Thursday, September 5, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
Annual Downtown Block Party to kick off big football weekend
Before Mississippi State University begins its home football schedule against Alcorn State University Saturday afternoon, the Greater Starkville Development Partnership will kickoff the 2013 home football season in style with the Downtown Block Party on Friday. This is the third year for the Block Party, which also kicks off the Partnership's New South Weekends. The event will be held in the College Park Shopping Center from 6-8 p.m. Jennifer Prather, special events and projects coordinator for the Partnership, said Starkville was excited to welcome the influx of football fans.
Sherrill Returns for Cowbell Yell
Mississippi State University will welcome former head football coach Jackie Sherrill back to Davis Wade Stadium at Cowbell Yell 2013 on Sept. 5 at 10 p.m. Fans should enter The Junction on the south side of the stadium for the pep rally celebrating the upcoming home football game, the first of the 2013-2014 season. "Cowbell Yell is a great event to excite the student body for the football season ahead and pull together support for the Bulldogs," said Amelia Treptow, assistant director for Student Activities. "The Mississippi State University Student Association is thrilled to announce that the featured guest speaker at Cowbell Yell is former head coach Jackie Sherrill."
Weather-shortened crop foretells stronger prices for sweet potatoes
With sweet potato harvest expected to swing into high gear following the Labor Day holiday, growers in Mississippi and Louisiana are looking forward to higher prices occasioned by a weather-shortened crop in North Carolina, the nation's largest producer. Acreage in the state is down this year, according to figures compiled by Benny Graves, executive director of the Mississippi Sweet Potato Council, and Steve Meyers, northeast regional Extension specialist at Pontotoc, who serves as the state's sweet potato specialist.
Starkville aldermen scale back tax increase by almost a mill
The Starkville Board of Aldermen's message to city department heads was simple: Be prepared to deal with more budget cuts as we trim back a proposed tax increase. Aldermen began the process Tuesday to scale back an almost 3-mill property tax increase by about a point by asking the city clerk to prepare a new budget based on a 21.98-mill ad valorem rate. Currently, Starkville operates a 20-mill ad valorem levy. To pull off the millage decrease while still tending to increasing expenditures, Ward 5 Alderman Scott Maynard proposed siphoning funding from vacant city positions, including the unfilled chief administrative officer's spot; delaying a Starkville Police Department hire for six months; and moving monies around to satisfy a recently approved Starkville Parks Commission budgetary increase.
Panel balks at transportation tax hike
A task force formed to look at possible sources of additional revenue for the state's transportation needs seemed reluctant Wednesday to consider any tax increases. Instead, groups represented on the task force, created by the state Senate earlier this year, suggested additional study of the state's transportation needs and of the Department of Transportation to determine whether it is efficiently using existing revenue. Senate Transportation Chair Willie Simmons, D-Cleveland, who chairs the task force, had hoped to secure more input about possible sources of revenue at Wednesday's hearing from members. The task force includes business leaders, including representatives from groups such as the Farm Bureau and Manufacturing Association and others with an interest in transportation.
Gas tax hike for roads explored
Two more tax options were floated Wednesday during a state Senate transportation task force meeting to raise the $400 million to $600 million officials say is needed to maintain the state's roads and bridges. Both options call for raising taxes on gasoline and increasing other fees. Senate Transportation Chairman Willie Simmons, D-Cleveland, co-chair of the task force, said something has to be done to raise revenue and the time to do it is now because the closer it gets to election time in 2015, legislators aren't going to want to propose raising taxes. The two options floated Wednesday would raise roughly $602 million, much of it funded with gas and diesel fuel tax increases of 7 cents per gallon each, a $10 tire tax and a $5 auto registration fee.
Business groups cool to raising taxes for roads
Business groups still aren't ready to raise Mississippi's taxes to repair and build highways and bridges. In August, Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Willie Simmons, D-Cleveland, proposed a $700 million menu of taxes and asked other members of a study committee examining road needs to offer their own alternative revenue and spending plans. Highway officials say the state needs hundreds of millions of dollars a year to repair existing roads and bridges and to build new ones. Jay Moon, CEO of the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, said he needs a better sense of how road and bridge builders would choose to use a limited amount of money, rather than just saying they will fix everything.
