Friday, September 20, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
U. of South Alabama presidential candidate answers wide-ranging questions in public forum
The University of South Alabama's Board of Trustees welcomed Jerome A. Gilbert, a candidate for the university presidency, for a round of meetings on Thursday. Gilbert, provost and executive vice president at Mississippi State University, is one of three finalists. At 4 p.m., he took part in a public forum at USA's Mitchell Center. Before a crowd of about 200, he gave a PowerPoint presentation outlining his goals and ideas for the university, then took questions from the audience. He emphasized his goal to expand the university's partnerships with Mobile's businesses and industry. "I think there's a great opportunity for Mobile to do integrated research projects, and advance the university and businesses in the area," he said.
Weather cancels tour of Mississippi State trial gardens
The threat of inclement weather forced organizers to cancel a game-day tour of new trial gardens at Mississippi State University. Bulldog fans had been invited to town early for the Sept. 21 football game to get ideas for their home landscapes at an open house and tour of the trial gardens and Veterans Memorial Rose Garden. The morning event at the R. R. Foil Plant Research Center, was sponsored by the MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
P.R.E.P. Week equips locals for disaster
The theme of the day was preparation. Mississippi State University's Maroon Volunteer Center and its Campus-Community Emergency Response Team (C-CERT) hosted Personal Readiness and Emergency Preparation (P.R.E.P.) Day on Thursday as a part of Emergency Preparedness Week, educating attendants on the necessary measures that should be taken to be ready for natural disasters and offering numerous activities and workshops for campus and community members to learn how to be prepared for crisis situations. (Subscriber-only content.)
Disaster Prep at Mississippi State
Mississippi State University's students are learning how to be prepared for disaster this week. It's a learning experience that's teaching them to stay on their toes should disaster strike. Yesterday, students got the chance to see just how long it takes a fire fighter to fully put on his turn out gear. They also got to try on some of that gear themselves. Demonstrations from the Mississippi Civil Support Team, the Golden Triangle Hazmat team, and the Corp of Engineers took place in front of the Colvard Student Union.
Mississippi to host Southern Automotive Conference
Mississippi economic development leaders tout the state's location as "the heart of the Southern Automotive Corridor." Next month the Mississippi Automotive Manufacturers Association will host the annual Southern Automotive Conference and organizers expect a packed house at Beau Rivage in Biloxi. Barbara McDaniel, manager of external and government relations for Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America and the president of Mississippi's automotive manufacturers association, said the sessions will focus on workforce, procurement, sustainability. McDaniel praised the work of the Mississippi Development Authority and the Mississippi State University's Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems for organizing and supporting the conference.
MSU celebrates 150th Civil War anniversary, hosts Lincoln symposium
Abraham Lincoln will be on campus this week -- at least his look-a-like will be. To commemorate the American Civil War sesquicentennial, the Symposium on Lincoln: the Movie and the Man will be held Monday and Tuesday. The event will include a showing of the 2012 motion picture as well as a panel discussion and lectures from notable speakers including Frank Williams, a former Rhode Island Supreme Court Justice, and George Buss, a nationally acclaimed Lincoln character actor. All events are free and open to the public. Frances Coleman, dean of libraries, said the symposium is an excellent opportunity for people to learn about the history and the man. "Those of us from the South might not know as much as we need or would like to know about Lincoln," Coleman said.
New shuttles connect students between Starkville, MSU
With the receipt of the Rural General Public Transportation Program grant through the Mississippi Department of Transportation, Mississippi State University and the city of Starkville will be equipped with two new campus-community shuttle routes beginning spring 2014. The grant provides more than $800,000 for transit operations and approximately $1.5 million for the purchase of 12 new shuttles. MSU President Mark Keenum said via email that providing a reliable and convenient means of transportation such as this will serve a great need for MSU students as well as residents and businesses all across Starkville, and it will help ease traffic congestion as well. "I have said often that what is good for Mississippi State University is good for the community and vice versa. This transit system is an example of that. It is also reflective of the strong collaborative spirit and teamwork that exists between the university and the community," Keenum said.
