Wednesday, July 10, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
MSU wins grant to help students manage money
Mississippi State University is one of 15 schools nationwide to get a grant to help students with their finances. The Council of Graduate Schools announced Tuesday that it would give MSU $40,000 to pay for the program. Associate Dean of the Graduate School Karen Coats says MSU will use the money to educate graduate students about financial literacy. Because students are borrowing more to pay for education, they may need help managing their personal finances and making decisions about saving, spending and borrowing.
Company, using MSU technology, plans biocrude production facility
Mississippi State University 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 OETT director Gerald Nelson.
The SEC's Finest Cities
The start of football season for the SEC is just under two months away. A new poll shows the finest cities for sports fans of the SEC, and three of them are just a short drive away. The top five cities include Tuscaloosa, home of the Crimson Tide; Starkville, the heart of Bulldog Nation; Baton Rouge, Tiger Territory; Oxford, where the Rebels yell Hotty Toddy; and College Station, where Johnny Football is ready for another season. All the towns were ranked on a scale of 1 to 14 across 1o different criteria including tailgating experience, total conference titles, total national championships, and average fan attendance versus the size of the arena.
Universities With the Most Cars on Campus
Many college graduates likely share one similar painful memory: driving through the school parking lot, repeatedly, in search of a parking space. Parking crunches on campus are common across the country, causing some universities to commission papers and launch pilot projects to address the issue. Most of the universities with the highest rates of all students with cars on campus are in the Midwest and South, according to data collected by U.S. News in the spring of 2012.
Cold, wet spring negatively impacts shrimpers
More than 250 boats launched on June 11 to open the shrimp season in Mississippi's coastal waters. A cold, wet spring delayed the season's start, which opened June 1 last year. "The things farmers hate -- drought and heat -- are great for shrimp production," said Dave Burrage, commercial and recreational fisheries specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
CAO situation underscores salary disparity
As the drama unfolds over the future of Starkville Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill's firing by the board, officials have asked a common question: If aldermen do override a promised veto, how will the city fill the position with a candidate as strong as the former Addison, Texas mayor? Officials, including Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker and Ward 5 Alderman Scott Maynard, are cognizant of the fact the position was one of many Starkville jobs shown to be underpaid in a 2012 salary study conducted by Mississippi State University's John C. Stennis Institute of Government.
Wiseman vetoes Spruill firing
Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman issued his promised veto Tuesday against the board of aldermen's decision to fire Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill. Four aldermen -- Lisa Wynn, David Little, Roy A. Perkins and Henry Vaughn -- supported Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver's July 2 motion to fire Spruill without any closed-door or public discussions on her job performance. Aldermen could hold a special-call meeting to address the veto or delay action until the board's end-of-the-month meeting.
Jailed Parvin seeks release to prepare for retrial in killing
Attorneys seek bail again for a Monroe County man whose 2011 murder conviction was reversed by the Mississippi Supreme Court and sent back for re-trial. Jim Waide of Tupelo and others on the defense team for Dr. David Parvin, a retired Mississippi State University economist, ask the circuit court of Monroe County to release him on bail about a week after it was revoked because the court feared he might be a danger to himself and others. But in an 11-page motion filed Tuesday, Waide assures the court that a private psychiatric examination of Parvin finds he is not a danger and should be released to prepare for his new trial.
Many Mississippi public buildings ban open carry of guns
Even if Mississippi's open-carry gun law takes effect, people still won't be allowed to take firearms into the Capitol or many other state or local government buildings. State agencies have the power to set rules for the properties they oversee. Mississippi government's biggest landlord, the Department of Finance and Administration, is among the agencies that have filed updated policies to limit on firearms on public property. State Attorney General Jim Hood said two U.S. Supreme Court decisions have specified guns can be banned on education property and in government buildings.
Presley of Public Service Commission seeks data on areas that lack Internet service
Mississippi residents without high-speed Internet service, the Public Service Commission wants to hear from you. Brandon Presley, PSC's northern district commissioner, said Tuesday his agency has launched a campaign for Mississippians to notify the PSC if they lack this service. "We are trying to help our rural areas get high-speed Internet because we know they need it," he said in a Tupelo news conference. Presley plans stops throughout his district to enlist the public to report their need for the service. He said it's about personal access, as well as economic and educational development.
