Friday, July 21, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Cappe's in the Park to open in Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park
In Starkville, Cappe's Steak and Seafood is expanding with Cappe's in the Park. The second restaurant will be located at 60 Technology Blvd. in the soon-to-be former Cake Box Eatery building. The new eatery will come with new hours and a new menu as Cappe's in the Park opens at 7 a.m. seven days a week for breakfast and closes at 2 p.m. Cappe's Steak and Seafood on Eckford Drive will remain open, serving lunch and dinner from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. seven days a week and 4:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. "We were presented with an opportunity to open up closer to MSU, and we couldn't pass up the chance to serve the students and faculty there," said owner Eric Hallberg.
Retired faculty association at Mississippi State names new officers
The Mississippi State University Association of Retired Faculty announced its 2017-18 officers at its summer meeting Tuesday. Retired MSU Vice President for Student Affairs Roy H. Ruby will serve as the group's president. Ruby's career at MSU spanned 40 years, including 17 years as vice president for student affairs and three years as dean of students. "It's an important organization, and I hope to be able to help it go in the right direction," Ruby said. MSU President Mark Keenum addressed the organization at the meeting, giving an update on university progress.
Cowbell Carts: Young entrepreneurs with drive
As Mississippi State University students prepare for their the upcoming school year, two young entrepreneurship students are pushing to make their dream a reality this fall. Chief Operating Officer James Moore, 19 and Chief Financial Officer Cameron Maddox, 19, of the business Cowbell Carts LLC., are looking to change the way students and citizens of Starkville look at transportation. Focusing on micro-transportation, Moore said Cowbell Carts will serve as a safe and alternative way for people to get to and from the Cotton District, Main Street, campus and back to their homes in a practical way using a fleet of six-seat low speed vehicles. The cost for a ride for a group of people from Main Street to the dorms will be about $8 total. After pitching his idea to professors at the Mississippi State University Entrepreneurship Center, the professors encouraged Moore to apply for grants which motivated him to get the project rolling.
iCREATE Campers at Mississippi State Building a Brand
High school students are learning what it takes to build a brand and a successful business. The students are participating in an entrepreneurship camp at Mississippi State University's E-Center. The week-long camp uses fun, hands-on experiences, workshops, and projects to teach students what it takes to launch their own business, blog, brand, or website. Students say the experience has given them an inside look at being their own boss. The students have been working on original products and marketing plans to sell them. They'll have their products for sale at a pop-up shop this weekend.
Blackjack Road stop signs coming down
After being in place for most of the summer, the temporary stop signs on Blackjack Road at the entrance to the Wise Center parking lot will come down Aug. 1. The signs are part of the ongoing Mississippi State South Entrance Road Project, which will connect the south entrance of the university at Blackjack Road to Poorhouse Road approximately 3.5 miles away. Stone Boulevard remains closed from Blackjack Road south to Wise Center Drive. The new corridor is scheduled to open before the start of football season.
2 Oktibbeha bridges require immediate closure, state says
Oktibbeha County has closed two bridges -- one on Moor High Road and the other on Sturgis-West Point Road -- to traffic after a Federal Highway Administration inspection, done in conjunction with the Mississippi Department of Transportation and Office of State Aid Road Construction, was recently completed. A letter to the county from the state aid office calls for the bridges' immediate closure "due to conditions found" during a review of structures with a substructure rating of 3 throughout the state. Work on the bridges should begin soon, County Administrator Emily Garrard said, but an exact start date was not clear Wednesday. The letter from the State Aid Office sets Aug. 27 as the deadline for repairs.
Economic report adds fuel to Nissan union vote fire
An updated study showing the major impact of the automotive industry on Mississippi's economy was released Thursday as an election approaches at the Nissan plant in Canton in which the workers will decide whether to unionize. Participants in the press conference at the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership in Jackson voiced support for workers' right to vote Aug. 3-4 about whether to affiliate with the United Auto Workers. Scott Waller, interim president and chief executive of the Mississippi Economic Council, the state chamber of commerce, noted that the study was promised a year ago when an interim report was released. However, the timing of the report by the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center at Mississippi State University -- coupled with current Nissan television ads touting its positive impact in the state -- is helping to draw attention to the election.
Groups highlight impact of auto industry on state
Automotive is Mississippi's fastest-growing industry, with nearly 7,200 new jobs created since 2010, according to a study compiled by Mississippi State University's National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center. About 18,250 people employed in the automotive industry. Results of the study were released Thursday at the Greater Jackson Partnership by the Mississippi Economic Council and Move Mississippi Forward. "The results unequivocally show that the automotive industry is a powerful economic force in Mississippi, Domenico "Mimmo" Parisi, executive director of the National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center, said in a news release.
