Tuesday, September 1, 2015  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State announces lineup for Bulldog Bash 2015
Mississippi State has announced the musical lineup and the title charity for the 16th Annual Bulldog Bash. The school says Local Natives will headline. X Ambassadors and MisterWives will also perform along with the winner of a Student Association sponsored Battle of the Bands. Bulldog Bash 2015 will take place September 11 in Starkville's Cotton District the night before the Bulldogs host the LSU Tigers at Davis Wade Stadium. Before the concert gets underway, the Cotton District will host the Maroon Market and Dawg Rally will kick off the entertainment.
Mississippi confirms West Nile death in Attala County, 4 new cases reported
Mississippi has recorded its first death from the West Nile virus of 2015. The state Department of Health says Monday in a news release that an Attala County resident has died from the virus. The health agency also reported four new human cases in Montgomery, Rankin (2), and Simpson counties, bringing the total for 2015 to 18 cases. So far this year, cases have been reported in Adams, Attala, Covington, Forrest (2), Hinds (3), Madison (2), Montgomery, Rankin (5) and Simpson (2) counties.
Mississippi newsman Jack Elliott retiring after 31 years with Associated Press
Longtime Mississippi journalist Jack Elliott Jr. is retiring after more than three decades at The Associated Press. The 66-year-old Elliott has covered politics, court cases, executions, natural disasters and a wide variety of other news stories. Elliott, who lives in Forest, graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a communications degree in May 1971. He has been a reporter for the Meridian Star in Meridian, Mississippi; The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi; the now-defunct Alabama Journal in Montgomery, Alabama; and United Press International in Jackson, Mississippi. He also worked in public relations for the Mississippi Economic Council in the early 1970s and as Washington press secretary for Democratic U.S. Rep. David Bowen of Mississippi in 1982.
Gunn, Reeves won't release initiative-related messages
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn, citing legislative rules, are not releasing any correspondence from their offices regarding their opposition to the citizen-sponsored Initiative 42, which is designed to enhance the state's commitment to public education. Both presiding officers said they are turning the matter over to their respective committees that oversee the management of the House and Senate. They cite legislative rules and state law in making that decision. A grassroots organization, 42 for Better Schools, has filed public records requests with both Reeves and Gunn requesting correspondence, including emails, from their offices related to opposition to the initiative, which will appear on the November ballot.
Initiative 42 campaign: Reeves, Gunn violating records law
The campaign for the citizen-sponsored education funding Initiative 42 says Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn are refusing to release emails in accordance with the state's public records law. On Aug. 11, The 42 For Better Schools Campaign requested copies of any and all emails mentioning Initiative 42 or Initiative 42-A, the legislative alternative to Initiative 42. The campaign requested the communication to or between staff members and employees of the Office of the Speaker of the House and Office of the Lieutenant Governor. Both Reeves and Gunn, who are opponents of Initiative 42, referred the records request to the appropriate committees in the House and Senate.
Therapists share success, needs with Congressman Trent Kelly
Mississippians need better access to rehabilitative therapy services, and therapists are hoping a set of five pieces of federal legislation can open doors. Physical, occupational and speech therapy services provide an essential bridge to help people reclaim their ability to function after injuries and illness, but there are roadblocks that make it hard to fully deliver those services, especially in rural areas, said Carmen Oguz, a Cleveland physical therapist who serves as the federal affairs liaison for the Mississippi Physical Therapy Association. Mississippi Physical Therapist Association members met with U.S. Rep. Trent Kelly Monday at North Mississippi Medical Center's Outpatient Rehabilitation Center.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus fires back at GOP
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus wants to torpedo all the talk about a shrinking U.S. battle fleet. Republican presidential candidates are pushing a "narrative," Mabus said, that President Barack Obama has weakened the military and, in particular, the Navy, at a time of growing demands on American power around the world. But in an interview with POLITICO, Mabus fired a salvo at critics he said don't know what they're talking about. "I have this funny thing about facts," he laughed in his office on the Pentagon's E-Ring, surrounded by paintings of classic warships. "I like to get facts into the equation." Mabus, the former Mississippi governor, and other leaders scoff at the notion of comparing today's globally networked, nuclear-powered Navy to its coal-fired antecedent of 1917.