Report: Childhood obesity decreasing in Mississippi
A report from the Center for Mississippi Health Policy shows obesity rates for children from kindergarten to fifth grade declined by 13.3 percent between 2005 and 2011 -- progress health officials called encouraging. But weight issues remain a major problem in Mississippi, which is traditionally ranked as one of the most obese states in the nation, and it appears the progress has not been equal for black students. Researchers found the racial disparity troubling and they want to study it further.
The Shed gets TV series on Food Network in August
That quirky barbecue restaurant on Mississippi 57 in Ocean Springs and the family who run it will be featured on a Food Network series called "The Shed" starting in August. Shed marketing director Linda "MamaShed" Orrison, mother of owners Brad Orrison and Brooke Orrison Lewis, confirmed Tuesday the series will begin airing on the cable food channel at 9 p.m. Aug. 5. The original Shed was built from found materials Brad Orrison collected from dumpster diving while at Ole Miss. The building burned down in an overnight fire Feb. 12, 2012, but has since been rebuilt from donated materials that fit with its Shed-style.
Mississippi Arts Commission names executive director
Hattiesburg native Tom Pearson will return to Mississippi to head the state arts agency after a quarter-century in arts education and leadership in Florida. He starts Aug. 1. Pearson, 58, has been named the executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission, following a six-month search that netted 174 applicants nationwide. The top arts spot has been vacant since Malcolm White left to become Mississippi Development Authority's tourism director in January. The MAC search committee conducted many interviews at Jackson State University's e-Center, committee chair Kris Gianakos said, narrowing the list to a top three for meetings.
House takes up NASA's 2014 budget today in two key committee meetings
Two important subcommittees in the House of Representatives take up NASA's future today as they consider bills to authorize the agency's agenda and appropriate money to fund that agenda in fiscal year 2014 starting Oct. 1. For supporters of the Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket now being developed at Huntsville's Marshall Space Flight Center, the key number to watch is $1.4 billion. SLS isn't the only important NASA program in the spotlight today. Key Republicans on the House authorization subcommittee, including Chairman Steve Palazzo (R-Miss) also want the space agency to abandon the asteroid-retrieval mission that is supported by leadership in both NASA and the White House.
Will GOP plan to cut food stamps save the farm bill... or kill it?
The farm bill is back from the dead. But the way Republicans planned its resurrection, after the bill's shocking collapse in the House two weeks ago, may yet kill it for good -- and perhaps poison farm policy for the foreseeable future. At issue is whether House Republican leaders can break the half-century-old connection between farm supports and nutrition aid for poor Americans and pass only the farm provisions, as early as later this week, solely with GOP support.
Experts: Obama's plan to predict future leakers unproven, unlikely to work
In an initiative aimed at rooting out future leakers and other security violators, President Barack Obama has ordered federal employees to report suspicious actions of their colleagues based on behavioral profiling techniques that are not scientifically proven to work, according to experts and government documents. The techniques are a key pillar of the Insider Threat Program, an unprecedented government-wide crackdown under which millions of federal bureaucrats and contractors must watch out for "high-risk persons or behaviors" among co-workers. Those who fail to report them could face penalties, including criminal charges.
U.S.-China cybersecurity talks inching along
An impatient Washington grappled Tuesday with the reality that it is unable to combat Chinese cyberhackers and digital spies as quickly as many in the United States would like. The Obama administration commenced new, direct talks with its Chinese counterparts on the matter this week -- but even top White House officials acknowledged it will be a slow diplomatic process. And the pace of progress isn't any faster in Congress, even though lawmakers and cybersecurity experts alike pined Tuesday for a more aggressive legislative response to Chinese hacking. The threat of Chinese hackers -- some seeking government intelligence, others targeting business trade secrets -- long has confounded Washington.
Honorees in arts and humanities often reflect administrations that honor them
The nation's highest awards for the arts and the humanities aren't about politics, one president after another has said; rather, they're about celebrating the artists and scholars whose work best represents American ideals of freedom, openness and creativity. But when one set of presidents honors conservative icons such as Midge Decter, Hilton Kramer and the Hoover Institution, and another set of presidents bestows medals upon liberal voices such as Anna Dea­vere Smith, Toni Morrison and Philip Roth, a political message is being sent. When President Obama hands out this year's National Humanities Medals and National Medals of Arts at an East Room ceremony Wednesday, he will make a markedly different statement than his predecessors. By honoring William Bowen, the former Princeton University president who wrote one of the most rigorous defenses of affirmative action, and Tony Kushner, the playwright who turned the AIDS epidemic into a metaphor for a society suffering from a selfishness intrinsically linked to Reaganism, he takes a stand in the nation's continuing culture wars.