Mississippi's automotive industry a proven success story, new report shows
"What would Mississippi economy look like without the automotive industry?" That was the guiding question in the analysis National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center at Mississippi State University took in evaluating the economic impact of the industry on the state, Michael Taquino, the center's deputy executive director, said at a news conference Thursday by Move Mississippi Forward and the Mississippi Economic Council. But the message had as much to do with the looming union vote at the Nissan Canton plant and concerns the groups raised about the potential success of that vote. Scott Waller, interim president and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council, said Mississippi "cannot afford to lose" the opportunities provided by Nissan Canton, which he said has helped place Mississippi on the "map of economic development." He said UAW's efforts are hurting Nissan's ability to compete, impacting Mississippi's economic competitiveness.
Joining union could slow down automotive industry
On August 3rd and 4th, about 4,000 employees of the Nissan plant in Canton will choose whether to join the United Auto Workers. Employees who support the union say collective bargaining would improve pay and working conditions. Duane O'Neill is the with the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership. He says forming a union could prevent future business from coming to Mississippi. A study by a research center at Mississippi State University says the automotive industry is the fastest growing industry in the state. The industry employs more than 18 thousand people statewide. The average salary is more than 50 thousand dollars, which is higher than the state average. "From an economic development person, I am concerned about the possible outcome because of the competitiveness that we now have, the competitive nature that we have in bringing good jobs in the automotive sector to Mississippi," O'Neill said.
House Party: Families, friends gather at Neshoba County Fair
Ask Doug Johnson about Neshoba County, and he'll tell you there's only two seasons there. "If you want to do something in Neshoba, it's either before Christmas or after Christmas, or before the fair or after the fair," said Johnson, the manager of the Neshoba County Fair. "Those are the two seasons we have here in Neshoba County." The Neshoba County Fair, more fondly known as "Mississippi's Giant House Party", kicks off Friday, July 21 at 8:30 a.m. with the art show in the exhibit hall. The event will transition into full swing at 5 p.m. when the midway, sponsored by Mitchell Bros. and Sons Amusement, opens for business. On Wednesday, the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation will present the fair's annual "Meridian Day," at 11 a.m. at Founders Square.
Coast casinos' luck returned in June with revenue increase
In a year of ups and downs for South Mississippi casinos, June was a big plus to kick off the summer tourist season. The Mississippi Department of Revenue reported Thursday that gross casino revenue on the Coast in June topped $100 million for the second time this year and was up by 6 percent from last year. The 12 Coast casinos won nearly $102 million in June compared to $96 million in June 2016, an increase of $5.6 million for the month. River casinos struggled in June. Revenue dropped by $6.6 million to $72.5 million. State revenue was down 0.5 percent in June to $174 million from $175 million a year ago.
Repairs delayed on 'most iconic building' at USM
Chad Driskell misses being in his old office at the University of Southern Mississippi's Lucas Administration building. The vice president for external affairs has been ensconced on the second floor of Ogletree House since July 2015 when he and other top administrators were moved around campus to make way for repairs to the building. "The negatives are -- I don't get the interaction with my colleagues -- the provost, the vice president for research, the chief financial officer," Driskell said. "When you're in the dome together, you get that interaction. "Now that we're scattered across campus, it's harder. We're all looking forward to getting back in that building." Work on the building began in September 2015 after a piece of tile fell off the south patio.
Retired 83-year-old educator becomes Jackson State's interim provost
Ivory V. Nelson, a three-time university president and one-time community college chancellor, has come out of retirement to assume the role of interim provost at Jackson State University. Nelson, 83, a native of Shreveport, Louisiana and an Air Force veteran, had retired to his Houston home in December 2011. He returned to the college scene at the behest of JSU's new president and his protege, William B. Bynum Jr., who took the helm of the HBCU on July 1. Evelyn Leggette, who had been serving as provost since 2015, has resigned from that post. She had previously served as associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of undergraduate studies and a professor of education. "We have to understand the importance of the business side," Nelson said in the news release. "If the business side doesn't work, then the academic side can't work. You've got to have structure."
Alcorn State announces fall student housing contingency plan
Alcorn State University continues to see a rise in the number of students requesting on-campus housing. Due to this increased demand, all available beds may be filled on the Lorman campus. If all available housing on the Lorman campus is filled, additional student housing will be made available on Alcorn's Natchez campus to accommodate all students requesting campus housing. The university plans to offer a daily shuttle bus service to transport students to and from Natchez and each student will be provided a full meal plan to use on the Lorman campus. President Alfred Rankins Jr. feels confident that the University is working diligently to address the housing situation by being proactive in finding solutions. "Getting a head start on tackling the housing issue gives us a great chance of serving all students during the upcoming academic year," said Rankins. "We are confident in our ability to maintain a comfortable environment for all students to live and learn."
