Thursday, July 11, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
Leland Mitchell, Who Defied Racism on the Basketball Court, Dies at 72
In 1963, Leland Mitchell and his Mississippi State teammates had to sneak out of their state to compete in the N.C.A.A. basketball tournament. Gov. Ross Barnett and other hard-core segregationists were worried that their all-white team might compete against blacks, a step the governor said he feared "might lead to integration across the land." The game was played five months after James Meredith became the first black student admitted to the University of Mississippi, amid rioting in which two people were shot and killed. Two years later, Richard Holmes was peacefully admitted as the first black student at Mississippi State.
16 Mississippi State University Professors Tapped
Sixteen Mississippi State faculty members are new selections for the competitive 2013-2014 Hugh Critz Faculty Leadership Program. Sponsored by the university's Office of Research and Economic Development and Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President, the program works to develop the next generation of campus academic leaders, among other goals. It honors the memory of the land-grant institution's eighth president (1930-34), a Starkville native and an MSU alumnus. "Mississippi State has a tradition of strong and effective leadership on our campus and in the communities we serve," said David Shaw, the university's vice president for research and economic development.
Tuition is going up in Mississippi
Tuition at Mississippi State is going up by 8.1 percent in the fall. Two semesters for a full-time student will cost $6,772. "Even with this small increase, our tuition is far below that of our peer institutions across the region and throughout the Southeastern Conference," MSU Executive Director of External Affairs Kyle Steward said. Second in line is University of Mississippi with a 7.6 percent increase. Tuition will be $6,760.
Mississippi State researcher aims to improve flu vaccine development
Seasonal flu causes approximately 24,000 deaths and more than 200,000 hospitalizations in the United States each year. Now, a researcher at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine is aiming to improve the system for developing life-saving flu vaccines. Henry Wan, associate professor at MSU's College of Veterinary Medicine, and his colleagues recently published a study in mBio, an American Society of Microbiology publication, that outlines a possibly more efficient and cost-effective way to develop flu vaccines.
Grant to fund financial literacy program at MSU
A $40,000 grant from the Council of Graduate Schools will help Mississippi State University develop a financial education program for undergraduate and graduate students. The grant is part of CGS' Enhancing Financial Education Project, and is co-sponsored by financial services provider TIAA-CREF. The program will be designed to educate students about how to manage their personal financing and make good decisions related to saving, spending and borrowing money. Karen Coats, MSU associate dean of the Graduate School and co-principal investigator for the project, said student loan debt exceeded $1 trillion nationwide last year. "It is our hope that this program will promote financially informed students who will leave our institution with a brighter future," Coats said.
Southern Hospitality and Japanese Families, Yokohama Prepares
Officials estimate between 50 to 60 people will move to Northeast Mississippi as West Point prepares for its new Yokohama Tire Plant. Columbus Chamber of Commerce Vice President MaCaulay Whitaker says local leaders are taking extra steps to ensure Japanese families make a smooth transition. Schools are also doing their part. Several of them, like Oak Hill Academy in West Point, are teaming up with Mississippi State and MUW's second language departments.
Movie written, directed by Mississippian to premiere
Dog Canyon Films, LLC, is preparing for the premiere of HEADRUSH, written and directed by Johnson Thomasson, a Starkville native and graduate of Mississippi State University. Cast and crew members from across the state as well as friends and family of the production team, will gather for this red-carpet event Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Malco Grandview Cinema in Madison. The film is 45 minutes long, and the event will feature previews for other upcoming Mississippi film projects, as well as a question and answer session following the screening.
Meridian to host learning institute at MSU Riley Center
The Mississippi Arts Commission's 15th Annual Whole Schools Initiative Summer Institute will be held at the MSU Riley Center in Meridian from July 15-18. The initiative will offer educators new and innovative ideas for classroom arts integration and will focus on "Getting to the Core of a 21st Century Education," according to a Mississippi Arts Commission press release. The Institute will begin with arts integration presentations by Kennedy Center teaching artists, Sean Layne and Melanie Layne. During lunch, Dr. Judith Phillips of the John C. Stennis Institute, will reveal the findings of recent research showing the positive results from schools involved in the Whole Schools Initiative.
