Thursday, July 13, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Public meeting for Locksley multi-use path set for Thursday at The Mill
Officials will debut conceptual designs of sidewalks and bike paths that will connect south Starkville to Mississippi State University's campus during a 4 p.m. public meeting Thursday at The Mill Conference Center. The lion's share of the almost $1 million project will come from a $795,360 federal Transportation Alternative Program award funneled through the Mississippi Department of Transportation, while the remainder will be funded through a 20 percent local match from Oktibbeha County, Starkville and MSU. It will install 5-foot-wide sidewalks and 10-foot-wide, two-way bicycle paths that will connect bike and pedestrian improvements along South Montgomery Street to new trails running from Locksley Way to Spring Street, Blackjack Road and Stone Boulevard. Tying to the Lynn Lane multi-use path, the project will also connect to the Starkville Sportsplex, which serves as a SMART Route hub that links together the university's on-campus and citywide public transit networks.
 
City, county to schedule joint meeting for industrial park
The Starkville Board of Aldermen and the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors look to plan a joint meeting to decide the future of the proposed Golden Triangle Development LINK-backed industrial park. The development could face a delay after property owners appealed an Oktibbeha County Circuit Court-approved city rezoning of the property to the Mississippi Supreme Court. Mayor Lynn Spruill said there was not a turning point that triggered the call for this meeting. But it is a decision that needs to happen sooner, rather than later. Board of Supervisors President Orlando Trainer said although this project needs a decision, a rapid one may not be the right answer. "(The Board of Aldermen) want to hit the ground running," Trainer said. "But (the Board of Supervisors) do have some concerns with the reality of this project."
 
Anticipating lower revenue, MDOT drafts smaller budget for 2019
The Department of Transportation budget request for fiscal year 2019 may be $100 million less than the amount the department was appropriated for the current fiscal year. For fiscal year 2018, the department was appropriated $1.2 billion by the Legislature. In a draft presented this week to the commissioners of transportation by department staff, the budget request forecast is $1.1 billion. The commissioners could vote to approve the draft of the budget proposal at their next meeting later this month. Federal funds to Mississippi Department of Transportation are expected to remain steady in the coming fiscal year, but income from project specific projects will be reduced and a number of budget line items will be lower.
 
Ole Miss parking permit prices change, go on sale soon
Students are preparing for the day parking permits go on sale next week, but some are surprised at the change in prices. With parking passes going on sale starting on July 10 for faculty and staff. The window opens for students starting July 17. Prices for the 2017-2018 school year are $400 for a reserved garage permit, $200 for a commuter permit, and $100 for a Park-N-Ride permit. Jarvis Benson, a junior International Studies and Spanish major recently took his frustrations to Facebook in a post about how high parking permit prices have become. "$300 for a decal is absolutely unacceptable!" he wrote. Benson mentions in his post that, "Auburn University, which has roughly the same student population as The University of Mississippi, charges $180 and $80, respectively, for the same parking zones." Director of Parking and Transportation Mike Harris said Auburn parking permits are lower because they charge a transit fee to all students.
 
Itawamba Community College president Jay Allen meets community
New Itawamba Community College president Jay Allen and his family moved from Kentucky to Mississippi just a few short weeks ago, but Allen says they're already settling in to life in Fulton. Allen, who has been president of Hopkinsville Community College in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, for the past three years, was hired in May to replace the retiring Mike Eaton as ICC's leader. On Tuesday evening, the Itawamba Community Development Council hosted a meet-and-greet reception for Allen at its office in downtown Fulton. Allen shook hands and chatted with community members, business owners and other new faces at the event. "It's been great and wonderful to meet the people in our community," Allen said. "Really, for us it's been a blessing for us to be in this community and meet so many people." Classes begin August 14 for ICC students.
 
Tuition to increase for Alabama Community College System students
Tuition for Alabama Community College System students will increase approximately 1.4 percent. Tuition rates per credit hour will increase $2 to $119 for Alabama residents and $234 for nonresidents beginning in the fall. Al Thompson, chairman of the two-year system's board of trustees, called the increase modest and noted it was part of an annual rate adjustment established by the Alabama Board of Education, which formerly oversaw the two-year system, in 2009 following successive years of proration. The two-year board must decide annually whether to continue with the scheduled increases.
 
Bill Ashley named president of Shelton State Community College
Long-time Mississippi community college official Bill Ashley will be leaving the Magnolia State and moving to Tuscaloosa, Ala. to assume the top post at Shelton State Community College. The Alabama Community College System board of trustees on Wednesday approved Dr. William J. "Bill" Ashley as the next permanent president of Shelton State. Ashley has worked almost two decades in Mississippi's community college system, serving most recently as vice president for student affairs at Southwest Mississippi Community College in Summit, Miss. His prior roles range from student instruction to athletics to academic leadership. A Mississippi native, he earned a Ph.D. in community college leadership from Mississippi State University.
 
