Monday, August 26, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
Monday profile: Mississippi State team physician closes lengthy career
The doctor is no longer in. When longtime Mississippi State University team physician and Longest Student Health Center director Robert C. "Bob" Collins first came to the MSU campus it was 1977 and he planned on staying three to five years. "I really wanted to get into trauma," Collins said. "I wanted to be part of a big emergency room situation where a lot of things were always going on. What I later realized is that being a college football player can lead to many traumatic experiences as well." Collins retired in May after 35 years as part of the university's faculty. Starting in 1988, Collins served as head team physician for all sports, as well as head of the student health center.
Mississippi in running to be drone test site
Mississippi is bidding to be one of six sites nationwide to test unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones. State officials say the FAA should choose Mississippi because it has three manufacturers of unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as a flight laboratory at Mississippi State University.
Higher Education Briefs: Mississippi State in top 100 for research
Mississippi State University continues to rank among the nation's top research universities, according to new data from the National Science Foundation. The recently released NSF Higher Education Research and Development Survey for Fiscal Year 2011 places Mississippi State at 91st overall among public and private institutions based on $226.1 million in total research and development expenditures. Nationally, MSU is ranked 53rd in nonmedical school R&D expenditures. The land-grant institution remains a top 10 school in the U.S. for agricultural sciences, as well as a top 50 university in engineering. In computer science, MSU climbed from 39th to 37th. It also achieved top 30 status in social sciences, and rose from 82nd to 75th in environmental science, according to the NSF.
Higher Education Briefs: Top 50 humanities ranking noted
Frequently recognized for its achievements in science and engineering, Mississippi State is also a top 50 university for the humanities, according to a report from the National Science Foundation. The recently released NSF Higher Education Research and Development Survey for fiscal year 2011 places Mississippi State 49th among public and private institutions based on $1.7 million in research and development expenditures.
3Qs: Phil Hardwick MSU's Stennis Institute of Government
During last week's retreat for Tupelo City Council and Mayor Jason Shelton, Phil Hardwick, project manager at Mississippi State University's Stennis Institute of Government, led the group's efforts to set goals for the next four years and will continue the process on Sept. 7. Hardwick, who frequently assists groups and organizations with goal-setting activities, answered questions from Daily Journal reporter Robbie Ward.
Student ticket sales begin at Mississippi State
The college football season is almost here, and many say they could almost feel the excitement at Mississippi State Saturday afternoon. It was the annual "Student Football Ticket Day" in which students lined up and waited to buy their home tickets for the upcoming season. The students told us they didn't mind waiting for their tickets. "We got pretty good seats. The student section, we're allowed to sit in any part of it, so it's not assigned seats," said Emily Pogue, a student buying tickets Saturday.
Phishing email scam on MSU campus
Mississippi State University leaders want students to be aware of a phishing email scam that has been detected on campus. The phishing email message below is an example of an attempt to trick students into following a link which will steal their Netid and NetPassword. This style of phishing attack has been seen on MSU's campus recently and is being actively used.
State's ranchers welcome rain; relieves feed costs
Rains are taking some feed-cost pressure off Mississippi cattle producers as the end of summer approaches. Jane Parish, beef specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said summer droughts often reduce hay yields, and the resulting sparse grass in pastures can trigger hay feedings before the first frost hits. This year, rains across most of the state have had the opposite effect and kept grass abundant. "Whenever we get plenty of rain and pastures are looking good in August, cattle producers are more optimistic," she said. "However, even under promising conditions, prudent financial and production management of cattle herds is still important."
Sweet potato crop looks good in Mississippi
Growers attending Thursday's sweet potato field day got some good news: though the cool, wet spring delayed plantings, the mild summer has provided excellent growing conditions. The planting beds have exceeded expectations, Mississippi State University Extension Service specialist Stephen Meyers said. Heavy rains in North Carolina -- the nation's biggest sweet potato producer -- have cut down that state's crop, enhancing prospects for Mississippi and Louisiana producers to have an even more profitable year.
'Think Tank" opens at Mississippi State
A new facility at Mississippi State University's Mitchell Memorial Library is providing a technology-filled space for research by students and faculty. WCBI reports Presentation Room 3060 -- known as "The Think Tank" -- will accommodate up to eight people at a time.
Parents 'all in' for education: With debates behind them, stakeholders focusing on how to meet rising expectations
Twenty-six Oktibbeha County residents took to the Greensboro Center's auditorium stage Thursday with various concerns about an impending school merger, but the heart of their message was the same: consolidation provides an unprecedented opportunity to better educational efforts for all area children. Thursday marked the first public hearing scheduled by the Commission on Starkville Consolidated School Structure, and residents took two minutes each to expound on the numerous issues associated with joining Oktibbeha County School District with the Starkville School District. Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison, R-Oxford, said tough challenges remain for the study commission, but the positivity in the community should give traction to the area's most-pressing needs.
