Thursday, June 22, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Grant helps fund Mississippi State's 'Boots to Business' instruction
A $4 million grant has been awarded to Mississippi State University as it continues to provide business education to U.S. veterans. The Small Business Administration grant allows MSU, in partnership with the Office of Veterans Business Development, to deliver Boots to Business instruction through a new online training course. This training will help transitioning military service members and their spouses develop a firm vision for their business models. "Small businesses are the cornerstone of the U.S. economy, and our experienced team is anxious to work with our military heroes," said MSU College of Business Dean Sharon Oswald.
Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, Entergy partner on grid software
A partnership between Entergy and the Mississippi State University Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems recently produced some new software to help keep Entergy's grids reliable. Research engineer Greg Henley told the SDN the equipment consists of three pieces of software. The first component helps calculate the load capacity of specific assets on the electrical grid. The second piece is designed to help engineers test relays more quickly, leading to better service for Entergy customers. "It can detect that there's something wrong," Henley said. "When a problem arises you want as few customers at all to be out of power." The third piece of software is for corrective action, allowing Entergy engineers to identify potential problems ahead of time. "Because our research with Entergy has immediate application, we feel that consumers may realize improvements from the work, often without them even knowing it, much faster than most university research," said CAVS Associate Director Mike Mazzola.
Private Lincoln Collection In Rhode Island Headed To Mississippi State University
In Rhode Island, Frank Williams is known as a former chief justice of the State Supreme Court. But among Civil War enthusiasts, he is known as an authority on all things Abraham Lincoln. He's also the owner of a vast collection of more than 17,000 Civil War artifacts. He's now donating his collection to Mississippi State University. Williams says he wanted his collection to go to the Deep South because it's important to share perspectives on the Civil War. Why? "Because we're still a house divided as Lincoln said in 1858," Williams said. And, Williams adds, Rhode Island already touts a Lincoln and Civil War collection of its own at Brown University.
Williamses gift Lincoln and Civil War collection to Mississippi State University
A private Abraham Lincoln and Civil War collection amassed over the past 50 years by former Rhode Island Chief Justice and nationally-known Lincoln scholar Frank J. Williams will be donated to Mississippi State University. MSU President Mark Keenum and Williams announced the gift Tuesday. The collection, which Williams and wife Virginia will officially gift to the Mississippi State University Libraries, has been valued at nearly $3 million. Williams, the longtime president of the Ulysses S. Grant Association, was instrumental in relocating that group and its own archives -- now the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library -- to MSU nine years ago. Keenum said the collection will transform MSU into one of the nation's leading destinations for scholars and students of the American Civil War.
Making Forensic Investigations More Fruitful: Mississippi State Expert Shares Advice
Organizations can take steps in advance to help ensure that forensic investigations into data breaches and cyberattacks are successful, says security expert John "Drew" Hamilton, a professor at Mississippi State University. One critical step, he says, is "having a very strong understanding of your underlying system architecture -- because if you're trying to figure out how things connect after-the-fact, that's problematic," he says in an interview with Information Security Media Group. "You also want to have good configuration management because one of the problems with infestation -- whether it's ransomware or something else -- is that once malicious software has root or administrative rights on a machine, it can make the machine lie to you," he says.
Tropical Storm Cindy makes landfall, continues to rain on South Mississippi
Tropical Storm Cindy has made landfall in western Louisiana, but the weather event is not over for South Mississippi. A tornado watch is in effect for South Mississippi until 1 p.m. A watch means conditions are favorable for a tornado to form. Isolated super cells may intensify enough to produce tornadoes within a broad area. The tropical storm warning has been canceled for this area. A flash flood warning has been issued for most of Jackson County. The National Weather Service out of New Orleans specifically cited Pascagoula, Gautier and Ocean Springs under the warning until 9 a.m. A flash flood watch is in effect for South Mississippi through Thursday evening. An additional 1-3 inches of rain is forecast for the coastal counties.
