Thursday, September 14, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Four Starkville High students named National Merit semifinalists
Four Starkville High School seniors were recently recognized as 2017 national merit semifinalists. Sarah Heard, Noah Knox, Pepito Thelly and Sean Mackin were among the 16,000 students nationwide named as semifinalists based on their Preliminary SAT scores. To become a semifinalist, students must score within the top 1 percent on their PSAT in their respective state. Twelve SHS students have been recognized as National Merit semifinalists since 2012. This year's semifinalist class is the largest in that time frame. The school's history of producing both semifinalists and finalists, school officials said, goes back decades longer than that. "It says a lot to have four semifinalists at a school of our size and I am extremely excited to have them," Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Superintendent Eddie Peasant said.
 
Association of Retired Faculty meeting emphasizes importance of PERS
The Association of Retired Faculty at Mississippi State University held a forum-type panel on Tuesday to allow representatives to discuss what state employees can do to protect defined benefits systems designed to support them after retiring. Guest speakers included State Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, as well as Mississippi Retired Public Employees' Association representatives Ann Thames, Ed LeGrand, and Mike Larsen. Bryan shared his experience in the Legislature, saying there are two major issues to the retirement system -- one that can be helped and one that cannot.
 
Oktibbeha supervisors finalize FY 2018 budget
Supervisors finalized Oktibbeha County's upcoming $56.46 million budget Tuesday that carries with it an almost 2-mill tax increase for property owners. Combined with the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District's taxing rate of 64.98 mills, the upcoming 58.59-mill levy for county operations means property owners in outlying Oktibbeha County -- those who do not live within the municipalities of Starkville, Sturgis or Maben -- will pay an overall rate of 123.57 in ad valorem taxes, up from the current fiscal year's rate of 121.74 mills. Residents who own property within those towns will be subject to a 120.91-mill levy, which does not include either a 2.66-mill levy for county fire services or the local municipality's own taxes. Of the $56.46 million budget, almost $21 million is reserved for bond-funded capital improvements.
 
Mississippi Power: Kemper plant was, will remain asset to state
As Mississippi Power Co., Public Utilities Staff and others struggle to come to an equitable agreement, the utility's CEO maintains that the power plant was and will continue to be an asset to the area. "This is the biggest project in the history of Mississippi," said Mississippi Power Chairman, President and CEO Anthony L. Wilson, who visited The Meridian Star on Monday. "Can you imagine what the recession of 2009 would have been had we not invested $7 billion in Mississippi?" Wilson said the lignite coal gasification operation was far from a failure. One of the problems, he said, was the decrease in the price of natural gas, mainly due to fracking. If money was "unlimited, I think we would have gotten there," he said.
 
Nissan adds new Frontier to Canton assembly line
The next generation Nissan Frontier will be built here, company officials announced on Tuesday, while affirming their commitment to manufacturing in Madison County and Mississippi. "We are proud to be a part of the fabric of this community," Jose Munoz, chief performance officer for Nissan Motor Company and chairman of Nissan North America, said. "Over the last 14 years we have entrusted Nissan Canton with some of our company's most important vehicles." He said the "efficiency, flexibility and quality" of the employees helped in the company's decision to produce the new line in Canton. "I'm proud to announce that your team has been rewarded for that hard work with another win in global competition of products," he said. "The Nissan Canton team has secured yet another award-winning vehicle that will help ensure the ongoing success of this plant." Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves applauded the plant workers and thanked Nissan for its commitment to manufacturing in Mississippi.
 
Legislative Democrats to host budget hearing in Tupelo
House Democrats will host a hearing at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Link Center in Tupelo to provide information on how they say "massive corporate tax cuts" are impacting the state budget and services for Mississippians. A similar hearing took place earlier this month in Hattiesburg, and they say others will be scheduled around the state. "We just want people to understand the reality of what is happening, and the facts of how massive corporate tax cuts are impacting our budget," said Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, who is listed as the host of the Tupelo hearing. "We just want the people to understand. There is nothing sinister." Revenue has been sluggish for two years, resulting in double digit budget cuts for numerous agencies.
 