Wilson qualifies for Oktibbeha's prosecutor race
Local attorney Matthew Wilson qualified to run for Oktibbeha County's prosecuting attorney in the upcoming Nov. 5 special election. Wilson, 39, operates a general practice law office in Starkville and handles civil and criminal litigation. Wilson is a 1998 graduate of Mississippi State University's Bagley College of Engineering. He is licensed to practice law in Mississippi and Tennessee, and is also a registered patent attorney. The position opened up when Roy Carpenter Jr. ended his almost-30 year career as Starkville and Oktibbeha County's prosecutor in June.
Sales tax collections fall in Columbus, Starkville
Two of the Golden Triangle's main cities -- Starkville and Columbus - saw a decline in June sales tax collections, while West Point's returns marked a slight gain for the city. Starkville collected $442,302.86 in non-food, beverage and hotel taxes in June. That figure is the second-lowest grossing total of this calendar year but still the second-highest June total ever recorded by the city. The amount is equal to a .58 percent -- $2,593.92 -- decline from June 2012's total. Starkville collected about $128,247 from its restaurant tax in June.
Trouble for KiOR's biowaste-to-biocrude business
Problems are emerging for KiOR, the Texas-based alternative fuel company that began converting wood chips to fuel at its Columbus biorefinery earlier this year. KiOR has seen some intense scrutiny of its "Biomass Fluid Catalytic Cracking" process, the proposed technological solution to do what nature takes millions of years to do: use heat, plus a proprietary catalyst, to convert biological material into an analog of crude oil. (Editor's note: Greentech Media, an online publication devoted to covering emerging green and clean technologies, published a slightly different version of this article at
State use of one-time money declines
The Mississippi Legislature and Gov. Phil Bryant used $420.1 million in non-recurring funds for this year's $5.8 billion state-supported budget -- a small but significant drop in the eyes of state budget leaders in the use of one-time money. The current fiscal year, 2014, represents the smallest amount of one-time money used for the general fund budget since pre-recession fiscal year 2008, when the state was still flush in revenue from the rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. Reducing the one-time money used to fund recurring expenses has been a goal of House and Senate leaders and of fellow Republican Bryant. The Legislative Budget Committee, which consists of Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Speaker Philip Gunn and 12 other House and Senate leaders, will begin meeting in September to develop a budget proposal for the 2014 Legislature. One goal will be to continue to reduce reliance on one-time money.
Group pitches Mississippi for nuclear waste storage
The Mississippi Energy Institute is making a pitch to politicians and business leaders that Mississippi get into the used nuclear fuel storage business. MEI will make a presentation Monday to the state Senate Economic Development Committee then have a closed meeting with business and political leaders. Proponents say that since opponents appear to have shot down federal government plans to store the country's nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nev., there's an opportunity for Mississippi to bring billions of dollars and thousands of jobs by storing it here. They say, because the federal government has moved so slowly in creating centralized storage sites, nuclear plants, such as Grand Gulf in Port Gibson, are storing their used nuclear fuel in above-ground casks on site. But environmentalists say the idea is a bad one and note the uproar a similar proposal to store nuclear waste in the Richton salt domes caused in Mississippi in the 1980s.
THE STATE OF INCARCERATION: Task force looks to reduce prisoners, repeat offenders
Over the past five years, imprisonment has fallen in 29 states with double-digit decreases in 10 states. Over that same period, Mississippi's state's prison population has increased by 5 percent. A new 21-member Corrections and Criminal Justice Task Force that recently began meeting gives Mississippi an opportunity to change the way criminal offenders are sentenced, analyze recidivism -- the rate offenders return to prison after release -- and possibly save money. The task force has been given the job of studying sentencing and inconsistency in sentencing, mandatory minimums, cost-effectiveness, the rate prisoners return after release and crime deterrence among many other things.
THE STATE OF INCARCERATION: Other states try reforming sentencing, corrections
The Mississippi Legislature appointed a 21-member task force to study the state's justice system, corrections system and the relation of the two over the coming year and then make a suggestion to the Legislature in 2014. Rep. Greg Snowden, R-Meridian, author of the bill that created the task force, said the group of representatives, judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors and representatives from the PEW Charitable Trust, Southern Poverty Law Center and other advocacy groups will look at the disconnect between what happens in a court of law and how those orders are followed through the state's corrections system and back into the community.
