Monday, August 5, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State, Jones County Junior College Sign Deal
Mississippi State President Mark E. Keenum and Jones County Junior College President Jesse Smith announced Friday that JCJC students transferring to MSU's poultry science program can expect a smoother transition thanks to a new two-plus-two agreement. The agreement goes into effect this fall and allows specific courses in JCJC's curricula to transfer to MSU's poultry science program. It is one of numerous two-plus-two curriculum agreements MSU has with Mississippi community colleges. "This collaboration between our university and JCJC is a win-win for both institutions and for the state of Mississippi as we prepare well qualified professionals to work in a field that is of tremendous importance to our economy," Keenum said. MSU's 19th president also gave the summer commencement address to JCJC's 2013 summer graduates during his visit to the Ellisville campus.
MSU Enters New 2+2 Agreement With JCJC
Mississippi State President Mark E. Keenum and Jones County Junior College President Jesse Smith announced Friday that JCJC students transferring to MSU's poultry science program can expect a smoother transition thanks to a new two-plus-two agreement. Designed to aid in a seamless transition from community colleges to MSU, two-plus-two programs place students on the road to a bachelor's degree while completing their first two years of a course of study at a community college. "We wanted to make it easier for all those involved," said Mary Beck, poultry science professor and department head. "These changes mean less cost and less time at college for the students." MSU's poultry science department is one of only six across the nation.
Over 100 students walk in JCJC summer graduation; Keenum delivers commencement address
Today's college graduates could one day be referred to as the "Next Greatest Generation." That's what Dr. Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University, told more than 100 graduates at Jones County Junior College's summer commencement exercises held Friday morning. Keynote speaker Keenum told the graduates that they will also have very unique challenges to face in the coming years, including working in careers that have yet to be created due to changing technology, and caring for the projected 2 billion increase in world-wide population during their lifetime. Keenum, who received his associate degree from Northeast Mississippi Community College and displays that degree on his wall in his office, explained to the students that their degree at Jones will provide them with a well-prepared foundation on which they can build.
The Mississippi State University Bull Ring is Back
Recent Mississippi State graduates are breathing new life into forgotten traditions. 2012 Senior Class President Rhett Hobart says that his group is bring back the class gift program. Their gift is to rebuild a historical place, known as the Bull Ring. Originally built in 1933, the original Bull Ring was located on the north side of campus. The 2012 class, however, has chosen a new location on the lawn of the Colvard Student Union. They are keeping with tradition, with a circular seating area with a shade tree in the middle. The original spot was designed to be a place where students could sit around and "shoot the bull."
MSU selects Drew Hamilton
After a national search, John A. "Drew" Hamilton Jr. has been named associate vice president for research and professor of computer science and engineering at Mississippi State University, pending formal approval by the board of trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning. Over the past five years, Hamilton has served as principal investigator on 26 research grants. He has secured more than $7.8 million in external funding during his time at Auburn, and has led several classified funded research projects.
Parsons to lead new Mississippi State safety office
A veteran Mississippi State University researcher has been named director of the new Environmental Health and Safety Office. Michael S. Parsons began his new duties in July. He will lead the MSU's environmental and occupational safety efforts. The new EH&S office will develop, manage and implement policies and programs related to occupational safety, environmental management and fire protection.
Ian Munn made MSU associate dean
Ian Munn, a forest resource economist and professor at Mississippi State University, is the new associate dean in the College of Forest Resources. Munn has a distinguished career at MSU and has served as a forestry professor for more than 20 years. His course on professional practices is considered the capstone class of the forestry curriculum. Over time he has transformed the course to enable students to work directly with landowners to develop management plans for their properties. Munn's research interest includes natural resource economics.
MSU faculty tapped for leadership program
Seventeen Mississippi State University faculty members are new selections for the competitive 2013-2014 Hugh Critz Faculty Leadership Program.
Mississippi State offers veterans certificate program
Mississippi State University recently developed the Veterans' Certificate Program to train individuals to help former military service members successfully transition to civilian life. The program establishes an opportunity for professionals, graduates and undergraduates to improve their knowledge of veterans' benefits while honing their leadership skills. Kenneth D. "Ken" McRae, director of MSU's Center for America's Veterans, says courses to earn the veterans' certificate may be applied as a concentration for the bachelor of science degree in interdisciplinary studies, or as electives in a graduate-level program.
