Wednesday, July 17, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
Making Move From Bulldog To Banker
Jimmy Abraham has joined Cadence Bank as vice chairman, a part-time position that allows him the freedom to spend time with his family while continuing to remain active in Starkville's business community. Having recently retired from Mississippi State University, Abraham enjoyed a 38-year career at his alma mater. In 2005, he was named associate vice president for development and alumni and executive director of MSU's Alumni Association. Prior to that, Abraham served as associate vice president for student affairs. At Cadence, Abraham will serve as an ambassador for furthering new and existing client relations in the Golden Triangle and across the state of Mississippi.
Game day shuttles could make a good thing better
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "The largest regularly scheduled paid attendance events in Northeast Mississippi are home football games at the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University, and each school continues making decisions adding structure, convenience and safety to the crowd-intensive game day atmosphere in Oxford and Starkville. Additional shuttle bus service was tentatively added last week by the Oxford University Transit for the fall 2013 home games for fans parking off campus in parking lots owned by or accessible to the university. ...Mississippi State makes similar use of its shuttle services. ...The most positive free exposure both universities receive comes from television broadcasts of campus football games. Effective parking rules help the image and the fan experience, both universities and both cities."
4-H Learning To Lead
Young 4-H Leaders gathered at Mississippi State University's Bost Extension Conference Center in Starkville for the next four days are expected to network with their peers. During this year's conference, the young people will learn about the business of cooperatives. They'll tour various regions of North Mississippi as they hope to become better decision makers, gleaning skills they will use throughout their lives.
Learning to teach new ways
Middle school teachers from the Meridian Public School District took part in the first session of the 4-C Summer Institute at MSU-Meridian. The 20-day institute was made possible through a $90,000 grant. Participating teachers learned new ways to encourage student learning in grades 6-8 that focuses on critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Meridian area arts educators honored at 2013 Arts Education Awards
Four Meridian area arts educators, including Suzanne McKee-Waddell of MSU-Meridian, will be honored for their work in making a difference in arts education in Mississippi schools, communities and the world around them at a special ceremony during the Mississippi Arts Commission's Whole Schools Institute. The educators will be among honorees from across the state recognized at the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education Awards Ceremony, which will be held at the MSU Riley Center in downtown Meridian.
Universities Face a Rising Barrage of Cyberattacks
America's research universities, among the most open and robust centers of information exchange in the world, are increasingly coming under cyberattack, most of it thought to be from China, with millions of hacking attempts weekly. Campuses are being forced to tighten security, constrict their culture of openness and try to determine what has been stolen. The increased threat of hacking has forced many universities to rethink the basic structure of their computer networks and their open style, though officials say they are resisting the temptation to create a fortress with high digital walls.
Attorney General says gun ruling not statewide
Attorney General Jim Hoods says he doesn't believe Hinds County Circuit Judge Winston Kidd's ruling on the open carry law applies statewide. Friday, Kidd issued a permanent injunction keeping the state's new gun law from going into effect. In a statement Hood said a judge only has jurisdiction in his or her district. Hood added that the statute clarified when a weapon is considered to be concealed under Mississippi law and it isn't an "enforcement statute." An appeal with the Mississippi Supreme Court hasn't been filed at this time, but it's expected within the next week.
Trayvon Martin case: Evers, Till legacy comparison controversial
The comparison of Trayvon Martin's legacy to that of Emmett Till and Medgar Evers is drawing emotional and mixed reactions from civil rights leaders in Mississippi. In a news conference Sunday following George Zimmerman's acquittal of murder charges in Martin's death, the attorney for the family of the 15-year-old Florida boy drew the comparisons to the civil rights icons. Jennifer Stollman, academic director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi, said she sees comparisons between Till and Martin based on age and the perceived threat of "young black male teenagers as being dangerous or threatening, whether it's a wolf whistle or walking from the store with a hoodie on."
Insurer, hospitals at odds; termination notice sent
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi has told the state's second-largest hospital owner that it will end its contract with the company's 10 Mississippi hospitals at the end of August. The insurer sent the termination notice to Health Management Associates hospitals statewide on June 25. Naples, Fla.-based HMA had sued Blue Cross for $13 million a week earlier, claiming the Flowood insurer is breaking contract terms by underpaying for a number of procedures. At the same time, Blue Cross and Jackson's University of Mississippi Medical Center continue talks over payment rates, with the chance that the insurer will no longer contract for treatment at the state's largest hospital. The deadline for that contract to end was Wednesday, but it was extended this week and now would end Aug. 28, barring an agreement or extension.
