Monday, June 10, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
Storm chasers are interested in public safety not just good video
Many people see storm chasers and assume they are putting themselves in harm's way. If they get hurt, they are asking for it. While there are some cases where that is true, that tends to be the exception, rather than the rule. Grady Dixon, associate professor of meteorology and climatology at Mississippi State University, has been chasing storms since he was in college himself. He now leads storm chase teams for meteorology students. His team was chasing a storm cell just to the south of the storm that hit Moore, Okla.
Ex-MSU president to steer hiring for Yokohama Tire plant
Former University of Alabama chancellor and Mississippi State University president Malcolm Portera begins work this month to ensure that locals get jobs at a tire plant being built in West Point. The Commercial Dispatch says Portera's new role will be to make sure that jobs at the Yokohama Tire Corporation are filled predominantly by people living in area. He will work for Golden Triangle Development Link. Link CEO Joe Max Higgins says Portera will work with programs at MSU and East Mississippi Community College to ensure there are qualified workers. Some of the recruits will be engineers and accountants, Higgins said.
Ocean Springs company, others dive into mobile app business
You might be hungry for a snack while watching Mississippi State University baseball in Starkville but don't want to wait in line. You might need a large piece of equipment for a construction site. You might want to keep track of your spending and bank account information. If so, there are apps for those, created by Mississippi residents and companies in an industry ripe for growth that could help the Magnolia State improve its standing as an area where technological innovation flourishes.
Late Miss. planting amplifies bug threat
Farmers are finally catching up on cotton planting, but experts are worried that the late start could expose the crop to more insects than if wet weather hadn't delayed planting. Angus Catchot, who studies crop pests for the MSU Extension Service, said pests could be a problem. "We've got a lot of data that suggests that anytime you push the cotton crop late in the Midsouth, it exposes us to bigger populations of insects that have had time to build," he said. "As the season progresses, these insects are harder to control." Heavy rains are still leaving their mark in some places.
Higher Education Briefs: MSU's EcoCAR 2 team rebounds
Mississippi State's EcoCAR 2 team is bringing home several awards from year two of a highly competitive three-year advanced automotive engineering challenge. The first-year championship team suffered a setback when an internal mechanical breakdown led the team to drop the entire drive train from their vehicle to repair the damage. The students reassembled the vehicle within 10 hours, said David Shaw, MSU vice president for research and economic development. The team placed fifth of 15 teams competing to reduce the environmental impact of a Chevrolet Malibu without compromising performance, safety or consumer acceptability.
MSU camp provides cooking fun for kids
Paring, slicing, dicing and cubing are a few of the activities that young chefs will learn at Mississippi State University's seventh annual Fun with Food Camp. The five-day camp will be June 17-21 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m on MSU's Starkville campus. The camp is open to children entering third through sixth grades and provides an opportunity for hands-on food experiences. Sylvia Byrd, camp director and professor in MSU's Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion, said the camp offers an opportunity for children to learn meal-planning skills, how to read a recipe, and the importance of nutrition and eating locally.
MSU Discovery Design Camp
Do you have what it takes to become an architect? That's what high school students at Mississippi State are finding out this week at Design Discovery Camp. MSU offers the most advanced architecture degree in the state. Hundreds of bright and talented students participate in the program every year in hopes of graduating as a professional architect. The camp helps high school students decide if this is the dream they want to pursue. Projects for this weeks camp include making a cardboard chair, drawing classes, and creating models of Starkville's Cotton District.
MUW honored to host Arts & Letters event
Artists from around the state descended on the Mississippi University for Women campus Saturday to attend the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Awards. The prestigious awards were presented to eight artists from throughout the state at the Hogarth Center on the MUW campus. This year's award recipients are: Richard Ford, Joseph Crespino, Catherine Pierce, David Wharton, Lee Renninger, Dr. Steve Rouse and Caroline Herring. Pierce, of Starkville, won the Poetry Award for "The Girls of Peculiar." She currently teaches and co-directs the creative writing program at Mississippi State University.
Mississippi Democrats revived by election successes
Mississippi's Democratic leaders were doing an end-zone dance after last week's municipal elections. They went toe-to-toe with the state Republican party in four key mayoral races and, for the first time in a very long while, defeated the red tide that has swept over Mississippi politics since the turn of this century. A joint news release from the state Democratic Party and Democratic Trust was nearly giddy. It proclaimed "major historic victories" in Meridian, Ocean Springs, Starkville and Tupelo, and "personal defeats for (Gov.) Phil Bryant, (Lt. Gov.) Tate Reeves and the leadership of the Mississippi Republican Party." Republicans sniffed at this. Stennis Institute of Government Director Marty Wiseman, whose son, Parker, was the victorious Democratic mayoral candidate in Starkville, said infighting that has kept the party moribund for years appears to be waning. "For so many years, Democrats were sitting around thinking what bad shape things were in, but 'I'm not going to try to make it any better because so and so is the chairman and I'm not,' " Wiseman said.