MSU researchers publish flu vaccine study
Henry Wan, associate professor at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, and his colleagues recently published a study in mBio, an American Society of Microbiology publication, which outlines a possibly more efficient and cost-effective way to develop flu vaccines. The study "Using Sequencing Data to Infer the Antigenicity of Influenza Virus" outlines the use of a computerized system to provide a visual of the distance between antigens, the substances that cause antibody production in response to different viruses
Grandson of Admiral Kimmel in Meridian today to set the record straight
December 7, 1941 will forever stand out in history as the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Four-star Admiral Husband Kimmel received a great deal of blame for the American unpreparedness for Pearl Harbor. He retired from the United States Navy the following year with a reduction in rank and died in 1968 still trying to clear his name and reputation. Kimmel's grandson, Thomas Kimmel, will discuss his grandfather and the family's efforts to clear his name on Monday, August 5, in Kahlmus Auditorium on the campus of Mississippi State University-Meridian at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
Jessica Richards: Mississippi State grad not your typical construction manager
Overseeing a large scope of work for the Kemper County IGCC plant, Fayette, Ala., native and Meridian resident Jessica Richards wears many hats. The assistant project manager for Brasfield and Gorrie provides management direction for the construction process, including all concrete foundation work and mechanical and electrical underground utilities. For Richards, her progression within the company began during her undergraduate career as a student of civil engineering at Mississippi State University. "I worked for Brasfield and Gorrie as a co-op for four semesters while at MSU, and started working full-time in June 2009, following my graduation," Richards said.
Remembering G.V. 'Sonny' Montgomery
Monday marks what would have been former Congressman G. V. "Sonny" Montgomery's 93rd birthday if he were still living today. Gillespie V. "Sonny" Montgomery was born in Meridian on August 5, 1920, and was educated in the Meridian Public School System. He was president of the student body at Mississippi State University. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1967-1997, where he championed veterans' issues and fought for a strong national defense. During his 13-year tenure as Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, he established a peacetime GI education bill that now bears his name (the Montgomery GI Bill). The measure is credited with saving the all-volunteer military force by providing education benefits for active duty, National Guard and Reserve members. In May 2012, the G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Foundation unveiled a bronze bust of the late congressman that now graces the lobby of MSU-Meridian's College Park campus. Montgomery maintained an unofficial office on campus after returning home from Washington.
Taylor Power Systems announces staff changes
Louisville-based Taylor Power Systems has promoted Craft Tyler to sales manager for areas served directly by TPS and Reed Nicholas to sales manager of areas served by authorized dealers. Tyler is a 2005 graduate of Mississippi State University where he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration. Nicholas attended Mississippi State where he studied general business. David Dewitt has been promoted to the position of regional sales manager of Mississippi at TPS. Dewitt received a B.S. degree in education from Mississippi State in 1992.
Tourism workshop planned in Vicksburg
A tourism workshop planned Aug. 13 in Vicksburg will focus on attracting international tourists to smaller communities. The workshop is sponsored by the Miss-Lou Rural Tourism Association and Beacon Consultants. Partners include the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute, MSU Extension Service, Vicksburg Main Street and Mississippi Development Authority.
Starkville Police Department grant opportunities could benefit from staff changes
Starkville Police Chief David Lindley says a potential staff reshuffling within the police department will allow the city to aggressively pursue more enforcement grants, maintain accreditation standards and create two warrant officer positions. Lindley unveiled the proposed staffing plan to the city's audit and budget committee Tuesday and said the changes would incur only a $52,560.14 increase in the department's line item for salaries. Only one new position would be created under Lindley's proposal.
Moreland blames previous administration for budget woes
Starkville Parks Commission Chairman Dan Moreland presented two budget proposals Thursday which he said ask the city to either foot a sizable portion of the autonomous board's electric bills or increase SPC's budget by about 2 mill's worth of general operating funds. Moreland also alluded to a perceived anti-Parks stance by the previous administration and told the city's audit and budget committee -- Mayor Parker Wiseman and the entire seven-person board of alderman -- that budget cuts enacted by the previous administration created financial issues for SPC.
Starkville Area Arts Council receives MAC grant to continue mission
The Starkville Area Arts Council has been awarded a $18,000 general operating grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC). This grant is a portion of the $1.27 million in grants the Commission will award in 2013-2014 and will be used to provide quality arts programs such as the Cotton District Arts Festival, Everything Garden Expo and the Magnolia Film Festival in the Starkville area. The grants are made possible by continued funding from the Mississippi Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Starkville authorities: Be aware of trailer thefts
The Starkville Police Department would like to make the public aware of an increase of trailer thefts over the past year. These thefts have occurred at residences, construction sites and businesses. The trailers are various sizes but primarily sizes used to transport 4-wheelers and lawn mowers.
OCH proposal breathes new life into petition drive
Continued debate on the future of Oktibbeha County Hospital Regional Medical Center's future has re-energized hospital supporter and former Starkville Alderman Frank Davis, who is putting together another petition drive to ensure the medical facility remains under local control. Oktibbeha County supervisors were scheduled to meet this morning to discuss a 50-year lease proposal for OCH previously offered by Franklin, Tenn.-based Capella Healthcare.
Browning named Dispatch news editor
William Browning has joined The Dispatch news staff as news editor, managing editor Slim Smith announced. Browning, 33, a native of Hattiesburg, and his wife, Joy, come to Columbus from Jacksonville, Fla., where he worked for the Jacksonville Times-Union as military reporter and a member of the newspaper's enterprise reporting team. The 2007 University of Mississippi graduate had previously worked as staff writer and crime reporter at the Casper (Wyo.) Star Tribune (2009-2012) and as news editor at the Greenwood Commonwealth (2007-2009). Browning will also report on business and economic development.
