Tuesday, August 13, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
Maroon Edition Work on Habitat House Underway
Ground was broken Monday morning in Starkville for the fifth Maroon Edition Habitat for Humanity House. Mississippi State University and Habitat for Humanity teamed up again to build this year's house. The partnership is a service-learning component of the university's Maroon Edition First-Year Reading Experience. Students, faculty and staff volunteer to build a house throughout the fall semester. Volunteers hope to be finished with the house by Thanksgiving.
Athabasca native representing Canada in Poland
Athabasca native Meggan Franks, 29, is headed to Krynica-Zdrój, Poland, to run in the 29th World Mountain Running Championships this September. Franks currently lives in Mississippi and works for Mississippi State University, where she attended on scholarship. Franks is representing Canada in the race on Sept. 9. Franks said she has never been to Poland and is trying to learn the language before she arrives. "I have been on the Internet learning simple (Polish) phrases, and I am terrible at it," she said.
Works of Chad Anderson '12 Bar Bridge: Rhythm in Portrait' to be displayed at MGCCC
The first art exhibit for the 2013-14 school year for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Jackson County campus will be "12 Bar Bridge: Rhythm In Portrait," art works of Chad Anderson. The exhibit will run from Aug. 29 through Oct. 3. Anderson received his BFA in painting from Mississippi State University in 1997 and his MFA in electronic visualization from MSU in 2002. He is currently an assistant professor within the graphic design program at Mississippi State, where he teaches courses in web design and multimedia.
Mississippi research aims to improve sweet potato yields, quality
Research projects aimed at improving sweet potato production are under way in Mississippi and with collaborators in other states, says Steve Meyers, northeast regional Extension specialist at Pontotoc, Miss. Meyers, who joined Extension in January, is also serving as the state's sweet potato specialist. At the Producer Advisory Council meeting, "Sweet potato growers tell us what kind of problems they're facing and what they'd like to see us consider for research projects," Meyers says. "Then we go out and visit with growers on their farms and listen to what they tell us, and from all that input we develop proposals for research. From there, it's a matter of finding funding to support that research, on Mississippi State University property, at our experiment stations, and on-farm," he says.
Annual cattle sale moves 19,000-plus animals for $1.3M
Mississippi cattle producers continue to go online to connect with livestock markets throughout the country. The sixth-annual Mississippi Homeplace Producers' Sale was broadcast live to viewers across the state and nation Aug. 5 from Southeast Mississippi Livestock in Hattiesburg. Since 2008, the sale has been conducted with the assistance of Mississippi State University's Extension Service. "This sale gives Mississippi cattle producers more leverage in the market," said Brandi Karisch, Extension beef cattle specialist and researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. "They typically get a better price for their cattle in these sales because cattle are offered in uniform load-sized lots, so the work of finding and grouping like cattle together has been done for the buyer."
Auditor flags schools for violating textbook law
Mississippi school systems are routinely violating a state law that says they have to issue a textbook to every student to take home, the state auditor says. Stacey Pickering said that many districts are only buying enough books for a set to keep in each classroom, which may mean a student can't take a book home to study. Others are relying on photocopied material, or even in some cases using state-issued sample tests for their main instructional material. For some districts, the problems stem from bad record-keeping or lack of money. But other districts say that in many classes, they're abandoning the traditional textbook.
Car company for real; plant manager says GreenTech on cutting edge
GreenTech Automotive Plant Manager Trey Agner has just a few photos on his office wall, located inside an old elevator manufacturing plant in Horn Lake, now home to more than 80 workers. Among the family photos and framed pictures of the "cute" electric vehicles as he calls them, is a prominent photo of former President Bill Clinton who appeared with Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, former chairman of the all-electric car company's board of directors, during a 2012 appearance at the plant. McAuliffe stepped down last December as chairman but still retains stock and interests in the Horn Lake car manufacturer, according to a story in the Washington Post. Plans are moving ahead with construction of a 300,000 square-foot manufacturing plant just over the DeSoto County line in Tunica County. Virginia politics aside, Agner said as plant manager his sole focus is on building cars. Agner said he wants to get the message out that Greentech Automotive is here to stay and that the MyCar is going to be the car of the future.