Improving access: Initiative gives minority businesses access to state contracts
It doesn't represent a change in the law, but a new state College Board initiative called the Mississippi Public University Minority Economic Opportunity aims to improve access to state university contracts for minority business owners. As part of that initiative, Southern Miss hosted a minority vendor fair Tuesday at the Thad Cochran Center in Hattiesburg that saw between 20 to 25 minority owners attend with the intent of matching their services with the university's procurement and contract needs. "It is true that when you look at our numbers -- there is less money going to minority companies and suppliers than we would like," said Steve Ballew, director of Southern Miss' procurement and contract services. "We would definitely like to increase that, and this is a good step in the right direction."
Delta State's Bill LaForge recovering after holiday scare
Delta State University's President Bill LaForge experienced quite a scare over the holiday weekend while vacationing in South Carolina. Amidst family fun on the beach and swimming in the ocean, LaForge sustained a head injury resulting in a subdural hematoma -- a collection of blood on the surface of the brain. "Spending a couple of days in the hospital was not how I planned to spend my vacation, but I was very pleased with the medical care I received while in South Carolina," said LaForge. Michelle Roberts, vice president for university relations, reported that LaForge did not experience any major injury that triggered the incident, but he knew something was abnormal when the headaches and pain refused to subside.
Oxford Shakespeare Festival closes after 10 years
A Princess of France ran into the audience of Meek Hall Auditorium at the University of Mississippi on Sunday to bring Joe Turner Cantu to the stage. The event took place during a standing ovation for "Love's Labour's Lost," which was the last production of the 10th year of the Oxford Shakespeare Festival. "That was a surprise," said Cantu, artistic director for the festival. "That was very kind of the company to do that." His bow also marked the end of the Oxford Shakespeare Festival. Cantu said he had hoped a younger member of the Ole Miss faculty would continue the festival, but there were no takers.
UMC doctor's cure sparks global pediatric AIDS trial
An international group devoted to pediatric AIDS treatment is taking on a long-term global trial in hopes of replicating the success a University of Mississippi Medical Center researcher achieved in curing a baby born to an HIV-positive woman. And although Dr. Hannah Gay, Mississippi's leading pediatric AIDS specialist, won't be directly involved, "I will be following it with great interest," she said. "I'm certainly really excited about what's going on." The new trial could further change the face of AIDS research on an international level and put more focus on helping babies in areas where they and their mothers have little access to health care.
Mississippi Polymer Institute awarded lab accreditation
The Mississippi Polymer Institute has been awarded laboratory accreditation by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA). Over the past year, the Mississippi Polymer Institute has worked to achieve accreditation through the A2LA by transforming its laboratories into ISO/IEC 17025 compliant spaces. Laboratory accreditation is based on internationally accepted criteria for competence and has been awarded to MPI based on an independent, third-party audit of its quality system.
U. of Georgia's Jere Morehead: Billion Dollar Man?
New University of Georgia president Jere Morehead already has his hand out, asking for money. "When you see me, hold your wallets close at hand," said Morehead, not quite joking as he addressed a crowd gathered on UGA's North Campus near the statue of UGA founder Abraham Baldwin. University fundraisers are planning a major fundraising drive with a new UGA president now in office. Morehead's main task in the months ahead will be leading that drive, hoping to raise more than $1 billion, he told groups he met with in his first week in office. Morehead took over the UGA presidency from Michael Adams on July 1. State financial support of the university has declined steeply over the past decade, and the university needs to raise private money to stay competitive, according to Morehead.
UGA student bitten by roommate in argument over food
A 21-year-old woman bit her roommate early Tuesday morning during an argument at their south Athens apartment that began when the suspect didn't like a meal the victim served. The suspect, Zhenni Guo, also punched her roommate during the altercation at Surrey Square Townhomes on Riverbend Parkway, Athens-Clarke police said. The victim drove herself to Athens Regional Medical Center, where she told police, "There was so much blood on the floor." The victim is a student at the University of Georgia.