Columbus orthopaedic center debuts smartphone app for patients, other physicians
Today, when an athletic trainer at Mississippi State University has a question about the orthopaedic care of one of its athletes, instead of making a telephone call to schedule a visit and do other business, he or she can use a smartphone to send a question -- or even a photograph of the athlete's injury -- straight to the orthopedist or nurse at the Columbus Orthopaedic Clinic and Outpatient Center. The Columbus Orthopaedic Clinic has recently instituted a new smartphone app that provides quick and efficient interactions. "Our staff really appreciates the ease of using this app," said Mary McLendon, director of sports medicine for MSU women's basketball.
Alumni enter local business scene with a clang
Battle Bells, a local company founded by a Mississippi State University alumni in 2012, makes a loud entrance onto Starkville's business scene with the sale of the first indestructible cowbell. John Howell, MSU graduate and founder of Battle Bells, said he and his business partner Stephen Caples have an entrepreneurial drive and use the cowbell to fuel their passion. As an Ole Miss fan growing up, the cowbell took on a different meaning for Howell as he converted to a State fan and eventually student. "Going to the games, I never had a cowbell given to me. Both of my parents were Ole Miss fans, so I had to go buy one of the cowbells like everybody else," he said. Howell, who graduated from MSU in 2010 with a business degree in finance and economics, said the response Battle Bells has earned could not be better. He emphasizes the help he received from MSU's Entrepreneurship Center Advisory Board in particular.
Extension Service Hosts Wild Hog Workshop
Sixty landowners from Mississippi and Alabama attended a workshop in Meridian this week on how to deal with wild hogs, which have become a destructive force. They learned some management techniques to try and rid their properties of the problem. Hunting alone cannot manage the population. Experts say trapping is the most effective method of catching wild hogs. "One of the things we also recommend to do during the trapping process is to monitor the trap with a game camera," said Bill Hamrick of the MSU Extension Service. "That lets you know if the hogs are all coming in and out of the trap. It really gives you the best idea of when to set the trap."
Bands to battle at MSU union
Storms are brewing over Mississippi State University's Colvard Student Union -- figuratively and literally. Forecasts on the Weather Channel's website call for growing likelihood of thunderstorms as tonight wears on. Alissa McKinnon, co-director of late night events for the MSU Student Association, said these forecasts prompted her team to move the Plazapalooza from its originally planned location on the Colvard Student Union plaza to the ballroom on the union's second floor. (Subscriber-only content.)
MSU to Research Nerve Agent Antidotes
Ever since World War II, nerve agents have been a concern in modern warfare and up until now, the only antidotes available acted after the agents damaged the nervous system. However, new research at the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine may lead to the creation of an antidote that works before severe damage occurs. Jan Chambers, director of the MSU-CVM Center for Environmental Health Sciences, and her colleagues have grant funding through the Department of Defense's Defense Threat Reduction Agency to develop nerve agent antidotes that can be used by DOD in cases of chemical warfare. No actual nerve agents used in chemical warfare are being stored or used at MSU; instead, the researchers are using compounds that resemble the agents, so that they can safely conduct testing.
MSU Blindness Center Gets Grant
A major research grant to Mississippi State's National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision is expected to have a national impact on services for persons with combined vision and hearing loss. The university center recently received more than $300,000 to conduct and analyze three national surveys for the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. "The surveys will examine where the needs are in terms of training and what professionals need to know in order to work with the population," said research professor Michele McDonnall, NRTC's interim director.
Extension Service offering financial literacy workshop
One of the needs many point to in Mississippi to improve quality of life here in the state in financial literacy, and a program offered through the Mississippi State University Extension Service is looking to address that issue. Extension is offering its Dollars and Sense 2013: Financial Education for the Classroom workshop to anyone who teaches financial education in the classroom, community or home school setting.
