Thursday, August 15, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
Yokohama opens office in MSU's Cochran Research Park
Yokohama Tire Corp. has opened an office in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park on the campus of Mississippi State. The office in Starkville will serve as the company's operational headquarters while its West Point facility is under construction. The tire company is building a manufacturing facility in West Point. The West Point facility is expected to have a total investment of $300 million initially and employ approximately 500 people. The state provided $70 million to help Yokohama purchase the property and upgrade infrastructure.
Yokohama office comes to Starkville
Mississippi State University announced Wednesday that Yokohama Tire Corporation will open an administrative office in the Thad Cochran Research Park to oversee construction of its new plant in West Point. The office will be located on the second floor of 100 Research Boulevard, which also houses Camgian Microsystems. Marc McGee, director of the MSU Research and Technology Corporation that manages the park, said Yokohama's lease on the offices had already started, and the company would move in soon.
Yokohama Tire opens office in MSU Research Park
One of the world's leading premium tire manufacturing companies recognized for its technology and innovation is locating in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park. Yokohama Tire Corporation is opening an office in the state's largest research park that will serve as the company's operational headquarters while its new manufacturing plant in Clay County is under construction, according to a Mississippi State University official. "We are very pleased to welcome members of the Yokohama Tire team to the Thad Cochran Research Park and Industry Partners Building, and to develop a new pipeline of communication between us," said Marc McGee, director of the MSU Research and Technology Corporation, the entity that manages the park.
Yokohama to set up office at MSU research park
Yokohama Tire Corporation, which announced a partnership with Mississippi earlier this year to locate a manufacturing plant in Clay County, will open an office at the Thad Cochran Research Park's Industry Partners Building. The site will serve as the Japanese corporation's headquarters while the plant is under construction, Mississippi State University officials confirmed Wednesday. According to a MSU University Relations release, the global tire manufacturer will use the space as a "center for strategic and logistical operations for Yokohama Tire while overseeing the development of its manufacturing facility."
Yokohama Tire Opens Local Office
Yokohama Tire Corporation is opening an office in the state's largest research park that will serve as the company's operational headquarters while its new manufacturing plant in Clay County is under construction, according to a Mississippi State University official. The Cochran Research Park space will form the center for strategic and logistical operations for Yokohama Tire while overseeing the development of its manufacturing facility. It will house several business functions including general management, human resources management, information management and business planning.
Maroon Band Almost Ready To Go
It won't be long before the Famous Maroon Band once again delights Mississippi State fans at sporting events and in concert halls. In preparation of the new school year, hundreds of students are spending the week marching, with their instruments, under the blazing mid-August sun. "340 students this year from 11 different states, of course most of our students call Mississippi home but we have a pretty good presence from states throughout the region," said Associate Director Craig Aarhus. The Famous Maroon Band has been a Mississippi State tradition for more than 110 years.
Robotics Training At Mississippi State University
It's been an eventful couple of days for participates of the Robotics Academy at Mississippi State University. The five-day training event had agents, volunteers and robotics coaches throughout the state learning how to program their own robot. "This is an opportunity for educators across the state to come and get trained by the very best and how to use robotics and NXTG so that they'll be ready for competition," said Assistant Extension Professor Mariah Smith. Robotics training was conducted by Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Academy and NASA.
Starkville aldermen propose tax hike of 2.78 mill
An almost-3 mill tax increase is likely if Starkville is to tend to increasing expenditures, including a long-overdue pay raise for its employees, departmental requests, outside contributions and its plan to construct a new City Hall and renovate Starkville Police Department's home. Aldermen showed their intent Tuesday to raise taxes by approving a 2.78 mill notice Tuesday during a budget meeting. State law requires at least two public hearings on the matter and another vote before ad valorem rates are adjusted to meet increasing expenditures. Ward 5 Alderman and Starkville Audit and Budget Committee Chairman Scott Maynard said the increase will allow the city to be competitive and facilitate future budgetary planning. To address pay disparity identified in a 2012 report developed by Mississippi State University's Stennis Institute of Government and an informal polling conducted by Starkville Personnel Director Randy Boyd, Maynard proposed a 4 percent pay raise for city employees.
Concerned citizens look to bolster involvement
More than 70 concerned citizens packed Zorba's Greek Tavern Wednesday for what at least some hoped would amount to the first step of a movement. The crowd for the "What the Heck Happened to Lynn Spruill?" event kicked off a planned series of discussions aimed to engage more Starkville residents in city government. To get that started, former Ward 4 Alderman Richard Corey laid the foundation of how Starkville's city government was structured and how exactly citizens could become involved.
