Thursday, July 20, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Temporary stop signs coming down on part of Mississippi State campus
Temporary stop signs are being removed on the campus of Mississippi State University. The university says the stop signs at Blackjack Road at the entrance to MSU's Wise Center will be removed on August 1. The signs have been in place throughout the summer. The signs have been part of the south entrance road project. A section of Stone Boulevard from Blackjack Road south to Wise Center Drive remains temporarily closed. MSU says the new corridor for traffic to and from campus is projected to open in late August or September before the start of college football season.
 
How data can change Mississippi's image
Mimmo Parisi, executive director of the National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center (NSPARC) at Mississippi State University and professor of sociology, writes in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal: "There's always another side to a story, and Mississippi's story is no exception. Jumping to the conclusion that everything's 'gloom and doom' can become real in its consequences. How can we prevent this? It's data -- specifically, data that reflect all of the facts. Data can help Mississippi tell its own story rather than be subject to the storytelling of others who have little knowledge of our state. ...Before jumping to conclusions about any statistics, you should ask a couple of questions: Are the data appropriate for what we want to measure? Have we considered all possible alternatives that might explain potential conclusions?"
 
Wild pigs increase range, threaten native wildlife
Wild pigs have roamed parts of the Southeast since Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto introduced them as food for early settlers in the 16th century. But during the last two decades, Mississippi has experienced a rapid uptick in the spread of the nuisance animal. "Before the 1990s, wild pigs were spreading by natural causes, using the typical dispersal patterns all animals have, but the No. 1 cause for the increase in wild pigs' range has been the illegal transportation and release of wild pigs for hunting purposes," said Bronson Strickland, Mississippi State University Extension Service wildlife specialist. "This is why some areas of Mississippi that never had wild pigs suddenly have a population." A recent study by Strickland and his colleagues revealed that the nuisance animals cause between $60 million to $67 million of damage every year to crops, timber, land, equipment and structures.
 
Governor schedules District 38 House election for Nov. 7
A special election to fill retired District 38 Rep. Tyrone Ellis' Mississippi House of Representatives seat will be held Nov. 7, Gov. Phil Bryant announced Wednesday. The qualification deadline is Sept. 18, and a runoff election will be held Nov. 28 if no candidate receives a majority of Nov. 7's vote. Ellis, who turns 71 this month, announced his retirement at the end of June. In addition to the District 38 race, many Oktibbeha County voters will have more elections than normal to participate in this November: a countywide referendum is set to determine whether supervisors should proceed with a transaction of OCH Regional Medical Center; both the circuit and chancery clerks' positions are up for a vote; and District 1 voters will decide who will serve as their constable.
 
Governor sets two House elections for Nov. 7
Gov. Phil Bryant has set Nov. 7 as the date to fill the House District 38 vacancy created when veteran Rep. Tyrone Ellis, D-Starkville, announced in late June he was retiring. Bryant announced the date of the special election Wednesday afternoon. District 38 encompasses much of eastern Oktibbeha County and small portions of Clay and Lowndes counties. Ellis held the seat since 1980 and previously served as the House Democratic leader under former Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi. The special election for House District 54 also has been set for Nov. 7. District 54, which consists of portions of Warren, Yazoo and Issaquena counties, was left vacant after incumbent Republican Alex Monsour resigned after being elected to the Vicksburg Board of Aldermen.
 
Date set for city-county meeting on industrial park
A joint meeting of city and county officials concerning the proposed industrial park will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 27 at the Oktibbeha County Courthouse. Board of Supervisors President Orlando Trainer told the SDN on Tuesday the meeting will be open to the public, but could see aldermen and supervisors enter into executive session to discuss details of the project. The meeting will be attended by bond attorneys, attorneys for the Board of Supervisors, the Starkville Board of Aldermen, the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors and officials from the Golden Triangle Development LINK. "We are just trying to get our heads together on what we need to do with the next step," Trainer said. Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill said she is looking forward to all parties getting information on the contentious project.
 