Early deadline could push up merger report
Members of the Commission on Starkville Consolidated School District Structure introduced the idea of setting a self-imposed, early merger report deadline which would allow state lawmakers more time to address consolidation issues during the 2014 legislative session. Discussion of the new deadline came Thursday during the group's first local meeting when members Rex Buffington and Lee Brand acknowledged the current deadline imposed by H.B. 716 -- March 1, 2014 -- falls near the end of next year's House and Senate sessions. Commissioners said creating a self-imposed deadline prior to the government-mandated due date would allow the group to deliver potential merger issues in a timely manner for legislative action. The commission took no action on the matter or any consolidation issue -- the meeting was simply a starting point in which members discussed numerous issues which will be fleshed out in the future.
AP analysis: Mississippi campaign spending hard to track
If you want to know who's spending money to influence voters in Mississippi, you may have a hard time getting a complete picture. State candidates have to file reports of their donations and spending with the secretary of state. So do political action committees. But reports from political action committees may not make it clear what those groups are supporting or opposing. And a recent study warns that other kinds of communications meant to influence voters aren't tracked at all in Mississippi.
Eurocopter lands deal to build six helicopters
American Eurocopter officials announced earlier this week that Arizona-based aviation company Pylon Aviation has placed an order for six new AS350 helicopters. Employees of the company's Columbus plant will be tasked with assembling two AS350B3e aircraft and four AS350B2s. The AS350B3e is Eurocopter's top-selling single engine aircraft, according to company spokesman Bob Cox. Each order of the ASE350 is built in Columbus along with the UH-72 Lakota, which the company produces for United States Army and National Guard fleets. Cox said the AS350 is a popular non-military helicopter.
Columbus air base economic impact soars to $343 million
How much does Columbus Air Force Base mean to the local economy? $900,000. Every day. After two years holding steady around the $260 million mark in 2010 and 2011, the Columbus Air Force Base has reported an $82 million spike in economic impact on the Golden Triangle area from $261.9 million in 2011 to $343.2 million in 2012. That number is by far the highest experienced in the past five fiscal years and nearly $54 million more than the second highest figure during that time -- $287.8 million in 2009. Lt. Shedrick Bridgeforth told the Base Community Council on Friday that amount averages out to about $900,000 per day.
Palazzo discusses budget, health care
Congressman Steven Palazzo said, even though the nation is about $17 trillion in debt, Mississippi's healthy business market is helping the state do its part to reduce the deficit. Palazzo, R-Miss., said the recent additions of GE Aviation and General Dynamics are giving the Pine Belt economy a much-needed boost. "All you have to do is just look around -- 1,250 jobs with General Dynamics right here in the Pine Belt," he said. "GE in Ellisville has 250 new jobs. And if that plant is anything like the one in Batesville, they're going to blow through that number within a year." Palazzo was the featured speaker during the Area Development Partnership's First Friday event at Southern Oaks House and Gardens in Hattiesburg.
Palazzo: Amnesty 'dead on arrival' in House
President Obama said in his weekly radio address that the immigration reform bill being considered in the Senate would be good for the country. A vote to proceed on the bill is expected Tuesday. Mississippi Congressman Steven Palazzo said any immigration bill which includes amnesty is quote, "dead on arrival" as far as he's concerned. He said immigration reform should focus on border security first. Palazzo's comments were made in Hattiesburg last week after he spoke at the Area Development Partnership's First Friday meeting.
Southern Baptist Convention sees political influence wane
A decade ago, the Southern Baptist Convention was riding high. The president of the United States was a conservative evangelical Christian who personally addressed the group's annual meetings, either by satellite or video, at least four times in two terms, and SBC leaders were feeling their influence at the highest levels of government. Ten years later, as members prepare for their 2013 annual meeting in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday, the nation's largest Protestant denomination finds itself in flux: It has less influence in government and a growing diversity that may be diminishing its role as a partisan political player. And some Southern Baptists are beginning to cry foul at what they see as discrimination by gays and liberals that violates their religious liberty.
Changes to Farm Safety Net Programs Raise Concerns
Farmers know they'll lose $5 billion in annual direct payments when a new farm bill passes. But up until now, few growers have complained about that prospect, because they know they can still count on buying federally subsidized crop insurance. However, those popular crop insurance policies may start coming with some strings attached. The Senate farm bill (S 954) would add a means test to the insurance program for the first time and would also begin requiring policyholders to comply with rules for protecting wetlands and preventing soil erosion. The crop insurance restrictions have become a key issue this year because some large farms are starting to drop out of traditional commodity programs and are relying exclusively on insurance. More growers may follow suit with the elimination of direct payments.
After Drought, Rains Plaguing Midwest Farms
About this time last year, farmers were looking to the heavens, pleading for rain. Now, they are praying for the rain to stop. One of the worst droughts in this nation's history, a dry spell that persisted through the early part of this year, has ended with torrential rains this spring that have overwhelmed vast stretches of the country, including much of the farm belt. One result has been flooded acres that have drowned corn and soybean plants, stunted their growth or prevented them from being planted at all. With fields, dusty and dry one moment, muddy and saturated the next, farmers face a familiar fear -- that their crops will not make it.
