Tuesday, June 20, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Jason Krutz tapped to lead Water Resources Research Institute
Jason Krutz will serve as the new leader of the Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute. Krutz was chosen after a nationwide search to lead the institute, which is a statewide center of expertise on water and associated land use led by Mississippi State University. The institute also serves as a repository of water knowledge for use in education, research, planning and community service. He will report to the MSU vice president for agriculture, forestry and veterinary medicine and the vice president for research and economic development. "Effective management of our state's water resources is essential not only to agriculture and economic development, but quality of life -- and life itself," Krutz said.
 
Bricklee Miller appointed to Mississippi Association of Supervisors committee
The Mississippi Association of Supervisors announced last week Oktibbeha County District 4 Supervisor Bricklee Miller has been appointed to the Strategic Planning and Vision Committee for the organization. The announcement came during the Mississippi Association of Supervisors summer conference. "It is a great honor to be a public servant and I thank MS Association of Supervisors for the opportunity to help lead this fantastic association," Miller told the SDN on Monday. Miller is in her second year as an Oktibbeha County supervisor and also serves on the MAS scholarship committee.
 
Flash flood watch issued on Coast as tropical systems swirl in Gulf of Mexico
Gulf states, including Mississippi, face the potential for the first tropical storm warning of the season within the next 48 hours as Invest 93 is forecast to move into the central Gulf of Mexico and become Tropical Storm Cindy. Regardless of the path this poorly organized storm takes, the National Weather Service forecasts a threat of heavy rainfall, high tides and strong wind gusts for southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi Coast. The weather service issued a flash flood watch from Tuesday morning through Thursday evening for Harrison, Jackson, Hancock and Pearl River counties. The Coast could see 4 to 8 inches of rain through Friday, with the heaviest rains Wednesday and Thursday. The potential exists for up to 15 inches of rain, the weather service says.
 
Luke Montgomery one of many Northeast Mississippians confirmed during 2017 session
When Fulton businessman Johnny Crane had to step down from the Mississippi Community College Board, Gov. Phil Bryant looked to the same hometown -- even same family –--to fill the vacancy. Bryant appointed Luke Montgomery, anther Fulton businessman and cousin of Crane, to the 10-person board that develops standards and guidelines for the 15 two-year colleges throughout the state, including Fulton-based Itawamba Community College. "Mississippi is blessed with a great community college system," said Montgomery, who attended ICC in his hometown before moving on to Mississippi State University. Montgomery, 42, was one of 17 Northeast Mississippians confirmed by the Mississippi Senate earlier this year to be appointed or re-appointed to the multiple boards that govern state agencies.
 
Public report analyzes Mississippi mental health spending
A report commissioned by the Mississippi Department of Mental Health confirms federal findings that the state has spent more on institutional care than community-based services for people with mental disabilities. The state released the report Saturday after settlement with The Clarion-Ledger. The newspaper fought a legal battle for public disclosure of the $300,000 taxpayer-funded document. The report found institutional treatment has made up "a disproportionately large share" of spending.
 
Dems, GOP brace for nail-biter in Georgia
Georgia's special election will be a nail-biter all the way to the finish line Tuesday, as President Trump looms large over an election that has huge stakes for both Democrats and Republicans ahead of the 2018 midterms. Democrats have zeroed in on the suburban Atlanta district as their best chance this year to flip a House seat and are looking to Jon Ossoff to be the face of the anti-Trump resistance. But if Ossoff comes up short, his loss will deal a major blow to their newfound momentum and political activism. The stakes are just as high for the GOP. If it loses the seat left open by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Trump will likely shoulder the blame and Republicans could start defecting from his agenda.
 
Elections officials outgunned in Russia's cyberwar against America
The new revelations about the Kremlin's broad and sophisticated cyber offensive targeting Democrat Hillary Clinton and aimed at seating Donald Trump in the Oval Office have set off a wave of worry about the security of the nation's voting systems. State election officials, facing questions as to whether they ignored oddities or red flags, have responded by accusing intelligence agencies of failing to alert them of the risks. The truth is a hodge-podge of electronic machinery that enables Americans to exercise their most sacred democratic right is weakly guarded by state and local agencies. Those officials are quick to assure the voting public that their systems are secure, but they lack the resources and technical know-how to defend against cyber intrusions, or even to perform forensic examinations to ensure nothing happened.
 
