Friday, August 4, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Mississippi State counselor offers advice -- and experience -- for small business ideas
People contemplating starting a small business, suggests Dustin Odom, should pay just as much attention to what's inside as what's outside. "Make sure it's something you're passionate about," said Odom, counselor for Mississippi State University's Small Business Development Center. "Managing a small business is a lot more than showing up and selling your product and providing your service." Recently, Odom moved from 1901 Front St., in Meridian, to 2212 5th St., in the MSU-Meridian Division of Business. He works primarily with people from Lauderdale and Kemper counties, but the MSU Small Business Development Center covers 10 counties. Odom, who has a Master of Business Administration degree from MSU-Meridian with a marketing emphasis, taught as an adjunct instructor at the Meridian campus before he began the counselor's job.
 
Mississippi State researcher earns major honor from Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine
Michael R. Nadorff, an assistant professor of psychology at Mississippi State University, was recently recognized nationally for significant contributions to the field of behavioral sleep medicine. Nadorff, who oversees the university's Sleep, Suicide and Aging Laboratory, is a 2017 recipient of the Art Spielman Early Career Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine. At the group's conference, Nadorff gave a poster presentation on sleep and suicide, showing that insomnia is a proximal risk factor of suicidal behavior and thus may be particularly helpful in judging current clinical risk. Since 2014, Nadorff has served as a co-principal investigator for "Substance Perception of Positive Information, Psychopathology and Impaired Functioning," a project funded through the end of the year by a $416,388 R15 AREA Grant from the National Institutes of Health.
 
West Point man sentenced to 105 years for Cotton District sexual battery, kidnapping
Terry Hill, 44, of West Point, was sentenced to 105 combined years for his role in a 2016 kidnapping, assault and sexual battery in Starkville's Cotton District. A jury in the Oktibbeha County court convicted Hill Thursday on one count of robbery and sexual battery, and two counts of kidnapping. Judge Lee Coleman sentenced Hill to 15 years for the robbery conviction and 30 years for each of the other charges. His sentences will run consecutively, and Hill is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison. Hill's attorney, Stephanie Mallette, previously said she would file a motion to have the case retried. "With the help of Starkville Police Department and the courage of the victims, we were able to bring Mr. Hill to justice in a little over a year," District Attorney Scott Colom said after the verdict.
 
State law officers to be equipped with drug to reverse opioid overdoses
Law enforcement officers with the Department of Public Safety, including Highway Patrol troopers and Bureau of Narcotics agents, will soon be equipped with a drug that reverses opioid overdoses. "Everybody matters or nobody matters," said Public Safety Commissioner Marshall Fisher. "Some people say why ... save these people suffering from addiction. Like I said, everybody matters or nobody matters." Fisher, Gov. Phil Bryant and Department of Mental Health Executive Director Diana Mikula announced during a news conference Thursday at the Public Safety headquarters that the law enforcement personnel will be trained and equipped with a naloxone nasal spray that can be used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Michael Jordan, with the state opioid treatment center with the Department of Mental Health, said the areas identified as having the biggest problems with opioid include the counties along the Tennessee state line, including Tishomingo, Alcorn, Tippah, Benton and Marshall counties. The other areas most affected are the Jackson metro area and the Coastal counties.
 
Congressional candidate releases documents on Rep. Steven Palazzo's military record
Surrounded by Mississippi veterans, Republican congressional candidate E Brian Rose attacked incumbent fourth district Rep. Steven Palazzo. Rose revealed what he called double dealing and special favors in an assault on Palazzo's military record. "Promises were broken," Rose said. Rose provided previously unreleased documents and information regarding Palazzo's service, saying Steven Palazzo sought special favors to be assigned duty at Camp Shelby, rather than be sent to Iraq with the 155th battalion in 2004. Palazzo's office told WLOX News Now that he was never ordered to go to Iraq and was assigned to duty at Camp Shelby. Rose challenged Palazzo to a debate, saying the congressman hides from debates and town hall meetings.
 