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves promotes economy, education at luncheon
Fiscal government, a fair tax code and improving education attainment levels are three primary areas Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves believes can make Mississippi economically sustainable for the long-range future. Reeves spoke Wednesday during the Vicksburg-Warren County Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon and updated attendees on progress being made by the state, specifically in education and the state economy. He focused a great deal on education, noting his appearance earlier in the day at Dana Road Elementary School where he read to students. Reeves pointed out that since Mississippi implemented the third grade literacy requirement, students have become more proficient in reading. He noted that will reduce the dropout rate and in the long-term lead to more job creation.
 
Mississippi GOP Chairman Joe Nosef speaks about party involvement
Ole Miss College Republicans welcomed alumnus Joe Nosef, state chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party, as the guest speaker at its fall kickoff meeting held Wednesday. Nosef spoke about Republican victory in the 2016 election and the importance of voter knowledge and party involvement. "Voting is the whole point of being in a democracy and being part of a party," Nosef said. Nosef said he understood that voters were looking for change in the 2016 election, a change he claims the Republican Party was able to offer with President Donald Trump. "One of the reasons Trump was elected was to change things in Washington," Nosef said. Nosef pointed out the party is coming out of its decline since the 2016 election, learning from its past mistakes and moving with the changes of the political world. Nosef compared some of the backlash to Trump's policies to some of his own experiences from when he ran for student vice president while in law school.
 
Accreditation commission concludes 'extreme emergency situation' exists in Jackson Public Schools
The Jackson Public School District is a step closer to possible state takeover after an accreditation commission announced Wednesday an extreme emergency situation exists in the district. "Based on the evidence heard today, the Commission on School Accreditation determined an extreme emergency exists in the Jackson Public School District that jeopardizes the safety, security and educational interests of the children involved in the schools in the district," commission chair Heather Westerfield told reporters after the meeting. The Mississippi Commission on School Accreditation voted 10-1 in favor of the recommendation. Whether the district is taken over lies in the hands of the State Board of Education, which meets Thursday at 10 a.m.
 
Arkansan nominated to lead Delta Regional Authority
The White House has nominated a member of U.S. Sen. John Boozman's staff to serve as co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority. Officials announced the nomination Wednesday of Chris Caldwell, who now serves as director of special projects for Boozman. The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership that works to improve regional economic opportunity in the Mississippi River Delta region. Caldwell lives in Little Rock and has worked on several political campaigns, including Boozman's re-election bid last year and former Gov. Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign in 2008.
 
Trump, top Democrats agree to work on deal to save 'dreamers' from deportation
Democratic leaders announced late Wednesday that they agreed with President Trump to pursue a legislative deal that would protect hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation and enact border security measures that don't include building a physical wall. The president discussed options during a dinner at the White House with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that also included talks on tax reform, infrastructure and trade. Trump has showed signs of shifting strategy to cross the aisle and work with Democrats in the wake of the high-profile failures by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. We're working on a plan for DACA," Trump said as he left the White House on Thursday for a trip to survey hurricane damage in Florida.
 
Most area colleges share statewide enrollment dip
Enrollment drops in colleges around the state are also common close to home. As colleges and universities throughout Mississippi experience shrinking student populations this fall, enrollment at Meridian Community College is down 1.66 percent from last year, said MCC President Scott Elliott in an email. That means 3,496 credit students enrolled for the fall of 2017. "MCC's slight decrease is mostly attributable to lower enrollment in our dual enrollment (high school) population," Elliott said in the email. Enrollment figures also show a slight downtick at Mississippi State University-Meridian, said Terry Dale Cruse, administrative director and head of campus at MSU-Meridian. Cruse said 522 students are enrolled this year, compared to 539 last year -- a decrease of 3.15 percent. "All of the decrease was in graduate students," he said. At East Mississippi Community College, overall enrollment dropped from 4,307 in 2016 to 4,166 in 2017, or a decrease of 3 percent.
 
Ole Miss' Chi Psi Fraternity releases statement after sexual battery allegation
A statement has been issued by the Chi Psi Fraternity following an allegation of sexual battery at the fraternity house. On Sept. 9, University Police responded to a call regarding sexual battery at the Chi Psi Lodge and, shortly after, UPD released a description of the subject via the RebAlert system that stated "suspect is described as a white college-aged male, approximately 5-feet, 9-inches tall, weighing about 190 pounds with a non-athletic build, dark medium length hair and wearing a white collared shirt." University Police also stated that the reported assault took place inside the Lodge. Chi Psi President Philip Katsadouros released a statement in response to the UPD report on Sept. 12 saying: "Chi Psi fully cooperated with the investigation into the alleged incident Friday evening which resulted in the RebAlert that night. No members matched the description of the suspect."
 