Wiseman's veto hammers aldermen over transparency
Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman took to the offensive Tuesday, hammering aldermen over transparency issues in his veto of Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill's abrupt removal from office. A copy of the veto obtained by the Dispatch shows Wiseman took the board to task for failing to discuss Spruill's job performance or the reasons behind relieving the city administrator. The mayor stumped for Spruill, saying "at minimum, she deserves to be informed of why she is being fired."
Starkville mayor issues veto on vote to fire administrator
Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman has vetoed a decision by the board of aldermen to fire city administrator Lynn Spruill. The board voted earlier this month to fire Spruill with Aldermen Jason Walker and Scott Maynard voting no. The board declined to give a reason for the decision. Alderman Ben Carver tells the Starkville Daily News that the majority felt Spruill would not fit in with the new board that took office July 1.
Brown awaits Senate panel vote on federal judgeship
Jackson attorney Debra Brown faces a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee vote on her federal judgeship nomination, perhaps before the Aug. 2 recess. If confirmed, the Yazoo City native would fill an 18-month Greenville courthouse vacancy after the death of Judge W. Allen Pepper Jr. She also would become Mississippi's first black female federal judge. Brown, in her late 40s, was introduced by Mississippi Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, Republicans who strongly endorsed her nomination by Democratic President Barack Obama in May. Cochran of Oxford expressed "confidence that she will reflect great credit and serve with distinction" on the federal bench.
Bryant confident open-carry law will take effect
Gov. Phil Bryant said Wednesday he's confident Mississippi's open-carry gun law will eventually take effect, even if a dispute about it goes all the way to the state Supreme Court. "I don't think a judge in a particular county ought to be able to overrule the Legislature," Bryant said of the gun measure. "I'm not particularly singling out that judge, but if you can go to a particular county and get a judge to say, 'I'm going to hold an injunction against that law,' then couldn't you do it for every law that you disagree with?" Lawsuits against state officials, or against state government as a whole, are filed in Hinds County because it is the home of Jackson, the seat of state government.
Presley announces rural high-speed Internet effort
Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley appeared in Lowndes County Tuesday to announce an initiative to bring high-speed Internet to rural and metropolitan areas lacking access. The development is what Presley referred to as the second component of the Zap the Gap campaign, which initially was spearheaded to bring cell phone service to outlying areas with little or no reception. Part of bridging the gap is gathering documentation from people who still lack access, Presley said. To address that, the PSC now has a form people can fill out, and those interested can get access to it by mailing the PSC office and asking for a form, calling his office or filling a form out online if they have somewhere to access the Internet.
Report: Highways will face decay
Half of Mississippi's highways will be in poor condition by 2035 if the current funding level for transportation needs continues, according to an analysis conducted by the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Those statistics and others are part of a report compiled by the Legislature's Performance and Evaluation and Expenditure Review Committee for consideration of a special task force created by the state Senate to consider Mississippi's transportation needs. The task force, which is comprised of senators, business leaders, transportation leaders and others, plans to have a report completed for the 2014 Legislature. The task force is meeting this week at the state Capitol to hear from economic developers, agriculture representatives and others about their transportation needs.
Tate Reeves talks early education, workforce development with Ingalls leaders
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves was at Ingalls Shipbuilding this morning to get updates on the shipbuilder's work load, chat with leaders about workforce development and education and tour an amphibious assault ship. After the tour, Reeves called LHA 6 America "terribly impressive" and said he was impressed by the 844-foot ship, the talented shipbuilders and the yard's relationship with the on-site Navy personnel. Reeves said he chatted with Ingalls President Irwin Edenzon and others about workforce training efforts, among other topics. "We're realizing in Mississippi that to continue to do some of the most advanced manufacturing and advanced systems work of anywhere in the world, we've got to continue to improve our workforce and we've got to continue to educate kids," Reeves said. "And that's something that begins all the way in kindergarten and even pre-kindergarten."