KiOR Natchez facility on hold? Second Columbus plant may come first in company's plan
Company officials with KiOR say they'll be deciding in the coming months if they will build a second plant in Columbus before they build their announced facility in Adams County. Officials with KiOR -- a renewable fuels company that announced in 2012 plans to build a large-scale production facility in the Natchez-Adams County Port -- have in the past said that a successful startup of a similar facility in Columbus was necessary before the company broke ground in Adams County. The Columbus plant entered into production earlier this year. But the company's chief executive officer, Fred Cannon, said during the company's investors' conference call last week that what the company has learned from the existing Columbus facility have opened an option for an alternative that can help the company develop its cash flow more quickly and cheaply. That learning includes developments in KiOR's research regarding plant operating efficiency and the potential development of new feedstocks, he said.
Ingalls Shipbuilding launches fourth U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter
Huntington Ingalls Industries' Ingalls Shipbuilding division launched its fourth U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter, Hamilton (WMSL 753), on Saturday in Pascagoula. NSCs are the flagship of the Coast Guard's cutter fleet. "Launching a ship involves quite a bit of logistics, and our team pulled this off in a very safe and efficient manner," said Ingalls' NSC Program Manager Jim French. "It's a week-long process to first translate the ship across land into our floating drydock and then going through an extensive ship-wide check-out process to launch. The team's performance was outstanding, and now we can focus on completing the ship and getting her to the Coast Guard next year."
Power grid increasingly vulnerable to severe weather, report says
A decade after a vast power outage shut down the Northeast, the electricity grid remains "highly vulnerable" to blackouts because of extreme weather fueled by climate change, a report by the White House and the Energy Department concludes. "The aging nature of the grid -- much of which was constructed over a period of more than 100 years -- has made Americans more susceptible to outages caused by severe weather," the report said. The analysis of the power grid, released Monday, was conducted in response to a plan that President Obama laid out in June to combat climate change and better prepare for it. Already, weather shaped by human activity has hit the United States faster than had been predicted, threatening infrastructure, water supplies, crops and shorelines, according to the draft Third National Climate Assessment, a federal report released in January.
Ole Miss at No. 44 on apparel sales list
Collegiate Licensing Co. announced Monday its annual list of institutions whose apparel makes up the company's top sellers. Ole Miss, at No. 44, was the only Mississippi school in the top 75. The University of Texas -- who Ole Miss plays Sept. 14 in Austin -- was No. 1 for the eighth consecutive year. CLC says the retail marketplace for college-licensed merchandise in 2012 reached $4.6 billion. Royalties generated from the sale of a school's apparel goes back to the institutions, but not to the player who wears the jersey.
JSU to lease Travelodge rooms in light of housing shortage on campus
Housing for some Jackson State students will be a little less on-campus this academic year, as the university's enrollment growth has left officials looking down the road for makeshift dorm rooms. The Travelodge, located at 390 Greymont Avenue, instead will be leased and dubbed "Tiger Plaza" to offset the housing shortage, a move approved Monday afternoon by the Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning. The approved terms will lease the entire 120-room property, and "all common areas including the fitness/exercise facility and parking" will be under contract with JSU for a nine-month period, costing the school more than $800,000. IHL Commissioner Hank Bounds said last year’s 200-plus bed surplus at JSU turned into roughly 260 students on a waiting list for student housing this year.
Lacking dorm space, university rents motel for $800K-plus
Facing more demand than it has dormitory beds, Jackson State University will spend more than $800,000 to rent a motel to house students for the coming school year. The College Board voted unanimously yesterday to approve the plan to rent the 120-room downtown Jackson Travelodge from Bapu Hotels LLC. The money comes from student housing fees. Higher Education Commissioner Hank Bounds says Jackson State has 250 students awaiting housing. That's in part because enrollment is expected to rise this fall at JSU. "I think we're doing a better job of telling the Jackson State story," said spokesman Eric Stringfellow. He said officials expect more than 9,000 students this fall, compared to 8,800 last fall. Stringfellow said the largest growth is in new freshmen and transfer students from community colleges.