Nunnelee cheered, grilled at forum in Columbus
A packed Lowndes County courtroom greeted Mississippi 1st District Congressman Alan Nunnelee for a town hall meeting Thursday evening. The second-term Republican fielded questions ranging from the 2012 Benghazi attack to a farm bill currently before the House that also has language relating to food stamps, but the two topics people wanted to hear him speak about most were the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) and immigration reform. Nunnelee's stop in Columbus was one of several he will make in the state over the next two weeks.
Gunn to take second Ideas Tour
Northeast Mississippians wanting to provide input to House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, for the 2014 legislative session need to mark Oct. 8 on their calendar. On that day, he will hold meetings with Mississippians in Oxford, Corinth and Starkville (Hunter Henry Center, Mississippi State University, 5:30 p.m.) Those meetings will be part of his 10-stop Ideas Tour across the state. Last year much of the focus was on health care issues, such as whether to expand Medicaid as part of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and on educational issues -- ranging from the need in the views of some of increased funding to other changes. Both education -- funding and other issues -- and health care are expected to be major issues during the 2014 session.
Mississippi party leaders strategizing for 2015
The chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party says he has one big goal for the 2015 state elections: Regaining control of the Legislature, thereby limiting Republican Philip Gunn to a single term as speaker of the House. "That's what I pray for every night," Rickey Cole told The Associated Press this past week in a phone interview from Phoenix, where he was attending a meeting of the Democratic National Committee. Two years before statewide elections, Cole and his Republican counterpart, Joe Nosef, are setting strategies for their parties.
State Higher Education Officials Discuss Change in Pell Grant Program
College leaders across Mississippi are discussing recent changes in the way low income families receive help paying for college. When Congress reduced the maximum amount a person can make to qualify for a Pell Grant from $32,000 to $23,000 annually, it put an automatic burden on colleges and universities in Mississippi. That's what Dr. Steve Katsinas, director of the University of Alabama Education Policy Center, told education leaders in Jackson last week. Katsinas recently conducted a study that shows new Pell Grant requirements have already eliminated nearly nine thousand potential students in Mississippi. Eric Clark, Executive Director of the state's Community College Board says a significant number of those reductions are in community college enrollment.
Ole Miss parking changes spark student criticism
The University of Mississippi community will experience changes to the parking system this year including a new layout for the parking lots on campus regarding visitor parking and construction, a price increase for registering a vehicle, online registration and replacing the parking decals with hangtags for registered vehicles. The parking department is stressing a decentralized parking system and is encouraging more students and faculty to take advantage of the Park and Ride service or to park in a lot and utilize the O.U.T. Bus to get to campus. Students have voiced their opinions on social media and in conversation since the parking changes were implemented. "I thought the parking on campus couldn't get any worse," senior accounting major Cameron Sweetwood said. "Apparently it can."
UMC to provide free ID theft protection after privacy breach
The University of Mississippi Medical Center will provide students with free insurance against identity theft following an accidental privacy breach, school officials announced Friday. On Wednesday, UMC mistakenly distributed the social security numbers, grade point averages, and other personal information of the schools' 2,279 students via an email that went to about 190 recipients. Of those, 115 opened the email, but UMC could not determine how many had opened the spreadsheet itself. Dr. James Keeton, vice chancellor for health affairs, said the school is evaluating several companies to purchase ID theft protection for all who were affected. It will cost the university "six figures," he said, but he declined to give a specific price. UMC plans to provide protection for one year. UMC spokesman Tom Fortner said affected students would be automatically enrolled in the insurance program at no cost to them.
USM's education programs receive accreditation
The University of Southern Mississippi has received accreditation for its programs in education administration. The programs are headquartered in the university's College of Education and Psychology and are designed to prepare principals and superintendents for administrative leadership in school systems.
Southern Miss hosts annual Corporate Challenge
Dozens of people gathered at Southern Miss Saturday for an annual fun and competitive event to build team spirit for the United Way's upcoming annual campaign. The 23rd annual Corporate Challenge at Southern Miss gave nine different teams of competitors a chance to test their skills in events such as volleyball, a basketball shoot-out, a sprint relay and the tug-of-war.The challenge is held each year just before the United Way hosts its annual campaign kick-off which, this year, will be held on Sept. 5 at Southern Oaks and Gardens. Last year's fund-raising goal of $1.4 million was reached.