Bryant wants National Guard furloughs to end, cites storms
Gov. Phil Bryant and two other Southern governors want President Barack Obama to end furloughs of National Guardsmen in the Gulf states. Byrant, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal sent a letter to Obama expressing concern about the furloughs coming at a time when the states are vulnerable to hurricane season and other natural disasters. The governors said the furlough hits at a historically inopportune time because May through October is a time period that often brings hurricanes, wildfires and flooding in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.
State lawmakers step up
State lawmakers are no shrinking violets when it comes to defending DeSoto County's interests, be they education, jobs or local autonomy. Five members of DeSoto County's state legislative delegation outlined their experiences Wednesday during the Olive Branch Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon. Rep. Forrest Hamilton, R-Olive Branch, a veteran legislator, said he is called "Forrest Fire" in Jackson as a result of his strong comments on issues which stir his ire, such as a proposal that would have ended election of school superintendents.
House to vote on split farm bill Thursday
The House will vote Thursday on a split farm bill containing updated subsidies for farmers but lacking a reauthorization of the food stamp program. After a day of furious whipping, House GOP leaders now believe they can pass the measure over the opposition of farm groups and some conservative organizations. The majority leader's office announced the vote just before midnight after the Rules Committee approved a rule for the farm bill that does not allow amendments. Lawmakers said GOP leaders believed splitting the bill was the most viable option to getting a farm bill passed.
House bill would cut money for science and asteroid mission
Money for Earth science programs would be slashed and an asteroid retrieval mission would be scrapped under a NASA reauthorization bill approved by a key House panel Wednesday. On a rare party-line vote, the Republican-led House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Space agreed to set the space agency's maximum budget at $16.8 billion a year for fiscal 2014 and fiscal 2015. That's roughly what NASA received this year but considerably less than what Democrats and President Barack Obama are seeking. Mississippi Republican Steven Palazzo, R-4th District, who chaired the hearing, said Democrats are ignoring the reality of a federal budget that's being squeezed both by automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration, and by growing entitlement programs that are elbowing out funding for important government functions, including the space program.
$30B energy, water spending bill passes House, 227-198
The House late Wednesday approved the third of 12 annual spending bills for 2014, passing the Department of Energy (DOE) and water projects spending bill in a 227-198 vote. Democrats have argued throughout the week that the $30.4 billion spending bill cuts too deeply into renewable energy and science research. Those complaints led all but eight Democrats to oppose the bill in the final vote. President Obama has also threatened to veto the bill because of these cuts.
House Republicans pitch scaled-back immigration approach
Facing deep resistance among House Republicans to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the country illegally, GOP leaders are trying to muster support for a stripped-down immigration reform bill that would offer citizenship only to those brought into the country as children. The plan, which would almost certainly be a nonstarter for President Obama and Democrats who control the Senate, makes clear there will be no quick agreement on a Senate-passed bill and illustrates how wide the gap remains over fundamental immigration reform.
Americans exercise more, but are still not losing much weight
Americans are exercising more, but that has not done much to slim their waistlines, underscoring the immense challenge confronting health advocates fighting the nation's obesity crisis. In more than two-thirds of the nation's counties -- including some of the most unhealthy -- men and women became more physically active over the last decade, according to data published Wednesday. But these improvements have done little to reduce obesity, researchers at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation concluded.
DSU president suffers head injury during vacation
Delta State University President Bill LaForge is recuperating with family in Virginia after suffering a head injury while vacationing over the July 4 holiday. DSU spokeswoman Michelle Roberts says LaForge suffered a subdural hematoma, a gathering of blood on the brain's surface, while at a South Carolina beach with family. Roberts says while LaForge's injury was not major, LaForge went to a local hospital when he continued to suffer headaches and pain. Details of the injury were not released.