Clay County Economic Development District launches, approves land purchase
The newly formed Clay County Economic Development District performed its first major order of business Monday -- the authorization to purchase up to $11 million in parcels needed for Yokohama Tire Company to build its plant. An omnibus resolution passed by the board acquires numerous tracts from residents in the vicinity of the Prairie Belt Powersite where Yokohama plans to build its facility. Golden Triangle Development Link CEO Joe Max Higgins said after the meeting that the district's approval paves the way for the property to be officially purchased Thursday.
Neshoba County Fair to offer temp passes as usual
Temporary parking passes will be available as usual during the Neshoba County Fair starting on Friday, July 26, but not on Thursday, Fair Association President Gilbert Donald clarified this week. In a change this year, cabin permits will be required after 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 25. There will be no temporary passes available only on Thursday, the Fair Association said. After Thursday, temporary permits will be available throughout the Fair, as in the past, Donald said. The $20 one-hour permits will allow Fairgoers inside the grounds to load or unload.
Legendary Mississippi blues singer 'T-Model' Ford dies
James Lewis Carter "T-Model" Ford, a hard-living blues singer who taught himself to play guitar when he was 58 years old and his fifth wife left him, died Tuesday at his home in Greenville. His age was uncertain. Washington County Coroner Methel Johnson said the family told her Ford was born in 1924 and had already had his birthday this year, which would have made him 89. But a blues expert and longtime friend, Roger Stolle, said Ford didn't remember what year he was born and claimed to be 93. Ford had six wives and 26 children, Stolle said. When Ford's fifth wife left him, she gave him a guitar as a parting gift. "He stayed up all night drinking white whiskey," or moonshine, "and playing the guitar," Stolle said. "He kind of went on from there."
Lucas: Farm bill conference with Senate will await food stamp bill
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) said Tuesday evening that a formal farm bill conference with the Senate will have to wait until the House decides what to do with a standalone food stamp measure. Lucas said that he cannot "in good faith" press GOP leaders to appoint conferees until he works to craft a bill cutting food stamp funding. "It would be difficult for me to move for a formal conference unless we address the nutrition issue," Lucas said. A split farm subsidy only bill passed the House narrowly on Thursday. Lucas said he has started informal discussions with Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) as he polls the House GOP conference on what to do on food stamps.
Wicker, McCain hailed for meeting on bipartisan deal
Republican U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker and John McCain were praised Tuesday by Democrats for their roles in pushing for a meeting in Washington that resulted in a bipartisan deal to prevent "the nuclear option" from being invoked. The agreement avoids Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's plan to change filibuster rules, which would have made it easier for the Senate and its Democratic majority to approve President Barack Obama's nominees for executive-branch posts. The nuclear option is controversial.
McCain Pulls Senate Back From the Brink
Sen. John McCain doesn't like being called a "maverick." The term, once the trademark modifier for the 76-year-old Republican from Arizona, has largely been collecting dust in the bin of political clich├ęs since 2008, when McCain lost the presidential election to Barack Obama. But on Tuesday, "maverick" was being tossed around again, because McCain has suddenly re-emerged as the guy Democrats can talk to, occasionally at the expense of irritating his own Republican colleagues. And while it's unclear how long this will last -- or if it even will have an effect on the party -- for now, it's a streak. Over the weekend, McCain helped broker an agreement with Democrats to move forward on a handful of executive nominees to prevent, at least temporarily, a move from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to change the filibuster rules of the Senate via the "nuclear option."
Sansing joins legal team at Ole Miss
Perry Sansing, former assistant to the president and university counsel at Mississippi University for Women, is the new associate general counsel at the University of Mississippi. He also will serve as the chancellor's special assistant for governmental affairs. David Sansing, UM professor emeritus of history and author of a book chronicling the history of Ole Miss, is Sansing's father. The new hire will provide legal advice to administrators and work to develop and enhance relations with local and state officials.
East Central Community College joins other JUCOs in announcing tuition increase
East Central Community College in Decatur is among the state's community colleges to announce a tuition increase for the 2013-14 academic year. East Central is one of 11 community colleges to increase tuition and other fees, according to a recent published report from the Mississippi Community College Board. State officials cite part of the reason for the increase is now that the economy is improving, people are going back to work, thus reducing enrollment levels and cutting tuition income. "Increasing tuition is necessary to ease the financial burden of the community and junior colleges," said Dr. Eric Clark, State Board executive director. "Sometimes it is necessary just to pay the bills."
