Monday, July 1, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi students, educators brace for higher loan rates
A failure by Congress to extend a cut to federal student loan rates means that rate will double Monday, an increase that will impact both students and higher education institutions. The rate for subsidized federal Stafford loans increases to 6.8 percent with the new fiscal year. Loans for the upcoming academic year will cost more to repay and enrollment could drop. Chad Allgood plans to return to graduate school at Mississippi State University this fall semester taking a few years away from school for work. The Ph.D. candidate said he's still paying off student loans he took out for his master's program at Mississippi College. With the federal rate set to double, Allgood said he's reconsidering how much he will borrow.
Higher Education Briefs: Grads top starting salaries list
A new survey by The College Database shows Mississippi State graduates leading their peers at other Magnolia State universities and colleges in starting salaries. According to the website report, graduates of the Starkville land-grant institution begin work making an average of $41,200. The next three highest starting salaries listed in the survey are $40,000 for Mississippi University for Women, and $39,000 at both the University of Mississippi and Mississippi College.
State catfish farmers look to level the playing field
Unlike many Northeast Mississippi farmers, Brent Wedel didn't get into the business because of family ties. "I just got this brainwave to try it," Wedel said. And he's not a typical grower, either. Wedel is a catfish farmer. Not growing up in the industry, he learned much of what he knows today through trial and error. Wedel's success is noteworthy in an industry that as a whole, has declined steeply over the past decade. The Mississippi catfish industry peaked in 2002, with more than 113,000 acres of ponds statewide. Today, that acreage is down to about 45,000, according to Mississippi State University aquiculture expert Jim Steeby. "Half of the industry is gone," Steeby said, "We're struggling to save a good bit of what is left."
Mississippi State grants oil extraction license to Jackson company
Mississippi State has granted a commercialization license to a Jackson-based company for a technology developed and owned by the university. The technology extracts oil from microorganisms. Bio Energy Spectrum Solutions, LLC, received the exclusive right to commercialize MSU's patented technology involving extracting biocrude from oleaginous microorganisms, which are found in wastewater treatment facilities. "The process is scalable and environmentally friendly, which is a great combination. MSU and the Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer are pleased to partner with Spectrum in commercializing this technology," said Gerald Nelson, director of MSU's Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer.
MSU enters agreement for biocrude
There is a story behind the name of Bio Energy Spectrum Solutions, LLC (BESS), a different one than many might expect.
Girls State helping cities get on Facebook
An initiative to provide broadband Internet access across the state also will yield more social media outreach for Mississippi municipalities. Kourtney Hollingsworth, who works as the state broadband coordinator, partnered with Girls State to train participants in setting up Facebook pages for cities that don't use the social media website to connect to residents. Mississippi universities will help participants in the social media program. The Center for Technology Outreach at Mississippi State University allowed Girls State participants to use their laptops and iPads to complete this project during the program's conference in early June.
Hairy crazy ants move into other parts of South Mississippi
Hairy crazy ants have made their way into Harrison County. The exotic species from South America has been confined to Hancock and Jackson counties for the last few years, but has recently been spotted for the first time in Harrison County, according to Mississippi State University entomological research technician Joe Macgown.
MSU launches new journal promoting research, outreach
Faculty in Mississippi State University's School of Human Sciences recently launched a journal to promote academic research and outreach in human sciences and Extension topics. The Journal of Human Sciences and Extension is a peer-reviewed publication with articles about human development; family studies; agricultural education; leadership development; Extension; health and wellness; apparel, textiles and merchandising; agricultural economics; nutrition and dietetics; family resource management; and program planning and evaluation.
MSU thanks arts and sciences, business, agriculture and life sciences faculty
Faculty in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, and Agriculture and Life Sciences, as well as a member of the campus advising center staff, are 2013 selections for Mississippi State University's annual faculty awards. Mark A. Novotny, head of the physics and astronomy department, was announced as the newest William L. Giles Distinguished Professor, the university's highest academic rank.
