Tuesday, August 6, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
MSU Research Veteran New President of National Society
A Mississippi State veteran research engineer and undergraduate coordinator for the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering is the new president of the National Society of Professional Engineers. Robert Green, who has been active in the NSPE for more than 25 years, was inducted as the 2013-14 president during the July national conference in Minneapolis, Minn. Green became a Fellow of the society in 2007. Green earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and a master's degree in mechanical engineering, both from Mississippi State. He also has a master's in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College. He is working toward completion of a doctoral degree in public policy and administration at MSU.
Grandson works to clear officer's name in Pearl Harbor attack
Seventy-two years after Rear Adm. Husband Kimmel was blamed for the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, his grandson is still fighting to clear his name. Kimmel and Maj. Gen. Walter Short, both now deceased, were called "solely blamable" for the attacks that killed 2,400 Americans in Hawaii that December, and both were demoted in punishment. But Tom Kimmel is telling anyone who will listen that Short and his grandfather were scapegoats for an American military that needed someone to blame. Tom Kimmel brought his message to Mississippi State University's Meridian campus on Monday, months after a student, Dustin Phillips, contacted him for a research paper he was writing.
Restoration of respect
Dec. 7, 1941, is "a date which will live in infamy" then U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt predicted. The family of Husband Kimmel, who was admiral and Commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet anchored in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, have a lot of questions about the events that led up to the fateful attack that propelled the U.S. into a world war. Kimmel's grandson, Thomas K. Kimmel, Jr., himself a U.S. Navy veteran and a retiree of the FBI, was in Meridian at the Kahlmus Auditorium on the campus of MSU-Meridian Monday night to answer many of these questions.
Kimmel Speaks in Meridian
The grandson of Adm. Husband Kimmel, commander of the Pacific Fleet when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941, is still trying to clear Kimmel's name. Thomas Kimmel spoke Monday night to a group at MSU-Meridian. Admiral Kimmel was blamed for the attack, along with Major General Walter Short. MSU-Meridian student Dustin Phillips says he chose to do a research paper on the issue, which led to Kimmel coming to Meridian to speak on the subject.
Soybean prices tumble faster than expected
The spring's planting challenges and last year's Midwest drought boosted soybean prices for a while, but the winds of change are starting to blow. Brian Williams, agricultural economist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the soybean market had been strong until mid-July. The market typically drops before harvest, but he said prices dropped a bit faster this year. "Soybean prices tumbled recently because the national crop is looking so much better than last year," he said. "The majority of the crop in Mississippi and nationally -- about 63 percent -- is listed as good or excellent."
Value of state's truck crops continues to rise, tops 6,700 acres
Greater consumer demand for locally grown produce has made truck crops a bigger part of the state's overall agricultural production and increased related research at Mississippi State University. Truck crops get their name from the fact that they are often sold from the back of pickup trucks. They are produce crops, including blueberries, strawberries, sweet corn, beans, tomatoes, watermelon, greens and squash. Ken Hood, an agricultural economist with the MSU Extension Service, said the state has just over 6,700 acres in truck-crop production. These crops represent about 2 percent of the state's overall value of production in agriculture. Excluding sweet potatoes, these crops bring about $48 million to farmers. MSU supports truck-crops agriculture with research plots at the Horticulture Unit in Beaumont, the Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station near Crystal Springs and the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona.
Bryant makes first charter board appointments
Gov. Phil Bryant announced Monday his three appointments to the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board, the state's newest agency. The authorizing board, approved by the 2013 Legislature, does not officially begin operations until Sept. 1. The governor has one appointment from each of the three Supreme Court districts. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves also will appoint three members to the authorizing board while the state superintendent of education will make one appointment. Reeves spokeswoman Laura Hipp said the lieutenant governor "is reviewing his choices and will make a final decision soon." The state Board of Education has asked Lynn House, the interim state superintendent, to serve on the new board.