Children Don't Have Constitutional Right to Switch Schools, Appeals Court Rules
Public-school parents don't have a constitutional right to decide where to send their children to school, an appeals court ruled. The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday rejected claims by a group of Arkansas parents that they had a right to transfer their kids out of a struggling school district in northeast Arkansas to neighboring districts where they thought the children could be better educated. In a 2-1 decision, the appeals court in St. Louis agreed with the lower court's decision, saying the Constitution doesn't guarantee so-called public-school choice.
Farmers: Donald Trump 'terrible for agriculture'
Even before real-estate mogul Donald Trump called undocumented immigrants "rapists and murderers" who "have to go," California contractor Carlos Castaneda was having difficulty hiring enough workers to pick celery and squash. Now Castaneda and others fear Trump's talk about erecting a "big beautiful wall" at the border and deporting millions could make it near impossible to find the guest workers they need, and who would obtain legal status under most comprehensive reforms bills. Tim McMillan, a Georgia blackberry farmer and owner of Southern Grace Farms, said he could easily double his operation if only he could hire labor. "We've got the land, we've got the water, and we've got the management -- we've got everything in place but the labor," he said. "I can't get American citizens to do the work. They just don't want to do it."
Kentucky clerk who refused to issue gay marriage licenses out of luck: Supreme Court rejects case
A Kentucky county clerk claimed for months that she had a religious liberty right to refuse to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples. She took her argument all the way to the Supreme Court. On Monday, the Supreme Court, acting quickly and without dissent, turned down her appeal. The justices agreed with lower courts, which ruled that Kim Davis, as an elected government official, had a duty to comply with the law. The court's action came in a one-line order, and it should make clear that government officials do not have a personal right based on their religious views to deny equal treatment to same-sex couples.
Murder Rates Rising Sharply in Many U.S. Cities
Cities across the nation are seeing a startling rise in murders after years of declines, and few places have witnessed a shift as precipitous as this city. With the summer not yet over, 104 people have been killed this year -- after 86 homicides in all of 2014. More than 30 other cities have also reported increases in violence from a year ago. Law enforcement experts say disparate factors are at play in different cities, though no one is claiming to know for sure why murder rates are climbing. Some officials say intense national scrutiny of the use of force by the police has made officers less aggressive and emboldened criminals, though many experts dispute that theory. Urban bloodshed --- as well as the overall violent crime rate --- remains far below the peaks of the late 1980s and early '90s, and criminologists say it is too early to draw broad conclusions from the recent numbers.
As drone usage soars in Latin America, so do concerns
As the chief executive of what may be the first academy to train drone operators in Latin America, Jose Luis Gonzalez is acutely aware that unmanned aerial vehicles can be used for both good and evil. Most of the students who study at his Drone Academy are photographers seeking to capture sweeping aerial images, engineers using drones to photograph damage to structures like bridges or hobbyists eager to attain new playthings. But Mexico has its share of bad guys, and González said it might not be long before drones are used for malevolent aims. Across Latin America, the sale of drones to civilians is taking off. Authorities around the region are scrambling to enact regulations to catch up to the reality of drone usage, seeking to reassure a citizenry that is not altogether calm about the phenomenon.
Rental scams on the rise for game day weekends in Oxford
The Grove at Ole Miss will see thousands of visitors during home football games over the next few months. And, many of the fans will need a place to stay. Many people rent homes or apartments for game weekends. With more people looking for those rentals online, there's an increased risk of scams. Major Jeff McCutchen with the Oxford Police Department says it's becoming a big problem. Over the past two weeks, Oxford Police got five different calls reporting scams, and it's hard for them to track down scammers over the Internet.
Grant will maintain VISTA program at Ole Miss
The University of Mississippi College of Liberal Arts is leading the fight against poverty through education, thanks in part to a federally-funded volunteer program. The North Mississippi Volunteers in Service to America project entered its fifth year of funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service. Directed by Stephen Monroe, assistant dean of the college, VISTA brings more than $575,000 annually into the region.
Code Blue emergency phones installed at USM-Gulf Park
The University of Southern Mississippi installed six Code Blue emergency phones on its Gulf Park campus, officials said. The phones, marked with a distinctive blue light at the top, allow students to call police dispatch with the push of a single red button in case of an emergency. They will be able to speak to dispatch and if a button is pressed and no one responds, officers will be sent to that location. The blue light on the top of the phone will also begin to flash. There are already 50 of the phones on the Hattiesburg campus.
