Wednesday, June 28, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
'Father of No-Till' Glover Triplett honored for pioneering work
Dr. Glover Triplett, research professor at Mississippi State University, has been honored by the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation for his pioneering more than a half-century ago that launched the no-till movement. "In the world of agriculture, it's rare that someone can bring about a positive, long-term change in farming practices," said MFBF President Mike McCormick, who made the presentation at the organization's annual Summer Commodity Conference at Mississippi State. "But Dr. Triplett accomplished that, and has become known as The Father of No-Till Farming." Triplett, now 87 and still doing research at MSU, grew up on a 2,000 acre farm in Noxubee County. He earned his undergraduate and master's degrees at MSU, served in Korea as an infantry company commander, then received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University and joined the faculty there. In 1982, he joined the faculty at Mississippi State.
 
Bill Herndon honored for service to Mississippi agriculture
Mississippi State University Associate Vice President Bill Herndon has been honored by the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation for his 33 years of "dedication, superior leadership, and service to Mississippi agriculture." He is retiring at the end of June. "Dr. Herndon has been a true champion of Mississippi agriculture," said MFBF President Mike McCormick, who presented the award at the organization's Summer Commodity Conference at Mississippi State. "The university and Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation have a powerful partnership that is the envy of other states nationwide -- a relationship due in no small part to his leadership, initiative and professionalism. He has worked diligently to enable our two organizations to cohesively advance and promote the state's agriculture."
 
On the Move: Mississippi State University
Mark E. Keenum, Mississippi State University's president, has been elected to chair the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research board of directors. He was appointed to the foundation board in August 2014. Jeff Adkerson, director of the university's PGA Golf Management program, has completed the requirements to become a Professional Golfers' Association Master Professional in Golf Operations. The MSU alumnus is one of approximately 350 people to earn the distinction since the PGA Master Professional program's inception in 1969.
 
Bulldog Bytes STEM camp encourages girls to pursue computer science
Women teaching women in a field traditionally dominated by men. That's the idea behind the Mississippi State University sponsored Bulldog Bytes camp hosted this week at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Columbus. The all-female summer camp is designed to attract young girls interested in science, technology, engineering and math. According to Sarah Lee, MSU computer science professor and director of the day camp, the 23 third, fourth and fifth grade girls participating in the camp are learning computer programming, problem-solving and cyber safety. "The goal is to light a pathway for women in the state," Lee said. "I think if you can engage them at an early age, they get that spark that 'this is really cool. I like technology. I'm comfortable with it, and I can make this robot do things.'"
 
Our View: A woman's work...
The Dispatch editorializes: "'Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did,' it was once noted, 'just backward and in high heels.' This week, Mississippi State is sponsoring what it calls a 'Bulldog Bytes' camp at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Columbus. The camp has nothing to do with dancing, but everything to do with opening the doors for young women in fields normally associated with men. The camp, directed by MSU computer science professor Sarah Lee, hopes to inspire about two dozen girls in grades 3-5 to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math, fields that are traditionally dominated by males. Like Ginger Rogers, females can do many of the things men do, but often find their paths more difficult. ...That is why camps such as this one are important. If girls are drawn to these fields at an early age, they are far more likely to overcome the obstacles in their path."
 
Mississippi State student fulfills childhood dream to be Miss Mississippi
Anne Elizabeth Buys seemed groomed for the moment she claimed the Miss Mississippi crown in Vicksburg Saturday night. The 21-year-old Mississippi State student began attending the annual pageant with her family at age 3, falling in love with the Miss America organization and dreaming of one day being on the big stage. Her father, Mark Buys, volunteered with the pageant and her mother, Judy Buys, once competed there as Miss MSU in the 1980s. "It was the most amazing feeling hearing my name called; I had only dreamt of that moment since I was a little girl," Buys said. "The fact that I am able to represent Mississippi is incredible and it still doesn't seem real." Cheryl Prewitt, a former Miss MSU who was Miss Mississippi 1979 and Miss America 1980, emceed the entire week of Mississippi pageantry this year and said the competition this year was strong.
 
Mississippi State students intern at Dale Partners Architects
Ebony Batchelor, a fifth-year Mississippi State University School of Architecture student, and Tahir Khan, a fourth year MSU School of Architecture student, are interning at Dale Partners Architects this summer. Ebony is working in the Jackson office and Tahir is in the Biloxi office. Ebony, a native of Scotland, grew up in Jackson, Tenn. Tahir is a native of Gulfport.
 