Alcorn State eyes growth in Natchez
Alcorn President M. Christopher Brown II said he is paying close attention to the university's Natchez campus as a prime location for additional programs and course offerings as enrollment continues to grow. "It may be the case that the growth model for the university is not in the Lorman location, but in our Natchez and Vicksburg locations," Brown said. "And that's something we're really excited about." Part of the university's plan to grow its other campuses includes offering students more opportunities to continue their education.
Alcorn president plans road trip
Alcorn State University President Christopher Brown II is planning a 5-city tour to meet with alumni. The tour begins Sept. 15 and includes stops in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Dallas.
Mississippi Valley State University putting students in hotels
Mississippi Valley State University has followed Jackson State in having to secure off-campus housing for its students. Because of increasing demand for on-campus housing and structural problems with one residence hall, Mississippi Valley will house more than 100 of its upperclassmen off-campus in local hotels. MVSU has leased space in two hotels -- Three Rivers Inn & Suites and the Rodeway Inn in Greenwood. Earlier this month, Jackson State did something similar. The university is leasing the Travelodge, located at 390 Greymont Ave., to offset the housing shortage. According to a Valley news release, university staff will man the off-campus sites 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A campus shuttle service will transport students to and from the Itta Bena campus.
'Indigo Girl' and dad to speak at Millsaps College
Emily Saliers and Amy Ray are now 50 and 49 respectively. For those who grew up in the 1990s listening to them perform as 'The Indigo Girls' that may come as a surprise. One half of the duo will be visiting Jackson next month as part of the Millsaps College Summers Lecture. The event "The Harmony of Liturgy & Life: A Day with Don & Emily Saliers" will be held Tuesday, Sept. 17, in the Gertrude C. Ford Academic Complex room 215. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. The event will continue throughout the day. Saliers will bring her dad along for the event. Don Saliers is the William R. Cannon distinguished professor of theology and worship emeritus at Candler School of Theology.
Aspire Helps Single Parents Finish College
A nonprofit group with a new affiliate chapter in the Jackson metropolitan area seeks to assist low- and moderate-income single parents in finishing college. That was the message this morning from Barbara Pitts Riley, a field representative from Aspire, based in Fayetteville, Ark. The organization, which started in 2008, now has affiliates in eight states including Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and California. In Mississippi, the first affiliate in Coahoma County has already assisted a dozen students since 2011 with scholarships of $1,000 per semester; six of those students have graduated. For low-income single parents, completing college can have long-term effects for their children.
Alabama journalism professor Jennifer Greer named interim dean of communication college
University of Alabama journalism professor Jennifer Greer has been named interim dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences. Greer, the chair of the Department of Journalism, is scheduled to assume the interim role Sept. 1, according a message to the college's faculty and staff from Interim Provost Joe Benson. She will replace outgoing Dean Loy Singleton, who is scheduled to retire Oct. 31. Greer will work with Singleton until his retirement, when she will take full responsibility for the college until a permanent replacement is found, according to Benson's announcement. Greer noted that as the interim dean she will be ineligible to apply for the permanent position. She has been chair of the journalism department since 2007.
Alexander impresses at LSU by being visible, accessible
Eight weeks into his new job as LSU's president, and King Alexander finds himself sweating and surrounded by freshmen. It's four days before Monday's start of classes, and he is walking from one part of campus to another carrying boxes, helping students move into their dorm rooms. It's one of the traditions he brought over from his previous stop as president of California State University in Long Beach. It's also one of those things that is supposed to get noticed. In his brief time in Baton Rouge, Alexander has done a few other things that have drawn attention. His most dramatic move so far was announcing pay raises and one-time salary bumps of up to 4 percent of the vast majority of LSU employees statewide.
Pastides' report card: More successes than stumbles at U. of South Carolina
Longtime University of South Carolina trustee Eddie Floyd is never shy about speaking his mind -- even if it might ruffle a few Gamecock feathers. And he's blunt in his opinions about president Harris Pastides, who celebrated his fifth anniversary leading the school this month. "USC is on a roll," the Florence surgeon said. "The university is in the best shape in any period of time that I have been associated with it. I knew he would do a good job but not as good a job as he has done." Under Pastides -- the New York-bred, Yale-educated son of Cypriot immigrants -- South Carolina's flagship university has reached record enrollment, added faculty, hit fundraising marks, built up its endowment, and had its most successful run in athletics. The school also has undertaken nearly $600 million in new construction and renovations. "There is across campus a strong current of optimism," USC provost Michael Amiridis said. "We are expecting some of the best days of the university lie ahead." Read more here:
Are free digital textbooks in the future for U. of Georgia students?