Bryant forms public safety agenda
Gov. Phil Bryant said at last week's Neshoba County Fair that his focus during the 2014 legislative session would be on public safety. But that does not necessarily mean he is talking solely about tougher prison sentences and enhanced law enforcement efforts. After his speech at the fair, Bryant told reporters that his public safety proposals for the 2014 session, which are still being developed, could include tougher sentences in some instances, but treatment instead of prison time in other instances. The first-term Republican governor said often there is "a fine line for people needing treatment and people needing to go to prison."
Big question in Mississippi 2014 politics: What will Sen. Thad Cochran do?
What will Thad do? It's the biggest question in Mississippi politics, heading into the 2014 federal elections. The state's senior U.S. senator, Republican Thad Cochran, will turn 76 in December. He has served since January 1979 and is his party's ranking member on the Agriculture Committee. His seat is up for election next year, but he pointedly has not said whether he'll seek another six-year term. Congress was working in Washington this past week, so Cochran didn't speak at the Neshoba County Fair. While Cochran wasn't at Neshoba, several of his supporters wandered the fairgrounds wearing "THAD" T-shirts and stickers. On Thursday, the senator's Twitter account featured an old black-and-white photo of him speaking in Founder's Square Pavilion, with the message: "Enjoy the Neshoba County Fair, 'Mississippi's Giant House Party.'"
G.O.P. Governors Warn Party Members in Congress Not to Shut Government
Worried about the potential impact on the fragile economies in their states, Republican governors this weekend warned their counterparts in Congress not to shut down the federal government as part of an effort to block financing for President Obama's health care law. Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi, who refused the law's provision expanding Medicaid in his state, was even more pointed, capturing the tension between the Republican chief executives charged with running their states and the Republican members of Congress who have no such burden. "Many of the members of this party do not want to fund Obamacare, but what we have to do as governors who work with our legislators is realize the reality of being able to get something passed," Mr. Bryant said. He added that if a measure refusing to finance the health law is not going to get passed, "How much blood are we going to leave on the floor over this?"
Chaney: 2014 opening planned for business health insurance exchange
Insurance chief sees summer 2014 opening of state's business health insurance exchange Gov. Phil Bryant's blocking of the Mississippi Department of Insurance from working with federal officials on an individual health insurance exchange has not deterred the department from moving straight ahead with creating an exchange for small businesses -- the key being the feds have no say in its creation. The exchange -- designed as a marketplace for businesses of fewer than 50 employees -- is on track to open by June, or possibly earlier, Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said.
What's all the fuss about Common Core?
When Common Core State Standards become mandatory one year from now, they will profoundly affect the lives of nearly one in five Mississippians. That's 492,874 students and 33,947 teachers across 1,058 public schools spanning the Magnolia State. Toss in principals, superintendents and parents, and that's easily one-third of the population impacted by a cause célèbre for K-12 educators and national critics alike. At the heart of it all sits our collective future -- children. So what, exactly, is Common Core? And why all the fuss?
State law would delay next year's school start
School is back in session. Although the calendar barely flipped into August, many Northeast Mississippi schools will hold their first classes this week. They won't begin so early next year. A 2012 state law prohibits the state's schools from starting any earlier than the third Monday in August, beginning in the 2014-15 school year. That means schools can't open their doors until Aug. 18 next year. The law aims to help tourism on the Gulf Coast and elsewhere by adding an extra couple of weeks of beach time for Mississippi children in August. Many school superintendents oppose the change, however. For one, it could also push first semester exams past Christmas break and into January, they say.
Farm Bill Negotiations to Continue Into September As Expiration Looms
Sen. Jeff Flake in a colloquy before lawmakers adjourned for their August recess helped Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow lay down her markers for shaping a final farm bill, or, failing that, another extension of the 2008 farm bill, by questioning continued payments for cotton farmers. Since 2011, Stabenow, D-Mich., and House Agriculture Chairman Frank D. Lucas, R-Okla., have persisted in trying to deliver a final farm bill. They've gotten farther this year than in the past toward that goal, but they will enter September with no guarantee of success and only nine legislative days in the House before the expiration of the current farm bill extension on Sept. 30 The path to a conference committee on the Senate bill (S 954) and the House agriculture-only bill may be complicated if House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., brings a revised farm bill nutrition title to the floor that cuts up to $40 billion over 10 years from the nation's largest domestic food aid program.
Mississippi casinos upping the ante; industry seeks revival with construction, amenities
The future and past of Mississippi's oldest casino are separated by a single door. On one side is the old slot-machine room of the former Isle of Capri casino, now under a new name and management. It will soon be converted into meeting/convention space, as will be what's on the other side of that door: an under-renovation portion of the hotel/casino, which reopened in June as Golden Nugget. It could mark a new beginning for the casino, which dates to 1992. The state's gaming industry also hopes it symbolizes the reinvention and re-establishment of Mississippi's casinos. They were once the nation's third-largest gaming market but have lost standing in the last few years amid a historic recession, increased competition from other states and natural disasters that have taken the state's casinos offline for weeks or months at a time.