Former Mississippi governor launches PAC for Southern Democrats
Former Mississippi governor Ronnie Musgrove is trying to save Southern Democrats. Musgrove on Monday is announcing the launch of a new political action committee -- the Southern Progress Fund -- aimed at helping Democrats down the ballot in Southern states, where they have been in serious trouble in recent years. The PAC will focus on state legislative races, local races and downballot statewide offices like attorney general, treasurer, etc. Several southern state legislatures, which had long been held by Democrats, have gone Republican in recent years, as elections have become more and more nationalized. Republicans now control every southern state legislative chamber except the Kentucky House of Representatives. The Southern Progress effort will focus in 2014 on Arkansas and Georgia but may expand to other states.
Carmakers and unions: Let's go German -- America's car-workers' union seeks a foot in the door at VW's plant
Americans are not only buying foreign-badged cars, they are also making them: seven of America's 15 most productive assembly plants last year were foreign-owned. Although the UAW has had some success at unionising foreign-owned partsmakers---such as Faurecia and ZF, a French and a German company which supply the Mercedes factory in Alabama---it has so far failed to organise workers at the carmakers themselves. Its attempts in recent years to get into Nissan's plants in Tennessee and Mississippi have failed. Now it has set its sights on German carmakers: Mercedes and, especially, Volkswagen.
Port commissioner questions expenses in $35M contract
The state port at Gulfport is negotiating reductions in contract costs with CH2M Hill, the global consulting and engineering firm that conceived ambitious expansion plans unveiled in 2008 but since curtailed. "It's my opinion we really don't need all their services they offer and the expenses that are going along with it," said Bobby Knesal, an engineer and relatively new port commissioner appointed by the Harrison County Board of Supervisors. "I'm trying to scale it back. We pay them all their office expenses, living expenses, travel expenses. My opinion to the board is that we don't pay any other consultants those fees." Manning McPhillips, the Mississippi Development Authority's chief administrative officer and primary contact listed in the contract, said Monday he was busy and did not have time to discuss the contract. Monday afternoon, director of MDA's disaster recovery division, Daron Wilson, and MDA spokesman Jeff Rent returned the Sun Herald's telephone call.
With Washington Post, Jeffrey Bezos has chance to overhaul newspapers
Amazon.com founder Jeffrey Bezos, who revolutionized the book business, is now aiming to do the same with one of the nation's most storied newspapers. The Seattle billionaire has agreed to purchase The Washington Post for $250 million, saying Monday that he was "very optimistic" about the paper's future. The Post, like the newspaper industry as a whole, has been beset by a rapid decline in print advertising, a loss of subscribers and challenges in building up online revenue. In a letter to Post employees, Bezos indicated that he wouldn't make radical changes in editorial operations and would continue to emphasize accountability journalism. But he said the paper will need to "invent" and to "experiment," focusing on the Internet and tailored content, to address the changing habits of readers.
Rise in pedestrian deaths may be due to texting while walking
The Department of Transportation announced steps Monday to combat a recent rise in pedestrian deaths that it said was partially due to what Secretary Anthony Foxx called "distracted walking." Walking while texting or listening to music, or while on drugs, may have contributed to the increase, Foxx said. "Distracted driving, distracted walking, if that can be a phrase. ...Their behaviors as they are driving or walking can impact our ability to keep people safe," Foxx said. After decades of fewer pedestrians being killed in traffic crashes, deaths rose from 4,109 in 2009 to 4,432 in 2011, and 69,000 were injured, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Ole Miss campus a beauty, Princeton Review says
Ole Miss students, alumni, faculty and staff often boast that the university's campus in Oxford is among the nation's most beautiful -- if not the most. On Monday, The Princeton Review made it official. The publication annually rates colleges and universities on everything from academics and athletics to which school has the reputation for the biggest party school to which school is the happiest. Ole Miss earned a No. 1 ranking in most beautiful campus and was ranked in the Top 20 in seven other categories.
Ole Miss drops to No. 14 on Princeton Review's top 20 party schools list
The Princeton Review released its annual college rankings on Monday, including a list of the Top 20 party schools in the nation for 2013. Ole Miss dropped to No. 14 on the list after checking in at No. 3 in 2012 and No. 5 in 2011.