From chance encounter grows friendship, kidney donation, charity organization
The hunter spent his spare time chasing deer in Mississippi when he wasn't chasing fires. Starkville firefighter Rob Robinson, 44, had been stalking bucks in his home state for years, but when he learned that Kansas, his sister's home state, was one of the best places to turkey hunt, Robinson made several trips there throughout the years until he scored a record-breaking kill in 2007 that ranked seventh in the world. Motivated by success, Robinson decided to go for the "Grand Slam of Turkeys" in 2008, and wandered upon 1,600 acres of farmland owned by Gillan Alexander in Nicodemus, Kan. He had no idea that when he knocked on Alexander's door, he would eventually save his life. The chance meeting later led Robinson to donate a kidney to Alexander. This weekend, the two will hold a fundraiser for an organization they have created called Forever Outdoors. It will be held at 10 a.m. Aug. 17 at Starkville's Tractor Supply at 1301 Greta Lane.
KiOR may add another plant in Columbus
KiOR officials say they are considering building a second plant next to the current facility in Columbus. The news came late last week when Fred Cannon, the Texas-based alternative fuel company's president and CEO, took part in a conference call to announce the year's second quarter financial results for the biorefinery. The Columbus site, a Biomass Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit, began converting wood chips to fuel earlier this year. What the company has learned from getting that plant going has officials thinking of building a second plant in Columbus before moving ahead with its plans in Natchez.
Hosemann joins lawsuit of Mississippi investors
Mississippi investors who lost millions of dollars due to action deemed to be improper by Tennessee-based Morgan Keegan are suing the federal government to recoup a portion of their funds. On Thursday, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann announced his office was joining the lawsuit by Mississippi investors against the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. At issue is $100 million in funds the SEC is supposed to distribute to Morgan Keegan clients who lost more than $1 billion nationwide due to the Memphis company "overstating the value of certain mortgage-backed investments during the housing collapse."
State taking right steps; Reeves says Mississippi strong financially
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said in Olive Branch Wednesday that the state's leaders and legislators have taken important steps over the last two years to strengthen state government financially and provide a better environment for businesses. Speaking at the monthly Olive Branch Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Reeves said state officials have taken the lead. "We have a political philosophy which says government does not create jobs; government simply creates an environment," Reeves said. "The role of government is to simply create an environment which encourages the private sector to invest capital and create jobs. That is what we have really tried to focus on over the last two years." Reeves, who is from Rankin County, said he, Gov. Phil Bryant and state House Speaker Philip Gunn of Clinton share that political philosophy. All are Republicans. The luncheon was at Whispering Woods Hotel & Conference Center.
Thompson shares plans with Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership
Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson needled Republican stalwart Andy Taggart a little during his speech to the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership luncheon Wednesday but noted "we can differ, but we can love our country." The 2nd District congressman spoke to about 200 people at the luncheon, including Taggart, the chamber's chairman-elect. Thompson's presence as the speaker for the group of metro-area business leaders may seem surprising, given its largely conservative membership. But Socrates Garrett, chairman of the chamber's board, said the 2,500-member organization is moving across political, territorial and racial lines. "This chamber sees no racial divide; this chamber sees no territorial divide," he said. During his speech, Thompson said he wanted to make the capital city and surrounding communities better, but his focus is on Jackson. He also supports a domed stadium for Jackson State University.
DMR's Bill Walker didn't participate in transfer of foundation's boats, documents show
Documents that State Auditor Stacey Pickering released to the Sun Herald show former Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Director Bill Walker didn't participate in the transfer of his foundation's two boats to the state because his legal counsel advised him not to. The documents also show Walker was the only member of the Mississippi Marine Resources Foundation, which owned the boats, who knew about the two vessels' existence. Walker is listed as the foundation's registered agent, and opened a checking account for it and handled all activities without board meetings, board approval or any minutes being kept, the auditor's document says. But other than what is in the documents released to the Sun Herald, the auditor's office won't release any other information on Walker's alleged activities.
States want more control over workforce development funds
States struggling to rebuild their workforces in the wake of staggering unemployment say they know better than the federal government how to make the most out of limited workforce development and job training dollars. Governors want more administrative control over programs funded through the Workforce Investment Act, now before Congress for an overhaul. As that discussion continues, the National Governors Association has a wish list.
Drone industry to journalists: Don't use the word 'drones'
"Drone" is a dirty word at this week's drone industry convention in Washington. The sector long has opposed use of the term, which, some argue, carries inherently negative connotations and doesn't accurately describe the awesome technology seen in today's unmanned vehicles. Efforts to stop journalists from using the word "drone" have failed miserably over the years, but the industry hasn't given up trying. Inside the media room at the Washington convention center, the WiFi password is the not-so-subtle phrase "DontSayDrones."