Senators move to protect special counsel inquiry from Trump interference
Special Counsel Robert Mueller III received a bipartisan boost from Capitol Hill on Thursday, even as news broke that he'd moved to a more serious phase of his investigation of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and whether Donald Trump's campaign or associates colluded with Moscow to help him win the presidency. In a clear warning to the president not to mess with Mueller, two bipartisan sets of senators Thursday proposed laws that would require judicial oversight of the firing of a special counsel. Angered over the ongoing Russia probe, Trump has talked about firing Mueller. Meanwhile, the special counsel, who has been on the job less than three months, has recently impaneled a grand jury in Washington, the logical next step in the inquiry, which has been built on many months of investigating by the FBI.
 
Trump administration launches review of drone export regulations
The Trump administration has officially launched a review of an Obama-era drone export policy, with expectations in industry that the administration will make it easier to export U.S.-manufactured systems. For months, rumors have floated among both the defense industry and arms control communities that the Trump administration plans to change the 2015 export law that controls what unmanned aerial vehicles can be sold to allies. There was even speculation that changes could be announced during a June visit from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But until recently, administration sources denied such a move was formally underway. Now, an administration official confirmed to Defense News that there is an ongoing review of the 2015 UAV export policy as part of a broader look at the "spectrum at ways we can modernize and seek smarter new approaches to U.S. defense trade policy."
 
Economy adds impressive 209K jobs in July
The U.S. economy added a solid 209,000 jobs in July, more than expected as the labor market shows few signs of slowing down. The unemployment rate fell to 4.3 percent from 4.4, the Commerce Department reported on Friday. In the past three months, the labor market has averaged growth of 195,000 jobs a month. Reports for May and June were revised upward by 2,000 jobs. The labor market has churned out nearly 1.3 million jobs in the first seven months of the year. President Trump has highlighted the solid jobs reports -- the same he criticized as fraudulent while campaigning for the White House -- as evidence that his economic plan is boosting economic growth. And he quickly took to Twitter Friday to trumpet the July report.
 
Toyota, Mazda Plan $1.6 Billion US Plant, to Partner in EVs
Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. plan to spend $1.6 billion to build a joint-venture auto manufacturing plant in the U.S. -- a move that will create up to 4,000 jobs, both sides said Friday. The plant will have an annual production capacity of about 300,000 vehicles, and will produce Toyota Corollas for the North American market. Mazda will make cross-over models there that it plans to introduce to that market, the companies said. Toyota wouldn't say where the plant would be built, but it's likely to be in the South, near the rest of the company's U.S. factories. Also, since this plant will build the Corolla, it likely will be near Toyota's current Corolla plant in Mississippi to be close to parts supply companies.
 
Mississippi needs more doctors; new medical school may provide them
For Bonnie Beth Moore and many of her medical school classmates, taking notes in her first year lectures was, literally, a balancing act. The tiny flip top desks in old lecture hall only measured eight inches across. Some students would set their laptops on the desk, then use their knees to hold a notebook. "We used to fight with the other schools for space in the library," Moore said. "So I'd go home. And then you'd honestly get distracted by all the stuff there, suddenly you find yourself cleaning. Because we're not just students. We're real people with real lives." This acknowledgement that medical students live as much outside the classroom as in it has spurred the University of Mississippi to invest $74 million into a new medical school building. The five modern, light-filled stories of blond wood and brushed steel will officially open their doors to students Aug. 14. And on each floor and tucked into each hallway are dozens of study areas, from lounges with couches to carrels and desks.
 
New School of Medicine hopes to address doctor shortage in Mississippi
Two weeks before the new school year, medical student Nathan Alexander looked out over a faux surgical table and a convincing, plastic abdomen peeking out from beneath some blue cloth. In the center of the room, a replica of an operating room, an array of surgical instruments were neatly arranged on a silver table. "This gives us the chance of a realistic simulation for us to learn here, in almost a classroom environment, where there's no patient lives at risk, and then we can translate those skills into the operating room," Alexander said. Alexander is in his second year at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine. This coming year, he'll be part of the first class of students to use the equipment in the new school -- a $74 million facility on which ground broke in 2013. The much-needed space will allow class sizes to eventually grow from 145 to 165.
 