Fans flock to see John Grisham in Jackson
Lemuria in Jackson is the eighth of 13 stops author John Grisham is making in his multi-city book tour -- something he hasn't done in 25 years. Lemuria was filled Wednesday with fans who had been so "from the beginning." The word echoing through the store was "exciting" as the dedicated fans waited to meet Grisham and have him sign his latest novel, "Camino Island," involving a heist, rare books and bookstores. Sarah Fulgham has read all of Grisham's novels, saying she became a fan after his second novel "The Firm." She proudly pulled a picture from her purse of her and Grisham taken in 2002 showing her long-time love of the writer. She and her husband, Carroll, said they were glad Grisham chose to go to Lemuria.
With prices and acreage up, cotton is making a comeback in Mid-South
Cotton may no longer be king, but Bill Walker, for one, is glad to see it recoup some status among Mid-South farmers. Walker said the Memphis area should welcome the resurgence of the crop for which it has long been famed. "I think there's more of a turnover (of money) in the local economy with cotton," he said. Across the nation, cotton acreage this year is up 21 percent to 12.23 million acres, compared to less than 10.1 million in 2016, according to initial estimates by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi, total cotton planting increased to 1.35 million acres, 26 percent more than last year and nearly double the 685,000 acres recorded in the three states in 2015. Jon Devine, senior economist with Cotton Incorporated, which does research and promotion for the cotton industry, said the price surge resulted largely from healthy sales in overseas markets, the primary outlet for American raw fiber.
Legislative Democrats' efforts to halt tax cut unsuccessful
The impact of the Taxpayer Pay Raise Act, the largest tax cut in Mississippi history, will begin with the new fiscal year starting July 1 just as intended when passed during the 2016 legislative session. Since its passage, legislative Democrats have tried unsuccessfully to halt or at least postpone the tax cut legislation. During a legislative special session earlier this month, Senate Democrats, led by Bill Stone of Holly Springs, offered an amendment to postpone the beginning of its phase-in by one year. Stone said the proposal would allow legislators "to catch our breath for a minute and see where we are with the tax cuts."
LINK head concerned about state budget cuts
Despite tight state budgets affecting grant and loan funding for infrastructure, the Golden Triangle Development LINK has continued to see sizable projects come to the area, according to Chief Executive Officer Joe Max Higgins. "It has, the last couple years, been a little harder to put the deals together, and if it continues, I think it's going to be problematic for us," Higgins told Columbus Rotarians Tuesday afternoon during their regular meeting at Lion Hills Center. He said the LINK has had to delve deeper into its own pockets to stay competitive in the economic development field. In lieu of a speech Tuesday, Higgins held a question-and-answer session, addressing topics such as the progress of Yokohama Tire Corporation's West Point plant and possible developments on a variety of LINK-owned properties.
Regulators move to pull the plug on Mississippi coal plant
Mississippi utility regulators want to pull the plug on costly technology at a first-of-its-kind power plant, saying one of the nation's largest utilities should absorb more than $6.5 billion in losses and ratepayers should pay nothing more. Three Mississippi Public Service Commissioners said Wednesday that the Kemper County plant, meant to show coal could be burned cleanly, should burn only natural gas. An environmental activist who opposes coal burning said the decision could discourage other utilities from proposing similar projects. The Commission directed its lawyers to draft an order that it plans to adopt July 6. It would give Mississippi Power Co. 45 days from then to settle all rate matters regarding the $7.5 billion plant.
