Tuesday, September 5, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
Hail State Boulevard opens at Mississippi State
Mississippi State University is more accessible to visitors coming from the south now that Hail State Boulevard, the university's new south entrance road, is officially open. MSU, Mississippi Department of Transportation and local officials celebrated the new 3.5-mile road, which will increase accessibility to the southern end of campus and improve traffic flow. "This road is a nice new addition that opens up this whole corridor of the campus," said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. "It's not just important to the university and our future growth, but for the whole community, Starkville and Oktibbeha County. I'm thrilled about this project." MSU and MDOT worked together to build the $18 million road.
SMART adds new Friday route
The Starkville-MSU Area Rapid Transit (SMART) system opened a new route on Friday night specifically designed for game day weekends. The New South Weekend Friday Night Bus Route will run from 8 p.m. to midnight each Friday before a home football game. The route follows the night route, which was cancelled a few years ago, beginning on campus at the Old Main Academic Center, making a loop with a stop in the Cotton District near Bin 612, a stop on Main Street at Restaurant Tyler, two stops on 182 at Rick's Cafe and Dave's Dark Horse Tavern, and continuing the loop to campus. "We're excited that people have interest in helping us grow the whole system and we are looking forward to seeing how these work and how we can continue to offer these services throughout the city," MSU Director of Parking and Transit Services Jeremiah Dumas said.
Distance programs in Mississippi State's College of Education earn Top 25 rankings
Two distance degree programs offered by Mississippi State's College of Education are among the nation's best, according to two new reports. The university's bachelor of education degree program is ranked 22nd overall for 2017 by collegechoice.net. At the same time, Great Value Colleges ranks at No. 11 the undergraduate degree offering in elementary education/early childhood education. "These rankings are a testament to our dedicated faculty," Dean Richard Blackbourn said. "We're proud to foster these degrees through our distance program." In part, both rankings are based on such considerations as academic reputation, per-credit-hour cost, student satisfaction, affordability and average annual salary of online graduates, among other factors.
Students hoping to pursue engineering get head start with help from Mississippi State
For 12 high school students from Vicksburg and Warren Central, their college engineering coursework has already begun. This school year, the Vicksburg Warren School District became the first public school system in the state to offer a Mississippi State engineering course to high school students. Through the new career academies at Vicksburg and Warren Central, students in the ACME (Architecture, Construction, Mechatronics and Engineering) academy were able to enroll in an Introduction to engineering class being jointly offered by MSU and Alcorn. "This is the exact course they teach to students on campus for the intro to engineering course on the chemical side," Michael Hamilton, an MSU engineer at ERDC who is one the course instructors, said. "The only slight difference is we decided to use a different book than the one he uses on campus."
Mississippi State celebrates Magnolia State bicentennial with fall event series
Mississippi State University is sponsoring a fall-semester series of fun, educational events to commemorate the Magnolia State's bicentennial. With support from the Mississippi Humanities Council through the Mississippi Development Authority, the official bicentennial project kicks off Wednesday with a 5 p.m. presentation in Mitchell Memorial Library's third-floor John Grisham Room. Organized by the university's Museums and Galleries Committee, the free talk "Farming in Mississippi: A Brief History" will be given by MSU Associate Professor of History Jim Giesen. "The Museums and Galleries Committee is really excited to be putting together this series of events to celebrate the history of Mississippi," said event coordinator Amy Moe-Hoffman, an instructor in MSU's Department of Geosciences. Other upcoming bicentennial events that are free and open to the public.
Mississippi State dietitian hopes to help lower state's obesity rate
When Samantha Willcutt was an undergrad student at Mississippi State University, she waited tables at an upscale restaurant called The Veranda, eventually working her way up to manager. She saw how really good food made people happy, but she wanted a more intimate setting, so after graduation, she went to work for Zoes Kitchen, which specialized in made-from-scratch, fresh, healthy Mediterranean-type fare. After 10 years in the restaurant business, Willcutt headed back to MSU and earned a master's degree in nutrition in 2016. "While I was getting my master's, I did a graduate assistantship in the Office of Nutrition Education at MSU Extension," she said. In October 2016, Willcutt became one of three regional dietitians Extension hired to help in the fight against obesity and chronic disease in Mississippi.