South Mississippi teachers train for new Common Core Standards
The roles are reversed this week as South Mississippi teachers are in the classroom learning ways to implement the new Common Core State Standards that officially go into effect this school year. About 90 sixth- to 12th-grade teachers from seven Coast school districts are participating in training at Ocean Springs High School through Thursday, hosted by the National Math and Science Initiative. Similar training is being held in 26 other states, and more than 6,500 teachers are participating nationwide. Teacher Syhann Shoemake said she thinks these new standards will make teaching more inclusive and have everyone working together on expanding the students' critical thinking skills.
Auburn University prohibits smoking on campus effective Aug. 21
Effective Aug. 21, Auburn University will officially be a smoke-free campus. A new policy prohibits inhaling, exhaling, burning or possessing lit tobacco products on any property owned or leased by the university. The movement was led by the Auburn Student Government Association, the University Senate, the Administrative and Professional Assembly, and the Staff Council over the last three years. "The policy change really began with a student letter to the president in 2010," said Eric Smith, director of health promotion and wellness services. The university will also make increased efforts to aid students, faculty and staff interested in quitting smoking.
Teen, U. of Alabama researchers find rare fossils in local quarry
A fragment of stone on a dusty hillside in a Greene County quarry drew Noah Traylor's attention because it resembled a vertebra. Despite the tantalizing shape, the 14-year-old said he assumed an assessment by a University of Alabama paleontologist accompanying the teen and other middle and high school students would reveal it was only a rock, like so many other bits of stone culled during the annual summer field expedition program put on by UA's Alabama Museum of Natural History. Instead, paleontologist Takehito "Ike" Ikejiri told the teen it was fossilized bone.
LSU announces $2 million donation
Computer science majors will have more modern equipment, mechanical engineering students will have extra space and future chemical engineers will have added opportunities to experiment when LSU's planned $100 million renovation of Patrick F. Taylor Hall is completed. The university's College of Engineering announced Tuesday a $2 million donation from the family of Roy O. Martin and RoyOMartin, an Alexandria-based lumber, timber and land company, that should put LSU a step closer to finishing those renovations. The entire effort has been christened the "Breaking New Ground" campaign. The goal is to turn the existing 36-year-old building into a state-of-the-art engineering education complex to train the next generation of students.
Two books new windows on U. of Georgia history
Two new books shed new light on University of Georgia history, but from very different perspectives. Carrol Dadisman's "Dear Old U-G-A," published this summer by The Red & Black, looks at university life and history through student eyes. The big book's full title is "Dear Old U-G-A From The Red & Black: Student Life at the University of Georgia 1893-2013." Larry Dendy's "Through the Arch: An Illustrated Guide to the University of Georgia Campus," on the other hand, gives glimpses of campus history through its buildings.
Reitz Union makeover leaves some U. of Florida students confused
Finding one's way into the J. Wayne Reitz Union at the University of Florida can be a challenge these days, as Ranjit Koshy discovered this week. The second-year graduate student in mechanical engineering walked up the south ramp of the Constans Theater only to hit a dead end at the foot of the Colonnade steps -- a fence barred access to an area where construction workers were erecting a containment wall of steel and particle board. "It's a bit confusing," Koshy said, after asking the construction workers for directions to the nearest entrance. The Reitz Union's $75 million renovation is officially underway. It includes a 100,000-square-foot addition and a new entrance that requires demolition of the Colonnade and its suite of offices overhead.
Apartments in the works near U. of Tennessee campus
The University of Tennessee campus may be a little sleepy with college students gone for the summer. The student housing market is still red-hot, though.
Texas A&M prof, students to create models to help preserve Alamo
A team of Texas A&M researchers is using new technology to uncover the history of the Alamo and help preserve it for future generations. A&M architecture professor Robert Warden, director of the university's Center for Heritage Conservation, is leading a team of graduate students from A&M, Texas A&M University at Kingsville, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Texas at San Antonio. The 2-D and 3-D models will be used not only to track how the structure has changed throughout the years, but also to provide insight into how environmental factors have weathered the Alamo and what measures can be taken to protect it.
Federal student loan debt tops $1 trillion
Federal student loan debt has topped $1 trillion, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will announce Wednesday, a milestone that will only intensify the debate in Congress over what to do about student loan interest rates. The interest rate on new, federally subsidized Stafford loans doubled on July 1 to 6.8 percent thanks to congressional inaction, and the two parties haven't been able to agree to a solution to lower the rate.