Southern Miss police seek armed robbery suspect
Officials with the University of Southern Mississippi Police Department said an armed robbery took place Thursday afternoon in the parking lot next to Century Park North residence hall. No injuries were reported. The suspect allegedly had a handgun, officers said. He is described as 6 feet, 1 inch, in his early- to mid-20s with a thin build. He was wearing a dark gray or black shirt with dark pants and was carrying a backpack. The suspect reportedly fled on foot, heading west toward 38th Avenue. "We believe this an isolated incident," Assistant Police Chief Rusty Keyes said. "However, we ask that our students, faculty and staff always be vigilant and aware of their surroundings, and report any suspicious activity or individuals to UPD."
 
New bike program starts at Pearl River Community College
Students at Pearl River Community College in Poplarville have a new way of getting around campus. The school has purchased 72 bikes through a grant for students to ride around campus. "Thanks to the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation, we were able to purchase these bicycles," said Chair of Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department Dr. Tara Rouse. "Our goal is to create a healthy atmosphere here on campus and to get people moving and active. A lot of people don't think if it as exercise because they're having so much fun while riding the bicycles." PRCC hopes to expand the program to the Hattiesburg campus next year.
 
U. of Alabama to test gunshot detection technology
The University of Alabama Police Department plans to test the efficacy of gunshot detection technology on and around campus with a live fire test on Monday. The ShotSpotter system will allow law enforcement to receive information about gunshots quicker, an advantage UA Police Chief John Hooks hopes will reduce response times. "Seconds count in this profession," Hooks said. The controlled test will take place at 5 p.m. Monday at two locations on campus, according to the university. To test the detection system, police plan to fire around 36 rounds at close range into a bullet catcher, a device designed to safely trap projectiles fired into it. The test site will be cordoned off and will not be disclosed, according to the university. The ShotSpotter technology uses acoustic sensors and algorithms to identify gunfire from other sounds and triangulate its location. The system will use 69 sensors on and around campus, Hooks said.
 
Auburn University prof secures additional $5M to increase diversity in STEM workforce
An additional $5 million from the National Science Foundation for a five-year project to diversify the workforce in the Black Belt region of Alabama was recently secured by Overtoun Jenda, assistant provost for Special Projects and Initiatives and professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Auburn University. The goal is to increase the number of students from historically underrepresented groups who receive undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. Jenda had previously secured $5 million in funding for projects to increase diversity in the STEM workforce, bringing his total to $10 million in the last year. The most recent grant is part of the National Science Foundation's Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, or LSAMP.
 
Former Iowa State President Steven Leath making almost $100K more at Auburn
Former Iowa State University President Steven Leath is earning nearly $100,000 a year more in his new role as president of Auburn University, which also is making him whole for the nearly $1.2 million in deferred compensation he forfeited when leaving Ames. Leath, who departed ISU in May after more than five years and officially started his duties July 15 in Alabama, is earning a base annual salary of $625,000 --- or more than $83,000 above the $541,600 his Auburn predecessor was earning when he left. Auburn's contract with Leath reports the trustees there considered several factors in establishing his compensation, including other presidents' pay, his duties and qualifications, and "the need to offer competitive remuneration to attract an individual such as Leath who is currently successfully employed in a high position at another university of significant size and national standing."
 