Businesses see heavy traffic for first football weekend
Businesses on Main Street saw heavy foot traffic during Sunday's Bulldog Brunch and Browse event, and businesses hope it sets a tone for the rest of the season. During the Greater Starkville Development Partnership's Bulldog Brunch and Browse event, shops that would normally be closed on Sundays open their doors from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the day after a home football game, welcoming in guests who may still be in town. Bulldog Brunch and Browse takes place every Sunday after a football game, and the next is scheduled for Sep. 17. Owner of Occasions Gift Shop and Clothing Boutique Pat Ramsey has participated in the event for years. "I would say this is probably one of our better Brunch and Browses, even though it's not an SEC game," Ramsey said. "It's one of our better opening games, especially. People really turned out in numbers, so we get to see the residual of that."
Kiwanis Club helps improve schools in India
By fundraising and selling meals at the International Fiesta at Mississippi State University, the Kiwanis Club of Starkville donated enough money to fund different improvements for three schools in India. Through the efforts of Kiwanis, children in these remote schools now have sufficient shelter for their learning space and desks to sit in during the school day. Research professor Raja Reddy works at the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at Mississippi State University and is in charge of International Understanding at Kiwanis Club of Starkville. In this role, he works connecting international students and Kiwanis Club members and helping to showcase the cultures of both local and international people. Reddy grew up attending one of the schools the Kiwanis Club helped --- Mandal Parishad Primary School in Marella Village in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh, India. Reddy was able to visit the schools helped by Kiwanis on a recent trip.
Project to fill gaps between unconnected sidewalks in Starkville
As the 2016-2017 fiscal year nears its end, Starkville residents will begin to see the completion of sidewalk installations and improvements throughout the city. According to Edward Kemp, Starkville's city engineer, all funds from the $70,000 Sidewalk Improvement Project will be allocated to a specific project by Sept. 30, which is the last day of the current fiscal year. Kemp said the city took on as many projects that could be completed within the budget, which resulted in sidewalk improvements and installations at nine different locations, including Old West Point Road, an area on Long Street near the J.L. King Park Splash Pad, a small section on Old Montgomery Road and Yellow Jacket Drive. The project, which totals 20,000 linear feet of sidewalk installations, will connect many -- though not all -- of the gaps between sidewalks that are often seen in the city. It's the latest in eight years worth of sidewalk improvement projects, said Mayor Lynn Spruill.
Alderman Roy Perkins alludes to potential conflict with school board vote
Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins indirectly suggested Ward 5 Alderman Patrick Miller should recuse from any upcoming vote dealing with Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Board of Trustees candidate Sumner Davis, who leads a Mississippi State University Extension department that employs Miller on a full-time basis. During Friday's board work session, Perkins said he was not suggesting there was a direct and apparent conflict if Miller participates in a vote on Davis' potential nomination but he would recuse himself "if I was sitting in judgment on my immediate supervisor." Perkins, who went on to say Davis could "make a recommendation in the future that affects (Miller's) compensation," added: "I have no beef in this. I just want to make sure we're legal. I know if I was in the position, I'd want to be very conservative about it because this is a very (important) vote.
SPD using social media to reduce burglaries
Starkville Police Department Public Information Officer Brandon Lovelady is trying to thwart would-be burglars one tweet and Facebook post at a time. Each night, Lovelady takes to social media at 9 p.m. and reminds residents to lock their homes and cars with posts that utilize emojis and memes as a way to draw people's attention to a serious issue through a lighthearted approach. Getting residents to develop the simple habit of securing their property each night -- the crux of SPD's #9PMRoutine social media campaign -- is the easiest way to prevent burglaries, Lovelady said. Of the 196 auto burglaries reported to SPD in 2016, he said, about 75 percent of victims reported their vehicles were unlocked at the time of the incident.
Irma intensifies to an 'extremely dangerous' Category 5 hurricane on its track toward the U.S.
Hurricane Irma strengthened overnight to a dangerous Category 5 as it barrels toward the Greater Antilles and Southern Florida. It's likely that Hurricane Irma will affect the U.S. coast -- potentially making a direct landfall -- this weekend. Tuesday morning, NOAA Hurricane Hunters found the storm's maximum wind speeds are 175 mph. It now ranks among the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. Forecasts suggest it will reach southern Florida and the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. Over the weekend, the forecast track for this potentially devastating hurricane shifted south and west. It seems likely now that the storm will affect or strike the U.S. coast early next week, although meteorologists don't know exactly where.