Mississippi community colleges top WalletHub's rankings
Mississippi has the best community college system in the country, according to WalletHub, a finance and consumer information website. Out of the 670 community colleges sampled, Gulf Coast Community College ranked 82nd. The top Mississippi school was Itawamba Community College, ranked 6th.
U. of Alabama's business college to offer free classes
The Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration at the University of Alabama will offer free classes to the community. Classes available include QuickBooks and Bookkeeping, Computer for Beginners, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Financial Literacy. All classes will be at The Edge downtown: 800 22nd Ave., intersection of Eighth Street and 22nd Avenue behind the federal courthouse.
Police searching for man who burglarized Auburn University frat house
Auburn police are searching for a suspect who burglarized a fraternity house at Auburn University on Saturday. Police received a report of someone unlawfully entering the residence located in the 900 block of W. Magnolia Avenue and taking a backpack containing electronic devices valued over $1,500, according to Auburn police. The suspect committing the burglary and the vehicle he was traveling in was captured on video surveillance. He appears to be black male, early 20, approximately 5-foot 8 inches to 6 feet tall and weighing between 180-220 pounds.
Auburn University's Pradeep Lall to lead center on electronics for harsh environments
Auburn University has been selected to lead a national manufacturing effort on harsh environment electronics as part of a U.S. Department of Defense-led flexible hybrid electronics institute. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter last Friday announced a cooperative agreement with the research consortium FlexTech Alliance to establish and manage the Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Flexible Hybrid Electronics, or FHE MII. FlexTech Alliance, based in San Jose, Calif., will coordinate the FHE MII, which comprises 96 companies, 11 laboratories and non-profits, 43 universities and 15 state and regional organizations. Auburn University will head the only node in Alabama.
Thirteen U. of South Carolina fraternities suspended from recruitment
The University of South Carolina suspended 13 fraternity chapters from recruiting new members for alcohol and risk-management violations, according to a published report. New member recruitment started formally this week at USC. But the school's interfraternity council halted rush for 13 chapters after discovering events the violated USC and national fraternities policies, according to The Daily Gamecock. Last school year, three fraternity chapters at USC closed because of alcohol and hazing violations, including one after the death of a pledge.
U. of Arkansas Bans Unmanned Aircraft Use Without Approval
The University of Arkansas said Monday that it has adopted a new policy that prohibits the use of "unmanned aircraft systems" and remote controlled model aircraft on university property or within the university's air rights without written approval. The change comes in an effort to protect the safety, security and privacy of students, faculty, staff and campus visitors, the university said. "There have been a couple of complaints recently dating back to last baseball season there was a drone flying about the stadium and we've had other stadium encounters," said Mark Rushing, director of strategic communications for U of A. " It's primarily a public safety concern."
UGA announces steps to increase number of women administrators
The University of Georgia is taking steps to increase the number of women in administrative positions at the school after a decade with little change in ratio of men to women. As of fall, 2014, the percent of women administrators was 25 percent women, 75 percent male -- a change of just 2 percent from 10 years earlier, when women were 23 percent of administrators, according to Janis Gleason, the University of Georgia's interim executive director of communications. In March, UGA President Jere Morehead and Provost Pamela Whitten announced a "Women's Leadership Initiative" to increase the number of women administrators. Now UGA has announced specific steps it will take to accomplish that, in what Whitten called a turning point for UGA.
Climate change already happening in state, U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson tells U. of Florida
Florida and Alaska are about as far apart as two states can be from be from each other physically, geographically and climate-wise. But U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D- Fla., on Monday said he's witnessed the devastating effects global warming is already having on both states. Nelson visited University of Florida Monday to talk with geology professor Andrea Dutton about her groundbreaking climate change research and how it can be used to persuade climate change doubters to support and enact policies to reverse the effects and lessen the impact. He and Dutton chatted about her research for close to 40 minutes with a roomful of university faculty, administrators and local elected officials before inviting reporters to ask questions.