Criminal charges dismissed against former UGA diversity organization officer
The Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney Office earlier this year dismissed charges against a former communications officer for a University of Georgia diversity organization. Authorities initially accused Rouhollah Aghaseleh of changing the passwords to the organization's social network and email accounts in November 2016, after he resigned from GLOBES, an organization under the direction of UGA's Office of Institutional Diversity. The GLOBES chairperson reported the computer intrusions to UGA police and Aghaseleh was subsequently arrested and charged with six felony counts of computer trespass and one count of criminal attempt to commit computer trespass. All charges were dropped prior to indictment for "the interests of justice," according to the dismissal filed March 16 in Clarke County Superior Court by Assistant District Attorney Paige Otwell.
 
House bill would shield indirect research costs, increase NIH and college prep programs
The Trump administration's first budget proposal was greeted coolly by Republican lawmakers (amid deep consternation from advocates for higher education) when it was released in May. Many members of Congress avoided direct criticism but suggested they would not go along with major cuts in popular programs, including a plan to slash the rates at which the government reimburses universities for their own spending on research overhead. Wednesday President Trump's party offered a more direct rebuke, as the appropriations panel in the House of Representatives released a 2018 spending bill that rejects most of the administration's proposed changes. Although the legislation is just the first step in what is likely to be a long (and potentially contentious) process of setting federal spending for the fiscal year that begins in October, the mark laid down by the Republicans who control the House clearly suggests that the draconian cuts the administration envisioned will not come to pass.
 
Fed Official Apologizes for '90%' Remark on Campus Rape: What's the Research?
Candice E. Jackson, acting assistant secretary for civil rights in the Department of Education, made a bombshell comment to The New York Times stating that 90 percent of campus sexual-assault complaints "fall into the category of 'we were both drunk'" and involve a regretful female student. Campus investigations have not been fair to students who are accused of sexual misconduct, Ms. Jackson told the Times. She added that, in most cases, there's "not even an accusation that these accused students overrode the will of a young woman." "Rather," she continued, "the accusations -- 90 percent of them -- fall into the category of 'we were both drunk,' 'we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right.'" It's unclear whether her 90-percent figure was supposed to refer to all campus rape cases, or to open federal Title IX investigations against colleges for possibly mishandling sexual-violence cases. (There are 339 of those, by the way.) In any case, Ms. Jackson's remarks quickly provoked outrage on social media.
 
University leaders say they need to improve communication on science with public
Views on higher education are becoming increasingly hostile among certain Americans, and scientists say some of the blame rests with them. They aren't apologizing for their work, but for their failure to promote public understanding of it. Discussion about community outreach and proving research's positive impact on society dominated much of the discussion at the State of American Science forum held in Washington Wednesday, organized by the Science Coalition and the Association of American Universities. The concerns were raised by the 12 provosts and vice presidents of research from universities across the country, especially in light of a recent Pew study finding that 58 percent of Republicans see colleges as having a negative impact on the country's direction, a dramatic uptick among members of a party that control the presidency, both chambers of Congress, the majority of statehouses and the majority of governors' mansions.
 
Helping caregivers provide an invaluable service to those in need
Third District Congressman Gregg Harper writes in The Hill: "How does one assign a value to the invaluable? This is a question I often find myself asking. How does one put a dollar amount to the emotional, financial and physical commitment of family caregiving? As the parent of an amazing 28 year-old son, Livingston, who has an intellectual disability known as Fragile X Syndrome, I have been in a similar place as many of the devoted family caregivers throughout this country. And like many of them, I would not trade those experiences for anything. ...My wife Sidney and I have been blessed with our son Livingston. He was one of the first graduates of Mississippi State University's ACCESS Program for students with intellectual disabilities. He now works part-time at an incredible restaurant near our home in Mississippi and is in many ways self-sufficient. ...So I ask you again: How does one assign a value to the invaluable? How can we help those 40 million family caregivers provide such an invaluable service to those in need?"


SPORTS
 
SEC Media Days: Dan Mullen's hope for Nick Fitzgerald -- make more non-spectacular plays
Dan Mullen wants to see quarterback Nick Fitzgerald make more non-spectacular plays in 2017. Yes, you read that right. Fitzgerald proved his skills last season after stepping into Dak Prescott's shoes. He passed for 2,423 yards and rushed for 1,375 -- the most rushing yards by any Southeastern Conference quarterback since Johnny Manziel had 1,410 for Texas A&M in 2012. But now that Fitzgerald is a junior, Mullen is looking for more plays that mark one as a veteran quarterback -- the check downs, the safe choices, the decisions that limit turnovers. "Young quarterbacks struggle with that," Mullen said. "They want to hit the long ball, especially a guy that has a strong arm like Nick. ... Those non-spectacular plays help."
 