Contractors bring Tanglefoot Trail closer to opening date
Contractors are putting the finishing touches on north Mississippi's Tanglefoot Trail. The 44.5-mile long multi-use recreational trail will be the region's answer to South Mississippi's Longleaf Trace recreational trail. Tanglefoot runs from New Albany to Houston. The trail is an old Gulf Mobile & Ohio railroad. Betsey Hamilton, chairperson of the GM&O Rails to Trails Recreational District, said in an interview this week that the trail will be ready to use "by football season." Mississippi State's Carl Small Town Center is partnering with the University of North Carolina and North Carolina State University to figure out ways to handle the anticipated traffic increase once Tanglefoot opens. The schools will be using first-of-its-kind technology to do it.
SPD responds to fake hostage call
An apparent crank call gave Starkville Police Department SWAT officers some real-time training Friday morning. SPD Chief David Lindley said the someone called 911 at about 8:05 a.m. claiming to be a "hostage taker" who had hostages inside a Lindbergh residence south of Mississippi Highway 12. Police set up a perimeter and sent officers clad in riot gear to the scene. However, Lindley said the call turned out to be a hoax. Mississippi State University student Casey Black, who was riding his bicycle through the neighborhood as police were navigating the situation, said he lived two doors down from the house in question. "It surprised me to walk out my door and see a bunch of cops in SWAT gear," Black said. "Obviously they take it seriously, and this makes me feel confident in our police force."
Law enforcement looks for prank caller
The Starkville Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are searching for the man responsible for placing a prank 911 call Friday morning. An unidentified male called 911 dispatchers at 8:11 a.m. Friday and claimed to be heavily armed and holding hostages, according to a press release issued by the SPD. The man threatened harm to the hostages and law enforcement, the release states. Police officers in SWAT gear swarmed the area of Lindbergh Boulevard, off of Highway 12, and surveyed the situation for nearly two hours until the call was determined to be a hoax.
KiOR achieves milestones at Columbus facility
KiOR, Inc. announced Monday that its commercial scale cellulosic gasoline and diesel production facility in Columbus has achieved several key operational milestones. "Commencing regular shipments of gasoline and diesel is very significant for KiOR, as it reflects the continuous improvements in our operations at the Columbus facility," said Fred Cannon, KiOR's President and CEO.
Medicaid crisis ends with reauthorization; Senate action 'snookered' House, rep says
Lawmakers on Friday night ended a months-long Medicaid crisis, just days before the program that provides health care to hundreds of thousands of Mississippians was set to "expire" over a legislative standoff. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and the Senate appeared to tire of stalled negotiations and after dickering and waiting early Friday night, quickly passed legislation to fully fund and reauthorize Medicaid for the coming year then voted to end the special session in its second day and go home. Gov. Phil Bryant had called lawmakers into an emergency special session on Thursday. Some House members and observers viewed the Senate action as a power play by Reeves over Bryant, House Speaker Philip Gunn and the House. "I think we've been snookered," said Rep. Cecil Brown, D-Jackson.
Dems highlight insurance exchanges
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant called last week's special session to fund and to reauthorize the Division of Medicaid for the new fiscal year, which begins Monday. Everyone knew legislative Democrats would try to make the special session, at least in part, about expanding Medicaid to cover those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $15,000 annually, for an individual. But House Democrats also tried to make the session about enacting a state-based health insurance exchange, as proposed by Republican Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney.
Thompson hosts health care forum as lawmakers feud over Medicaid
As state lawmakers battle over Medicaid funding, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson is organizing a forum Tuesday to help hospitals, businesses and consumers prepare to implement provisions of the 2010 federal health care reform law. Republicans have made repeated failed attempts to repeal the law, but Thompson said that's irrelevant. "It's the law of the land," he said of the Affordable Care Act. "I don't care what (Congress) wants to do -- we've still got to roll on." Speakers at Tuesday’s forum at Jackson State University will include Renard Murray, regional administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the federal law.
State's new open-carry gun law blocked
A Hinds County Circuit Court judge has temporarily blocked Mississippi's open-carry gun law from taking effect after a group of prosecutors, law enforcement and a state senator filed for injunctive relief late Friday afternoon. House Bill 2 says open carry is allowed without a permit and broadens concealed-carry to cover guns that are partially visible as long as they are in a holster. It was set to take effect Monday. Judge Winston Kidd agreed the law was ambiguous and a restraining order was "necessary to prevent immediate, irreparable harm."