USM Gulf Park campus to host job session for people with disabilities
The community is invited to attend the Mississippi Partnerships for Employment (MSPE) Awareness Session on Tuesday, July 16, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at The University of Southern Mississippi Technology Learning Center on the university's Gulf Park campus in Long Beach. All young people, including those with developmental and intellectual disabilities, have an opportunity for competitive, meaningful employment and productive lives as citizens of Mississippi.
Chemistry Camp cooks up a week of science fun for South Mississippi students
More than two dozen students are getting their hands dirty this week, playing with elements and Bunsen burners at chemistry camp on the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College campus in Gautier. Students from grades seven through 11 are spending the one-week camp participating in a variety of activities using elements such as hydrogen gas, and learning how to use scientific equipment and tests. "At this age, kids have a natural curiosity," camp director Theresa Dixon said. "They like to mix things up and burn things and blow things up, so we approach all of these activities safely and show them the fun part of learning."
Mississippi College student side-swiped by car
A walk to summer class turned scary for a Mississippi College student in Clinton Wednesday morning. The 23-year-old woman was walking on College Street near Madison Street shortly after nine. Clinton Police Chief Mike Warren says she was side-swiped by a car. The MC student was conscious and was taken to a local hospital. The driver did stop and the incident is under investigation.
U. of Alabama at center of free speech debate
A pro-abortion rights student organization at the University of Alabama and a civil liberties group have asked the university to re-evaluate its grounds-use policy, arguing that it is contradictory and unconstitutional. Asher Elbein, a member of the pro-abortion rights student group, said he was told by UA police to cease distribution of fliers meant to counter the message of a nearby anti-abortion display on the Quad. Leaders of the student group say they were told they needed to have a permit to hand out their fliers. At issue is whether campus police violated the rights of the student group and contradicted UA's policy when officers instructed the students to leave.
Auburn University says escaped buffalo euthanized in neighborhood
Officials at Auburn University have confirmed that an escaped buffalo was euthanized Tuesday, after a university vet was called upon to tranquilize the animal. In a statement, Auburn said staff from the College of Veterinary Medicine were called to help control a male buffalo on the loose near an eastern Lee County neighborhood. Working in conjunction with the Lee County Sheriff's Office and the buffalo's owners, Jennifer Taintor, an associate professor in the department of clinical sciences, and an ambulatory veterinarian responded.
Texas A&M ranked No. 4 sports town among SEC schools
Texas A&M University continues to rack up wins in the Southeastern Conference. College Station was recently ranked as the fourth best college sports town in the SEC by Movoto Real Estate. The California-based company released the rankings for the 14 conference schools on Tuesday and the 10 metrics used to determine which city took the top spot, only one of which was subjective. Atop the rankings was reigning national champion and home to the most football championships ever -- the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. "We were not surprised Alabama won, but we're always surprised by the results that come out," said Movoto spokesman Nick Johnson. "... Many people were surprised Mississippi State was ranked so high. People thought there was no way A&M could lose to the Mississippi schools."
Architectural firm, construction company selected for Rupp's 're-invention'
Lexington officials will entrust the much-discussed re-invention of Rupp Arena to an architectural firm that guided a sweeping renovation of UCLA's iconic Pauley Pavilion, and a construction company that built arguably the NBA's reigning state-of-the-art facility: the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Meeting Wednesday morning, the Lexington Center Corporation Board of Directors named the Seattle-based architectural firm NBBJ to design the Rupp Arena renovation, as well as the new Lexington Convention Center. Amid the excitement, however, there was a cautionary note from the University of Kentucky, a prime beneficiary of an updated Rupp. While UK officials have pledged to be partners in the Rupp renovation, they have contended that state dollars for campus construction should take precedence over Rupp. The worry, they've argued, is that funding Rupp improvements when state dollars are scarce inevitably would limit funding for ongoing campus projects.