Feral hogs restrictions relaxed
As the state mulls solutions to control its wild hog population, the best thing for people with large tracts of hunting property or farmland is to stay educated, according to wildlife official with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "There's no magic bullet," said Bill Maily, an area agent for wildlife and fisheries with Extension. "We're gonna do our best -- working with the landowners, trapping, hunting and cooperation with the land, too. And landowners have go to cooperate with each other." (Subscriber-only content.)
Preparations underway for Rice Tasting Luncheon
Employees at the Bolivar County Extension Service prepare for the 23rd annual Rice-Tasting Luncheon by stuffing gift bags with an array of door prizes. The event is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. in the Delta State University Walter Sillers Coliseum. Luncheon tickets are $5 and can also be purchased in advance throughout at Farm Bureau and Extension Service offices. For more information, call the Bolivar County Extension Office.
Timothy H. Moore named president and CEO of Mississippi Hospital Association
The Mississippi Hospital Association board of governors has chosen Timothy H. Moore to succeed Sam W. Cameron as the association's president and CEO. A native of Forest, Moore holds a master's degree in health Care management from the University of New Orleans, a bachelor of science degree from Mississippi State University.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staffers win awards
Robert Cory Winders, hydraulic engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District's Modeling, Mapping, Consequences, and Production Center, recently received a Commander's Award for Civilian Service. A native of Olive Branch, he earned his bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Mississippi State University, and is currently pursuing his master's degree in civil engineering at MSU.
Plans taking shape for Link-backed Starkville spec building
The Golden Triangle Development Link is developing plans to construct a speculative building at the Starkville Industrial Park to help lure potential development, Joey Deason, Oktibbeha County's Link representative, confirmed Thursday. A speculative building -- "spec building" for short -- is designed based upon market demands and used by developers to lure potential investors to a community. Deason said the plan is still in the design phase -- preliminary architecture and engineering assessments are complete -- with no construction date announced.
Gold iPhone 5s selling out first as lines continue to form at Apple stores
Despite all the jokes about Apple bling at the announcement of a gold iPhone, it seems gold is golden. While all reports point toward Apple having a lower supply of gold iPhones than silver/white or space gray iPhone 5s versions, whatever they had is now all but gone. Lines are also reportedly slightly shorter than last year, but there were still people camping out overnight at the Renaissance Apple store in Ridgeland or arriving before the sun rose Friday morning to get in line for one of the latest versions of Apple's popular smartphone. Justin Loecher of Brandon was first in line at the store in Ridgeland, waiting in line since 4 p.m. Thursday for first crack at the upgraded processor and camera in the new iPhone 5, not to mention the new operating system, iOS 7.
Jobs progress called 'remarkable'
State Economist Darrin Webb told legislative leaders Thursday that Mississippi "came late to the party" in terms of jobs creation, but has finally arrived. "We made remarkable progress during the past 12 months," Webb said at the conclusion of four days of hearings where the 14-member Legislative Budget Committee met with agency heads as it works to develop a budget proposal for the 2014 legislative session. Another report on Thursday provided a less favorable perspective on Mississippi's economic status. The Mississippi Economic Policy Center noted that according to U.S. Census data, the poverty rate in Mississippi was up in 2012 over the previous year.
Economist: Mississippi and U.S. see modest growth
Mississippi's economy is outpacing the national economy, although both are growing at a relatively slow rate, an expert told lawmakers Thursday. State economist Darrin Webb told the Joint Legislative Budget Committee that Mississippi had 1.9 percent growth in its gross domestic product in the first half of 2013 and he expects the rate to be 1.8 percent by year's end. He said the national economy is growing 1.6 percent. "I suspect that many of the jobs being added in the state are relatively low-paying and possibly part-time, and that is why we can have strong job growth but relatively modest income growth," Webb said. Webb's remarks to lawmakers came the same day the U.S. Census Bureau released information about income and poverty. Mississippi had the highest poverty rate in the U.S. in 2012, at 24.2 percent, the Census Bureau said.
