Friday, July 12, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi senators join commemoration of Game of Change
Mississippi U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker are teaming with two Illinois senators to cosponsor a resolution to honor the 1963 Mississippi State men's basketball team. "Sports have always played an important role in breaking down barriers -- from Jesse Owens to Jackie Robinson to Billie Jean King," Wicker said in a press release. "The 'Game of Change' should be included in that list of seminal moments in American history. The matchup between Mississippi State and Loyola was a critical step toward erasing the racial divide. The courage of these young men and their coaches deserves to be honored."
Mississippi Senators join commemoration of historic 1963 'Game of Change'
U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) have joined their colleagues from Illinois to introduce a resolution that, in part, honors the 1963 Mississippi State University men's basketball team for its actions to break down racial barriers. "The Mississippi State and Loyola teams, along with their coaches and school administrators, led with courage, sportsmanship and a love of the game of basketball. That contest a half century ago undoubtedly helped to move Mississippi and our nation forward in addressing the inequalities of our society," Cochran said.
Wicker, Cochran Others Recognize 'Game of Change'
U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) have joined their colleagues from Illinois to introduce a resolution that, in part, honors the 1963 Mississippi State University men's basketball team for its actions to break down racial barriers. S.Res.194, introduced by Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), states that the U.S. Senate "honors the 1963 Mississippi State University men's basketball team for their bravery and sportsmanship in rejecting racism and aiding in the civil rights movement in the State of Mississippi and the southeastern United States."
Colleges prep for interior design job surge
It's all about space planning at the state's interior design schools where students learn ways to make interior spaces more livable and workable. There are four-year accredited programs such as Mississippi College, Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi where students earn bachelor degrees in interior design. At Mississippi State University, the Interior Design Program is in the College of Architecture, Art and Design. It was established in 1969 and accredited in 1993 by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. Chairman of the program and professor Beth Miller says the job outlook for interior design graduates is good.
Students weigh in on tuition
Mississippi State University's tuition will increase this fall more than any other public university in the state, leaving some students concerned about their finances and those of others at MSU.
4-H winners to tour Meridian
The first place winners in the senior level of 4-H competition at this year's 4-H Congress, state awareness team members and the state 4-H Council officers will be in Meridian July 17 as part of their state tour. In addition, they will be at Mississippi State University July 16 and 19. Other stops on their tour are Mayhew, Greenville, Greenwood, Scott, Jackson and Ridgeland. The 4-H program is the youth development program of the MSU Extension Service, open to those ages 8 to 18 in all of Mississippi's 82 counties.
Democrats pressure Little on Spruill vote
A door-to-door Ward 3 campaign seeking support for embattled Starkville Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill could begin soon in an effort to swing a possible veto override, an Oktibbeha County Democratic Party member confirmed Wednesday. Party executive committee member Patti Drapala said Democrats are looking into their options to influence Ward 3 Alderman David Little's vote and allow Mayor Parker Wiseman's veto of Spruill's firing to pass, thereby preserving the chief administrative officer's job.
OCH Regional earns ISO certification
OCH Regional Medical Center in Starkville has earned international quality management certification. OCH Regional is the first hospital in this area and one of only seven in the entire state to earn the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System certification. The hospital went through an audit last fall which showed OCH Regional was in compliance with ISO's rigorous quality standards.
Yokohama announces selection of design firm for new commercial tire plant in West Point
A little over two months ago, Yokohama Tire Corporation (YTC) announced its plan to build a new commercial tire manufacturing plant in West Point, Miss.. On Thursday, the company made public its selection of Kajima Associates/Architects & Engineers, PC (KA/AEPC) of Atlanta to design the first phase of the project -- a 931,000-square-foot factory that will include production, warehousing and operations facilities. "We planned for the project to take on a brisk pace and we are extremely pleased it is progressing as scheduled," said Thomas Masuguchi, YTC's senior vice president and chief strategy officer.