Tennessee colleges react with caution to reported affirmative action investigation
Tennessee universities were muted this week after the Department of Justice signaled it might start suing colleges based on their affirmative action policies -- although one state advocate predicted the effort could stymie progress here. Advocacy groups have been quick to condemn the plan. A national organization representing public colleges and universities -- including several Tennessee institutions -- said they were deeply concerned. But individual colleges and universities in Tennessee took a more cautious approach, acknowledging they were aware of the reports but largely declining to take a stand. Some states across the U.S. have banned affirmative action, though it is legal in Tennessee. In general, the impact of affirmative action is felt more at more "selective" universities, according to Will Doyle, a Vanderbilt University professor who researches higher education policy.
 
Want to prevent back pain? Smart underwear could help, Vanderbilt engineers say
Back pain is an excruciating fixture in millions of lives, but Vanderbilt University engineers are developing something that might be able to prevent it: smart underwear. They are developing a device, designed to be worn under regular clothing, that would activate elastic bands to relieve stress on back muscles when people are doing physical tasks. The project is supported by funding from Vanderbilt, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, according to a statement from the university. Karl Zelik, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt and the lead investigator on the project, said he started thinking about wearable solutions to back pain because he suffered from it himself after repeatedly picking up his young son.
 
U. of Missouri sells fewer parking permits, amps up enforcement
Justin Edwards was certain he would get a parking permit in the Hitt Street Parking Structure for his senior year at the University of Missouri. He didn't get his wish. Parking permits for Hitt Street and all other garages in the core of campus sold out before seniors were allowed to start buying permits at 9 a.m. Monday. MU reduced the number of available core campus permits from 3,025 to 2,625, and graduate and professional students bought them all last week. Core campus is the area within Providence Road, Elm Street, College Avenue and Stadium Boulevard. Parking lots outside this perimeter were the next available options for undergraduates to buy parking permits. Edwards ended up with a permit for the SG7 lot next to the football stadium, almost a half-hour walk from his apartment complex downtown. He is one of many students who are frustrated about having to park so far from where they live and where they attend classes. Several students have expressed their discontent on Twitter since Monday.
 
Task force to review U. of Missouri academic programs
The University of Missouri has created a task force to conduct a "top-to-bottom analysis" of all MU academic programs in order to recommend areas of future investment, identify potential consolidations and possibly discontinue programs. The Task Force on Academic Program Analysis, Enhancement and Opportunities, announced Thursday by Provost Garnett Stokes, will be led by Cooper Drury, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science, and Matthew Martens, professor and Faculty Fellow for Academic Programs in the Office of the Provost. Stokes said in a news release that "the current critical challenges related to budget and enrollment provide the University of Missouri with the opportunity to make strategic decisions that will define MU's overall future direction in the coming years."
 
U. of Missouri embezzlement investigation turned over to feds
The investigation of possible embezzlement at the University of Missouri is now a federal case, MU announced in a short statement issued Thursday. On July 25, the university issued a news release that the MU Police Department was investigating "suspected misappropriation of funds from student organization accounts affiliated with Greek Life." The latest release stated the investigation has been turned over to federal authorities "because the former employee's actions might have violated federal laws." MU spokesman Christian Basi said he could not reveal the name of the federal agency contacted to take over the investigation. The university is determined to prosecute the case if criminal action is found, he said.
 
Little appetite for rollback of Obama guidelines on campus sexual assault
Betsy DeVos, who plans to put her stamp on federal policy governing campus responses to sexual harassment and assault, is in the midst of an extended period of deliberation and gathering input on potential changes. But there's little appetite from any corner for the Department of Education to completely rescind 2011 Obama administration guidelines that have been at the center of ongoing controversies over how the feds enforce civil rights violations involving gender discrimination. Instead, colleges and universities have asked for more clarity on areas of Title IX policy not addressed by the 2011 Dear Colleague letter or subsequent guidance documents. And representatives of accused students have pushed for more transparency in campus proceedings.
 
