Monday, May 20, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
MSU to welcome Boys State participants May 26
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker lead a list of speakers for the American Legion's Boys State on the campus of Mississippi State University this month. Bryant and Wicker are scheduled to speak on May 29, the fourth day of the annual event that teaches rising seniors about state and local government and the electoral process. Boys State will meet May 26-June 1 on the Starkville campus.
Syracuse professor chosen as dean for College of Engineering
A New York higher education administrator and faculty member is Mississippi State's new engineering dean. The appointment of Achille Messac to lead the university's James Worth Bagley College of Engineering is pending formal approval by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning. He will be MSU's first African American dean. At Syracuse University, Messac has been serving as chair and distinguished professor of the mechanical and aerospace engineering department. "We are fortunate to have attracted a person of the caliber of Dr. Messac," said Jerry Gilbert, MSU provost and executive vice president, in making the announcement.
Bruce named graduate school dean at MSU
Lori Mann Bruce has been named dean of the Graduate School at Mississippi State University. She also will serve as associate vice president for academic affairs. 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. She will be the first woman to lead MSU’s Graduate School.
Higher Education Briefs: New graduate school dean named
Lori Mann Bruce is the new associate vice president for academic affairs and graduate school dean at Mississippi State. Enrolling nearly 4,000 students, the MSU Graduate School offers more than 130 doctoral, master’s, specialist and bachelor’s/master’s degree programs. Bruce is a University of Alabama in Huntsville doctoral graduate in electrical and computer engineering. She also holds a UAH bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering, as well as a master’s in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Environmental economists work middle ground
At first glance, the term “environmental economist” looks oxymoronic. Is this a tree-hugging, crusading environmentalist or a money-grubbing, pragmatic economist? Dan Petrolia, associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Mississippi State University, laughs when asked that question. “I guess it depends on who you ask,” Petrolia said. “I think some environmentalists as well as elements of the business community are unsure what an environmental economist is and what we do.” Most of that uncertainty is attributable to the relative recent emergence of the field of study. Mississippi State is the only state institution of higher learning offering it as a major, and the land grant university just graduated its first environmental economist last May.
Higher Education Briefs: Chemist to serve on FDA committee
The director of the Mississippi State Chemical Laboratory is newly appointed to a key federal advisory committee. State Chemist Kevin L. Armbrust is beginning a three-year term on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Advisory Committee. He was nominated by the Association of Public Health Laboratories. “We provide advice to the FDA commissioner on emerging food safety, food science, nutrition, and other food-related health issues that the agency considers for its food and cosmetics programs,” Armbrust said. “The selection process was very extensive, lasting seven months.” A University of California, Davis doctoral graduate, he said he was “excited about serving, as well as representing MSU.”
Mississippi State Prepares to Host Rabies Symposium
Experts in public health and veterinary medicine will gather Sept. 28 in Starkville, Miss., for the sixth annual Merial Rabies Symposium. The location, on the campus of Mississippi State University, was chosen last year during a competition between U.S. veterinary colleges in which pharmaceutical giant Merial Ltd. of Duluth, Ga., asked students to raise awareness about rabies in their communities. Mississippi State's Class of 2016 hosted a community education program and coined the phrase "Less Rabies, More Cowbell,” which was printed on T-shirts sold to students and faculty. The symposium will address rabies from local to international angles.
MSU EcoCar Team Back in Competition
Mississippi State’s champion EcoCAR 2 team again is competing for the prized top title in year two of a challenge that puts students and their work through rigorous tests and rewards them with unparalleled hands-on automotive engineering experience. Titled “EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future,” the three-year collegiate engineering competition is the only program of its kind. In 2012, the MSU team was named year-one winners in Los Angeles, earning 952 of a possible 1,000 competition points and bringing home $13,000 in prize money and five individual category awards. The team impressed the judges with its series-parallel plug-in hybrid electric vehicle design.
New college graduates struggle to find work
Mississippi still has one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates at 9.4 percent, compared with an average of 6.5 percent in 2007, right before the recession put the brakes on the economy. Higher than usual unemployment means a larger pool of available labor for employers to chose from, and thus fewer opportunities for recent college graduates with little or no real work experience. Lisa Lamberth, a 2012 graduate from Mississippi State University, has spent the last year working for BancorpSouth in Tupelo. She said it was luck finding a job because someone she knew was leaving. With a degree in biochemistry, Lamberth positioned herself well and was accepted to begin dental school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center this fall. She said the year working at home has been helpful. “I just kind of had a year off to work. ... it was really good to save up some money,” she said.