Embassy, consulate closures applauded on both sides of the aisle
Rattled lawmakers in both parties applauded President Obama's decision to shutter two dozen U.S. diplomatic posts across the Middle East and North Africa this weekend, calling the threat of a fresh terrorist attack credible, specific and the most alarming in years. The State Department extended the closure of 19 embassies, consulates and smaller diplomatic posts through Saturday "out of an abundance of caution," spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a written statement Sunday. Several other posts, including embassies in Kabul and Baghdad, will reopen Monday. Lawmakers who had received intelligence briefings joined a parade of security experts and administration officials in warning Sunday of the seriousness of the threat, which appears to emanate from a particularly dangerous and active al-Qaeda franchise in Yemen.
Most 2013 job growth is in part-time work, survey suggests
The July government employment report released Friday showed the job market treading water. And a closer look at one of the two measures the Labor Department uses to gauge employment suggests that part-time work accounted for almost all the job growth that's been reported over the past six months. "Over the last six months, of the net job creation, 97 percent of that is part-time work," said Keith Hall, a senior researcher at George Mason University's Mercatus Center. "That is really remarkable." Hall is no ordinary academic. He ran the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agency that puts out the monthly jobs report, from 2008 to 2012. By most measures, Friday's jobs report disappointed.
Khayat to lecture, sign newest book
Vicksburg's Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation has announced that former University of Mississippi chancellor Robert Khayat will give a lecture and sign his book "The Education of a Lifetime" in September. The SCHF will host the 15th chancellor of the University of Mississippi at noon Sept. 25 in the historic SCH Convent. Khayat served as Ole Miss chancellor from 1995 to 2009. He is a former College Football All-Star, All-Pro Kicker for the Washington Redskins, law professor and president of the NCAA Foundation.
U. of Southern Mississippi names interim science dean
Dr. Patricia Biesiot, associate dean at the University of Southern Mississippi's College of Science and Technology, will serve as interim dean during the college's period of transition. Biesiot will take over the dean's role from Dr. Joe B. Whitehead, Jr., who left USM on July 31 to accept a position as Provost at North Carolina A&T State University. Whitehead was appointed interim dean of the College of Science and Technology in August 2009 and became dean in March 2010. The transition plan also includes appointments of Dr. Chris Winstead as interim associate dean and Dr. Jeffrey Evans as health care pre-professional advisor.
MSMS Students Move In at Mississippi University for Women
It's move in time at Mississippi University for Women for MSMS students. The class of 2015 arrived on campus Saturday. One hundred and twenty students from all across the state of Mississippi will begin their journey as MSMS students. "We got our great emissaries that are helping unload cars, everything is going real smooth, everybody is really surprised. So we're glad that we can be a help to moving day and we're really ready for the kids to be here for up to get started our school year," said Director of Student Affairs Tanya Walker.
Questions remain in Alabama about firearms on campus
As University of Alabama students prepare to return for the fall semester, UA officials and state law enforcement leaders are still evaluating how a new state gun law will apply to college campuses, with some predicting the question will have to be answered by the courts. The new law, which went into effect Thursday, primarily applies to where and how gun owners in the state may carry or transport their firearms. In a statement issued last week in response to questions about UA's plans following the new law, UA Director of Media Relations Cathy Andreen said the university is evaluating the impact of the new law on its policies. She reiterated that, currently, possessing a gun on campus is a violation of the code of conduct and that policy forbids guns at athletic events.
Auburn University alum, Hollywood actor Thom Gossom tells grads to 'write their own story'
A charge to graduates was given by Thom Gossom Jr., Auburn University alumnus and Hollywood actor, at two AU commencement ceremonies Saturday. Gossom was a wide receiver for the Auburn Tigers from 1972-74. He was the first African-American athlete to graduate from Auburn University in the spring of 1975. "That day I had ideas of what I wanted to do with my life, but I can honestly tell you that I never dreamed I would be sharing this moment with you, 38 years later," Gossom said. "I want to thank you for allowing me to share this moment with you." Gossom said his experiences in television and film, including appearances in the movie "Fight Club" and the show "Drop Dead Diva," taught him to see life like a screenplay.
LSU roadwork almost complete; roundabout expected to ease gridlock at intersection
One of the most heavily congested entry points to the LSU campus is set to get some relief this week. Workers are putting the final touches on the construction of what experts call a roundabout, which is a circular intersection that slows but keeps traffic moving in one direction. It will replace stop signs and traffic signals. This one is at the corner of Dalrymple and West Lakeshore, which any area motorist, especially when school is in session, knows is slow-moving at best and sometimes "Gridlock Central." "It just didn't lend itself to traffic flow," said Jeff Campbell, senior director of administrative services, risk management and parking and transportation services at LSU. "It is dangerous," Campbell said.
Georgia's university system looks to improve classroom space usage
The state entity with the largest number of buildings uses them an average of one-quarter of the work week, leaving them empty the rest of the time, a new study shows. The University System of Georgia studied the issue at all 31 of the state's public colleges and universities and found it could be more efficient. "We think we need to do some improvement. We need to work with some institutions, quite frankly," said Chancellor Hank Huckaby in an interview with Morris News. "I think folks will be taking more Friday classes, and early in the morning and late in the evening," said Tom Jackson, vice president for public affairs at the University of Georgia.