Widespread Google outage hits U. of Georgia, other spots in South
University of Georgia computer users had trouble on Wednesday using Google, but the problem extended far beyond the campus. "Network Engineering has confirmed and is investigating reports of slow or failed connections to some websites. Currently this issue appears to be related to Google and sites that access Google services," according to a systems status report posted by UGA's Enterprise Information Technology Services. The Google glitch seemed to be mainly in the Southeast, according to reports on CNN and other news sites.
Arkansas Lottery Posts $89.9M for College Scholarships
The newness may have worn off the Arkansas lottery, which saw a drop of $37 million in sales of its instant ticket games in the just-ended fiscal year, according to budget figures released by the lottery on Wednesday. The state-run gambling operation generated $89.1 million for college scholarships for the fiscal year that ended June 30, about 10 percent less than projected when the budget was being developed more than a year before. To accommodate diminished revenues, legislators this year altered the formula for scholarship awards, giving university freshmen $2,000, with the amount rising by $1,000 annually through their senior year.
U. of Florida grad named first black president of Florida Bar
Fifty years after Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, The Florida Bar has sworn in its first African-American president. Eugene K. Pettis, a University of Florida alumnus, was sworn in June 28 to the third largest bar association in the United States. Pettis was sworn in as the 65th president of The Florida Bar at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. The UF Association of Black Alumni and the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association hosted a lunch reception and program in Pettis' honor, and the Chestnut Law Firm in Gainesville, UF Alumni Association, and UF Levin College of Law were all local sponsors.
Confidential MU chancellor search follows UM System's history, national trend
Chancellor Brady Deaton's departure gives the University of Missouri System the opportunity to conduct its first full-fledged chancellor search in more than a decade. In recent history, the MU chancellorship changed hands after limited searching. The search for Deaton's replacement will be different. Although the UM System will move aggressively to complete the search before Deaton steps down Nov. 15, it intends to follow a national searching trend by keeping candidate names confidential.
Senators reach long-term deal on student loan interest rates
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators reached a deal late Wednesday night on a long-term change to interest rates on all new federal student loans --- an agreement that had remained elusive for months, even as pressure mounted when the rates on some new loans doubled last week. The agreement would tie the interest rate on new student loans to market conditions, a change that both the Obama administration and Congressional Republicans sought this year. Rates, based on the yield on 10-year Treasury bills, would vary from year to year, but be fixed over the life of the loan. Rates would be capped so they couldn't rise indefinitely if interest rates spike: undergraduate loans would be capped at 8.25 percent, and graduate loans at 9.25 percent.
Blackboard Announces New MOOC Platform
Blackboard, a company that makes software that many colleges use to run their classroom and online courses, announced on Wednesday that it was expanding its support for MOOCs, though it is relatively late to the much-talked-about trend of massive open online courses. "We watched really carefully, and we thought about doing something" sooner, said Ray Henderson, president of Blackboard's teaching and learning division, in an interview this week. "This is one of those times when we said this is a watch and develop, not jump on it."
Complex liaisons, alliances shaped Medicaid bill
Longtime political observer and columnist Bill Minor writes: "Was Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves a hero for saving the state's $890 million Medicaid program in the madcap Friday, June 28 windup of the special legislative session? Or a dictator for bending the constitutional barrier against tacking a revenue provision onto a general bill? In any case, Reeves single-handedly bypassed Gov. Phil Bryant and restored the primary revenue stream -- the hospital bed tax -- to the Medicaid program after Bryant failed to add the Medicaid revenue machinery to his special session call. Most folks probably see the dustup over how the Friday night massacre played out under the Capitol dome as just another example of the old adage that legislating is akin to making sausage, something you'd rather not watch. This one was different, however, with ramifications for the future."
Open-carry tiff equals failure to communicate | Jimmie Gates (Opinion)
The Clarion-Ledger's Jimmie Gates writes: "I sat in a courtroom in Hinds County this week listening to attorneys argue about House Bill 2, Mississippi's open-carry/concealed weapon law. ...I leave it up to others more knowledgeable than I am on what the state constitution says or doesn't say about openly carrying a weapon. All I know is that, until this bill, there was no discussion about a person openly carrying a weapon into a public place. It reminds me of the old idiom: Let sleeping dogs lie."