Miss. crop planting lags behind schedule
Planting of Mississippi row crops has fallen behind schedule following a spate of wet weather, according to industry experts and government officials. Ernie Flint, an agronomist at the Mississippi State University Extension Service, says many of the state's farmers are running about month behind but still have time to catch up before it's too late to plant crops. "I've never seen anything that compares with this spring. I've seen the Delta planted late but never the whole state," Flint said in a statement issued by the university.
Blue Canoe Facebook post sparks reaction
Viewers flocked to Blue Canoe Facebook page on Thursday after owner Adam Morgan posted what some would consider a somewhat strongly worded statement about a policy at his Tupelo restaurant. Cheryl Chambers, communications professor and social media director for Mississippi State University’s communication department, said Facebook appeals to many business managers and owners because it allows them quick, direct access to their customers. “Social media reaches people where they are,” she said. One year after its IPO, the impact Facebook has on business is steadily growing. But how and when businesses should use the site still is being played out in a public forum. Chambers said the ability to quickly respond to a situation is both beneficial and potentially detrimental to a business’ marketing effort.
School news: Hill joins liaison group at MSU
Mississippi State University sophomore Tyrus Hill of Caledonia has been named one of 22 students joining the university Alumni Association student liaison group. Alumni delegates serve as liaisons between the 135-year-old land-grant institution and its more than 125,000 living graduates. This group of students is invaluable in assisting with alumni-sponsored programs and activities, including football tailgate gatherings, class reunions and numerous other events, both on and off campus.
Dating Advice You Should And Shouldn't Listen To
Test audiences watch movies before release and tell the studio what they think. That's how "Pretty Woman" ended up with a feel-good ending and why "Fatal Attraction" wasn't even darker than it was. Your relationship has a test panel too -- buddies, brothers, coworkers. And their opinions can shape your romantic destiny, H. Colleen Sinclair, an associate professor of psychology at Mississippi State University, said. "If you have the support of your friends and family, your relationship is more likely to survive," Sinclair said. So do you take their advice, or stick to your original screenplay?
Study shows state subsidies for Nissan top $1.3B | News | The Sun Herald
Nissan Motor Co.'s Mississippi plant is on track to receive more state aid and tax breaks than what state and company officials have previously revealed, according to a study paid for by the United Auto Workers, which is questioning whether the state is getting enough for its money. The study finds the state and Madison County governments may provide Nissan's Canton plant with nearly $850 million in tax breaks over 30 years, plus $400 million in cash aid. It also estimates Mississippi will pay $90 million in interest on money borrowed to aid Nissan, bringing total subsidies to as much as $1.33 billion. Kathy Gelston, chief financial officer of the Mississippi Development Authority, said the report overestimates tax subsidies, and that if Mississippi hadn't aided Nissan, there would be no taxes to collect. State officials have told reporters that Mississippi has given $378 million worth of incentives to Nissan. That includes money spent to buy land, build roads, water and sewers, and to train workers. It also includes $25 million spent to construct Mississippi State University's Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems.
Capella health care proposes 50-year OCH lease
Capella Healthcare Vice President for Acquisitions Doug Johnson confirmed Friday the for-profit group is exploring a 50-year lease agreement for Starkville's OCH Regional Medical Center. Capella made the offer in an April 23 letter to the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors, Johnson said. He did not disclose how much the Franklin, Tenn.-based company offered. "We like the community, and we feel like we have an opportunity to grow and expand on the scope of services," Johnson said. Any potential transaction would have to address hospital debt. In 2008, county voters approved an almost $28 million bond for physical expansions and renovations. OCH CEO Richard Hilton said he was unaware of the offer until he was contacted by the Dispatch Friday. Hilton declined to comment on the situation until hospital trustees meet later in the month.
Attorney: Wynn challenging at least one Ward 2 affidavit
Ward 2 alderman candidate Lisa Wynn is formally challenging the Starkville Municipal Democratic Executive Committee's Monday decision to reject at least one affidavit, Wynn's attorney Charles Yoste said Thursday. Yoste said the complaint would be filed with the Democratic Party. That group, not the City of Starkville, was responsible for May 7's primary and subsequent Ward 2 affidavit processing. The affidavit and numerous others were successfully challenged by incumbent Sandra Sistrunk's attorney, Lydia Quarles, Tuesday.
State gathers voter ID information
The U.S. Department of Justice still is considering whether to preclear Mississippi’s voter identification requirement that was approved by voters in November 2011. Jan Schaefer, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Jim Hood, said information requested by the Justice Department on March 21 “is being sought and will be submitted to DOJ as it is collected from various officials and agencies which have it.” Voter ID is a particularly thorny issue. Opponents, primarily Democrats, say the requirement unfairly targets the poor, particularly minorities, who might not have a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license. Supporters, primarily Republicans, say they are only trying to ensure honest elections, though others contend there is no evidence of fraud that would be thwarted by a government-issued photo ID.
