Monday, August 14, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Students, parents hopeful on move-in day at Mississippi State
Scores of new students and parents descended on the Mississippi State University campus on Saturday for move-in day for the fall semester. Humphrey Coliseum played host to students registering for their on-campus housing and lines could be seen stretching around the venue as parents and students alike waiting anxiously to start the new school year. George Poteet of Holly Springs stood with his 18-year-old son Grant as they patiently waited for registration officials to work through the process of getting him set up with his new dorm. This is the third time the Poteet family has gotten a student ready to live on campus at MSU and he said each time has worked out well. Once the students checked in, they were greeted at their residence hall by move-in volunteers, which included faculty, staff, spirit group members, athletic team members, members of various student organizations,
Mississippi State Welcomes New Bulldogs to Campus
The Mississippi State campus is filled with new faces. Leaving home for the first time can generate, a good bit of, nerves but incoming freshmen, at Mississippi State, Terrence Anderson says it's more good nerves than bad. "It's very exciting, you know. It's just a lot of pressure, it's a new campus, big buildings. It's a lot of excitement," said Anderson. The day began for the new students at 8:30. Families arrived on campus to a warm welcome. The university president Dr. Mark Keenum could also be spotted on campus helping students unload boxes and bags. School officially begins August 16.
Work begins on new Maroon Edition Habitat house
Despite foreboding clouds, ground was broken on the 2017 Maroon Edition Habitat for Humanity home Friday, and Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum drove the first nail. The house will be built by Mississippi State University students, staff, faculty and retirees, including primarily freshman students involved in Service Dawgs Day Monday. "That's what college and university is about, to not only help educate young people, but to also prepare them for their life and their future to serve and help others," Keenum said. "I am so proud that Mississippi State University is leading that way." Keenum also presented a $5,000 check from MSU to Starkville Habitat for Humanity.
Mother of two to receive 9th Maroon Edition home
A Starkville woman will be a new homeowner thanks to Habitat for Humanity. This is the 9th annual Maroon Edition home built by mostly Mississippi State University students. They broke ground Friday and MSU President Mark Keenum put in the first nail. Kareema Gillon says she'll be out here volunteering in the build every chance she gets. "I've always wanted a home," Gillon said. "We've seen my grandmother have a home all her life, my mom had a home. She raised us. The home we lived in all our life got burned down a couple years back so this is just another chance for me to start somewhere else and build my own home and my own traditions."
Eyes to the sky: Sun, moon to put on light show Aug. 21
For a while now, Angelle Tanner has been planning for a roughly three-hour period on Monday, Aug. 21. "We need to have sunblock," she said. "Hopefully, we'll need it. If we don't, it's not going to be a good day." An associate professor of physics and astronomy at Mississippi State University, Tanner and her colleagues want clear skies so they can witness a solar eclipse that will be visible across the continental U.S. Northeast Mississippi won't get the full totality event, so part of the sun always will be visible, but the sky will darken. "We're south of the line of totality. It will look like a Cheshire cat's grin," said Donna Pierce, associate professor of physics and astronomy at MSU. MSU will host a viewing from noon to 3 p.m. at the Drill Field. There will be free glasses and pin-hole cameras, as well as a few telescopes with solar filters.
Area residents have 'rare' chance to see eclipse
In 10 days, people across the United States can see an astronomical event that's been nearly 100 years coming. On Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse will cross from the Pacific coast to the east coast for the first time since 1918. The "Great American Eclipse," as it's colloquially called, will cross from Oregon to South Carolina in the span of about 90 minutes. The Golden Triangle won't be in the path of totality -- the area where the moon fully covers the sun -- but locals can still see a very deep partial eclipse. "For Starkville, specifically, we will see about 89 percent coverage of the sun, which will happen just before 1:30 p.m.," said Mississippi State University Associate Professor of Astronomy Donna Pierce.