University of Georgia students, and some of their professors, have been trying for years to beat the high cost of textbooks, but now they're getting institutional backing. Students in a couple of UGA introductory biology courses are getting free digital textbooks this semester thanks to a $25,000 University System of Georgia grant. Students actually broke into applause when they heard on the first day of class they wouldn't have to plop down about $100 each for a biology textbook, said Eddie Watson, director of UGA's Center for Teaching and Learning. The university system has launched an initiative to increase the number of Georgia college graduates called "Complete College Georgia," and one of the issues is simply the high cost of college. A third of UGA students said they had unmet financial needs in a 2011 survey and expensive textbooks contribute to that high cost, Watson said.
UGA spreads word about health insurance exchanges
The University of Georgia took on a big job when it signed on to help uninsured Georgians shop for health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act, which requires Americans to have health insurance or face a penalty by next year. "There are 1.7 million uninsured people in Georgia, and our goal is to get as many of them signed up before the deadline as possible. It's a huge job," said Sheri Worthy, head of the department of housing and consumer economics in UGA's College of Family and Consumer Sciences. College administrators applied for a $1.66 million federal grant to train and deploy "health navigators" in May, a month after the federal government issued a request for proposals to participate in the massive national consumer education project. The proposal fit neatly into one of the missions of the college and UGA's Cooperative Extension Service.
U. of Kentucky president, band welcome 2,200-plus students during K Week
The University of Kentucky campus was busy with new students Friday as more than 2,200 moved into residence halls. Students also moved in on Wednesday, and around 800 more are expected this weekend, totalling 5,000 students for the week. The UK Marching Band along with President Eli Capilouto and his wife, Dr. Mary Lynne Capilouto, greeted families and students on Friday, helping them get settled into their new homes. Friday's move-in marked the beginning of K Week, which is the university's fall welcome week for new and transferring students.
Texas A&M crafting a bigger, better engineering school
Texas A&M University administrators are not content with having the best engineering program in the state. Through their highly ambitious 25 by 25 initiative, they seek to more than double the amount of engineers A&M produces and become the largest engineering school in the nation. It's a fittingly grandiose goal for a university that boasts of record undergraduate populations, Google partnerships, lucrative Department of Defense contracts and what will soon be one of the largest football stadiums in the world. The goal of 25 by 25 is to grow the engineering school to 25,000 students by the year 2025. That would mean that one of A&M's 10 colleges, Engineering, would be larger than the whole of other universities. Comparatively, the University of Mississippi has 22,000 students, Georgia Tech has 22,000, Baylor has 15,000 and Southern Methodist University has 11,000.
Reactivation of Corps outfits unites former, current cadets at Texas A&M
Already walking in his father's senior boots, Brian Kallina can now continue to follow in his footsteps as part of his dad's former unit, disbanded since 1984. The Texas A&M Corps of Cadets on Friday reactivated two former outfits in the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band, C-Company and C-Battery, to accommodate a growing number of cadets at the university. A third unit, Squadron 4, will hold its reinstatement ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday outside the Sanders Corps of Cadets Center, which will bring the number of outfits to 42, not including special units. "It's really exciting and, honestly, if C-Battery had been there my freshman year, I would've joined just because my dad was in that outfit," said Brian Kallina, a 21-year-old A&M senior and recruiting officer.
Mizzou Advantage adds new leaders
The University of Missouri has named two new facilitators for the campus interdisciplinary effort known as Mizzou Advantage. Michael Gold, research professor of agroforestry and associate director in the Center for AgroForestry, has been appointed the education facilitator for Mizzou Advantage. Gold will work with MU faculty to develop new interdisciplinary instructional programs for each area of the program. Mizzou Advantage -- which focuses on four key areas related to the future of health, media, energy and food -- now has seven interdisciplinary courses available to students. Mike McKean, associate professor of journalism and director of the Reynolds Journalism Institute Futures Lab, was appointed the facilitator for the Media of the Future area.
Exhibit highlights forgotten places, features work by 13 U. of Missouri students
A collection of photos showcasing Missouri, Pennsylvania and Texas will be on display in Columbia. From Sept. 2 to 26, the "Revealing Place" exhibit will be shown in the Bingham Gallery in the Fine Arts Building at the University of Missouri. The project looks to "explore themes that are cultural barometers of their respective communities," according to its website, and showcases an array of people who are typically overlooked by the rest of the community. The exhibit will feature the work of 13 MU photographers, including recent graduate Brooke Morris. Morris photographed a group of homeless people living near Interstate 70 in a community of sheds, tents and other shelters, capturing images of their day-to-day life.