Three questions with... Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann on ruling
Last Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that required certain states with a history of voter suppression, including Mississippi, to obtain federal approval of all election changes. The court majority ruled that the provision was no longer needed. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who oversees state elections, answered questions on the ruling from the Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison.
Mississippi AG Jim Hood: The Last Democrat in Dixie
You might say Jim Hood is about as Mississippi as you can get. In one respect, though, he's unusual for a politician in his home state: He's a Democrat -- and, on certain occasions, a liberal one. He prosecuted a Ku Klux Klan member for a 40-year-old murder and sued pharmaceutical companies over high drug prices. He declined to join a challenge to the national health-care law, and believes his state should participate in the expansion of Medicaid. None of that has seemed to hurt him politically. Every other statewide officeholder in Mississippi is a Republican. In fact, across the seven states of the Deep South, every other governor, attorney general and secretary of state belongs to the GOP. Yet Hood has held onto his job easily for nearly a decade.
Does Ware's challenge really stand a chance?; DuPree's win likely to stand, attorney says
Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree has called his re-election by the slimmest of margins a "fair and honest election." By contrast, the lawyers for candidate Dave Ware say the legal votes actually add up in Ware's favor. So what are the odds that we'll see June 4's mayoral election overturned now that Ware has officially submitted his legal challenge?
Meet the new boss; Musselwhite takes the reigns in Southaven
At 5:01 p.m. Friday, Darren Musselwhite officially became Southaven's first new mayor in 16 years as he assumed the office two days before the end of Greg Davis' term. Davis, who has been involved in controversy the last two years, resigned before the end of his term in order to receive an additional state retirement benefit. He said he believes Southaven is ready for change. "The main things I am going to bring to the table are my integrity and my business skills," he said. "I am a trustworthy person and have a reputation of doing what I say I am going to do."
Jackson's 3rd black mayor, same divide: Geographical segregation makes consensus difficult
Sixteen years have passed since Jackson's first black mayor took office, but the third African American to hold the office, Chokwe Lumumba, will face a city troubled by many of the same racial divisions that existed in 1997. African Americans have made huge strides in political representation since that time, outnumbering white Jacksonians in city elected office three to one. It's no longer a question of whether Jackson will elect black leaders, but whom. Still, the Jackson of 2013 is strikingly familiar, even as things have changed. Jackson remains geographically segregated.
GOP could pay price for gerrymandering
No one disputes Republicans used the once-a-decade redistricting process to lock in their House majority -- almost certainly through 2014 and possibly until the next round of line-drawing in 2020. But the party could pay a steep price for that dominance. Some top GOP strategists and candidates warn that the ruby red districts the party drew itself into are pushing House Republicans further to the right -- narrowing the party's appeal at a time when some GOP leaders say its future rests on the opposite happening. If you're looking for a root cause of the recurring drama within the House Republican Conference -- from the surprise meltdown on the farm bill to the looming showdown over immigration reform -- the increasingly conservative makeup of those districts is a good place to start.
Marianne Hill retires after tracking state economy for two decades
The logic of purposely dumping American grown wheat into the Gulf of Mexico while large parts of the world's population starved didn't compute for high school math whiz Marianne Hill. Her teacher's short-form answer – the wheat dumping protected farmers in the Third World countries whose people were starving – equally befuddled Hill, who decided then to put her knack for numbers to work making sense of this science called "economics." It's been a more-than-four-decade quest, with over half of that time spent in Mississippi as a state senior economist with the Center for Policy Research and Planning, a department of the Mississippi Institutes of Higher Learning.
NSA revelations throw wrench into lawmakers' cybersecurity push
Revelations about the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance programs could make it more difficult for Congress to pass cybersecurity legislation. Civil liberties groups have long argued that the House's cybersecurity bill, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), could allow vast batches of private online information to fall into the hands of the NSA. The House passed CISPA earlier this year, but the Senate is still in preliminary talks about its own cybersecurity legislation.