Low-wage Jobs Fuel State Economic Growth
Right now, Mississippi's economy is doing better than the U.S. on average -- but probably not for long. Darrin Webb, the state economist, told members of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee this morning that, while the nation's real gross-domestic product grew at a slow 1.6 percent in the past year, Mississippi's GDP grew at 1.9 percent. While the state added 25,000 jobs in the past year, the 8.5 percent unemployment rate in Mississippi remains much higher than the national average, where unemployment has fallen to 7.3 percent. Also, Webb believes most of the jobs Mississippi added have been low-paying, part-time or temporary.
Mississippi agencies ask lawmakers for $750M more for next fiscal year
State agencies at this week's annual budget hearings asked to spend an extra $750 million next year, down from last year's mostly unfulfilled requests for $1.1 billion in extra spending. "I think many of the agency directors --- not all but most --- are getting the message we've been sending," said Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves as Joint Legislative Budget Committee hearings, the first step in setting a more than $5.7 billion budget for next year, ended Thursday. "The vast majority came in and asked for things they felt they needed and not for unrealistic things." The Mississippi Department of Revenue made a pitch Thursday for a $38.7 million, or 66 percent, budget increase for next year but said the extra spending would bring a big return. DOR Commissioner Ed Morgan said more employees -- he wants to hire 92 -- are needed to help the agency continue to collect back taxes owed the state.
MDA pitches South Korea office
The Mississippi Development Authority would like to establish a satellite office in South Korea but is not prepared to detail how the proposal will move from concept to reality. "It's just a broad plan right now," MDA spokesman Jeff Rent said. The idea surfaced Monday at the meeting of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, whose members were hearing budget requests from state agencies. A South Korean location would be the MDA's fourth office overseas, joining Chile, China, Japan and the United Kingdom. Each of the offices serves a dual purpose, promoting trade and economic investment, Rent said. The South Korean pitch came as the MDA endured one of the tougher lines of questioning during the budget hearings.
Aerospace Jobs To Come To Meridian?
Meridian is being considered as a site for three aerospace projects. The president of the Meridian Airport Authority says the inquiries are due to upgrades that have been made. Last fall the airport completed a six year effort which significantly increased the amount of available space. With completion of the taxiway last September, Meridian Regional Airport now has a 130 acre industrial site. It's being marketed as a prime location for maintenance, repair and overhaul work for aircraft. "No other community in the state of Mississippi has a 10,004 foot runway, and in addition to the site we have the workforce," says Wade Jones, who is president for the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation.
Mississippi charter school board begins with no director and no money
Mississippi's newly created charter school board is beginning its mission with no director and no money. When board members met for the first time Thursday, they decided to try to contract for services instead of immediately seeking a director. The board also plans to seek donations to pay startup costs. Lawmakers didn't appropriate money, and the board won't start collecting a 3 percent fee from schools until they open. The board could need well north of $100,000 to operate before schools open. While it's possible a few schools could start classes in fall 2014, it may be difficult for many to be ready.
Chaney highlights Obamacare changes
While opinions vary regarding the Affordable Health Care Act -- or Obamacare as it is commonly known -- certain changes are inevitable, and Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney was on hand to help a room full of senior citizens know what to expect when the new law takes effect. As a crowd of roughly 100 listened in, Chaney provided a detailed look at issues most likely to affect senior citizens, occasionally offering his own opinion of the changes in his presentation at Copiah-Lincoln Community College. "I don't like the federal health care act, but it is the law. It's a lemon. So I'm trying to make lemonade," Chaney said.
Cochran Makes a Fund-Raising Push as He Eyes Re-election
Senator Thad Cochran, a Republican of Mississippi and one of the Senate's longest-serving members, is increasing his fund-raising efforts amid speculation that he might retire instead of run for re-election next year. Mr. Cochran, who was first elected in 1978, has three high-dollar fund-raisers scheduled in the Washington area over the next two months, according to e-mails his finance staff members circulated to donors this week. Most members of Congress who are leaning toward retirement ease off the fund-raising circuit. But Mr. Cochran, who had nearly $774,000 on hand as of the end of June, is stocking his war chest to be prepared to run for a seventh term. Senate watchers believe that the longtime Republican has not definitively decided to run again, but is closely eying the possibility of his party regaining a majority next year, which could enable him to take over as chairman of the Appropriations Committee in what could be his final term.