Millions still struggle with hunger in U.S., USDA finds
Some 17.6 million U.S. households had trouble feeding their family members at times last year as "food insecurity" remained at near-record levels for the fifth straight year, according to a government report released Wednesday. More than one-third of these households -- 7 million -- suffered from "very low food security," in which usual eating patterns were disrupted and consumption was reduced because of a lack of money and access to food. Although the economy is improving, enrollment in the SNAP program continues to hover at the near-record levels reached during the recent recession. Congressional Republicans are pushing to cut the SNAP program by $40 billion as part of a new farm bill. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday's report underscored the importance of the SNAP program in keeping food hardship from rising.
Top meat safety official fires back at poultry change critics
A federal poultry inspector could spend three days staring at a chicken and never see a foodborne pathogen. So the idea that a modernized poultry inspection system that involves faster line speeds and fewer federal inspectors would somehow put the public in any more danger is absurd, says the country's top meat safety official. Elisabeth Hagen, undersecretary for food safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, sat down for an exclusive interview with POLITICO on Wednesday morning in the wake of a report from the Government Accountability Office that suggests the department should provide more information on the impact of its plans to expand its HACCP-based Improvement Project.
Nunnelee says 'No' on Syria; wants more info
On Tuesday at noon, Mississippi 1st District Congressman Alan Nunnelee said that if he had to vote "right now" on whether the United States should intervene in Syria, his vote would be "No." "As I evaluate the situation I can tell you that I'm going to be listening to both public statements and some of the private security briefings, with one question in mind. That is, What is the threat to the United States?" Nunnelee said. The second-term Republican spoke to the Columbus Rotary Club at the Lion Hills Golf Club on Tuesday.
Harper says no so far on Syria strike
The Obama administration so far has put forth no convincing argument that would compel U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper to vote for military action in Syria, he said on Wednesday. "We're still looking for a plan," the third-term Republican told the Journal. "We want the president to tell us what is your plan. Not just your potential exit strategy, but your entrance strategy. What are you hoping to accomplish?" Harper said it was disconcerting that civilians are dying, especially children. But, he said the administration has offered no plans whatsoever that represent a long-term solution. "At this point there's not a lot of trust in this administration," he said.
Banned Noxubee County Dem exec Ike Brown returns to position
Six years after a federal judge banned Noxubee County Democratic Executive Chairman Ike Brown and his associates from having a role in running elections in the county, Brown is back as chairman. "Nothing has changed; I'm back as head of the Noxubee County Democratic Executive Committee," Brown said last week. In 2007, U.S. District Judge Tom Lee issued a ban as part of the remedies to satisfy his opinion that black political leaders in Noxubee County violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act by discriminating against white voters. The U.S. Department of Justice brought the federal lawsuit, the first of its kind in the country, accusing black political leaders of discriminating against white voters in the majority black county.
MUW, EMCC Hold Dual Mock Drills
You could be anywhere when an emergency or disaster strikes without notice but having a plan of action can save your life. The Columbus Lowndes County Emergency Management Agency coordinated a mock disaster Wednesday morning on MUW's campus. East Mississippi Community College also participated in the event, allowing first responders the chance to react when there is more than one crisis to be handled at a time. A mock bomb threat was called in to EMCC while an explosion was simulated at MUW. MUW Nursing students got the chance to utilize their emergency aide skills with injured volunteers.
U. of Southern Mississippi to name pathway for Armstrong, Branch
The first two women to integrate the University of Southern Mississippi will soon have a campus space named after them, Southern Miss President Rodney Bennett announced Wednesday at a media roundtable. Southern Miss officials on Friday will dedicate the recently completed pedestrian pathway between the Liberal Arts Building and Joseph Greene Hall to Gwendolyn Elaine Armstrong and Raylawni Branch. Branch and Armstrong were the first two black students to integrate Southern Miss in 1965 during a period of intense racial turmoil.
Staying alive: $18 million grant keeps USM bio-med initiative going
An $18 million grant renewal will ensure the University of Southern Mississippi and partner institutions can continue biomedical initiatives designed to have a lasting impact on the health Mississippians, the university said in announcing the award that brings the total received for the Biomedical Research Mission since 2001 to nearly $54 million. The funding comes from a national program developed by the National Institutes of Health called IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence. Southern Miss serves as the lead university in the Mississippi INBRE network which includes all five research-intensive institutions: Southern Miss, University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, Jackson State University and University of Mississippi Medical Center. The network also includes six partner undergraduate institutions: Alcorn State University, Millsaps College, Mississippi College, Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi Valley State University and Tougaloo College.