Hattiesburg leads Mississippi in job growth rate
Hattiesburg is tops in the state when it comes to job growth. The Hattiesburg metropolitan statistical area reached No. 1 in Mississippi for the rate of net new jobs between May 2016 and May 2017, said Todd Jackson, vice president of economic development for the Area Development Partnership. Hattiesburg also landed at No. 68 in the nation for job growth, according to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "For Hattiesburg to be one of the top 100 metropolitan areas in the nation is just an incredible testament to the business community here," Jackson said. "It's a huge testament to the business environment created by the local elected officials. Everyone here is very aggressive in maintaining a very business-friendly environment."
Finishing touches being placed on Mississippi museums
Deep in the bowels of the 200,000-square-foot structure that will house the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, workers are steadily doing the painstaking task of readying the exhibits that will be displayed to tell the state's story. Workers, some with the state Department of Archives and others with two private companies from Nashville and West Virginia that won contracts to build mounts to display thousands of artifacts, face a rapidly approaching deadline. The museums are slated to open Dec. 9. The museums are encompassed in one building on the eastern edge of downtown Jackson. Though one building, each side is distinctive from the other, designed to match the museum housed on each side.
Effort being made to simplify state revenue report
The monthly report on state tax collections developed by the Department of Revenue, long sought after by state government observers to garner a snapshot on Mississippi's financial picture, will no longer be available. Kathy Waterbury, a spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue, said Friday that the Legislative Budget Committee, controlled by House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, would provide the only information available to the public on the state's revenue outlook. Tony Greer, executive director of the Legislative Budget Office that provides staff support for the Legislative Budget Committee, said the goal is to provide more complete and simpler to understand information to the public.
Mississippi Medicaid recovers $8.6M in misspent money
The Mississippi Division of Medicaid says it recovered $8.6 million from health care providers during the budget year that ended June 30. The agency says in a news release that the misspent money was found through audits of medical claims. The agency says money can be recovered from providers or beneficiaries for many reasons, including "outright fraud," such as a provider billing for health services a patient did not receive. The Medicaid budget in Mississippi is about $6 billion, with most of the money coming from the federal government. Mississippi is one of the poorest states, so it receives one of the highest levels of federal support.
Non-partisan grassroots organization launching in Northeast Mississippi
A group of Northeast Mississippi women is launching a local chapter of Indivisible, a national grassroots progressive network. Indivisible Northeast Mississippi will six other Indivisible groups in Mississippi and more than 6,000 across the country. The launch meeting will be hosted from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Link Centre on West Main Street in Tupelo. The non-partisan, progressive grassroots organization aims to hold members of Congress accountable for their votes. "Our hope is to stand up for the values of inclusion, tolerance and fairness," said Mary Jane Meadows, one of the organizers. "It's a network to effectively speak up." In August, the group had 70 women connected through Facebook, text message loops and weekly lunches. Members of the group have met with Rep. Trent Kelly and Sen. Roger Wicker at their local offices. A member of the group has met with Sen. Thad Cochran's staff in Washington, D.C.
Trump's NASA Chief Pick Is Likely To Draw Criticism From Scientists
President Trump's pick for the next leader of NASA is a fighter pilot who wants Americans to return to the moon but doesn't believe that humans are causing climate change. Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma has to be confirmed by the Senate before taking charge of NASA, and the two senators who represent Florida's Space Coast have already publicly objected to the choice of a politician as head of the space agency. Bridenstine is a Republican congressman who was elected in 2012. As a member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, Bridenstine has focused on trying to revitalize NASA, with his American Space Renaissance Act. But when it comes to climate change, he has denied that human activities are responsible for increasing global temperatures. Such views are sure to alarm scientists, because NASA conducts a huge amount of the global research on climate change.
In Southern Magazines, Easy Pleasures and Hard Questions
From the outside, the American South of 2017 may seem stuck in a one-note loop of grim historical disputation, with fights over the Confederate flag and monuments interrupted only by meteorological disaster. But Chuck Reece's online magazine The Bitter Southerner is engaged in a broader re-examination of Southern identity that is playing out in a clutch of ambitious regional publications, some of them provocatively named -- Garden & Gun, Scalawag -- and all describing a multifaceted, multiracial future that seems to have already arrived, right alongside the incessant re-litigating of the past. The Bitter Southerner is trying to manage a tension that has long dogged Southern publications: How much to sing the song of the South, especially amid genuine evidence of racial progress, and how much to be a skeptical voice in a place where issues of race and class often shadow conversations about even the most innocent pleasures?
