Wednesday, July 31, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
University heads to join politicians at Neshoba
The leaders of the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University will share the podium with the state's top political leadership this week at the historic Neshoba County Fair. Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones is scheduled to speak today while Mississippi State President Mark Keenum is slated to speak on Thursday. This will mark the first time in recent memory that university heads have spoken during the two days of the two-week event normally reserved for political speaking. Both the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia and the Jacinto political speakings on July 4 at the historic Jacinto Courthouse in Alcorn County draw the state's top political leaders even though the modern-day campaigns focus more on television and the electronic media. The state's political leadership -- and those wanting to be part of that leadership -- still speak at the events because they receive extensive statewide media coverage.
Political speaking starts today at Fair pavilion
Political speaking gets underway today at 9 a.m. under the pavilion on Founders Square beginning with Circuit Court Judges Vernon Cotten and Marcus Gordon. Speakers at this year's Neshoba County Fair will also include presidents of East Central Community College, Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi. The presidents will address Fairgoers this year to promote their colleges, Fair Association Board member Scott Bounds said. Dr. Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University, speaks Thursday morning.
Without students, college communities' poverty rate falls
A report released Monday using 2009-2011 data from the Census Bureau's American Communities Survey examined the impact of college students living off-campus on poverty rates. The Census report removed college students from poverty rates of communities throughout the nation, showing significant drops in many places. In Mississippi, the nation's poorest state, cities and counties with universities have significant differences in poverty rates when college students aren't factored into the data. Ron Cossman, a demographer and professor at Mississippi State University, said using the adjusted poverty information can have beneficial purposes when trying to recruit retail businesses and restaurants into an area. "We should tout these numbers as much as possible because they're a more accurate reflection of Starkville," Cossman said. "The student population tends to spend an awful lot of money that goes into the local economy."
Eupora Native Named to MSU Safety Post
A veteran Mississippi State research professional has been named director of the new Environmental Health and Safety Office at the land-grant institution. Michael S. Parsons of Eupora began his new duties earlier this month. In the role, he will lead the university's environmental and occupational safety efforts. "My top priority as director is to ensure that the entire university is emphasizing best practices in environmental health and safety. My staff and I will serve to assist all MSU units in this endeavor," Parsons said.
New Leadership at MSU Safety Office
A veteran Mississippi State research professional has been named director of the new Environmental Health and Safety Office at the land-grant institution. Michael S. Parsons of Eupora began his new duties earlier this month. In the role, he will lead the university's environmental and occupational safety efforts. With campus-wide environmental compliance issues and safety-related activities consolidated into EH&S, the former Office of Regulatory Compliance and Safety is now the Office of Research Compliance with Kacey Strickland continuing as director.
Bull Ring to return to Mississippi State University
Even though it had a history dating back to 1933, Hart Bailey said he first heard of Mississippi State University's Bull Ring in July 2009. Bailey was president of the MSU Faculty Senate at the time, and he was at a send-off party in Batesville for area students about to enter MSU as freshmen. He said a member of MSU's class of 1961, Mike Clark, asked him what happened to the Bull Ring, and he didn't know what he was talking about. Bailey said the Bull Ring was not in place when he attended MSU.
Local artist featured in gallery in Columbus
Joe MacGown sees things differently from most people, and starting Thursday, patrons can take a look through MacGown's eyes at his art show at the Rosenzweig. MacGown works at Mississippi State University as a research technician and scientific illustrator for the Mississippi Entomological Museum, and his focus on the unseeable parts of entomology influenced his artistic ways.
Mississippi educators give away football tickets, cash to promote reading
Changes in education will require Mississippi students to sharpen their reading skills. Under a new state law, third graders must read at grade level or risk being held back. This year, two state football rivals are teaming-up with an education organization to tackle illiteracy. Their game plan involves football tickets and free cash. Later this week, the Mississippi Association of Educators, along with Ole Miss and Mississippi State University, will kick-off the "Be a Champion and Read Contest." "And they said, 'Let's make this competitive. Let's make it fun for the kids and let's give them tickets to the Egg Bowl,'" said MAE president Joyce Helmick.
Setting Up Fake Twitter Accounts
Social media has made it much easier to stay connected to the people we care about. At their best, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram helps us share our lives and forge lasting friendships. But when someone sets up a phony account, under your name, your reputation can be ruined. Twitter lets you tell the world what you are thinking, or doing, with just a few keystrokes. It's been a big hit with both the young and old. "Well, I keep up with my friends on Twitter but I keep up with the news, weather and sports here at State and class stuff," said Gina Neal, a student at Mississippi State University.