Former governor regales Delta State audience with his wisdom
People sat on the floor, in the aisles, on the stairs, behind the podium on the stage, and some even stood in the back to hear the honorable former Mississippi Gov. William F. Winter speak. Jobe Auditorium at Delta State University was packed Tuesday with students, faculty, staff, and members of the community for the first speaker of DSU President Bill Laforge's new Colloquia program, an ongoing series of prominent speakers. "He's a legend in government, politics and law," said Laforge. With a positive tone throughout his speech, Winter discussed the beauty and importance of the Delta. He explained that due to the forward thinking at Delta State, the university has helped progress Mississippi society.
Bomgar Across America kicks off next week
A bright orange bus will be on the campus of Belhaven University in Jackson Thursday to kick off a coast-to-coast tour to help celebrate Ridgeland-based Bomgar's 10-year anniversary. The Bomgar Across America Tour will begin at 11 a.m. with Belhaven faculty and students alongside Bomgar employees and Gov. Phil Bryant. The remote technology support software company will then send the bus to 45 stops in 27 cities, from Mississippi to Pennsylvania to California. They have 7,500 clients, including over 600 in higher education. Belhaven University President Dr. Roger Parrott added, "When Joel started this business on our campus, we thought it was a way for him to get through school, but his vision and determination grew his dream into one of the South's leading companies. We are incredibly proud of them, and along with Joel, are thrilled that a large percentage of his employees are also Belhaven graduates."
Major parking changes on tap for Ole Miss home football games
In just a few days, the streets of Oxford will be packed with Ole Miss fans heading to the football game. That is no different than years past, but one thing that will be different is the parking situation on game day. A change in policy has Ole Miss students irritated and a lot of people talking.
Double Decker bus tours scheduled in Oxford
"Visit Oxford" will host tours on the open-top Double Decker bus each Friday before University of Mississippi home football games this fall, starting this week. Tours depart at 2 p.m. from Visit Oxford, 415 S. Lamar Blvd. Tour sites include William Faulkner's Rowan Oak, St. Peter's Cemetery, the L.Q.C. Lamar House; Cedar Oaks Mansion, the downtown square and historic sites on the Ole Miss campus.
Adebisi named East Central Community College physics instructor
Dr. Rasheed Adebisi of Oxford was recently selected physics instructor at East Central Community College in Decatur, announced ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart. Dr. Adebisi, a native of Nigeria, began his new duties on August 12, 2013. He earned a bachelor of science degree in engineering physics from Obafemi Awolowo University, located in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, in 2000. He entered the doctoral program at the University of Mississippi in 2006 and earned a Ph.D. in Physics from Ole Miss in 2011. While a graduate student at Ole Miss, Dr. Adebisi conducted research at the National Center for Physical Acoustics and served as a teaching assistant for six semesters, teaching and grading laboratory exercises for general introductory physics.
U. of Georgia women's studies institute to host conference
The University of Georgia Institute for Women's Studies plans to focus on the arts at its annual conference. The university said in a news release that presentation topics at the fifth conference will include art as a tool for women's healing, women in the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, women in hip hop, gender in summer reading lists and art as discursive practices. The conference is set for Oct. 19.
Texas A&M lands big-name visiting scholars
Texas A&M has announced its latest class of visiting academic all-stars. The Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study, or TIAS, will host nine renowned scholars from around the world. TIAS, which celebrated its inaugural class in February, brings in internationally renowned scholars to interact with students and faculty for stays of varying lengths. A&M hopes its program will emulate the Institute for Advance Study near Princeton. "Even if the person is here and leaves after six months, it will leave an impact on our future," said John Junkins, the founding director of TIAS. "Anything to develop our faculty and students enhances the university." The university has allocated $2 million per year for five years to the institute.