Some locals will travel to see full eclipse while Mississippi State, MSMS plan viewing events
Randy Niffenegger spent years planning for a trip on which he'll soon embark. Niffenegger, a senior physics student at Mississippi State University, will travel to Missouri to watch the Aug. 21 solar eclipse from the path of totality -- where the moon will completely cover the sun. He's an avid astronomy student, president of MSU's astronomy club, and this trip will mark a first for him. "I have never gone to see a total solar eclipse before," he said. "I have stayed up many late nights to see a couple of partial lunar eclipses, but never a solar eclipse." Niffenegger is also helping plan MSU's solar eclipse viewing event, which will begin at noon and last until 3 p.m. on the Drill Field in the middle campus, weather permitting. MSU Associate Professor of Astronomy Angelle Tanner said MSU's event will keep an eye on the weather. "If it's clear, we'll be on the Drill Field," Tanner said.
Meridian will see nearly 90 percent of solar eclipse
For the first time since 1979, the United States will experience a total solar eclipse on Aug. 21. The 60-to-70-mile line of totality, which extends in a northwesterly direction from South Carolina to Oregon, will offer Americans a view of a bonafide total eclipse, but everyone in the mainland United States will get a show. "The last time [a total eclipse] went across North America like this was 1918 -- 99 years," said Dr. Angelle Tanner of Mississippi State University. "This is a big deal because the totality line is completely criss-crossing the 48 states." Tanner said the Meridian region of Mississippi will see about 89 percent of the eclipse. New Orleans, she said, would see about 75 percent of the eclipse.
Mississippi State researchers' genetics study receives $1.2M NSF grant
A colorful tropical butterfly is helping researchers at Mississippi State University and Puerto Rico investigate genetics and evolution through a collaboration sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Scientists at the Starkville land-grant university and the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras will be studying the relationship in organisms between genetic material, or genotype, and physical characteristics resulting from gene expression and environmental influences, or phenotype. Brian Counterman, an associate professor of biological sciences, leads the MSU research team. Ryan Range, assistant professor of biological sciences, as well as Jovonn Hill and Federico Hoffman, both assistant professors in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology, also are part of the study that will examine genotype-phenotype relationships using color patterns of the Heliconius butterfly.
DNCE revealed as Bulldog Bash headliner
Bulldog Bash 2017 is roughly a month away and event officials revealed the headlining act on Twitter via YouTube video on Saturday. American dance-rock band DNCE will be the feature performer for the event, which is scheduled to take place on Friday, Sept. 15. The group is best known for its debut single "Cake by the Ocean," which was released in September 2015. DNCE released its self-titled debut album in November 2016. This year, the day of events will be housed on Main Street.
Catfish's economic impact on the state swims from the farm to the table
The lunch crowd has already started to congregate outside the doors before they are unlocked a few minutes after 11 a.m. Thursday. It is catfish day at Rusty's Riverfront Grill and soon the restaurant will be filled to capacity. Rusty's only serves catfish on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but the restaurant still manages to through up to 90 pounds of the fish each week owner Rusty Larsen said. "Those are two of the biggest lunch days we have," Larsen said. More catfish is produced in the Magnolia State than any other area of the country with 150 catfish operations raising farm raised catfish in the state in 2016 according to the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine. "The catfish industry is fairly unique among agriculture industries with respect to its economic impact," Roger Barlow, The Catfish Institute president and executive director of Catfish Farmers of America, said in a release. "Every element of our industry has an economic return that benefits the areas where the fish are grown, as well as the entire region."
Rice harvest totals may eclipse early forecasts
Combines began rolling in Mississippi Delta rice fields as soon as growers marked the beginning of August, but wet weather soon shut down early harvest attempts. Bobby Golden, a rice and soil fertility agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said yields are expected to be favorable when fields are dry enough for harvest, though overall acreage will be down this year. "Our early crop, most of which was planted in late March and early April, looks good so far," he said. "Most rice was planted between April 15 and May 1, and that crop may be especially good with the low nighttime temperatures we saw in early August." Golden, who is based at the MSU Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, said the three-year average rice yield is about 159 bushels per acre. He said he expects producers will harvest that much or a little more.
Mississippi rice harvest totals may eclipse early forecasts
Combines began rolling in Mississippi Delta rice fields as soon as growers marked the beginning of August, but wet weather soon shut down early harvest attempts. Bobby Golden, a rice and soil fertility agronomist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said yields are expected to be favorable when fields are dry enough for harvest, though overall acreage will be down this year. The rice market outlook is also sunnier now than three months ago, as futures have climbed steadily since they were trading for less than $10 per hundredweight in May. "September rice futures are currently trading for around $12.20 per hundredweight, which is quite a bit higher than a year ago when they were trading for around $9.65 per hundredweight," said Extension agricultural economist Brian Williams.