Wisconsin senator: Too much focus on college degrees
With federal student loan debt mounting across the country, lawmakers across the political aisle are in agreement that Washington must help emphasize that jobs training is just as valuable to young Americans as a college degree. Speaking at POLITICO's Jobs of the Future event Wednesday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said the out-of-control level of student loan debt in the country is in part due to the widespread suggestion that a young person is a "second-class citizen" if he or she doesn't attain a four-year college degree. One of Johnson's Democratic colleagues, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, agreed that there is a need to highlight the value of two-year degrees and community college education.
Even healthy universities make big changes to free up funds for priorities
On what one might call the "vulnerability index" -- how higher education institutions shake out in terms of their financial viability in the short- to mid-term -- the universities represented in a session titled "Remaining Nimble in the Face of External Challenges" at the annual meeting of college business officers in Indianapolis Tuesday are some of the lucky ones. Unlike some smaller and less-differentiated private and public colleges and universities, public flagship universities and selective (and highly visible) private institutions are not only going to survive whatever turmoil higher education faces in the next decade or two -- at least -- they're likely to thrive, too. But that doesn't mean they can stand pat in the face of the many pressures they (like other colleges and universities) are facing.
AP Exclusive: Daniels looked to censor opponents
Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels pledged to promote academic freedom, not stifle it, when he became president at Purdue University in January. But emails obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request show Daniels took rare steps during his second term as governor to eliminate what he considered liberal breeding grounds at Indiana's public universities, requesting that historian Howard Zinn's writings be banned from classrooms and asking for a "cleanup" of college courses he called "propaganda." In another exchange, Daniels talks about cutting funding to a program run by one of his sharpest critics, Charles Little, executive director of the Indiana Urban Schools Association and an Indiana university professor. The efforts to silence voices he disagreed with as governor have raised new questions about Daniels' appointment as president of a major research university just months after critics questioned his lack of academic credentials and his hiring by a board of trustees he appointed. Read more here:
Big business as bad as big government
Mississippi newspaper publisher and columnist Wyatt Emmerich writes: "In my book, Big Business is almost as bad as Big Government, especially if Big Business uses its power to distort the free market and buy politicians. Unfortunately, the Republicans, who at least pay lip service to the free market, often end up protecting Big Business at the expense of free enterprise. In return, they get political contributions. This is the same racket the Democrats play with the unions. ...AT&T and Verizon are using their political power to eliminate cell phone compatibility throughout the nation. These two giants want to implement a proprietary system that could wipe out smaller cell phone companies such as C-Spire."
Mississippi gun laws confusing
The Clarion-Ledger editorializes: "When politics gets in the way of policy, it generally leads to bad laws. When this happens in relation to laws impacting public safety and law enforcement, then we must ask if our lawmakers' good intentions are paving the road to judicial and legal nightmares. Certainly the George Zimmerman case has placed a spotlight on Florida's stand your ground law and whether or not it prevented justice for an innocent person in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. In Mississippi, we have two recent gun-related laws that have caused their own confusion."
Mississippians should not have to pay to find out how their money is being spent
Longtime Mississippi journalist Charlie Mitchell writes: "Suppose computers and the Internet were not a new thing. Suppose they existed and were even commonplace back in 1817 when Mississippi was created. As things developed and it became clear that both the law and the public policy of the state would require that public records would be open to public inspection, do you think the Legislature would have created or allowed 'pay walls' that required citizens to ante up? In three words, 'Of course not.'"
Jury instructions likely prevented Zimmerman conviction | Tom Freeland (Opinion)
Oxford attorney Tom Freeland writes in The Clarion-Ledger: "Friday, I pulled up the jury instructions in the George Zimmerman case out of curiosity. Engaging in the legal fiction that these things matter, I read through them and was startled -- I have not seen instructions quite like them. On both the primary charge of second degree murder and the secondary charge of manslaughter, the instructions set forth the definitions of a justifiable homicide before ever mentioning the elements of the crime itself. By turning the usual order on its head, they focus the jury almost entirely on the defenses of the crime and hardly at all on the elements."
Fact, fiction of immigration reform remains problematic
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "For more centrist Republicans, the 2012 election cycle was enough to jump-start a new discussion of compromise from hard right-wing dogma on immigration reform both at the national and state level. Yet what was a promising start for the 2013 version of immigration reform had by this month ground down to another stalemate. Republicans on Capitol Hill are still too worried about getting out of their congressional primary races to seriously debate immigration reform even if it costs the GOP in presidential elections to come. The message in 2012 was clear -- Hispanic voters now total about 9 percent of the national electorate. In presidential politics and in the politics of control of the Congress, Latino voters are now strong enough to assist their friends and hurt their enemies."