Mississippi jobless rate dips as fewer seek work
Mississippi's unemployment rate dipped in April, but mainly because fewer people were looking for work. However, a separate survey of employer payrolls continued to rise, suggesting Mississippi's slow climb out of recession continues. Both sets of figures were released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Mississippi continued to have the third-highest unemployment rate among states.
Sequester threatens production at Columbus Eurocopter
Earlier this week, Sean O'Keefe, American Eurocopter parent company CEO , said cuts to the Pentagon budget under the "sequester" budget reduction plan could force the company to slash production of the UH-72 Lakota helicopter, which is produced at its Columbus facility. O'Keefe, CEO of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company North America (EADS), made the statement in an editorial that appeared in a defense industry magazine. EADS Director of Communication James Darcy said while company representatives are lobbying Congress to reconsider the proposed cuts, there would be alternative avenues for Eurocopter to continue manufacturing the aircraft and keep its 320 Columbus employees at work. Joining Eurocopter in the push to restore funding for the Lakota is the Golden Triangle Development Link.
Rotterdam trip to help Miss-Lou leaders learn about port
A group of local and state officials are hoping a trip to the Netherlands in September will bring back the key to anchoring a regional port effort in the Miss-Lou. Natchez Mayor Butch Brown and Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland will be traveling with local economic development and state officials to the Port of Rotterdam in hopes of replicating the success of Europe's largest port.
Pascagoula's LNG import terminal wants to export natural gas
Big changes may be coming for Gulf LNG, the liquified natural gas terminal that is two huge storage tanks on the horizon south of Pascagoula. The owners want to begin exporting natural gas. It would be quite the turnaround for the $1.1 billion terminal built more than two years ago to import the super-chilled gas from tankers, store it, then warm and distribute it throughout the U.S. upon demand. It was the demand that never came. The market changed as U.S. gas production jumped in recent years and there has been no need for imports. Now the profit is in exporting.
Highway signs approved by 2013 Legislature will honor Mississippi notables
Across Mississippi, the highway system is dotted with signs honoring athletes, civil rights figures, military heroes and law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty. More will come this year. The 2013 Legislature authorized at least 12 signs and streamlined the process of honoring fallen members of the Mississippi Highway Patrol. The Mississippi Department of Transportation is responsible for putting up signs. The designations are supported by organizations, or local governments or citizens. Lawmakers approve them one-by-one.
Farmers avoid estate planning; many don't know who will take over
The “graying tsunami” in rural America means that more farmers are being forced to decide what happens to their farm once they retire or die. If they decide not to sell the business, the farmer must decide how to divide up the operation among the remaining relatives, many of whom are not farmers. The process is further complicated because most farmers reinvest any profits back into the operation, leaving much of their personal wealth tied up in the business through equipment and increasingly valuable land. If any relatives decide to sell their positions, it can be difficult for the primary farm operator to get enough funding to buy them out, potentially threatening the financial health of the business. As the number of U.S. farmers declines, the age of those still toiling in the field continues to climb.
Scale of government's AP records seizure surprises many
Last week, the Associated Press complained to the Justice Department of a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into its news-gathering operation. Lawyers who defend whistle-blowers saw the latest incident as part of a pattern. The secret seizure of records for 20 phones lines used by AP reporters surprised even some who had grown used to the administration's hard line. "Every president wants to control the message, but this administration has taken things to a different level," said Kathleen McClellan, a lawyer for the Government Accountability Project, an organization that protects whistle-blowers. "They have indicted a record number of people under the Espionage Act, and they have been very willing to go after journalists." Media law experts were surprised at the scale of the seizure
Chinese Hackers Resume Attacks on U.S. Targets
Three months after hackers working for a cyberunit of China’s People’s Liberation Army went silent amid evidence that they had stolen data from scores of American companies and government agencies, they appear to have resumed their attacks using different techniques, according to computer industry security experts and American officials.
Beyond Surveillance: Envisioning the Future Drone Workforce
Jonathan Downey is the kind of guy you want flying you around. The 29-year-old MIT-educated engineer not only has a commercial pilot’s license, but he also helped set the record for longest unmanned helicopter flight (18.7 hours) and pulled off among the highest hovers out of ground-effect (20,000 feet). You also get the feeling he’d knock out a barrel roll if you asked. Downey has taken his pilot and pilotless chops and turned them toward his own commercial drone company, Airware. Airware doesn’t build drones; it builds in software and hardware the brains that fly the machines and a platform on which others can build. Think of Airware as an operating system with some hardware thrown in. Wired Business caught up with Downey to talk the commercial case for robotic planes, and whether we’re going to see pilotless planes before driverless cars.