Starkville's Piggly Wiggly future unclear
Belle Foods officials describe the company's grocery in Starkville as one of the strongest in the company's chain, thanks to its proximity to Mississippi State University. Birmingham, Ala.-based Belle Foods filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month that will affect its 57 stores in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, including Starkville's Piggly Wiggly. The Starkville store is among those being sold. Even if Starkville's Piggly Wiggly fell into different hands, Belle spokesman Brad Jorgensen said the possibility of it shutting down is "remote."
MDOT repaving parts of Hwy. 182
The Mississippi Department of Transportation will repave parts of Highway 182 in Starkville. Repaving started Wednesday at 8 a.m. from Old West Point Road to Reed Road. All lanes will be repaved, and transportation officials say drivers should expect delays in the area. The project is scheduled to be completed by Friday.
Greater Starkville Development Partnership to nominate new board members
The board room of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership will soon welcome some new faces. At its July 25 meeting, the GSDP board unanimously approved a nominating committee that will be tasked with replacing six board members whose terms are expiring. Amy Tuck, Harold Clark, W.H. "Bill" Cunningham, Jeff Read, Amy Crigler and Paul Luckett are all completing their third terms in 2013, but GSDP bylaws do allow them to be nominated again. GSDP Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Gregory said the nominating process presents the board with a chance to reassess and address its needs as a board.
State Representative Tyrone Ellis hospitalized
State Representative Tyrone Ellis has been hospitalized after suffering a stroke. Representative Gary Chism of Columbus tells WTVA News the House Information Office sent out a message earlier today asking for prayers for the state lawmaker and confirming he had a stroke. Ellis, a Democrat from Starkville, represents House District 38, which includes parts of Clay, Noxubee, Oktibbeha and Lowndes counties.
Don't let 'cabin' fool you at Neshoba County Fair
Upon first look, the Neshoba County Fairgrounds might resemble a shanty town, a landscape dotted with makeshift homes and tin roofs. But a closer inspection reveals the carefully crafted history and traditions held within the more than 600 temporary homes around the fair. Cabins haven't always been at the fair during its 120-plus years, but they have morphed from simple log shelters to multi-storied party pads. Over the years the cabins have been modified, even torn down and rebuilt to make room for the expanding families.
AG to open state office in Houston
Attorney General Jim Hood says he is moving his family back to his native Chickasaw County and opening "a little, one-man office" on the square in Houston where he will perform his official duties. He stressed that the move does not mean he will not seek re-election in 2015 or that he would not be as aggressive as attorney general. "I told my staff when I announced this to them in May that if anyone asks, I am running for re-election," he said, adding he loves being attorney general because "it is the best job in state government. You do not have to seek permission from anyone else to go after the bad guy." But the Houston High graduate conceded he could opt to run for another post in 2015.
Nissan building park for suppliers at Mississippi plant
Nissan North America will build a 1 million-square-foot campus for its suppliers just north of the company's vehicle assembly plant in central Mississippi. Gov. Phil Bryant and Nissan officials spoke Tuesday during a groundbreaking ceremony near Canton. The manufacturing plant opened in 2003 and is about 15 miles north of Jackson, facing Interstate 55. The new supplier park, which is scheduled to open in phases in 2014 and 2015, will not be visible from the interstate. During the groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, Bryant defended the state's practice of giving incentives for economic development projects, saying they help create jobs that improve the quality of life.
New 2014 Corollas start rolling off the line at Blue Springs
The 2,000 employees at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi have begun making the 2014 Corolla. The first 11th-generation Corolla rolled off the line last Wednesday at the automaker's plant in Blue Springs, and should be hitting dealers' lots in the next few weeks. Production time at TMMMS has decreased from 86 seconds a vehicle to 78 seconds per vehicle, officials said. The plant builds 650 vehicles a day, with annual capacity now at 160,000.
Entergy to eliminate 80 jobs in Mississippi
Entergy Mississippi will eliminate 80 jobs by the end of the year as part of a reorganization of its parent company, Entergy Corp. Layoffs have begun and will continue over the coming months, the utility said Tuesday. The reductions will apply to office-based and support positions. No linemen or other field-crew workers will lose their jobs, according to Entergy. Company spokeswoman Mara Hartmann says at least some of the job eliminations should come via previously scheduled retirements and other attrition. The cuts affect just less than 5 percent of Entergy's 2,000-person Mississippi workforce.