American auto industry about to go on hiring spree
The auto industry is about to go on a hiring spree as car makers and parts suppliers race to find engineers, technicians and factory workers to build the next generation of vehicles. The new employees will be part of a larger, busier workforce. From coast to coast, the industry is in top gear. Factories are operating at about 95 percent of capacity, and many are already running three shifts. As a result, some auto and parts companies are doing something they've been reluctant to consider since the recession: Adding floor space and spending millions of dollars on new equipment. "We're really bumping up against the edge," says Michael Robinet, managing director of IHS Automotive, which forecasts auto production. "So it really is brick-and-mortar time."
Israel accelerates cybersecurity know-how as early as 10th grade
Amid a rapid rise in cyber attacks on Israel, the state is accelerating efforts to recruit and develop the cyber expertise it needs to keep pace with emerging threats in the Middle East and beyond. With double the number of scientists and engineers per capita compared to the US and 10 times more active-duty soldiers relative to its total population, Israel already has impressive human capital in scientific fields such as cybersecurity. But now it is also tapping everything from high school classrooms to venture capital firms to extract cream-of-the-crop cyber experts, hone their skills and ideas, and fund their development. Israel's model, though tailor-made for its unique size and capabilities, offers potential lessons for other countries looking to improve their cybersecurity game, including the United States, according to US cybersecurity experts familiar with Israel's approach.
Edward Snowden comes forward as source of NSA leaks
A 29-year-old man who says he is a former undercover CIA employee said Sunday that he was the principal source of recent disclosures about ­top-secret National Security Agency programs, exposing himself to possible prosecution in an acknowledgment that had little if any precedent in the long history of U.S. intelligence leaks. Edward Snowden, a tech specialist who has contracted for the NSA and works for the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, unmasked himself as a source after a string of stories in The Washington Post and the Guardian that detailed previously unknown U.S. surveillance programs. He said he disclosed secret documents in response to what he described as the systematic surveillance of innocent citizens. In an interview Sunday, Snowden said he is willing to face the consequences of exposure.
Technology Emboldened the NSA
Key advances in computing and software in recent years opened the door for the National Security Agency to analyze far larger volumes of phone, Internet and financial data to search for terrorist attacks, paving the way for the programs now generating controversy. The NSA's advances have come in the form of programs developed on the West Coast---a central one was known by the quirky name Hadoop---that enable intelligence agencies to cheaply amplify computing power, U.S. and industry officials said. The new capabilities allowed officials to shift from being overwhelmed by data to being able to make sense of large chunks of it to predict events, the officials said.
Carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4 percent in 2012, IEA report says
Global emissions of carbon dioxide from energy use rose 1.4 percent to 31.6 gigatons in 2012, setting a record and putting the planet on course for temperature increases well above international climate goals, the International Energy Agency said in a report scheduled to be issued Monday. The agency said continuing that pace could mean a temperature increase over pre-industrial times of as much as 5.3 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit), which IEA chief economist Fatih Birol warned "would be a disaster for all countries."
'Lawyer glut' not as grim as reported
A legal blogger's claim that the lawyer glut is worst in Mississippi has since conceded the data warrants skepticism. Deans of law schools in the state can agree on that point, using state figures and graduate placement to back up their case. and this week reported the findings of Matt Leichter, author of the blog "Law School Tuition Bubble." In his findings, schools graduated about two law grads for every estimated job opening nationwide in 2011, with Mississippi's ratio at 10.53 law school grads for each projected opening. "I think those statistics are just faulty, frankly," Ole Miss School of Law Dean Richard Gershon said. Mississippi College School of Law Dean Jim Rosenblatt, too, questioned underlying figures.
Southern Miss' perimeter fence nears completion
Workers began construction of the University of Southern Mississippi's perimeter fence in fall 2012. The $550,000 Mississippi Department of Transportation project, designed in three parts, was intended to aid pedestrian safety around campus. But, just as the project appeared to be nearing completion, the massive February tornado that ripped through the Pine Belt and did extensive damage to the campus also flattened several sections of the wrought iron fence facing Hardy Street. Physical Plant Director Chris Crenshaw said the Feb. 10 tornado delayed the fence construction by about 50 days. But, in contrast to the heavy damage done to the campus trees or the historic Ogletree House, that was pretty much the extent of the havoc wreaked upon the fence. In fact, the fence is now on the cusp of completion around Hardy Street, U.S. 49 and Fourth Street with just a few last-minute fixes left.
$1M project kicked off at Co-Lin Community College
Community members, local elected officials, students, staff and board members of Copiah-Lincoln Community College gathered Thursday morning for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the proposed pedestrian corridor set for construction on the school's Wesson campus. "We are gathered here today to begin a process of building something we will all be proud to leave behind," Central District Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall said in beginning his speech Thursday. Hall presented a $1 million check to Co-lin President Ronnie Nettles and Wesson Mayor Alton Shaw during the ceremony held in front of the Veteran's Garden at Oswalt Library. The proposed Co-lin corridor will run through the center of campus, connecting campus gateways to already established surrounding sidewalks created by the town of Wesson.