A thank you for U. of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences as city rebuilds
A grateful Live Oak City Council has sent a thank you letter to the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences for helping the North Central Florida community rebuild after the devastation of last year's Tropical Storm Debby. The letter illustrates how closely IFAS works with public officials in the 67 counties where it has extension offices, said Jack Payne, senior vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources at UF. "We are helping everyday citizens in their everyday needs, and this is a great example," Payne said. Payne said IFAS has three legs: the teaching program on campus, a research program with stations and labs throughout the state, and the extension service in all 67 counties.
Appeals court finds speaker policies at U. of Tennessee unconstitutionally vague
A federal appeals court on Friday reinstated a lawsuit by an itinerant preacher against the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, finding that the university's policies appear to be unconstitutionally vague. The ruling is the latest in a series of federal court opinions about how much leeway universities need to give to people unaffiliated with a public college or university who want to speak on campus. In several cases prompted by preachers who appear on campus, courts have ruled that college officials were too quick to deny them permission to speak.
U. of Tennessee to study needs of HIV/AIDS patients in Appalachia
University of Tennessee researchers will spend the next two years interviewing and surveying HIV/AIDS patients in Appalachia to find out more about the limited legal, emotional and medical help available to people dying of the disease in the region. The study, funded with a $420,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health, will focus on patients at all stages of HIV/AIDS in Alabama and Tennessee to determine what end-of-life service they may need in the future. "One of the things important about the study is that it's an attempt to really match up actual services with the true needs of the patient population. It's a marginalized group and they're hard to reach," said Joanne Hall, a nursing professor who is part of the research team.
Climate change guru to speak in Oak Ridge, to U. of Tennessee freshmen
An environmental activist who has been sounding the alarm about climate change and global warming for years is coming to East Tennessee for a lecture in Oak Ridge and a talk the next day to thousands of incoming University of Tennessee freshmen. Bill McKibben is the founder of a grass roots climate campaign and author of what's considered the first book on climate change, "The End of Nature," written for a general audience. His book titled "Eaarth" (the extra "a" stands for altered) was selected as the "Life of the Mind" book that incoming UT freshmen are supposed to read, critique and discuss with faculty members. It meshes with the Life of the Mind theme this year of sustainability, said Jason Mastrogiovanni, director of first-year studies at UT.
U. of Arkansas Walton College of Business Dean Eli Jones Still Uses Sales Skills
Sales might no longer be a word included in Eli Jones' title or official job description. But as dean of the University of Arkansas' Walton College of Business, Jones continues to see selling as a big part of his duties. "It's all sales, isn't it?" Jones joked during a recent sit-down with Arkansas Business to discuss his first year on the job. Jones worked for three Fortune 100 companies and had a background in sales and marketing before getting into higher education. "When we're out and building friends and supporters, some of my background definitely comes into play," Jones added. "Selling is the ability to interact with people, the ability to help people see a vision or potential solution. It's not about being pushy or manipulative, but how to share your story."
Airline, in letter, says it may leave A&M's Easterwood Airport if fees are raised under privatization
One of only two commercial airlines servicing Easterwood Airport has threatened to cut back or eliminate service to the Brazos Valley if Texas A&M University continues forward with an outsourcing proposal. The CEO and regional vice president of American Eagle co-authored a June 26 letter to Texas A&M University President R. Bowen Loftin, College Station Mayor Nancy Berry and Bryan Mayor Jason Bienski. In the letter, Dan Garton and Dale Morris express concerns that landing and rental fees at Easterwood could rise if the airport is privatized. The strongly-worded letter was sent to the officials as the A&M System weighs a proposal to outsource airport management and fixed-base operator services at Easterwood, such as fueling, hangaring, parking and aircraft maintenance.
Texas A&M professor studies emotional intelligence, compares it to IQ
Having been told that his plane had left him at the airport in Nairobi, Kenya, Texas A&M professor Fred Nafukho smiled and asked what his options were. Another man, infuriated, hit his luggage and yelled at the airline staff. He had low emotional intelligence, Nafukho said. Nafukho, head of the Texas A&M Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development, has been studying emotional intelligence -- the ability to manage emotion -- for almost 12 years. His latest findings were published in a special issue of the journal Advances in Developing Human Resources. What some people refer to as wisdom, Nafukho calls emotional intelligence, or EI.
U. of Missouri researchers offer look at organic farming research
The University of Missouri's Bradford Research and Extension Center hosted its first organic field day Thursday. The free event drew 150 attendees from around the state, including many backyard gardeners. Over the course of the five-hour research showcase, university faculty and staff discussed organic farming techniques such as composting, no-till planting and hoop house production. Between tours and presentations, participants could sample organic snacks and submit soil samples for carbon testing --- a measurement to determine soil fertility. The outreach event was part of a three-year USDA grant for organic research, event coordinator Kerry Clark said.