Drones descend on Washington -- just for show
In a week when U.S. drones have rained missiles on militants in Yemen, a clear sign that unarmed drone aircraft are coming to America has landed less than a mile from the White House. From bird-sized whirligigs to a scale model of a giant Air Force MQ-9 Reaper, known as a hunter-killer drone, the cavernous Washington Convention Center was packed with drones, surveillance gear and other high-tech gizmos for both government and private uses. Organizers called it the largest drone show in the world. The three-day trade fair of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International featured nearly 600 exhibits intended to show how drones and other robots can help in law enforcement, search and rescue, traffic control, selling real estate, checking pipelines and forest fires, wildlife protection and other domestic duties. The first goal, however, is to ease public fear of drones.
The Next Disaster Scenario Power Companies Are Preparing For
In the 10 years since sagging power lines in Ohio sparked a blackout across much of the Northeastern United States and Canada, utility engineers say they have implemented measures to prevent another such event in the country's electric grid. But there is one disaster scenario for which the power companies are still unprepared: a massive attack on the computer networks that underlie the U.S. electric grid. "We have to treat the cyberthreat with the same respect that we give to forces of nature, [such as] hurricanes, floods, ice, storms," said Chris Peters, vice president for critical infrastructure at Entergy, a company that operates nuclear power plants. "We have to fund it, we have to staff it and we have to be ready to respond as necessary." Peters was among several power executives who gathered in Washington recently to discuss the need to better protect the electric grid against cyberattacks. Their consensus judgment was that such attacks are probably inevitable.
'High Times' challenges Ole Miss to marijuana potency competition
High Times, a publication for marijuana enthusiasts, reported this week that the University of Mississippi claims to have tested a strain of cannabis that registered 37 percent THC, or tetrahydracannabinol, the intoxicating chemical in marijuana. That's a higher THC level than any they've tested. The magazine got the information from CNN's premiere of Dr. Sanjay Gupta's documentary "Weed." In it, Gupta "cuts through the smoke and travels around the world to uncover the highs and lows of cannabis." High Times said their lab tops out at 25.49 percent THC.
U. of Mississippi prepares to lease Grenada hospital
The University of Mississippi Medical Center plans to lease Grenada-Lake Medical Center for at least 20 years, paying for the lease by taking on the hospital's $35 million in long-term debt. The College Board's Finance Committee discussed the plan in a closed session Wednesday and the board is expected to vote today. Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. James Keeton said UMMC will expand services and use the hospital to train more physicians as the medical school expands. Keeton said the hospital has lost a little money in some years while making a small profit in others. "We think we can make it better," Keeton said, saying UMMC would try to draw patients from nearby counties. "We can improve the admissions and number of patients."
Southern Miss move-in days require motorists' caution
In order to facilitate a smooth transition for new and returning students at The University of Southern Mississippi, the University Police Department will be blocking lots, closing streets and directing traffic Aug. 16-17. Hattiesburg motorists should be aware of congestion on West Fourth Street as residents return to Century Park. Move-in has been scheduled on Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for all Century Park residents, one-half of Wilber Hall and Hattiesburg/Mississippi/Hickman halls. Move-in has been scheduled on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the "Quad" as well as all other halls.
Alcorn cuts administration in move to reemphasize recruiting, mission
Alcorn State University reduced its administration, aimed at reemphasizing enrollment management and more clearly aligning the services provided by the university with its mission and strategic goals. President M. Christopher Brown II maintained five divisions, creating a Division of Student Success and Enrollment Management, among other changes. The newly created Division of Academic and Student Affairs merges instruction and student support services eliminating the stand-alone Student Affairs administrative unit. No one was terminated by the realignment changes, but Alcorn merged some vacant posts, accepted one resignation, thereby creating new positions.
Meridian Community College, Public Schools Approve Dual Enrollment
Officials from Meridian Community College, Meridian Public Schools and Lauderdale County Schools have signed a memorandum of understanding for a dual enrollment program. The program enables students to get a head start on a college education by earning college credits while they are still attending high school. "It's a win-win-win," said Dr. Scott Elliott, president of MCC. "A win for the students, a win for Meridian Community College, and a win for the parents who, quite frankly, can save a lot of money by their students getting a head start on their college education."
Judge finds LSU Board of Supervisors in contempt for not turning over records
A state judge delivered a dramatic rebuke to LSU's Board of Supervisors on Wednesday, finding the board and its chairman, Hank Danos, in contempt of court for ignoring her order to make public the records from its secret presidential search. State District Judge Janice Clark on April 30 ordered the Board of Supervisors to turn over the records to The Advocate and The Times-Picayune. The Advocate sued after the university board refused to release the records, and The Times-Picayune joined the case a week later. On Wednesday, Clark found that the board violated that order and fined LSU $500 a day for each day the records are not produced. "The court finds that the conduct complained of is contemptuous," the judge said. She said the public is entitled to know whom the LSU board considered in its search so that taxpayers can be confident the school made the best choice and considered candidates from all backgrounds.
