Tuesday, June 18, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
5 MSU fans, all strangers, bond over R.V. trip to Omaha
This is the story of five strangers, one R.V., a Mississippi State University baseball team and a cross-country trip. R.J. Morgan is a lifelong Bulldog fan. The MSU alum has followed his school through a myriad of adventures, wins and heartbreaks. So when the MSU Bulldogs won the first game of the Super Regionals against Virginia, Morgan said he knew that a road trip to the College World Series in Omaha would happen if State went all the way. "I decided to put some numbers out there," said Morgan of the cost calculations for traveling across the Midwest to see the Bulldogs play. "It's me, two football coaches, a farmer and a FedEx employee," said Morgan. "None of us really knew each other before. The only thing the five of us had in common was we love Mississippi State baseball and having a good time."
Aldermen consider redevelopment district Tuesday
Starkville officials are hopeful a proposed redevelopment district for a portion of the Highway 182 corridor will help spur growth and investments, thereby broadening the city's tax base in the future. The urban renewal project area, which could be approved by aldermen Tuesday, would encompass 472 parcels along the well-traveled city thoroughfare. The redevelopment district would work toward facilitating gateway developments at the Jackson Street intersection; mixed-use and upper-floor residential developments along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive; and infill development along the Russell-Lampkin streets corridor between downtown and Mississippi State University.
Why are home prices rising now?
After many years of falling, home prices appear to be back on the rise. Meanwhile, mortgage rates are near historic lows. Bankrate.com asks Mississippi State University's Michael J. Highfield, Robert W. Warren Chair of Real Estate and Finance and Economics department head, about what's behind the climb.
Area farmers getting back on track
Wet weather has continued to disrupt planting across the region. But according to the most recent crops report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of acres of soybeans planted in the state is now at 96 percent, up from 88 percent last week. Normie Buehring, an agronomist and soybean expert from the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said he is not sure if Northeast Mississippi farmers are quite at 90 percent planted but expects they will be near 95 to 100 percent by the end of the week. In terms of how behind schedule area farmers are, he said "it's kind of a mixed bag."
MSU Welcomes First Year Students
Anyone who has ever been to college knows university life is very different from high school. Orientation sessions help make that transition as smooth as possible. This summer, Mississippi State is welcoming the latest generation of students, and parents, into the Bulldog family. Incoming freshmen can learn about the myriad of activities available at MSU and register for their fall classes. Orientation sessions will last for the next two weeks.
State's blueberry farmers fighting weather, insects
Late-spring cold snaps and untimely freezes have delayed harvests and reduced yields for Mississippi's 2013 blueberry crop. Blake Layton, entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the spotted wing drosophila -- a type of fruit fly -- is causing huge losses nationally. The invasive species arrived in the Northwest in 2008 and in Mississippi in 2010. Eric Stafne, Extension fruit specialist at MSU's South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station in Poplarville, said the fruit flies have not been found in large numbers like last year. "We don't know what environmental factors impact their numbers yet, but we are watching closely," he said.
Miss Mississippi Preparations Underway for Miss MSU
Sunday night 53 young women took the stage for the annual Miss USA pageant. It was the unofficial start to crowning season. The Miss Mississippi pageant is next month, and competitors are getting ready. Twenty-one-year old Jasmine Murray has been hard at work for months preparing for one of her biggest competitions yet, Miss Mississippi. This year, the reigning Miss MSU has been preparing for every aspect of quickly approaching competition.
Five facts about Paromita Mitra
Paromita Mitra came to the United States in 1992 when she was one year old. Mitra, the first Bangladeshi-American to take part in Miss USA, represented her home state of Mississippi at the pageant. Mitra is a first-generation immigrant from Bangladesh. Here are our top 5 favourite facts about the Mississippi State University senior: she wants to be an astronaut, she's a huge STEM advocate, she is well rounded, she hasn't forgotten her roots, and she has a supportive family.
Justices Block Law Requiring Voters to Prove Citizenship
The Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a 7-to-2 decision that Arizona may not require documentary proof of citizenship from people seeking to vote in federal elections there. The ruling was the second in two terms to reject Arizona laws that the state's officials justified as responses to illegal immigration. In both cases, the court insisted that the federal government has the dominant role when it comes to national issues like controlling the borders and how federal elections are conducted.
White House threatens to veto farm bill
The White House warned Monday that it would veto the House farm bill as it now stands and signaled strongly that the fastest path to some compromise this summer would be by taking savings from crop insurance to offset Republican-backed cuts from food stamps. The most severe of the food-stamp savings would come from reimposing tighter income limits and an outdated asset test that could force more than 2 million beneficiaries off the rolls. The estimated savings are $11.5 billion over the next 10 years, and the administration made note that its own crop insurance reforms could save an almost equal sum, $11.7 billion. The release of the White House statement came as Democrats are slated to caucus Tuesday morning with the farm bill on the agenda.