U. of Missouri researcher develops spider bite test to avoid misdiagnoses
Rolla dermatologist William Stoecker said he sees about two patients with spider bites each month during the summer, but spider bites are rare after the leaves fall. Over the years, however, he has noticed more patients coming in complaining of spider bites when they're actually suffering from other ailments. Stoecker, who has been practicing for 33 years, said most misdiagnosed spider bites are really staph infections, but he has seen worse. "I've seen doctors and nurse practitioners" misdiagnose "herpes simplex, shingles and skin cancers" as spider bites, he said. Stoecker said the alarming misdiagnoses made him want a more definitive test. He reached out to Jonathon Green, an associate professor of animal science at the University of Missouri.
EDITORIAL: Pickering's $700,000 question
The Sun Herald editorializes: "State Auditor Stacey Pickering has a $700,000 question to answer. Why did he settle a claim for more than $1 million in misappropriated or misspent public money for less than $300,000? The question arises from last week's release of Pickering's annual Audit Exceptions Report, which describes itself as 'A legally mandated account of misappropriated or misspent public funds and the actions taken by the Office of the State Auditor for their recovery and their return to the appropriate entities in Fiscal Year 2013.' Underscoring our contention that every penny of public money should be accounted for, the report shows that Pickering's office required someone at Mississippi State University to repay $2.59 for 'missing equipment.' Most of the entries in the report, however, are much more serious."
MICHAEL NEWSOM: Auditor Stacey Pickering is at a political crossroads | Michael Newsom (Opinion)
The Sun Herald's Michael Newsom writes: "As State Auditor Stacey Pickering's political stock seems to be rising, a whole bunch of South Mississippi big shots are hosting a fund-raiser for him Tuesday in Ocean Springs. Word around the campfire is Pickering, a Republican, will seek U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's seat if Cochran doesn't run in 2014. Lots of other folks would jump in that race too, as Cochran's seat was last open in 1978, two years before I was even born. Pickering will attend a fund-raiser at the Ocean Springs home of local GOP politico and consultant Joe Cloyd. Organizers are expecting several hundred people to show up and pay the $200 attendance fee, or cough up donations of up to $5,000, which could yield as much as $100,000 for the candidate. ...The event seems questionable though, given that the guest of honor, Pickering, is currently investigating the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources' activities under previous Director Bill Walker, who was fired in January."
SAM R. HALL: A Bentz move to SMPDD would smell of nepotism | Sam R. Hall (Opinion)
The Clarion-Ledger's Sam R. Hall writes: "Southern District Public Service Commissioner Leonard Bentz seemingly is ready for a change. Bentz, who is in his second full term, is thought to be one of five candidates who has been interviewed to be the next executive director of the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District. Bentz has come under considerable heat at home due to his support of the Kemper County coal plant."
GEOFF PENDER: Here's what I got from Neshoba | Geoff Pender (Opinion)
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "Well, the Neshoba County Fair political stumping was a pretty homogenous affair this year. Quick recap: Most all Mississippi's top political leaders love guns. No, really, they love guns and gun rights. Most all of them don't like Obamacare. They're all for better protecting people from crime, and doing something about drug abuse and addiction. They've been frugal with your tax dollars and plan even more frugality in the future. They're going to keep on busting crooked corporations and public officials who rip off Mississippians. They all believe children are our future and will work to provide a chicken in every classroom -- wait, I may have read my notes wrong there. But here are some other highlights, or at least tidbits, going 'round at Mississippi's 124th Giant House Party..."
CHARLIE MITCHELL: 'Silent senator' a shoo-in for term seven, if he wants it
Longtime Mississippi journalist Charlie Mitchell writes: "Most Mississippians loathe the notion of 'career politicians.' If, however, you ask any of these folks, 'What do you think about Thad Cochran?' the answer will be 'Thad? We love Thad. He's not like the rest of them.' 'Vote for Cochran / He's Not Like The Others' may not be a catchy campaign slogan, but it could work. Mississippians know better than to tune in 'Meet The Press' or 'Face the Nation' and expect to see Cochran chattering away, much less red-faced and pounding on the desk. Blather is not the style of the state's senior U.S senator. ...Seniority works for small states. We may not like 'career politicians,' but we like Thad Cochran."
SID SALTER: With Nissan expansion, UAW position grows even weaker
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "The announcement this week that the Nissan auto plant in Canton would be expanding their operations by building a new supplier park that will create 800 new jobs -- 400 in the supplier park and 400 new jobs hired since June 1 at the Nissan plant -- should be another blow to the ongoing United Auto Workers union push there. That's on top of the current 5,200 jobs the Nissan plant has created. ...Nissan is stable and growing in Mississippi without UAW intervention. They provide good jobs and they spin-off good supplier jobs. Mississippi benefits and will continue to do so -- unless the UAW gets their hooks into the labor force there."

Mississippi State camp continues at South Farm fields
With four full practices in the books, Mississippi State will make its annual move to the South Farm practice fields today. The Bulldogs will continue preseason camp on the edge of campus through Aug. 16, with two-a-days beginning Wednesday. They will return to the normal practice fields Aug. 17, two weeks prior to the season opener against Oklahoma State. Sunday's work was done inside the Palmeiro Center. Coach Dan Mullen said he likes what he's seen in practice so far, in particular with the depth.