House Republicans OK deep reductions in food stamps
House Republicans narrowly approved deep reductions to the food stamp program Thursday that would reduce or eliminate benefits for nearly 4 million Americans, setting up an all but certain showdown with the Senate. GOP leaders yielded to conservative demands to make austere cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program after lawmakers rejected an earlier proposal as part of the usually popular farm bill. Leaders separated the food stamp provision from the farm-subsidy legislation to ensure both bills would pass. The number of Americans receiving food stamps skyrocketed during the Great Recession, from about 26 million in 2007 to nearly 47 million in 2012, according to the Agriculture Department, which administers the program.
Obama to Warn of Perils of Health-Care Defunding Plan
President Barack Obama travels to Missouri Friday to tout the gains made by the auto industry and criticize Republican proposals on defunding his signature health-care plan. The president plans to speak at a Ford stamping plant in Liberty, Mo., highlighting the growth of auto manufacturing on his watch. The trip, though, comes on the same day that the House is expected to pass legislation that would fund the government through Dec. 15 while stripping out all funding for Mr. Obama's health-care law. The president is expected to use his speech Friday to underscore his opposition to the bill and his unwillingness to negotiate with Republicans over raising the nation's debt ceiling.
Friendly gestures from Iran mark a rhetorical U-turn
In the often colorless realm of international diplomacy, one annual ritual has stood out for years -- a provocative speech by Iran's leader to the United Nations each September, followed by a walkout by U.S. and Israeli delegates. That bit of diplomatic theater may not happen this year, as a new Iranian president who has alternately pleased, intrigued and startled American observers makes his debut trip to the annual gathering of world leaders in New York. No one, including Obama administration officials, knows what might happen instead. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and President Obama are set to address the world body on Tuesday, with the tantalizing prospect of a face-to-face meeting between the leaders of two nations so long poised as enemies.
Pope Francis signals remarkable shift in priorities for Catholics
Pope Francis again signaled a remarkable shift of priorities for the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, saying in an interview released Thursday that the church's moral edifice would "fall like a house of cards" if it did not prioritize the proclamation of the saving love of God over its current emphasis on dogmatic and moral teachings. The current pontiff's emphasis on the "freshness and fragrance of the Gospel" is a dramatic shift, many observers believe, from that of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. Francis' change in tone and emphasis has many of the 75 million Catholics in the US applauding after what they see as years of the church's decline.
U.S. Textile Plants Return, With Floors Largely Empty of People
The old textile mills in Gaffney, S.C., are mostly gone now. Gaffney Manufacturing, National Textiles, Cherokee -- clangorous, dusty, productive engines of the Carolinas fabric trade -- fell one by one to the forces of globalization. It headed to China, India, Mexico -- wherever people would spool, spin and sew for a few dollars or less a day. Which is why what is happening at the old Wellstone spinning plant is so remarkable. Drive out to the interstate, with the big peach-shaped water tower just down the highway, and you'll find the mill up and running again. Parkdale Mills, the country's largest buyer of raw cotton, reopened it in 2010. In 2012, the M.I.T. Forum for Supply Chain Innovation and the publication Supply Chain Digest conducted a joint survey of 340 of their members. The survey found that one-third of American companies with manufacturing overseas said they were considering moving some production to the United States, and about 15 percent of the respondents said they had already decided to do so. But politicians' promises that American manufacturing means an abundance of new jobs is complicated -- yes, it means jobs, but on nowhere near the scale there was before, because machines have replaced humans at almost every point in the production process.
Study: Livestock drugs, hardier bugs
A new study provides the clearest evidence to date that the heavy use of antibiotics in livestock is undermining the use of antibiotics to treat sick humans, based on the way government scientists are touting their report. CDC officials don't typically make declarative or bold political statements about the meaning of their research. However, Robert Tauxe, deputy director of CDC's foodborne, waterborne and environmental disease division, said the study, recently completed by a team of 12 researchers from the CDC, Agriculture Department, the Food and Drug Administration, the Ontario Veterinary College and a public health consultant from Atlanta, "shows how the resistance to an important antibiotic can flow from the agricultural sector through food and it's not theoretical at all." The meat and poultry industry remains unimpressed.