University presidents can't always be quick to apologize, recent cases show
For college and university presidents, the process of apologizing after high-profile missteps can seem to take as long as a tortoise walking a mile. At a complex institution like a college or university, a sincere apology can only come after a process of gathering information and weighing risks to the institution, according to experts who have been in crisis war rooms. That process is under strain in a world where rapid societal changes collide on college campuses and where students have a louder voice than ever because of social media. And then there is the human element. Sometimes, highly successful leaders have a difficult time looking beyond their tried-and-true playbooks, which might not apply to a particular situation and might not include apologizing. Other times, top brass can't look beyond their own ego.
 
Wait, Will Anyone Investigate Legacy Admissions?
If a divided nation can agree on anything, maybe it's this: Selective colleges run an unfair admissions process, stacking the deck against deserving students. Which ones? That depends on who's complaining. On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that the U.S. Department of Justice planned to investigate "intentional race-based discrimination" in admissions. The next day, a department official told The Chronicle that the internal document cited by the Times did not "reflect a new policy or program or any changes to longstanding DOJ policy." And further reporting suggested that the department hasn't declared open season on race-conscious admissions programs. Still, a wasp nest has been kicked once more. As the age-old debate over affirmative action continues in the Trump era, it's worth asking how the system is "rigged" -- to use one of the president's favorite words -- and for whom.


SPORTS
 
Can this man fix Mississippi State's defense?
Todd Grantham was certain he wasn't going to get hired. "No way," he said he thought midway through a job interview in 1996 with Nick Saban to join the defensive staff at Michigan State. Not after Grantham, at 30-years-old, expressed a different opinion than Saban, who had already coached in the NFL, regarding stances and hand placement for outside defenders. Grantham didn't just share his opposing viewpoint, as he recalled. He held his ground, broke down the difference between the philosophies and explained why he wanted defensive ends to have their hand nearest to the ball down, which is the common way. Grantham figured his spiel concluded the meeting. In a way, it likely did -- just not how Grantham feared. "He was basically testing me," Grantham said with a laugh. By the end of the interview, Grantham was the new defensive line coach for Michigan State.
 
Transition game: Former shooting guard now loves football
Reggie Todd never expected to be at Mississippi State, much less playing college football. Todd was a three-star shooting guard prospect committed to play basketball at New Mexico State for well over a year until a new love entered his life. Todd decided to give football a try as a senior at Blount (Ala.) High School. In his lone season on the gridiron, the 6-foot-4 wide receiver hauled in 45 passes for 1,308 yards and 11 touchdowns. Todd quickly shot onto recruiting boards as he rose to four-star status in football. Instead of signing with the Aggies in basketball, he instead chose to play football at MSU and was a late addition to its signing class last summer. "It wasn't that tough of a decision because I'd fallen in love with football," Todd said. "I just decided to focus on football."
 
Mississippi State will look to use tight ends in bigger way
Dan Mullen has coached the top seven total offensive seasons in Mississippi State football history. From 2014 to 2016, the Bulldogs finished first, third, and sixth in total offense in the Southeastern Conference and finished in the top half of the conference in nearly every other season. He's done it all without prominently featuring tight ends, the group almost never has accounted for more than 15 percent of the team's receptions. That is due to change in 2017. Mullen hinted as much in the spring and again in preseason camp, pointing out both times the depth of the room: seven tight ends, three of them upperclassmen. There is little precedent for what a Mullen MSU offense looks like with prominent tight end use, but he has offered an idea. "As a spread team, we're going to do what we need to do to create advantageous matchups," Mullen said.
 
Mississippi State's Josh Lovelady receives Inspiration Award
Mississippi State catcher Josh Lovelady is the 2017 recipient of the Tom Walter/ Pete Frates College Baseball Inspiration Award. Lovelady overcame a pair of career-threatening injuries on the diamond. As a sophomore at Shelton State Community College, Lovelady shattered his jaw after being struck in the face while batting. He lost several teeth and had to have his mouth wired shut for six weeks but returned to the field just a week after the incident. Injury struck again on the first pitch of the fifth game of the 2016 season at MSU as Lovelady tore ligaments in his knee and missed the rest of the year. The Prattville, Alabama native returned to start 51 games for the Diamond Dogs as a redshirt senior this past season hitting .215 with seven doubles, a triple, a home run and 21 RBIs.
 