Otto Warmbier, American Student Released From North Korea, Dies
Otto F. Warmbier, the University of Virginia honors student who was released from a North Korean prison last week after spending 17 months in captivity and more than a year in a coma, died on Monday at the Cincinnati hospital where he had been receiving treatment, his family said. Mr. Warmbier's parents, Fred and Cindy, said in a statement that their son, 22, had "completed his journey home" and "was at peace" when he died on Monday at 2:20 p.m. The death was the end of a wrenching ordeal for the Warmbier family, and is likely to worsen the already tense relations between the United States and North Korea. Mr. Warmbier, a onetime high school soccer player and homecoming king with an adventuresome spirit, was traveling in China in December 2015 when he signed up for a five-day tour of North Korea with a Chinese company that advertised "budget travel to destinations your mother would rather you stayed away from."
 
Nation's opioid epidemic flooding hospitals and ERs, new data show
The coast-to-coast opioid epidemic is swamping hospitals, with government data published Tuesday showing 1.27 million emergency room visits or inpatient stays for opioid-related issues in a single year. The 2014 numbers, the latest available for every state and the District of Columbia, reflect a 64 percent increase for inpatient care and a 99 percent jump for emergency room treatment compared to figures from 2005. Their trajectory likely will keep climbing if the epidemic continues unabated. The report, released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), puts Maryland at the very top of the national list for inpatient care. Trailing Maryland for opioid-related hospitalizations is Massachusetts, followed by the District of Columbia.
 
Training under way at East Mississippi Community College for middle school teachers
Sixth-grade teachers are participating in a two-week course at East Mississippi Community College's Golden Triangle campus titled "CSI Mississippi 2.0." During the program sponsored by EMCC and Mississippi State University, teachers from Armstrong Middle, New Hope Middle and Ackerman Elementary schools learn to incorporate themed lessons across disciplines to take back to their classrooms. On one day, they learned about DNA. Another daily lesson was on blood splatter, with yet another on light spectrums. The teachers learned how to incorporate the daily topic into their science, English and math lessons.
 
Mississippi mentoring program teaches civil rights history
A mentoring program in Mississippi is teaching young people about civil rights history. The Greenwood Commonwealth reports that the summer program is focusing on the pivotal year of 1965. Activists pushed to register black voters in Greenwood and other parts of Mississippi in the early 1960s, and those efforts were often met with violent resistance. In 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, which outlawed segregation in public places. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 helped break down barriers to black participation in elections.
 
U. of Florida students document Natchez
For a group of Florida college students, history lessons are learned in the personal stories of everyday people as much as they are learned in the classroom. For 10 years, students of the University of Florida's Samuel Proctor Oral History Program have been conducting interviews and gathering research on the civil rights movement in Mississippi. Since 2014, the student have stopped in Natchez as part of their tour of the state. Monday morning the students participated in a community service project by helping clean up part of the Watkins Street Cemetery. Monday afternoon they conducted oral history interviews and toured some of the city's black history sites.
 
German-based company to bring $12 million aviation-related plant, jobs, to Auburn
Winkelmann Group, a German-based manufacturer serving the aerospace industry and others, soon will begin production at its first United States production facility in the Auburn Industrial Park. The company plans to invest $12 million to establish the metal-forming plant and expects to create approximately 50 jobs over the next five years, according to a city of Auburn release. "Since Winkelmann is a recognized leader in innovation and manufacturing, its choice of Auburn represents a powerful endorsement of the city's advantages for business," Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield said. One of these advantages is Auburn University's engineering school, which provides a "talent pipeline" for companies like Winkelmann along with advantages for students, Canfield said.
 
Free tuition isn't enough to get many Tennessee students to go to college, report finds
Free tuition isn't enough to get many Tennessee students to enroll in college, according to a new report. Transportation, "inflexible" class schedules and lost work time are among the barriers cited in the report on struggles students face in different regions of the state. The report, "Room to Grow," was released Monday by advocacy group Complete Tennessee. The roll-out of Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect -- programs that eliminate community college tuition for high school students and adults, respectively -- led many to believe the "problem was solved," said Kenyatta Lovett, executive director of Complete Tennessee. But conversations at nine round-table meetings across the state revealed the enduring struggles that still keep people from setting foot on campus.
 