UM sees increased number of students with disabilities
Ole Miss has seen a sharp increase in the number of students with disabilities this year, according to the Office of Student Disability Services. The number of students with disabilities registered in the SDS has already reached more than 600, a 12 percent increase from the same time last year. An estimated 650 students were already verified and are now officially enrolled in regular classes, a jump from last year's 580, according to SDS Director Stacey Reycraft. "We're expecting at the end of semester, we may have close to 700 students," Reycraft said. Reycraft said that the rise may be due to the 2008 amendments to the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, a law prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities.
Cold beer: End of Oxford era
The first day of store-bought cold beer in Oxford saw sales from lackadaisical to frenzied with some customers surprised about the change and some stores without coolers. The only people waiting in front of Kroger's coolers at 7 a.m. Thursday were a couple of reporters and a photographer. Beer account representative Chris Fairley reported, however, that one student-dominated convenience store "had people going crazy at 8 o'clock, like it was Christmas." Jack McCown, a University of Mississippi student from Auburn, Ala., said cold beer in stores means he'll stay home more often. "It's definitely going to make me buy beer more instead of going out to a bar," he said.
Southern Miss introduces new human capital development program
Finding and developing trained employees is an ongoing struggle in the business community. Now, one of Mississippi's public universities has launched a new working professional-friendly degree program to help meet the issue. The College of Science and Technology at the University of Southern Mississippi recently formed the Department of Human Capital Development at the university's Gulf Park campus in Long Beach, according to a release from USM. The department features the human capital development doctoral program, the master of science degree in workforce training and development, the applied technology bachelor's degree and the training and development certificate program.
Two Mississippi colleges share $4.95M job training grants
The U.S. Labor Department has awarded $4.95 million in grants to develop job training programs at two community colleges in Mississippi. East Mississippi Community College will receive $2.7 million and Hinds Community College will received $2.2 million. The schools will be part of a consortium led by Lewis and Clark Community College in Illinois. The total grant was $23.8 million.
U.S. attorney watching U. of Alabama Greek situation
The U.S. attorney in Birmingham said she is monitoring allegations of racial discrimination and segregation within the Greek system at the University of Alabama, while a group of former student leaders spoke out Thursday in support of more diversity on campus. Federal law prevents racial discrimination in housing, education and other areas, and U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance said her staff in Birmingham has been reviewing statutes and monitoring the situation on campus. The office has a unit dedicated to enforcing civil rights laws. "We have talked to a lot of people in Tuscaloosa," Vance said in an interview with The Associated Press. Peggy Sanford, press information officer for Vance's office, said there is no open investigation, characterizing it as an informal monitoring of the situation.
New state-of-the-art lab helps teach U. of Alabama students the science of cooking
University of Alabama students studying nutrition and hospitality management in the College of Human Environmental Sciences will gain experience working in a professional-style kitchen thanks to a new food lab in Doster Hall. The $1.5 million state-of-the-art lab opened its doors this fall for two classes, basic food science and experimental and functional foods. The new lab replaces an older, outdated kitchen. "I've actually toured the old lab before it was changed," said Brooke Key, who is taking the basic food science class. "It (the new lab) is amazing, I love it -- it's more like what most people will be working in. It's not always going to be a 1990s kitchen -- this is stainless steel, it's actually what's up to grade and if this were a real restaurant this is what you would have to have."