College Enrollment Falls for First Time Since 2006
The number of students pursuing college degrees of all sorts fell last year for the first time since 2006, reversing a multiyear pattern of growth. Overall undergraduate- and graduate-school enrollment fell by about a half million to 19.9 million in 2012, according to the Census Bureau's annual school-enrollment report released Tuesday. The report looks at the characteristics of students at all levels of education from nursery to graduate school and tallies the population by age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, and whether the students were born in another country or whose parents were foreign-born. The overall decline in college enrollment was driven by students age 25 and older. That group fell by 419,000 students from 2011, while enrollment of younger students dropped by 48,000. However, the number of Hispanic college students hit an all-time high, a milestone that corresponds with an increase in the Hispanic share of the nation's population.
Wireless devices weigh down campus networks
The prospect of handling the combined traffic of tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of devices is enough to make any wireless network buckle -- and some already are. At colleges and universities across the country, chief information officers are exhausting their budgets just to maintain their existing networks while congestion threatens to choke their online traffic. An increase in the number of devices is only part of the problem. As the devices get more advanced, they eat up more bandwidth.
Congress Aims to Revamp Child-Care Grant Program
For more than two decades, Congress and the states have poured billions of dollars into a huge child-care block grant program, with the aim of helping low-income parents join or return to the workforce. Now, as part of a long-stalled effort to renew the program, Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. Senate are hoping to add a new a twist: an emphasis on the quality and safety of the programs children are entering. The new emphasis on program quality at the heart of the legislation dovetails with other recent federal efforts backed by the Obama administration and members of Congress to spur states to better serve children from birth through 5.
JIMMIE GATES: Brain injury, football: Let's protect our kids' health | Jimmie Gates (Opinion)
The Clarion-Ledger's Jimmie Gates writes: "On Friday night, I watched the high school showdown between Brandon and Pearl, and like many football fans, I did my best imitation of a couch potato last weekend watching college games. But another football-related news item caught my attention: The National Football League announced a proposed a $765 million settlement with 4,500 former players, including former players from Mississippi. They had filed a lawsuit claiming the league withheld information about concussions and brain injury danger. I pondered how our state Legislature has failed to approve a bill to require education about concussions and set protocols for when youths can resume practicing or playing after suffering concussions. ...Some legislators balked at the bill proposed by the Brain Injury Association and supported by the Mississippi High School Activities Association, the state Board of Health, the NFL and others."
SID SALTER: State's toughest, best editorial writer lives in Rolling Fork
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Mississippi's journalism annuls are filled with stories of courage and strength under pressure. Most of those stories emanate from the civil rights era -- when truth in reporting wasn't valued in some quarters and thugs believed they could dictate the news with their fists, a burning cross or a shotgun. ...Harold Ray Mosby Jr. is, for my money, the last of his tribe in Mississippi journalism. Ray is the quintessential independent newspaper publisher in a town that is almost too small to adequately support a newspaper. Rolling Fork's population is about 2,100 and the lovely little town is located on Hwy. 61. Ray is a simply marvelous editorial writer. ...His columns don't just criticize; they strip the bark from his adversaries."

Mississippi State schedules Cowbell Yell
The Mississippi State Student Association is announcing the third annual Cowbell Yell pep rally Thursday at 10 p.m. at Davis Wade Stadium's Scott Field. The Bulldogs host Alcorn State University, Mississippi's other land-grant institution, on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. SA President Michael Hogan of Memphis, Tenn., said the pep rally will feature Jackie Sherrill as the guest host, the Famous Maroon Band, MSU Cheerleaders and Pom Squad, Head Football Coach Dan Mullen, Athletics Director Scott Stricklin, and other speakers. A preview of the 2013 football videos also will be part of the program.
Alcorn State athletes concern Mississippi State's Mullen
Alcorn State scored 20 offensive touchdowns in 2012. The total nearly equaled the number of days Jay Hopson had to install an offense and a defense. Alcorn State hired the Ole Miss grad on May, 29, 2012. Hopson missed signing day and the Braves' spring practices. He didn't complete his staff until mid-July. The head coach's first opportunity to implement plays came on Aug. 5 --- 26 days before it kicked off against Grambling State. It's Year 2 of Hopson's tenure, but in reality it's his first full season as the helm of Alcorn State. He brought in his first recruiting class, coached through the spring and summer workouts. His players now grasp the schemes and the results show it. Mississippi State will get a glimpse of Hopson's squad on Saturday.