Historian outlines fight over textbook in 'Civil Rights Culture Wars'
"Civil Rights Culture Wars," a new book by Mississippi historian Charles W. Eagles, tells the compelling backstory of a 1970s textbook that challenged the bland and sanitized way ninth-graders had been taught the state's history. The textbook, "Mississippi: Conflict and Change" had several contributors, with the bulk of the writing and editing by sociologist James Loewen of Tougaloo College and historian Charles Sallis of Millsaps College. Historically black Tougaloo, a private school in Jackson, was a haven for civil rights activists in the 1950s and '60s, and faculty members there developed ties with colleagues from Millsaps, a predominantly white United Methodist school just a few miles away. Eagles said "Mississippi: Conflict and Change" was considered "radical" because it included narratives about groups of people who had received little attention in Mississippi textbooks up to that point --- African-Americans, Native Americans, women of all races and workers.
Alexei Harrison named director of Culinary Arts Institute at The W
Alexei Harrison has been named director of the Culinary Arts Institute at Mississippi University for Women. "The W's Culinary Arts Institute has a 20-year history of providing high-quality learning opportunities for aspiring culinary professionals. We are incredibly fortunate to have found someone in Chef Alexei who is so ideally suited to continue this tradition," said Scott Tollison, dean of the College of Business and Professional Studies. "She brings a unique blend of leadership, industry experience and demonstrated instructional excellence. I cannot wait to see these characteristics brought to bear on behalf of our students." Since 2011, Harrison has been an instructor for The W's bachelor of applied science in culinary arts at Hinds Community College in Jackson. S
UM to offer new bike share program
The University of Mississippi will soon be making it easier for students, Oxford residents and visitors to save gas, get some exercise and enjoy the scenery by biking around the campus and downtown Oxford. The university's new Bike Share Program will launch on Sept. 13 with hubs located in several locations on campus and one on the Square. Oxford Senior Planner Ben Requet said the city and university have had several conversations about starting a bike share program and recently, the university finally set the plan in motion. "Mike Harris, director of University Parking was the lead on this effort and his team deserves all the credit," Requet said. "Mike informed me that they would really like to put a Hub somewhere near the Square and we gladly found a location for it."
Southern Miss, PRCC, JCJC, William Carey do Title IX training
Junior Cameron Cloud was walking on the University of Southern Mississippi campus last week when he was approached by a fellow student bearing a pamphlet titled "Title IX Resource Guide." Cloud, who is student body president, is probably one of the few at Southern Miss who doesn't need the pamphlet. He is well versed in Title IX -- a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program. What Cloud knows is that the original intent of Title IX -- to ensure fairness in athletics -- has expanded. The 1972 law now covers a range of sexual misconduct behaviors such as stalking, intimate partner violence, unwanted touching, sexual exploitation, verbal and non-verbal sexual harassment, dating violence, sexual assault and rape. Southern Miss, Pearl River Community College, Jones County Junior College and William Carey University are all required by the federal government to have Title IX policies.
U. of Southern Mississippi student parents could lose federal child care subsidy
Keturah Haggard is a single mother of a 3-year-old daughter, working and going to school at the University of Southern Mississippi. Juggling work and studies is hard, but one thing she doesn't have to worry about is child care. Haggard, a senior, gets a $325-per-month child care subsidy from the federal CCAMPIS program -- Child Care Access Means Parents in School. She only pays $235 a month to put her daughter in accredited on-campus daycare 35 hours a week. "Not only does it help financially, I have my child in a really good place," Haggard said. "I've gotten this far because of child care. I'm able to spend more time doing homework rather than stress out over what I'm going to do with her the next day." But funding for the $15 million national grant program is in jeopardy. In July, the House Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal year 2018 spending bill and zeroed out money for CCAMPIS. Action from the Senate Appropriations Committee is expected early this month.