Supervisors push road manager hire to July
Oktibbeha County supervisors are expected to hire a new road manager next month after interviewing a shortlist of finalists Monday. Supervisors took no action on the potential hire after spending a majority of June's last board meeting questioning five prospective candidates but indicated former Road Manager Victor Collins' replacement will be named July 10. The shortlist of finalists includes Fred Baggett, Casey Hairston, Joseph King, Donald Thompson and Sheila Williams. Collins ended his 30-year career with Oktibbeha County in March. He started as an equipment operator in 1987 and worked his way up to road manager in 2011.
 
Mississippi Highway Patrol announces holiday enforcement period
The Mississippi Highway Patrol will begin the 2017 Fourth of July enforcement period at 6 p.m. on Friday. With the anticipation of heavy traffic flow throughout the state, all available troopers will be assigned saturation patrols in an effort to maximize visibility and reduce traffic crashes, according to a release sent out by MHP Tuesday. Motorists should be aware of the new seatbelt law, which goes into effect July 1 requiring drivers and all passengers in a motor vehicle to be properly restrained. The new law also applies to unrestrained passengers riding in the cargo area of a pickup truck, which is not permitted.
 
Mississippi history museums on track for December opening
Construction is wrapping up and exhibits are being built in side-by-side museums set to open Dec. 9 to celebrate 200 years of Mississippi statehood. The Museum of Mississippi History takes a broad look at the place, from prehistoric times until today. The Mississippi Civil Right Museum focuses on developments that changed the state and nation between 1945 and 1976. The museums have been years in the making. State Department of Archives and History officials on Tuesday led reporters and photographers on a tour of the buildings.
 
Marcy Scoggins named new executive director of MSGOP
Chairman Joe Nosef of the Mississippi Republican Party is pleased to announce that Marcy Thoms Scoggins has been named Executive Director. "Marcy's experience and proven leadership make her a great hire for the Party," said Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. "I look forward to working with her as we seek to build on the Party's historic momentum and continue electing conservative leaders up and down the ballot for years to come." Scoggins has worked for many notable Mississippi elected officials throughout her career: Senator Trent Lott, Congressman Chip Pickering, Congressman Gregg Harper and most recently State Treasurer Lynn Fitch. Scoggins and her husband Kirk live in Madison and have two children, Kathryn, a student at Madison Central High School and Will, a student at Rosa Scott High School.
 
US House Approves $25K Budget Boost for Each Congress Member's Security
The U.S. House approved a plan to add $25,000 to the 2017 office budgets of all 435 of its members. The money would be used to bolster office security or personal security when they're outside the protective shield of the U.S. Capitol building. "While federal law enforcement continues to investigate this attack, our committee has been listening to members and their concerns regarding the safety of their constituents, staffers, as well as themselves," Committee on House Administration Chairman Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) said in a statement.
 
Republican senators hit by calls from voters worried about Obamacare repeal bill
Republican senators' offices say they're getting a flood of calls from voters worried about the GOP Obamacare repeal bill, potentially further complicating Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's attempt to muscle the legislation through this week. Chris Gallegos, communications director for Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, who has so far not staked out a hard position on the legislation, said calls from constituents since the bill's release last week have mainly been negative. "Since last Thursday, the Cochran offices have received approximately 224 constituent calls against and two in favor of discussion draft of the healthcare bill," Gallegos wrote in an email Monday.
 
Justice Neil Gorsuch starts to show his conservative cards
Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is starting to show signs of how conservative he will be on the bench. The court's newest member frustrated Democrats during his confirmation hearings by refusing to say how he would rule on various issues. Gorsuch's answers left some wondering whether he would be a justice in the mold of the man he was replacing -- the late Justice Antonin Scalia -- or an ideological wild card. The answer is now becoming apparent. In a spate of decisions and dissents, Gorsuch aligned with Clarence Thomas, the most conservative justice on the bench. Conservative supporters of Gorsuch note that the 49-year-old has been far from shy in his early days on the court.
 
Ole Miss participates in culture of respect program
The University of Mississippi is among 53 institutions to join the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators 2017 Culture of Respect inaugural cohort with the aim of addressing campus sexual violence. As part of the two-year program, UM will examine and evaluate its existing policies, build effective prevention programs, create a strategic plan for addressing violence, participate in professional development and receive coaching from public health professionals. "We feel like we already do a good job on response and prevention on our campus, but we are always focused on improving and serving our students, faculty and staff," said Lindsey Bartlett Mosvick, assistant director for violence prevention.
 