Seven farm bill fights to watch
House members will need to resolve a slew if fights over amendments to approve a five-year $939 billion farm bill by Thursday. Here are some of the biggest battles to expect: conservatives seek deeper cuts to food stamps, Midwest vs. South, the dairy war, the sugar war, the egg war, farm subsidy skeptics, and an international food aid skirmish.
Hillshire to Sanderson Seen Luring Foreign Meat Buyers
Demand for meat in emerging markets, which spurred the biggest proposed Chinese takeover of a U.S. company, is turning American producers such as Hillshire Brands Co. and Sanderson Farms Inc. into potential acquisition targets. Hillshire offers buyers a higher free cash flow yield than 97 percent of similar-sized U.S. food manufacturers, while the price-earnings ratio at Sanderson is cheaper than 92 percent of the group, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Their valuations have reached potentially alluring levels at a time when Brazilian and Chinese companies are the dominant buyers of U.S. meat producers. Sanderson Chief Financial Officer Mike Cockrell declined to comment on acquisitions involving his Laurel, Miss.-based company, while adding he wouldn't be surprised to see more U.S. meat companies purchased by foreign buyers.
Mississippi governor in Paris promoting aerospace industry
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is on a tour of Paris but he is not touring museums or eating croissants. The governor is with three others attempting to lure large aerospace projects to the South. The governor is at the Paris Air Show promoting the state's aerospace industries, which, according to the Mississippi Development Authority, has the potential to bring big revenue to the state. In 2010, the state created a program that gives tax incentives to aerospace companies that decide to set up shop in Mississippi. Universities and community colleges are also providing research that will be applied to the industry in the future.
2013 Paris Air Show: Airbus scores several multibillion dollar orders on day one
Airbus won day one of the 2013 Paris Air Show over archrival Boeing Co., booking multibillion dollar orders for both its A380 superjumbos and its more fuel-efficient single-aisle A320 family aircraft. Airbus broke ground April 8 on a $600 million final assembly line at Mobile's Brookley Aeroplex, dedicated solely to production of A320 family aircraft. Nearly 100 public and economic development officials as well as private leaders from Alabama are currently attending the 50th Paris Air Show in hopes of attracting additional aerospace and aviation projects and jobs to the state.
Obama considers sweeping climate plan
The Obama administration is considering a sweeping initiative to address climate change, including the first-ever limits on carbon dioxide from power plants, the country's biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, according to people familiar with the discussions. The White House has yet to settle on specific measures, but "we're hearing that existing power plants are definitely in the mix," said a person with knowledge of the deliberations, who, like others, asked not to be identified to talk about White House discussions. An announcement could come by mid-July.
North Mississippi community college students could avoid tuition hike
Colleges and universities across the Mid-South are considering tuition hikes, including community colleges around the state of Mississippi. But a tuition increase may not be the case for students in North Mississippi. Many students will see tuition hikes between 3 and 12 percent, but for students at Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia, Southaven, and Oxford, that will not be the case. "We did not offer faculty and staff raises, we did not add any positions in order to offer that flat tuition to students," said Northwest Mississippi Community College Director of Communications Sarah Sapp.
Pearl River Community College ranked 28th best community college in the nation
Pearl River Community College in Poplarville was ranked the 28th best community college in the nation out of over 1,100 other community colleges. TheBestSchools.org, described as a "leading higher education career website," selected the 50 best community colleges in the United States based on several studies, ratings, reputations and reviews of other notable community colleges. "This recognition implies that Pearl River ranks among the best community colleges in America, but it also indicates that our students are really doing well when compared nationally," PRCC President William Lewis said.
Machen says funding is key to push for top 10 status for the U. of Florida
The big challenge for the University of Florida in its pursuit of top 10 status as a public research university will be funding, President Bernie Machen says. "It's a bit daunting, the work cut out for us," Machen said. "We are still competing in a resource-deprived environment." But he said he's proud of what UF has achieved during five years of economic downturn in Florida, which resulted in $230 million in budget cuts for UF over the years. "The amazing story is to be in the top tier of public universities with a resource base less than our peers," he said. Machen and Provost Joe Glover today will present the university's work plan for reaching pre-eminence and top 10 status at the Florida Board of Governors meeting.
U. of South Carolina raising tuition 3.15 percent
The University of South Carolina again is raising tuition and fees at the lowest rate since 1999 even as the school's state funding dwindles. Students will pay 3.15 percent more on average to attend the state's flagship university in 2013-14 after a vote by the USC board of trustees on Monday. This is the second consecutive increase at that rate and comes just below the ceiling requested by state Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, in a letter to S.C. college presidents.