U. of Georgia campus bustles as classes begin for fall semester
Waves of young humanity surged across the University of Georgia campus and Athens on Monday as fall semester classes got underway. University administrators and police said the first day went smoothly, all in all. New UGA President Jere Morehead mingled with students near the Tate Center for a while on Monday morning as hundreds of students jammed the nearby bus stops, including a few who were not quite sure where to go. Finding the right bus could be confusing, some students said amid the ebb and flow of some 35,000 students.
McClure named new general manager at UGA student newspaper The Red & Black
Former advertising director Natalie McClure is the new general manager of the independent University of Georgia student newspaper The Red & Black, the newspaper announced Monday. McClure replaces Harry Montevideo, who stepped down earlier this summer after a called meeting of the board of the nonprofit corporation that operates The Red & Black. The newspaper's student editors also will get a bigger voice in corporate decisions, the board of directors announced Monday. The newspaper has been publishing since 1893, and has been independent of the university, with its own off-campus offices, since 1980. A year ago, student editors and reporters walked out in a dispute over editorial control at the newspaper.
Researchers at UGA hope to educate women on impact of obesity on pregnancy
The next generation may be a healthier one, thanks to the efforts of researchers at the University of Georgia. Lynn Bailey, a professor and department head in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at UGA, is studying how changes in levels of folate, a water-soluble B vitamin, impact maternal and child health. To help get her findings to the general public, Bailey teamed up with Deborah Murray, associate dean for extension and outreach in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. Murray works through the UGA Obesity Initiative to help translate research conducted on campus into terms the general public can understand.
U. of Kentucky works to increase medical school minority enrollment
Undergraduates stepped into the shoes of medical students Monday, part of a University of Kentucky program to bring underrepresented minority juniors and seniors to the UK College of Medicine. Minority Education Development for Prospective Medical Students, known as UK MED, hosts a two-day program every year to recruit self-identified minority students for the medical profession. On Monday, 33 pre-medical students visited the UK Chandler Medical Center, hearing lectures by physicians and participating in hands-on activities. The program is in its fourth year. "Most people don't get this until you come for an interview at medical school," said Nana Mensah, UK MED co-director and second-year medical student.
U. of Missouri students get early start on move-in
The newly renovated Mark Twain Hall at the University of Missouri seemed eerily quiet Monday morning as rain pattered down outside -- at least until freshman Justice Henderson turned up her music as she unzipped her suitcases to continue unpacking. Henderson, a pre-journalism student, was one of nearly 80 students to move into Mark Twain yesterday, in preparation for the semester that begins next Monday. The residential hall will house 380 students, but the official move-in day isn't until Wednesday. Some students, though, including those planning to rush a sorority or participate in ROTC, Marching Mizzou or athletic teams, moved in yesterday.
Vietnam ag reps visit U. of Missouri; nation wants to grow genetically modified crops
Officials from Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development spent last week learning about genetically engineered crops from University of Missouri faculty as part of a two-week visit to the United States. The trip included stops at MU, the University of Iowa and Monsanto's St. Louis headquarters. The educational tour, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cochran Fellowship Program, is timely because the Vietnamese government will soon allow the domestic production of genetically modified soybeans, corn and cotton, referred to as "biotech" crops in Vietnam. Researchers in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources lectured the Vietnamese visitors on topics ranging from soil ecology to meat production, but the underlying theme was the impact GM crops will have on the country's food supply.
Haslam, Dean: Nashville students to get free community college
News that Metro Nashville high school seniors can attend community college or technical school tuition-free set off a firestorm of excitement for a Maplewood High School advisor, who thinks the plan is nothing short of life-changing for his students. "This is really a paradigm shift for an entire community," said Ryan Jackson, dean of students and graduation coach at Maplewood, where he finds that generations of poverty in the neighborhood keep students from even dreaming of jobs that pay more than minimum wage. The project, called "nashvilleAchieves," is a public-private partnership that will provide tuition at Nashville State Community College or the neighboring Tennessee College of Applied Technology. Announced Monday by Gov. Bill Haslam and Metro Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, it is part of a larger Tennessee effort.
Researchers Explore Factors Behind Mismatched College Choices
Many students attend a college they're over- or underqualified for, and a new paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research examines why. The researchers found substantial undermatch and overmatch, or students at colleges below or above their ability level, respectively. About 28 percent of students in the sample who started at a four-year college probably could have gone to a better institution, and 25 percent of students might have been in over their heads. While those figures aren't so different from shares of mismatched students three decades ago, the new report digs into this persistent issue.