Bulldogs learn early-season kickoff times
Mississippi State University learned the start time for the 2013 home opener Tuesday when the Southeastern Conference announced times for the first three weeks of the season. The Bulldogs will kick off the 2013 home football season at 2:30 p.m. against Alcorn State University on CSS. MSU will travel the following week to Auburn University, where the Bulldogs have only won once since 2000, in Week 3 for a 6 p.m. kickoff, with the game televised on ESPN/ESPN2 or ESPNU. Five of the Bulldogs' 12 games now have kickoff times set.
USM seeking new compliance director for athletics
Southern Miss is in the market for a new compliance director for athletics. Jason Gray, who had spent the past six years as USM's senior associate athletic director for compliance, was announced Tuesday as assistant athletic director for compliance at Memphis. Jeremy McClain, USM interim athletic director, said Tuesday that a search was underway to find Gray's replacement.
No timetable for solution to future scheduling
The SEC is looking at every possible angle of its football scheduling format, and there is no rush to reach a solution. Ever since the SEC expanded to 14 teams last year, there has been talk of going from an eight-game to a nine-game league schedule. At SEC Media Days on Tuesday, commissioner Mike Slive said an extensive review of the scheduling format will be conducted, and whatever decision is made will take effect for the 2016 season. Former Mississippi State athletics director Larry Templeton, who is leading the scheduling effort, said the review will include several computer models covering the possible formats.
Mike Slive: NCAA governance answers are needed, including role of board of directors
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive outlined specific questions that must be answered within the NCAA, including calling into question the role of the NCAA board of directors. Speaking at his address to kick off SEC Media Days, Slive said determining the proper role, function, composition and size of the board of directors should be addressed. Slive also questioned whether members need all of the services provided by the NCAA office and wants streamlined NCAA committee processes. Slive maintained support for the NCAA to play a role in governing sports. But he said new visions are necessary because college sports has grown to become such an important part of the American culture, not only of education.
Mannings are subject of next ESPN film
It was only a matter of time before ESPN Films knocked on the Mannings' door. The next feature in the SEC Storied series is "The Book of Manning," which will premiere at 7 p.m. Sept. 24 on ESPN. Actor John Goodman narrates the film, which will explore the personal and professional life of former NFL and Ole Miss star Archie Manning and how the loss of his father affected his life and the way he and his wife, Olivia, raised sons Peyton, Eli and Cooper. "Viewers will gain a powerful understanding of how this has arguably become one of the most influential families ever in any sport," ESPN Films executive producer John Dahl said in a statement.
Rebels tread lightly: Ole Miss' Freeze aims to lessen preseason hype
The three players Ole Miss sent to SEC Media Days on Tuesday have a combined 35,000 Twitter followers. And Bo Wallace, Donte Moncrief and Mike Marry are not even the most popular Rebels on the social media service. That's the Nkemdiche brothers: Denzel and Robert are each hovering around 19,000. That's a heck of a lot of fans. A lot of excited fans after a surprising 7-6 season and a top-10 recruiting class that are telling these players just how great they are. As part of coach Hugh Freeze's personal offseason project of lowering expectations for Year 2, he said he may have to make these guys realize they have not arrived yet.
Steve Spurrier for SEC commissioner! All in favor? Aye! | Kevin Scarbinsky (Opinion)
Columnist Kevin Scarbinsky writes for "Somewhere between his opening salvo on giving money to players' parents to travel to games and his closing joke about his 50th high school reunion -- 'lot quieter than I thought it would be' -- it hit me. Steve Spurrier for SEC commissioner. He'd be a natural whenever Mike Slive decides to become a full-time grandfather."
U. of Missouri will launch Pinkel website
The Missouri athletic department announced Monday that the website will launch at noon Monday. According to a news release, the purpose of the site is "to show a different behind-the-scenes side of the program, to engage Tiger fans in a more personal way and to celebrate the growing success of Mizzou's players in the National Football League." Among the promised features are "periodic fan-interactive Google hangouts with Coach Pinkel."
Olbermann Will Return To ESPN
ESPN is expected to announce on Wednesday that the former network mainstay Keith Olbermann, who contentiously departed in 1997, will return to host a one-hour, nightly show for ESPN2 later this year, according to three executives with knowledge of the deal but not authorized to speak about it publicly. Olbermann, 54, became renowned for co-anchoring ESPN's "SportsCenter" with Dan Patrick -- arguably the most auspicious pairing in the history of the show or the network. On his new show, Olbermann will be free to discuss matters other than sports, including pop culture and current events, but not politics, the two-year pact specifies.

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