Auburn University parking services hope to help students, visitors
Auburn University students, employees and visitors may notice a few major changes to parking services on campus this coming school year. Don Andrae, manager of parking services at Auburn, said the biggest changes are additional student permits and a new area specifically for visitor parking. Andrae, who has worked at Auburn for the last two years, said Auburn was one of the only schools in the nation he knew of that did not have assigned visitor parking, until now. Parking on Auburn's campus has been a major complaint amongst students and faculty for years, Andrae admitted. On the entire campus, there are only 11,000 spaces for the approximately 25,000 students and 10,000 staff and faculty members.
U. of Alabama history professor studies Cold War impact on South
A new book by a University of Alabama history professor explores how the Cold War changed the economic, political and social life in the American South. "Cold War Dixie," by associate professor Kari Frederickson, examines the impact of the Cold War military-industrial complex through the effects of the Savannah River Plant and the DuPont Corp. on the nearby small town of Aiken, S.C., which transformed from primarily poor, rural and staunchly Democratic to increasingly middle class, suburban and Republican, according to a release from UA.
U. of Alabama student gets grant to study black HIV risk
The National Science Foundation has awarded a University of Alabama doctoral student in anthropology a $16,000 grant to study the social factors influencing people's behavior regarding HIV. Martina Thomas received the dissertation improvement grant for her work in determining the social factors that influence knowledge and behavior regarding HIV risk among African-American adolescent females in Tuscaloosa, according to a release from UA. Thomas is studying how these perceptions affect the risk of the teens for coming into contact with the disease.
U. of South Carolina adjusts for growth
The University of South Carolina is growing. And so a lot of things are growing around campus. This year, the state's flagship college will bring in its largest freshman class in history. Enrollment continues to hit school records, approaching 32,000 -- 6,000 more than a decade ago. To accommodate the additional students, USC has added more faculty, more police officers and new online services. The school has started an online college and is allowing students to add their community activities on their transcripts. Later in the school year, the university will ban tobacco and open a new business school building. Students move into dorms Saturday. Classes start Aug. 22.
Did U. of South Carolina, Clemson, other SC schools get fair shake in rankings in Princeton Review's poll?
As our college students -- whether they be slow-to-grow up or cheerfully ambitious, idealistic or disengaged -- prepare for the fall semester, the Princeton Review has sent out its annual college rankings. Based on surveys of students attending 378 colleges and universities across the country, Princeton Review's statisticians uncovered 16 defining characteristics of college life in South Carolina. Parents, brace yourselves: Seems many of our young men and women have stronger opinions about extracurricular activities than academics. Some perspective might be helpful here.
New U. of Florida faculty welcomed to 'quintessential college town'
Kimberly Curry has returned to the University of Florida, where she received her nursing degree more than three decades ago. This time, however, Curry will be a faculty member in the graduate nursing program, in which she'll be teaching an online graduate pharmacology course, occasionally working with students in the lab and supervising them during their clinical rotations. Curry is one of 100 new faculty members attending the two-day new faculty orientation in the President's Room at Emerson Hall that began Wednesday. The number represents nearly one-fourth of the 384 new hires this year. Nearly half the new faculty hires -- 171 people -- were in the College of Medicine.
U. of Florida kicks rabbits, guinea pigs out of student housing
Graduate student Suwan Shen said she found out this week that Thursday is doomsday for rabbits living in University of Florida student housing. When she checked her mail on Monday, she found a letter dated Aug. 7 saying the university had decided to prohibit rabbits and she had until Aug. 15 to get rid of her pet, Baby. "This is really a surprise for me," said Shen, a Chinese student who is a year away from getting her Ph.D. in urban planning. UF Housing officials sent notices to 32 students who had guinea pigs, birds or dwarf rabbits as pets in the past four semesters that their pets would no longer be allowed after Thursday, said Sharon Blansett, assistant to the associate vice president for student affairs.
U. of Georgia set to launch huge new records system
The first phase of a new multimillion-dollar student information software system will go live in less than a month, University of Georgia officials said Wednesday. "This is the largest and most collaborative project ever attempted at the University of Georgia," UGA Chief Information Officer and Vice President for Information Technology Tim Chester said at a Wednesday forum in UGA's Tate Student Theater. The new system, named "ConnectUGA," is based on the Banner system licensed from the Ellucian educational software company, already in use by other University System of Georgia colleges and universities. Even as implementation of ConnectUGA begins, administrators are planning another big system conversion -- financial and human resources records, such as payroll.
