Wednesday, June 19, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
Officials prepare for second planned power outage
The Starkville campus of Mississippi State University will be impacted by a second and final power outage planned by the university's public utility providers as part of a $20 million project aimed at enhancing reliability and capacity. The Starkville Electric Department, in conjunction with the Tennessee Valley Authority, announced they anticipate the city-wide power outage on Sunday, June 23 to last from 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m. J.D. Hardy, MSU's mechanical and energy engineer, said that university officials have met to address the possible impacts of the outage and have formulated a plan to be "proactive" in working to minimize negative impacts.
10 most entrepreneurial states
Small businesses have long been a cornerstone of Mississippi's economy, since few large corporate headquarters or R&D facilities are based here. Indeed, many new college grads choose to start their careers by launching a business, said Tony Jeff, CEO of Innovate Mississippi, a nonprofit that helps early-stage companies. Startups can get help doing research and finding capital through Mississippi State University's Entrepreneurship Center. They also can enroll in business-training bootcamps offered throughout the state by the Mississippi Development Authority. Many entrepreneurs are drawn to the state's growing telecom, tech, oil & gas, and biomass energy industries.
MSU's Monday win inspires quick departures to Omaha
Scores of Mississippi State fans watching Monday night's College World Series win from the comfort of their living rooms knew what had to be done. OMAHA. ROAD TRIP. Though the trail from the South to Nebraska may be long, there aren't enough miles in the world to keep these diehards from seeing their Dawgs play Friday afternoon.
Walkout anthems reveal MSU baseball players personality
MSU fans in need of a playlist during the long trek to Omaha, need look no further than the Bulldog walkout list. Walkout songs have joined the ranks of cracker jacks and 'Sweet Caroline' in becoming a part of the American baseball tradition. Although walkout music is not allowed in Ameritrade Park, dedicated Bulldog fans have taken to singing players favorite tunes when they approach the plate.
Girl draws national attention after foul ball catch during Mississippi State game
Mississippi State outfielder Hunter Renfroe wasn't trying to start a war when he tossed a foul ball into the stands at Monday night's College World Series game against the Indiana Hoosiers. But once the ball ended up in the clutches of an ecstatic, pigtailed young girl, all bets were off. And despite attempts made by a nearby swarm of grabby youngsters to get their hands on it, she wasn't letting go. ESPN2 honed in on the action as it unfolded, including the inevitable result of what happens when a kid holding onto her newest prized possession with all her might refuses to let anyone else get their hands on it: Someone gets hurt.
Mississippi State beards: Relaxed atmosphere driving winning ways
Samson had his hair. The Mississippi State Bulldogs have their beards. Besides the heart-attack inducing fashion they have been winning games, perhaps the most notable feature of this year's Bulldogs baseball team is the assortment of facial hair and their relaxed demeanor in the dugout. It may not seem like a big deal, but the beards may just be the motivating strength of this team.
Starkville sales tax numbers are up again
The city of Starkville's 2 percent food and beverage tax returns jumped almost $20,000 in April, a spike which represents an almost 14 percent gain from last year's numbers. Starkville took in approximately $162,626.75 for April, a month which has only seen two-percent food and beverage tax returns dip twice from year to year since 2000. Last year, the city brought in almost $143,000 in the same month. Overall sales tax collections, minus two-percent receipts, also increased in April compared to the same month last year. A portion of the two-percent tax returns to the city, while the remainder is split between various organizations, including tourism initiatives, Starkville Parks and Recreation and Mississippi State University student programs.
Depot project may bag big game grant
Plans to renovate the former railroad depot in downtown Natchez may soon receive funding from an unlikely source: a TIGER -- the U.S. Department of Transportation's Transportation Improvement Generating Economic Recovery program. Alcorn State University, in conjunction with three counties, has applied for approximately $20 million in federal funding, $1 million of which is to be used to relocate the Natchez Farmers' Market to the bluff. The relocation and renovation is part of the City of Natchez's joint-project with Alcorn State and Mississippi State University to build a new facility for the farmers' market and operate the depot as a product development center, meeting space and public restroom facility.
Belzoni farm uses REACH methods
Conservation-minded Mississippi farmers have enrolled 126,470 acres in the Research and Education to Advance Conservation and Habitat(REACH)program, a Mississippi State University effort to impact land management. Robbie Kroger, an assistant professor of aquatic sciences in the MSU Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, leads the REACH initiative, which as of April includes 41 farmers. Participation in the program impacts management practices on their acreage.