Farm to Fork offers fresh produce across the state
The UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Mississippi teamed up with the Alcorn State University Extension Program for the sixth year to bring fresh, local produce to counties across Mississippi. The event, "Farm to Fork," provides fresh produce bags to UnitedHealthcare Community Plan members in need. The program began in 2012 and the produce is provided by the Alcorn State University Extension Program each year. This year's program served Hinds County, the Delta, Rankin County, Warren County, Lauderdale County, Madison County, Yazoo County, Jackson County, Harrison County, DeSoto County, Lee County, Forrest County, Jones County, Wayne County and Lowndes County.
 
PREPS at William Carey offers training academy for K-12 principals, vice principals
Ben Burnett, dean of William Carey University's School of Education, wishes he had attended a principal's academy when he was leading Oak Grove Middle School 20 years ago. "I could have really benefited as a younger principal or a superintendent from some training," he said. Burnett is inviting K-12 principals and vice principals to apply for an upcoming principal's academy offered by the Program of Research and Evaluation of Public Schools and CEO Mississippi, located on the Carey campus. "There will be school leaders from all over the state interacting with each other over the course of a year, and they'll learn from each other as much as from the training," Burnett said. The six sessions will take place at locations around Mississippi during the 2017-18 school year.
 
Auburn researchers part of team to address water issues in the Southeast
Auburn University is one of four schools who have been awarded part of a $5 million grant to research water issues faced by the Southeastern United States. The research will focus on locking down water for agricultural production as well as maintaining healthy rivers and springs, according to a press release issued by the university. Two Auburn University researchers will be part of the initial 14 faculty members involved, said Paul Hollis, communications specialist for Auburn's College of Agriculture and the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station. The two Auburn staffers who expect to see the project all the way through are Puneet Srivastava, biosystems engineering professor and director of Auburn's Water Resources Center, and Latif Kalin, a professor in the College of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.
 
College 'free speech' bill vetoed by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on Tuesday vetoed legislation that was meant to protect controversial speakers on college campuses and to encourage university officials to penalize students who disrupt the speeches. The bill, sponsored by House Republican Caucus Chairman Lance Harris of Alexandria, had passed the Legislature with overwhelming support. The Democratic governor said he found House Bill 269 to be "a solution in search of a problem" as well as "unnecessary and overly burdensome." "The protection of speech has survived and flourished in the 226 years since the adoption of the First Amendment, and it will continue to do so without House Bill 269 becoming the law of Louisiana," Edwards wrote in a letter explaining his veto.
 
Lawmakers criticize U. of Tennessee chancellor's decision to fund pride center
State lawmakers involved in a decision to strip funding from the University of Tennessee's diversity office last year, including a Republican gubernatorial candidate, are criticizing new Chancellor Beverly Davenport for her decision to once again fund the school's LGBT pride center. "It is disappointing that the new Chancellor has decided to ignore the clear intent and legitimate concerns of the Tennessee Legislature which defunded the (Office for Diversity and Inclusion) after it became clear that taxpayer funds were being used to promote a radical agenda that did not reflect the values of the State and our citizens," gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, said in a recent news release. The release states inaccurately that Davenport has announced plans to reinstate a diversity office at UT.
 
Enrollment steady for Texas A&M summer sessions
As thousands of students and their parents come to College Station to participate in New Student Conferences at Texas A&M this summer, their soon-to-be peers already are hard at work during the summer sessions at the university. A&M officials reported a steady enrollment for the university's two summer sessions Tuesday, just one student short of its record 2016 count of 23,852. In addition to the College Station campus, the total number of students enrolled for the summer includes the Health Science Center, the Texas A&M University School of Law and the campuses in Galveston and Qatar. The number includes undergraduate, master's degree and doctoral students.
 
More cuts likely for U. of Missouri, public schools
Another disappointing year of state tax collections means the University of Missouri and public schools can expect a new round of cuts this week when Gov. Eric Greitens acts on 15 spending bills for the fiscal year that begins Saturday. The budget was written with expectations that revenue would increase 3 percent during the current year and 3.8 percent in the coming fiscal year. As of Tuesday, the growth rate has been 2 percent, said House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob. "We could fall $150 million or more short of where we anticipated we would be," Fitzpatrick said. The University of Missouri System just completed a budget for the coming year that cut $100 million from overall spending and eliminated 474 jobs. About $35.9 million of the cuts is to cover the decrease in state appropriations approved by lawmakers and $11 million was to make up for a loss of tuition revenue. The remaining cuts were intended to fund investments in programs and faculty.
 