Hancock County students discover a hidden ecosystem in Bay St. Louis
A "hidden watershed in Bay St. Louis" is getting a lot of exposure thanks to a partnership between Mississippi State University's Gulf Coast Community Design Studio and the Hancock County Boys & Girls Club. The project was a summer-long STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education program. The Magnolia Bayou Watershed in Bay St. Louis was the subject of a multimedia art exhibition that included the activation of a storefront at 122 Blaize Ave. in the Depot District. Some of the participants in the educational program drew sketches of wildlife on the watershed and built a 3D model of the ecosystem. The exhibit opened to the public Friday. The exhibit also featured a 5-minute documentary, "Magnolia Bayou: Bay St. Louis' Hidden Watershed," which documents what the students learned about the watershed.
Vibe premieres new bath balms
Starkville startup Vibe, LLC, has launched a new product in conjunction with another Mississippi company. On Thursday, Vibe and Madison-based Musee Bath rolled out the "This Little Light of Mine" bath balm, which has one of Vibe's GloDrinks liquid-activated light cubes at the center. Vibe co-founder Hagan Walker said the idea had been in the works for some time and came from many GloDrinks customers using the light cubes as bath and pool toys for their children. Walker also said co-founder Kaylie Mitchell's love of bath balms was a driving factor. Mitchell and Walker founded Vibe in 2015 with help from the Mississippi State University Entrepreneurship Center.
With voting blocs building, David Little could decide proposed alcohol changes' fate
The sides supporting and opposing easements to Starkville's restrictions on alcohol sales are taking shape, and Ward 3 Alderman David Little could be the swing vote on the matter after aldermen deadlocked Friday on an attempt to pull a call for public hearings from Tuesday's agenda. Little's absence from Friday's work session allowed Mayor Lynn Spruill to cast the tie-breaking vote keeping the agenda item, which calls for public input sessions on three proposals that would put the city's rules in line with state standards, alive. Specifically, those changes would reduce the distance from churches that areas zoned for commercial use are allowed to sell alcohol by the drink from 250 feet to 100 feet, allow businesses to sell beer with 8-percent alcohol content and allow restaurants and bars to sell alcohol up to 1 a.m. each day of the week.
Columbus Air Force Base reports nearly $261M in economic impact
Columbus Air Force Base's economic impact on the region has grown for the third straight year, according to a recently-released economic impact report. The report, which 14th Flying Training Wing Commander Col. Douglas Gosney presented to the Base Community Council during its annual luncheon on Friday, shows the base created $260.8 million in economic impact for Fiscal Year 2016. The total is up more than $11 million from Fiscal Year 2015's $249.6 million. "What does that look like?" Gosney asked. "I checked my bank account and I don't have anything that looks like that, so I have a hard time wrapping my mind around what $261 million looks like. ...That's about $1 million a day for every work day of the year."
Capitol work won't deter upcoming Mississippi Book Festival
Chairs, desks, filing cabinets and other office items are stacked up in the halls and the sound of electrical tools can be heard throughout the massive and ornate Mississippi Capitol. Despite the replacing of carpet, restoring original flooring in some areas and the closure of the northern entrance to the building for renovations, the Capitol will be the site of the third annual Mississippi Book Festival from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday. "All work will halt in time to get ready for the Book Festival," said Brenda Davis, Capitol curator. "We have welcomed the Book Festival in the past, and we are looking forward to it this year." The event will open with a presentation by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden in the Old Supreme Court Room in the Capitol. That presentation and a few of the other ones, such as one on U.S. presidents, will be carried on national cable network C-SPAN.
On the short list: 11 states vying for Toyota-Mazda plant
Whether Mississippi is the leading contender for an automotive assembly plant jointly operated by Toyota and Mazda is the $1.6 billion question. The two Japanese automakers said earlier this month they plan to build the plant, which will build the Toyota Corolla and future Mazda crossover vehicles, by 2021. The facility, which requires at least 1,000 acres upon which to build, will employ up to 4,000 workers. The Wall Street Journal named 11 states on what it says is a short list of top candidates for the site: Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. Research done by the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center at Mississippi State University, or NSPARC, shows that more than 18,000 workers across the state work directly in the automotive sector, with employment growing 64 percent between 2010 and 2016.