Study analyzes public and private colleges' pricing and admissions strategies
Do increases in federal spending on student financial aid drive up college tuitions? Do cuts in state budgets for public colleges impede college-going? Do public and private colleges admit and award financial aid in similar or different ways? Research on higher education tends to have difficulty answering such broad questions because there is so much variation among states and such great diversity in the types of postsecondary institutions. But several economists believe they have developed at least the beginnings of a theoretical framework to examine how state and federal funding affect the American higher education system, writ large.
College housing, food costs climb past tuition costs, survey says
Despite all the grumbling about tuition increases and student loan costs, other college expenses also are going up. The price of housing and food trumps tuition costs for students who attend two- and four-year public universities in their home states, according to a College Board survey. Even with the lower interest rates on student loans that President Barack Obama signed into law, students are eyeing bills that are growing on just about every line.
Obama administration presses forward on early education
President Barack Obama has found a way to cater to his obsession with pre-K programs while the rest of his education agenda stalls: Skip Congress and spend the money anyway. Hundreds of millions of dollars in discretionary funding for early learning are funneling into states although Congress hasn't seriously considered paying for President Barack Obama's universal preschool proposal. Race to the Top early learning awards and Affordable Care Act money are helping states carry out their pre-K and early childcare plans. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is traveling the country to deliver what amounts to an early childhood stump speech, and the administration just hired a new leader for its Office of Early Learning.

Mississippi State fighting in loaded SEC West
Mississippi State's football program is in better shape since coach Dan Mullen took over five years ago. The Bulldogs have been to three straight bowl games for only the second time in school history and are in the midst of a $75 million renovation to Davis Wade Stadium that will increase seating capacity and add more amenities, like a second high-definition video board. But for all the good news, here's the bad: The SEC Western Division is still a tough place to reside in college football. The Bulldogs will once again try to figure out a way to muscle past powers like Alabama and LSU this season. Mullen said that the program's "ultimate goal is to find a way to get to Atlanta and compete for an SEC championship."
'The other quarterback': Prescott continues apprenticeship at MSU
Nearly a half hour after interviews on Aug. 3, Tyler Russell emerged from the Leo W. Seal Jr. building, gathered his equipment and disappeared behind the door below Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen's office. Dak Prescott followed his every move. "I tell them they're married all the time. They get mad at me just teasing with them," MSU offensive coordinator Les Koenning said. "When one walks in I say, 'Where's your brother?' They tell him, "He's coming coach," Koenning said. Russell, a fifth-year senior, and Prescott, a redshirt sophomore, share eight years of combined experience within the program.
Perkins leads the pack: MSU has plenty of help behind veteran carrier
It's safe to say that LaDarius Perkins will anchor the Mississippi State running backs this season. The senior is coming off a 1,000-yard 2012 season. He also scored eight touchdowns. "He's comfortable," MSU running back coach Greg Knox said. "He doesn't think about anything. He just reacts to what he hears. He knows. When you're operating like that, (and) you're just reacting to what you hear and you never think, you operate at a fast pace. That's what he's doing right now. He's operating very fast because he doesn't think about his assignment. He just hears it and executes."
Bulldogs continue soccer workouts
Change is taking place within the Mississippi State soccer program. When Aaron Gordon became the head coach of the Bulldogs, he used to beat all of the players to practice. That's not the case anymore. "Now when I arrive, I have a full team of players at practice on the ball and getting ready to have practice," Gordon said. "They have to invest in themselves. Practice for us starts at 8:30 in the morning, but at 8:10 or 8:15, you would have thought practice had already started. When our strength and conditioning coach puts our player through warm-up, they have already been here 10 or 15 minutes. That may not get us a win tomorrow, but midway through the season, how much extra time we put into it is valuable and will prove in the long run will help us succeed. If this is the year we are able to get that extra win and make the tournament or whatever it is, they have laid the bricks for a foundation that will last for a long time."