College Lawyers Welcome New Clarity of Education Department's Office for Civil Rights
Two officials from the Trump administration, both responsible for enforcing federal civil-rights laws, got a warm welcome Tuesday from higher-education lawyers, who praised their willingness to listen to the institutions' concerns. Candice E. Jackson, acting assistant secretary for the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights, and Thomas E. Wheeler, acting assistant attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice, spoke for nearly 90 minutes to the lawyers, here for the annual meeting of the National Association of College and University Attorneys. The two officials offered to work collaboratively with colleges and to no longer treat informal guidance, such as the department's 2011 "Dear Colleague" letter on Title IX, as a formal regulation, requiring the colleges to comply with specific measures.
 
Trump administration civil rights officials promise colleges fairer regulatory approach
Candice Jackson and Thomas E. Wheeler Jr. received modest applause when the head of the National Association of College and University Attorneys introduced them to the roughly 1,700 lawyers attending the group's annual meeting in Chicago Tuesday afternoon. Seventy-five minutes later, the two top Trump administration officials overseeing civil rights enforcement for higher education were treated to a warm, even grateful, ovation. That's because in between, Jackson and Wheeler told the crowd of higher education lawyers much of what they wanted to hear. The basic message: we're the government and, unlike our predecessors in the Obama administration, we're here to help. Many college and university officials felt overregulated by the Obama administration, and have expressed interest in seeing that oversight eased.


SPORTS
 
Dudy Noble Field construction continues on schedule
The smoke was the final selling point for George Bratcher. A few years ago, Bratcher -- a native of Hammond, Louisiana, and fan of the LSU baseball team -- was watching a Mississippi State baseball game on television and saw the smoke from grills hanging over the outfield. Bratcher's traveled around the Southeastern Conference a bit to watch the Tigers, but at that time, he had yet to see it at MSU. Seeing that much smoke over the outfield made it a priority. He made his first visit when the Tigers played at MSU in 2015 and was immediately hooked. He came back for the series earlier this spring, which doubled as the last one at Dudy Noble Field before a two-year renovation process overhauls the venue. Construction is now underway on a venue that will be seen as sacred by MSU fans and visitors alike. Tuesday morning, construction crews were working on bringing down the grandstands that surround home plate.
 
Ben Howland knows Mississippi State men face higher expectations
Ben Howland is well aware of the expectations that await his Mississippi State men's basketball team in November. Howland doesn't deny the basis of those expectations. Last year, he coached the least experienced roster in Division I to a 16-16 record. Five of the losses came by six or fewer points in the final two months of the season. This season, the Bulldogs hope to have grown from those experiences, even if they still have more growing to go. After all, 10 of the 15 players listed on MSU's roster are underclassmen. Still, Howland knows MSU is expected to be in the mix for an NCAA tournament bid. "We don't have a senior in the program," Howland said Monday on the Southeastern Conference teleconference. "We're still very young, but more experienced than we were a year ago."
 
Andrew Mahoney makes long-awaited Mississippi State debut
On Feb. 21, Andrew Mahoney officially took the mound for the first time in a Mississippi State uniform. It had been a long time coming for the left-handed reliever, who first arrived on campus in the fall of 2014. Two elbow surgeries and a stint in junior college delayed Mahoney's debut at Dudy Noble Field until this past season. "It feels good to be back with all of my friends, they're like my family," Mahoney said. "This whole town and being back in the Mississippi State atmosphere makes baseball a lot more enjoyable." Mahoney underwent Tommy John surgery during his senior year at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School in Mobile, Alabama and had to go under the knife again in March 2015 to clean up his first surgery which caused him to miss his freshman season at MSU.
 
Former Mississippi State standout Thomas Berkery continuing to grow game in Golden Triangle
Thomas Berkery wants to bring people together. In the process, the former Mississippi State baseball standout hopes to improve baseball for the Greater Golden Triangle area. Earlier this month, Berkery announced an affiliation with East Coast Baseball and a plan to bring area youth travel baseball teams together under his Swing Elite brand. Berkery held an informational meeting June 12 in Starkville to unveil his plan. He said Monday he continues to talk to parents and coaches about building an organization that will help bring together the area's best youth baseball players and teams. "It's coming together," Berkery said. "The hardest part is getting it started and getting the wheels rolling and getting the kids there."
 