Oxford police establish safe site on the Square
The Oxford Police Department will have a more visible presence in downtown Oxford. Uniformed police officers will man a Safe Site tent nightly for patrons of the downtown entertainment district in front of Visit Oxford. The tent is designed to assist people who feel unsafe, need help finding transit home, would like an escort to their vehicle or require any police assistance. The Safe Site tent will be accessible Wednesday through Saturday evenings, starting at 8 p.m. and continuing until 45 minutes after the bars close. The additional police presence follows a University of Mississippi female student being picked up in the early morning hours last weekend and carried against her will to Panola County where she was sexually assaulted.
 
New Sports Team Coming to East Mississippi Community College
East Mississippi Community College is getting a new sports team. EMCC is looking to enter the collegiate electronic sports arena. Friday evening, the school will host a local area network party on the Golden Triangle Campus but students from all EMCC campuses are encouraged to compete. During the event, contestants will compete in a variety of video games for an opportunity to fill one of the slots on the eight member team. EMCC LAN instructor Brandon Sessor says this is a great chance for gamers to support the school doing something they love. "Right now, there are a lot of high school students, they graduate and they sit on their moms and dads couch. Lets get them off that couch and lets have them play games for school while they are working on their education. So, it's just a way to motivate students to come out and let them get the college experience while they are playing games and making money while doing it," he said.
 
Alumni association kicks off celebration of festivities for 125th Anniversary of Auburn Women
Precisely 125 years ago Wednesday, Katherine Broun, Willie Little and Margaret Teague became the first female students to enroll at what is today known as Auburn University. Female and male students alike gathered on Cater Lawn on Wednesday to honor the significance of those enrollments as the Auburn Alumni Association kicked off its semester-long festivities in celebration of the 125th Anniversary of Auburn Women. Throughout the fall, the alumni association will be hosting a series of speakers, luncheons and reunions, said Gretchen VanValkenburg, vice president for alumni affairs and executive director for the Auburn Alumni Association. The association also is reaching out to Auburn alumnae and requesting them to submit their stories. Those attending Wednesday's event enjoyed fellowship, music, food and information booths.
 
Kentucky's governor says universities should think about cutting programs with poor job prospects
Already a polarizing figure among academics, Governor Matt Bevin of Kentucky touched another one of higher education's third rails Tuesday, saying public universities should consider cutting programs that don't graduate students who are able to fill high-paying and in-demand jobs. The remarks come as Bevin, a Republican, has laid out a vision for making Kentucky a center of engineering and manufacturing in the country. He has emphasized apprenticeships and training people for jobs that exist. The remarks set off unhappy chatter among professors at Kentucky's state universities, who fear the governor is attempting to micromanage higher education institutions while ignoring faculty members' traditional role over academic decisions. Several worried that the fast-changing job market makes it difficult or impossible to accurately predict which programs will train students for prosperous careers in the future. They argued that diverse program offerings at universities stand the best chance of producing graduates who are able to lead fulfilling lives while bringing flexible skill sets to the workplace.
 
Higher ed leader: Louisiana needs to improve in math, science or be 'run over' by rest of world
Louisiana has to step up its proficiency in science, math and engineering or it will be "run over" by the rest of the world, Commissioner of Higher Education Joseph Rallo said Wednesday. "If we don't engage in this activity the world is not going to stop and let Louisiana catch up," Rallo said. "If we don't engage in it not only are we going to be left behind, we are going to get run over," he said. Rallo made his comments during the first meeting of the LaSTEM Advisory Council. The panel was set up to elevate science, math and other subjects in schools, especially for women, and pair those skills with lucrative jobs. Rallo, who is chairman of the council, said the state's latest results on the ACT -- a test of college readiness -- showed that only 10 percent of high school seniors are ready to meet STEM needs in the workplace.
 