Farm Bill possesses large impact
The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation hosted the Delta Area Young Farmer Emerging Issues Conference on Friday at the Monsanto Learning Center in Scott. The first part of the conference included speakers discussing subjects such as Farm Bureau policy initiatives and the Farm Bill. Daniel Ulmer, the legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, said the Farm Bill has been in the works for three years. He said the financial situation of the country plays a large roll in the Farm Bill, as well as the political environment and commodity prices. "We've got government debt, really high prices, a Republican House and a Democratic Senate," said Ulmer. "Those three things make it really tough."
Bryant will fight federal preclearance in state elections
Gov. Phil Bryant said today that he'd fight any effort to make Mississippi return to a federal preclearance process for election changes. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder last week asked federal judges to make Texas continue seeking preclearance. Holder's request came weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states with a history of racial discrimination no longer need federal approval to change their own voting laws or procedures. Bryant's comments came today in response to reporters' questions after an economic development announcement in Canton. The governor talked specifically about voter ID.
Bryant, lawmakers, NRA want to join gun lawsuit
Gov. Phil Bryant, about 80 lawmakers, the National Rifle Association and others have asked the Mississippi Supreme Court to let them file briefs in support of the state's open carry law. The court had not ruled on the requests as of Monday. The motions filed by Bryant, the lawmakers and the NRA included their arguments in support of the law.
Mistrial: Mayoral election trial ends with hung jury
It was bizarre and breathtaking. It unfolded in the only manner appropriate for an election as wild and unprecedented as the contested June 4 mayoral election. Mayor Johnny DuPree will remain mayor of Hattiesburg after specially appointed Judge William Coleman declared a mistrial at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Ware v. DuPree mayoral contest at the Forrest County Courthouse. Jubilant DuPree supporters celebrated on the courtroom floor afterward, exchanging hugs and high fives, while Dave Ware supporters left in stunned silence. "They tried to take it away from us, but they didn't," said the Rev. Dennis Henderson of First Trinity Baptist Church, a DuPree supporter. The mistrial declaration came just one hour after it appeared Ware finally had found the votes needed to oust DuPree as mayor.
State port's new director talks economic development, construction timetable
The port's new executive director, Jonathan Daniels, has reached out to sister ports, the airport, the Harrison County Development Commission and other entities that can work together on economic development in Mississippi. "Having a background in economic development, it's all about the partnerships," said Daniels, who started work six weeks ago after stints at other ports and in economic development positions. The Gulfport-Biloxi Regional Airport, for example, has a fairly new, and mostly empty, cargo warehouse with space and equipment -- cold storage, a fumigator and irradiator -- that could also be marketed to port customers.
Obama's 'Grand Bargain' Tax Plan Is Hard Sell to GOP
Lawmakers regarded President Barack Obama's latest attempt to engage them on an economic proposal as largely irrelevant Tuesday, with neither Democrats nor Republicans viewing it as an actual step forward toward breaking their ongoing budget impasse. Obama delivered an address in Chattanooga, Tenn., outlining a broad framework "for the middle class" that, among other provisions, would include corporate tax changes, infrastructure projects and an increase in the minimum wage. But Republicans either shrugged off or slammed the White House proposal, saying it could undercut talks on either a larger budget framework or a comprehensive tax rewrite. And they don't think Obama is serious about working with them, anyway.
U.S. economy grew faster than expected in 2nd quarter
The economy grew faster than expected over the spring, according to new data released Wednesday morning, easing fears that government spending cuts would undercut the recovery's momentum. The nation's gross domestic product increased at a 1.7 percent annual rate during the second quarter of 2013, almost twice as fast as many economists had predicted. The data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showed consumer spending remained strong despite higher taxes and businesses increased their investments in inventory. The real estate market, both residential and commercial construction, was also essential to the expansion.
Ole Miss to hold emergency drill Wednesday
The University of Mississippi is letting people know about an emergency drill that will be held on campus Wednesday morning. The drill will include loud explosions, smoke and sirens, and the university does not want people to be alarmed by those things. It is expected to start at 9 a.m. and is scheduled to end at noon.