The NSA is watching. So are Google and Facebook
Not long before headlines exposed National Security Agency programs that secretly collect records of Americans' phone calls, another surveillance system got far less attention: Nordstrom, the department store chain, acknowledged it was tracking customers without their knowledge in 17 stores. Self-confessed leaker Edward Snowden's disclosures about domestic spying by the NSA have sparked a broad debate about whether the government is using sophisticated surveillance and data-mining techniques on its own citizens without sufficient oversight. But information gathered and exploited by Internet giants such as Google, Amazon and Facebook -- and traded by lesser-known data brokers such as Datalogix and Acxiom -- can be more revealing than what the NSA can legally collect on most Americans.
Arizona wildfire kills 19 members of elite crew
An elite crew of firefighters trained to battle the nation's fiercest wildfires was overtaken by an out-of-control blaze in Arizona, killing 19 members as they tried to protect themselves from the flames under fire-resistant shields. It was the most firefighters killed battling a wildfire in the U.S. in decades. The disaster Sunday afternoon all but wiped out the 20-member Hotshot fire crew based in nearby Prescott, leaving the city's fire department reeling.
In Houston, America's Diverse Future Has Already Arrived
To see the speed of demographic change in Texas, look no further than its largest city -- Houston. Only 40 percent of the city's population is non-Hispanic white, and by a Rice University count, it's the most racially and ethnically diverse city in America. "Houston is an immigrant magnet," says Glenda Joe, a Chinese-Texan community organizer whose extended family came to Houston in the 1880s. "Texas looks like me. I'm half-Chinese; I'm half-Irish," she says. "I also do business; I work with universities; I also ride horses. That's what Texas is." "There is no majority group here, not even close," says Michael Emerson, a Rice University sociologist who studies Houston's demographic change.
East Mississippi Community College expansion gains support
East Mississippi Community College President Rick Young said Friday he's received verbal commitments from Clay and Kemper counties' representatives to help fund a two-phase, $34 million expansion project. Securing similar commitments from four other area counties is crucial to moving forward with the project, he told officials Friday in Macon, as interest rates could change, resulting in higher debt service payments. EMCC officials say future industrial development in the Golden Triangle will push their student enrollment and workforce training programs to unprecedented levels. In order to meet the challenges of tomorrow, Young says expansion projects must happen today.
Ole Miss' Principal Corps expanding
An education program training Mississippi teachers for leadership roles is expanding to encompass the southern region of the state for the first time in the program's five-year history. With its latest class -- referred to as a cohort -- the University of Mississippi's Principal Corps now reaches all corners of the state. The 13-month program gives K-12 teachers two internships under qualified principals across the state during the academic year, according to Ole Miss spokesman Andrew Abernathy. Additionally the participants take graduate coursework in Oxford over the summer and during certain weekends throughout the rest of the year.
New Itawamba Community College president brings intensity
Mike Eaton no longer eats grass. But when Itawamba Community College's new president coached the school's football team, he sometimes took out his tension on the sod. "He was a legendary, competitive coach," outgoing President David Cole said of the man with the most wins in school history. "When I used to run into former students, they would ask, 'Is Mike Eaton still there, and does he still eat grass?' "He would be so intense, he could reach down and grab grass and kind of chew it." Eaton, who officially becomes the college's sixth president on Monday, admits he developed the nervous habit growing up on a farm in Tippah County. And although the outward habit has disappeared, the intensity has not.
'Duck Dynasty' stars speak at Itawamba Community College event
Willie and Korie Robertson, stars of the popular A&E reality show "Duck Dynasty," spoke on "Faith, Family and Football" during a special fundraising presentation Sunday at the Itawamba Community College's Davis Event Center in Fulton. Ducks were also mentioned quite a bit.
Dr. Rathi Iyer retires from Blair E. Batson after four decades
Over the last 40 years, Dr. Rathi Iyer has treated hundreds of children at Blair E. Batson Hospital and taught hundreds of students in the University of Mississippi Medical Center's hematology/oncology program. She spent Friday, her last day in pediatric hematology and oncology, doing what she does best -- treating children with a team of nurses and doctors she calls her family. Children are Iyer's passion, and their battles with chronic illnesses such as hemophilia, sickle cell disease and various blood cancers show her their insurmountable strength.