Supreme Court shuffle gives governor more influence
By design, turnover on the nine-member Mississippi Supreme Court normally occurs at glacier-like speed. But in less than two years, nearly half of the members have either retired or accepted new positions, giving Republican Gov. Phil Bryant a rare opportunity to exert considerable influence on the state's highest court. Bryant already has made two appointments to the Supreme Court in less than two years. With the announcement last week that Southern District Justice Jess Dickinson is stepping down to accept an appointment by Bryant as commissioner of the Department of Child Protection Services, the governor will be able to make another appointment to the Supreme Court in the coming weeks. Under state law, judicial vacancies are filled by the governor. The gubernatorial appointment fills the rest of the term. Chief Justice William Waller Jr. said the multiple resignations are just coincidences and happen on occasion.
Mississippi charter school finalists face financial questions
Decision time is drawing near for Mississippi's Charter School Advisory Board. While a proposed school in Clarksdale has an impressive list of supporters, those who want to open schools in Canton and Drew may face questions. The board decides once a year on new applications to open the alternative form of public schools, which are run by private nonprofits. Board members have been purposefully picky, approving only four schools from 23 applications so far. None were approved last year. All four schools that have been authorized are in Jackson, raising questions about how much promise charters have for a state as rural as Mississippi. This time, though, all three finalists want to serve areas outside Jackson.
With budget cuts looming, USAID chief vows to do more with less
Facing potentially deep budget cuts to U.S. foreign aid, new USAID administrator Mark Green says he needs to do more with less and prove to President Donald Trump that development assistance can further his "America First" agenda. In a first meeting with Trump back in January, Green made his pitch to the then president-elect, drawing from his experience in Central America to explain how U.S.-funded programs there could help slow the number of immigrants trying to enter the United States illegally. "I said 'Mr. President-elect, I believe our development tools can help us achieve just about every one of your strategic priorities,'" Green told Reuters in his first interview since starting last week as head of the U.S. Agency for International Development. His time on Capitol Hill will be key to his new job. In a sign of his good standing there, Green's nomination had support across the political spectrum, as well as among aid groups.
How the New South became a swing region
Blue America is invading the New South, where changing demographics and the slow death of the tobacco and textile industries are turning a once solid-red region along the mid- and south-Atlantic coastline into competitive battlegrounds. Democrats hope, and Republicans fear, that Georgia could be the next New South swing state. More than half of Georgia's population over the age of 18 was born in another state or another country. And those new arrivals are mostly moving to Atlanta. This is the 17th story in The Hill's Changing America series, in which we examine the economic and demographic trends that are shaping American politics today. Both an evolving economy and the rise of new demographic groups are conspiring to change the politics of the New South.
Southern nationalists again crying 'secede'
As 21st century activists seek to topple monuments to the 19th century Confederate rebellion, some white Southerners are again advocating for what the Confederates tried and failed to do: secede from the Union. It's not an easy argument to win, and it's not clear how much support the idea has: The leading Southern nationalist group, the Alabama-based League of the South, has been making the same claim for more than two decades and still has an address in the U.S.A., not the C.S.A. But the idea of a break-away Southern nation persists. The League of the South's longtime president, retired university professor Michael Hill of Killen, Alabama, posted a message in July that began, "Fight or die white man" and went on to say Southern nationalists seek "nothing less than the complete reconquest and restoration of our patrimony -- the whole, entire South."
Trump's feuding base faces showdown in Alabama Senate race
President Trump's endorsement of Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.) was supposed to settle things. An anti-establishment president would repair his frayed relations with Republican leaders by backing their favored candidate in Alabama's special election for a U.S. Senate seat. A crowded primary race in the heart of Trump country would then be all but decided. It settled nothing. On the eve of the first round of voting, Trump is clashing with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) over the stalled GOP agenda, and Strange, despite the Trump bump, is unlikely to win the nomination outright Tuesday.