FBI: 'no credible info of threat' on letter left at Mississippi GOP headquarters
The FBI says it looked into a letter left outside state Republican Party headquarters in Jackson last week but apparently found no cause for action. "The letter in question was brought to our attention," a statement sent by FBI Public Affairs Specialist Brett Carr said. "At times we receive information which we review for possible threats to the American people and act accordingly. While we cannot comment further on this particular matter, we have no credible information of a threat to the local Republican Party headquarters." Gov. Phil Bryant mentioned the letter in an interview on the Paul Gallo SuperTalk radio show. He said it praised the actions of James T. Hodgkinson, the man who opened fire at a Republican congressional baseball team practice last week and was killed by Capitol Police after he wounded five people including U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
New Census data: US growing older, more diverse
The national population is growing older and more diverse than ever before, according to new Census Bureau numbers released Thursday. The nation's median age is 37.9 years old, more than two years higher than the median age in 2000, according to new Census Bureau numbers released Thursday. The number of Americans over 65 years old has jumped from 35 million at the turn of the century to 49.2 million today. Whites continue to be the biggest racial group in America, accounting for 256 million people in 2016. But their population grew by only 0.5 percent, fueled largely by immigration; non-Hispanic whites experienced a natural decrease of 163,000, meaning more whites died than were born last year. "We're becoming more diverse, from the bottom of the age structure up," said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution.
Delta State joins International Day of Yoga
Delta State University will honor the International Day of Yoga at 8 a.m. Friday on the Quad with a free public yoga gathering. All ages are encouraged to join the event and participants are asked to bring their own mats or blankets. International Day of Yoga is a global initiative by the International Association of Human Value, also known as the Art of Living. Parveen Chawla, coordinator of International Association of Human Value for Mississippi and Arkansas, will act as the instructor for the event. "We are excited to welcome Parveen Chawla onto our campus and host this free public event," said Jeanna Wilkes, coordinator of student activities at Delta State. "We hope to have a quad full of participants in celebration of International Day of Yoga."
Summer program aids high school students and graduate educators
The Freedom Summer Collegiate Program is a four-week summer program that trains master's and doctoral candidates to teach high school students in poor communities. In turn, the program helps students improve their ACT scores while giving them an opportunity to receive college credit and get a small taste of the college experience. The ACT is a standardized test for high school students that measures their college readiness. "I think at this moment in history, it's very inspiring to be in a place where the civil rights movement happened and to see that history of social organizing still vibrant today and kids are integrating their education with the civil rights movement, that legacy and history, and the principles of that movement," said Rachel Greenspan, a graduate student at Duke University who is one of the teachers this summer.
Louisiana Is First State To Ban Public Colleges From Asking About Criminal History
Louisiana has become the first state to prohibit all public universities from asking applicants about their criminal history. By some estimates, as many as 70 to 100 million Americans have some kind of criminal record. And the proportion is far higher in some minority communities. The so called "ban the box" movement is intended to open opportunities to these Americans by preventing discrimination on the basis of one's past. In 2016 the U.S. Department of Education asked colleges to voluntarily remove criminal history questions from their applications. So far, large public university systems including California's and New York's, as well as some private colleges, have complied. But Louisiana's is the first statewide ban. The fight to "ban the box" in Louisiana, for students and earlier for workers, was bipartisan, led by a coalition of civil rights advocates and Christian groups.
Louisiana colleges keeping authority to raise student fees
Gov. John Bel Edwards has agreed to let Louisiana's public colleges and universities continue to increase student fees without approval from the Legislature. The schools have the authority to raise fees now, but they would have lost it June 30 had not Edwards signed a new law Tuesday. Act 293 extends the fee-raising authority for three years. The schools must issue reports by Feb. 15 in 2018, 2019 and 2020 on how they are using the revenue. The law also caps the size of fee increases. Tuition and fees together may not exceed the national average for higher education institutions. Nevertheless, fees can total into the thousands of dollars for a single semester at some institutions.
U. of Missouri to push cheaper textbook plan
The University of Missouri will move quickly to use open source and other cheaper alternatives for general education textbooks, building on initiatives already in place, system President Mun Choi said Wednesday. At an event with members of the Board of Curators, administrators, lawmakers, faculty from all four campuses and student representatives, Choi said the intent is to save money for students while providing up-to-date materials. Faculty, including graduate assistants, will be eligible for incentive payments of $1,000 to $10,000 for preparing and adopting materials that save students money, Choi said. Textbooks are sometimes overlooked as a contributor to the cost of attending college, Choi said.