Panel told rural roads hinder agriculture in state
The state's poor infrastructure is beginning to negatively impact farmers, a Senate Transportation task force was told Thursday. Mark Leggett, president of the Mississippi Poultry Association and a representative for all agriculture interests on the task force, said Thursday that "detours of 10 or 20 miles are not unusual" because of poor rural bridges for trucks hauling ag products. He said that increases costs and puts Mississippi and its farmers at a disadvantage.
Human Rights Campaign survey finds Mississippi support for gay protection law
A recent study sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign showed a majority of Mississippians support anti-discrimination legislation that would protect lesbian and gay residents in the state. The bipartisan survey also showed most Mississippians believe there are state and federal laws already in place prohibiting employers from discriminating against LGBT employees. When the issue turns to marriage, the survey found a majority of Mississippians remain opposed to the practice, a result in line with several other national polls over the last few years. When looking at the marriage question for Mississippians under the age of 30, the outlook flipped, with a majority supporting legislation to legalize the practice.
Mississippi's sales tax holiday on clothes, shoes to run July 26-27
Later this month, Mississippians will again have a two-day break on sales taxes for certain clothing and shoe purchases. The annual tax-free holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. July 26 and ends at midnight on July 27. The holiday started five years ago and is geared for back-to-school shopping, with the 7 percent sales tax waived on articles of clothing or footwear priced at less than $100. "People like to take advantage of it," said Kathy Waterbury, a spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue, said of the holiday. "It gets people back out shopping, and it's a good time for our businesses."
Mississippi regulators approve energy efficiency rules
Mississippi electric and natural gas utilities will soon be paying for their customers to cut energy use. The state Public Service Commission voted unanimously Thursday to adopt energy efficiency rules requiring all gas and electric companies with more than 25,000 customers to begin offering programs within six months. "This is a big move to move us off the bottom and it's going to create jobs," said Northern District Commissioner Brandon Presley. Karen Bishop, director of the energy and natural resources division at the Mississippi Development Authority, said using less energy could make room for the state to add more energy users.
Eating buffalo fish linked to rare, serious disease
When Delta native and blues great B.B. King visited Jackson in June and stayed at the downtown Hilton Garden Inn, he made a special request. "He called before he got here, and he said, 'I just came back from Vegas. Call the chef, and see if he can get some buffalo fish,' " Nick Wallace, chef at the hotel's King Edward Grill, recalled Thursday. The fish has a huge audience in the Delta and other parts of the state. It doesn't have a reputation for making anyone ill, Wallace and others say, although those who cook and consume it need to be aware of its many bones. The buffalo, however, has made three Mississippians sick with a very rare syndrome that occurs when the fish is consumed, state Department of Health officials report. Haff disease is a serious illness caused by a toxin that results in severe muscular pain.
House approves farm bill in big win for Boehner and Republican leaders
The House approved a stripped-down farm bill Thursday in a tight 216-208 vote, giving a huge boost to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other Republican leaders after the embarrassing failure of an earlier bill last month. The bill passed despite a veto threat from President Obama, objections from most Democrats and opposition from farm groups and conservative organizations. Hundreds of agriculture groups who opposed separating food stamp funding from the bill urged its defeat, as did conservative groups angered the bill would make farm commodity programs permanent, making them more difficult to reform in the future.
Farm bill debate ignites confusion
Don't know all 435 members of House? That's okay, they don't all know each other either, even when they're having disagreements on the floor. During the farm bill debate, Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) took to the floor to speak against cutting food stamps out of the measure. "Shame on the House of Representatives," she said. "Shame on the Republicans." Rep. Rob Woodall stood to object. After an extended discussion, Brown was allowed to continue when Woodall withdrew his objection. Afterward, Brown admitted what most shocked her was that she had no idea who Woodall -- a second-term congressman -- was when she objected and had never seen him before. "Who was he?" Brown said even after reporters told her his name.
Drone landing on aircraft carrier opens new possibilities for Pentagon
It was the U.S. military's latest foray into the realm of robotic warfare: The first time an automated drone has landed on an aircraft carrier. The event was monumental enough to draw some of the top US military officials from the Pentagon to the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush off the coast of Virginia to watch. "It's not often that you get a chance to see the future, but that's what we got to do today," Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said after the drone deployed its tail hook and stuck its landing. "This is an amazing day for aviation." How military leadership decides to put the drone into use will form the crux of "naval doctrine moving forward," one expert says.