William Carey University prof develops Mississippi bicentennial arts curriculum
A professor of music at William Carey University has developed a new arts curriculum for students that helps them learn about 200 years of Mississippi history. Mark Malone has worked with the Mississippi Arts Commission to create, "Mississippi History Through the Arts: A Bicentennial Curriculum." It includes 20 lessons that use visual art to tell Mississippi's history, from pre-statehood to the present. "How stimulating to work with 200 years of Mississippi history and 200 years of artwork and to meld the two," said Malone. Each lesson gives students opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of topics through the creation of artwork.
East Mississippi Community College to provide students with information on health services
East Mississippi Community College is partnering with area health care agencies to connect students with resources available to deal with issues such as unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. EMCC hosted a Community Health and Wellness Coalition forum Tuesday at the Golden Triangle campus. EMCC Dean of Students Cathy Kemp said the purpose of the forum was to find out what health care services are available to students and provide that information to them. "At any given time we are impacting about 5,000 people with our Workforce Services division and our Golden Triangle, Scooba, Lion Hills, West Point and Columbus Air Force Bases campuses," EMCC Associate Degree Nursing instructor Karen Taylor told representatives at the Tuesday meeting. "We want them to know you are available to help."
Bees invade Hinds Community College building; honey drips down Fountain Hall
At least 100,000 honey bees have taken up residence at a building on the Hinds Community College campus in Raymond. Honey has been running down the side of Fountain Hall, which is an administrative building, for a couple of weeks. Employees continued to work inside the building, HCC spokeswoman Cathy Hayden said. A bee keeper will relocate the bees, Hayden said.
High school kids 'sink or swim' during engineering camp at U. of Alabama
As temperatures rose into the 90s Thursday, high school students gathered at the University of Alabama's Recreation Center for some time in the pool. However, these students were at the pool for more scientific reasons than just to cool off. During the afternoon, rising high school juniors and seniors involved in the university's Students Introduction to Engineering (SITE) camp brought floatation devices made of cardboard that they had created during the week. The students, divided into teams, sought to test their creations in the pool in an effort to show which team's device could float in the pool the longest before sinking. "They get a simple lesson on buoyancy," said Marcus Ashford, a mechanical engineering professor who worked in the camp. "We just like for them to do it as opposed to talking about equations."
Investigation looks into possible Texas A&M Title IX violation
A new investigation into whether Texas A&M has violated the federal Title IX law was opened earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education confirmed Thursday. The department's Office for Civil Rights opened the case July 11, making it the second investigation into the university's compliance with Title IX, which protects against discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal funds. Texas A&M University spokeswoman Amy Smith also confirmed Thursday that the inquiry had been opened, but said that's all she knew about the investigation. The Department of Education provided an updated list of ongoing sexual violence investigations into different campuses, but no case-specific details have been released. The investigation opened last week joins a second active case that began in March 2015.
U. of Missouri joins Clemson, Auburn in effort to aid tigers
Wild tigers need a lot of space and for the humans that live near them, that can be a problem. It is a problem for tigers when humans cut down forests or build roads through their habitat. And it can be a problem for people when tigers eat their livestock or family members. How to protect both is one of the issues that will be studied by the U.S. Tiger University Consortium, a joint effort led by Auburn and Clemson and joined by the University of Missouri and Louisiana State University. A project aligned with the Global Tiger Initiative, it will begin with four doctoral students from India -- two each at Clemson and Auburn -- studying the issues that endanger tigers in the wild. "The beauty is combining the efforts of these universities based on their strengths," said Janaki Alavalapati, dean of the Auburn University School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. "Ours may be ecology. For Clemson, it may be the human dimension of managing tigers in the global communities."
GOP budget would mean billions in cuts for higher ed
Student aid advocates didn't find much to like in a House education appropriations bill released last week -- lawmakers removed billions from the Pell Grant surplus while taking no significant steps to improve college access. But educators could at least find consolation in the fact that the committee didn't follow through on the drastic cuts to many aid programs proposed in the White House budget in May. Advocacy groups found no such consolation in the House budget resolution released this week. The document calls for a rewrite of the tax code and for hundreds of billions in cuts to federal programs. More significant for advocates is reconciliation language included in the resolution that calls for $203 billion in mandatory spending cuts over the next 10 years -- $20 billion of that coming from programs overseen by the House education committee. Those savings would come on top of cuts already made to education programs through the appropriations process.