Comfort level exists for Mississippi State volleyball
Jenny Hazelwood and her Mississippi State volleyball team are only five days into practice, but there is already a good amount of camaraderie among her players. The Bulldogs return just five players from the 2012 squad and add 10 new players. Seven of those players are freshman with the other three being transfers. The lack of comfort has not been seen on the practice courts by Hazelwood and her coaching staff. "The way they play together is really, really good," Hazelwood said. "You wouldn't know that this group hasn't been playing together for a while. It's really neat how well they've jelled."
NCAA digs deeper on Ole Miss; Freeze backs recruiting in face of Jones' report
Since January, Ole Miss has challenged its critics to put up or shut up. The NCAA seems to be taking them up. That's what can be drawn out so far from the NCAA's recent actions, as it continues to probe Ole Miss' recruiting. The latest story Ole Miss was forced to confront head-on Monday was from CBSSports.com, which reported that five-star Houston prospect Chris Jones was interviewed by NCAA investigators about Ole Miss' recruitment of him. That Jones is now a Mississippi State freshman -- and as an Under Armour All-American defensive end had been the subject of a heated recruiting war between the in-state rivals in the month leading up to February's National Signing Day -- only added to the fervor over the story.
New artificial turf a hit among Southern Miss players
Count Southern Miss linebacker Alan Howze as an advocate for the new artificial turf at Southern Miss' M.M. Roberts Stadium. After Saturday night's scrimmage, the Golden Eagle linebacker's eyes lit up when talking about the surface, which was installed this summer. "It feels great," the senior from Ocean Springs said. "It looks good, it feels good. You've been running on the grass in the heat (on the practice field), you come out here (to the stadium) and it feels like you're going a million miles per hour, so it feels great to be out here." The new surface is Matrix Turf by Hellas. It features alternating dark and light green colors each five yards. Drainage was a major problem last season. The new turf was partially paid for by insurance as the tornado that hit the Southern Miss campus in February blew so much debris onto the field that it was unusable.
Dufner's win good for city, university
Following his victory at the 2013 PGA Championship, the Auburn community could not be prouder of golfer Jason Dufner. Dufner, an alumnus of Auburn University, made news Sunday as he brought the Wanamaker trophy back to his home of Auburn after defeating second place Jim Furyk by two strokes. The tournament was held at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y. Auburn Mayor Bill Ham watched the championship and thought Dufner and his wife, Amanda, represented Auburn University and the Auburn/Opelika community well. "I couldn't be happier for them," Ham said. Ham said city officials and members of the Auburn University community are discussing plans to recognize Dufner, but it would have to be done when he's not so busy with other golf tournaments. During Auburn University's Fan Day Sunday afternoon, Auburn fans paid close attention to Dufner's activities in New York. Alan Butterworth of Trussville said Dufner win's is important for the Auburn community because it gives the university national exposure through his accomplishments.
New U. of Tennessee police dogs will work football, basketball games
A pair of bomb-sniffing Belgian Malinois are the newest -- and first-ever canine -- members of the University of Tennessee police force. Bira, 18 months old, and Tica, 17 months old, joined the force about a month ago from IronHeart, a company that trains and sells professional dogs, in Shawnee, Kan., in the Kansas City metropolitan area. "They're very slender, similar to German Shepherds, but maybe a little more energetic," said Sgt. Cedric Roach, Bira's handler and partner. They cost about $8,500 each. Recognizing how prominent the university is, the department decided to purchase the dogs following events such as the Boston Marathon bombings, Roach said. The dogs will be used at football and basketball games and other major events on campus.
Aggies Lovett and Keen to headline A&M's First Yell Sept. 13
Texas A&M graduates and longtime friends Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen will headline First Yell, which will be at Kyle Field for the second year in a row. But the annual event is being pushed to the night before A&M's third football game of the year --- the highly anticipated match-up against SEC foe Alabama. The musicians will perform with veteran country stars Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris on Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. Tickets go on sale Tuesday at 8 a.m. through the 12th Man Foundation. Midnight Yell Practice will follow the concert. Lovett and Keen attended A&M in the late 1970s, meeting at Keen's legendary front porch behind Northgate, which inspired their Front Porch Song collaboration (a.k.a. This Old Porch). Keen, class of 1978, is regarded as the godfather of Texas country. Lovett, class of 1979, incorporates blues, folk and gospel elements, and has won four Grammy Awards.

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