Alleged UGA fake ID ringleader seeks to have felony charges reduced
A purported ringleader of an alleged fake ID manufacturing and distributing operation that sold fraudulent driver's licenses to underage students at the University of Georgia and other colleges is seeking to reduce his 18 felony charges to misdemeanors. In a motion filed Monday in Clarke County Superior Court, the defense attorney for 22-year-old Tyler Andrew Ruby argues that prosecutors wrongly drafted the indictment handed down by a grand jury last month. UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said the investigation spanned several states, and students from Northwestern University, the University of Alabama and the University of Mississippi were among those indicted.
Georgia regents OK university system guidelines
The University System of Georgia took several steps Wednesday to establish a more comprehensive approach to guiding the state's 31 public colleges and universities. The Board of Regents voted to implement a new policy determining a wide range of issues, including what types of degrees each institution should offer, how much of an emphasis should be on research and teaching and access and admissions selectivity. The board also established four classifications: research university, comprehensive university, state university and state college.
U. of Tennessee welcomes largest freshman class in nearly a decade
The University of Tennessee will welcome about 4,300 freshmen to campus this weekend, the school's largest class in nearly a decade. The class is about 100 students larger than last year's, in part because of the school's improving graduation rates, UT officials said. With fewer fifth- and sixth-year students, the graduates are freeing up more space on campus for incoming freshman, officials said. This will also be the first class where for full-time students will have to pay for 15 credits rather than 12, a tuition model the UT board of trustees approved in June 2012. The academic credentials of this year's class are nearly identical to last year's. The university is also welcoming more international students and about 200 more transfer students than last year.
U. of Missouri Press narrows director search to three finalists
The committee searching for a new director for the University of Missouri Press has narrowed its field of candidates to three, including the current editor in chief, the leader of the University Press of Mississippi and the director from the American Heart Association. The candidates all will be at MU for interviews and public forums over the next month. The three finalists are Clair Willcox, current associate director and editor-in-chief of the University of Missouri Press; Leila Salisbury, director of the University Press of Mississippi; and David Rosenbaum, director of product development and project management for the American Heart Association. Salisbury has served as director of the University Press of Mississippi since 2008.
Universities can confront an 'epidemic' of campus rape
Universities can do more to slow what has become an "epidemic" of sexual assault on campus, a national expert on rape prevention said Wednesday, but they'll have to confront a wave of cultural forces working against them. By the time teens arrive at college they've been surrounded by ads that objectify women, hit songs that glorify sex addiction, and sex scenes in movies in which lovers get swept up without words, said Jeffrey Bucholtz, co-president of the San Diego Domestic Violence Council and a nationally-known lecturer on the subject. Bucholtz spoke at the Holiday Inn on the edge of the Vanderbilt University campus during the first day of the annual Rape Prevention and Education Institute, hosted by the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence. His remarks, previously scheduled, come at a particularly sensitive time for Vanderbilt, in the aftermath of what police say was the rape of an unconscious female student by four Vanderbilt football players.
Hillary Clinton considering academic options
Hillary Clinton is fielding offers from colleges and universities -- including Harvard and her law school alma mater, Yale -- to give her a formal academic role, a move that would give her a platform outside her family's foundation. The approaches have ranged from offers to join faculty to starting a program in Clinton's name to rebranding the Baruch College public policy school after the former secretary of state, three sources told Politico. The advantage to Clinton of an academic platform, beyond the scope of her policy interests, could be huge for someone considering a presidential run. It would provide her with a credible backdrop for speeches and events that would take her outside of a hotel ballroom or something sponsored by her family's foundation or another outside group.
Moody's Report Forecasts a Gloomy Future for Public Universities
Things were supposed to get better after the 2012 fiscal year, the year that colleges fell off the "cliff" created as federal stimulus money for higher education ran out and state appropriations had yet to recover. Instead, 2012 was just foreshadowing the difficult financial future that public colleges will continue to face, according to a new report from Moody's Investors Service, a bond-rating company. While figures for the flagship institutions were more positive, the data over all put public colleges on a path to economic oblivion. "The developing trend of expense growth outpacing revenue growth is unsustainable," said Emily Schwarz, an assistant vice president at Moody's. In addition, political pressure to limit tuition increases and little expectation for big improvements in state spending mean that public colleges will have to continue to cut costs for the foreseeable future, the analysts conclude.
U. of Texas president wants faculty input on future of online education
Hitting faculty and student inboxes today at the University of Texas at Austin is President Bill Powers's white paper on the future of "technology enhanced" education. He's calling the document a report, but Powers said in an interview it's really an invitation to jump into a dialogue this fall on how the highly visible flagship university will continue to develop -- and remain a leader in -- online and "blended learning." The latter term refers to online course content and methods of delivery complementing more traditional forms of instruction. "Flipped" classrooms, in which online content is used to prepare students outside class for more meaningful in-class engagement of the material, for example, are popular at UT. It's somewhat rare for a university president to take so public a role in discussions about technology and pedagogy.