Ole Miss says Hugh Freeze now can redact all personal phone records before public release
Hugh Freeze is being given the opportunity to review and redact phone records of calls he deemed personal during his five years as the University of Mississippi's football coach, the university's general counsel, Lee Tyner, said Thursday. Freeze resigned July 20 following a series of events triggered by a lawsuit filed by former coach Huston Nutt. Thomas Mars, Nutt's lawyer, conducted a review of a portion of Freeze's phone records, uncovering a call Freeze failed to redact made from his cell phone to a female escort service. That prompted what Ole Miss called a more extensive review of the rest of Freeze's phone records, in which a "concerning pattern" was discovered, according to athletics director Ross Bjork. USA TODAY Sports made an open-records request July 24 for Freeze's phone records associated with the phone he used during his five years at Ole Miss.
 
Hugh Freeze, sin and the scandal's impact on evangelical Christians
Former Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze shared a prayer on Twitter the week before he abruptly resigned and a scandal involving an escort service erupted. Freeze frequently spoke publicly and widely about his devout Christian beliefs. So when University of Mississippi officials explained on July 20 that they found a "pattern of personal misconduct" by Freeze, he faced scrutiny and criticism not only as a rising star in the coaching world, but as a high profile evangelical Christian, too. He is far from the first public figure to be embroiled in a scandal that appears to run counter to the beliefs they espouse. But Freeze leaves fellow believers who saw him as a Christian role model trying to figure out how they should respond while examining their own relationship to sin. Freeze has said little since stepping down.
 
Renderings of $61.7 million Auburn facility upgrades released
The summer issue of Tiger Roar magazine, the publication for Auburn's Tiger Unlimited, features renderings for a number of athletics facilities improvements. Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs previously announced the department's new fundraising campaign, called Fearless and True-A Facilities Campaign for Auburn Athletics, with the goal of $61.7 million. Much of that had already been released and approved by Auburn University's Board of Trustees as part of the new football facility at the southwest corner of Jordan-Hare Stadium, which is under construction, that is set to be completed in a year. That $28 million facility, which was approved in February, includes a new locker room, recruiting area, press box and club seating area. The listed goal for that 44,000-square foot facility is $31.4 million, though it's unclear what the $3.4 million increase is for specifically. The previously approved $12 million renovation and conversion of the current press box at Jordan-Hare Stadium is not part of the new fundraising campaign.
 
UGA will open Sanford Stadium for Aug. 21 eclipse
The north stands of the University of Georgia's Sanford Stadium are usually not the best place to be on an afternoon watching the Bulldogs. But for a more celestial event, they might be the best seats in Athens on Aug. 21. That afternoon, Athens will see a near-total eclipse of the sun, and the University of Georgia and its UGA Athletic Association are opening up the stadium to the public for eclipse-viewing on that day. The north stands face into the sun, which make them one of the best places in Athens to be on that afternoon. Athens is just outside the path of totality, but it's still going to be awe-inspiring, predicted UGA geography professor John Knox, who approached Athletic Association officials back in March about staging an eclipse event in the stadium.
 
LSU plans statue on campus for football legend Billy Cannon
For nearly 60 years, Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon has been the standard by which all other LSU football players are judged. Now Cannon will have another mark for them to measure against. He's about to be the first one with a statue. LSU announced Thursday that its Athletic Hall of Fame Committee has unanimously approved a statue on campus for Cannon. No location or timetable for the statue was given by the school. Details are expected in the coming months. "There is no player more synonymous with LSU football than Billy Cannon," Bill Demastes, LSU faculty athletics representative and Athletic Hall of Fame Committee chairman, said in a university news release. "His ability on a football field made him a legend, and the decision to honor him as such was unanimous." The announcement came one day after Cannon's 80th birthday. Attempts to reach Cannon, who still serves as director of dentistry at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, were not successful.



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