Texas A&M regents select Michigan's Carol Fierke as new provost
Texas A&M University has selected University of Michigan administrator Carol A. Fierke as its new provost and executive vice president, ending a nearly 10-month search to replace Karan Watson. The move was announced Monday following a special telephonic meeting of the Texas A&M University Board of Regents in which Fierke was awarded academic tenure upon her arrival at the university. Officials said Fierke was selected from more than 140 applicants by a search advisory committee led by College of Liberal Arts dean Pamela Matthews and university distinguished professor and statistics department head Valen Johnson. Fierke is expected begin her new role Oct. 16.
 
U. of Missouri Libraries posts wish list of books they can't afford
If you want to help out MU Libraries, it's looking for someone to buy and donate a book called "Complete and Truly Outstanding Works by Homer." It includes a Latin literal translation. But it's not cheap. It'll run you $5,250. Or you could chip in "Another Time, Another Place," by Jessie Kesson. It's only $16.75. Those are the most and least expensive books on a wish list of over 400 that MU Libraries had hoped to buy but have been unable to because of recent budget cuts. The wish list, which was posted two weeks ago on the MU Libraries website, provides a portal for willing donors to buy specific books needed to support teaching and research. Anne Barker, head of research services for MU Libraries, said the list was put together to address cuts the libraries faced in fiscal year 2017 and the cuts they'll see in fiscal year 2018, which begins July 1.
 
Federal pick to lead higher ed policy drops out of consideration
The Trump administration's pick to oversee higher ed policy at the Department of Education is out of the running. In an email last week, Claude Pressnell, president of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association, said he was withdrawing his name from consideration for the job of assistant secretary for postsecondary education. It's the second time in recent weeks that a candidate for a high-profile role at the department has said "no thanks" to the department deep in the vetting process. And it underscores the slow progress since January in making key political hires to round out Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's team.
 
In Improving Outcomes, Institutional Researchers Can Be an Untapped Resource
College presidents may recognize that data can improve the quality of their decision-making process, but they often appear to be disconnected from the very resource that would help them do so: their campus's institutional-research office. A newly released survey, conducted by the American Council on Education, shows that college presidents see metrics related to student success -- retention rates, graduation rates, and minority-student outcomes -- as the most legitimate measures of an institution's performance. But just 12 percent of presidents said that using data to inform decision making was a future area of importance for them. It's a stance that the survey's authors suggest is "a potential disconnect" with the institutional-research offices, whose data-crunching and analysis skills could help guide colleges toward their goals, including improving student success.
 
College presidents diversifying slowly and growing older, study finds
The traditional model for a college president has remarkable staying power. Despite years of talk about increasing diversity, chatter about interest in hiring from outside academe and buzz about a coming wave of retirements, college and university presidents in 2016 looked much like they did five years before. They still tended to be aging white men. And they kept getting older. Those are some key takeaways from the latest version of the American College President Study from the American Council on Education, which is being released today. The study, which has been released every few years dating back to 1986, provides a closely watched, comprehensive look at the makeup of the college and university presidential work force.
 
Secretary of Agriculture shares insight during Mississippi visit
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., writes: "Sonny Perdue was sworn in as the 31st Secretary of Agriculture less than two months ago, but he has already made a trip to Mississippi, delivering a forward-looking address at this year's Delta Council meeting. The former governor of Georgia and first Southerner to head the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in more than two decades shared his commitment to future prosperity and growth in rural America. It was an honor for me to introduce him at the event. ...In his speech, Secretary Perdue commended the organization's long history, its support for improving lives, and the example it sets for civic responsibility. He also praised the partnership between USDA's Agricultural Research Service and Mississippi State University in Stoneville, remarking during his speech that he had 'never seen a better collaboration between state and federal partners.'"


SPORTS
 
Ron Polk picks up Rube Award
Former Mississippi State baseball coach Ron Polk has been announced as this year's recipient of the Rube Award. The Rube Award is named for longtime Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum director Michael Rubenstein and is presented to honor a lifetime achievement in improving Mississippi sports. "As impressive as Ron's record is on-field, how his hard work, dedication and vision changed the game of college baseball is even more amazing," said Mississippi Hall of Fame executive director Bill Blackwell. "The effect that Ron brought changed the way the game is played and presented, not only in Mississippi, but nationwide."
 
Ron Polk will receive 2017 Rube Award
Mississippi sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes: "Baseball's Ron Polk will receive the 2017 Rube Award for his lifetime contributions to Mississippi sports, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum officials announced Monday. Polk will receive the award Aug. 5 at the 2017 Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Induction Banquet presented by Sanderson Farms and the Sanderson Farms Championship at the Jackson Convention Center. The Rube Award is named for the late Michael Rubenstein, the executive director of the MSHOF and Museum for its first 16 years of operation. Polk, the former Mississippi State baseball coach, was chosen for his contributions to Mississippi sports, but it could have been for his contributions to college baseball nationwide."
 