Institute for Marine Mammal Studies monitoring loggerhead turtle eggs
The sea turtle eggs are due to hatch any day now. That's why the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies is keeping a close watch on a loggerhead turtle nest in Pass Christian. Within ear shot of some Labor Day sun seekers, Dr. Debra Moore used her stethoscope to monitor any underground movement from loggerhead turtle hatchlings. "We just kind of check around the area, in general," she said. "Generally, they hatch, go up to the surface and go to the water. Things that really cause a problem for them are light pollution. In areas where you have a lot of light pollution, they might go the wrong way and head across the highway," said Dr. Eric Pulis, a marine conservation ecologist with IMMS.
Jackson State band director fired
Several media outlets are reporting that Jackson State University's band director has been terminated. WAPT reported that O'Neill Sanford, who served as the director of the university's bands, including the historic Sonic Boom of the South since 2016, is no longer with the university. In an interview with the station, Sanford indicated that he was seeking legal counsel. "I am very concerned and shocked with what happened and how Jackson State handled this," he said. "I was terminated, and I am not at all pleased about it." He provided no reason for his dismissal but told WJTV that he was relieved of his duties on Wednesday. A university spokesperson reached by The Clarion-Ledger Friday declined to confirm the information.
Is the price right? U. of Alabama tuition rises, but so does enrollment
University of Alabama System Chancellor Ray Hayes likens the growth of the cost of a college education to the difference between a classic model Ford Mustang and the modern iteration of the sports car. The 1975 model cost about $3,800, he notes. The 2016 Mustang costs about $25,000 but also comes with airbags and other features that weren't part of the package in 1975. In 1975, the university collected about $2,089 on average per full-time student in tuition payments and state appropriations to educate students, according to Hayes. In 2016, the amount was $16,645, but the college experience, like the Mustang, now comes with more features. System officials also say the university's record enrollment growth in the past 15 years has helped mitigate the need for tuition increases. While tuition has nearly doubled in the past decade in an environment that has pitted UA's desire to grow into a national brand against diminishing state funding, Hayes and other officials say a college education at UA remains a good value.
Auburn's Mell Classroom Building opens to rave reviews
With fall semester at Auburn University just getting started, the Mell Classroom Building still has the look, feel and scent of a new building. It also has an atmosphere that students have found inviting. "I've been in here pretty much every day since classes started," said Carly Marble, a junior majoring in Biomedical Sciences-Pre Med. "It's quiet and it's nice to study here. I come here during my breaks, usually for an hour or two hours at a time." The 69,000-square-foot, $35 million facility opened Aug. 21 on the first day of fall classes. Construction of the building, adjacent to the Ralph Brown Draughon Library, began in fall 2015 and was completed just days before the opening. There are 26 classrooms, two lecture halls and numerous open study spaces and study rooms in the three-story facility.
U. of Florida willing to host Richard Spencer at later date
A University of Florida letter sent to Richard Spencer's attorney Friday says the school will accommodate the alt-right leader and others at a later speaking date, if the group makes a new application to hold an event. Spencer, a white nationalist and leader of the alt-right movement, was denied a request to speak at the Phillips Center on Aug. 16 after an organizer, Cameron Padgett, reserved the venue for Sept. 12. Padgett, a 23-year-old Georgia State University student, often organizes events for Spencer around the country and Wednesday retained Gainesville-based Attorney Gary Edinger to challenge UF's cancellation. Edinger, who specializes in First Amendment rights, sent UF a letter Thursday, demanding that the event be allowed to continue. If UF didn't comply, the demand letter said, the group would file a lawsuit. Around 10:30 a.m. Friday, UF General Counsel Amy Hass responded to Edinger with a letter of her own.
New U. of Tennessee Chancellor Beverly Davenport working to address change, challenges
Sitting in her office the afternoon before a demonstration around a Confederate monument near campus, University of Tennessee Chancellor Beverly Davenport reflected on some of the challenges facing colleges and universities not just in Tennessee, but around the country. Just two weeks earlier the University of Virginia campus was shaken by a demonstration around a nearby Confederate monument that turned violent, prompting Davenport to issue a message to students urging them to be safe, and to be tolerant in Knoxville. "This country is in a state of change," she said. "Some of it no, I don't like at all, and I'm not talking about any partisan administration, I'm talking about the divisiveness and the incivility and the ways in which people purport themselves. I see some of the photos that come out of events on campuses and I think, where does such deep-seated hatred come from?" It's been about six months since Davenport took office as the first female chancellor at UT, and there's no shortage of things to do or think about, national political climate aside.