Next generation of drones: Let the sweepstakes begin
Now that the Navy has proved a drone can do one of the most difficult things in all of aviation -- land aboard an aircraft carrier -- some of the country's top defense industry players are lining up to build a new fleet of drones that can do it again. And again, and again. Northrop Grumman, Boeing, General Atomics and Lockheed Martin all are eyeing the Navy's Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike program, which service leaders want to produce a stealthy, fleet-ready drone that can deploy by 2020. Just don't call it an aircraft program. "We are delivering a system --- not an airplane," said Rear Adm. Mat Winter, the Navy's unmanned aviation boss.
There's a Good Reason Why So Many Terrorists Are Engineers
Whiling away his days in a CIA prison in Romania, 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had a simple request for his captors: Would they allow the mechanical engineer to design a vacuum cleaner? According to a fascinating Associated Press account of Mohammed's detainment published on Thursday, the CIA allowed him to do just that, granting the terrorist access to vacuum schematics available online, which he used to re-engineer the appliance. Mohammed, who faced brutal interrogation practices, was granted the request because the CIA wanted to prevent him from going insane. But Mohammed's desire to put his engineering acumen to use also raises a question that has long enticed scholars of terrorism: Why is it that so many terrorists have engineering backgrounds?
Teen cigarette smoking drops to lowest point recorded, study says
Cigarette smoking hit the lowest point ever recorded among American eighth-graders, high school sophomores and seniors last year, a newly released report shows. The change is just one of the findings in a vast new report on the well-being of American children, compiled by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. The report drew together research from a host of government agencies and research groups, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which tracked cigarette smoking.
Delta State alumna competes in NBC's summer hit show
Delta State University alumna Amy Showalter will compete in NBC's new summer hit "The Winner Is" on July 25 at 8 p.m. The show features talented solo singers, duets, and groups of all ages competing in head to head competition for the grand prize of $1 million. Born in Columbus, Showalter spent her youth in Louisville. She graduated from Greenwood High School and received her bachelor's degree in music education from Delta State in 1992. While attending DSU, Showalter earned her title as Miss Delta State in 1991, and went on to participate in the Miss Mississippi Pageant where she was named a talent winner and second alternate.
Southern Miss assistant professor helps uncover underwater forest
Scuba divers have discovered an underwater forest in the Gulf of Mexico about 10 miles off the coast of Mobile. It's called the Bald Cyprus Forest. It was buried in 60 feet of water under ocean sediments and protected in an oxygen free environment for more than 50,000 years, until Hurricane Katrina and hurricanes following. This underwater world has drawn the attention of researchers, including one assistant professor at Southern Miss in Hattiesburg. At first, the underwater forest was predicted to be about 10,000 years old, but Ben Raines, one of the first divers to discover the underwater world, contacted Grant Harley. Harley is a dendochronologist, someone who studies tree rings, at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Demand for industry jobs, training programs increases
The demand for jobs in South Mississippi's maritime industry is higher than it has ever been. Industries such as Huntington Ingalls, VT Halter Marine and Trinity Yachts are constantly seeking skilled workers for new projects. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, along with coastal industries, are training and placing these workers quickly, but the demand remains high. "We've never seen it higher than what it is right now," said John Shows, MGCCC associate vice president for community campus and career technical education.
New building to house top U. of Alabama administrators
University of Alabama System officials expect construction of Sidney McDonald Hall, a new administrative building, to be completed by the summer of 2014. The office building, named for an Arab businessman who formerly served on the UA board of trustees, will allow for the consolidation of administrative offices now housed in buildings on Queen City Avenue, Pinehurst Street and Bryce Lawn Drive in Tuscaloosa, said Kellee Reinhart, a UA System spokeswoman. The administration offices, including those of Chancellor Robert Witt and the general auditor, will move into the new building next summer, Reinhart said. Construction of the 35,243-square-foot building is estimated to cost about $13.2 million, according to the UA facilities department.