U. of Missouri moves to rescind Bill Cosby honorary degree
The University of Missouri will move this week to rescind the honorary degree granted to comedian Bill Cosby, following the lead of at least 25 other colleges and universities who have stripped honors from the accused sex offender. The Board of Curators, at its meeting Friday, will vote on a recommendation from UM System President Mun Choi that Cosby forfeit his Doctor of Humane Letters degree awarded at the December 1999 commencement ceremony. On Saturday, a Pennsylvania judge declared a mistrial in Cosby's trial for aggravated indecent assault for allegedly giving drugs to Andrea Constand, a staff member of the Temple University women's basketball program. The statement to be presented to the curators Friday notes that the jury was hung, but also points to reports that more than 50 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault. The University of Connecticut, where Choi was provost before his selection as UM System president, acted in June 2016 to revoke an honorary degree awarded to Cosby in 1996.
Landmark Law on Higher Education Should Be Scrapped, Betsy DeVos Suggests
For the second time in as many months, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has suggested that it's time to scrap the legislation that governs federal higher-education policy and to start afresh. During a speech on Tuesday to the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, Ms. DeVos said the Higher Education Act of 1965 may have outlived its usefulness. "We are advancing and growing as a people at an unbelievable rate. But the public policy that guides education has only inched along," Ms. DeVos told the audience of university leaders. "Consider the Higher Education Act, or HEA. This 50-year-old law still governs and defines much of what you can -- and cannot -- do to educate the students you serve." Clare McCann, a senior policy analyst at New America, a think tank in Washington, said Ms. DeVos's continued suggestion of a replacement for the landmark law shows how the Trump administration misunderstands higher education.
Survey of parent postdocs reveals lack of access to paid parental leave, pressures to return to work
Postdoctoral fellows hopefully enjoy close mentor-mentee relationships with the principal investigators on their research grants. Few would probably expect those investigators to show up at the hospital after a baby arrived, asking when they planned to return to the lab, however. Yet that's what happened to one survey participant in a new study on parent postdocs from the National Postdoctoral Association and the Pregnant Scholar project of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings. "So, what, about two to three weeks and you will be back?" the scientist reportedly asked the postdoc in her hospital bed. It's the kind of "ridiculous," professionally unacceptable treatment postdocs sometimes encounter due to a widespread lack of understanding or will to understand what their rights are, said Julie Fabsik-Swarts, executive director of the National Postdoctoral Association.
Yale dean leaves job after Yelp comments calling people 'white trash,' 'low-class'
A Yale dean who left Yelp comments calling people "white trash" and "low class" has left her position with the university, according to a college official. June Chu, the former dean of Pierson College at Yale University, was previously placed on leave after leaving Yelp comments which included calling people "white trash," "sketchy" and "low-class folks," the Yale Daily News reported. The head of Pierson College Stephen Davis said in an email to students Tuesday morning that Chu left her position and the search for a new dean would begin immediately, the Yale Daily News reported. The Yale Daily News reported that Chu's Yelp comments had been well-known among students for months before she was placed on leave. The student newspaper posted screenshots of many of the comments from Chu's now deleted account.

Bulldogs, Morgan William up for ESPY nominations
Mississippi State's historic win against No. 1 UConn in the 2017 Women's Final Four earned a pair of ESPY nominations on Wednesday. State was nominated for Best Upset for its victory that snapped the Huskies' NCAA-record 111-game win streak. Morgan William, who hit the winning jumper at the buzzer in overtime, was nominated for Best Play. William is the No. 2 seed and is up against the No. 15 seed in the first round of voting. The second round of voting begins June 28. Fans can vote now by going to The ESPYS ceremony will be hosted by Peyton Manning July 12 at 7 p.m. on ABC and WatchESPN.
Mississippi State's Andy Cannizaro adds Jake Gautreau as assistant coach
Just the second Mississippi State baseball coach to win 40 games in his first season on the job, Andy Cannizaro is adding to his coaching staff with the hiring of Jake Gautreau as an assistant coach. Gautreau replaces Will Coggin in the role and will serve as the Diamond Dawgs' recruiting coordinator, along with assisting Cannizaro in instructing MSU's hitters. Most recently, Gautreau served as Certified Player Agent for the Boras Corporation, where he identified and evaluated talent and recruited premier amateur baseball players from across the country, along with helping them prepare for the MLB Amateur Draft.