Strickland seeks delay in wrongful death lawsuit
Attorneys for John Howard Strickland Jr. have asked a federal judge to stay proceedings in a wrongful death lawsuit until Strickland's criminal case is resolved. A judge has not ruled on the motion filed this week. Strickland, 21, who now lives in San Antonio, Texas, is scheduled for trial July 24 in Lafayette County Circuit Court in Oxford on two counts of drug impairment causing the deaths of siblings John William Wheat and Sarah Katherine Wheat on Oct. 27, 2012. The fatal vehicular accident occurred on U.S. Highway 278 in Lafayette County.
Gridiron Gals: JSU clinic a hit for fans
Ashanti Ishakarah realized she didn't know anything about football until JSU TV produced the documentary, "Path to Pro Day," which gave her the chance to meet players and staff. She got to learn more Saturday, when Jackson State University hosted its first ladies' football clinic, Gridiron Gals: Football 101. Ishakarah and 59 other women attended the Saturday event where they learned the ins and outs of Tiger football with head coach Rick Comegy and staff.
JSU announces new police chief before city
A news release from Jackson State University on Sunday beat the city at announcing the new police chief. JSU alumnus Lindsey Horton was said to have been named the new chief of the Jackson Police Department, but city officials have not confirmed that. Horton is expected to assume the police chief position on Monday and would succeed Rebecca Coleman. Mayor-elect Chokwe Lumumba said he has yet to make an announcement.
National Center for Appropriate Technology opens Gulf states office in Jackson
The National Center for Appropriate Technology has opened a Gulf States Region office in Jackson, Miss. Kathy Hadley, NCAT executive director, says in a news release that office will provide assistance and information specifically targeted to the agriculture producers. Rockiell Woods will be director of the office. Woods served as the regional extension coordinator serving the Mississippi Delta for Alcorn State University before joining NCAT. He holds a bachelor of science degree in agribusiness management and a master's degree in agriculture economics from Alcorn State.
U. of Alabama law school dean to retire at the end of June; communication dean also to retire
The deans of the law school and the college of communication at the University of Alabama have announced plans to retire. Ken Randall, dean of the UA School of Law, is scheduled to retire at the end of June, ending a 20-year career as dean. Randall said he was retiring to work in the private sector. Loy Singleton, College of Communication and Information Sciences dean, is scheduled to step down at the end of October. Singleton has served as dean since July 2006, according to his UA profile.
U. of Georgia's Adams made enemies, but leaves lasting academic, physical legacy
Outgoing University of Georgia president Michael Adams has plenty of critics, detractors, even enemies as he leaves office today to make way for new UGA President Jere Morehead, who officially takes up the mantle on Monday. But history will judge Adams' 16-year tenure kindly, said University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby. "Even his critics have to admit he made a very positive impact on the university," said Huckaby, who was Adams' senior vice president for finance and administration when Adams faced what was probably his most serious crisis. That was in 2003, after Adams forced out longtime UGA athletic director Vince Dooley.
Adams says academics will be his legacy as he leaves UGA top post
Michael Adams sat down with the Athens Banner-Herald shortly before he stepped down as UGA president. Here is an edited version of the interview.
New laws in effect today include possible alcohol sales near U. of Georgia
The 116 laws taking effect in Georgia today include letting local governments decide if grocery stores can sell alcohol near college campuses, new limits on worker's compensation benefits, tougher restrictions on pain-management clinics and relaxed sentences for people convicted of non-violent crimes. A long-standing law prohibiting stores from selling alcohol near college campuses discouraged grocery chains from putting stores in downtown Athens. Now, a new law sponsored by Rep. Chuck Williams, R-Watkinsville, allows the stores if they sell mostly food and the local government agrees.
U. of Florida responded to budget cuts by reducing tenured positions
During a five-year period when the state cut the University of Florida's funding by $230 million, the university cut full-time tenure and tenure track faculty by 9.4 percent and increased part-time and non-tenure faculty by 9.8 percent. At the same time, the number of executive and administrative positions grew by almost 57 percent, a statistic Tigert Hall said is distorted by a reclassification of people already in existing positions. The statistics were incorporated in a Florida Trend report showing a marked increase in administrative positions and costs over declining faculty positions and costs, which UF President Bernie Machen last week called "bogus" before a Florida Board of Regents meeting.