Ole Miss named most beautiful campus, party ranking drops in Princeton Review
The old saying among Ole Miss fans goes: "We may not win every game, but we've never lost a party." Well, it looks like they may actually be slipping in the party department, at least according to the annual Princeton Review survey, but alumni have another reason to brag. Ole Miss was named the most-beautiful campus in the country and checked in as the No. 14 party school for 2013, according to a release sent out Monday. "I can't say why we are ranked where we are today because I don't know why we were ranked so high to begin with," said Dean of Students Sparky Reardon. "Our goal is to provide our students with a good education and to get them to graduate on time. I don't think the students are having any less fun, but if that is their perception, than God bless them."
Blue Cross, UMMC settle rate differences
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi and the University of Mississippi Medical Center have reached a one-year agreement over rates the insurer will pay. UMMC and Blue Cross officials signed the agreement Monday, ending six months of negotiations. With the agreement in place, patients insured through Blue Cross can continue to receive in-network care at UMMC. The existing contract was set to expire Aug. 28. "We're glad that we were able to come to an agreement without any disruption in coverage," Dr. James Keeton, UMMC vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, said in a statement.
Dual-credit students to see lower fees at Copiah-Lincoln Community College
The Copiah-Lincoln Community College Board of Trustees met Thursday to discuss changes for the upcoming school year. Beginning this year, Co-Lin will no longer be able to pay dual-credit teachers who are currently under contract elsewhere. This means that high school teachers will no longer get compensated from Co-Lin for teaching classes. As a result, students will be able to enroll in these classes at a lower rate. Students will be charged $35 for a one-hour course and $100 for a three-hour course. The dual credit fee would be in lieu of tuition. Dr. Ronnie Nettles, Co-Lin President, reported on the construction projects around campus, including the roofing project at the library and the renovation projects at Ellzey Hall. In addition, Nettles said they are working on a project for a welding lab at the Natchez campus but warned that it would be expensive with an estimated cost of $170,000.
Co-Lin requests funding from Adams County Board of Supervisors
Copiah-Lincoln Community College will now have a dedicated tax millage for maintenance rather than an annual appropriation from Adams County. Co-Lin President Ronnie Nettles appeared before the county board of supervisors Monday to request that they consider dedicating a millage to the college during their budget discussions for the coming year. A dedicated millage for the local community college is the normal practice for most counties throughout the state, Nettles said. Nettles said Co-Lin has a direct impact of $3 million on Adams County annually.
California university pays top dollar for former U. of South Carolina official
Former University of South Carolina official Luanne Lawrence's move to California landed her an almost 10 percent raise. The University of California-Davis hired Lawrence, formerly of USC, as associate chancellor for strategic communications earlier this year, an investment toward improving the college's image. Lawrence will make an annual salary of $260,000, more than any other campus communications chief in the University of California system, according to a survey by The Sacramento Bee. As part of her benefits package, Lawrence is eligible for 90 days of temporary housing and to participate in the university system's low-interest home loan program, UC Davis officials said. Lawrence steps into her role as the university tries to put a public relations nightmare behind it: the 2011 incident in which campus police officers used pepper spray against students during a protest focused on tuition hikes.
International student orientation is goodbye for UGA's Leigh Poole
Although the start of classes at the University of Georgia is about a week away, one group of globe-trotting students already has arrived on campus. They are the about 300 international students taking classes this year. Most of UGA's new international students show up two weeks early for a special orientation where they learn not only the ABCs of the University of Georgia, but of customs in the United States. This year, the weeklong hello session also was a goodbye of a kind. It was the last orientation for Leigh Poole, the UGA associate director for International Student Life, who's guided these orientations since she came to UGA 13 years ago. Two days after wrapping up this year's orientation, Poole began work Monday at South Carolina's Winthrop University as an assistant professor and director of Winthrop's International Center.