Mississippi State's Ryan Gridley going pro
Mississippi State shortstop Ryan Gridley is forgoing his final year in Starkville and has signed with the Oakland Athletics. The A's drafted Gridley in the 11th round with the 321st pick and becomes the first Bulldog to be drafted and sign with the organization since Eric DuBose and Adam Piatt in 1997. Gridley started all 67 games for MSU this past season batting .327 with 15 doubles, a triple, six home runs, 39 RBIs and seven stolen bases. The Milton, Georgia native joins former teammates Brent Rooker, Cody Brown and Josh Lovelady in signing professional contracts from the 2017 team.
Mississippi State's Ryan Gridley signs with Oakland A's
Mississippi State will have a different starting shortstop next season. Ryan Gridley, who started every game at shortstop for Mississippi State this past season, signed a deal with the A's, he announced on Wednesday. Oakland drafted Gridley in the 11th round with the 321st overall pick. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Gridley became the first Bulldog shortstop since Thomas Berkery in 2006 to be named First Team All-SEC after his breakout season. Gridley, who batted third in the lineup for most of the season, owned a .393 on-base percentage and .457 slugging percentage. He also drove in 39 runs and stole seven bases.
Mississippi State men's golf adds Charlie Ewing as assistant coach
New Mississippi State men's golf coach Dusty Smith rounded out his coaching staff with the addition of Charlie Ewing as assistant coach. "I am so excited to welcome Charlie to the Mississippi State family," Smith said. "He will be a huge asset to our program and will bring a lot of experience at both the playing and coaching levels. He will play an important role in the development and recruitment of our student-athletes. Charlie is built of high character, and he will be a great addition to Mississippi State men's golf." Ewing, a Dallas, Texas native, was a four-year letterwinner at Vanderbilt under Smith from 2010-14.
Dak Prescott gives back at camp at Mississippi State
Dak Prescott could have gone anywhere. But Prescott didn't have to think long when he considered destinations for the first stop on his summer tour of the Southeast following a standout rookie season for the NFL's Dallas Cowboys. "Everything that Mississippi State's done for me. I know how pivotal these years were and these moments in my life," Prescott said. "Everything this University, this town and the state of Mississippi has done for me, when we started picking towns to bring this camp to, this was a no-brainer." The former Mississippi State quarterback made the comments Tuesday morning during the first of two sessions of the adidas Dak Prescott Football ProCamp at the MSU football complex. The camp featured 700 campers at a morning and an evening session. "I've got so much love and thanks for this community and this state," Prescott said.
U. of Florida sets football booster contribution adjustment for 2018
To help offset costs of facilities upgrades and scholarships, Florida will ask for more from its boosters in upcoming seasons. The Gators announced booster contribution adjustments beginning in 2018, with the majority of contribution costs going up for football tickets. It's the first change in booster fees since 2013. Florida hired an outside consulting firm, Legends, to solicit market and fan feedback to assess the school's current pricing and contribution model. Of the seat contributions at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, about 37 percent are going down and staying the same. The most significant contribution hikes are in the luxury areas, with contributions going up from $60,000 to $66,000 in the Sky Suites and from $56,000 to $64,000 in the Gator Dens.
New U. of Tennessee athletics committee will oversee intercollegiate sports
Members of a new University of Tennessee board of trustees committee are working to figure out what their role will be as they strive to provide oversight and accountability of the university's intercollegiate sports programs. The new athletics committee, along with a university life committee, was created by the Tennessee Legislature last year via changes to the law that outlines the structure of the board of trustees. The changes also created five new subcommittees. And while direct responsibility for sports programs will remain with the chancellor of each UT campus, the committee will also provide administrative oversight and hold the chancellors accountable, according to a charter approved Wednesday.

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