Vanderbilt University hits all-time high in U.S. News rankings
Vanderbilt University hit an all-time high in annual list of the country's top universities released Tuesday by U.S. News and World Report. The university rose to 14th place after two years at No. 15. Princeton University took the top spot. Vanderbilt has steadily improved in the rankings over the past 25 years. The university was ranked No. 18 in 2005, No. 20 in 1997 and No. 25 in 1992, according to a statement touting the rankings. "This recognition is a testament to our student's academic excellence, our faculty's deep commitment to world-class research and an unparalleled dedication to service by our entire Vanderbilt community," Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said in the statement.
 
Texas A&M engineering receives more grants from National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation is lending its support to multiple engineering programs at Texas A&M through more than $2.3 million in grant funding -- including support for efforts to "revolutionize engineering education," according to university officials. The funding joins the $35 million grant announced by the National Science Foundation on Tuesday naming Texas A&M as the lead on a new engineering research center focused on improving health care for underserved populations in areas such as rural South Texas and urban Los Angeles and Miami through partnerships with Rice University, Florida International University and the University of California at Los Angeles. The department of aerospace engineering is the beneficiary of $2 million in grant funding aimed at supporting projects designed to develop new ways to educate students in the field through its involvement in the national Revolutionizing Engineering Departments program.
 
New chancellor's past gives him vision for leading U. of Missouri
It was snowing hard in the middle of the night in the early 1980s. Alexander Cartwright, 18, had just finished his shift at Stuckey's, a roadside convenience store famous for pecan logs, novelties and a steep teal roof. A child of the Bahamas, he had recently moved to the Hawkeye State when his mother married a man there. Cartwright worked at Stuckey's to put himself through Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. As he drove through the snowstorm, the brutal wind cut to the bone. "In the Bahamas, the only things you know about are sands, sun and the sea," he said. Looking back, Cartwright said he wouldn't trade the jolting transition for anything. As the University of Missouri's new chancellor, Cartwright is motivated by the conviction that anyone coming from humble beginnings can accomplish amazing things--- if they work hard and get the support they need. That's what happened for him.
 
Feds release data on nondegree credentials, including certificates and licenses
More than one-quarter of Americans hold a nondegree credential, such as a certificate or an occupational license or certification, according to new data from the federal government. And 21 percent have completed a work experience program such as an internship, residency or apprenticeship. The new report from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics is based on responses from 47,744 adults to a 2016 survey. Its goal, the department said, was to learn more about the prevalence of these credentials as well as to gauge perceptions about their value in the job market. The new numbers arrive amid growing doubts from a broad swath of Americans about the value of a college degree. Numerous studies show that a bachelor's degree remains the best ticket to the middle class.
 
UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ: 'Free speech has itself become controversial'
UC Berkeley, home of the free speech movement, has become the nation's most prominent stage for violent confrontations between the left and the right. This month, conservative speakers Ben Shapiro, Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter and Steve Bannon all are expected to visit Berkeley, and the campus is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in security costs to prevent violence. Chancellor Carol T. Christ, who has more than three decades of teaching and administrative experience at Berkeley and also served as president of Smith College, said a "combustible mix" of changing youth sensibilities, political polarization and the choice of university campuses as battlegrounds has made protecting free speech more fraught than ever. She spoke with The Times on Wednesday in San Diego, during a break in the UC regents meeting.
 
Could 2019 be year for African American candidate to win statewide seat?
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "Since 2003, for four election cycles, there has been an African American candidate as the Democratic nominee for a statewide office. In each case, the black candidate has lost. ...A few weeks ago your humble scribe wrote a column about how many states have elected African Americans to statewide office, but not Mississippi, which is the state with the highest percentage of black residents. Will there be another effort in 2019 for a black candidate to break through in an election for statewide office in Mississippi? Could there be a black Republican nominee for statewide office for the first time in the modern era?"


SPORTS
 
Versatility, depth keys in Mississippi State secondary's performance vs. run
The classic Dime package was never meant to be strong against the run. With six defensive backs on the field compared to -- based on personal preference, four defensive linemen and a linebacker or three defensive linemen and two linebackers -- the obvious weakness lies in the box. Mississippi State has the players to neutralize that. Mark McLaurin and Johnathan Abram led MSU in tackles in last week's win over Louisiana Tech -- as safeties. They were part of MSU's four-safety dime package, joining J.T. Gray and Brandon Bryant in the starting lineup, that gives MSU all the positional strength Dime offers against the pass with none of the worries against the run. "We knew going into that week whoever was coming into the box had to be physical," McLaurin said. They did just that.
 