North Korea might be targeting Louisiana's Barksdale Air Force Base: report
Is North Korea targeting Barksdale Air Force Base near Shreveport for a nuclear missile attack? That's the speculation among some U.S. intelligence analysts who reviewed a 2013 photo in the North Korean news media of leader Kim Jong-un and his military officers, The Washington Post reports. A map displays four lines originating from Asia. Says The Post: "One ended at Honolulu, home to U.S. Pacific Command and the USS Cheyenne submarine, which can launch long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles. The second ended in Southern California, probably San Diego, the Pacific Fleet's home port. A third went to Washington. The end point of the fourth line is obscured by an officer's hat, but analysts suspect it could be Barksdale ... home to Air Force Global Strike Command, which conducts long-range bomber missions."
High profile historian-turned-writer makes Columbus visit Thursday
Before long, Katy Simpson Smith will travel to Rome, a land of ancient cultures, divine art and inspiration. But first, the New Orleanian and Jackson native a Vogue magazine article dubbed that year's "most buzzed-about debut author" makes a stop in Columbus Thursday to share insights into her craft. Smith is the latest guest of the Columbus Arts Council's Mississippi Writers' Series, an official Mississippi Bicentennial project presented with grant partners Mississippi University for Women's Department of Languages, Literature and Philosophy, and Main Street Columbus. Smith speaks at 7 p.m. at the arts council's Rosenzweig Arts Center at 501 Main St. Her talk is free and open to the public. "I'm really looking forward to my visit to Columbus," Smith said Wednesday. "I was last there in 2014 for the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium organized by MUW and had a delightful time. It's such a lovely, welcoming town."
Pride Field at Southern Miss gets a $1.2M upgrade to artificial turf
University of Southern Mississippi students who play recreational sports or band instruments will benefit from a renovation to Pride Field -- the 110-yard-by-110-yard field located on campus near the Payne Center. The field has been upgraded with an artificial turf covering, making it the only student recreation and band practice complex in Mississippi to feature artificial turf. "It's beautiful -- it's incredible! It's easily the best facility in the state," said Colin McKenzie, marching band director. "Our students are going to get a lot of joy out of using it. It's going to be a huge benefit to our program." Pride Field had been used for decades by Southern Miss intramural programs and the Pride of Mississippi marching band. But Chris Crenshaw, associate vice president for facilities planning and management, said intramural programs had stopped using the field.
WCU hosts commencement ceremonies for 400 students
William Carey University concluded a weekend of commencement exercises for hundreds of students Saturday. Each event was held at Temple Baptist Church because of ongoing repairs to a tornado-damaged auditorium on the Hattiesburg campus. Featured speaker for the afternoon commencement was Congressman Steven Palazzo. The university awarded degrees to more than 400 students during the ceremonies.
First wave of Auburn students moves in
An estimated 1,500 students moved into dorms at Auburn University on Friday for the school's early move-in day, assistant director of University Housing and Residence Life Rob Mckinnell said. Carloads of students and parents inched their way down College Street and Samford Avenue from 6 a.m. until 3 p.m. en route to their dorms. Friday's move-in day was for Army ROTC, Navy ROTC, Honors College Week of Service participants and sorority recruitment participants, according to the university housing website. Staff from the university's enrollment services department were manning refreshment stands on the quad all day. "We're just trying to provide sno cones, water and popcorn to prospective students and their families as they're moving in today," Velda Rooker, interim dean of enrollment services, said. This was the first year Enrollment Services served snacks during move-in.
UGA classes begin Monday with likely record enrollment
A record freshman class with record academic qualifications, culled out of a record number of applications, is likely to push University of Georgia enrollment to another record high as UGA fall semester classes begin Monday. The class of 2021 could also set a record for diversity, according to numbers the university recently released. The 5,800-student first-year class posted an average 4.0 high school grade point average and scored an average 30 -- the 95th percentile -- on the ACT, according to UGA's announcement. Four years ago, the freshman class' high school GPA was 3.86, and the average ACT was 29 on the test's 36-point scale. UGA officials offered $3,500 to upperclassmen who signed housing contracts to back out, and 120 took them up on the offer. That equals about $420,000 the university spent to gain back some housing space.