In Victory for HBCU's, Department to Revisit Policy on PLUS Loans
The Education Department, yielding to pressure from historically black colleges and members of Congress, said Wednesday that it would reconsider recent changes to the standards it uses to award Parent PLUS loans. In a letter obtained by The Chronicle, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan told the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, Democrat of Ohio, that his agency would review its definition of "adverse credit" in rule-making sessions planned for next spring. In the meantime, he said, the department is taking steps to make it easier for parents who were initially denied a PLUS loan to receive one on appeal. Under the new policy, more families with minor blights on their credit histories will be approved for loans.
College Board Enters Expanding Common-Test Market
The College Board is redesigning four of its testing programs so they reflect the Common Core State Standards and can be used for accountability, a project that adds yet another player to the list of companies seeking to take on new roles in a shifting nationwide assessment landscape. The New York City-based nonprofit announced last year that it would align its college-entrance exam, the SAT, to the common standards. But its plans have expanded to include three other products: ReadiStep, aimed at 8th and 9th graders; the PSAT, typically taken by 10th and 11th graders; and Accuplacer, used by colleges to determine course placement for incoming students.
White House chief of black education is 'passionate' about his work
All through his years of schooling, David Johns was one of the few African-Americans in his classroom, from the high school in Los Angeles that was nearly an hourlong bus ride away -- but that his mother insisted he attend -- to Columbia University in New York. Even when he taught elementary school in Manhattan, not a single black student sat behind one of the desks before him. Now Johns sits behind a desk -- at the U.S. Department of Education, no less -- where it's his job to lead a presidential effort to improve education for African-American students everywhere. No small task, to be sure. The challenges are many, from a lack of high-quality programs to low test scores to the high dropout rate.
Our view: Tax increase an inevitability in Starkville
The Dispatch editorializes: "The shoutin' isn't over. In fact, it probably hasn't even begun. But it appears Starkville will be raising taxes to support its 2014 budget. During a budget workshop Tuesday, Ward 5 alderman and budget chairman Scott Maynard proposed a 3-mil increase in taxes, which would generate a little more than a half-million dollars to the city's budget. In Starkville tax hikes are about as popular as Hotty Toddy cheers. Even so, it is hard to make a rational argument against raising taxes. ...The evidence that the city needs to address infrastructure issues not related to that project and provide for modest raises for city employees is clear. ...When the shoutin' is indeed over, the need for the tax increase will be obvious and will be approved."
Wets win another city in formerly dry region
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "Northeast Mississippi's demographic and economic landscape changed again Tuesday when voters in the city of Ripley approved beer and alcohol sales in a two-question referendum requiring simple majorities. ...Ripley joins New Albany, Corinth and Tishomingo County in recent votes for alcohol sales. A recent change in Mississippi law allows cities of 5,000 or more in otherwise dry counties to hold legal liquor referendums. The population minimum for beer sales referendums is 2,500. ...The northeastern corner of the state once had proportionately more dry counties than other state regions, but changing attitudes and a realization that money flows out of dry counties to counties and cities with beer and alcohol sales has made an impact. ...The most important result of legal sales is control, usually resulting in bootleggers going out of business and a greater opportunity to prevent sales to the underaged."

Study sessions: Young Mississippi State players lean on veterans
Benardrick McKinney notices Tyler Russell's eyes lingering on his target. The sophomore linebacker adjusts to Russell's attempt to look him off. By now, McKinney is almost an expert at the little things the quarterback does. The repetitions against wily veterans serve as a window into an opponent's mind. "It's very helpful. Sometimes you're going so fast that you might forget that I need to look this way and then to the right," Russell said. "And then Nickoe (Whitley) is already on a dead sprint because he knows where you're going to throw the ball." Mississippi State's inexperience highlights the importance of the communication between the two units. Russell returns as MSU's starting quarterback but is without his top four targets from a year ago. The defense lost its leading tackler as well as three-quarters of its secondary.
Dillon Day brings football flavor to bowling alley with incredible trick shot
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen surprised his team during the second session of Wednesday's practice. Instead of practice, the Bulldogs went bowling. That's what center Dillon Day took to the lanes. The junior apparently wasn't finished with football as he lined in his stance as if quarterback Tyler Russell were the pins. All the shot gun snaps paid off. (Skip to 3:08 mark.)