Dan Mullen, Ed Orgeron's connection dates to 90s and LSU coach even had chances in Starkville
Dan Mullen and Ed Orgeron's relationship goes back 20 years --- even if it was that brief encounter in upstate New York. "My first day as a grad assistant at Syracuse University, Ed was on his way out the door from being the D-line coach at Syracuse," said Mullen, Mississippi State's ninth-year coach. "He probably doesn't remember me a lot from back then, but our paths crossed for two days." They'll cross again Saturday night in Starkville, when Mullen's Bulldogs (2-0) meet Orgeron's 12th-ranked Tigers (2-0) in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. The two coaches overlapped briefly after the 1997, with Mullen joining the Orange as an offensive GA and Orgeron then leaving Syracuse for the defensive line job at Southern Cal. The coaches are close enough that Mullen invited Orgeron to speak at the program's high school coaches clinic in the spring of 2014.
 
Tucker Day wants Mississippi State fans to no longer hate field goals
Attention, Mississippi State fans: True freshman kicker Tucker Day understands your concerns and plans to put your mind at ease --- instead of on edge --- when you hear the words, "field goal attempt." "I'm going to try and make kicking not such a hated thing anymore around here," Day said. That's as good of a goal as any other for a Mississippi State player this season. Under ninth-year coach Dan Mullen, the Bulldogs have made only 65.6 percent of their field goals, which is last in the SEC during that time span. At 57.9 percent on field goals last year, the Bulldogs ranked No. 119 in the country. Mississippi State (2-0) can't afford to leave points on the board against No. 12 LSU (2-0) at Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday (6 p.m., ESPN). It's early; this is only the first SEC game of the season, but this will also be one of the Bulldogs' most significant games of the season.
 
Mississippi State's Tolando Cleveland cherishing second chance after injury
Tolando Cleveland's career was cruising right along, playing in 38 straight games since his true freshman year at Mississippi State. That streak was ended last year during the final week of training camp when Cleveland tore his left anterior cruciate ligament and would miss the remainder of the season. However, the time away from the game helped put things in perspective for Cleveland and taught him to cherish every moment of being healthy. "There's just certain things that you kind of take for granted, even things like practice, treatment and workouts," Cleveland said. "Then when something bad happens like an injury, you don't take things like that for granted anymore. Every chance you get, every opportunity you make the most of it."
 
Michael Story's play gives Mississippi State depth on offensive line
Mississippi State's starting offensive line did nothing in its season opener against Charleston Southern to suggest that changes would come. So, when the second game against Louisiana Tech did come, nothing changed and the same starting five was used. That didn't make it out of the first half. Left guard Daryl Williams left the game in the first half with a shoulder injury, giving the unit its first unexpected shuffling of throwing Michael Story in midgame. The offense never slowed down, rushing for 327 yards on over 8 yards per carry. Being a guard in MSU head coach Dan Mullen's offense gave Story no small role in the production and by all accounts, he played well in it. Story's performance gives coaches confidence in the offensive line depth if they need it Saturday night at 6 p.m. against No. 12 LSU at Davis Wade Stadium.
 
Pisacane brothers enjoyed year as walk-ons at Mississippi State
Tristan and Peyton Pisacane shared the dream of playing college football. Doing so together seemed almost impossible since Peyton had another dream: attending the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. Everything changed when Peyton broke his leg in the final game of his high school career for Centennial High School in Franklin, Tennessee. The broken leg left him medically disqualified for West Point and the twin brothers looking for anywhere to live out the dream they share. They took their film to Rockey Felker, at the time Mississippi State's director of player development before retiring over the summer. He offered them a roster spot. A year later, both of them are living their dreams.
 
LSU to decide field goal kicker after 'big competition' Thursday, Ed Orgeron says
Three days before their Southeastern Conference opener at Mississippi State, LSU coaches aren't sure who will serve as the Tigers field goal kicker. Redshirt freshman Connor Culp and walk-on sophomore Jack Gonsoulin have combined to miss three of six field goals through the first two games. Gonsoulin started 2-for-4 before Culp replaced him last week against UT-Chattanooga. Culp missed a 47-yarder and made one from 45. "We'll have a big competition tomorrow," coach Ed Orgeron said during his radio show Wednesday night at newly renovated TJ Ribs restaurant in Baton Rouge.
 