UGA professor's Waffle House eclipse-viewing map goes viral
University of Georgia geography professor Jerry Shannon became a media magnet this week after inventing one of those things the world didn't know it needed until it was actually there -- a map showing where you could watch the eclipse while dining at a Waffle House. The map showed Waffle House locations in the South within the path of total eclipse during the upcoming Aug. 21 solar eclipse. "The Eclipse: Smothered and Covered: The best places to watch the eclipse while eating at Waffle House!" went viral after Shannon posted it on Twitter. Hundreds re-tweeted it, and by Friday, Shannon was fielding reporters' calls from such national media outlets as the Chronicle of Higher Education and CNN, along with the Waffle House company itself, which also retweeted his map.
Public Records Appear to Have Been Altered by Former General Counsel, U. of Florida Audit Finds
Internal auditors found evidence that the University of Florida's former general counsel, Jamie Keith, may have illegally altered or destroyed public records, according to an audit released on Friday. On most issues, auditors stopped short of issuing formal findings related to Ms. Keith, who resigned in May. The auditors wrote that "no further interviews" were performed after Ms. Keith's May 31 departure, which prevented auditors from finishing much of their investigation. A university spokeswoman said that it is "standard operating procedure" for university auditors to suspend an investigation following an employee's resignation. Nevertheless, the report identified multiple irregularities in how records requests appeared to have been handled by the university.
At U. of Missouri, efficiency is the new normal because of budget cuts
On the surface, much will be the same when University of Missouri students begin classes at the Columbia campus next week. Meanwhile, many returning faculty and staff will be adjusting to new roles and responsibilities in light of recent staffing and budget reductions. In May, MU released a budget proposal that called for the elimination of more than 300 jobs and roughly $60 million in budget cuts for fiscal year 2018. Low enrollment, slashed state funding, cost increases and strategic investments led to the budget shortfall and widespread reductions. The majority of the changes went into effect this summer. Administrators say the duties of those lost positions were either eliminated or reallocated to remaining staff. MU administrators, however, are determined to provide quality research and education using the resources it has, spokesman Christian Basi said, even as those resources have decreased.
White nationalist plans second alt-right rally at Texas A&M on Sept. 11
White nationalist Preston Wiginton is organizing a White Lives Matter demonstration at Texas A&M on Sept. 11, an event he started planning Saturday after race-related protests and counter-protests turned deadly Saturday in Charlottesville, Va. A peaceful student counter-protest already is being planned by Aggies. The news of Wiginton's event was first reported by A&M's student newspaper The Battalion on Saturday. Wiginton is known for having organized a controversial race-relations speech given on campus by white supremacist Richard Spencer in December. In an interview Saturday with The Eagle, Wiginton said he felt the Spencer speech was a success for the "alt-right" movement, inspiring the spread of similar groups across the nation. The Associated Press defines "alt-right" as "an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism and populism."
As White Supremacists Wreak Havoc, a University Becomes a Crisis Center
Several days before white nationalists and neo-Nazis were slated to descend upon Charlottesville, Va., the University of Virginia planned a response: what it called "a day of events displaying its commitment to mutual respect and inclusion." As a march proceeded in the town, the university would hold dozens of sessions. The university's provost would lead a talk called "intolerance of intolerance." A student would train others on how to ally with undocumented immigrants. There would be a potluck. It all came to naught. On Saturday morning, the university canceled not just the programs it had planned, but all activities, as scenes of violence on the city's streets were broadcast across the nation. The university cited the state of emergency declared by Virginia's governor, Terry McAuliffe, as well as the County of Albemarle. The university's president, Teresa A. Sullivan, condemned the violence in a statement on Saturday morning.
White supremacy is turning up on campus in speeches and leaflets
The events in Charlottesville this weekend have worried educators nationwide. But they are not typical of how white supremacists are turning up on campus. The last academic year saw more of a visible white power movement on campus than ever before, according to the Anti-Defamation League and others. Much of the activity, however, came in the form of racist posters and leaflets that appeared on campuses, most of the time anonymously and without any link to a person on campus. The last year also saw, however, a campaign by the National Policy Institute to hold events on campus -- and that effort may be picking up this fall. The institution describes itself as committed to promoting "the heritage, identity and future of people of European descent." The leader of the group, Richard Spencer, is known for "Hail Trump" rhetoric that prompts his supporters to respond with Nazi salutes.