U. of Alabama professor wins Fulbright fellowship for romance research
A University of Alabama professor has been awarded the Fulbright-University of Leeds Distinguished Chair, a fellowship of up to 12 months in England, to research romance in pop culture. Catherine Roach, a New College professor and faculty member in the department of gender and race studies, will conduct research for her book, "Happily Ever After: The Romance Narrative in Pop Culture." Roach doesn't just study romance narratives, though. She authors romance novels of her own under the pen name Catherine LaRoche, writing "Master of Love" in 2012 and the upcoming "Knight of Love" due out in 2014.
Bloomberg ranks U. of Alabama management systems program 4th among public universities
Bloomberg Businessweek has ranked the Management Information Systems program at the University of Alabama No. 4 among public universities and No. 8 among all universities in its 2013 rankings of undergraduate business schools. "The ranking is consistent with the feedback from the program's industry partners who consistently describe the students as being ahead of their competition," said David Hale, head of the UA program in Culverhouse College of Commerce in a statement released by the university. The program at University of Texas at Austin led the ranking for public schools, followed by Indiana University, Georgia Tech, UA and the University of Texas at Dallas.
Houston SPCA, Texas A&M team up to train veterinarian students
The Houston Society for The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences announced Thursday a partnership that will offer veterinary students a deeper look into cases of cruelty, trauma and neglect in a wide array of animals. The Houston SPCA, the largest animal protection agency in the Gulf Coast area, investigates more than 9,000 cases of animal abuse and neglect and advocates for more than 50,000 animals a year. Through the partnership with the flagship university, fourth-year veterinary students at Texas A&M will undergo a two-week program at the SPCA, working alongside experts in cruelty, trauma and neglect to dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, farm animals, exotic animals and native wildlife, it was announced at a news conference in Houston.
U. of Florida professor named new dean of College of Pharmacy
University of Florida pharmacy professor Julie Johnson has been named dean of UF's College of Pharmacy, according to a UF media release Thursday. Johnson, who begins her new position on Aug. 5, is the first woman to lead the school and has been on the UF faculty since 1998 -- nine years of that as chair of the department of pharmacotherapy and translational research. "I'm really excited," Johnson said. "We're one of the top-ranked colleges in the university ...and there are a lot of opportunities to make it even better."
Surgeon who oversaw suspended UK HealthCare program lands U. of Florida job
Dr. Mark Plunkett, a celebrated cardiothoracic surgeon at the University of Kentucky whose surgery program was suspended for unknown reasons, has accepted a job at the University of Florida, according to UK. Michael Karpf, UK's executive vice president for health affairs, said Thursday that an internal review of UK HealthCare's pediatric cardiothoracic program should be completed in the next few weeks. Plunkett stopped doing surgeries late in 2012, but remained on staff at his $700,000 annual salary, one of the highest on campus, according to UK records. Karpf said the review was undertaken to make sure UK provides "first class surgeries." Secrecy over the review has prompted a flurry of legal action.
Wyrick Announces Restructuring in Advancement Division at U. of Arkansas
The University of Arkansas Division of University Advancement on Thursday announced what its vice chancellor called "a significant restructuring," which includes two retirements and several promotions. "Change is never easy, but sometimes it is necessary," Vice Chancellor Chris Wyrick said. Wyrick said the reorganization comes "after a thorough review of the entire division by the university's office of human resources." The changes come about five months after Wyrick took over the advancement office. Brad Choate, who led the office for four years, was relieved of duties after an internal audit revealed the division had overspent by more than $3 million in 2012 and was on track for a $4 million deficit.
U. of Arkansas Aims to Grow STEM Graduates
The University of Arkansas announced Wednesday that it will lead an initiative to increase its number of STEM graduates in partnership with the state's two-year colleges. The goal is to increase the number of graduates with bachelor's degrees in the STEM fields -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Beginning in the spring of 2014, the UA will offer online, undergraduate STEM courses to the state's two-year schools with a goal of helping prepare associate-degree students for bachelor's level work. Coursework will include classes in calculus, physics and engineering. The initiative is a program of the UA's College of Engineering in partnership with the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and the UA's Global Campus. The UA is seeking funding for the program through the National Science Foundation.