Delta Council held annual meeting at Delta State
The morning rain cleared and the temperature stayed down Friday, setting up for a grand celebration at the 78th annual meeting of the Delta Council on the campus of Delta State University. Guests came in from across the nation to hear the latest from the Delta’s leading regional business and agriculture organization. Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, of Michigan, was the honored keynote speaker for the event. "There has never been a more exciting time to be involved with agriculture than there is today," addressed Stabenow. "We need more bright minds and leaders to choose to go into every aspect of agriculture."
With no interim, board begins hunt for MVSU president
After failing to attract a temporary leader for Mississippi Valley State University, the College Board has decided to look for permanent president for the Itta Bena school. College Board President Bob Owens has named five board members, led by Shane Hooper of Saltillo, to seek a new leader for Mississippi’s smallest public university. Valley has been without a president since October, when the College Board declined to renew Donna Oliver’s contract after four years. Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds said Saturday that improvements have been made to the school’s athletics program, student recruitment and data and financial processes. He said that a new president is unlikely to arrive until January at the earliest, and that there would be more time to bolster Valley. “We’ve done a number of things to put the university on the right course,” Bounds said. Still, he acknowledged that the search was unlikely to attract a large number of qualified candidates, unlike posts at Mississippi’s largest universities.
College Board approves $11M for MVSU gym expansion
Another $11 million has been added to the budget to expand and renovate Mississippi Valley State University's gymnasium complex. The College Board approved plans Thursday to raise the budget for the overhaul of the R.W. Harrison Health, Physical Education and Recreation Complex to $17.5 million. The complex includes the 5,000-seat gymnasium where Valley's basketball teams play. Plans call for an addition that will host academic assemblies and athletic events. The College Board had approved earlier plans with the understanding that more money would be added from a legislative bond issue.
USM names Children's Center director
Sarah Case-Price will become director of The Children's Center for Communication and Development at The University of Southern Mississippi on July 1. Case-Price has served in several capacities since becoming a full-time staff member in 2006 -- most recently as assistant director. She takes over for acting Director Cindy Bivins, who will continue to help with the center as a volunteer.
Carey graduates record number; more than 750 receive degrees
For William Carey University President Tommy King, every graduation is an exciting time to watch his students take their first steps into the world as representatives of William Carey. “It’s almost as exciting as seeing the fresh batch of freshmen come in in the fall,” King said. “It’s always a highlight. This year we have a record number of graduates. With the August graduates, we’ll have about nearly 1,300 for the year.” More than 750 students received degrees during four ceremonies Friday and Saturday at Smith Auditorium on the university’s Hattiesburg campus.
EMCC's renovation at Lion Hills nears completion
The transformation is complete, with only a few minor details left in what has been a whirlwind $279,000 renovation of East Mississippi Community College's latest crown jewel -- Lion Hills Golf Club, formerly Columbus Country Club. The college acquired the cash-strapped property in October for $1.6 million after it was sold at auction in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Aberdeen following two years of plummeting membership and escalating costs. The clubhouse will be used for EMCC's hotel and restaurant management technology and culinary arts programs, and the new recreational and golf turf management technology program will have classrooms and offices adjacent to the grounds-keeping maintenance facility. Students will not arrive on the new campus until August, but things are already busy, said Debby Gard, vice president for business operations at the Lion Hills.
Video from Middle East, or real thing? Nothing replaces soldier Dad
Up until the last minute, Maj. Houghton Conley’s family simply didn’t know if he’d get home in time. “He said he thought maybe they’d have a plane early enough,” said his daughter Alicia, 22. “I didn’t know if he’d be able to make it,” said wife Linda Conley of Clinton. “But he called yesterday afternoon at about 5, and said he would.” Houghton Conley’s flight from Afghanistan landed in Jackson at about 9 p.m. Thursday. On Friday, he had 15 minutes to spare after arriving at his daughter Kendra’s 10 a.m. graduation ceremonies at Hinds Community College. By design, 20-year-old Kendra was the last to know.
ICC to host David Cole celebrity roast
Itawamba Community College will host the David C. Cole Celebrity Roast beginning at 7 p.m., June 22, at the BancorpSouth Center in Tupelo. Proceeds from sponsorships, tables and individual tickets for the event, which is honoring ICC’s retiring President, will benefit the ICC Foundation’s programs. Former Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck will serve as the master of ceremonies.