Obama Singles Out For-Profit Colleges and Law Schools for Criticism
President Obama took a swipe at law schools and for-profit colleges on Friday, the second day of his college bus tour, suggesting that legal education could be just as effective if it took two years rather than three, and assailing proprietary colleges that leave students in debt and ill prepared for a job. Obama, who has tended to leave direct public criticism of for-profit-college abuses to others in his administration, also cited his concern over the treatment of military veterans and service members.
Social media education absent from orientation sessions despite new arrests
More students are being disciplined for sharing incendiary remarks through social media, drawing outraged responses from peers who say online interactions don't dictate offline behavior. Despite the conflicting ideas of how students should behave on the Internet, social media etiquette is almost never discussed during first-year orientation. "The travesty of all of this is that people -- especially young people -- don't understand their digital interactions create tremendous legal consequences," said Bradley Shear, a Bethesda, Md.-based lawyer who specializes in social media and Internet law. From a legal perspective, Shear said courts have acted within their rights to sanction people for online threats, however vague they may be.
Rising Debt Engulfs Colleges as Well as Students
President Obama took aim last week at rising levels of student borrowing, but two graduate students in sociology say the real culprit for growing college debt is Wall Street. In a report posted last week on the Web site of the Scholars Strategy Network, Charlie Eaton and Jacob Habinek, doctoral candidates at the University of California at Berkeley, assert that the expanding burden of tuition debt is "partly driven by the indebtedness universities have taken on." Public research universities have passed along their own debt to students by raising tuition and fees by an average of 56 percent from 2002 to 2010, say the authors.
Obama plan for affordable higher education could hurt Mississippi
The Clarion-Ledger editorializes: "President Barack Obama last week unveiled his plan to make higher education more affordable, the cornerstone of which is a new ranking system that ties federal aid to a school's performance. At first glance, this sounds like a good idea. The rating system would look at the accessibility of the school (such as how many students receive Pell Grants), affordability (such as tuition costs, scholarships and loan debt) and outcomes (including graduation rates, graduate earnings and advanced degrees of college graduates). These three areas are all important measures of a college or university's success, and certainly students should be concerned about them. However, tying federal financial aid to a rating system could cause unintended consequences that would hurt students who find themselves in the mid-range of both income and academic achievement."
OUR OPINION: Bond bill plan holds promise of a return
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "The trustees of Mississippi's eight public universities this week approved a request for $100 million in annual capital spending against a prioritized list of $634.4 million in that would be spent on 80 projects... The $100 million request grows out of legislation passed during the 2013 session designed to guarantee a steady, reasonable capital investment in university projects including a new $30 million School of Medicine teaching building in Jackson, $20 million library addition and a new environmental and civil engineering building at Mississippi State, to $20 million for a new recreation center and transportation hub on the south campus at the University of Mississippi. ...The projects all represent intellectual investment, but on a more quantifiable basis, each project represents jobs, taxes paid and business conducted in the state. Quality is costly but the return is profitable in many ways."
DENNIS SEID: Troubling news hits close to home | Dennis Seid (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Dennis Seid writes: "The future is uncertain for Furniture Brands International, the conglomerate that owns furniture companies Lane, Broyhill, Thomasville, Drexel Heritage, Maitland-Smith, Pearson, Henredon, Hickory Chair and Laneventure. ...Lane's fate is tied to its parent company. And Lane has deep roots in Northeast Mississippi. Action Industries was founded in 1970 in Tupelo by Bo Bland and Mickey Holliman. Today, Lane has some 1,300 workers in Northeast Mississippi. Understandably, they and their families are worried. And as their friends, neighbors and fellow Northeast Mississippians, we should worry with and for them."
GEOFF PENDER: Lawmakers push 'dramatic reforms' for education | Geoff Pender (Opinion)
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "Key lawmakers want to retool the state Department of Education, based on a watchdog report, and contemplate removing its employees from state Personnel Board protection to ease firing and shifting of positions. ...The move is driven in part by the long-held belief, particularly among GOP lawmakers, that K-12 education has had 'entrenched bureaucracy' that stymies reform and blocks resources from getting down to the classroom. It's also driven by a recent report from the PEER Committee, the state's legislative watchdog agency. GOP leaders say they want the state's education manpower and lucre in the classroom, not administration and bureaucracy. Some Democratic lawmakers and education advocates say the Legislature should focus on providing adequate funding, and leave much of the rest to education administrators."