Could Delbert Hosemann be the GOP governor Democrats vote for?
Mac Gordon writes in The Clarion-Ledger: "Mississippi Democrats have not been as unhappy with Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann as they have with a few other GOP elected officials. In fact, some of them would vote for Hosemann for governor, if they were fairly sure no worthy Democrat could be elected to the state's highest office. I am sure members of the Mississippi Democratic hierarchy would never admit to such a notion, but I heard it said for years during my time as a legislative public information specialist. It is believed that Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, would give any Republican candidate a good run for their money, as in political contributions, in a race for governor. Yet, Hood remains coy about his aspirations, leaving Dems out in the cold for a suitable candidate unless one suddenly appears on the horizon."

Mississippi State's Aeris Williams a Doak Walker Award candidate
Mississippi State junior running back Aeris Williams was announced as a preseason Doak Walker Award candidate, the PwC SMU Athletic Forum announced Thursday. The Doak Walker Award is given to annually to the nation's top college running back and is the only major collegiate award that requires all candidates to be in good academic standing and on schedule to graduate within one year of other students of the same classification. Williams exploded during the latter half of 2016, rushing for more than 100 yards in critical SEC West matchups against Texas A&M and Ole Miss. Williams put forth the best game of his career against in-state rival Ole Miss, rushing for 191 yards and his first multi-touchdown performance. Williams and his teammate Nick Fitzgerald combined to rush for 449 yards in route to the largest margin of victory in the annual Egg Bowl since 1916.
The 10 most important Bulldogs: No. 5, Jeffery Simmons
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. 5, Jeffery Simmons.
Stewart Reese's redshirt worth the weight
Stewart Reese arrived at Mississippi State last summer weighing in at a whopping 376 pounds. When Reese stepped on the scales the following day, he had already ballooned up to 380. It was in that moment that he knew something needed to change. Reese not only changed his diet but his entire lifestyle during his first year at MSU. He began eating more frequently with healthier meal choices and remained active, even if he was exhausted after practice. Those drastic sacrifices paid off as Reese now enters his redshirt freshman season 47-pounds lighter along his 6-foot-5 frame. While Reese was adjusting to his new diet off the field, he was also learning to adapt to the demands and responsibilities of an offensive lineman at the college level.
Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze made call to number tied to escort service
A one-minute call made from the University-issued phone of Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze to a number associated with a female escort service was raised as a potential issue in the back-and-forth between the university's legal counsel and the attorney for former Rebels football coach Houston Nutt, according to records and correspondence obtained by USA TODAY Sports. Ole Miss announced Thursday evening that Freeze had resigned, hours after the school said it would provide a written statement to USA TODAY Sports regarding the phone call. Athletics director Ross Bjork said in a news conference following the announcement that the resignation did not involve NCAA allegations but was based on a pattern of inappropriate conduct.
Does Ole Miss' administration regret amount of support it gave Hugh Freeze?
Ole Miss' administration supported Hugh Freeze through it all for nearly five years until it couldn't back its head football coach any longer. In an sudden move, Freeze resigned Thursday after a thorough examination of his university-issued phone records revealed calls placed to numbers linked with escort services and massage parlors. Speaking at a press conference Thursday night, Bjork and Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter both said Freeze's resignation was unrelated to the actual investigation, which has brought 21 alleged rules violations against the program. Bjork added that Freeze would have been terminated with cause had he not agreed to resign. Asked if Ole Miss' administration regrets putting the amount of trust it did in Freeze before Thursday, Bjork again separated the investigation from the misconduct that resulted from Freeze's phone usage. Were Bjork and Vitter duped by their former employee? Bjork wouldn't go that far.
Now is time to focus on players, not search, Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork says
Ole Miss players handled Thursday's shocking departure of their coach about as well as could be expected, Ross Bjork said. The vice chancellor for athletics, Bjork did not address the search for the permanent head coach of the football program in his remarks on Thursday evening, choosing instead to focus on the players. Offensive line coach Matt Luke was named interim coach, and first-year defensive coordinator Wesley McGriff was elevated to associate head coach. It's the second time in five months that Ole Miss players have gathered to hear shocking news. The school announced in late February that a bowl ban for 2017 was part of its self-imposed NCAA sanctions. In a morbid sort of way that helped them deal with what they heard Thursday, Bjork said.