MUW's Life Enrichment Program continues to grow
Three years ago, a friend of Pam Cunningham's took a yoga course. The course was part of the Life Enrichment Program at the Mississippi University For Women's Center for Creative Learning, and Cunningham decided to give it a try, too. The experience stuck. Since then she has taken a handful of courses on diverse subjects: Pilates, archery, buying and selling on eBay and playing the dulcimer. The program began at MUW in 2009. Based on a similar, successful program at the University of Alabama, the program gives members of the community a chance to take non-credit courses at the university for a low price. The fee is $35 for each term and that allows participants to take up to five courses, which are taught by volunteers from the community who are "experts in their fields who have a passion," said Debbie Swartz, coordinator for the LEP.
Vickers keeps memories alive with words
Ovid Vickers has been a Neshoba County Fairgoer and observer for 58 years. The long-time East Central Community College English instructor, now retired, has written many articles about the Fair and made observations. He is a columnist for The Fair Times, a daily paper distributed on the Fairgrounds. Earlier this summer, he published a book on the history of ECCC, titled: "The East Central I Knew: A History of East Central Community College." "East Central Community College became a college in 1928," Vickers said. "When I first came in 1955, some of the original faculty was still here. East Central has had some outstanding teachers over the years."
Co-Lin GED grads receive top honor
When twins Bobby and Michael Butler were born in 1988, their parents were told that the boys would never be able to advance educationally beyond an elementary level. However, after being enrolled in the Adult Basic Education Program (ABE) at Co-Lin Community College for four years, the brothers not only obtained their GED credentials, but they were recently honored as South State Students of the Year by the Mississippi Association of Adult and Community Education. The twins were born with multiple learning and social disabilities, however their family never stopped believing in their ability to learn. Both the twins and their mother credit Co-Lin and instructors such as David Langston, who serves as ABE trainer, instructor and data input specialist at Co-Lin, with helping the boys to gain not only an education, but self-worth.
New Meridian Community College Program Produces First Class of Paramedics
Meridian Community College celebrated it's first class of paramedics Tuesday night. Many of the students were pinned by their parents or siblings who are also paramedics. Meridian Community College's President says it was a great night. "Gosh, it was an emotional night for everybody, fathers hugging their sons who are joining them in the world of paramedicine, said Dr. Scott Elliott. "This was just a wonderful night."
Madison County high schools add courses for college credit
Seniors at Madison County schools can earn both college and high school credit in the same class without leaving their local campuses this year. They join a growing number of students across the state enrolled in dual credit programs that let them take college level courses, taught by their high school teachers approved by a community college, and pick up credits for graduation at both levels. "Dual credit is a very popular program offered by all of our community colleges," said Eric Clark, executive director of the Mississippi Community College Board. "High school students benefit because they are able to earn college credit for a class that also counts towards a high school diploma."
College credit ranks rise
Despite being ranked 49th in the nation, state Superintendent of Education John White said Tuesday he is confident Louisiana will improve its rate of public high-school students who earn college credit. Gov. Bobby Jindal and White announced in Ruston that college credits earned by public high-school students rose by 25 percent this year, the most ever in a state that has long lagged in Advanced Placement classes. More than 10,500 students took tests this year, which is 4,000 more than last year, and White said Louisiana is a leader in the growth of test takers and of those scoring 3 or higher. While AP classes were largely ignored for years in Louisiana, officials have taken a wide range of steps to change that.
UGA should track where its pollution goes, test workers for lead, says ex-EPD worker
State environmental regulators should require the University of Georgia to find out where its air pollution goes before renewing the university's air-quality permit, a retired air pollution meteorologist said at a public hearing on UGA's proposed new permit Tuesday evening. The ground around a nearly 50-year-old UGA steam boiler that burns coal should also be tested for lead, after decades of use and emissions -- and so should workers' bodies, said Dale Kemmerick, who worked with the state Environmental Protection Division's Air Protection Branch for more than 30 years. The boilers and UGA's other polluting devices are in compliance with state and federal regulations, but the EPD should also require UGA to comply with special rules that apply to schools, Kemmerick said.