The Stand in the Schoolhouse Door: An iconic moment of shame, courage and change
By the time the hot sun rose above Tuscaloosa on June 11, 1963, history was already playing out nearby and far away. In Birmingham, Vivian Malone and James Hood -- descendants of slaves -- awoke and prepared for the drive to the iconic university town and a confrontation with Gov. George C. Wallace. Alabama's 43-year-old governor that morning woke at a downtown Tuscaloosa hotel where he had spent the night waiting for Malone and Hood and the television cameras and reporters that would record his promised stand in the schoolhouse door and, he hoped, his unquestioned ascension as the South's leading politician.
Auburn University's first black student: 'Happened to be at the right place at the right time'
Harold Franklin never set out to attend Auburn University. The school with its agricultural heritage had little appeal for the bookish Franklin. "I used to hate when daddy grew a garden and I had to go out and help with it," Franklin said. "That was the last place I wanted to go." He had dreamed of being an attorney, inspired by his childhood idol Thurgood Marshall, the prominent counsel for National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and first black Supreme Court justice. "I wanted to be a lawyer," Franklin said, sitting on the couch in his two-bedroom apartment in Sylacauga below a framed photo of Samford Hall. "That was the most important thing to me." Franklin graduated from Alabama State University, then named Alabama State College, in 1962 with a degree in government and psychology. Franklin was seeking character references for a law school application when an encounter with civil rights attorney Fred Gray put him on the track to become Auburn University's first black student.
Auburn University's Forest Ecology Preserve offers unique learning environment
Auburn University's 120-acre nature preserve offers local students and residents an outdoor learning environment with one-of-a-kind lessons and 5 1/2 miles of walking trails. "The (Louise Kreher) Forest Ecology Preserve is part of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and we're the outreach program for the school," said Jennifer Lolley, outreach programs administrator for the school. "So we serve as the outdoor classroom for the university and all area local schools." Lolley said the preserve has about 5,000 area school kids coming for programs each year. She said they also offer programs for members and their entire families.
LSU Board approves new student fees
The LSU Board of Supervisors agreed Friday to charge students a number of extra fees aimed mostly at addressing some of the $450 million in deferred maintenance on campus buildings. The vote came just a few hours after a number of LSU professors pleaded with the board to consider boosting their pay after years of stagnant wages. In the current tough economic climate, LSU likely won't be the only of Louisiana's four college and university systems to tack on extra student fees this fall.
Animal shelter considering move to LSU campus
The East Baton Rouge parish animal shelter could find a new home on LSU's campus across from the School of Veterinary Medicine within the next few years. The 33-year-old rundown compound is hidden away on Progress Road located just north of the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison and west of the Metro Airport in Scotlandville. The Companion Animal Alliance, a nonprofit group that took control of the public animal shelter in 2011, is making plans to build a state-of-the-art facility in a new location to connect more people to adoptable animals. The LSU Board of Supervisors Friday approved a nonbinding agreement between the CAA and LSU reserving 3.7 acres of land on Skip Bertman Drive for future construction of an animal shelter.
LSU hospital deals pulled from agenda
The LSU Board of Supervisors pulled from its Friday agenda approval of deals that would privatize the operations of LSU hospitals in Bogalusa and Pineville. It is unclear when the agreements with private partners will again come up for board approval. "We are still in the process of a series of complex negotiations," LSU System executive vice president Frank Opelka told the board concerning the Bogalusa deal. "We hope to finalize it in about a week." After the meeting, Opelka declined to comment further. He also did not respond to emailed questions.
Losing a landmark: LSU organization working to save crumbling Huey P. Long Pool
Locked behind a rusted gate in the shadow of Death Valley lies an abandoned piece of LSU history. The Huey P. Long Pool once provided a place where students gathered to escape the classrooms. In August 1944, The Daily Reveille described the Huey P. Long Pool as a place, "where old friends gather, new friends meet, dates are made, and sometimes broken." Since its closure in 2003, it has deteriorated to a shell of its former grandeur. Moss grows through the cracks of the old running track, graffiti stains the walls of the locker rooms, and algae thrives in the rain water that accumulates in the pit that was once a symbol of Longism. However, a student organization is pushing to restore the pool to its former glory and reincorporate it into the culture of LSU.
Harvey Updyke Jr. to be released Monday from Lee County jail
Harvey Updyke Jr. is scheduled to be released Monday from the Lee County jail after serving the remainder of a 6-month sentence for poisoning the Toomer's Oaks. Updyke, 64, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful damage of an animal or crop facility as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. Updyke poisoned the iconic oaks on the Auburn University campus sometime after the 2010 Iron Bowl. Under probation, Updyke is forbidden from attending any collegiate sports event, has a 7 p.m. curfew, cannot talk with the media, and is banned from any Auburn University property.