When White Supremacists Descend, What Can a College President Do?
The University of Virginia became the latest public-college campus to be thrust into political discord and deadly violence when white supremacists paraded through the streets of Charlottesville, Va., this weekend. The chaos in Charlottesville added a dangerous element to what was already expected to be a contentious climate when students return to college campuses this fall. While several controversies over free speech on campuses have, so far, stemmed from students opposing visits by far-right figures, the mayhem in Virginia presented a very different kind of threat. It brought to light questions about what college leaders can do when extremists descend on campuses, at a time when presidents may draw fire -- as Teresa A. Sullivan, UVa's president, did initially -- for not speaking out as strongly as some people want.
Why August is the new norm
Angela Farmer, an assistant professor of educational leadership at Mississippi State, writes: "It is difficult to believe, but a majority of schools across the nation are gearing up to return to or are already back in the classroom. For those who feel that it the summer must have flown by too quickly and that the dog days of summer are still in full swing, there is some clarity. On one hand summer has gone quickly; however, what many may be referring to is the fact that the summer break, on which former generations reflect, did, in fact, last longer into the fall. Based on CNN researcher, Daphne Sashain's study, summer break lasted through Labor Day well into the 1980's. While many schools in the northeast and a scattering of schools in the extreme northwest still adhere to this calendar, the rest of the nation appears to have migrated to a calendar with start days in early August."
Let's take a data-driven look at another side of Nissan's success story
Domenico "Mimmo" Parisi, executive director of the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center (NSPARC) at Mississippi State University and a professor of sociology, writes in the Mississippi Business Journal: "It's no surprise that the union vote at Nissan's manufacturing facility in Canton generated national headlines. This coverage culminated last week when workers voted 2,244 to 1,307 against the union. As I wrote in a recent column about millenials in Mississippi, there's always another side to a story. I think one of the most compelling stories about Nissan has been overlooked. Using data-driven analysis, let's examine that story."
Will tax cuts ease economic distress and health disparities?
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "The 13-state Appalachian Regional Commission just released its latest county economic status rankings. Mississippi has 24 ARC counties with 12 ranked 'distressed,' nine 'at-risk,' three 'transitional,' and none 'competitive' or 'attainment.' Rankings did not change from last year. What do these rankings mean? ARC calculates the economic status of counties based on unemployment rates, per capita market income, and poverty rates. It then ranks its counties against all counties in America. The eight-state Delta Regional Authority rates its counties' economic status too. Mississippi has 47 counties in DRA. Using a slightly different methodology based on unemployment rates and per capita income, DRA rates 45 of these counties as distressed. Altogether, 64 of Mississippi's 82 counties are served by the two regional commissions with 61 rated as having significant economic distress. Not a pretty picture. It gets worse."
Details scarce on Mississippi Transparency website
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "As I write this column, I have a splitting headache and it's state government's fault. I just spent more than an hour on the Transparency Mississippi website, or as I like to call it, the Mildly Translucent Mississippi site or the Through a Glass Darkly site. I attempted (unsuccessfully) to help a colleague find something on And, because I'm weird and have in the past spent many, many hours going through such records, I clicked on the 'travel' button. This is supposed to let you easily see itemized state government travel spending by agency, by employee and by location."

Many memorable moments for Mississippi State walk-on Brad Wall
About five minutes before the start of the Auburn game last season, Mississippi State true freshman Brad Wall was told to get ready. The Bulldogs' usual kickoff man Logan Cooke was unable to go due to a knee injury and Wall was called upon to fill that role and make his collegiate debut in front of a national television audience on ESPN. "To be honest, I really didn't have a chance to get nervous," Wall said. "It was unforgettable I can tell you that. I can still feel the heat from those flamethrowers and running out and seeing the crowd." MSU won the coin toss and deferred until the second half meaning Wall would be responsible for the opening kickoff. With his adrenaline in overdrive, the 5-foot-8, 175-pounder charged towards the ball as over 60,000 screaming fans rose to their feet for the start of the game. "Of course, the ball fell over on my first kickoff right as I was running up to it and had to restart," Wall said. "That wasn't a good start to the adventure."