Suspension of golf programs leaves Jackson State players in limbo
Keelin Floyd is headed into her senior year at Jackson State, and while her scholarship is still good, she's not going to get to play the game she loves. Floyd, a member of the soon-to-be-suspended women's golf program at JSU, said Sunday she's upset at the department's decision to cut the programs for budgetary reasons. JSU athletic director Wheeler Brown said Thursday he is still trying to find a way to save the programs, but Floyd said he informed her two weeks ago the decision to suspend the programs has already been made. Brown said the department will honor the existing scholarships, but with only one year of school and one year of eligibility left, Floyd finds herself in a veritable no-man's land when it comes to transfer possibilities.
 
Oregon State capitalizes on LSU's mistakes and misfortune, pummeling the Tigers 13-1
When playing against a team with four losses in 59 tries, every mistake and unfortunate circumstance is compounded, each successive crack hastening the arrival of the overwhelming avalanche. There were almost too many mistakes and misfortunes to count in LSU's 13-1 loss to Oregon State on Monday night. LSU walked 12 batters. Eric Walker, who had been an absolute stud for LSU in the postseason, left the game with forearm tightness in the third inning. "It wasn't what we expected or hoped for, obviously," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "A heck of a way for a 17-game winning streak to end." LSU will face Florida State in an elimination game Wednesday at 6 p.m. Jared Poché, who earned a win in relief against Florida State in LSU's CWS opener, will start the game.
 
Recent history suggests elimination game between Texas A&M, TCU could be marathon
Minutes after losing to Florida, TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle analyzed how the upcoming College World Series elimination game between Texas A&M and his Horned Frogs would go without hinting at all who he thought would win. "There's very little chance of the Florida and Louisville game starting on time," Schlossnagle said. "And you are going to sell a lot of concessions because we normally play much more than nine innings when we play those guys." A&M (41-22) and TCU (53-10) open Tuesday's doubleheader at the College World Series at 1 p.m. Florida and Louisville are scheduled to follow at 6 p.m. If history repeats itself, Louisville and Florida will have to remain on call in the locker rooms.
 
Record revenues, expenses for U. of South Carolina sports in coming year
The University of South Carolina athletics department expects to make $121.9 million in fiscal year 2017-2018 and spend $102.9 million of that windfall, according to figures athletic director Ray Tanner recently presented to the school's Board of Trustees. Both numbers are records for South Carolina. "We don't have the biggest budget in the league but we are pretty successful with what we've got," said Jeff Tallant, the department's chief financial officer. The biggest increase in the school's revenue is a $4.9 million uptick in media rights, which can be traced to a one-time signing bonus of $4 million the school received for re-upping its rights contract with IMG and the annual dollar increase in that contract. The biggest expected increase in expenditures? Rising personnel salaries.
 
Tennessee football recruiting gets social media buzz from The Bag
The recruiting visit began with a simple photo request. After Tennessee quarterbacks coach Mike Canales greeted the Bolivar Central High football staff, assistant coach Cameron Clifft asked for a picture. But not with Canales. He wanted a photo with The Bag. A black backpack with an orange Power T on the front pocket, The Bag has become a social media sensation over the last three months. Canales carries The Bag everywhere he goes, and recruits, parents, coaches and fans have started charting its travels. "In recruiting, it's all about trying to find a niche," Canales said. "It's about finding something that is different and unique and separates Tennessee and myself from everyone else in the conference. The Bag has done that. It's really amazing how big it has become."
 
Tracking Athletes' Sex Offenses
When news surfaced recently that Oregon State University's star baseball player was a convicted sex offender, the local newspaper asked the institution: When did you know? At age 15, Luke Heimlich molested a 6-year-old girl -- a family member -- The Oregonian unearthed. Heimlich, one of the nation's top pitchers, hadn't properly registered his status when he moved from Washington State, and so law enforcement flagged him in public court records, which alerted the paper. Reporters investigated, uncovering Washington court documents. The baseball coach and athletics director at Oregon refused to comment. The university only released a statement. Their silence raises concerns among sexual assault prevention advocates, as some have accused college athletes of receiving preferential treatment and being shielded from consequences, even for an offense as severe as sexual assault.



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