U. of Florida trustees adopt 'obligatory' higher tuition rates
In-state undergraduates at the University of Florida will pay an additional $120 in tuition annually starting in August, but not because of any action by the university's governing body. The board of trustees voted unanimously Friday to adopt new tuition rates for the 2013-14 academic year, which reflect a 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment set by Florida statute. Including fee increases, the hourly residential undergraduate tuition rate starting this fall will be $164.60 -- or $4 more -- per credit hour. To make the mandatory increase more palatable, board members voted to split the proceeds evenly to help the neediest students and make critical campus repairs --- about $1.3 million for each. The statute is a legal hiccup in Gov. Rick Scott's promise not to raise tuition this year after several years of increased tuition rates by the Legislature and the universities.
Working climate at U. of Florida not good, union survey by the United Faculty of Florida finds
Swamped by paperwork, mistrustful of an administration seen as unresponsive, frustrated by a lack of communication and fearful of voicing dissent, University of Florida faculty are an unhappy lot, according to a first-ever survey by the United Faculty of Florida. On the other hand, the survey results show, the faculty overwhelmingly agree they are free to pursue their own research and enjoy a great deal of academic freedom in the classroom. Yet the faculty members are nearly evenly divided on whether they feel free to voice opposition to the administration. Noting the high response rate, UFF-UF President John Biro said, "It does indicate the faculty is interested and concerned about the climate on campus, their work and how they are supported by the administration." UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes noted that the survey did not take into account 3,012 other faculty on campus -- those who are not covered by the collective bargaining agreement.
Economic development spokesman takes U. of Missouri System post
After four years with the Missouri Department of Economic Development and 16 years in state government, John Fougere will take over next week as chief communications officer for the University of Missouri System. The new job comes with a big boost in pay, with Fougere set to earn $125,000 a year, the same salary as his predecessor, Jennifer Hollingshead. Hollingshead recently became marketing manager at MU Health Care. Fougere was paid $65,596 in 2012 as communications director for the Department of Economic Development. In a memo to UM System employees, university President Tim Wolfe said Fougere will "provide senior-level leadership direction for the development and execution of comprehensive media and public relations strategies for the UM System," including his office.
U. of Missouri renovation plan rankles faculty group
Some University of Missouri faculty members feel they have been left out of a crucial discussion once again. The MU Faculty Council set aside time at its regular meeting yesterday to discuss the proposed closure and renovation next year of three historic buildings around Francis Quadrangle on the MU campus. The move would displace faculty and staff members working in those buildings for close to a year.
Student loan rates appear likely to rise
For campus financial aid directors, the conversation about student loans is staying consistent despite the U.S. Senate's failure to pass legislation to stop the doubling of interest rates July 1. On Thursday, the Senate failed to pass either of two dueling bills that would have stopped subsidized Stafford loans from doubling, going from 3.4 percent to the 2008 levels of 6.8 percent. Nick Prewett, director of student financial aid at the University of Missouri, said he and his staff haven't necessarily changed the way they discuss borrowing with students in light of the looming increase. "We're still providing them the same amount of information," he said.
SELC sends fracking letter to U. of Tennessee
The Southern Environmental Law Center urged University of Tennessee trustees in a letter Thursday to review the school's proposal to drill for oil and gas on university land in Morgan and Scott counties. The university's governing board had not previously planned to take up the proposal in its meeting later this month or in future meetings, the UT General Counsel's Office told a student last week. UT, in December, told the News Sentinel it plans to lease land in the Cumberland Research Forest to an oil and gas company and use royalties from wells to fund research on the controversial extraction method called fracking.
Vanderbilt research developing new chemical against mosquitoes to eradicate malaria
By the age of 7, Rene Raphemot of Gabon in Africa had contracted malaria. Now 29, Raphemot studies pharmacology at Vanderbilt University and is the lead author of a new study detailing the research effort to eradicate malaria and other diseases. "I'm really excited about what I'm doing -- seeing the application of research actually translate to helping people, especially because it's something I've experienced myself," Raphemot said. Researchers from Vanderbilt University, Ohio State University and Cornell University have collaborated to develop a compound that causes kidney failure in mosquitoes when ingested.
Texas A&M System employees to get health discount
Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp has announced the reinvestment of $5 million in health care reserves that he said will result in a 16 percent decrease in monthly health care premiums for the average Texas A&M System employee. Sharp announced that the expenditure will help offset premium increases, resulting in a combined savings for employees of $10 million. The 2014 plan will also include the System Wellness Initiative, a two-year program aimed at increasing wellness among employees.
A packed lineup for U. of Georgia's Performing Arts Center
Patrons and enthusiasts of the performing arts gathered at the University of Georgia's Performing Arts Center on Friday to kick off the 2013-14 season schedule. "I'm looking forward to this, our 18th season, as we invite our audience to discover the rich variety of arts at UGA," said George Foreman, director of the PAC. "The idea is to discover something new; something you've never seen before." The turnout for the kickoff event echoed Foreman's enthusiasm. The audience filled roughly 75 percent of the main auditorium where the event was held in the PAC.
UALR Law School Dean Michael Schwartz on Changes in Legal Education
Michael Schwartz begins as dean of the Bowen School of Law on July 1 and replaces Paula Casey, who has been interim dean since the resignation a year ago of Dean Joel DiPippa. Schwartz has more than 20 years of experience in legal education. Most recently he was associate dean for faculty and academic development at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kan.