Mississippi State WRs ready for Alcorn State
Mississippi State's inexperienced wide receivers can use a tool it didn't possess last week: Game tape. Two freshmen and a junior college transfer all saw time for MSU in its 21-3 loss to Oklahoma State. As they prepare for Alcorn State, they can view the tape from last week. In addition to film, they know what to expect. "With those young receivers, they got to see what a game's like. Experience what a game's like," MSU coach Dan Mullen said. "And we expect to see a lot of improvement out of those young wideouts between last week's game and this week's game."
Bulldogs missed chances at the deep ball in opener
Dan Mullen is taking responsibility for his team's offense not taking chances vertically down the field Saturday. The Mississippi State University fifth-year coach said the film review of its 21-3 loss to No. 13 Oklahoma State University Saturday showed waiting for the perfect moment for a deep throw that just never came about. "They gave us something (and) I never got to it," Mullen said Monday. "You were waiting on it. With a lot of play calling you're waiting on situations sometimes. We should have gotten to stuff early." Five years after promising to bring the spread offense to Starkville, MSU fans feel restlessness because in another prime matchup MSU's attack left something to be desired.
How Mississippi State's pressure forced Oklahoma State's diamond
Backup J.W. Walsh became the first Oklahoma State quarterback in six years to rush for 100 yards. Oh, and he's no longer the backup. Why did one of the nation's most explosive passing attacks convert to a full-house, option-running offense in the middle of a game? SB Nation met with Mississippi State coaches before and after the game.
LOGAN LOWERY: Bulldogs deal with familiar plight | Logan Lowery (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Logan Lowery writes: "It is highly likely that sophomore Dak Prescott will get his first start at quarterback this weekend due to Tyler Russell's concussion. If Russell does not dress, true freshman Damian Williams will serve as Prescott's backup. If that happens, it will be the 14th time in the last 15 games Mississippi State will only have two scholarship quarterbacks available for action. How is that possible? Rewind to December 2011 and take a look at how the Bulldogs arrived to this predicament."
Soccer Bulldogs look for consistency on road swing
Consistency is the word for Aaron Gordon. After four matches, Mississippi State University's first-year women's soccer head coach has seen enough positives that give him reason to be optimistic things are moving in the right direction. At the top of the list is the fact MSU has scored 10 goals, the second-highest total in the first four matches of a season dating back to 2005. On the flip side, Gordon doesn't feel the Bulldogs have maintained their consistency for 90 minutes in all four of the matches. As a result, MSU (2-2) enters its next match at Southeastern Louisiana University at 4 p.m. Friday at .500.
New Texas A&M T-shirt takes aim at ESPN
A spokesman for Aggieland Outfitters said customers have had enough of the spin. So, in response to complaints about media coverage of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, the Aggie retailer designed "BTHO ESPiN" T-shirts, available in stores and online. "We've been thinking about doing this shirt for a while," said Dallas Shipp, director of marketing and communications for Aggieland Outfitters. "We went back and forth whether or not to do it, but the longer the coverage dragged on, the more our customers grew tired with the reporting. Everyone was getting fed up, so we decided we wanted to do it. It's one of those shirts that sends a statement: The national media and our friends in Bristol have created this narrative of who they think Johnny Manziel is and for a lot of people it's not an accurate or fair representation of Johnny."
Jeff Long Says Discussions About Arkansas Games at War Memorial Not in Plans
Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long isn't quite ready to talk about the long-term future of football games in central Arkansas, and he's not quite sure when that discussion will take place. Long, speaking following a meeting of the Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club on Wednesday, said no new negotiations are planned between the university and Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium -- where the Razorbacks will face Samford on Saturday. The game is one of two annually Arkansas is under contract to play in Little Rock through the 2016 season. However, the stadium's manager, Charlie Staggs, told The Associated Press last year he was concerned Arkansas might want to play few games in the 53,955-seat venue when the contract runs out.
Jones County JC women's basketball coach charged with DUI, marijuana possession
The women's head basketball coach at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville was arrested Sunday in Bay St. Louis. Police tell WDAM that Kelton Thompson was charged with DUI, possession of marijuana and careless driving. Thompson took over as head coach of the Lady Bobcats in April. He was named Mississippi 4A coach of the year in 2010, when he led the Bay High School boys to the state championship. College officials say Thompson has been placed on administrative probation with pay pending an investigation.

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