Mississippi State's Lewis, Calhoun push for playing time
Chad Bumphis ain't walking through that door. Johnthan Banks certainly isn't. Neither are Chris Smith, Arceto Clark and Darius Slay, for that matter. Mississippi State enters the season with gaping holes on its roster at the skilled positions. Its top four pass-catchers graduated, taking with them a diploma and more than 2,000 receiving yards in 2012. Selected in the second round of the NFL draft, Banks and Slay contributed more than 100 tackles and nine of MSU's 19 interceptions from a year ago. Through four days of open practices, Jameon Lewis, Taveze Calhoun and others displayed the skills to get the Maroon and White faithful excited that they are the ones walking through that door.
Mississippi State receivers ready to produce
Robert Johnson is expecting his patience to finally pay off. The fourth-year junior receiver has shown plenty of promise in his offseason work and practices over the years, but it's not translated to much production during the season. And so the book on Johnson is the same as the book on the entire MSU receiving corps this year: There is promise, but not much production. Yet. The unfulfilled potential hasn't been easy for Johnson to handle. "It was kind of hard to explain to everyone at home," he said. Johnson has simply had to wait his turn, and now it's come because all three starters are gone from last year.
Mullen cranks up music at Mississippi State's practice for first time
Just call him DJ Dan Mullen. For the first time in five years of running fall football camp at Mississippi State University, the Bulldogs' head coach has decided to use music speakers to pump up the volume at practice. For individual drills and certain segments of MSU's two-hour practices, Mullen has had music at its loudest setting in the hopes of helping the players to focus. The music selection for the first three days of practice has included songs by Eminem, Metallica, The Zac Brown Band, U2, and Dropkick Murphy's. MSU receivers coach Billy Gonzalez joked that the change to allow music is a generational thing that his staff had to get used to attract future recruits.
Blue chipper Jones wows in early Mississippi State practices
Christian Holmes walked to the huddle and shrugged at freshman Jake Thomas. Holmes lined next to the offensive tackle in an attempt to slow down Chris Jones. Holmes acted more as a punching bag than resistance. Jones, a 6-foot-5, 305-pound blue-chip freshman defensive lineman, gave a forearm shivers to Holmes' collarbone before exploding through the double team. "Getting Chris Jones -- a kid like that, all 6-whatever of him and 310 pounds -- he's just running around, moving like a deer," defensive coordinator Geoff Collins said.
Mississippi State's Jones draws raves
In the short time Chris Jones has been on campus, he's already made a strong impression on his coaches and teammates. Not just on the field, but off it, too. The biggest prospect to sign with Mississippi State in years, Jones comes in as a freshman weighted with heavy expectations. Following Friday morning's practice – MSU's second of preseason camp – Jones was getting plenty of praise. His size alone is eye-popping: He's listed as 250 pounds on the roster, but defensive coordinator Geoff Collins said the 6-foot-5 Jones is actually at 310 pounds. Collins said Jones was "running around moving like a deer. They had a bootleg (play) today, he jumped like 40 inches off the ground. I swear he was 12 feet in the air, so he's a pretty impressive kid."
Smith, Autry leading Mississippi State D-line
Each new practice station brings a race. The competitors aren't 6-foot, 200 pound, 4.4-40 wideouts in a mad dash. Instead, Preston Smith and Denico Autry, two 6-foot-6 Mississippi State defensive lineman lumber to each new spot, moving their arms and legs as fast as their 260-plus pound bodies will allow them. "We like to compete with each other and make each other better," Smith said. "He's like my big brother. I look up to him like my big brother so it's kind of like a little sibling rivalry."
Mississippi State sees benefit in split-squad practices
Mississippi State opened up fall camp in August with split-squad practices for the early sessions open to both the media and public. With so much depth to replace at positions across the board, Dan Mullen's coaching staff feels that having half of the team out on the field at a time allows them to focus their attention on the younger players who still need to be taught the fundamentals of how the Bulldogs play. Split-squad sessions also amp up the position battles among players on the first and second teams where emphasis is placed on how hard and fast they practice.
Collins wants Mississippi State defense to deliver 'juice'
As he finished a play and started walking back to the line of scrimmage, Mississippi State University junior Matthew Wells heard the key vocabulary word of fall camp hurled in his direction. "You need more juice Matt Wells ... gotta play with more juice Matt Wells," a low deep voice blared at the projected starting linebacker. Wells didn't need a break for anything to drink, but the 215-pound linebacker from Monticello knew what was being asked of him on the next play. For MSU defensive coordinator Geoff Collins, the word "juice" defines it all. In his first year as full-time defensive coordinator, and third year on the staff, Collins is making sure his players know he wants them to bring the "juice"on every play.