Sweeping suggestions offered in first half of Texas A&M University System's IT audit
Major changes to the information technology infrastructure, including overhauls to system security and student email, have been recommended to Texas A&M University System officials by a contractor. Deloitte LLC, based in Omaha, Neb., has completed half of a $903,000 IT assessment for the system's 11 universities and nine state agencies. The contract was awarded to the company in November. Chancellor John Sharp previously declined to comment on the report, but it was disseminated to the heads of the affected agencies and posted on the Tarleton State University website this week. The 22-page report details sweeping suggestions for governance, security and network and infrastructure. It calls for more centralized control for IT systems at the agencies and universities by the A&M system. "The big change coming out of the Deloitte report will be in an increase in the policies defined at the system level," said Mark Stone, the system's chief information officer.
Texas A&M Transportation Institute kicks off 'Share the Road, Texas' campaign
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute kicked off its 'Share the Road, Texas' campaign Tuesday to increase bicycle safety and awareness. There were 56 bicycle fatalities in Texas in 2012, a 19.1 percent increase from 2011, according to statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation. Laura Higgins, an associate research scientist with the Center for Transportation Safety at TTI, said the campaign, which is sponsored by the TxDOT, hopes to increase awareness and education about the laws and rules of the road for both bicyclists and motorists. "We found out there was a lot of misunderstanding and tension [between motorists and bicyclists], but there's got to be this mutual effort to make roads safer," Higgins said.
Setting the tone: U. of Tennessee set to take delivery of 68 Steinway pianos
There are no 7-foot music room grand pianos left at the Steinway & Sons factories in New York and Hamburg, Germany. In fact, it could also be several weeks before any K-52 vertegrande pianos are available, thanks to the University of Tennessee. "Steinway makes about 30 of this particular model a year, and UT bought 35 of them," said Brandon Herrenbruck, vice president for sales and marketing for American Piano Gallery, the regional Steinway dealer in Farragut. "So in one fell swoop, they bought an entire year's worth of production for Steinway." The delivery will complete the university's privately financed $3.5 million campaign to become an "All-Steinway School." The distinction, along with the Natalie Haslam building that will open in the coming weeks, will help recruit both top students and faculty, said School of Music Director Jeffrey Pappas.
Consortium pushes ahead on small nuclear reactor efforts
Two University of Missouri campuses with experience in the nuclear energy industry will conduct research as part of a consortium on small modular reactors. The consortium, founded by Ameren and Westinghouse Electric Co., will be led by the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, with a satellite center in Columbia at MU. Joseph Smith, who holds the Laufer Chair of Energy at Missouri S&T, will serve as executive director. Small modular reactors, or SMRs, have been of interest in Missouri as a potential driver of new industry and research.
Centre College announces a record $250 million gift
A Texas businessman has donated stock worth $250 million to Centre College in Danville, Ky., where officials touted the gift Tuesday as the largest ever to a private liberal arts college in the United States. The record-breaking gift follows several others that had totaled $47 million from Robert "Bob" Brockman, who attended Centre more than 50 years ago and is the former chairman of Centre's board of trustees. The gift will establish the Brockman Scholars Program in Leadership and Entrepreneurship. Each year, 40 Brockman Scholars will receive full scholarships for four years, including tuition, room and board, fees, and stipends to study abroad, Centre President John Roush said. The program begins in 2014, with students majoring mostly in science and economics, including biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, economics, math and psychology.
Freedom From Religion Foundation to investigate Troy University's faith-based housing
Troy University's new faith-based dorms are under fire over a possible conflict with constitutional provisions guaranteeing the separation of church and state. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based group dedicated to protecting the principle of church-and-state separation, said Tuesday it has received "several complaints" over the $11.8 million faith-based dormitories set to open Aug. 9. "These are supposed to be public universities, where it doesn't matter what religion you are," said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the group that maintains an active Alabama chapter. "When you study religion, you're supposed to be doing so academically, not devotionally. You can go to church for devotion."
Report documents how higher education exacerbates racial inequities
From Horace Mann to President Obama, and legions of politicians and educators in between, education has been heralded as the great equalizer, an institution that can balance (if not undo) racial, ethnic or other inequities that separate segments of society. If higher education in the United States ever fulfilled that role, it is doing so less and less, not more, as time passes. That is the stark and in many ways distressing conclusion of a report released today by researchers at Georgetown University: "Separate and Unequal: How Higher Education Reinforces the Intergenerational Reproduction of White Racial Privilege."