Contractor to install sump pump at Starkville Police Department
Starkville Police Department renovation contractor Weathers Construction Inc. will install a sump pump at no extra cost to the city as a way to address a water seepage issue that continues to plague the progress of the $5.4 million project downtown. Aldermen unanimously voted Tuesday to put Weathers under a separate contract for the installation, which includes a 12-month warranty on all labor and material costs. SPD's original unveiling and formal dedication for the new headquarters was postponed last month after a subcontractor brought the issue of basement flooding to Ward 6 Alderman and Vice Mayor Roy A. Perkins' attention. Although the area affected by flooding is a crawl space for mechanical infrastructure and is not meant to house any city staff members, Perkins called for a delay until all water seepage and flooding issues were completely eradicated and said taxpayers would get the "most of the money" funding the project.
 
Neshoba County Fair starts Friday for 8 big days
The Gerald Mills family of Newton will be sporting a new cabin 512 when the 128th edition of the Neshoba County Fair officially opens Friday for eight exciting days featuring top musical entertainment, arts and crafts, the popular Heart o' Dixie Triathlon, harness and running horse races and much more. The Fair will continue through Friday, July 28. Most of the over 600 cabins and 500 RV units are already stocked or were being stocked this week for Mississippi's Giant House Party. Parking permits will be required starting Thursday at 6 p.m. Season passes will be required after midnight on Thursday. The Mills' cabin is one of many rebuilt this past year on the Fairgrounds. The family bought the original cabin 28 years ago.
 
Neshoba County Fair unites families each year
We're just days away from the state of Mississippi's Giant House Party. People from across the U.S. will make their way to the heart of Neshoba County to participate in the festivities. A few, final touches and the Hooper cabin is ready. "It's kind of our touch stone for the whole family," says Missy Mills. Mills and her family live in Texas. Like many other cabins at the Neshoba County fairgrounds, the cabin was built after World War 2. There's no actual record of when the first cabin or hut was built. "Now, we have 598 of them not counting our office here and the ticket office," says Doug Johnson, fairgrounds manager. "But it has grown pretty big along with about 520 campers too." "For us, it's the one time in the year we get to see all these cousins and aunts and uncles and dear friends," says Mills. "It means the world to us."
 
Neshoba County Fair: The fairest cabin of them all
If you asked any of my 42 close relatives at cabin 14 on Founder's Square which among all of the 600 or so cabins at the Neshoba County Fair is the fairest, I suspect we'd all agree on our yellow, two-story, wood-framed bunkhouse. Don Kilgore and Alan Perry, who probably aren't related to each other or me, might quibble across the sawdust that separates their shady Happy Hollow cabins over the best venue. Meridian architect Bob Luke would be well justified in promoting No. 264, his three-story, racetrack view showcase. Sid Salter, a sagacious Square neighbor, could point to the copious politicians seeking shade on his cabin No. 16 porch (including an alleged Russian spy in 2016). Behind the facades visible with a day-pass lie deep family ties. To a cabineer, the Fair is about relatives -- past and present.
 
Sweltering heat invades Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana
Forecasters say summertime heat is reaching dangerous levels in parts of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for Thursday for northwestern Alabama, northern Louisiana and western and northern Mississippi. Forecasters say a strong ridge of high pressure will produce a dome of heat and humidity across the central United States that includes the Deep South. The combination of humidity and temperatures in the upper 90s will make it feel like it's above 100 degrees.
 
State's development chief touts economic progress in Mississippi
Mississippi's economic development head cheerleader spoke to the Vicksburg Warren County Chamber of Commerce at its monthly luncheon Tuesday and shared what he thinks are many positives happening in our state. Glenn McCullough Jr. is executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, the agency charged with leading economic development and supporting Mississippi communities in their economic development efforts. McCullough touted Mississippi's success in attracting private investment and creating "new careers." He said since 2012 the state has seen $5.3 billion in private capital investment and 28,809 new jobs. "If you are able to work, we want to help you get a job," McCullough said. "The best social program ever invented is a good career so you can provide for your family."
 