Survey: 5 percent of U. of Kentucky students assaulted in past year
About 5 percent of students -- more than 1,000 students in total -- at the University of Kentucky experienced a sexual assault in the past year, according to the results of a new survey that researchers say could provide one of the most expansive looks yet at gender violence at an individual college. Where many other campus surveys rely on responses from a sample of a few thousand students, Kentucky's survey was sent to every student and the results include data from more than 24,300 respondents, or more than 80 percent of Kentucky's students. "This is what we must do as we undertake our sacred trust to care for the health and well-being of our students," Eli Capilouto, Kentucky's president, said in a statement. "Because we surveyed the entire student population, we have a clearer understanding of our strengths and areas where we need to improve."
72 history professors sign letter urging removal of Jefferson Davis statue from Kentucky Capitol
Seventy-two historians from 16 public and private colleges and universities in Kentucky want a controversial statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis removed from the state Capitol. The statue's presence in the Capitol rotunda "minimizes the significance of slavery as a cause of the Civil War, downplays the human suffering of millions and endows the Southern cause with a nobility it does not deserve," said a letter signed and sent to state lawmakers by the current and former historians. Carolyn Dupont, associate professor of history at Eastern Kentucky University, said Monday that it was her idea for the state's history professors to address the issue. The only responses against the letter, she said, came from the history faculty of University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg and one University of Louisville history professor.
Rob McDaniels named director of U. of Missouri Career Center
Longtime University of Missouri Career Center staffer Rob McDaniels will take over the center's direction Tuesday. McDaniels, who has served as the MU Career Center's associate director since 2007 , graduated from MU in 1978 with a master's degree in counseling. "One major role of the Career Center is to help students figure out what they want to major in and once they make that decision, how to get to the end point of that, which includes everything from getting through their degree program, to getting part time jobs and internships and looking for positions after they graduate," he said.
Analysis considers contradictions in high school and college students' interest in humanities
Humanities professors spend a lot of time debating trends in humanities enrollments. Are they really down or does it just seem that way because women have more options than they did a few generations ago? Is interest down or are students being scared off by (generally ill-informed) stereotypes that today's English major is tomorrow's barista? Are data being collected by colleges to really understand the humanities or to look for reasons to gut programs? A new analysis published late Monday by the Humanities Indicators Project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences may point to a key paradox for those trying to predict the future behavior of college students. The data show a decline in the proportion of high school students (as they take the SAT and as they prepare to graduate) who say they plan to major in the humanities. But something seems to be happening to those students when they actually enroll in college -- and interest in majoring in the humanities goes up.

Mississippi State healthy heading into Southern Miss opener
Mississippi State plans to overpack for its trip to Hattiesburg on Saturday. MSU coach Dan Mullen wouldn't announce how many true freshman will make travel to the season-opener against Southern Miss., but he seventh-year coach only said, "a lot" and every player is healthy. "We're actually really healthy, which is good" Mullen said. "Right now, we don't have anybody out that's any lingering issues." Mullen said the team only has bumps and bruises after a month of practice.
Bulldogs grateful for arrival of game week
Each Mississippi State practice brings similar drills. Within the defensive line, players work on hand placement, footwork and exploding out of their stance. When Mississippi State takes the field against Southern Miss, nine months will have passed since the Bulldogs played in a game. Between games, MSU has practiced about 50 times. "We've been out there grinding, just got out of camp," defensive end A.J. Jefferson said. "Our main goal is to just stay focused and do what we have to do." As camp closes, the offense and defenses have been installed. The units have run plays that might not be used during the season. Game-week planning only involves a fraction of the entire playbook depending on an opponent.
Game week is here, Mississippi State releases two-deep depth chart
The wait is over. It's been eight months since Mississippi State played a football game. Game week is officially underway as MSU prepares for its season-opening matchup against Southern Miss on Saturday. The program released a two-deep depth chart on Monday as part of its game notes for this weekend's game. There were no real surprises. None were expected, which is a bit surprising for a team that lost 15 starters from a year ago.
Mississippi State ready to build on 2014 success
Last year was last year. Heading into Saturday's 9 p.m. opener at Southern Miss, Mississippi State is well aware that the historic Orange Bowl team is different from this year's version of the Bulldogs. And they're determined to make sure last year's 10-win campaign was no fluke. "We had an experienced unit starting coming out last year. That always helps in Game 1 when you have guys that aren't breaking into the game mode, but you have guys who are ready to get back to game mode," MSU coach Dan Mullen said during Monday's press conference. "We have a bunch of new faces out there. We have to see how they adjust to the situation."
