is part of a budget plan approved last week by University of Missouri system President Mun Choi. The proposal says the Division of Student Affairs could generate $750,000 by more strictly enforcing the policy, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported . A 10-story apartment tower with 430 beds, called The Rise, is under construction in Columbia and is advertising that it will pay freshmen to break the dorm contract, saying "living in the dorms is not a requirement." Campus spokesman Christian Basi said first-time students are generally required to live in dorms, with some exceptions. Vice Chancellor for Operations Gary Ward will detail how the tighter enforcement will be accomplished at the University of Missouri Board of Curators meeting later this month, Basi said.
For Students Going Overseas, an 'America First' Presidency Complicates Their Studies
Higher education has been focused on the potential impact of President Trump's policies on international students ever since he announced a ban on travelers, including student-visa holders, from a half-dozen predominantly Muslim countries. But educators have also been focused, albeit more quietly, on the effects of the current political climate on American students going overseas. The Forum on Education Abroad, a membership group of colleges and study-abroad providers, packed some 300 people into a town-hall meeting on the issue at its annual conference this spring, a late addition to the program. Happily, there have been few reported instances of hostility toward Americans studying abroad and, among the colleges and providers contacted by The Chronicle, little sign so far of a drop-off in student numbers. Some, in fact, report enrollments are up this fall for programs abroad.
Back to the future
Angela Farmer, an assistant professor of educational leadership at Mississippi State, writes: "Students today are confronted endlessly with modern technology and the latest app, which redirects their attention. Unfortunately, many of the tools of technology which they access do little to enhance their reading comprehension, fluency or writing skills. In order to truly enhance a child's reading proficiency, a child needs to read. The first step toward establishing a motivation for reading is to facilitate the child's interest in reading by reading to him. While teachers in today's economy find themselves expected to do more and teach more with less budget than even in year's past, carving out additional time to read to students is often a rarity. In keeping with the focus that 'it takes a village to raise a child,' the time is ideal to access the reading talents of retired individuals who could supplement classroom reading time with students."
Voters sovereign except when they aren't
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "Strong words from Governor Phil Bryant in his state-of-the-state address back in January: 'To the taxpayers who hear this message, rest assured your governor recognizes that you are sovereign. You, by the power of your vote, grant us the authority to govern. The Mississippi Constitution makes clear that, "All power is vested in and derived from the people."' Hmmm. In this vein many legislators cite the 2001 public vote as good reason to retain Mississippi's controversial state flag. 'The people have spoken,' they say. So, people are sovereign and speak through their votes. Hmmm. How, then, can legislators ignore the people's vote in 1992 in favor of a state lottery? Just one of several examples suggesting most legislators' thinking on the lottery isn't terribly rational."
Who's (maybe) running in 2019 in Mississippi and why
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "I'd say we're a good six to 12 months away from the start of the serious jockeying for 2019 statewide elections, but some are already testing the waters, raising a little money, or being urged by others to run -- or, like me, just pontificating. Now, I set out with this column to lay out talk I've heard on potential candidates for several of the top statewide seats. But it got away from me, as columns often do, so I'll just focus on governor for now. I'll follow soon with others. The potential for a large free-for-all in the next AG's race, for instance, warrants its own entry. Here's the buzz I've heard lately on the next run for governor, when the seat will be open from Gov. Phil Bryant being termed out..."

Andy Cannizaro experiences successful first year at Mississippi State
Andy Cannizaro quickly looked up to the ceiling, took a deep breath and exhaled as he sat in the postgame press conference Sunday night inside Alex Box Stadium and listened to Brent Rooker talk. "Coach Cannizaro is the best college baseball coach in the country and that's a statement that none of you should take lightly," Rooker said after Mississippi State suffered its 14-4 season-ending loss to LSU in the second game of a super regional. "He is the best college baseball coach in the country and he is going to take Mississippi State baseball program to places it has never been before. He is going to win the first national championship here and he is going to win multiple national championships after that." No emotion was visible from the first-year coach at that point of Rooker's response to a question. But then Rooker continued. And Cannizaro then needed to take that extra breath.
Bulldogs' season ends shy of Omaha
It's never a good sign when a reliever begins to warm-up five pitches into a game but that's exactly what occurred with Mississippi State on Sunday. Bulldog starter Jacob Billingsley did not record an out in the four batters he faced while spotting LSU two runs in the top of the first. The early exit was more than MSU's short-staffed bullpen could withstand as its season came to a close in a 14-4 loss in the Baton Rouge Super Regional. The Diamond Dogs had to use eight pitchers to record 27 outs in a game that also featured three weather delays. "We did everything possible," said MSU coach Andy Cannizaro. "You can see the number of guys we threw today. It was all hands on deck but that's the way it's been every single day this year."
LSU's long, wet night ends with Tigers clinching College World Series berth
Neither Mother Nature nor a small army of Mississippi State pitchers could stop LSU on its quest for Omaha. "That train is rolling," said Mississippi State coach Andy Cannizaro in defeat. "I expect them to win the national championship." At 1:36 a.m. Monday, exactly five hours after Mississippi State's Jacob Billingsley threw the first pitch of the second game of the Baton Rouge super regional, Hunter Newman incited a raging purple pile of humans on the mound at Alex Box Stadium. The Tigers celebrated securing their 18th trip to the College World Series when he got Hunter Stovall to pop up to second base, cinching a 14-4 victory. Next on the checklist: A date with Florida State on Saturday or Sunday in their first game of the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
Andy Cannizaro's club overachieves in first season
Not much was expected from Mississippi State in Andy Cannizaro's rookie season as a head coach. The Bulldogs' SEC Championship roster from last year was decimated by the pro baseball draft and injuries on the pitching staff along with the offseason coaching change. "At the beginning of the year everybody said this would be a massive rebuilding type of year," Cannizaro said. "We lost 14 guys off of last year's SEC Championship team -- 11 to the draft. Everybody was saying 'hey man, get acclimated to Mississippi State and win whatever you can and start recruiting.'" But instead of mailing it in during his first season, Cannizaro went to work and had the Bulldogs right back in the thick of the SEC race.

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