Gaskin challenges Starkville Ward 4 election in circuit court
Attorneys for alderman candidate John Gaskin filed a petition for judicial review for the Ward 4 Democratic Primary with the Oktibbeha County Circuit Court, documents show. The complaint lists the Starkville Municipal Democratic Executive Committee and incoming Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker as defendants. Officials with the circuit clerk's office say a hearing date has not been set. Walker's lawyer, Lydia Quarles, is expected to file a response by the end of the week.
Mississippi teachers lack adequate training, report finds
Aspiring K-12 teachers won't find top-notch training in Mississippi or 17 other states, according to a study released Tuesday ranking hundreds teacher prep programs at colleges and universities across the country. Released Tuesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality, the report assigns more than 1,200 teacher-prep programs a rating of between one and four stars based on a host of criteria. The first-of-its-kind report received accolades from some education scholars and criticism from others. Among those who questioned the findings was Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Commissioner Hank Bounds. "I don't want to come off sounding defensive, because clearly we have some work to do," Bounds said, "but I'm not certain what this (report) really tells us because of the inconsistencies."
Report: Most Mississippi education schools mediocre
Mississippi's teacher training programs are mediocre at best, according to a group pushing for changes in how the nation trains teachers. The report from the National Council on Teacher Quality is backed by Mississippi groups pushing for educational improvements. However, leaders of some colleges of education said the council's report either misconstrues information or is based on incorrect information. William Carey University and the Mississippi University for Women generally did the best on the ratings, while the council issued a "consumer alert" over some programs at Delta State University, warning students to avoid them.
Mississippi Attorney General Slams Google for Links to Pharmacies, Pirated Content
Mississippi's attorney general announced Tuesday that he will subpoena Google for records about its activity surrounding rogue, online pharmacies, as well as pirated content. "Google is aiding and abetting criminal activity and putting consumers at risk," Mississippi AG Jim Hood said in a statement. At issue are links to online pharmacies and copyrighted material that pop up if you search certain phrases on Google. According to AG Hood, Google has not made enough of an effort to remove access to this type of content on its search engine.
Department of Marine Resources will ask lawmakers for increase in funding, Miller says
The state Department of Marine Resources will need more money from the Legislature to avoid layoffs and loss of programs and it will need an overhaul in the way it accounts for its spending to restore the public's trust, its executive director said Tuesday. "Clearly there is an environment and culture at MDMR that is susceptible to fraud, waste and abuse, which must be changed," Executive Director Jamie Miller said.
Farm bill likely to spill into next week
Republicans signaled late Tuesday that the House farm bill debate is likely to spill into next week as the leadership copes with scores of amendment requests and unrelated changes in the floor schedule. Shortly before midnight, the House Rules Committee approved a resolution making in order more than 100 amendments. Most will have just 10 minutes for debate, but as a practical matter, the leadership would have to show a lot more flexibility about the floor schedule to finish the farm bill this week. The sudden shift upset top members of the House Agriculture Committee, fearful of leaving the giant bill exposed over the weekend.
Farm Bill Vote May Be Delayed
Democratic and Republican aides signaled Tuesday evening that final passage of the farm bill could be delayed until next week, as the House Rules Committee sifts through more than 200 amendments and leadership on both sides of the aisle wonder whether there are even enough votes to pass it. "Sounds like [Republicans] are having trouble rounding up votes and need more time to try to get them," one Democratic leadership aide said. A Republican leadership aide, meanwhile, attributed the holdup to the sheer volume of amendments.
Navistar Defense unveils newest military vehicle
Navistar Defense unveiled its latest military vehicle for British military officials Wednesday morning. The vehicle, built at the company's plant in West Point, is conducting off-road demonstrations of the new vehicles capabilities during the presentation. The company is also showing off one of the MXTs recently built in West Point for the movie the "Fast and the Furious 6."
Biloxi prepares to 'play ball' in the bond market
Fans of a minor league baseball stadium in Biloxi got the call they wanted Tuesday as the push for a referendum fell short and the City Council voted to explore rates for a $21 million bond to help pay for the ball field. The Concerned Citizens/Tax-Payers Coalition collected 888 signatures, well short of the 1,500 registered voters needed to force a special election on the bond. Tim Bennett, director of Overtime Sports, defends the site north of the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino as "one of the best locations in the country." His company brought a minor league team to Pearl and has worked with Biloxi for nine years to find the site with the best chance for success.