OUR VIEW: MUW program offers opportunities for those wanting to expand their knowledge
The Dispatch editorializes: "Henry Ford, one of the great pioneers of the Industrial Age, once said, 'anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.' At the time, Ford's comment was made merely as an observation, yet in the 100 or so years that have passed, science has consistently supported his claim. ...Since 2009, Mississippi University for Women has provided the community with a wonderful resource to pursue the goal of being a life-long learner through its Life Enrichment Program (LEP). ... Although almost 1,500 people have taken classes since the LEP began in 2009, the program remains a hidden gem. Given the range of topics and the nominal cost, it is difficult to understand why more people haven't jumped at the opportunity to learn. Certainly, the classes are far more edifying than any of the nonsense that seems to hold us captive on TV for hours each week."
OUR OPINON: Find the best practices for juvenile problems
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "Mississippi State University's Social Science Research Center received notice of a shared $2 million grant this month that could lead to the scientific identification nationwide of best practices in prevention and treatment services for drug abuse and HIV among juvenile offenders. ...A scientifically measurable regimen for dealing with juvenile issues could mean nationwide improvements in the outcomes of juveniles who enter the programs, regardless of the states of residence. Using only best practices could lead to better cost controls, an issue that's always important in revenue-deprived Mississippi."
EDITORIAL: Role of state agencies needs overhaul
The Sun Herald editorializes: " The Mississippi Legislature estimated there would be a little more than $5 billion in the state's general fund during the current fiscal year. It appropriated that amount on everything from the arts and agriculture to wildlife and workers compensation. How much of that money will actually be spent is now in the hands of more than 1,500 individuals serving on more than 200 agencies, boards and commissions. As readers of the Sun Herald know all too well, the performance of those public entities varies considerably. ...Months ago, Gov. Phil Bryant told the Sun Herald he wanted to examine these agencies and authorities, boards and bureaus, and commissions and councils. That process, according to Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, has begun. Hosemann said with the assistance of the Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State, hundreds of hours of research has been done."
CHARLIE MITCHELL: Race conversations are difficult, but are the answer
Longtime Mississippi journalist Charlie Mitchell writes: "At some point during every lecture on race in America, the speakers pause, take a deep breath, and say there's a need for some 'difficult conversations.' OK. Let's have one. Let's start here: Where are the cameras, the press conferences, the protest marches and the outrage when a black person robs, beats, rapes or kills another black person or, less frequently, a white person?"
BRIAN PERRY: Who runs if Cochran doesn't?
Consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "A Cochran re-election campaign would result in a dull political year for Mississippi in 2014. I wrote last week about why I believe U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran will seek re-election in 2014. But were he to forgo another term, the result could create an historic Republican primary and perhaps a contested general election with several millions spent on campaigns and media to woo voters. Republicans often mentioned as candidates include Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, Auditor Stacey Pickering, state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Laurel, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper and Alan Nunnelee, and Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Mike Randolph (judicial positions are nonpartisan but Randolph would like run under the GOP banner). ...But all this speculation rests on Cochran's decision. The sure way to ensure a seniority advantage is for him to seek re-election. His full page, color ad in the Neshoba County Fair's daily newspaper (covering Mississippi's top political event of the year) features a vintage picture of Cochran speaking at the Fair with the message 'Still going STRONG.' I think he will continue that strength by running for re-election."
BOBBY HARRISON: Potential for stories sends journalists to Neshoba Fair | Bobby Harrison (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "At the 1996 Neshoba County Fair political speaking, then-Republican Gov. Kirk Fordice spent his precious allotted time lambasting then-Speaker Tim Ford. The speech was much talked about because it was unusual for an incumbent governor to so aggressively attack the sitting speaker who was key to how much of his agenda would be passed by the Legislature. But in hindsight, the speech probably was a watershed event in ushering in the partisan vitriol that had been previously lacking from Mississippi politics. Now don't get the wrong impression. Before the mid-1990s, Mississippi politics was far from being a Sunday walk in the park, but the bickering and vitriol were not confined to political party. Politicians hated each other for reasons other than party. ...More than likely, the speeches today and Thursday will be mild by those standards and there will be few, if any, memorable moments made. But somebody might say or do something memorable. Somebody just might. That is why we keep on going back to the steamy, hot red clay fairgrounds."
