Thursday, May 16, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
Bruce Gets New MSU Post
Lori Mann Bruce is the new associate vice president for academic affairs and graduate school dean at Mississippi State. Bruce, associate dean of the university’s Bagley College of Engineering since 2008, succeeds the retiring Louis D’Abramo. Like D’Abramo, she is a William L. Giles Distinguished Professor, MSU’s highest faculty rank. The appointment is pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning. She will be the first woman to lead MSU’s graduate school. “We are delighted that Dr. Bruce has agreed to be our next associate vice president and dean of the Graduate School,” said Jerry Gilbert, provost and executive vice president.
MDE adds opportunity for seniors who need to pass state test
Interim State Superintendent Lynn House announced on Wednesday that seniors who have completed all graduation requirements with the exception of passing only one state test are now eligible for emergency testing. Due to time constraints, requests will be considered in the order they are received, as long as space is available. School district test coordinators can make testing arrangements with the Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University.
Hidden Treasures — Cullis and Gladys Wade Clock Museum at MSU
During Mississippi State University football games, thousands of visitors flood the Junction and walk right by the Cullis Wade Depot. But take a minute to stop inside the Welcome Center and the tick-tock sound will surprise you. The Cullis and Gladys Wade Clock Museum is truly a timeless hidden treasure. Your eyes and ears open wide to the chiming of hundreds of clocks as you enter the door. The walls are covered top to bottom with Cullis and Gladys Wade’s personal clock collection. “Rather than having children, they had clocks. They collected their first one in 1967, and we have over 400 clocks dating back to the early 1700s,” said Cristi Stevens, the Welcome Center coordinator.
Consolidation committee taking shape
The Starkville School District Board of Trustees named Superintendent Lewis Holloway, school board member Lee Brand and Stennis Center for Public Service Leadership Director Rex Buffington as its three-person delegation to a soon-to-be-formed Starkville-Oktibbeha consolidation study commission. School officials also said Mississippi Department of Education Interim Deputy State Superintendent Larry Drawdy will serve as Interim State Superintendent Lynn House's appointee and chair the commission, while David Shaw, Mississippi State University vice president for research and economic development, will serve as the school's representative.
State college board teams with minority biz site
The state College Board announced an initiative Wednesday to partner with a website that promotes minority businesses. The website,, connects minority-owned businesses with buyers online. The College Board is encouraging more Mississippi businesses to use the website so universities can easily find them when searching for potential vendors. The initiative was launched at Jackson State University. All eight of the state’s public universities will participate in training sessions at vendor fairs to introduce local businesses to the website.
Ward 2 candidates report no outside funding
Both Ward 2 alderman candidates Sandra Sistrunk and Lisa Wynn filed campaign finance documents by Tuesday's pre-runoff report deadline. The primary pre-runoff receipts and disbursements report details contributions and expenses from April 28 through May 11. Sistrunk, the Ward 2 incumbent, reported self-funding her campaign during that time frame and spending the same amount -- $467.14 -- she loaned herself. Since Jan. 1, Sistrunk has collected and spent $884.06.
Region’s hospitals hold line on charges
Northeast Mississippi hospitals largely came in under national averages for hospital charges in data published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid last week. In many cases, the average charges for common procedures like joint replacement, pneumonia and gall bladder removal were tens of thousands dollars below the highest reported charges in the state during the 2011 fiscal year. OCH Regional Medical Center in Starkville came in under the national amount, and often under the Mississippi averages for charges billed to Medicare in Fiscal Year 2011. “It doesn’t surprise me,” said Richard Hilton, administrator and chief executive for OCH Regional. “Our board has been very community-minded to keep our itemized charges as low as possible.”
Lowering DUI threshold debated
Would a national safety agency’s recommendation that states lower the blood alcohol benchmark for driving drunk from 0.08 to 0.05 encourage more responsible drinking and save lives? Yes. No. Or, maybe, according to Mississippians who drink, and those who don’t. The National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation this week aims to further eliminate drunken driving deaths. “The governor is open to discussion on this issue and believes the interlock bill passed this session was a step in the right direction to further curbing DUI-related fatalities in Mississippi,” said Mick Bullock, spokesman for Gov. Phil Bryant.