Prescott an effective weapon from QB slot for Mississippi State
The depth chart says Dak Prescott is Mississippi State's backup quarterback. That's not how Tyler Russell sees it. Russell takes the first snap and gets the most snaps in every game, and the fifth-year senior has earned the starting role. He broke out last season, passing for nearly 3,000 yards and 24 touchdowns. Prescott played a complementary role last season as a redshirt freshman. He was utilized a lot in the red zone and in short-yardage situations, accounting for eight touchdowns running and throwing. Russell and Prescott have well-defined roles, but "backup" is not a word they use to describe Prescott.
Football helps bring Hughes family together
The college recruiting process of Jay Hughes made it plainly clear who runs the show in the Hughes household -- his mother Marion. Jay's father Tony, who has been the safeties coach and recruiting coordinator at Mississippi State University for five years, was specifically told by MSU coach Dan Mullen to not be involved in his son's recruiting. "When I arrived at MSU, I told Coach Mullen about my son and how he was going to be highly recruited at the Division 1 level," Tony Hughes said. "He immediately said you let us handle that because it'll be less stressful for everybody in your family." Jay Hughes suddenly had a interesting decision when it came to his college choice.
Mississippi State cross country teams train for long season ahead
Mississippi State University cross country coach Houston Franks understands his athletes are a little bit different mentally and it's intentionally. "There's no question about that -- we're real different," Franks says with a laugh. "It takes a special individual to want to like to do this and a lot of kids coming out of high school don't make it. It's a pretty monotonous, overuse sport on your body. Distance running basically comes down to who can get the fittest and who can endure the most pain." While a lot of fans will point to a college football player as the toughest athlete or the most conditioned to endure pain, the folks in the cross country circuit always like to have time for rebuttal. Franks detailed Monday this summer he is asking his men's cross country runners to 105-110 miles a week and his women's team members are being required to run 75-80 miles a week.
Gordon, Bulldogs face tough exhibition battle
The 2013 season is all about opportunity for Aaron Gordon and the Mississippi State University women's soccer team. For Gordon, the opportunity to come to Starkville to take his first job as a college head coach was too good to pass up, even though he inherited a program that went 58-103-14 in the past nine seasons. In that stretch, MSU advanced to the Southeastern Conference tournament once -- in 2004 -- and finished at or above .500 twice (2004, 2009). The Bulldogs have won five games in the SEC only one time (2004) in that span.
Mississippi State, Ole Miss hoops in Big/SEC Challenge
Both Mississippi State and Ole Miss men's basketball teams will open play in the inaugural Big 12/ SEC Challenge on Tuesday, Dec. 5. MSU will host TCU at 6 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPNU. The Bulldogs and Horned Frogs have split their two previous meetings. TCU won 66-65 in 1989, while MSU claimed a 95-70 victory the following season. Ole Miss travels to Kansas State for an 8 p.m. tipoff that will be aired on ESPN2.
MPB to air weekly junior college football program
The Mississippi Association of Colleges and Junior Colleges (MACJC) and have partnered with Mississippi Public Broadcasting to televise a 30-minute weekly football program spotlighting the state's 14 junior college football programs. "Inside Mississippi Juco Football" will televise 12 half-hour programs at 10 p.m. Wednesdays beginning Sept. 4 and concluding Dec. 4. "Mississippi's community and junior colleges have produced some of the state's most talented athletes," said MPB executive director Ronnie Agnew. "We are proud to be able to showcase the talented young people who play at this level."
Tony Dungy to speak at East Central Community College event in March 2014
Former National Football League head football coach Tony Dungy will be the guest speaker at an East Central Community College-sponsored program scheduled March 28, 2014, at the Neshoba County Coliseum in Philadelphia. Dungy, who will visit the EC campus in Decatur prior to the event, will participate in a fundraising effort for the Warrior football program, led by first-year head coach Ken Karcher, a longtime friend and associate. "The college is extremely fortunate to have someone of Coach Dungy's reputation and stature to visit our campus and community," said ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart. "I can say that our football program, our college and our community will be blessed by the presence of Tony Dungy this spring."
Want to See the Aggies Play the Crimson Tide? Get in Line
Texas A&M was the only team that beat Alabama on the field last season. This season, the Aggies are one of few schools that will also challenge the Crimson Tide in the stands. Alabama's waiting list of 29,000 for season tickets -- on top of the 84,000 it has already sold for this season -- would nearly fill San Jose State's Spartan Stadium. But A&M is catching up, maxing out season-ticket sales at 75,252 (capacity at Kyle Field is 82,589). The school has a season-ticket waiting list of 20,000 for when the stadium's expansion is completed in 2014 (projected capacity: 102,500). Across major college football, though, attendance has declined over the past two seasons amid rising ticket prices, complaints from fans about lopsided nonconference matchups and wider television coverage. In the SEC, in addition to Texas A&M and Alabama, the only teams with waiting lists are LSU, which has sold out its season tickets for the 10th straight year and has a waiting list of 1,500, and Mississippi State, which has about 300 waiting.