MSU team honored: 1963 squad recognized for 'Game of Change'
It has been over 50 years since the Mississippi State men's basketball team snuck out of Starkville and headed north. On Tuesday, that 1963 MSU team was recognized by Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the Citizenship Education Fund at the 42nd Annual International Convention at the Chicago Hilton. The Rainbow Coalition was honoring the 1963 MSU team that took part in what has become known as the "Game of Change." MSU, an all white team, played the Loyola Ramblers which starting lineup featured four black players.
Houston's Jones enrolls at Mississippi State
Former Houston defensive end Chris Jones has enrolled at Mississippi State. Jones, the Bulldogs' prized recruit, and Oxford, Ala., defensive lineman Trent Simpson began their academic careers as second summer term classes began Wednesday. Jones, a 5-star recruit who transferred from Nettleton for his last two prep seasons, led the Toppers with 160 tackles as a senior and helped the team to its first 11-win season and first playoff win. He signed with Mississippi State after being named Mississippi MVP in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic and playing in the Under Armour All-America Game.
Rebels, MSU select players for SEC Media Days
Ole Miss and Mississippi State each have chosen their players to attend next week's SEC Football Media days. The league on Wednesday released the roster of players attending the three-day event in Hoover starting next Tuesday. Mississippi State will be represented by defensive tackle Kaleb Eulls, linebacker Benardrick McKinney, and quarterback Tyler Russell. The Rebels will send wide receiver Donte Moncrief, linebacker Mike Marry, and quarterback Bo Wallace, last year's Conerly Trophy winner.
Heritage Museum receives a replica of Howell Trophy
Yet another piece of Mississippi athletic lore found a home in Starkville Wednesday afternoon. Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum received a replica of a Bailey Howell Award to display amid its exhibit dedicated to the former Mississippi State and National Basketball Association hardwood star.
Mitchell one of the best for Bulldogs | Danny P. Smith (Opinion)
Danny P. Smith, the Starkville Daily News sports editor, writes: "Leland Mitchell was one of the best players ever to step onto the basketball court for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Even though Mitchell was performing his skill for the Bulldogs from 1961-63 and slightly before my time, all a person has to do is look through the record book to realize the impact he made at MSU. Mitchell, 72, passed away on Saturday..."
Ole Miss suspends Marshall Henderson; future in question
Marshall Henderson's Ole Miss career is in jeopardy after his latest transgression. Ole Miss put its foot down with its star guard on Wednesday, suspending Henderson indefinitely for what it is terming a violation of team rules. reported that it was due to a failed drug test, and added that there were multiple failed tests. An indefinite suspension is, by definition, vague in length. Like most things with Henderson, his reaction was captured on Twitter and Instagram (where he documented last weekend's trip to New Orleans and the Alabama Gulf Coast).
Ole Miss' Marshall Henderson, Erin Andrews trade shots on social media, Twitter reacts
When Ole Miss suspended basketball star Marshall Henderson indefinitely for an undisclosed violation of team rules Wednesday, social media reacted. One of those who commented got the shooting guard's attention. Perhaps you've heard of her: FOX Sports broadcaster and former ESPN reporter Erin Andrews.
NCAA fires back at Ed O'Bannon plaintiffs' request to protect current players
An NCAA attorney reiterated in a letter Wednesday that the NCAA will not retaliate against active players who join the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit as plaintiffs. The lead attorney for the O'Bannon plaintiffs had asked for the NCAA to make such a promise in writing. In a letter to O'Bannon attorney Michael Hausfeld posted on the NCAA web site, NCAA attorney Gregory Curtner called the stipulation request "offensive." Curtner suggested Hausfeld's letter is more about "grandstanding" to the media than actual concern for potential plaintiffs or "any attempt to move this litigation to a just conclusion." The O'Bannon plaintiffs have until July 19 to amend their complaint and add at least one current player after a ruling last week by U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken.

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