American Eurocopter CEO: Army to slash Lakota program
Sequestration may have a major impact on one Golden Triangle manufacturing facility. The CEO of American Eurocopter says the Pentagon plans to slash the UH-72A Lakota in its budget plans. In an editorial published in Defense News, Sean O'Keefe is critical of the decision to cut the program saying the company delivered 260 helicopters on-time and on-cost. He says the helicopters are built by a highly skilled workforce, more than half of them military veterans, at the company's Columbus helicopter production facility.
Moak pushes back at Bryant claims
A local legislator and state Democratic leader pushed back Wednesday against claims by Gov. Phil Bryant that Democrats are willing to kill Medicaid in Mississippi in an attempt to force expansion of the program. "That's absolutely disingenuous of the governor," said District 53 Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, Wednesday morning in a phone interview. Bryant took his anti-Medicaid expansion message out of the capital and into Moak's backyard last week, touring a Brookhaven nursing home and then meeting with The Daily Leader editorial board for an interview.
Budgeter: Medicaid growth hurts education funding
Funding for education is falling short because Medicaid is devouring a larger share of state money than it did a few years ago, a top Mississippi budget writer said in a letter to teachers and school administrators. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Herb Frierson, R-Poplarville, wrote expanding Medicaid would create more uncertainty about funding for all levels of education, from kindergarten through universities. "Do you think we should expand the Medicaid program knowing how it may cost the educational community?" Frierson wrote. "Can the educational institutions afford not to take a position on the expansion of the Medicaid program?"
Roger Wicker: ‘Cold water’ hits tax reform
Mississippi GOP Sen. Roger Wicker, one of the targets of the White House’s charm offensive, said the trio of controversies dominating conversation in Washington this week could hurt efforts to reach bipartisan deals on the budget and tax reform. “I can’t imagine that this IRS scandal and the controversy surrounding the overreach and intimidation by the IRS will do anything but pour cold water on the president’s attempt to raise taxes as part of a grand bargain,” Wicker said on MSNBC. “So yes, it will hurt the president in that respect.”
Obama ousts IRS chief over inquiry
President Obama forced out the head of the IRS on Wednesday, seeking to restore the public's faith in the tax agency while asserting a measure of control over a rapidly growing political problem. Making a hastily scheduled statement at the White House, Obama denounced the targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service as "inexcusable" and pledged to "do everything in my power to make sure nothing like this ever happens again." "Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it," he said. "I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives."
LaForge nurtures open door policy at Delta State
Continuing his rounds through Bolivar County, Delta State University’s new president Dr. Bill LaForge was the first guest at Tuesday’s Cleveland Board of Aldermen meeting. “It’s a pleasure to be here and come before you,” he started. “I want thank you for the warm welcome extended to my wife and me. “I’m really excited about what’s going on at Delta State -- one of those is town and gown relation,” said LaForge, reminding those present at city hall that he and Cleveland Mayor Billy Nowell were longtime friends.
Reaching a milestone: PRCC graduates first Honors Institute class
Graduation is a milestone for most students, but this year, Pearl River Community College also celebrated a new achievement. The Class of 2013 included the college’s first Honors Institute graduates. Twelve Honors Institute students were among the 450 graduates taking part in commencement exercises Tuesday at the Forrest County Multi Purpose Center. About 900 PRCC students were eligible for degrees. Honors Institute graduates — Sean Stasny, Kevin Grzenia and Corrina Hernandez — said they were excited to be a part of the first PRCC class and looked forward to moving into their futures.
Students relocate Westboro Baptist Church counter protest after pressure from U. of Alabama administration
The organizers of a silent counter protest to Westboro Baptist Church’s planned picketing of the University of Alabama have moved the event off campus, saying they felt pressure from UA officials. Tyler Richards, a senior who will finish his studies at the UA this summer, and Cassandra Kaplan, a rising senior studying public relations, organized Saturday’s counter protest through a Facebook group called The Silent Tide, which had more than 100 confirmed attendees Wednesday afternoon. The event, which was originally to be held on campus near the picketing, will now take place on the lawn of Canterbury Episcopal Chapel. The move comes after the group’s organizers said they felt pressured by the university to change their plans.