U. of Florida devices may change how storms are tracked
Hand-sized devices being crafted by a University of Florida research team could one day become the future of tracking devastating storms such as the tornadoes that ripped through Oklahoma. They also could lessen the need for so-called "storm chasers'' to put themselves in harm's way to gather information on deadly tornadoes and hurricanes. Kamran Mohseni, a UF engineering professor, and his team are developing miniature airplanes and small submarines with sensors that track pressure, temperature, humidity and other measurements.
U. of Florida gets $8 million federal grant to improve computer modeling
The University of Florida's $3.4 million HiPerGator supercomputer has already begun to pay for itself. The university received an $8 million federal grant from the National Nuclear Security Administration to conduct high-performance simulations and computer modeling that will help in weather, medicine and geological situations. "It really leverages the investment the university made in high-performance computing and HiPerGator," said David Norton, UF's vice president for research.
U. of Kentucky's oral history program 'potentially revolutionary'
The University of Kentucky is making strides to preserve oral history with a system that allows interviews to be heard online before they are transcribed. The Oral History Metadata Synchronizer, developed at UK in 2008, is the only one in the country, said Doug Boyd, director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at UK's Special Collections. "It's potentially revolutionary," he said.
Evaluations of Texas A&M System chancellor, other university system heads handled behind closed doors
Since taking control of the Texas A&M University System in fall 2011, Chancellor John Sharp has initiated the renovation of what's likely to become one of the largest football stadiums in the nation, a prestigious research agreement with a Google subsidiary and the most lucrative outsourcing of services ever undertaken at a public university. These actions, among many others, are scrutinized by faculty, Aggie alumni, students and even Internet gossip, but the official responsible for $3.5 billion of taxpayer money and 19 public institutions has not had a formal evaluation of his work -- at least not publicly. On Nov. 1, 2012, Sharp received his first and only evaluation: It was a verbal exchange conducted in a closed-door executive session by the 10 TAMU system regents appointed by Gov. Rick Perry. The private evaluation is consistent with how all other officials leading public college systems across Texas are graded. Meanwhile, the process is more transparent in other states, and experts are split on what is the best practice.
Aggies upset by Fish Camp counselors' photos at Bonfire Memorial
Controversy erupted in Aggieland this week after student leaders posed for silly and provocative photographs around the Bonfire Memorial. The photos were posted online on an A&M message board Thursday morning and quickly went viral. The pictured students are counselors for Texas A&M's Fish Camp, the largest student-run orientation program for incoming freshmen in the nation. Eight counselors, who would have been about four years old when the Bonfire collapsed, were pictured. The on-campus memorial was built to honor the 12 Aggies who died in the 1999 collapse. An overwhelming majority of online commentators said the photographs were in poor taste.
Court ruling may help gay employees with partners in states without marriage equity
A federal judge has ordered Michigan to stop enforcing a law that has barred community colleges and many other government agencies (though not universities) from providing any benefits to the same-sex partners of employees. The ruling does not affect Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage or require that public colleges or other agencies extend benefits to the partners of gay employees. Rather the ruling -- at least for now -- lifts a ban imposed by the state that resulted in such benefits being cut off. And the ruling could point the way, lawyers suggested, for gay employees of public colleges in other states without gay marriage to push for benefits.
Reviving History Instruction: What's Old Is New Again
STEM careers may be promoted as the wave of the future, but history advocates say students still need to know about the past. Even though historical research, they point out, can, in fact, teach critical-thinking skills useful to any profession, including science, technology, engineering, and math, attention is focused on subjects in which students are assessed and federal money is flowing -- and that's not history. While the battle to keep history central to the curriculum has been going on for years, efforts are ramping up to use technology and other activities to engage students more deeply in the subject and compete with the new emphasis on STEM.
Vigilance on voting rights | Lloyd Gray (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Lloyd Gray writes: "It's still a fact -- unfortunate, but undeniable -- that voting follows racial patterns in Mississippi. Black voters generally support black candidates, when given the choice, and white voters will support candidates of their own race. There are exceptions, of course, but they generally prove the rule. Slowly, that is changing. Everyone no doubt longs for the day when politics in Mississippi moves beyond race. For a while yet, however, vigilance is necessary to ensure that our proclamations of a new day are proven as durable without close federal oversight as they were with it."