Hugh Freeze proven to be a sanctimonious fraud's John Talty writes: "On Jan. 21, 2016, Hugh Freeze tweeted, 'Been a great week of recruiting but so glad to see my girls and be back in Oxford for the weekend. And LOVED the call I just got. #SIPBOYZ16' Less than three hours earlier, he called a Florida-based escort on his university-issued cell phone. That phone call led to his resignation Thursday after Ole Miss discovered a 'pattern of conduct' unbecoming of the football program's leader following media inquiries about the escort. It's a stunning fall from grace for Freeze who was making more than $4.7 million annually at Ole Miss and will now receive no buyout because the school had enough to fire him through a moral clause in his contract. He's earned himself the ignominy of being one of college football's biggest frauds. This was a man who made religion his public persona, even using the NCAA's long inquiry into Ole Miss as an example of the persecution he faced."
Hugh Freeze's downfall is also Ole Miss', and everyone shares in the fallout
The Clarion-Ledger's Hugh Kellenberger writes: "Mistakes were, in fact, made. Ole Miss is two weeks from the start of practice, 45 days from the start of the 2017 season and, thanks to a call to a hooker, now without its head coach. Hugh Freeze resigned Thursday, although I'd guess that technical description is only to allow him to keep some small part of his dignity intact. He didn't deserve it. A pattern of personal misconduct, discovered after an investigation into a January 2016 phone call to an escort service, meant that had Freeze not resigned, athletic director Ross Bjork would have fired him. 'We simply cannot accept the conduct in his personal life,' Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. ...Here's the thing, though: Ole Miss set itself up for this -- a Fall with Matt Luke as its interim head coach, a bowl ban and an NCAA decision expected sometime midseason."
Hugh Freeze brought down by hubris, vengeance and sex
The Commercial Appeal's Geoff Calkins writes: "And so the rise and fall is complete. The rise from a high school volleyball coach at Briarcrest Christian School. The rise to jobs as the head football coach at Lambuth and Arkansas State and finally Ole Miss. The rise to wins over Alabama, to a contract worth more than $4 million annually, to a pulpit -- for Hugh Freeze, it really was a pulpit -- he used to preach about God and salvation and living a righteous life. It was a preposterous, glorious story. With a preposterous, inglorious end. Thursday evening, Ole Miss chancellor Jeffrey Vitter and Ole Miss athletics director Ross Bjork walked into a press conference and announced that Freeze had resigned because of -- in Vitter's words -- 'a pattern of personal conduct inconsistent with the standard of expectations for the leader of our football team.'"
As the Hugh Freeze era shatters at Ole Miss, no winners to be found
Mississippi syndicated sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes: "Hugh Freeze made $5 million a year to coach Ole Miss football. He was a rock star. He took Ole Miss to its first Sugar Bowl in 46 years and won it by four touchdowns. He beat juggernaut Alabama two straight games and almost a third. He won recruiting battles against national powerhouses. He was a master motivator, who quoted Bible verses to his more than 190,000 followers on Twitter. His official Twitter page reads: 'Husband to a wonderful wife, Dad of 3 awesome kids, Saved by a Gracious God.' He had it all, a loving family, a monster salary and tens of thousands of adoring fans. Over the last few days, all that came tumbling down. Into a gutter. ...Ole Miss Chancellor Jeff Vitter opened Thursday night's press conference with a statement that included these words: 'While Coach Freeze served our university well in many regards during his tenure, we simply cannot accept the conduct in his personal life that we have discovered.' That had to hit especially close to home for Vitter. You may recall that Vitter's brother, former U.S. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, admitted to using an escort service and prostitutes."
NCAA violations reflective of U. of Tennessee's diligence
The 14 NCAA violations reported by the University of Tennessee during a nine-month period ending in June covered a wide range of circumstances. A student-athlete promoting his own clothing business and coaches contributing guest coach passes to a local auction were covered, along with the usual transgressions related to social media posts and phone calls. But all of the violations obtained by USA Today Network-Tennessee through a public records request were rated level III, which the university contends is primarily a reflection of its attention to such matters. "Level III violations are a byproduct of a healthy compliance program," Andrew Donovan, UT's associate athletic director for compliance, wrote in an email response. Seven of the violations were related to recruiting. Others involved amateurism, financial aid and playing seasons.
LSU's new, $3M videoboard at PMAC will be largest in college basketball, school says
The Will Wade era for LSU basketball will begin with a huge dose of high definition at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. LSU plans to complete installation of new videoboards later this month, and they will be the largest "center hung" installation in the nation, according to a school news release. The four screens -- two facing the sidelines at 42 feet long and 21 feet high, as well as two facing the baselines at 24 feet by 20.5 feet --- were priced at over $3 million. The project was fully funded by the Tiger Athletic Foundation, according to the release. The board, which would rank 11th compared to NBA arenas, will be used during games and for some special events. The boards will feature a dedicated area for game-in-progress information like score and time on the clock, as well as individual and team statistics.

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