New generation of giant rockets about to blast off, without NASA and Stennis
It's been 44 years since the mighty Saturn V last thundered skyward from a launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The towering rocket, generating enough power to lift 269,000 pounds into orbit, had been the workhorse of the Apollo moon missions. Later this year, SpaceX plans to launch its most powerful rocket yet from the same pad. The long-awaited Falcon Heavy is key to the California company's plans to get more defense business, send tourists around the moon and launch its first unmanned mission to Mars. But unlike the Saturn V, the Falcon Heavy will have plenty of competition. Years in the works and the product of hundreds of millions of dollars of investments, a new generation of huge rockets will soon take off. Their manufacturers range from space startups to aerospace giants to the space agencies of the United States, Russia and China.
 
Mississippi not talking about the wealthy people on Medicaid
Clinton attorney Ronald Morton helps the elderly protect their stuff --- sometimes so they can use Medicaid to pay for long-term, end-of-life health care as opposed to spending their savings. "We can create a trust and do so in a way that the money, by and large, still stays with the (person)," he said. "But we're transferring it to a place that it is protected. It is out of the reach of Medicaid." While Mississippi lawmakers discuss cracking down on the state's growing Medicaid rolls by vetting applicants more closely, this is not a scenario that enters the conversation. "Since I've been chairman, we've never talked about it at all," said Senate Medicaid Chairman Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula, who's held the seat since 2015. Morton, just one of many attorneys who provide Medicaid planning services, said the impact is not what you might picture. He doesn't help make millionaires appear poor to get government benefits. Instead, he says, most of his clients are middle class.
 
Made in Mississippi: Taylor forklift at White House partly assembled in Philadelphia
Parts on the shiny Taylor Big Red forklift that sat on the South Lawn of The White House on Monday were manufactured in Neshoba County. Taylor Machine Works was one of several U.S. manufacturers recognized by President Donald J. Trump on Monday as part of a Made in America promotion. The forklift manufactured by the Louisville-based company sat in the driveway on the South Lawn along with a fire engine, a yacht and a piece of Caterpillar equipment, among other large items. Trump hosted companies from across the country, including Gibson Guitar. "It is one of the only privately held manufacturers of industrial lift trucks operating in America today," Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi said. The company was founded by W.A. Taylor, Sr., in 1927 as a small family-owned automotive and repair business. Taylor was chosen out of all Mississippi-based manufacturers to represent the state.
 
GOP signals infrastructure bill must wait
The timing and fate of President Trump's infrastructure plan may depend on whether the GOP enacts major tax reform -- a task that could prove challenging amid the struggle to pass a healthcare bill. Republicans are signaling that a massive rebuilding package, which has long been one of Trump's top priorities, will most likely have to wait on the sidelines until lawmakers overhaul the tax code. But with that process likely to be just as time-consuming and daunting as healthcare, infrastructure could be pushed to the back burner. "I'd like to see infrastructure get done," Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the Senate's No. 3 Republican and chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, told reporters Wednesday. "But I've always said, that in terms of how things are sequenced, it's more likely that they would do tax reform first. And that might push infrastructure into sometime next year."
 
John McCain diagnosed with brain cancer, sending a jolt through Congress
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, his office said Wednesday, throwing into doubt when and if he will return to Washington to resume his duties in the Senate. The Mayo Clinic said doctors diagnosed a tumor called a glioblastoma after surgery to remove a blood clot above McCain's left eye last week. The senator and his family are considering treatment options, including a combination of chemotherapy and radiation, according to the hospital. McCain, 80, has been away from the Senate this week, recovering from the surgery and undergoing tests. His office issued a statement describing him "in good spirits" and noting that his doctors say his underlying health is excellent -- but not indicating when he will return to the Senate.
 
Sen. John McCain's Cancer Diagnosis Puts Health Care Effort in More Jeopardy
Abrupt news that Arizona Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer sent shock waves through an all-Republican meeting late Wednesday on the health care effort. Amid words of concern and encouragement for their GOP colleague, lawmakers acknowledged the difficulty his extended absence would place on the effort to overhaul the U.S. health insurance system. Initial reports of McCain's July 14 surgery for a blood clot led Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to postpone a procedural vote initially planned for this week. McConnell needs to secure the backing of 50 of the Senate's 52 Republicans to pursue his strategy of moving a Senate version of the House-passed health care bill through the special budget reconciliation process. McCain's continued absence likely raises the stakes for McConnell if he sticks with his plan for a vote next week.
 