Marriage ruling won't be last | Sam R. Hall (Opinion)
The Clarion-Ledger's Sam R. Hall writes: " the states where same-sex marriage is specifically prohibited -- such as here in Mississippi -- there is movement afoot to create legal challenges. Of course, few things are cut and dry when it comes to Supreme Court decisions and the impact they have on future cases. Clearly this is the point with the DOMA decision, with people wondering exactly how the decision will be applied and enforced."
Reeves proves he rules roost | Geoff Pender (Opinion)
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "In case there was any doubt -- and there was, lately -- Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is still in charge of the show under the dome on High Street and staying about three political moves ahead. Reeves ended a months-long Medicaid crisis Friday night in a bold move that amazed his friends and fooled his enemies, as the comic book ads used to say. He used a power constitutionally given only to governors in such a masterful way that Gov. Phil Bryant's response was, 'I'm certainly not going to challenge it.' This will take some 'splainin' about parliamentary procedure and politics. Bear with me."
Politics of Medicaid makes expansion difficult in Mississippi
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "I'm just as certain that Mississippi will eventually get around to expanding Medicaid as I was that the special session would not result in the expansion of Medicaid in this state this year. Why? The benefits of expanding Medicaid coverage in states like Mississippi with such a large amount of taxpayer-subsidized uncompensated care will ultimately be too large to ignore."

CWS run made sense for MSU, which put college baseball on map
As the UCLA players dog-piled near the pitcher's mound and fireworks filled the sky beyond the center-field fence Tuesday night after the final out of the College World Series, there was a sound that resonated inside Omaha's TD Ameritrade Park: MAROON! WHITE! It was the Mississippi State fans, some 20,000-plus strong, giving their team a final salute for an historic, emotional and raise-the-bar-another-notch season. The Bulldogs finished 51-20 and left every ounce of want-to on the field.
2013 Bulldogs etched place in Mississippi State history
It's hidden behind the tears of the College World Series final. It's overshadowed by Hunter Renfroe's game-saving catch and game-winning home run. Wes Rea's scoop rises above it. The thunder, lightning and tornado watch in Charlottesville, Va., clouds the memory of it. The 17-inning game adds to it. The Mother's Day Miracle in Oxford gave birth to it. The 2013 Mississippi State baseball team wrote its name in the program's annals as the most successful squad ever. Wins, heroics and a trip to Omaha automatically submit this year's Bulldogs team as one of the most memorable since W.J. Jennings threw the program's first pitch in 1885.
Mississippi State has great expectations for Jacob Lindgren
Jacob Lindgren started his sophomore season as Mississippi State's Friday night starter. When the season concluded in Omaha, the left-hander hadn't thrown a ball in a game in a month. The last time Bulldogs fans saw Lindgren, he walked off the mound after one inning of work against Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference Tournament. His final line included six runs, three earned, on just two hits. It was much different than the way the season began.
Mississippi State's arms, bats make up Omaha mix
En route to its most successful season in program history, Mississippi State boasted some of the best pitching and hitting in the country. The Bulldogs' ERA ranked 13th nationally, while its batting average fell within the top 50 at 38th. Here's a look at what worked and didn't regarding this year's pitching and hitting.
Mississippi State's Dudy Noble Field tops in stadium rankings
Mississippi State tops the latest ranking of college baseball facilities as compiled by Paul Swaney for "Make this the first stop on your college baseball bucket list for 2014," said Swaney in his review of Dudy Noble Field, home of the national runners-up for 2013. Dudy Noble Field nudged out South Carolina's Carolina Stadium and Baum Stadium at Arkansas for top honors. Swayze Field at Ole Miss ranks No. 21 overall.