U. of Tennessee professor Sam Swan to teach journalism courses in Ethiopia
After leading more than 150 workshops in nearly 50 countries, Sam Swan continues to garner prestigious teaching opportunities overseas. For the second time in his teaching career, Swan, a professor of journalism and electronic media and director of internationalization and outreach in the College of Communication and Information at the University of Tennessee, was awarded the Fulbright Senior Specialist grant. He'll teach a three-week summer course at two universities in Ethiopia. "As you might expect, it's a big honor to be selected for a Fulbright honor," Swan said. "Honestly, I'm thrilled."
Senate Appropriators Call for Modest Increases in NIH and Pell Grants
Federal spending on the National Institutes of Health would increase by $307-million and the maximum Pell Grant would rise by $140, to $5,785, under an appropriations bill for the 2014 fiscal year that was approved by a Senate panel on Tuesday.The measure, which will be taken up by the full Appropriations Committee on Thursday, would increase spending on Federal Work-Study by $50-million and on the TRIO and Gear Up college-preparatory programs by $11.7-million and $5-million, respectively. Over all, the bill would be slightly less generous to research and student aid than President Obama's budget, which would provide $31.3-billion for the National Institutes of Health (compared with the bill's $30.955-billion).
Voluntary performance measures from Gates-backed group
There is a growing belief in higher education that if colleges don't figure out how to measure the quality and value of their product, lawmakers will do it for them. Eighteen institutions are trying to get ahead of the growing accountability push with the release today of a new set of performance measures. The Voluntary Institutional Metrics Project was more than two years in the works. It seeks to give a "holistic" view of the performance of private nonprofits, for-profits, community colleges, online institutions and one research university that is a member of the Association of American Universities. The metrics include ways to access and analyze data in five areas: repayment and default rates on student loans, student progression and completion, institutional cost per degree, employment of graduates and student learning.
Democrat on Democrat: Warren spars with Manchin on student loan proposal
Liberal firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) blasted a fellow Democratic senator Tuesday as a dispute over student loan rates escalated divisions within the party. The clash, which is highly unusual among party colleagues in the upper chamber, came at a private caucus meeting about a subject that is helping Republicans land blows against their Democratic opponents. "Elizabeth came out very strong against Manchin," said a Democratic senator who requested anonymity to discuss the exchange. "She said, 'They're already making money off the backs of students, and this adds another $1 billion.'"
Feds' Advice on School Intruders Worries Some Experts
New guidelines from the Obama administration for planning for emergencies at schools following the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., touch on everything from school design and storm shelters to planning emergency drills and balancing privacy and safety. But one facet of the plan, released June 18, is on active-shooting situations, and some of the recommendations in those scenarios make school safety experts nervous---namely, a suggestion that school employees try to fight an intruder when given no other choice.
Our view: Transparent as mud
The Dispatch editorializes: "Every year, a few words become so popular that they enter the dictionary. ...Of course, some words and phrases that have been around for as long as anyone can remember emerge so often that they become annoying. 'At the end of the day,' you're pretty sick of them. In local politics, the most abused word of all has to be 'transparency,' a word so badly mangled that you wonder if those who use it have any idea of its meaning. ...At its July 2 meeting, the Board of Aldermen voted 5-2 to fire its imminently capable chief administrative officer, Lynn Spruill, for reasons the board wouldn't even discuss in executive sessions. That's right: The board isn't even transparent behind close doors. How bad is that?"
The Fair's coming: Politics at Neshoba ready for its annual spotlight | Frank Corder (Opinion)
Frank Corder writes for Y'all Politics: "There's only one place you can see Bubba next door and the Governor sitting on a porch, sipping homemade sweet tea, gnawing a fried chicken leg, and discussing state politics while dozens of well wishers pass by wiping their sweaty brows, and that's at the Neshoba County Fair, Mississippi's Giant House Party. ...So call a friend, find a bunk and get ready for another insightful, enjoyable time at the Neshoba County Fair. The Pickerings' food is waiting for you, Hosemann's face fans need a-waving, and ole Sid and Pete could use some company. The Fair's coming and Mississippi politics are once again in the spotlight."