Citing Recusal, Trump Says He Wouldn't Have Hired Sessions
President Trump said on Wednesday that he never would have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions had he known Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation that has dogged his presidency, calling the decision "very unfair to the president." In a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times, the president also accused James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director he fired in May, of trying to leverage a dossier of compromising material to keep his job. Mr. Trump criticized both the acting F.B.I. director who has been filling in since Mr. Comey's dismissal and the deputy attorney general who recommended it. And he took on Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel now leading the investigation into Russian meddling in last year's election.
 
States bristled but at least 30 will give personal voter data to Trump election commission
Despite criticism from most states about the Trump administration's request for voters' personal information, half have said they will deliver some or all of that data to the White House election commission. And that number could grow, President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, with more than 30 states turning over some information, including names, addresses and birth dates, to the group being run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. "If any state does not want to share this information, one has to wonder what they're worried about," Trump said, questioning the motives of states that have not complied with requests for information. "What are they worried about? There's something. There always is." The data requests have alarmed some voting rights groups, which say they think the administration will try to kick people off voter rolls.
 
Flag supporter claims man was pepper-sprayed during state flag gathering at USM
A Hattiesburg woman is upset after she said a man was pepper-sprayed Sunday during a gathering of flag supporters. DeBorah Simpson said she is a Mississippi state flag supporter that joined others outside the University of South Mississippi on Sunday afternoons with her husband. "We support the Mississippi state flag because it's the Mississippi state flag, it's as simple as that," Simpson said. The group has been gathering on the lawn in front of Southern Miss for 90 weeks, since the state flag was taken down on campus for donning the Confederate flag emblem. "Louisiana has one, Florida has one, California has one and we have one and the state flag flies on city properties -- period," Simpson said. "I don't get why this is so hard for people to get." Captain Rusty Keyes said officers with the University of Southern Mississippi Police Department and Hattiesburg Police Department responded to the incident Sunday around 4:30 p.m.
 
Up to 1,350 U. of South Carolina students need help recovering from addiction, survey says
A dozen years sober from drug and alcohol addiction, Jim Sonefeld says he can't look back in regret. But the 52-year-old drummer for Hootie and the Blowfish also can't help but wonder how his six years at the University of South Carolina might have been different if the school had sponsored an on-campus support group for recovering addicts. USC has "a great existing counseling program for people that have troubles like this," says Sonefeld, who graduated from the downtown Columbia school in 1989. "But a community is a different thing. ... This is an opportunity for the university to start building a community that's going to be a healthy part of university life." Some 1,350 students at USC -- or 4 percent of its student body -- could use or need help recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, according to a fall 2016 survey.
 
Donald Judges Named Leader of U. of Arkansas' Global Campus
The University of Arkansas on Monday named Donald Judges vice provost for distance education and leader of the Global Campus, effective July 1. He had served in those roles in an interim capacity since April 2016, and the university said he has played a key role on the Global Campus leadership team since May 2015. Judges will also retain his faculty status with the School of Law. The Global Campus, which has offices in Fayetteville and Rogers, supports UA colleges and schools in the development and delivery of online, distance and workforce education programs and courses. It provides instructional design services, technology services and assistance with marketing, recruiting and strategic academic development.
 
Girls develop tech skills at U. of Florida camp
About 25 girls hunched over tables Tuesday, drawing storyboards that detailed their augmented reality adventure. At the weeklong Girls Tech Camp, sponsored by the University of Florida and Alachua County Public Libraries, middle-school girls learn about coding, augmented reality, video production and 3-D printing. On Monday, the girls created designs for printing pancakes --- actual, edible pancakes -- using a PancakeBot, which is kind of like a 3-D printer except it uses batter instead of ink on a griddle. "It just tasted like a regular pancake," said 12-year-old Dana Chen, a rising seventh-grader at Lincoln Middle School. Her group made a pancake featuring a butterfly. And on Tuesday, the middle-schoolers flipped through books and brainstormed how to turn a story into an augmented reality project, which includes adding graphic and motion overlays to stationary pictures. Think Pokemon Go or even GPS apps.
 