U. of Arkansas student returns from 'Mars' mission
Paul Knightly, a doctoral student at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, knows how the story of Mars will be told: through its rocks. Already, a few details have been sketched out through images and other data transmitted by spacecraft and what NASA calls "robot geologists" on the planet's surface. But many questions, like whether Mars ever hosted life -- or if microorganisms exist there now -- remain unanswered. "Everything that we can learn about Mars is going to be in the geologic record," Knightly said. This summer, Knightly, 28, worked as a geologist on an Arctic science mission to simulate conditions that might be experienced should a crew travel to Mars.
Tensions stall Texas A&M agricultural aid to North Korea
Texas A&M professors who are experts in helping conflict-ridden regions began this year with the hope of sending agricultural teaching materials -- and one day Aggie educators -- to North Korea to boost its struggling food production. However, that hope has been put on hold with the increasingly strained relationship between North Korea and the United States. Edwin Price, director of the Center on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M, said his center planned to send teaching materials used at the College Station campus to The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology in the North Korean capital. Eventually, Price said, the idea would be for A&M faculty to collaborate with Pyongyang professors on what curriculum to offer at the North Korean university.
International Enrollments: From Flat to Way Down
After years in which American universities enjoyed steady growth in numbers of foreign students, many institutions expect international enrollments to be flat or down -- in some cases significantly -- this fall. In interviews with officials at about two dozen universities, no consistent, unifying trends emerge, but some are reporting a slowdown in the flow of students from China and declines in graduate students from India, two countries that together account for nearly half of all international students in the U.S. Universities also continue to feel the effects of the declines in enrollments of Saudi Arabian students that began in 2016, after the Saudi government tightened up some of the terms of its massive scholarship program. At many colleges, declines in international enrollment not only detract from the educational experience, they also impact the bottom line.
University Presidents Write Pro-DACA Letters to President Trump
Amid the torrent of pleas to President Trump this week to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are letters written by several university presidents. In a noteworthy showing of direct engagement in political discourse, the presidents of Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Brown, Cornell, Amherst, NYU, and Duke, for example, have written personal letters this week. The Obama-era program protects undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children from deportation and allows them to legally work in the country. During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to rescind the program, which was instituted by executive action by former President Barack Obama. The president is reportedly prepared to announce a decision on DACA on Tuesday.
Why ask why?
Angela Farmer, an assistant professor of educational leadership at Mississippi State, writes: "It begins early in a child's life and continues throughout their adolescence. Why? It's the most asked question which begins an innocuous search for understanding. Drink your milk. Why? Don't play in the street. Why? Buckle your seatbelt. Why? While these are the healthy and safe directives that many a responsible parent has given over the years, the responses are quite predictable. When dealing with a toddler, the directives are typically focused on areas of protection. Sometimes a justification can be given as to why not to touch a hot stove, but other times, the explanation overburdens the directive. In these cases, the age old adage of 'because I said so' often creeps into even the most skilled parent's vocabulary. Honestly, sometimes there is just not enough extra time in the day to spend negotiating with a toddler. Flash forward. Now the toddler has grown into a teenager."
Bill Waller, Mike Randolph rumored as potential Tate Reeves challengers
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "Rumors that Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves will get a serious primary challenger for governor intensify. There's the rumor he can't beat Attorney General Jim Hood so politicos and money men are looking to recruit a strong challenger who can. There are rumors of growing concerns by Republican leaders that Democrats could win three races, Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General if Reeves is at the top of the ticket. And there are rumors that potentially strong candidates are stirring in case there really is something to all these rumors. Discontent with Reeves' leadership -- lack thereof, style, tone, etc. -- seem behind the rumors."
Legislature needs a plan for budget, taxes, infrastructure
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "What the Mississippi Legislature needs is a plan. Actually, it needs multiple plans, for the budget, taxes, infrastructure ...And in the cases where plans exist -- some for which taxpayers paid experts to draft -- lawmakers need to figure out how to get together and follow them. Nowhere is this more evident than with the state budget and revenue and taxes. State leaders have played whack-a-mole with taxpayers' money and state agencies' funding for several years now."