CHARLIE MITCHELL: Community reporters do the legwork for democracy
Longtime Mississippi journalist Charlie Mitchell writes: "Right now, Mississippi is fortunate to have several journalists and newspapers and at least one television station (Dan Modisett at WLBT in Jackson) that are not passive about good government. They are still filling their traditional role while all around them 'major media' outlets shift to aggregating news, pack journalism, celebrity hype or depending on opinion and commentary programming to fill their pages and air time. More power to them for swimming against the current. People don't seek public office to betray the public's trust, but the temptations are plentiful. A free press was ordained as a fourth, unofficial branch to help democracy succeed. It's really not optional. If no one is doing the legwork, looking at the records, communities will suffer."
SID SALTER: Obama's higher ed proposals could significantly impact Mississippi
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "During a speech at New York's University of Buffalo, President Barack Obama called for a federal ratings system as a guideline for broader reforms of federal student financial aid. The proposal sounds good, but the devil as always is in the details. But it's crystal clear that any federal rating system that is tied to the availability of federal student financial aid will be suspect for Mississippi universities and community colleges. ...While the national average of college students receiving Pell Grants is 27 percent, the average in Mississippi is much higher --- ranging in the 2008-2009 school year from 28 percent at Mississippi State University to 37 percent at Delta State University to 38 percent at the University of Southern Mississippi to 44 percent at Mississippi University for Woman to 68 percent at Jackson State University, 71 percent at Alcorn State University and 76 percent at Mississippi Valley State University. Data was unavailable for the University of Mississippi."

Mississippi State QB Russell focused on more than just stats
Tyler Russell owns 11 Mississippi State single-season records. An average 2013 puts his name atop six career records, including passing yards, touchdowns, completions and total offense. But expectations entering his senior season emphatically overstep average. "That's what I want from Tyler. That's what we want though from all our guys," MSU coach Dan Mullen said. "That's what we want as a program. I want to have the best season, as a team, at Mississippi State ever. We want to do those things. That's the foundation of your program."
Mississippi State's Russell hopes to apply lessons learned
Tyler Russell is able to watch himself on film in the final two games of the 2012 season and smile at what he's learning. However, it took some time for the Mississippi State University fifth-year senior quarterback to get in the proper mind-set to accurately evaluate what went so wrong in losses to the University of Mississippi and Northwestern University to culminate a disappointing finish. "I finally looked at that in the summer because it motivated me to get better and know what my weaknesses are," Russell said. "Quite frankly, my main weakness is not understanding at times that I'm not a superhero and can't force things that aren't there."
Young Mississippi State running backs add depth behind Perkins
With every carry the wheels in their head turned faster than their feet on the ground. Derrick Milton and Josh Robinson both produced out of the backfield as freshmen last year. Milton averaged 4.9 yards a carry. Robinson topped that at 6.1. As third-year sophomores, they no longer think, just execute. "I was still thinking of what step do I take? Which linebacker do I got?" Milton said. "Now it's like a reaction. Boom, boom, boom. I got it." The duo represents half of the running backs who return to team for 2013.
Mullen has tried to create family for assistant coaches at Mississippi State
Home is foreign concept for college football assistant coaches. Mississippi State University defensive line coach David Turner describes his 28-year career, which includes stops at 12 schools, as the life of a traveling gypsy family. As he returns to MSU with his wife, Yvette and daughters Bianca and Alexyia for his second stint at MSU, he said he is excited about the support he has received, but he knows public sentiment can turn quickly. "I've had more people tell me, 'Welcome back home,' and I don't sometimes know if that's good or bad," Turner said. "Out of all of the spots, this has probably been the most comfortable spots for me and my family, so I'm probably as close to being at home here at MSU than anywhere else."
Football season openers on national radar | Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
College football is back this week, and Northeast Mississippi's SEC teams both figure prominently into the early action. Ole Miss opens Thursday night at 8:15 on ESPN in an SEC game at Vanderbilt, while Mississippi State faces No. 13 Oklahoma State in a neutral-site matchup at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
BRAD LOCKE: Winning opener could fuel Bulldogs | Brad Locke (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Brad Locke writes: "For the first time in years, Mississippi State has a season-opening game that's actually worth watching for those who aren't die-hard fans. Let's be honest: Opening against a Jackson State or Memphis just doesn't get the juices going. In fact, there's been little to note about MSU's non-conference schedule over the past few years. ...This weekend, the opponent is Oklahoma State, which is ranked No. 13 in the nation and picked by many to win the Big 12 title. The Cowboys boast one of the nation's best offenses, having averaged 45.7 points per game last year. It's a tall challenge for MSU, which is a nearly two-touchdown underdog. I'm sure some fans would rather the Bulldogs play someone less imposing, but if you want to be a big-time program, you need to play big-time non-conference games -- at least one a year, anyway."