Texas A&M outgoing provost and executive vice president removed from position after internal audit
Texas A&M's outgoing Provost and Executive Vice President Karan Watson has been removed from her position after an internal audit found significant conflict of interest issues tied to business dealings her spouse had with the university, according to documents obtained by The Eagle. The investigation is likely to trigger sweeping changes throughout A&M System universities and agencies by prohibiting spouses and close family members of senior administrators from doing business with the System. Over the last seven years since Karan Watson took over as provost, Nancy Watson -- owner of a conflict resolution company in Bryan-College Station -- was paid $438,733 by the university for training services. The audit highlighted the $9,838 she was paid by the provost's office and the $105,767 from the Office for Diversity, which reports to the provost.
 
U. of Missouri leaders discuss future look of system
When Curator David Steelman asked Wednesday whether the University of Missouri was "one ship, four ships or seven ships," University of Missouri Kansas City Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer was quick to answer. "Here's how I know we are in one big ship: What happened in Columbia on Nov. 9, 2015, significantly affected everything I did as provost in my first year," she said. But not everybody in the UM System is so sure. The university expanded in 1963, adding campuses in Kansas City and St. Louis to the existing campuses in Columbia and Rolla. The job of system chief officer was separated from Columbia campus chief officer. And the curators, in 1967, tried to unify it in the rules with a statement reaffirming "the basic concept that the University of Missouri shall be one University." On Wednesday, the Board of Curators spent 90 minutes on the question of "system-ness." The discussion concluded a two-day development session for the board that included chancellors and other top administrators from each campus.
 
Ted Mitchell will be the American Council on Education's next president
The next leader of the American Council on Education will be Ted Mitchell, who in January wrapped up an eventful and influential stint as the top higher education official in the Obama administration's Education Department. The industry's chief lobbying organization said this week that Mitchell will replace Molly Broad, ACE's first woman leader, who will retire in October after a nine-year tenure. Mitchell's hire is sure to turn heads, and not just because he's a former Obama official who takes the reins at a time when Republicans dominate both Washington and state capitols. Many in higher education and beyond view Mitchell as an accessible and pragmatic straight shooter. But his career has been more wide-ranging than that of his predecessors at ACE, who tend to have left prominent college presidencies shortly before taking the job.
 
Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert's contract extended
Marshall University President Jerome A. Gilbert's contract has been extended another five years, the university announced. The MU Board of Governors voted unanimously Wednesday to extend Gilbert's contract through July 15, 2022. His original contract was set to expire Jan. 15, 2018. Gilbert became Marshall University's 37th president in January 2016. He earns a yearly salary of $430,000. Gilbert served as provost and executive vice president of Mississippi State University for about six years before coming to Marshall.


SPORTS
 
Nick Fitzgerald picks up Davey O'Brien, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Watch List recognition
Mississippi State junior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald continues to reel in preseason recognition after being tabbed to both the Davey O'Brien Award and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch lists Wednesday. The Davey O'Brien Award watch list is made up of 30 of the nation's top college quarterbacks, and was put together based on player performance during the 2016 season. Fitzgerald led the Southeastern Conference in total offense last year during his sophomore campaign with 3,798 yards. Fitzgerald rushed for over 100 yards eight times last season, an SEC record by a quarterback. His 7.1 yards per rush was also the highest of any SEC signal caller in history. Fitzgerald also led the nation in 300-yard passing/100-yard rushing performances, and became the first SEC quarterback to do it three times in a season since Heisman winner Johnny Manziel in 2012.
 