Eastern Michigan University names new athletic director, Scott Wetherbee
Eastern Michigan University has named Scott Wetherbee its new athletic director. The university made the announcement Tuesday, shortly after the board of regents approved a 3.9 percent tuition increase and its fiscal 2018 budget. Wetherbee, a 42-year-old native of Kalamazoo, is leaving his post as athletic director at Mississippi State University. His start date at Eastern Michigan will be announced in the coming weeks, according to the university. Wetherbee will replace Heather Lyke, who left the university to take a similar position at the University of Pittsburgh.
 
Eastern Michigan tabs Mississippi State's Scott Wetherbee as AD
Scott Wetherbee's career in collegiate athletics has taken him from California to North Carolina to Mississippi, but home has always been his native Michigan. Starting sometime this summer, Wetherbee's career will take him home. Wetherbee, Mississippi State's Deputy Athletic Director, was introduced as Eastern Michigan's new athletic director Tuesday. Wetherbee is EMU's 14th athletic director and will replace Heather Lyke, who left after four years at EMU to become Pittsburgh's athletic director. Wetherbee signed a five-year contract for $269,000 per year, with additional incentives for championship appearances, academics, attendance and other criteria. The new job is a return home for the Kalamazoo native who was an all-state linebacker in high school. The state of Michigan and EMU's conference, the Mid-American Conference, also gave Wetherbee his start in collegiate athletics.
 
Florida wins first baseball national championship by sweeping LSU
As Florida players basked in shards of confetti, fans and parents walked through the infield at TD Ameritrade Park, snapping pictures and rolling video on their cellphones. They were there to document history. Through 105 years of existence, Florida baseball had never won a national title. Until now. The Gators are returning to Gainesville as national champions after sweeping the College World Series Finals with a 6-1 victory over LSU before 26,607 fans on Tuesday night. In its 11th College World Series trip, Florida's pitching-and-defense formula paid dividends. The Gators were able to get enough timely hits during a four-run eighth inning to break the game the open. "It's taken Gator baseball way too long, and hopefully this is the start of something new," said UF junior pitcher Alex Faedo, who earned CWS Most Outstanding Player honors.
 
Police: Vanderbilt football player's stolen cell phone led to shooting outside Nashville Target
A Vanderbilt University football player's plan to recover his stolen iPhone sparked a shooting outside a Nashville Target on Monday night and led to two of his teammates being shot, according to police. The shooting, which took place at the store at on White Bridge Road, stemmed from an arranged meeting between two groups -- a trio of football players and the thieves who Metro police say stole the phone and fired the shots. Both groups brought weapons, police said, although one side -- the players -- had only a pellet gun. As of Tuesday, the shooting suspects remained at large and both injured players were expected to recover, police spokesman Don Aaron said. As of Tuesday no charges had been filed against the players.
 
U. of Louisville pursues different strategies for different scandals
When the University of Louisville responded to a June 8 report detailing millions of dollars in unbudgeted spending, unapproved activities and endowment losses at its foundation, leaders made no attempt to defend what had gone on and pledged themselves to transparency. A week later, the university found itself responding to more critical news. The National Collegiate Athletic Association issued sanctions against Louisville stemming from the case of a former men's basketball employee who was found to have arranged for strippers and prostitutes to provide dances or sex acts for 17 recruits and student athletes as well as some of their associates over a four-year period -- when some of the recruits were minors. But officials weren't quite so contrite. The difference in tone was hard to miss. Louisville faculty members certainly took note.
 
Justices to Review New Jersey Bid for Legal Sports Betting
The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to take up New Jersey's bid to allow sports betting at its casinos and racetracks, a case that could lead other states to seek a share of the lucrative market. The justices will review a lower court ruling against the state, which is hoping to capture some of the estimated $150 billion that is illegally wagered on sports each year. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and supporters in the state Legislature have tried for years to legalize sports gambling to bolster the state's casino and horse racing industries. The casino industry, after a period of job losses and closings, has lately been doing better. Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia and Wisconsin had joined New Jersey's effort to have the case heard by the Supreme Court.



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