Obama raised $1.2 billion
Consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "Jackson native Stuart Stevens -- author, television writer, political ad creator and senior advisor to Gov. Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign -- addressed the Overby Center for Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi in April. If you missed it, like I did, the video is now available online courtesy of Ole Miss. Stevens agreed the high point in the campaign against President Barack Obama was the first debate. But Hurricane Sandy slowed Romney's progress -- internal polls on momentum shifted 40 points in three days -- and the campaign went from huge rallies and driving a message to sitting in a hotel room. He says you can't blame the storm, but it had a major impact and like in a competitive basketball game, it all comes down to control at the end and the storm prevented control. Meanwhile, Obama was able to control the message by virtue of being an incumbent president during a crisis, in addition to his fundraising and spending advantage."

Former Mississippi State star Renfroe inks deal with Padres
Former Mississippi State right fielder Hunter Renfroe traded maroon and white for blue and tan Tuesday, agreeing to terms on a deal with the San Diego Padres. The two parties entered Monday night close to a deal and officially agreed to a contract worth $2.678 million, according to multiple reports. The value of the contract is exactly in line with the allotted money for the 13th overall selection. "We're just so proud of him and pleased at the fact that he really developed," MSU coach John Cohen said. "It doesn't happen overnight. It takes a little bit of time but it's a credit to him."
Renfroe agrees with Padres
Former Mississippi State outfielder Hunter Renfroe has agreed to terms with the San Diego Padres and is expected to sign today. Renfroe, who was drafted 13th overall last month, will reportedly sign a deal for $2,678,000. The deadline for draft picks to sign is Friday.
Former MSU hoops star Mitchell dies at age 72
Leland Mitchell, who was a key player for Mississippi State during its historic 1962-63 basketball season, died Saturday. He was 72. Mitchell played three seasons for MSU, earning All-SEC honors in 1963. That season marked the first time State played in the NCAA tournament, facing an integrated Loyola-Chicago in the first round. MSU lost the game but helped break down racial barriers by playing the contest.
Are you ready? Football is near | John L. Pitts (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's John L. Pitts writes: "Ready or not, the SEC's football media days are scheduled for Tuesday through Thursday of next week. It's a week or two early for my taste, but nobody who buys this paper is going to complain about getting the conversation about the 2013 season started in earnest. One of the challenges of puzzling out the coming season is figuring out how much stock to put in last season's results. ...What about Ole Miss and Mississippi State? I'll talk more about both in future columns, but I will say right now it seems unlikely to me that both will go bowling again this season."
Ole Miss: No penalties expected after playing ineligible player in 2012
Ole Miss cornerback Carlos Davis played in six games last fall while academically ineligible to do so. As a result, Davis will be forced to sit out six games of the 2013 season (one for each he played) while also missing select practice time over the duration of his career, an Ole Miss spokesman confirmed Tuesday. But Ole Miss said it has avoided additional penalties, which could have included vacating the Egg Bowl and BBVA Compass Bowl wins.
Delta Force: Auburn coach Gus Malzahn's meteoric rise began in the Arkansas Delta
Jutting out of a wide-open space along Arkansas Highway 79 is an old football stadium, lost among the miles and miles of bean fields in the Arkansas Delta. The only mark you can associate with the year 2013 is the short grass, where someone decided to provide a quick, fresh cut where the field once hosted games. There are no hashmarks, no yard lines, and the locker rooms, ticket booth, concession stand and wooden grandstands have been taken over by long weeds and vines. The story of Gus Malzahn's meteoric rise from the Arkansas high school ranks to the head coaching job at Auburn began here in 1991.
Construction begins on U. of Missouri tennis team's new facilities.
No longer will Sasha Schmid have to dance around this question from a visiting prospect: "Where's your locker room?" Missouri began construction a few days ago on its $2.5 million tennis center, and Schmid isn't waiting until its completion to spread the word to prospects. "I sent the link to the athletic website story to recruits showing them that this is absolutely happening," said Schmid, who just finished her second season as the tennis coach. "This is really a leap forward." Missouri's tennis program is one of the most scarcely funded squads at the university. MU spent less on its tennis program than all but one Southeastern Conference team in 2011-12, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Education.
U. of Tennessee releases self-reported minor NCAA rules violations
Two minor football recruiting violations were among seven secondary NCAA rules violations reported by Tennessee to the SEC offices in the past six months. The documents were released to the News Sentinel on Tuesday in response to a request made under Tennessee's open-records law. Universities routinely self-report secondary violations to their conference offices and the NCAA. In most cases, the SEC and NCAA accept the university's self-imposed punishments and take no further action. The News Sentinel periodically requests documents related to NCAA violations, and UT also posts summaries of the violations on its website.

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