Disputing cause of global warming makes UAH researcher 'world's most important scientist'
The man who may be the world's most important scientist has a corner office on the third floor of the National Space Science and Technology Center on the campus of the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The view out Roy Spencer's window faces west, providing a real-time vantage point to the incoming weather. But in the science community, what Spencer sees is frequently different from his colleagues. Spencer, along with fellow UAH professor John Christy (the director of the UAH Earth System Science Center), do not fall in lockstep with the conventional scientific wisdom that humans are feeding global warming to their own detriment.
NSF releases guidelines for complying with law barring support for political science
The National Science Foundation on Friday announced its rules to carry out new Congressional restrictions on supporting research in political science. While political scientists hate the restrictions in just about any form, several experts said Friday that the NSF appears to be trying to comply with the law in a way that indicates a willingness to continue to support some research in the discipline. Several political scientists posted notes on Facebook or Twitter saying that they read the NSF policy as suggesting that things might proceed as they have in the past, but with more paperwork and a longer time frame for decisions on applications.
Academic researchers using crowdfunding platforms
As a result of increased competition and diminishing federal research funding, it is becoming more difficult for university researchers to bring their scholarly endeavors to life. Though still in their relatively early stages, crowdfunding platforms are becoming a popular mechanism for scientists to raise cash -- quickly. Though there are differences from one platform to the next, crowdfunding sites function similarly: A person posts a description of his or her idea asking for small contributions from the community at large, and those who feel passionately about the project can donate. The fund-raiser is usually given a specific amount of time to reach his or her goal, or the backers are not charged. Typically the crowdfunding site receives a percentage of the amount the fund-raiser earns, and backers can receive "rewards" from the fund-raiser for pledging certain amounts of cash.
Universities and Libraries Envision a 'Federated System' for Public Access to Research
As federal agencies scramble to meet an August 22 deadline to comply with a recent White House directive to expand public access to research, a group of university and library organizations says it has a workable, higher-education-driven solution. This week, the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, and the Association of Research Libraries are offering a plan they call the Shared Access Research Ecosystem, or Share. Share would expand on systems that universities and libraries have long been building to support the sharing and preservation of research. The groups behind Share have been circulating a document, dated June 7, that lays out the basics behind the idea.
Separating fact from fiction about Common Core education standards
A backlash against the Common Core educational standards for grade school has hit the radio talk shows and Internet blogs in recent weeks. The tea party has taken it up as a new rallying cry against what it claims is a government takeover of educating our kids. The new standards have the backing of major business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Business Roundtable President John Engler, a former Republican governor of Michigan, has argued that they're necessary for students to keep up with the rest of the world. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving grants to support their implementation.
Some good news on state's economy
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "Because of our high poverty and low educational attainment rates, Mississippi faces greater economic challenges than most states. We still have the lowest per capita income and lowest per capita economic output of any state, as well as the highest poverty rate. So when signs of progress are evident, they ought to be celebrated. Here's some encouraging news: Our state's economy grew 2.4 percent in 2012. Not great, but much better than 2011 and nearly even with the nation's 2.5 percent. ...The chief reason Mississippi still lags economically, in spite of progress, is its legacy of undervaluing education until the last few decades. The only way to catch up is to value it as much -- or more -- than anybody else."
From moms to mayors, a bad week for state GOP | Michael Newsom (Opinion)
The Sun Herald's Michael Newsom writes: " Last week was downright ugly for the state Republican Party. I'd hate to be doing public relations work for the state GOP and its officials, especially Tuesday, when Gov. Phil Bryant made his now-infamous remark about working women contributing to the decline in the quality of education in the United States. The comments drew an immediate backlash from across the country. People from elsewhere enjoy it when Mississippians reinforce the stereotypes they have about us, so they ate the story up. ...The ruckus about the governor's comments came on the same day as municipal elections across Mississippi. ...The Republican Party was licking its wounds late Tuesday night."
Bryant's timing, remarks both off | Geoff Pender (Opinion)
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "Is he going to be Mississippi's chief executive, or principal panderer? Gov. Phil Bryant paused last week, in what appeared to be something of a political victory lap tour of Washington and New York, long enough to insert his foot in his mouth, up to the ankle, on the national stage."
Medicaid funding is not the real issue
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "As we take this time between Memorial Day and Independence Day to remember 'one nation indivisible' and ponder how to salvage that ideal, issues of the day interrupt. Viewing them through the lens of "we the people" might be enlightening. Medicaid funding in Mississippi is a big issue. But the wrong focus. Not Medicaid funding but how Mississippi's working poor can access health care is the real issue, one that lies in the area the Preamble to the Constitution calls 'the general Welfare.' As long as we allow leaders to couch this simply as a money issue, the powers that seek to divide us will win out."