Lawmakers must act on FAA, 2018 funding soon
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, writes: "I hope these partisan tactics do not continue into the fall, when a number of pressing legislative items need the full attention of the Senate. One of these items is the reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which would expire at the end of September without congressional action. The FAA provides important services affecting our airports, air traffic and air travel experiences. Senate passage of a four-year reauthorization would offer stability and certainty to the future of these operations. As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, I sponsored several amendments to the FAA bill, which passed in committee earlier this summer. Those provisions would provide federal support for airports in our rural communities, require a review of airline fees and create an unmanned systems safety research facility at Mississippi State University, which leads the FAA's Center for Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems."

Mississippi State dominates Charleston Southern 49-0
In their opening game of the year, Dan Mullen's Mississippi State team needed to clear the deck. Last year's campaign was plagued by injuries and inconsistencies on both sides of the ball, and the team squeaked into a bowl game with a losing record. If 2017 is to be any different, the Bulldogs needed to set the tone in Week One. Boy, did they. Nick Fitzgerald threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score to lead Mississippi State to a 49-0 victory over Charleston Southern on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.
Mississippi State invests in present by playing true freshman Keytaon Thompson
By now you have likely heard Keytaon Thompson played Saturday. But considering the score of the game by the time the true freshman quarterback saw action, even the most die-hard Mississippi State fan would be excused for missing his debut. So, a quick recap of "firsts." On his first play as Mississippi State's quarterback, Keytaon Thompson handed the ball off to Nick Gibson for a 3-yard gain. Thompson's first completion took three series and it went to Gibson for 4 yards. Thompson's first touchdown was an 11-yard strike to Jamal Couch, who ran a slant toward the middle of the end zone.
Mississippi State defense as dominant as I've seen
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Logan Lowery writes: "Over the last three decades, I've played, watched and covered a lot of football games from pee wee all the way up to the pros. But I don't recall ever seeing a defensive performance quite as dominant as I saw Mississippi State showcase last Saturday. The Bulldogs were simply relentless on that side of the ball from start to finish in a 49-0 shutout against Charleston Southern. MSU surrendered just 33 total offensive yards (18 rushing, 15 passing), two first downs and notched a pair of safeties to boot. In fact, those statistics would've been worse than that had the Buccaneers not netted 19 yards and a first down on their final drive. The most telling stat of all might be that Charleston Southern never crossed midfield the entire game."
Hurricane Irma has attention of Florida college football teams
Florida football teams are keeping an eye on Hurricane Irma as the powerful storm churns closer to the United States. The latest category four hurricane models indicate Irma will most likely directly impact South Florida and home games for the Miami Dolphins and FIU Panthers, with Miami and FAU playing the road contests. The NFL and Conference USA are still weighing whether to move the games. It remains unclear whether the storm will take a turn north and have more of an impact on the central and northern part of the state. Florida and Florida State both host home games Saturday night, but both are outside the current hurricane track.
Texas A&M regent says he would vote to fire coach Kevin Sumlin
Texas A&M University System Regent Tony Buzbee vented his frustration with the Aggies' 45-44 loss at UCLA on Sunday in a Facebook post by saying he would vote to fire head coach Kevin Sumlin. "Our players were better tonight," Buzbee said in the Facebook post. "Our players were more talented tonight. But coaches were dominated on national TV, yet again. I'm only one vote on the Board of Regents but when the time comes my vote will be that Kevin Sumlin needs to GO. In my view he should go now. We owe it to our school and our players. We can do better." Buzbee, a Houston-area attorney, has served on the Board of Regents since 2013.
Football Favoritism at F.S.U.: The Price One Teacher Paid
As the Florida State University football team was marching to a national title in the fall of 2013, the school was investigating allegations of academic favoritism involving a half-dozen of its leading players, including one who scored the winning touchdown in the championship game. The inquiry, previously unreported, stemmed from a complaint by a teaching assistant. The story of Christina Suggs's experience trying to hold athletes to the same standards as other students, pieced together from emails, other documents and interviews, came to light during research for a forthcoming book, "Champions Way: Football, Florida, and the Lost Soul of College Sports" (W. W. Norton). It offers a case study of how academic and legal imperatives often collide with the pressures of big-time college sports, at a time when academic fraud and sexual assault scandals are roiling campuses across the country, from Baylor University in Texas to the University of Mississippi.

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