Dufner hopes acorns collected at PGA Championship can one day be oaks at Toomer's Corner
Jason Dufner returned to Auburn with the Wanamaker Trophy and a handful of acorns. The acorns, he hopes, will have a bigger impact on his alma mater than the PGA Championship he won Sunday by two strokes in Rochester, N.Y. He hopes one day the acorns, which he collected and handed to his wife, Amanda, while walking the course, turn into saplings, and later live oak trees that could be transplanted at Toomer's Corner, where the famous oaks were removed in April after they were poisoned by Alabama fan Harvey Updyke Jr., in late 2011.
UGA Parking Services selling football parking permits
With the University of Georgia's home football opener just a few weeks away, UGA Parking Services is preparing for football traffic by selling season-long parking permits. The season-long parking permit will cover all six home games. Available lots are the Carlton Street parking deck, North Campus parking deck and Performing Arts Center parking deck. Passes are $120 plus shipping and handling and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Single-game RV permits are available for select games at a cost of $100 per game.
Ordinance lays out rules renting out homes on Texas A&M game days
Hotel rooms have long since filled up for the impending Texas A&M football season, but unless you're operating a registered bed and breakfast, renting out your house or even a bedroom to traveling Aggies or fans of the visiting team is a violation of College Station ordinances. The homes that are rented out are considered bed and breakfasts in College Station, which are allowed in residential areas under a city ordinance but must be registered with the state as a business and must pay hotel/motel taxes. It must be the permanent residence of the owner, must be maintained with a residential appearance and is limited to four unrelated occupants. The property owner must remain on-site to operate the home the entire time it's being rented. Bob Cowell, planning director for College Station, said it is "pretty common" for college towns and vacation spots to regulate the renting activity in residential neighborhoods. He said the city's rule exists to keep business activity out of neighborhoods.
Harpo's seeks to close part of Cherry Street for select U. of Missouri football game days
The owners of Harpo's are picking up where Tiger Town organizers left off last year and asking the city of Columbia to close off Cherry Street in front of the popular bar on game days to create a "hospitality area" for football fans. "We saw Tiger Town as a hospitality area for the visiting" Southeastern Conference fans, Harpo's owner Kevin Fitzpatrick said. "Since Tiger Town failed, there's not a hospitality area that I'm aware of for visiting SEC teams." Fitzpatrick is asking the city to close a portion of Cherry between Tenth Street and an alleyway in front of the bar during the University of Missouri's home football games against SEC opponents. The open-container ordinance would be waived, and there would be beer tents and a grill set up on the block if the proposal is approved. SEC fans are known to travel, and they make football games more than a Saturday event, sometimes arriving Thursday.
EA Sports NCAA Football video game trademarks: Who's in, who's out and who's on the fence?
Across the country, universities and athletic conferences are weighing the risks and rewards of licensing their trademarks to the popular EA Sports NCAA football video game. The SEC told today it is no longer licensing its mark to EA. The Pac-12 and Big Ten also said today they have made the same decision. Last month, the NCAA opted not to renew with EA, citing the "current business climate and costs of litigation." The NCAA said it was confident in its legal position using trademarks in video games. EA currently faces three separate court cases over the use of athletes' names, images and likenesses, including the Ed O'Bannon suit in which the NCAA is a co-defendant. The lawsuits threaten to become class action and could change how athletes are compensated at the expense of the NCAA EA, and Collegiate Licensing Company, the nation's leading collegiate trademark licensing and marketing firm.
JOHN CLAY: Kentucky-Tennessee a tradition diminished by college sports money grab | John Clay (Opinion)
Columnist John Clay writes in the Lexington Herald-Leader: " Now they've gone too far. We get this whole conference expansion thing. More teams, more money. It's money that matters. That's why the SEC has expanded from 10 to 12 to 14 teams in the past couple of decades. It's why the league could accommodate, who knows, 20 teams eventually. More teams means more headaches, however, especially in scheduling. Not every school can play every school every year anymore. It's not feasible. It's not logical. It's not possible. ...And yet, when news leaked out of Knoxville late Tuesday night that, although the full SEC basketball schedule has yet to be announced, Kentucky will not visit Tennessee this year in basketball, well, Mike Slive and company have crossed a bridge too far. It will be the first time since 1952-53 that the Big Blue has not visited the Big Orange to play hoops."

The Office of Public Affairs provides the Daily News Digest as a general information resource for Mississippi State University stakeholders.
Web links are subject to change. Submit news, questions or comments to Jim Laird.
Mississippi State University  •  Mississippi State, MS 39762  •  Main Telephone: (662) 325-2323  •   Contact: The Editor  |  The Webmaster  •   Updated: August 15, 2013Facebook Twitter