The Dead Zone: Changes to game, CWS park won't happen soon for college baseball
College baseball fans shouldn't expect drastic changes to the rules or the ball at the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. With just three home runs and a combined batting average of .237 in this year's tournament, the eight teams combined to score 86 runs in 14 games, the lowest output at the CWS since the NCAA adopted the eight-team format in 1950. Before the tournament, the NCAA announced the associate director of the Baseball Coaches Association would be 37-year-old Damani Leech, who had been working in the NCAA compliance office. In his current role as director for baseball and football, Leech's primary responsibilities will be to manage the Division I Football Championship, to oversee postseason bowl licensing and external operations for the Men's College World Series, and to monitor sportsmanship and fan behavior as well as other issues. One of those issues could be to find a way to infuse more offense into the College World Series.
Mississippi State junior Daryl Norris signs with Detroit Tigers
Daryl Norris announced Friday he planned to give up his final year of eligibility with the Mississippi State University baseball team to sign a professional baseball contract with the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers used the 666th overall pick in the 22nd round to select Norris, a junior third baseman/right-handed pitcher. Norris, 22, announced his decision on Twitter. "I'm excited to say I'll be signing a contract with the Detroit Tigers," Norris said on his Twitter account, @DarylNorris5. "It was an honor to wear the maroon and white and be part of an incredible university."
Tennis tournament benefits future MSU students from county
Some lucky Oktibbeha County students headed to Mississippi State University will have their pockets a little heavier thanks to the local alumni chapter. Beginning on Friday, the Oktibbeha County Alumni Chapter held its fourth annual tennis tournament, which serves to raise scholarship funds for area students.
Renardo Sidney is a cautionary tale for NBA draft early entries
The phone rang and rang, eventually dumping into an automated voice mail that offered no clue if the number belonged to the person I was trying to reach. I left a message anyway. It was the last chance I had. For two weeks, I'd been playing a basketball version of "Where's Waldo?" Only instead of trying to find a goofy kid in a striped shirt, I was trying to find an overhyped, once-famous basketball player who should have been impossible to misplace. Where in the world is Renardo Sidney?
Is strength of schedule enough to boost SEC hoops?
What they were doing was no longer working, so the SEC told its men's basketball coaches so. Just three of the league's 14 coaches got their teams into the NCAA Tournament last year, and it was only four the year before that. The conference that prides itself on championships could boast of the 2012 Kentucky team (and Florida's '06/'07 crowns before that), but there was no denying the league lacked quality depth. The problem, SEC commissioner Mike Slive apparently decided, was the schedules. So last month during the SEC spring meetings, he had former NCAA Tournament runner turned SEC consultant Greg Shaheen hand each coach and athletic director a 20-page document that analyzed each schedule and how it affected the conference's RPI. It's part of a larger plan in which schools will now send their schedules to the SEC office for review.
Vanderbilt University football players suspended in sex crimes investigation
Vanderbilt University has dismissed four football players from the team and suspended them from the university as the result of a sex crimes investigation. A statement on the school's web site says only that the four were dismissed from the team and suspended "for violation of team rules." "The well-being of our students is of paramount concern to us, and we will not tolerate any actions that threaten student safety and security," Beth Fortune, Vanderbilt vice chancellor for public affairs, said in a statement Saturday.
LSU's athletic budget to rise, along with some ticket costs
A decade ago, as the 2002-03 fiscal year drew to a close, LSU's athletic department budget came in at approximately $41.25 million. That figure is not even half of what LSU projects it will cost to fund its athletic programs in the coming fiscal year. Athletic department officials say they will begin the 2013-14 fiscal year Monday with a budget projected to top $100 million for the first time at about $101 million, an increase of roughly $5 million from the $96.2 million budget for the fiscal year that ends Sunday. With expenses continuing to rise, LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva said the school likely will have to increase the cost of football and baseball tickets for the 2014 seasons.
State of Auburn: Athletics director Jay Jacobs reviews the year, discusses future expectations
The last athletics year at Auburn was filled with drama, losses and hard decisions. Athletics director Jay Jacobs managed to navigate through it all: a 3-9 football season, a 9-23 basketball season, a hectic and news-filled spring involving more NCAA allegations, and he also shuffled the deck by firing three coaches. The Tigers finished last in their respective division or overall in the SEC in their three major sports: football, basketball and baseball. Simply put, the 2012-13 athletics year was one of the worst in school history and fans are ready to rebound in the near future.

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