Late-blooming lawyer and U. of Florida grad now holds prestigious Bar position
Eugene K. Pettis arrived at the University of Florida in the 1970s with thoughts of becoming a dentist. He ended up graduating with a law degree. Now, Pettis, 52, holds a position of prestige among lawyers in Florida. On June 28, he was sworn in as the new president of The Florida Bar. He is the 65th president of the third largest bar association in the United States, and the first African American ever to hold the position. When he arrived at UF from Fort Lauderdale, Pettis recalled recently, he was looking at the pre-dental curriculum. But he soon realized he didn't like all of the science studies that would be required. He eventually made his way to a political science major with a minor in English.
U. of Florida Muslim group helping downtown homeless
As the sun glared over Bo Diddley Community Plaza, the heat and hunger beat upon the homeless community of Gainesville. Volunteers started to hand out hot meals on a recent Saturday afternoon, and a wave of gratitude passed over the plaza. The volunteers are Muslim students at the University of Florida who belong to Project Downtown Gainesville. The nonprofit organization, founded in 2007, provides food for the homeless, indigent and disadvantaged several times a week. While the group was founded on Islamic principles, members emphasize it is not a religious organization. It does, they say, share principles with other religious groups, mainly the duty to help others.
U. of Georgia set to induct 2 into agricultural hall of fame
The Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame will induct two new members next month. University of Georgia officials say Claud Adams, known as Georgia's father of 4-H and Louis Boyd, an animal scientist, will be inducted to the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame Sept. 20 at the UGA Hotel and Conference Center. University officials say the hall of fame was established in 1972 to recognize people making extraordinary contributions to agriculture and agribusiness in the state.
UGA drops out of top 10 party schools
College students consider the University of Iowa the nation's best party school, even though Iowa City has tried to make its famous bar scene less hospitable to underage drinkers. The Princeton Review bestowed Iowa with the top ranking Monday on a list determined by 126,000 students in a nationwide survey. Rounding out the Top 5 are the University of California, Santa Barbara; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; West Virginia University and Syracuse University. The University of Georgia ranked 11th on the list. UGA has made the ranking at least 14 times in 1997, but now no longer is in the top 10. It was ranked first in 2010, second in 2011 and fifth in 2012.
OLOL-LSU deal gets federal OK
Federal health officials gave approval Monday to the final piece of the financial deal involving LSU's partnership with Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services signed off on the arrangement in which the Lake took over operation of LSU outpatient clinics and urgent care center. The Lake deal is the first of LSU's public-private partnerships involving the takeover of hospitals to gain CMS approval. Others involving LSU hospitals across south Louisiana, including those in New Orleans and Lafayette, are pending.
U. of Tennessee announces building plans for Oak Ridge arboretum
The University of Tennessee announced plans this morning to build an auditorium on the grounds of its Roane County arboretum. Renderings for the new building depict large, open room with bathrooms, a kitchen and a terrace. The roughly 2,300-square-foot building will be an educational building paid for in part by a unique land trade with the Rogers Group, a local paving and asphalt company. The swap -- a parcel in Sweetwater in exchange for acreage adjacent to the arboretum -- will only partially fund the building, The building will cost about $600,000 to $700,000. The project still has to be approved by the State Building Commission, but UT officials hope to begin construction in six to 12 months, said Kevin Hoyt, director of the UT Forest Resources AgResearch & Education Center, which includes the arboretum.
U. of Tennessee prof Hap McSween earns top award
University of Tennessee professor Harry "Hap" McSween, a well-known expert on Mars and meteorites, has been honored with a top award in his field. McSween, a distinguished professor of earth and planetary sciences, will accept the Whipple Award from the American Geophysical Union at its annual meeting in December. McSween will also present the titular lecture at the conference in San Francisco. McSween has been a UT faculty member for 36 years.
Parents push petition urging UK Healthcare to release death rates for troubled program
More than 250 people have signed an online petition urging University of Kentucky Healthcare to release information about how many children died after undergoing heart surgery at Kentucky Children's Hospital. Tabitha Rainey said she started the petition on change.org after she was interviewed by CNN about the experience that her son, Waylon Rainey, had at UK following cardiothoracic surgery. Waylon was moved to another hospital and survived, but CNN identified two other babies who died. "They won't give us any answers, and there are so many outraged parents saying, 'Is there anything else we can do?'" Rainey said Monday.