Tougaloo College gala honors civil rights icons
Tougaloo College recognized five decades of the civil rights movement and the icons who worked for change during a gala Saturday night in the Capital City. The festivities were held at the Jackson Convention Center to honor men and women instrumental in Mississippi's desegregation efforts. In May, Tougaloo began an 18 month commemoration of the 50 year struggle for equal rights. The honorees are Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center; Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund; Dr. H. Jack Geiger of Physicians for Human Rights and Robert "Bob" Moses of the Algebra Project.
Westboro protesters outnumbered at U. of Alabama
Counter-protesters to the Westboro Baptist Church outnumbered the traveling hatemongers by a ratio of 20-to-1 or more Saturday. Westboro brought 11 people -- four of them children -- to a spot outside Russell Hall, designated and gated off by the University of Alabama. For a UA-designated half-hour, the Kansas-based group waved signs, while across Hackberry, hundreds gathered to mock and drown them out. The hundreds gathered to counter-protest chanted “Love, not hate” and “T-Town Never Down,” a slogan adopted in the wake of the April 27, 2011, tornado, which the WBC came to town to proclaim was the wrath of God.
Fla. Gov. will veto 3 percent college tuition hike
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who has maintained steadfast opposition to raising the cost of college for students, will veto a proposed 3 percent tuition hike. The Republican-led Florida Legislature included the hike in a $74.5 billion budget passed earlier this month. Scott planned to sign the budget into law on Monday, but he is expected to veto numerous spending items, including the proposed tuition hike. The hike was expected to generate close to $50 million for the state's public universities and colleges. In a copy of his veto message first obtained by The Associated Press, Scott writes that Floridians should be glad that tuition rates are low.
Texas A&M students, faculty push for more transparency in fees process
Texas A&M faculty leaders generally support a course-fee structure that a system audit found to be mismanaged. However, the students paying the fees are not as supportive. The Texas A&M University System audit found that the majority of the $28 million in course fees collected by Texas A&M University in fiscal year 2012 lacks proper documentation to justify the charges. Additionally, university officials had a hard time showing that the fee money went where it was supposed to go, according to the audit, which sampled random fees. The course fee revenue accounted for about 7 percent of the university budget, with fees ranging from $1 to $3,500 for a field trip.
U. of Missouri graduates prepare for next phase
For the 5,292 University of Missouri students earning degrees over the course of this weekend, the various ceremonies aren't just about celebrating their accomplishments or the memories made during their college careers. Beyond that, they signify the next big transition — whether that is into graduate school, the real world or whatever unknown lies ahead.
Trio marks a first for U. of Missouri astronomy study
Hundreds of students walked across the stage during the University of Missouri's College of Arts and Science commencement ceremony yesterday, but only three received a degree in physics that included an emphasis in astronomy, a new offering at MU. Angela Speck, the director of astronomy at MU, said she has been working on building up the astronomy program since 2004, but it wasn't until April 29 that the emphasis area was officially approved and could be awarded to the three eligible students. The degree in physics with an emphasis in astronomy is equivalent to an astrophysics degree, something that isn't available elsewhere in Missouri, Speck said.
Studies challenge the findings of 'Academically Adrift'
It's hard to think of a study in the last decade that has had a bigger impact on public discourse about higher education and the internal workings of colleges and universities alike than has Academically Adrift. The 2011 book, among the most extensive analyses of the extent and quality of college-level learning in many years, found that many students showed no meaningful gains on key measures of learning during their college years. Two recent reports by a prominent researcher purport to challenge Academically Adrift's underlying conclusions about students' critical thinking gains in college, and especially the extent to which others have seized on those findings to suggest that too little learning takes place in college.
Is student loan market ripe for private investment?
Four years after a federal takeover of most of the trillion-dollar student loan industry, opportunities are emerging for private investors to make money. One could be the business of restructuring loans to a lower interest rate years after a student graduates. "Our idea would be to do that as a fixed-rate loan," said Ted Franzeim, senior vice president of the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corp., which operates a self-supporting student loan program. "I'd like to think that as the cost of college grows, you'll be able to kind of get back into the market." But that's one of only a few niches in a market that the government now dominates with direct lending to students.
More service members earning college degrees in war zone
Finals week was dangerous for Thomas Saenz The Navy lieutenant needed armed guards and an armored car to get to his California university-approved exam site, in Kabul, Afghanistan. A deadly bomb attack also caused him to miss the class transmitted live via the Internet but he persevered and earned a master's degree in engineering while commanding a top security team. Enrollments for the new GI Bill number more than 480,000, according to the Veteran's Administration, which is starting to track the number of graduates. It's not known just how many others like Saenz earn their degrees while in combat. Officials say competing degrees online is a growing phenomenon, with more traditional public universities joining private, for-profit schools in offering the courses.