Mississippi State's Logan Cooke on preseason watch list for top punter
Mississippi State senior Logan Cooke was one of 30 punters selected to the preseason watch list for the Ray Guy Award on Wednesday. Cooke punted 44 times last year for 1,760 yards with a 40 yard average. He pinned half of his kicks inside the red zone and booted nine of them over 50 yards with a long of 68-yards. The 6-foot-5, 228-pounder from Darbun has punted in 32 games over the last three seasons with a career average of 41.1 yards. Mid-year candidates for the nation's top punter will be released on Halloween and semifinalists selected on Nov. 16. Three finalists will be named on Nov. 21 and the winner announced at the College Football Awards Show on Dec. 7.
 
Mississippi State women, Dak Prescott win at ESPY Awards
It was hard to imagine any game other than Mississippi State's stunning win over UConn being named Best Upset at Wednesday's ESPY Awards. The Bulldogs delivered again, more than four months after ending the Huskies' 111-game winning streak. Also Wednesday night, former MSU quarterback Dak Prescott was named Best Breakthrough Athlete for his rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys. It was the first award presented during the live broadcast. "It's such an honor," Prescott, the 2016 NFL Rookie of the Year, told the Microsoft Theater crowd. "I'm so humbled."
 
Mississippi State women, Dak Prescott each win ESPY award
Mississippi State women's basketball's most historic team and Bulldog alumnus Dak Prescott each won an ESPY Wednesday night during the awards ceremony at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles.
 The Bulldogs' upset of UConn in the 2017 NCAA Women's Final Four earned them the Best Upset ESPY, while Prescott took home the award for Best Breakthrough Athlete. Playing in their first Final Four, the Bulldogs won 66-64 in overtime to snap the Huskies' college basketball-record 111-game win streak. Morgan William's buzzer beater secured MSU a spot in the national title game in its first Final Four. Her shot made it to the finals of the voting for the Best Play ESPY.
 
Former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt sues school, alleging defamation of character
Former football coach Houston Nutt filed a civil lawsuit against the University of Mississippi and the Ole Miss Athletic Foundation on Wednesday, alleging breach of contract via defamation of character, in relation to the school's handling of an NCAA investigation. Nutt, who coached at Ole Miss from 2008-11 and currently is a CBS television analyst, signed a separation agreement in November 2011 that he alleges the school violated. He is suing the school for punitive damages related to what the suit says was a "long-running ...smear campaign" aimed at Nutt. The suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Oxford, Miss., hammers current Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze and athletic director Ross Bjork for creating and perpetuating a "false narrative" regarding the nature of the NCAA's long-running investigation.
 
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze cautious in addressing Houston Nutt lawsuit
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze had little to say about the latest turn related to the on-going NCAA investigation into the football program when he met with local media prior to beginning his SEC Media Days rotation today. Former coach Houston Nutt filed a lawsuit against the school Wednesday claiming it has pushed a false and misleading narrative regarding scope of NCAA allegations attached to his time at Ole Miss. Vice chancellor of athletics Ross Bjork, media relations director Kyle Campbell and Freeze were among those named in the suit. "I would love to share my options on it, but it's a legal case, and I just can't comment. I'm not at liberty to do that," Freeze said. The lawsuit also accuses Ole Miss of violating its 2011 severance agreement between Nutt and the school.
 
Houston Nutt has filed a lawsuit against Ole Miss, its foundation
Houston Nutt hasn't coached a game at Ole Miss in six years, but he's far from done with the university. Nutt filed a lawsuit -- citing breach of contract and breach of good faith and fair dealing -- against the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation, the university itself, and the Board of Trustees on Wednesday. The federal suit was filed in Oxford. Thomas Mars, who is representing Nutt, said there was a breach in Nutt's severance agreement with Ole Miss, which allegedly stems from "certain false and defamatory statements made by and on behalf of the Defendants in connection with an NCAA investigation of the Ole Miss football program." The complaint targets Hugh Freeze, Ross Bjork and Kyle Campbell, Ole Miss' associate athletic director for communications, specifically.
 
UGA AD Greg McGarity: 'It's all about the people'
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity summed up the 2016-2017 athletic year for in one word during a speech for the Rotary Club of Athens at Holiday Inn Wednesday. "Almost." "I don't look back too often, but sometimes you have to look back to see what you can improve and really, I thought this was the year of almost," McGarity said. He pointed to football -- the close wins over Missouri and Kentucky and the close losses. He mentioned the close contests in men's basketball. Second place finishes nationally in women's track and field and equestrian, and top four finishes in indoor track and men's tennis. Close. But not quite there. McGarity spoke for about 15 minutes Wednesday.



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