The 10 most important Bulldogs: No. 6 Aeris Williams
Mississippi State is starting practice in late July, but there is still time between then and now with the completion of SEC Media Days only adding to the thirst and anticipation for this season. Looking ahead to Mississippi State's start of practice for this fall, The Clarion-Ledger counts down the 20 most important Bulldogs in 2016. For the next 10 days, we count down the players who matter the most to the success of Mississippi State football in 2017. This is not a straight talent evaluation -- each player's role matters: No. 6, Aeris Williams.
 
Mississippi State unveils new radio broadcast lineup for college football
Mississippi State University and Learfield have unveiled their broadcast lineup for the Bulldog's upcoming football season. The team consists of new play-by-play announcer, Neil Price; former MSU quarterback and broadcast veteran Matt Wyatt as analyst; Bart Gregory as the host of "Tailgate and 5th Quarter"; and new sideline reporter Jay Perry. Perry replaces longtime staple, John Correro, who is retiring after 38 years on the air. "They form a dynamic presence that will share their passion and insight to our Bulldog fans throughout the year," said MSU Athletic Director John Cohen.
 
AD Jay Jacobs uses Barbasol Pro-Am as advertising opportunity for Auburn
Most of the players walking the Lakes Course at RTJ Grand National on Wednesday used the Barbasol Championship Pro-Am to experience golfing on a PGA Tour course and with a PGA Tour professional. Jay Jacobs, on the other hand, saw it as the perfect advertising opportunity. "The great thing about it is that I used Auburn balls with AU logos, so there's a lot of good advertising out there for Auburn University," Auburn's athletics director joked. "It's obvious that they're not going to be asking me to be one of the professionals here on the tour. But I gave them a good run for it." In all seriousness, Jacobs might have gotten the best draw in the field on Wednesday. He and new university president Steven Leath played alongside Jim Furyk, the 17-time winner, one-time U.S. Open champion and PGA Tour Player of the Year, and 2018 Ryder Cup captain.
 
Kentucky's new baseball stadium trades grass for AstroTurf in pursuit of 'first-class' playing surface
When the University of Kentucky takes the field for the first time in its new $49 million baseball stadium, that field will be AstroTurf. UK announced last year that the stadium's new surface would be synthetic. This week, the school revealed the company that would handle the installation, a change from the traditional real grass and dirt of the team's current home, Cliff Hagan Stadium. AstroTurf is the company that invented artificial playing surfaces in the 1960s and takes the name from its installation in Houston's legendary Astrodome. The AstroTurf of today was everything Kentucky was looking for in a new playing surface. "The synthetic tends to be more versatile in terms of the amount of hours you can be on it with any number of activities," said Kevin Saal, UK's executive associate athletic director who oversees internal operations.
 
Missouri football to host 2017 'Tailgate Concert Series'
The University of Missouri athletics department announced on Wednesday the launch of a new "Tailgate Concert Series" to take place before all home football games in 2017, according to a news release. The concerts will take place after the "Tiger Walk," 2 1/2 hours before game time. The concert stage will be located in Tiger Town, the fan area located on the east side of Memorial Stadium, between the Hearnes Center and Truman's Terrace. Notable games and performances include Lauren Jenkins on Sept. 9 against South Carolina, David Nail on Sept. 23 against Auburn, Gin Blossoms on Oct. 21 against Idaho for Homecoming and Josh Abbott Band on Nov. 4 against Florida. The athletics department partnered exclusively with Blockparty, a Dallas-based hospitality and entertainment company, as a tailgating partner for this upcoming football season, according to previous Missourian reporting. Blockparty co-founder and CEO Adam Ward said in the news release that this experience is unique to MU.
 
Former Auburn Coach Tuberville Joins ESPN as Game Analyst
Former Auburn and Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville is joining ESPN for the upcoming season as a game analyst. In 21 seasons as a head coach, Tuberville won 159 games with Mississippi, Auburn, Texas Tech and Cincinnati. He stepped down at Cincinnati after the Bearcats went 4-8 last season. ESPN announced Wednesday that Tuberville will call games each week and a play-by-play partner will be named soon. After starting his head coaching career at Ole Miss in 1995, Tuberville took over at Auburn in 1999 and spent 10 seasons as Tigers coach, winning 85 games and a Southeastern Conference title in 2004.



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