Familiar foes: Some Southern Miss, Mississippi State players have histories
When Southern Miss and Mississippi State kick off at 9 p.m. Saturday, many will be experiencing plenty of firsts. The mere fact the Bulldogs are even taking the field in Hattiesburg is foreign to every player on both rosters and some coaches since the Golden Eagles' intrastate foe has not played at M.M. Roberts Stadium since 1989. In all likelihood, the contest also will break the six-year-old attendance record of 36,232, creating an atmosphere previously unmatched in Southern Miss history. But there will be a select few on both sides sporting a certain level of familiarity.
Dak Prescott building Mississippi State's future with role as mentor
A week before Dak Prescott starts his final season at Mississippi State, the quarterback reminisced about his first game. "I was just too pumped. I didn't know what to do really," Prescott said during Monday's press conference. "Before the game, I didn't know if I was getting too emotional or too excited." He now casts a shadow on three signal callers waiting in the wings. "I don't know if I've decided who the actual backup is going into the game," MSU coach Dan Mullen said. Mullen has more than 25 years of experience coaching. He's developed a reputation as a quarterback guru, mentoring Alex Smith, Chris Leak and Tim Tebow. He's molded Prescott into a first-team All-SEC quarterback. Prescott emerged after an injury to Tyler Russell in the 2013 season-opener. He broke onto the national scene with a fourth-quarter comeback in the Egg Bowl later that year.
A.J. Jefferson primed for bigger season at Mississippi State
Mississippi State junior defensive end A.J. Jefferson will be looked to as a leader this season, but he will lead his way. Jefferson is one of six returning lettermen on the defensive line who will try to help the Bulldogs make up for the graduation losses of Preston Smith, Kaleb Eulls, P.J. Jones, and Curtis Virges. Fans will get to see his unique leadership style at 9 p.m. Saturday, when MSU plays Southern Mississippi in the season opener for both teams in Hattiesburg. Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the game live. "He's (defensive line coach David Turner) always telling me, '47, you've got to bring some juice and energy to the group,' " Jefferson said.
Buzz builds: USM feeling good as season opener nears
Southern Miss kicked off game week Monday with the first press conference of the season. One by one, Golden Eagle head coach Todd Monken, defensive coordinator David Duggan, offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey, defensive tackle Wil Freeman and running back Jalen Richard were introduced and spoke to the gathered media at the Duff Athletic Center on the Hattiesburg campus. Each coach and player fielded a number of questions independently of one another --- some similar, some different. But there was a common theme among all of their responses. The buzz word around the Southern Miss football program this week is "excitement," and its numerous variations, as the team's season opener against Mississippi State is less than five days away.
Ole Miss, Nike agree to 12-year extension
Ole Miss athletic director, Ross Bjork announced Monday that Ole Miss and Nike agreed to a 12-year extension of its current contract to be the official apparel provider for Ole Miss athletics. Nike previously paid Ole Miss $1.9 million annually to be the exclusive provider. The extension will "more than double" the amount paid to Ole Miss annually according to Bjork. Additionally Ole Miss will no longer have to spend cash for apparel provided by Nike. It also was announced that Ole Miss will have a $96 million athletic budget for the 2015-2016 academic year. With that financial growth, Bjork announced a series of improvements to Ole Miss' athletic facilities. The playing surface of the Vaught-Hemmingway Stadium will return to a natural grass surface beginning in 2016.
Les Miles back on campus after going to hospital for illness, LSU officials said
LSU coach Les Miles was back at the football operations building Monday afternoon after visiting the hospital earlier in the day for an illness, a team spokesman confirmed. Miles' first press conference of the season, scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Monday, was canceled after the coach felt "under the weather" Monday morning and needed brief hospitalization, athletic director Joe Alleva said. Miles returned to his office at about 2:15 p.m. Monday. WBRZ recorded a video of the coach walking from his car into the football operations building. Team spokesman Michael Bonnette confirmed Miles had returned to work. It capped a bizarre start to LSU's first game week.

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