Mississippi State DB coach Townsend leads by example
Deshea Townsend discussed practice as beads of sweat dripped down his face. In between questions, he attempted to catch his breath. Some of the Mississippi State players behind him were less sweaty than the Bulldogs' cornerback coach. Townsend's demeanor mirrored that of his 13 seasons on the field in the NFL, rather than his first year on the sidelines with the team. "No, it's good work. We've got a lot of coaches getting involved," Townsend said. "I told them, (Saturday) is my cardio day, so we got some of that in." Each wayward toss Townsend threw to his cornerbacks meant pushups for the 37-year-old coach. His commitment didn't stop there.
Carr no longer with MSU football team
Michael Carr is no longer a member of the Mississippi State University football program. The wide receiver, who would've had two years of eligibility left with the team, has been ruled ineligible for competition for the 2013 season and won't be on the roster. School officials didn't know Sunday if Carr was enrolled at MSU for the upcoming fall semester. Carr went on a "personal leave" from MSU's football team, according to coach Dan Mullen, and missed the final five games of the 2011 season. On March 21, 2012, MSU announced Carr had decided to leave the MSU football program, citing a lack of devotion to the game.
Top Alabama prospect commits to Mississippi State baseball
When Jesse McCord saw more than 14,000 fans in the stands for the 2013 NCAA Starkville Regional at Dudy Noble Field, he knew Mississippi State University was the place for him. McCord, who will be a senior pitcher at Spanish Fort (Ala.) High School, verbally committed to the Bulldogs after taking his official visit to the school during the NCAA Regional in Starkville. He had scholarship offers from the University of Alabama, Auburn University, and University of Mississippi. McCord's older brother, Rocky, plays for Auburn. "Rocky always wanted to play at Auburn," Jesse McCord said to on July 30. "That was his dream. I just wanted to go where I felt I fit in the best. I think that is State. I feel good about my decision." MSU coaches, who can't comment about McCord due to NCAA compliance rules, saw McCord pitch in summer tournaments in the Atlanta area and offered the member of MaxPreps Underclass All-American Team a scholarship.
Mississippi State's McDonald set for U.S. Women's Am
Rising Mississippi State junior Ally McDonald will compete in the U.S. Women's Amateur, hosted at the Country Club of Charleston, S.C., beginning today. She tees off at 11:50 a.m. CST today and 6:50 a.m. Tuesday. "I have been playing pretty well the last few weeks so I'm excited to get on the course and compete," McDonald said. McDonald, from Fulton, enters the event as the 12th-ranked amateur in the world and the third ranked amateur in the U.S. after winning the North & South Amateur at Pinehurst two weeks ago.
Mississippi State soccer has opportunity to change program's course
Aaron Gordon didn't expect a rousing welcome to the Southeastern Conference. After all, when you're the coach of a program at the bottom of one of the nation's toughest leagues, your peers are going to make it that much harder for you to climb into the upper echelon. The fact that the Mississippi State University women's soccer program received 21 points -- the fewest of any of the SEC's 14 teams -- in the league's preseason coaches poll shows the starting point for Gordon and his staff. But being picked to finish last in the SEC's seven-team Western Division doesn't faze Gordon, the former associate head coach at Texas Tech University. It shouldn't because he worked with Tom Stone for six seasons to transform Texas Tech from a program that used to finish at the bottom of the Big 12 Conference into a NCAA tournament qualifier. Gordon has been working on a project of similar scale at MSU since November 2012. The next step will come Wednesday when MSU opens training camp.
NCAA investigating after Johnny Manziel accused of taking money for signing memorabilia
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is being investigated by the NCAA over the possibility that he signed autographs and sports memorabilia for profit, ESPN reported on Sunday as the Heisman Trophy winner and his teammates were reporting for fall camp. If the NCAA finds Manziel violated NCAA bylaw -- accepting money for endorsing the commercial sale of a product or service of any kind -- he could be ruled ineligible to play. The NCAA reportedly launched its inquiry when a large amount of verified memorabilia signed by Manziel became available on eBay after Manziel attended the BCS national championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame in Miami.
Judge rejects Aggies' temporary restraining order; sets hearing
A Harris County judge has denied a temporary restraining order sought by some parties to a growing lawsuit against the Texas A&M University 12th Man Foundation. The order, sought by Houston attorney William Wade on behalf of eight of 11 members of a Harris County lawsuit against the foundation, would have preserved the existing seat locations at a renovated Kyle Field for the affected plaintiffs and prohibited the foundation from bidding them out. Judge Larry Weiman denied that request and instead scheduled a temporary injunction hearing before Judge Robert Schaffer on August 16, where both sides are set to present their arguments on whether the foundation should be required to reserve seats for the endowed donors in the new stadium.
Oregon Embraces 'University of Nike' Image
The Football Performance Center at the University of Oregon features rugs woven by hand in Nepal, couches made in Italy and Brazilian hardwood underfoot in the weight room that is so dense, designers of this opulent palace believe it will not burn. The Football Performance Center, which was unveiled publicly this week, is as much country club as football facility, potentially mistaken for a day spa, or an art gallery, or a sports history museum, or a spaceship -- and is luxurious enough to make N.F.L. teams jealous. It is, more than anything, a testament to college football's arms race, to the billions of dollars at stake and to the lengths that universities will go to field elite football programs.

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