Rising mortgage rates elicit fears they could hurt housing recovery
Mortgage rates have spiked over the past few weeks, rising at the fastest pace since 2010, sparking fears that the housing market could weaken and undermine the country's economic recovery. In the short term, the jump in interest rates is spurring home buyers in hot markets to action, adding to the already frenzied competition to get a home. But a sustained rise would hurt a fragile housing recovery, which has climbed out of the depths of its crash with the help of record-low rates, economists said. Rates are now hovering near 4 percent, still historically low, but nearly two-thirds of a percentage point higher than last month.
American Medical Association declares obesity a disease
The American Medical Association voted Tuesday to declare obesity a disease, a move that effectively defines 78 million American adults and 12 million children as having a medical condition requiring treatment. The nation's leading physicians organization took the vote after debating whether the action would do more to help affected patients get useful treatment or would further stigmatize a condition with many causes and few easy fixes. The AMA's decision essentially makes diagnosis and treatment of obesity a physician's professional obligation. As such, it should encourage primary care physicians to get over their discomfort about raising weight concerns with obese patients.
Scientists project large 'dead zone' in Gulf this summer
An area of low oxygen to form this summer off the coast of Louisiana could grow to the size of New Jersey if forecasts released Tuesday hold true. That area of low oxygen, also known as the "dead zone," could be one of the largest scientists have seen since annual monitoring began in 1985, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The 2013 NOAA forecast calls for a "dead zone" of low oxygen to end up covering 8,561 square miles. Funded through NOAA, the forecasting, monitoring and other "dead zone" work in the Gulf of Mexico is done by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, Louisiana State University and the University of Michigan.
Texas A&M initiative meant to foster increased study abroad
More Aggies are set to travel across the pond as the result of an increased partnership between Texas A&M and Swansea University. Swansea Chancellor Rhodri Morgan, former first minister of Wales, and Vice-Chancellor Richard Davies, spent all day in College Station as part of a four-day Texas university tour, which included Rice and The University of Texas. The focus of the initiative is to foster research projects in areas such as biomedicine, biotechnology and nanotechnology. Texas A&M has exchanged research and students with Swansea since 2006 through the Texas-United Kingdom Collaborative -- a partnership between eight British and eight Texas institutions. The new partnership, sealed with a memorandum of agreement on Tuesday, essentially will increase that collaboration between A&M and the Wales-based university 4,700 miles away.
Three Kentucky universities make the 'Honor Roll' in training survey
The University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Louisville made the "Honor Roll" in a first-ever national survey of teacher-training programs released Tuesday, but an official called the overall results "dismal." The Teacher Prep Review, released by the National Council on Teacher Quality, concluded that while a handful of U.S. teacher-training programs are performing at a high level, many others are effectively failing, leaving their graduates poorly prepared to teach in the nation's schools. UK received three and a half stars for its undergraduate and graduate secondary training program, and three stars for its graduate-secondary program.
World's Fair Park talks start among Knoxville developers, U. of Tennessee and city
The next big development at World's Fair Park could be for the cultural arts, such as a theater. Or a museum. On Tuesday a group of stakeholders for Knoxville's keynote downtown park met to discuss what to do with a patch of greenspace there. Among the ideas discussed was bringing the city and University of Tennessee communities closer through some kind of venue on World's Fair Park. The one idea that received more discussion than others centered on opening a theater of some kind, or cultural arts facility, in conjunction with UT on the park's performance lawn.
Humanities and Social Sciences Are Central to National Goals, Report Argues
A new report commissioned by a bipartisan quartet of lawmakers seeks to bolster the sagging fortunes of the humanities and social sciences, arguing that those disciplines are central to the nation's civic, cultural, economic, and diplomatic future. The report, "The Heart of the Matter," was produced by the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, a blue-ribbon panel that was formed by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences at the lawmakers' request. The commission's task was to identify what federal and state governments, universities, teachers, foundations, and individual donors can do to "maintain national excellence in humanities and social-scientific scholarship and education" to help achieve national goals.
Underfunding raises surplus importance
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "News that year-ending balances will show black is always welcomed, and it's even better in a state like Mississippi, whose budget fortunes have been less than fully healthy since the recession and other woes started in late 2007. ...Some reports have been generally more optimistic about Mississippi's economy, so rising revenue collections would be a reasonable expectation with economic strengthening. The picture is brighter than in recent years, and that could enhance funding prospects in 2014 for many state agencies and institutions."