SID SALTER: Spending the last Neshoba County Fair with daddy's little girl
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "For 27 years now, I've spent the week of the Neshoba County Fair with my daughter and it is without question my favorite week of the year. From the time Kate was a baby, we shared the week and both seemed to squeeze as much joy out of the experience as possible. ...This year, Kate and I will have our last of those wonderful Fridays together at Neshoba. My little girl -- now at age 27 a very capable English instructor at Mississippi State -- is engaged to be married this fall to a very nice young man from Senatobia. ...That's the way of things, and I am so happy that she's found a young man who thinks as much of her as I do. That's what every father wants for his daughter. But I find myself wondering where the time went and what happened to that little girl with the big brown eyes blowing soap bubbles from the top porch of the cabin."

Mississippi State sells out season tickets
Mississippi State fans keep gobbling up football tickets. The school announced Tuesday that MSU has sold out of season tickets for the upcoming season, marking the fourth consecutive year season tickets have sold out. Fans bought 32,000 tickets, and another 11,000 have been allotted for students. This run on season tickets began after Dan Mullen's first season as head coach. The Bulldogs went 5-7 that year and beat rival Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl, and they've gone to three straight bowl games since then. The fan turnout has prompted MSU to expand the stadium, a $75 million project that will boost capacity by about 6,000 seats, to 61,337. The work is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2014 season opener.
Mississippi State football sells out tickets
Mississippi State offered its final football season tickets packages to fans on the waiting list Monday. It closed out a fourth consecutive year in which the university sold every season ticket available, all while its waiting list continues to grow. At the close of business Monday, MSU sold 43,300 season tickets for the 2013 football season. The number included a student allotment of 11,000, which will be sold on Aug. 24. Multi-game packs are still available for the Maroon and White faithful. Fewer than 1,700 three-game ticket plans remain.
Bulldogs continue building with Mullen
When Dan Mullen took over the Mississippi State football program, his main goal was to win and win in bunches. Heading into his fifth season, the Bulldog head man is continuing to build a program that is accepting winning more than losing. Mullen has reenergized a fan base that hadn't had much to cheer about and given the Bulldog players a reason to work hard. Mullen is molding the football program into a team that doesn't accept losing.
Tough road for Bulldogs | Brad Locke (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Brad Locke writes: "Phil Steele, who publishes the quintessential college football preseason magazine, ranks Mississippi State's 2013 schedule as 33rd-toughest in the nation. Don't let that ranking deceive you -- it might be even tougher than that. There are plenty of tough opponents, sure, but what makes this fall's slate even harder for MSU is the way it's set up. Don't fool yourself -- just getting bowl eligible could become a concern if things start badly. And it starts in 32 days against Oklahoma State, in Houston. The Cowboys are the preseason favorite to win the Big 12, and one wonders what that prolific passing attack might do to an MSU secondary breaking in new cornerbacks."
Bulldogs lose football commitment
The 2014 recruiting class Mississippi State University's football program got one player smaller Tuesday. Eleven days after he verbally committed to MSU after going through the school's Big Dawg Camp at Davis Wade Stadium, four-star linebacker prospect Keith Holcombe called the Bulldogs coaching staff to inform them he'll be attending his hometown school at the University of Alabama. "It had always been my dream to play football in the SEC," Holcombe told Tuesday. "Since I've grown up here in Tuscaloosa and my dad played at Alabama for Coach [Paul] Bryant, my ultimate goal has always been to play for the Crimson Tide."
The trouble with Johnny
In ESPN The Magazine's College Football Preview, Wright Thompson writes about Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, the Heisman winner whose celebrity threatens to derail both his career and the Aggies' season. Note: This story includes mature subject matter and language.
Money talks louder for NCAA powers | David Climer (Opinion)
The Tennessean's David Climer writes: "For years, there has been an ongoing debate about whether athletes at big-time college programs should be paid. Now the debate has shifted: How much should they be paid? Based on the rhetoric coming out of the commissioners' offices at power conferences, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that football players and men's basketball players will go on the payroll within the next couple of years. ...Coupled with some pointed comments by Big 12 chief Bob Bowlsby, it is clear that college football's power elite want to govern themselves on issues such as stipends for athletes. The five major football-playing conferences -- the SEC, ACC, Big 10, Pac-12 and Big 12 -- believe they can do so while maintaining membership in the NCAA."

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Mississippi State University  •  Mississippi State, MS 39762  •  Main Telephone: (662) 325-2323  •   Contact: The Editor  |  The Webmaster  •   Updated: July 31, 2013Facebook Twitter