Here's why Week 3 will be a turning point for Mississippi State, Southern Miss and Ole Miss
Mississippi sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes: "Two weeks into the college football season, Mississippi's three NCAA FBS teams are pretty much where we thought they would be. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are both 2-0. The Rebels have defeated South Alabama 47-27 and Tennessee-Martin 45-23. The Bulldogs clocked Charleston Southern 49-0 and went on the road to smash Louisiana Tech 57-21. Southern Miss is 1-1, having dropped a 24-17 decision to Kentucky and having crushed Southern University 45-0. Now comes Week 3 and games that will have a huge impact on the direction all three teams will take this season. Let's take a look at the crossroads games for all three. We'll begin with Mississippi State, which has by far the most impressive victory to date (the 36-point win on the road at Tech) and by far the toughest task this weekend (LSU)."
 
'Last Chance U' star Isaiah Wright charged in fatal stabbing
Isaiah Wright, one of the stars of season two of Netflix's "Last Chance U," has been arrested and charged with one count of criminal homicide. Wright's brother, Camion Patrick, has also been charged and connected to a fatal stabbing in Tennessee, the Knoxville News-Sentinel is reporting. Wright and Patrick both played at East Mississippi Community College. Wright was arrested Wednesday in Harriman and was expected to be transferred to the Blount County Jail. One of the dominant storylines in the second season of the incredibly popular reality series following the EMCC football team was Wright and his journey from a top running back prospect to struggling through injuries and finding a school to sign with. He had issues with coach Buddy Stephens, and let cameras follow him and girlfriend as they dealt with her pregnancy. Wright eventually did sign with Division II West Georgia, but by the time the series premiered this summer he was off the roster.
 
Meet the Ole Miss message board poster who went the NCAA's COI hearing
Clant Seay is a 71-year-old attorney interested in animal welfare. He moonlights as a citizen journalist with his website billygoboy.com, and he also regularly posts on the RebelGrove.com message boards under the handle "jhvaught." Mostly, Seay said, he's an Ole Miss Rebel. That's what led him roughly 300 miles this week to this Cincinnati suburb, where he spent many hours Monday and Tuesday sitting in the corner of the lobby of the Embassy Suites, right outside the doors of the ballroom where the NCAA's Committee on Infractions held Ole Miss' hearing. Seay, who has earned a reputation as a firm Ed Orgeron defender, wasn't covering the story for his own site. With his digital camera, he took photos of Hugh Freeze, Jeff Vitter and Ross Bjork, among others, and posted them on the RebelGrove's message boards.
 
Somber situation: Concerned coach Jim McElwain said Gators dealing with impact of storm
He is from far off Montana, where there are no hurricanes, but it's obvious Florida coach Jim McElwain has his finger on the pulse of his adopted state in this difficult time. Somber. That's what the head coach was Wednesday. His mood probably could sum up the feelings of an entire state that has been impacted by Hurricane Irma, which carved its path of devastation through Florida on Sunday and Monday. On the weekly SEC coaches teleconference, McElwain spoke barely above a whisper while talking about the hurricane and how it's affected many of his players, and how he expects them to respond in Saturday's big SEC matchup with division rival Tennessee. A few minutes later, standing at the podium for one of his weekly news conferences on campus, it was more of the same. At one point, the usually gregarious coach was asked about his somber mood. McElwain has clearly been affected by what has happened not only around him and his staff and players, but also by everyone around the state that has been impacted.
 
U. of Tennessee police will work Florida game in wake of Irma
Twenty-four police officers from the University of Tennessee Police Department will travel to Gainesville, Fla., this weekend to assist with game day security at UT's football game against the University of Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irma. "When we saw what happened in Florida last week, obviously I was concerned about our colleagues there," said Troy Lane, associate vice chancellor for public safety and chief of UT police, during a news conference Wednesday. "I reached out to the University of Florida and offered any assistance. As you can imagine, they were excited to hear from us." The department will be sending 24 of its 51 officers to assist with game day security Saturday. The plan is to drive to Florida on Friday, barring any flooding that might take place on Interstate 75. Lane said he did not have an estimate of the cost to send officers to Florida but said it will be reimbursed by the University of Florida.



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