Marcy's GOP rebellion
Consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "In 2008, Representative Chip Pickering's decision to not seek reelection launched a competitive Republican Primary in Mississippi's conservative Third Congressional District. Candidates included ...and former police officer Bill Marcy. A newcomer to the Mississippi Republican scene, Marcy impressed the MSGOP with confidence and tough conservative talk. Republican leaders did not expect Marcy would win (he placed six in the seven man field) but believed he would have a strong future. As a black conservative, Republicans hoped he would increase the party's appeal to minority voters. In the four years following his rise in 2008, the admiration between Republican leaders and Marcy cooled. Marcy expressed frustration the state GOP was not investing adequate resources in his campaigns against Thompson. That cooling of affection heated up on Facebook this month when Marcy posted a 'Letter of Open Rebellion.'"
The NCAA Nears Judgment Day: College Sports May Be Changed Forever If the O'Bannon Case Earns Class-Action Status
Ed O'Bannon and his lawyers are not going away quietly. Now nearly four years old, the lawsuit launched by the former UCLA basketball star and several other high-profile former college athletes against the NCAA arrives at its most critical juncture yet: class-action consideration. On Thursday, a federal judge in California will decide whether the case merits expanding from a handful of athletes to the thousands that the plaintiffs say have been harmed by being kept high and dry from the NCAA's revenue stream. Class-action certification also would raise the financial stakes considerably, putting pressure on the NCAA to settle. Win, lose or settle, the O'Bannon case has the potential to deliver the most important legal directive in the NCAA's century-old history.

Mississippi State's social media presence at CWS is team effort
Lee VanHorn attended the 2007 College World Series as a student at Winona High School. Fast forward six years and VanHorn is back in the Midwest again watching Mississippi State University play for a national championship. However, things are so much different this time around: The MSU graduate student finds a much heavier workload on his plate. VanHorn and fellow classmate Hunter Richardson are both student workers in the Athletic Media Relations Department at MSU. The duo, along with MSU athletic department employee Bob Carskadon, is helping coordinate the university's social media efforts during this year's event.
Rea making right plays at the right time for Mississippi State
During the postgame interview Monday night, Wes Rea had to give Jonathan Holder a hard time for the throw he'd made for the final out of Mississippi State's 5-4 win over Indiana. Holder smiled as others chuckled, and it was a light-hearted moment for a team that's just one win away from playing in the CWS championship series. MSU takes on either Indiana or Oregon State on Friday -- those two meet today in an elimination game. But if Rea doesn't make that play Monday, the end result could've been different. It was just another clutch moment for the third-year sophomore, who's been as valuable as anyone during MSU's postseason run.
Porter's House: Little-used first baseman makes most of time on college baseball's biggest stage
During Mississippi State's off day on Sunday Trey Porter and Jonathan Holder shared a conversation. The Mississippi State senior told the Bulldogs closer all he needed was an at bat. "He was telling me, 'Man if I just get an at bat, I'm going to be happy,'" Holder said. More than a month had passed since Porter entered a game day knowing he'd receive an at bat. In the sixth inning of Monday's College World Series game against Indiana, Mississippi State coach John Cohen gave Porter his chance.
Porter embraces new role for Bulldogs
When Mississippi State senior Trey Porter returned to the diamond in the fall of 2012, teammates and fans alike expected him to pick up where he left off during the spring season. Porter played in 60 of MSU's 64 games the previous year, including 59 starts. He hit .259 and led the team in home runs. But when the 2013 season began, Porter would embrace a different role for his team. The Hurley native developed as a pinch-hitter. In 2013, he has played in 44 of the Bulldogs' 68 games and earned just 22 starts, most as a designated hitter.
Porter's perseverance pays off with big hit for Mississippi State
It hasn't been an easy year for Trey Porter. He had hernia surgery. Then he had an eye infection, and a pulled muscle. Coach John Cohen said that three times this season, Porter was in the starting lineup but couldn't go because he was vomiting in the locker room. Porter, as you likely know by now, was a hero off the bench in Monday night's 5-4 comeback win over Indiana in a College World Series winner's bracket game. His two-run single in the eighth inning broke a 3-3 tie and put MSU (50-18) within one game of the championship series. The Bulldogs play Friday at 2 p.m. versus the winner of Wednesday's Indiana-Oregon State elimination game.