'Redshirting' engineering programs gain popularity
Following the success of academic “redshirting” -- derived from an athletic term for delaying participation to improve readiness -- at the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder, other universities are adopting the model. Boulder’s GoldShirt program, which began in 2009, identifies high school graduates who need time to catch up on math, science and humanities courses before proceeding to the full undergraduate engineering curriculum. As part of the five-year curriculum, students spend their first year with an eye toward preparation for the major before proceeding to the typical engineering courses.
Feds: Lucrative fake-ID ring got chunk of business from College of Charleston students
Days before his graduation from the College of Charleston, Grant Monahan plopped a case of Bud Light onto the counter of a convenience store near campus and turned over his driver’s license. “Is this a good ID?” the clerk asked. The 22-year-old scoffed at the inquiry, but not long ago, Monahan was one of many students using fake identification to buy alcohol. “It was easy to get away with,” Monahan said. “Now you can just go online and get two copies mailed to you.” Federal authorities pointed to the College of Charleston as the catalyst for an investigation that toppled one of the most lucrative and sophisticated counterfeiting operations in recent memory.
Sistrunk is the obvious choice in Starkville
A Dispatch editorial asserts: "On Tuesday, the remaining city council and alderman seats will be decided in Columbus and Starkville. While The Dispatch does not typically endorse candidates in municipal elections, we feel there are compelling reasons to endorse incumbent Sandra Sistrunk in her race Tuesday against Lisa Wynn for Starkville Ward 2 Alderman. In Sistrunk Starkville has an all-too-rare blend of experience, skills and attitudes we feel are most essential for those who serve their cities as council members or aldermen. We can think of no sitting aldermen or candidate who is better qualified to serve in this position than Sistrunk."
Cochran scenario to produce Coast lieutenant governor? | Michael Newsom (Opinion)
The Sun Herald's Michael Newsom writes: "Everybody wants to know whether U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran is going to retire or run for re-election. I do know that in 2008, Cochran, who was then running for re-election to another six-year term, told me he planned to retire after that term was up. Now, the oft-reported story is Cochran, 75, is undecided about running in 2014 for a term that would expire in January 2021, and he told me as much on the phone Wednesday. I've heard Republican power brokers are already working on a fairly complicated contingency plan involving multiple appointments that could end with a South Mississippian in the lieutenant governor's office if Cochran steps down before his term ends. Gov. Phil Bryant would appoint Cochran's replacement until an election could be held."
Medicaid session, funding needed | Sam R. Hall (Opinion)
The Ledger's Sam R. Hall writes: "There is a growing number of Republicans and business leaders who privately admit Mississippi should not ignore Medicaid expansion if a workable solution -- like that in Arkansas -- can be found. This train of thought is likely to continue and gain more supporters the more apparent it becomes that Obamacare will not be repealed. But for now, at least in Mississippi, the partisanship is so bad that little can be done."
Newspapers remain vital to communities
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "'Have you lost your mind?' a friend responded to one of my recent columns. That got the old noodle off in an unexpected direction. Not about the column in question, but about why I bother to write any column. It’s all about newspapers, I keep reminding myself."
GOP should heed Moak’s online gaming tax effort
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "In this age of hyper-partisan politics at every level, Democrats and Republicans generally torpedo the political initiatives of their partisan opponents on sight and if a Democrat is for it, the GOP is against it and vice-versa. But in terms of how Mississippi policymakers deal with the question of online gaming, perhaps Mississippi’s Republican majority might be well-served to review the pass they’ve taken on a Democratic lawmaker’s initiatives in online gaming. That’s a matter of economic impact and tax revenue."

Bulldogs take momentum into postseason
Mississippi State finished the regular season with a flourish, and now it hopes to carry that momentum over into the postseason. The No. 24-ranked Bulldogs topped No. 14 South Carolina on Saturday, 7-2, to claim the series victory in the regular season finale for both squads. MSU (40-16, 16-14 SEC) reached the 40-win mark in the regular season for the first time since 1997, and in the process earned the No. 5 seed for this week’s SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs will play No. 12 seed Missouri in the fourth and final game of Tuesday’s single-elimination round. MSU won the tournament last year. “I think we have the team that can go out there and win it again,” said reliever Ross Mitchell, who improved to 10-0 with 42⁄3 innings of one-run ball.