Westboro Baptist Church permitted to picket U. of Alabama campus
The Westboro Baptist Church has been permitted to picket on the University of Alabama campus Saturday from noon to 12:30 p.m. outside Russell Hall. UA spokesman Chris Bryant said Wednesday that the location at the northeast corner of University Boulevard and Hackberry Lane was chosen “to ensure the safety and security of the campus community and to maintain the university's ability to educate its students and conduct its daily operations.” The university has established the area in in the parking lot east of Gallalee Hall as a site for “individuals or groups who want to express a differing opinion” from the Westboro group, Bryant said.
After 75 years, the U. of Georgia Press stacks up
Georgia’s largest book publisher celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. The University of Georgia Press, started in 1938 with the publication of “Segments of Southern Thought,” has become prominent in the world of university presses for its publishing blend of scholarly work and regionally-focused titles. “The press has a very strong reputation for publishing serious but accessible history, and that brand extends to our other disciplines as well,” said UGA Press director Lisa Bayer.
Records: Ousted U. of Tennessee student affairs director under review was model employee
Peers called Jenny Wright “very professional,” “diligent” and “hard-working,” records show. Her boss at the University of Tennessee referred to her as “an incredible asset to the division and the university.” And two months before she was ousted amid a probe into whether she had inappropriate relationships with athletes, Wright was offered a $4,500-per-course adjunct position in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. Records released by UT on Wednesday portray Wright, 32, as a well-connected over-achiever and model employee.
Faculty raise concerns about cronyism at U. of Oklahoma
In his almost two decades as president of the University of Oklahoma, David L. Boren has garnered praise for his fund-raising ability and the way the former U.S. senator has used his political clout to build up the institution. But a series of recent administrative appointments -- and one departure -- have some faculty members wondering if Boren is overstepping his boundaries to cement his legacy. Faculty members at the university, many of whom spoke on a condition of anonymity due to concerns about their job security, described Boren’s tenure as president as one marked by pragmatism but definite progress. But professors also said Boren, who served for 16 years in the U.S. Senate and as governor of Oklahoma before that, has also shown a willingness to replace his critics. They said he is constructing his legacy one appointment at a time through a new generation of administrators.
Thompson pulls race card
Consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "Mississippi has scheduled six special legislative elections this year so far, with up to four more likely if legislators win in municipal elections. Missing from these legislative and municipal elections are public endorsements or assistance by members of the Mississippi federal delegation. Republican Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, and Reps. Alan Nunnelee, Gregg Harper and Steven Palazzo have not publicly engaged in Republican versus Republican campaigns. That isn't surprising; they tend to avoid getting involved in local primaries where they would upset some of their base. Even in nonpartisan special elections, it is not particularly beneficial to pick sides involving more than one of your own party members. The exception is Mississippi's lone Democrat in the delegation, Second District Congressman Bennie Thompson."

Bulldogs have final chance to improve postseason position
John Cohen isn’t sure whether there will be a playoff atmosphere in the stands this weekend, but he knows there will be one on the Dudy Noble Field turf. His No. 24 Mississippi State squad closes out the regular season with a three-game set against No. 14 South Carolina, starting with tonight’s 6:30 tilt. Friday’s game is also at 6:30, while Saturday’s is at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs (38-15, 14-13 SEC) and Gamecocks (38-14, 16-10) are not only seeking a series win this weekend, but the rewards that come with it. For State to earn the No. 4 SEC Tournament seed and a first-round bye, it must sweep this weekend.
Globetrotting baseballers from north of the border now call Mississippi State home
Kyle Hann sat in a crowded box that served as his hotel room. It came with a small television that functioned about as well as the room itself. Hann attempted to rewire it, then tapped the sides before finally giving up. Sharing the room, Jacob Robson decided to call it a night. As the 5-foot-9 Robson sprawled out on his bed, his feet hung off the end. “Cuba was...” Robson said. “The biggest challenge living wise,” Hann interrupted. “For sure,” Robson finished the thought. Trips, like the one to Cuba for Team Canada’s baseball team, strengthened a bond formed nearly 1,500 miles north on baseball fields in Canada. They’ve stepped foot on diamonds in Italy, Germany, South Korea, Columbia and the Dominican Republic. They’ve sat in dugouts in nearly every state east of the Mississippi. Now they call Starkville and Dudy Noble Field home.