Gov. Rick Perry vetoes bill curtailing powers of university regents in Texas
Texas lawmakers are at odds with Gov. Rick Perry following his veto of higher education legislation that would have added oversight to regents at state universities. On Friday, Perry vetoed Senate Bill 15, which had passed both chambers with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill would have restrained the power of university system regents in Texas, all of which have been appointed by Perry in his 13 years as governor. The most notable proposal was that regents wouldn't have been able to fire presidents without getting a recommendation to do so from the university system chancellor -- a provision primarily stemming from ongoing conflicts within the University of Texas System.
U. of Missouri decision on domestic-partner benefits draws praise, further questions
University of Missouri biology professor Candace Galen estimates she has spent about a year of her salary on her partner's health insurance in the 15 years she has been in the relationship. If she were married to a man, he could have shared in her employee benefits through the UM System. Because her partner is a woman, she had to seek insurance elsewhere. "I know couples who have been at the university who are essentially married in all but Missouri law, who have been together longer than us, and who have paid the same kind of financial price," Galen said. That all changed Thursday, when the Board of Curators voted unanimously to add "sponsored adult dependents" as a new category of people eligible for employee benefits. "I have been fighting this fight since 1990 when I arrived at MU," Galen said.
U. of Georgia has new director for Marine Outreach Programs
The University of Georgia has named a new director for its Marine Outreach Programs. The school says L. Mark Risse, a water resource policy professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, will take his new post July 1. He has served as interim director since Dec. 1 and also holds adjunct appointments in the College of Engineering and the Carl Vinson Institute of Government. In his new role, Risse will oversee coastal outreach programs, including the UGA Marine Extension Service and the Georgia Sea Grant Program.
On TV and the Lecture Circuit, Bill Nye Aims to Change the World
As the car pulled into the parking lot of a Starbucks, William Sanford Nye unknotted his trademark bow tie and slipped it off. "This might buy us a couple of minutes," he said. Roughly two minutes later, before his drink was ready, he was recognized anyway. Two awed young women approached to ask if he was really Bill Nye the Science Guy. Like more than a dozen other college students who would approach him over the next several hours, they asked if they could take a picture with him. He smiled, took a proffered iPhone, scooched the students in and, in a practiced gesture, stretched out his arm to take a shot of the three of them that you just knew was totally going on Facebook. Mr. Nye had come to talk to them, and a few thousand of their friends, at Iowa State University. If he were a politician, college students would be his base. Instead, he is something more: a figure from their early days in front of the family TV, a beloved teacher and, more and more these days, a warrior for science. They, in turn, are his fans, his students and his army.
Does China have too much influence over academe in the West?
Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng's claim that New York University has been pressured by Chinese officials to force him out of the institution has raised broader questions about whether American academe is being unduly influenced by China's government. Even as NYU denies the specific charges raised by Chen, others say that the general problem of pressure on American universities is real and troublesome.
'An Industry of Mediocrity': Study Criticizes Teacher-Education Programs
Colleges of education are "an industry of mediocrity" that churns out unprepared teachers to work in the nation's elementary and secondary schools, according to a highly anticipated report. The report, "Teacher Prep Review," describes the findings of a controversial effort to rate the quality of programs at 1,130 institutions nationwide that prepare about 99 percent of the nation's traditionally trained teachers. Released on Tuesday, the report is the product of a partnership between the National Council on Teacher Quality and U.S. News & World Report.
Report on teacher training programs ranks Lipscomb, Vanderbilt at top
Nashville is home to two of only four universities in the nation to receive a top rating for their teacher training programs in a report released this morning that skewers most traditional teaching programs. Lipscomb and Vanderbilt universities join Ohio State and Furman universities in receiving four stars in the report compiled by the National Council on Teacher Quality, or NCTQ. However, the graduate program for elementary teachers at the flagship University of Tennessee got zero stars and was given a rating of "caution" to potential teaching students.

College World Series: Mississippi State holds off Indiana for 5-4 win
Trey Porter hasn't seen much action lately, but he sure made the most of his chance Monday night. The senior stroked a two-out, two-run single in the eighth inning to lift No. 14 Mississippi State past No. 8 Indiana, 5-4, in the second round of the College World Series in front of 25,260 at TD Ameritrade Park. It was the second consecutive game in which MSU (50-18) rallied in the eighth inning, having scored twice in the eighth just two days earlier to beat Oregon State, 5-4. The Bulldogs are now off until Friday, when they'll face the winner of Wednesday's elimination game between Oregon State and Indiana (49-15). A win Friday will send MSU into the championship series for the first time in nine CWS appearances.