College Football's Most Dominant Player? It's ESPN
The nation's annual rite of mayhem and pageantry known as the college football season begins this week, and Saturday will feature back-to-back-to-back marquee matchups. At the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, last year's national champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide, will battle the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic. Earlier in the day in Houston, Oklahoma State will play Mississippi State in the Texas Kickoff Classic. And that night in Arlington, Tex., Louisiana State and Texas Christian will face off in the Cowboys Classic. The games will not just be televised by ESPN. They are creations of ESPN -- demonstrations of the sports network's power over college football. Last fall, ESPN’s schedulers realized they needed a high-impact game for Thanksgiving night. They also knew they could persuade Mississippi, Mississippi State and the SEC with an enticing pitch: if the game returned to Thursday, it would not be lost in the glut of big rivalries on Thanksgiving Saturday.
Sullivan gets milestone in Mississippi State win
There's no hiding the impact a player has on a team when they have 64 career points. Mississippi State senior Elisabeth Sullivan was able to reach that mark in soccer to set the school record on Sunday and the Bulldogs shut out the Arkansas State Red Wolves 5-0 at the MSU Soccer Field. Getting a milestone in a winning effort was very satisfying for Sullivan.
Southern Miss AD: Golden Eagles can still win big
Southern Mississippi's new athletic director Bill McGillis took a long look out his office window at Roberts Stadium, admired the recently-finished renovations at the 36,000-seat facility, and then plainly laid out his vision for the Golden Eagles. "Our expectation and aspiration is to win championships and be highly competitive at a conference and national level," McGillis said. "I believe we can do that. I wouldn't be here if I didn't think so." The 50-year-old McGillis took the Southern Miss job in July after six years as an associate athletic director at South Florida. The veteran administrator was also the AD at Evansville from 2002 to 2007. McGillis has two major challenges in the coming years.
Delta State player gets a lesson from his mistake
With many Delta State University fans in an uproar over last week's DUI arrest of quarterback Dennis Robertson, it is important to university leaders that everyone understand one man does not make up a university. DSU Assistant Athletic Director for External Affairs Matt Jones said the university as well as the athletics program does "take discipline seriously." Last week Delta State Head Football Coach Todd Cooley announced in a press release the "indefinite game suspension of junior quarterback Dennis Robertson on Tuesday, Aug. 20 for violation of team rules." Jones reassured that this situation is not being taken lightly.
Texas A&M rules would make it difficult to suspend Johnny Manziel
Legal experts say rights given to all Texas A&M students will now make it very difficult to keep Johnny Manziel from playing this upcoming season after Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp's public comments proclaiming his innocence. Last week, Sharp told various outlets that Manziel is not guilty of selling his autograph. He told The Eagle, "There's no doubt in my mind that Johnny Manziel is innocent." The Texas A&M Student Conduct Code guarantees certain rights to students. Section 24 spells out the code's rules and regulations for students found to have committed or attempting to commit misconduct, which expressly includes violations of NCAA regulations. A sports law professor and lawyer who has sued the NCAA over students' rights agrees the university would be in a difficult situation if the NCAA were to find Manziel violated amateurism status, since Sharp's strong-worded comments indicate the university would not find he violated NCAA rules by a preponderance of evidence.
John Diamond, Man Behind Jeff Long Speech, Leaving U. of Arkansas
The University of Arkansas announced Friday that John Diamond, the man behind Jeff Long's acclaimed Bobby Petrino announcement, will be leaving the UA at the end of September 2013. The UA did not give a reason for Diamond's move, but Diamond told the Arkansas Times that Chris Wyrick, vice chancellor for university advancement, informed him via text message Friday morning he would no longer be working at UA. "I believe it's the result of strong philosophical and material differences over what it means to be a transparent and publicly accountable university," Diamond told the Times. Diamond is the associate vice chancellor for university relations in the Division of University Advancement. He and his University Relations team were responsible for crafting the speech made by the UA athletic director in April 2012 announcing the firing of Petrino, the former Razorback head football coach. That speech was a major factor in the UA's winning a "Best Crisis Management Award" from PR Daily earlier this year.
Lottery using U. of Florida, Florida State football to sell tickets
Two of Florida's long-time college football rivals are now coming together in a new contest: To sell lottery tickets. The Florida Lottery is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars so it can use the logos of the University of Florida and Florida State University on a new $2 scratch-off lottery game aimed squarely at football fans. It's been routine for years to have the Florida Lottery advertise at football games and do promotional events with state colleges. But paying to use the team logos on scratch-off tickets marks a major step up from past efforts. Lottery Secretary Cynthia O'Connell -- the widow of a former UF president -- called the new scratch-off game a way to celebrate the rivalry between the two schools.

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