Campbell, Clower products of small Amite County church
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "I'm sure that there are other small churches that have contributed significantly to this nation's culture, but I likewise rather doubt that any church in America has had a more profound impact on the culture of the rural South than has East Fork Baptist Church, located about a mile off Hwy. 24 in rural Amite County, Mississippi. ...There are literally hundreds of such small, rural houses of worship around Mississippi. But what makes this church and the Smithdale community east of Liberty is that they spawned two of the most memorable characters in Mississippi's history -- minister, writer and civil rights activist the Rev. Will D. Campbell and Nashville comedian and Christian storyteller Jerry Clower."

Virginia-MSU Game 2 suspended; play to resume today in Charlottesville
Mississippi State is six outs from Omaha, but it's going to be several hours before it has a chance to get those outs. Game 2 of this NCAA super regional has been suspended by rain and lightning. The game was halted at 10:02 p.m. local time, and a little over an hour later it was announced that play would resume at 4 p.m. here Monday (3 p.m. Central). MSU is leading 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning, with no outs, nobody on base, and an 0-2 count on Hunter Renfroe. State needs just six more outs to advance to its ninth College World Series.
Weather suspends Super Regional; Mississippi State six outs from CWS berth
The players at Davenport Field took a backseat to Rihanna and Led Zeppelin on Sunday. Instead of strikeouts, hits and walks, fans reacted to music played over the public address system through two rain delays. The second one suspended Game 2 until Monday at 3 p.m. Lightning struck late Sunday night and play never resumed. If a third game is needed it will begin 55 minutes after the conclusion of game two. Mississippi State leads the game 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh. It is six outs away from a College World Series berth.
Bulldogs' upset bid at Virginia suspended by rain
Mississippi State's game against Virginia was suspended in the middle of the seventh inning by lightning and heavy rain. The Bulldogs were leading 5-3 and coming to bat six outs from a sweep and their first College World Series berth since 2007 when the rain came at 10:02 p.m. The umpires waited just over an hour before deciding to suspend the game.
Another long night at the park | Brad Locke (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Brad Locke writes: "Oh, Mississippi State is playing postseason baseball? It must mean really late nights. MSU had a lot of late nights during the SEC Tournament, and it had another one Sunday at this NCAA super regional against Virginia. The No. 14-ranked Bulldogs were trying to finish off a Game 2 win when rain and lightning cleared Davenport Field, causing a lengthy delay that blew up the Daily Journal's (and many others') print deadline. Got you covered at, though."
Seven current Bulldogs taken in MLB draft
Nine players with ties to the Mississippi State University baseball team heard their names called Friday and Saturday in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player draft. On Friday, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected junior shortstop Adam Frazier, the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, in the sixth round (179th overall). He has until July 12 to decide whether he'll sign a professional contract or return for his senior season at MSU. MSU senior starting pitcher Kendall Graveman was taken in the eighth round (235th overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays. One round later, Toronto selected MSU left-handed relief pitcher Chad Girodo in the ninth round with the 265th pick. Five other players with MSU ties were selected Saturday, the last day of the draft.
MSU's quick action on violations pays off
Mississippi State will head into the 2013 season with two fewer scholarships after the NCAA released the results of its investigation into the school's football program on Friday. The NCAA concluded an MSU booster made recruiting contact with a football prospect and provided impermissible benefits. The findings led to six self-imposed penalties, as well as two more added by the NCAA. Those include two years of probation, rather than the one year MSU recommended. "We worked in close and full cooperation with the NCAA in every phase of this process," said MSU President Mark Keenum. "I am pleased that the Committee on Infractions recognized our good faith efforts to meet this issue head-on by taking swift action to administer self-imposed penalties and additional corrective actions to address the situation."
Cooperation worked in Mississippi State's favor
Those around the Mississippi State athletic department felt pretty good after an April hearing with the NCAA's Committee on Infractions. Mississippi State had been forthright and helpful from the beginning about recruiting improprieties -- deemed major violations by the NCAA -- regarding redshirt freshman defensive back Will Redmond while he was at Memphis East High School. But even with supreme cooperation and good vibes coming from the hearing, no one knew for sure what to expect Friday when the Committee on Infractions handed down its punishments. The reason is that the NCAA is about as unpredictable as it gets when it comes to dealing with infractions and handing out penalties.
Bulldogs hit with minor penalties
Mississippi State’s self-imposed penalties on its football program for recruiting violations were apparently about what the violations merited. The NCAA’s Committee on Infractions Friday largely accepted the university’s sanctions, which included two years of probation and scholarship reductions after a report concluded that a booster provided a car and cash to a recruit. “We worked in close and full cooperation with the NCAA in every phase of this process,” Mississippi State President Mark Keenum said in a statement. “I am pleased that the Committee on Infractions recognized our good faith efforts to meet this issue head-on by taking swift action to administer self-imposed penalties and additional corrective actions to address the situation.”
NCAA suspends MSU's Redmond, takes away redshirt
In addition to the penalties handed out to the Mississippi State University football program and its former assistant coach, Angelo Mirando, Will Redmond also felt the wrath of the NCAA. For his role being recruited as a high school athlete, the NCAA ruled Friday that Redmond will have to repay $2,660 he received in impermissible benefits, forfeit his eligibility for the 2012 season, and serve a five-game suspension to start the 2013 season. Redmond, a defensive back from Memphis, Tenn., will be eligible to return to the active roster Oct. 12 against Bowling Green University. On Friday morning, the MSU football program received a loss of scholarships and a number of other recruiting violations from the NCAA Committee of Infractions.