Common Core, job-training education reforms will fail, says education researcher
The Common Core curriculum reform most states have signed on for is doomed to failure, predicted a pro-choice academic scholar Thursday in Athens. But the movement will still increase federal control over public schools, said Jay Greene, head of the University of Arkansas' department of education reform. "It's politically inevitable that efforts will collapse, be hijacked by the establishment or become an empty shell," Greene said in a talk at Athens Country Club sponsored by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. Greene also takes a dim view of another strong current in education reform: education as job training. Most of the skills student will learn in that kind of education will be useless soon after students graduate, but more fundamentally, using schools for job training diminishes the most important thing about schools, he said.
Cost Estimate Puts in Doubt Deal Covering Student Loans
A tentative agreement to overhaul the federal student loan program was close to collapsing on Thursday night after the Congressional Budget Office said the proposal would cost the Treasury $22 billion over 10 years, according to aides familiar with the discussions. Negotiators from both parties started the day with high hopes that a deal could be struck next week to restore lower student loan rates -- but only after Senate Democrats retreated on their position that subsidized loan rates be locked in for at least another year and not subjected to market forces.
Classes canceled until 11 a.m. at U. of South Carolina as power fails on campus
Classes are cancelled and students warned against using candles in dark residence halls after a power outage struck the University of South Carolina campus Friday morning. All classes campus wide are called off until power is restored, expected to be around 11 a.m. Faculty and staff are asked not to report to work until 11 a.m., or to contact their supervisors.
New report shows dependence of U.S. graduate programs on foreign students
International students play a critical role in sustaining quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduate programs at U.S. universities, a new report from the National Foundation for American Policy argues. It will come as no surprise to observers of graduate education that the report documents the fact that foreign students make up the majority of enrollments in U.S. graduate programs in many STEM fields. However, the report, which analyzes National Science Foundation enrollment data from 2010 by field and institution, also shows that these striking averages mask even higher proportions at many individual universities.
Attorneys suing shootings say UAH knew Bishop was a threat, protected leaders
Attorneys for the families of two University of Alabama-Huntsville professors killed by Amy Bishop in 2010 filed a motion in circuit court Thursday offering evidence they said shows UAH officials knew Bishop was a threat months before the shootings and protected themselves with "concealed police" when they thought she was coming to their offices. But those same officials failed to protect UAH staff as they were required to do, the attorneys claim. The denial of tenure has been cited as the reason Bishop opened fire with a handgun during a Biology Department faculty meeting.
Tougher Requirements Ahead for Teacher Prep
A panel tapped by the national accreditation body for teacher preparation has finalized a set of standards that, for the first time, establishes minimum admissions criteria and requires programs to use much-debated "value added" measures, where available. The action promises to have major ramifications for how programs select, prepare, and gauge the success of new teachers. Already, programs planning to seek the seal of approval from the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation say the standards are significantly more demanding than those used by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, one of two accreditors that preceded CAEP.
Bryant: State's economic numbers reflect growth, progress | Sid Salter (Opinion)
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Country singer Merle Haggard asked the tough question in 1981 about the state of the nation's future when he wrote a song that confronted the erosion of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. with this simple question: 'Is the best of the free life behind us now? Are the good times really over for good?' In Mississippi, Haggard's question still resonates more than 30 years later."

Bulldogs pump money into football facilities, other upgrades
Mississippi State is spending about $100 million to upgrade its football facilities. The results are starting to show. When Mississippi State athletics director Scott Stricklin needs a tangible reminder of how fast his program is growing, he takes a short walk to the middle of campus. A few blocks from his office, things are a mess. There are cranes, bulldozers and construction workers everywhere -- usually humming with activity as work continues on a $75 million renovation to Davis Wade Stadium. "It's exciting to see the concrete rise up on that north end of the stadium," Stricklin said. "It's not just going to change the football stadium, but it's really going to change the campus in a positive way. It's great to see it become a reality."