U. of Kentucky police chief put on administrative leave for a week
University of Kentucky Police Chief Joe Monroe was put on administrative leave for a week in July because he had not completed state training requirements, the university confirmed Monday. UK spokesman Jay Blanton said that on July 17, the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet sent a letter saying that Monroe had not completed the in-service training for 2012 that he needed to maintain his certification as a peace officer. Monroe enrolled in the required training on July 18 and completed it on July 22, Blanton said. Major Paul Grant was appointed as acting chief while Monroe was on leave.
Another Alabama university hikes tuition as reduced public funding continues
Another public university in Alabama is increasing tuition as state funding for higher education remains well below pre-recessionary levels. Alabama State University will increase tuition and required student fees by a combined 10 percent, university officials say. It will also hike the cost of on-campus housing by less than 3 percent. The tuition increases come as ASU's funding from the state remains deflated from recessionary cuts. The Alabama Legislature approved this year an additional $682,827 for ASU in its fiscal 2014 budget, but that's still down more than $6 million from the school's 2008-09 appropriation from the state. Across Alabama, state funding for four-year, public universities remains down 26 percent, more than $360 million.
Universities and Other Groups Earned $2.6-Billion From Inventions in 2012
The Association of University Technology Managers has released highlights from its latest annual survey of patenting and licensing activity by colleges and other research organizations, and said total income from royalties and other sources for the 194 organizations that responded to the survey was in excess of $2.6-billion for the 2012 fiscal year. Over the past year, the report says, those respondents filed for 14,224 new U.S. patents and formed 705 start-up companies.
Retiring professor says he's ready to leave academe and others should, too
Study after study shows that baby-boomer professors aren't retiring. Between the hits their 401ks took during the recession and fears of stepping off into an intellectual abyss, many academics have both financial and personal interest in significantly delaying retirement or rejecting it altogether. But Philip Schrodt says that if you're honest, "You just know when it's time to quit." And that's what the former professor of political science at Pennsylvania State University has done, after 40 years in academe (and 31 years as a tenured professor). A day after receiving his last paycheck from Penn State, Schrodt took to his blog to explain why he decided to retire at 62.bC3TZrxL Inside Higher Ed
OUR OPINION: Authorizer board needs balance of perspective
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "Gov. Phil Bryant's nomination of three members to the newly created Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board has the effect of re-emphasizing that the law authorizes public charter schools. Bryant's three nominees to the seven-member board all have strong ties to public education in their work, in their professional past, or in their individual educational experience. ...Bryant chose former public school superintendent and teacher Johnny Franklin of Vicksburg, Teach for America teacher and curriculum manager Krystal Cormack of Clarksdale, and Chris Wilson, a real estate developer from Laurel who is a graduate of Laurel High School and Mississippi State University. ...Bryant's choices represent a move to the mainstream, with widely varying education interests and with knowledge of innovation that works."
BILL CRAWFORD: Towns, counties, and state face Obamacare impacts
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "'Municipalities challenged by Affordable Care Act,' read the headline of a story about Obamacare provisions taking affect in 2014. 'There is a lot of uncertainty about what the impact is going to be,' said one insurer. 'I can, at least, tell you the budgets aren't going to go down because of it.' It appears Obamacare's impact on Mississippi's state and local government health insurance costs will vary from minimal to severe."

Mississippi State assistant Townsend leads by example
During a practice last week, Deshea Townsend was working with cornerbacks on interception drills and threw a pass he wasn't pleased with. So he dropped down and did pushups. That's usually something players do, not coaches. But Townsend , Mississippi State's first-year cornerbacks coach, isn't that far removed from his playing days. The 37-year-old retired from a 13-year NFL career after the 2010 season. He's young, he's energetic, and he's going to let his players know exactly what he expects of them. That's why he often beats them onto the field for practice. "You know, lead by example, that's one thing I do believe in," Townsend said.