Mississippi State rolls past South Carolina for series victory
Before Ross Mitchell returned to the clubhouse a few young fans asked for his autograph on a couple of scuffed up baseballs. His performance Saturday warranted the request. His outfit didn’t. As the Mississippi State reliever inked his name on the balls, a pink backpack with purple, brown and orange leopard-print hung on his back. “I gave up the last home run today,” Mitchell said. The pink accessory signified a Bulldog mistake Saturday, but there weren’t many in Mississippi State’s 7-2 win over South Carolina at Dudy Noble Field. Sticking with tradition, Mitchell’s one blemish on Saturday caused him to carry the backpack. The win cemented MSU (40-16, 16-14) as the fifth seed in the SEC Tournament. It will play Missouri on Tuesday for a scheduled 8 p.m. start.
MSU beats South Carolina to make case for NCAA Regional in Starkville
Let John Cohen's public service announcement for why the Mississippi State University baseball should play host to a NCAA Regional begin. The Bulldogs' fifth-year coach didn't waste any time following his team's 7-2 victory against No. 14 University of South Carolina on Saturday to plead his case to the 10-member NCAA selection committee that his team should return to Dudy Noble Field in a little more than a week. "I'm not on any committee, but I can tell you this ... we played the most difficult schedule in the Southeastern Conference and went 16-14," Cohen said. "You always want more, but I still think our kids did a great job, and we battled through a lot." The victory closed out MSU's first series win against South Carolina since 2009. The Bulldogs (40-16, 16-14 Southeastern Conference) also achieved their first 40-win regular season since 1997. The last two MSU teams that reached that regular-season total (1990 and 1997) advanced to the College World Series.
SEC teams want to avoid one and done
The SEC baseball tournament begins Tuesday in Hoover, Ala., and all teams want to pack with optimism. There are four, though, who will head home with a lot of unworn clothes in suitcases. It’s a new look for the tournament this season, the first with teams seeded 5-through-12 playing a single elimination contest before they reach the old double-elimination format which begins on Wednesday. Local teams Mississippi State and Ole Miss are bookends on do-or-die opening day. No. 6 Ole Miss plays the tournament’s first game against No. 11 Kentucky. No. 5 MSU takes on No. 12 Missouri in the late game. That’s not as scary as in years past.
1-and-done format adds twist to SEC Baseball Tournament
What happens in this year’s SEC Tournament? That largely may depend on what happens on Tuesday, when eight teams will play single-elimination games at Regions Park in Hoover, Ala. Ole Miss (36-20, 15-15), which earned the sixth seed with a 11-9 win against LSU, will start the day off by playing No. 11 seed Kentucky (30-24, 11-19) at 9:30 a.m. No. 7 Alabama and No. 10 Auburn follow, then No. 8 Florida and No. 9 Texas A&M at 4:30 p.m. before the day ends with No. 5 Mississippi State (40-16, 16-14) and No. 12 Missouri (18-31, 10-20). Mississippi State’s situation is different from Ole Miss, as it tries to chase down a NCAA regional hosting bid. Winning two out of three against South Carolina helped, as did Arkansas losing its series against Auburn. The Bulldogs probably cannot have an early exit, especially with a loss against a team like Missouri.
Ferriss: Baseball's rise began with Polk at Mississippi State
If there was just one person you had to talk to about baseball in Mississippi it’d have to be Boo Ferriss. Ferriss, at 91 years young, has as good of a pulse as anyone about the evolution of baseball in the Magnolia State, because he’s been a part of it at every level. When Ferriss started at Mississippi State in 1941, he said an average home crowd was about 100 to 200 fans. Now MSU owns the Top 10 for best-attended college baseball games and drew more than 14,000 spectators at a game earlier this season. When and how did the sport’s popularity change in Mississippi? Ferriss thinks it really started changing in the 1970s when Ron Polk arrived at Mississippi State.
College success trickles down to high schools
Brandon coach Stacy Hester remembers a time when high school baseball in the state wasn’t quite as big as it is now. He traces those days back to the pre-Ron Polk era. “It all goes back to Ron Polk,” said Hester. “Coach Polk didn’t recruit a lot of Mississippi guys at first because high school baseball in Mississippi was so bad. The problem we had back then was we didn’t have a lot of good coaches. Back then, high school baseball coaches were just guys who they put out there to coach spring sports. I think the biggest thing is that after Polk came along, folks stressed hiring good coaches, there were big field improvements and people just started having a lot of pride in their high school programs.” That emphasis has helped high school baseball in Mississippi make giant strides. Currently, there are 37 players who played high school baseball in Mississippi on the rosters for Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Southern Miss. USM leads the way with 17 Mississippians, followed by MSU (11) and Ole Miss (9).