Seeing is believing: Porter's hit lifts Mississippi State past Indiana
It's amazing to think what Trey Porter could do if he could see perfectly. In the last month of the season, Trey Porter developed a severe eye infection that held him out of action. He was told not to wear his contact lenses until the infection cleared. Against doctors orders, Porter has been wearing his contacts only at games. Even with vision that isn't 20/20, the senior designated hitter showed Monday he can find a way to deliver in the clutch.
Girodo delivers another strong outing in relief
Chad Girodo hasn't had to question anything about his stuff this season. However, the Mississippi State University senior left-hander had to figure things out in a hurry in the third inning Monday in front of 25,620 people at the College World Series. "I just thought the story of the game is Chad... just battling and battling and battling," MSU coach John Cohen said.
Holder, Rea provide more late-inning drama
Jonathan Holder and Wes Rea aren't interested in having the 27th out of a game be a normal, boring experience. The duo from the Mississippi Gulf Coast have combined to give fans of the Mississippi State University baseball team extreme heart attacks while closing out victories in the NCAA tournament. On Monday, Holder recorded his 20th save of the season thanks to a deft play by Rea on a one-hop throw to first base that secured MSU's 5-4 victory against Indiana University in a winners' bracket game at TD Ameritrade Park. It didn't come without drama.
Coast talent puts stamp on College World Series baseball action | Doug Barber (Opinion)
The Sun Herald's Doug Barber writes: "Home-grown Coast talent has been on display at the College World Series as never before. Sophomore Wes Rea, sophomore Jonathan Holder and senior Trey Porter have been integral keys to Mississippi State's 2-0 start in the College World Series. And don't be surprised if sophomore Jacob Lindgren and freshman Myles Gentry don't play a key role before all is said and done."
Dudy Noble would be proud of present Bulldogs
Syndicated columnist Rick Cleveland writes: "Mississippi State is playing in the College World Series for the ninth time in the fifth consecutive decade. Surely, Dudy Noble would be proud. Clark Randolph 'Dudy' Noble, the namesake of State's baseball stadium, was one of the charter inductees of your Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in 1961. Noble was a baseball guy. He coached the State teams even when he was the athletic director, which partially accounts for why State people have always considered baseball so important. Indeed, Noble awarded the first full baseball scholarship in Mississippi history to a pitcher from Shaw in 1938. His name was David Ferriss. His friends called him Boo. But Noble did a lot more for State."
Feeling baseball's magic | John L. Pitts (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's John L. Pitts writes: "The surprising run of the Mississippi State baseball team -- now just three victories from an improbable national title -- is the kind of story that reminds me what attracted me to sports and newspapers in the first place. It's always something. There are plenty of days at work that threaten to be wholly predictable, then you get a day like Monday, when MSU beat Indiana 5-4 to put the Bulldogs in fine position to make their first appearance in the NCAA championship series. ...We'll all spill a lot of ink this week trying to explain how Mississippi State has done what they've done to this point. Win or lose, it has turned into a magical season over the past five weeks."
Hammond decision expected; USM AD's future to be announced
An announcement is expected today that Southern Miss athletic director Jeff Hammond will not remain at his alma mater after his contract expires at the end of the month. Hammond said in a text that he was informed Tuesday that he would not be retained beyond June 30. He declined further comment. Hammond, a retired two-star general, was given a one-year contract by then-interim President Aubrey K. Lucas that ran from July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013, and paid him $200,000.
Roberts Stadium scoreboard at Southern Miss gets a facelift
When the scoreboard that looms over the north end zone of Roberts Stadium made its debut for Southern Miss' 2007 season-opening football game, operators and technicians were tinkering with it right up to kickoff. USM is hoping to avoid a repeat this time around. The dismantling of the video scoreboard at the center of the structure began Tuesday. The board was damaged during the Feb. 10 tornado that tore through Hattiesburg, was dismantled and taken down Tuesday. Jeremy McClain, USM senior associate athletic director, said last week that the new board should be in place well before USM's season-opening football game with Texas State.
U. of Arkansas Athletic Department Projects $80.6M Budget
The University of Arkansas athletic department is projecting $80.6 million in revenue for the 2013-14 fiscal year. It's a 6.3 percent increase from the $75.6 million projected for the 2012-13 budget. Arkansas made the budget available after a Freedom of Information Act request. Among the top expenditures for UA athletics: $20 million for football, $10 million for debt service, $6.3 million for basketball, $3.6 million for facilities costs, $3.2 million for utilities, $3 million for women's basketball and $2.2 million for baseball. Arkansas will again transfer $1 million from athletics into the general university budget.

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