Comeback kids: 8th-inning rally lifts Mississippi State in College World Series
Trey Porter stood on first base in the top of the eighth with the Mississippi State faithful at his back chanting his last name. With just seven at-bats in the last month, it wasn't a situation many predicted. The senior, hitting out of the ninth hole after he pinch hit in the sixth inning, singled to right to score two and give MSU the lead and a 5-4 win over Indiana in the College World Series on Monday. "You set it out there but you never think its going to happen... I just stepped in the box at the right time," said Porter.
Porter, Rea, Holder lead MSU to 5-4 win over Indiana in College World Series
Trey Porter of Hurley rapped a two-run single in the top of the 8th inning to lift Mississippi State to a 5-4 victory over Indiana on Monday night in the College World Series. Mississippi State (50-18) is now unbeaten in the tournament and has a bye until Friday. Jonathan Holder of Gulfport got the save in dramatic fashion, getting the final out on a grounder to the mound in the ninth with the tying runner at third base.
Bulldogs Advance in College World Series, Metro Sports Bars Celebrate
Bulldog fans are feeling really good about Monday night. The Mississippi State University Baseball Team is advancing in the College World Series and supporters -- watching from Capitol Grill in Jackson -- were cheering through the final inning. India Gammill is an operating partner at Capitol Grill. She says the game is a huge boost to business.
MSU's Girodo baffling batters
Chad Girodo keeps mowing them down. The senior left-hander recorded 10 strikeouts Monday night in Mississippi State's 5-4 win over Indiana in the College World Series. It was his third consecutive strong outing in NCAA postseason play. Over those three appearances, Girodo (9-1) has struck out 32 batters in 17 2/3 innings. He worked 5 2/3 innings against Indiana to pick up his third win in NCAA play this year.
More newcomers advancing to College World Series
Mississippi State University baseball coach John Cohen knew he was the odd man of the group when he arrived at the news conference for the four coaches in the upper bracket of the College World Series. But Cohen doesn't mind that his program has more CWS appearances (nine) than Indiana University (one), the University of Louisville (two), and Oregon State University (five) combined. In fact, Cohen, who was an outfielder on the 1990 MSU team that played in the CWS, feels it is a good thing that more programs believe they can advance to the sport's biggest stage. "I think that there's so much parity in college baseball in some respects can be viewed as a really good thing in the sense that every school can start workouts in the fall thinking being here in Omaha is a realistic goal," Cohen said. "In other respects, some folks might not view it as a good thing as it's harder for any fan base to think getting here is easy."
Rivals become allies in Omaha
Mississippi State University and Louisiana State University find themselves on opposite sides of the bracket at the College World Series. The Bulldogs and Tigers are together, though, in about every other aspect of life this week at TD Ameritrade Park. The two bitter Southeastern Conference rivals have brought the two largest travel parties to the Midwest. The stadium parking lot is littered by MSU and LSU tailgate tents. Whether the fans are pulling for one another -- well that is a totally different, confusing story.
U. of Southern Mississippi golf will soon have place to call home
Right now, a rolling landscape of churned earth is all that can be seen at the northeast corner of the Hattiesburg Country Club. But within the next few months, those 5.5 acres will be transformed into the kind of first-class practice facilities that the Southern Miss men's and women's golf teams never have been able to call their own. Construction is expected to begin within the next week to 10 days on the $270,000 first phase that will create separate greens for short-game work, as well as an all-weather driving range. Later phases will add an indoor "learning facility," as well as a clubhouse for USM golfers and coaches.
Downside of SEC Football: Hotel Price Hikes
No college football entities are hotter than the Alabama Crimson Tide, the defending national champions, and the Aggies of Texas A&M, led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel. These teams will converge in Texas on Sept. 14 -- a date that's already branded into the brains of Southeastern Conference football fans. The game has sparked a ticket-buying frenzy, for sure. But it's also having an impact on another, even scarcer commodity: hotel rooms. While this sort of thing won't come as a surprise to seasoned college football travelers, a Journal analysis of hotel prices in SEC cities suggests that it's a ubiquitous issue. And that the epicenter of rising football hotel rates is the state of Alabama.
Johnny Manziel and college athletes everywhere need a Twitter timeout | Kevin Scarbinsky (Opinion)
Columnist Kevin Scarbinsky writes: "Johnny Manziel got mad late Saturday night. How do we know? The Texas A&M quarterback told the world by sending out this tweet... The mind races at the possible motivation behind that message. Manziel sent that tweet at 10:38 p.m. Saturday. It was further proof that, for college athletes, nothing good ever happens after dark, and nothing good ever happens on Twitter at any time of day. ...When are college coaches going to get it and ban their players from Twitter? Most of those coaches are control freaks, but they continue to let their athletes run amok 140 characters or less at a time."

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