NCAA hits MSU with sanctions
The NCAA Committee of Infractions released a statement Friday, detailing a recruiting violation by the Mississippi State football team and the penalties passed down. MSU worked closely with the NCAA and recommended several self-imposed sanctions. "The university did a great job of investigating and presenting the case to the committee," Committee of Infractions Chairman Britton Banowsky said in a teleconference. "We're pleased the Committee on Infractions accepted our self-imposed actions and Mississippi State's full cooperation," MSU athletic director Scott Stricklin said in a school release. "Mississippi State has worked hard to create a culture of compliance focused on being proactive and diligent. Our university worked closely with the NCAA enforcement staff to determine all the facts of the situation and then took necessary steps to protect our school."
Mississippi State Penalized for Recruiting Violations
The National Collegiate Athletic Association has penalized Mississippi State University with reductions in football scholarship and recruiting privileges, the Division I Committee on Infractions announced Friday. "This is a classic case where a booster inserts himself into the recruiting process in an effort to help his school land the prize recruit so they'll be better positioned to win more games," Britton Banowsky, chair of the infractions committee and commissioner of Conference USA, said. However, Banowsky praised the cooperation of Mississippi State.
NCAA Punishes Mississippi State U. for Recruiting Violations in Football
Mississippi State University has been hit with two years of probation and a reduction in football scholarships after the NCAA found that a booster provided impermissible benefits to a top prospect, the NCAA announced on Friday. The NCAA said a former assistant coach for the Bulldogs learned of the booster's improper activity but did not report it to university officials. The NCAA cited the coach for unethical conduct for failing to report the booster's activities and for making false statements in interviews about the matter. The university self-imposed several of the penalties in the case, including the reductions in scholarships, official visits, and recruiting days.
Cooperation can go a long way in NCAA matters | Danny P. Smith (Opinion)
Danny P. Smith, sports editor for the Starkville Daily News, writes: "It was a situation that Mississippi State seemed to handle about as well as it could. When the NCAA Committee of Infractions released their findings on Friday and handed down its ruling for the Bulldog football program, the penalties could have been much worse. MSU appears to have cooperated fully with the NCAA with the investigation into the violations with the recruitment and eventual signing of Will Redmond."
Proper response helps in MSU case | Brad Locke (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Brad Locke writes: "Fair or not, the NCAA is often portrayed as bumbling, inconsistent and, especially when it comes to student-athletes, draconian. But Friday's news should remind us that the NCAA can be merciful, so long as you cooperate, don't lie, and give them everything they ask for. That's what Mississippi State did, which is why it got off so lightly for the major recruiting violations that the NCAA uncovered. 'We wanted to go out of our way to let folks know we were very appreciative of the way the university responded, and that's the way it should be in cases like these,' said Britton Banowsky, the chairman of the NCAA Committee of Infractions. In a lengthy statement released Friday, MSU president Mark Keenum emphasized that 'integrity, ethics and responsibility are core values of Mississippi State,' and that was the driving desire behind the school's cooperation with the NCAA."
Wilson weathers 'brutal' finish to win State Am
Mother Nature played a crucial role during Sunday's final round of the 98th annual Mississippi Golf Association's State Amateur Championship. One player -- Steve Wilson -- survived. Another -- Eddie Brescher III -- did not. Ocean Springs' Wilson and Canton's Brescher were tied at 11-under-par with two holes remaining when a steady drizzle turned into high winds and a driving rain as they approached the No. 17 tee box. Brescher hit his tee shot left and into a hazard. It eventually cost him three strokes and the tournament. He carded a quadruple bogey on the hole. "It was ridiculous; I couldn't hold my club it was raining so bad," said the Millsaps College golf coach. "It did cost me." Wilson recorded a par on the 17th, then bogeyed the 18th after a stray tee shot of his own. Still, he walked off the damp Grand Bear course with a 3-shot victory.
Q&A: Rusty Hampton leaves journalism after 30 years for the engineering field
Rusty Hampton is the marketing editor at Neel-Schaffer, a Jackson-based engineering firm. Hampton spent 30 years in the newspaper business, as a reporter and editor. He comes to Neel-Schaffer having spent the last decade-plus as sports editor of The Clarion-Ledger.
Academic Advisers for Athletics Grapple With UNC Controversy
It's been a challenging couple of years for the people who oversee academic support for big-time athletes, as high-profile problems have cast aspects of their profession in a negative light. Late last week, academic advisers from around the country gathered for their annual convention. Many defended the industry even as it faces renewed questions about the appropriate definition of academic fraud and whether the NCAA should have an increased role in enforcing it. Those questions took on fresh meaning on Saturday, as The News & Observer revealed newfound ties between advisers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a former leader of its department of African and Afro-American studies, who departed last year amid allegations of impropriety.

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