Mississippi State's Dan Mullen, coaches mold mammoth DT Nick James
Nick James knelt beside Dan Mullen to listen to the coach's post-practice speech on Saturday. The sophomore's right knee supported his 345-pound frame, which extended almost even with Mullen's shoulder. It's that size that attracted Mississippi State to the four-star prospect. No one questions whether his 6-foot-5, 345-pound body can create havoc in the Southeastern Conference. But the second year player hopes to erase the doubts surrounding his mental focus.
Mississippi State's McDonald shoots 72 to open Women's Am
Mississippi State's Ally McDonald was in fine shape after the first day of stroke play at the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, shooting a 1-over 72 on Monday. McDonald, a rising junior from Fulton, is looking to make the field of 64 for match play that begins on Wednesday at the Country Club of Charleston. In Monday's round, she had four birdies, three bogeys -- all on par-3 holes -- and a double bogey. McDonald tees off at 6:50 a.m. today.
Bulldogs already working on next women's basketball season
The calendar says Vic Schaefer and the Mississippi State University women's basketball team have a little more than two months before the 2013-14 season begins. But Schaefer and coaching staff were at work this summer laying the foundation for what the Bulldogs will build in the coming years. The next step in that process will come next month when MSU will play host to some of the recruits it hopes to sign as part of the Class of 2014. Coming off a 7-for-7 effort in its first recruiting class, Schaefer knows a strong second haul will keep the Bulldogs going in the right direction.
Should NCAA give stipends? Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze, players have mixed views
Ole Miss wide receiver Donte Moncrief has a simple policy on autographs. If you're not a fan at Ole Miss' practice fields or outside of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium after a game, good luck. "If it's not out here, I'm not signing," Moncrief said. The signatures of college football players was pushed into the forefront Sunday by an ESPN report alleging Texas A&M quarterback and defending Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel took money (believed to be five figures) in exchange for signing his name on memorabilia for a dealer. If proven to be true, Manziel could face a suspension at best and be declared ineligible at worst. While no one can debate what Manziel is alleged to have done is outside of the NCAA's rules on illegal benefits, it does merit the question: Should it be?
A Heisman Winner, and a Rule Book, Under Fire
The fallout from the latest episode in Johnny Manziel's dizzying, TMZ-chronicled off-season extended beyond his inner circle and beyond the campus of Texas A&M and into the offices of the N.C.A.A. That organization, which governs college sports, said nothing about Manziel on Monday, and yet its silence did little to dim the continued criticism lobbed in its direction. "What this says is the N.C.A.A. and college athletics are under a lot of stress right now on a lot of fronts," said Josephine Potuto, the former chairwoman of the N.C.A.A.'s Committee on Infractions and a law professor at Nebraska. "Every news story seems to feed into one of the components of the big picture that seems to be under attack no matter what comes up."
Texas A&M retains law firm for Johnny Manziel matter
The law firm that helped keep Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton eligible during the 2010 season at Auburn has been hired by Texas A&M to do the same with Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Texas A&M senior associate athletic director Jason Cook confirmed an earlier USA TODAY Sports report that the school has retained the services of Birmingham law firm Lightfoot, Franklin and White as legal counsel on the matter. Lightfoot is the same firm that represented Auburn during the Cam Newton investigation, which surfaced during the 2010 season but did not result in formal allegations. Newton never sat out any games during the investigation into allegations that his father had sought payment from Mississippi State to deliver his son to that school.
Johnny Manziel: A Tipping Point for NCAA Change?
The growing controversy surrounding Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel could advance the argument for a loosening of NCAA rules against college-athlete compensation. Never mind that Manziel isn't among the former and current college athletes suing the NCAA for a portion of the billions of dollars that the organization and its member schools collect in TV-broadcast rights. Manziel hasn't even joined the growing chorus of critics calling for a change in NCAA policy. But an ESPN report Sunday said that the NCAA is investigating Manziel for allegedly accepting a "five-figure flat fee" for signing autographs. If found guilty and punished, Manziel may come to personify what many call the injustice of NCAA rules prohibiting athletes from receiving any compensation beyond tuition, room and board.

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