Dual threats Norris, Bradford lead MSU baseball
When John Cohen took the job as baseball coach at Mississippi State University on June 7, 2008, he made it clear he was going to turn the program around with dual-threat players. Limited to a 27-man roster and 11.7 scholarships by the NCAA, Cohen was relentless in his pursuit of players who could hit and play in the field and make situational contributions on the mound. Two of those players in his first full-year recruiting class were C.T. Bradford and Daryl Norris. Those juniors gave No. 23 MSU 2 1/3 innings of relief in a 3-2 victory against Oral Roberts University on Tuesday night at Dudy Noble Field.
MSU to eclipse 5-million mark at Dudy Noble Field tonight
Long known as the best college baseball atmosphere in America, Mississippi State's Dudy Noble Field is home of the top 10 on-campus, single-game crowds in collegiate baseball history. On Thursday, before the 6:30 p.m. first pitch of a huge Southeastern Conference weekend, Dudy Noble will welcome its 5,000,000th fan through the gates. A commemorative pin will be given to the first 5,000 fans on Friday night in celebration of the landmark. "I've said before Dudy Noble Field is the Carnegie Hall of college baseball, if you're in this sport, you want to play here," head coach John Cohen said.
USM, Ole Miss, MSU face big series
Southern Miss can capture its third Conference USA regular-season baseball title with a sweep of the Houston, a three-game series that begins tonight at Cougar Field. Neither Ole Miss nor Mississippi State is going to catch LSU for first place in the Southeastern Conference Western Division. But there still is a matter of seeding for next week's Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament. Both Ole Miss (35-18, 14-13 SEC) and Mississippi State (38-15, 14-13) are tied for third place in the SEC West behind LSU (46-7, 21-6) and Arkansas (34-17, 17-9). That deadlock could be broken over the next three days as Ole Miss visits LSU for a three-game set while Mississippi State entertains South Carolina (37-14, 16-10) in a three-game series.
Ties to Alabama strong for MSU softball team
It may be a long wait if you're on the pass list for Mississippi State University softball player Jessica Cooley. Cooley and her Bulldogs were scheduled to leave this morning for Mobile, Ala., where they will begin play Friday in the University of South Alabama-hosted Mobile Regional of the NCAA tournament. MSU (32-22) will face Florida State (41-16) at 3:30 p.m. Friday in a first-round game of the four-team, double-elimination event. A native of Birmingham, Ala., Cooley is ecstatic to begin her final postseason play so close to home. Friends and family already have said they will support Cooley and the Bulldogs in large numbers.
High-Tech Food Delivery Working at Dudy Noble
Two recent Mississippi State graduates have found a way to “keep fans in the game” so they don’t miss crucial moments of play while waiting in concession lines. The 2013 baseball season at the university’s Dudy Noble Field/Polk-Dement Stadium has been the inaugural season for SportSnax, a company that claims “waiting in line is old school.” Founded by Daniel J. Payne and Eric A. Hill, SportSnax now enables fans to place orders from smart-phones and have concession food and drinks delivered directly to their seats. Working with Aramark, which provides order filling and delivery, SportSnax launched in March, with service available to all fans located in the stadium’s chairback seating sections.
Pats cut starting DT Love after diabetes diagnosis
The New England Patriots released defensive tackle Kyle Love on Wednesday after he was diagnosed with diabetes. Love had lost about 20 pounds before receiving the diagnosis about two weeks ago then gained about half of it back, Richard Kopelman, his agent, said. He said Love has Type 2 diabetes, which is less serious than Type 1, and was working out at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday before being released. The Patriots did not mention the diagnosis in a statement announcing the move. Love joined the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Mississippi State in 2010.
Rutgers Chooses a Woman to Lead Athletic Department
On Wednesday, Rutgers introduced Julie Hermann, the longtime second-in-command at Louisville’s athletic department, as its new athletic director. The appointment is yet another unconventional choice for Rutgers; Hermann becomes one of a relatively few women leading major sports programs and also assumes the helm without experience as an athletic director. Hermann, who has been involved in college athletics as a player, coach or administrator for more than 30 years, arrives at Rutgers while the athletic department is still dealing with the fallout of the situation with basketball coach Mike Rice. Her task is not only managing the move to the Big Ten, but also repairing the image of the university’s athletic department and winning back supporters angered by the basketball scandal.

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