MSU women's golf team eager for first NCAAs
Ginger Brown-Lemm couldn't be more excited about her first trip to the NCAA Championships as a head coach. Not only is Brown-Lemm making history as the first coach to take the Mississippi State University women's golf team to the event, she also is the first coach of a team from the state of Mississippi to make it that far. "I'm still sky high from what happened last week, and I'm not shy at all to say that," Brown-Lemm said. "This program is ahead of schedule of where I thought they'd be, but these young ladies decided they didn't want to wait."
LSU goes on building spree
With the closing acts of the 2012-13 athletic year about to be played out at LSU, bats and balls and pads and cleats will be giving ground to construction cranes and concrete trucks. Though LSU’s athletic plant is never truly in a state of completion -- the state of the art in facilities being a constantly moving target -- the next year and a half promises to be an exceptionally busy time. By the end of 2014, plans call for the completion of Tiger Stadium’s latest addition, a new tennis complex, the start of a gymnastics practice facility, a home for LSU’s newest sport and more.
Adams leaves presidency with big imprint on U. of Georgia sports
In his 16 years as president of the University of Georgia, Michael Adams’ influence on athletics at the school has been felt, as he put it, by keeping “a hand on the rudder.” That has made for some smooth sailing as well as some choppy times during his tenure. Georgia’s athletic revenue has grown from $25.7 million in 1997 when Adams became president to a projected $92.1 million for fiscal year 2013, and the Bulldogs have won 19 national titles in six sports during that time. “I don’t have many regrets,” Adams said during an interview in his north campus office in his final weeks as president before his retirement on June 30. “You want to know what my biggest regret is? Not getting the final five yards against Alabama. To have gone out in the national championship game, and I felt that night that was the national championship game and I think the following events proved me right. I’m not sure I’m over that one yet.”
Perno out as U. of Georgia baseball coach
Georgia has parted ways with baseball coach David Perno on Sunday after a dozen seasons as head coach, according to multiple reports. The team went 21-31 overall and 7-19 in Southeastern Conference play. An official announcement from Georgia is expected Monday. Perno could not immediately be reached Sunday evening. Perno coached the Bulldogs to three College World Series berths, including a runner-up finish in 2008, but has not reached the tournament since.
Razorback Football Coach Bret Bielema Draws Crowd at Arkansas Trucking Conference
This year’s Arkansas Trucking Association Business Conference drew a record number of registrants. Sessions like “Regulations on the Horizon” and “Top 10 Legal Issues for Carriers in 2013” were no doubt of interest to the more than 300 folks who gathered for the two-day conference (and a third day of golf). But the ATA also had some help drawing an audience thanks to a session that was not industry-specific. University of Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema was the keynote speaker and spent about an hour addressing attendees. Bielema, who was hired in December, hit on a number of topics focused on leadership and the influence of his parents
Pac-12's Larry Scott Is the Highest Paid College Commissioner
In his four years as commissioner, Larry Scott has transformed the stately, sleepy Pacific-10 Conference into the big-business Pac-12, expanding the conference and quadrupling its annual television-rights revenue. Scott cashed in on his aggressive moves in 2011-12, earning more than $3 million, according to tax documents released by the conference Sunday. That appears to be the highest compensation ever for a sitting college commissioner. Scott took home a $1,376,000 bonus in addition to a base salary of $1,575,000 and other compensation of $71,462. His total compensation surpassed that of Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, who made $2.8 million in salary, bonuses and benefits that year. It also is nearly double the $1.6 million listed for commissioner Mike Slive of the Southeastern Conference, which has won the past seven major-college football national titles and recently announced it will launch a network with ESPN in 2014.
Top 16-Year-Old Runner Has a Long To-Do List
In anticipation of her first marathon, Alana Hadley did a test run late last month on the quiet, tree-lined streets near her home in Charlotte, N.C. She set out on a three-mile loop that was as familiar to her as the cadence of her breathing. Soon, the laps and miles began to fall away. A sophomore at Charlotte’s Ardrey Kell High School, Alana Hadley is 5 feet 5 inches and 110 pounds, with a resting heart rate of 50 beats a minute and a preference for pink and purple T-shirts. She consumes about 5,000 calories a day. Her parents’ grocery bill is enormous. She also happens to be the top 16-year-old long-distance runner in the country. Mark Hadley, who met his wife when they were cross-country runners at the University of Mississippi, said their daughter’s drive comes from within. “It wasn’t planned this way,” he said. “With a kid, who knows if they’re going to want to run next week? Alana’s just never stopped.”

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