Leland Mitchell: Devoted family man with heart
Former Mississippi State basketball player Leland Noyal Mitchell was remembered Thursday as being a devoted family man, friend and teammate who had a big heart. A celebration of the life of Mitchell, who passed away last Saturday at the age of 72, was held at the Welch Funeral Home chapel. "Although we acknowledge the loss, we honor the life of Leland Mitchell," the Rev. Bob Whiteside said during his opening remarks. Whiteside and Jimmy Wise spoke about the special character and attitude that Mitchell possessed. Wise, Mitchell's roommate at Mississippi State, talked about Mitchell being his friend, a friend to many others and also a husband, father, father-in-law, brother and grandfather.
Wetherbee lends expertise to Mississippi State athletic department
Scott Wetherbee has never been in charge of media relations. With that being said, the new Mississippi State senior associate athletic director for external affairs, understands what is driving media relations these days. It's social media. "Obviously, the big thing is technology and the changing of all of our social media platforms," Wetherbee said.
Ole Miss's Henderson Had What Appeared to Be Cocaine, Police Say
Marshall Henderson, the fiery guard who led Ole Miss to the NCAA Tournament's round of 32 this season, was pulled over in May with what appeared to be small amounts of cocaine and marijuana in his car, according to an Oxford, Miss., police report. Henderson was suspended indefinitely from the team Wednesday for what the school said was a violation of team rules. School officials didn't elaborate on the suspension. A spokesman declined to comment Thursday. Henderson couldn't be reached. Henderson was pulled over May 4 on suspicion of speeding, and Oxford Police officer Shane Fortner smelled marijuana in Henderson's vehicle, according to the police report. Henderson gave Fortner a bag containing "a small nugget of marijuana," according to Fortner's report, and a search by a police dog turned up a clear plastic bag that contained "a small amount of what appeared to be cocaine," a report from another officer, Mark Hodges, said.
At 'Meet Your Seats' event, U. of Tennessee tries to woo fans back to Neyland
On Thursday afternoon, Neyland Stadium was empty, except for a crew of maintenance workers with pressure washers who were blasting the cement walkways. But as fans wandered through the concourse, Tennessee fundraisers hoped they could envision a packed stadium and a winning team -- and wanted to buy tickets to be a part of it. Thursday was "Meet Your Seats" day at Neyland Stadium. A large crew of UT staffers was on hand to greet fans who wanted to check out season tickets, or to help current season ticket holders change or upgrade their location. UT is battling a soft market for tickets that has impacted every sport at every level, and senior associate athletic director Chris Fuller said during an interview last month that a new coach alone was unlikely to dramatically alter season ticket sales.
If naming rights are sold, 'Rupp' needs to be in the name, mayor says
If the naming rights to the re-invented Rupp Arena are sold, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said he keenly wanted "Rupp" to remain part of its identity. "We need to retain what is authentic and original, and Rupp Arena has a lot of ... emotional attachment to it," Gray said. Former Kentucky basketball coach Joe B. Hall agreed with Gray, saying the arena "can always be 'Something-Rupp Arena.' Yeah, I'm OK with that." Hall noted how the UK program is synonymous with Adolph Rupp, the former coach who "built" the university's basketball program.
Ohio State's Gordon Gee slow to apologize to Notre Dame, Catholics and SEC
Former Ohio State University President Gordon Gee took his time apologizing for remarks he made that were critical of the University of Notre Dame, Roman Catholics and Southeastern Conference schools, among several of his targets during off-the-cuff comments last year, records show. Although university trustees directed Gee in a March 11 letter to begin issuing personal apologies "promptly," he didn't make the first of those apologies until May 20 during a previously scheduled meeting with the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus, according to a copy of Gee's calendar obtained by The Associated Press through a records request. Gee, 69, retired July 1. He will remain at the university as a law professor, but details of his retirement package haven't been released.

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