Mississippi State expecting new safety Johnathan Abram to make an impact
Mississippi State defensive coordinator Todd Grantham recently shared a list of four players on defense who have emerged as leaders so far during training camp. The group included inside linebacker Dez Harris, nose guard Jeffery Simmons, outside linebacker Gerri Green and Johnathan Abram. That's right. Grantham -- along with Dan Mullen and players, for that matter -- views Abram, the only guy on that list who didn't play at Mississippi State last season, as a leader despite only joining the program in December as a JUCO signee. "The guy plays hard every play, every day," Grantham said. "He is a guy who loves to play the game and is very conscious of being right. He has tremendous pride and he is one of the most competitive guys I have ever been around."
3 takeaways from Mississippi State's third week of training camp
For Mississippi State, one scrimmage is done and there is only one more to go. Dan Mullen said he was mostly pleased with Mississippi State's attitude and effort in the Bulldogs' first scrimmage last week. The Bulldogs' next scrimmage is scheduled for Thursday evening. It will also be their final one of camp, Mullen said. MSU scrimmages are closed to the media and public. Here are three takeaways after talking with coaches and players about the first scrimmage and the first three weeks of practice.
MSU Notebook: Todd Grantham sees solid defensive effort
Earlier in the week, new Mississippi State defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was able to scrimmage his group for the first time this fall. Grantham left pleased with what he saw from his defense during their initial scrimmage. "I thought our effort, energy and ability to compete was good and I liked that," Grantham said. "I thought we tackled well in space and on the perimeter. For the most part, we were solid in what we needed to do." Grantham has been able to identify several frontrunners who are in position to earn starting roles but is now working towards building depth behind them.
Mississippi State to host hoops doubleheader
Fans eager for Mississippi State basketball to get underway will get a double dose on opening night. The men's and women's team will both play in a doubleheader at Humphrey Coliseum on Nov. 10 to get their respective seasons underway. The women will take on Virginia while the men host Alabama State. Tipoff times will be announced at a later date. Tickets to attend both games are $20 and are being sold separately from season tickets. In addition to the twin bill, the Bulldogs will hold a ceremony to raise a banner into the rafters to commemorate the women's Final Four run last year.
Ole Miss officials were told not to harm Houston Nutt's reputation
In its 2011 separation agreement with former football coach Houston Nutt, the University of Mississippi agreed to "direct" top officials for the school's athletics foundation and university not to make any statements about Nutt's tenure that could harm his reputation as a football coach. USA TODAY Sports reviewed that language on Friday, which has been part of an agreement both sides have kept confidential since it was signed on Nov. 25, 2011. Nutt's attorney, Thomas Mars, provided it to USA TODAY Sports after the school informed him earlier Friday it intended to make it public through the Mississippi Public Records Act. The wording of Nutt's non-disparagement clause has been central to the defamation lawsuit he filed last month against Ole Miss and its athletics foundation, alleging top school officials including former football coach Hugh Freeze and athletics director Ross Bjork concocted a misinformation campaign in 2016 to suggest the majority of the school's NCAA violations occurred under Nutt's watch.
UGA executive associate athletic director an AD finalist at Southern Conference school
Jim Booz, who has headed Georgia's compliance department for nearly six years, is among four finalists to become athletic director at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The school announced its finalists Friday, according to the Associated Press and other media outlets. Booz was named compliance director in October, 2011 and became an executive associate athletic director at Georgia in July, 2016. He has ties to Tennessee, earning an undergraduate degree in physical education and sport management from Tennessee-Martin in 1995 and a masters degree in higher education administration from Middle Tennessee State in 1998. He worked at Vanderbilt from 1995-2004, the last four years as assistant athletic director for compliance.
Gators reward football assistant coaches with raises, extensions
Florida has extended the contracts of five assistant coaches and given them all raises. Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier, whose contract ran through this season, was extended through the 2018 season and his salary was bumped from $550,000 a year to $832,725. Defensive line coach Chris Rumph's contract was extended through the 2019 season and he was given a $100,000 raise, from $490,000 to $590,000. The contracts of linebackers coach Tim Skipper, wide receivers coach Kerry Dixon and tight ends coach Greg Nord were extended through the 2018 season. UF made the information available through a public records request.

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