Untapping the NSA rumor
The National Security Agency recently named Auburn University a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations. This is the second designation of academic excellence out of a 10-year relationship with the NSA, and despite controversy surrounding the agency, those closest to the relationship say it is a positive one for the University. Accusations of sweeping domestic surveillance, and spying on nations friendly to the U.S. among other activities, have been documented through internal agency leaks. "Auburn folks are not working in direct support of the NSA as we speak. We are not an existential arm of the NSA. I can't state that more definitively," said Retired Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, senior counsel for Auburn cyber security programs. Drew Hamilton, assistant vice president for research for Mississippi State University, first applied to the agency in 2002 regarding academic excellence in information assurance. He recently left his position in the Auburn computer science and software engineering department to go to MSU. "We just haven't really engaged in anything that I think would really be considered to be intelligence collection or surveillance, or anything like that. We pretty much work on the technical side and all the work we've done for NSA is publicly available," Hamilton said.
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan speaks at U. of Kentucky
Despite the rocks they throw at each other in some of their written opinions, the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court actually like and respect each other behind the scenes, Justice Elena Kagan told an audience Thursday night at the University of Kentucky. "We disagree, but then we put things aside and come back the next day, fresh," Kagan said. That wasn't always true, she added. Kagan, 53, spoke in a packed Singletary Center Recital Hall as part of the Roy R. and Virginia F. Ray Lecture Series at the UK College of Law.
U. of Florida building new president's house, renovating old with private donations
Build it and he, or she, will come. That is what University of Florida officials and supporters are hoping will be the case with the construction of a new president's home. The $5 million project, which will include renovations to the existing president's home, is scheduled to begin during the first three months of 2014 and take 14 months to complete, said Curtis Reynolds, vice president for business affairs. The existing president's house has not been lived in since 2006, when President Bernie Machen bought a private home off-campus. Since then, the president's house has been used for alumni offices and public events.
Pilot dual-enrollment project at U. of Florida spurs ethics complaint
A project at the University of Florida College of Education to develop a virtual dual-enrollment program for advanced high school students throughout the state is at the heart of a complaint filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics. The complaint claims that Daniel McCoy, the senior director of the E-Learning, Technology and Creative Service Center in the College of Education, violated the state ethics laws governing public employees by using his position to gain an undue advantage he intended to benefit from financially. The complaint was filed Aug. 24 by educational consultant Thomas Griffin, hired in January to advise the college on how to secure state K-12 money to develop an online dual enrollment curriculum with the P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School at UF.
Texas A&M University receives $2 million disease defense grant
Texas A&M University has received a $2 million grant to develop technology to protect U.S. animal agriculture. Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp announced Thursday that A&M's National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense, or FAZD, received $2 million in federal funds from the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate to develop a disease-surveillance technology designed to protect U.S. animal agriculture from potentially catastrophic outbreaks of infectious pathogens. The project has the potential for a total $9 million investment over a three-year period.
Grants will help U. of Missouri researchers move ideas to marketplace
The University of Missouri's Coulter Translational Partnership Program awarded six grants totaling almost $600,000 to research teams to help take their projects from the lab to commercialization. Each of the six teams is composed of a faculty member from the MU College of Engineering and the MU School of Medicine, and Chancellor Brady Deaton said the work they are doing highlights the interdisciplinary work being done at MU. "This is the fruition of efforts that have been going on for years ...and speaks to the kind of interdisciplinary work in Mizzou Advantage," which is "now seeing successes in area after area," he said.
Missouri Faculty Council creates Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute panel, requests records from UM Press
Members of MU's Faculty Council discussed Information Technology, the Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute, the chancellor search, the University of Missouri Press and Mizzou North at their meeting Thursday. Plant Sciences Professor Bill Wiebold, the council representative on the chancellor search committee, said the search process is "in the quiet phase." "Applicants are being asked to apply, and so I don't really have much to say except my understanding is it's going pretty well," Wiebold said. "Actually, Mizzou has a pretty good reputation, and so that's helpful."
Colleges' Global Partnerships Get Temporary Reprieve From a Budget Cut
The U.S. Agency for International Development has reversed itself, saying it will not go through with drastic cuts in the budget of the group that runs its global higher-education partnerships. As first reported by The Chronicle, the agency had informed the group, Higher Education for Development, by e-mail in August that its operating budget could be reduced by nearly 80 percent, to $1-million, as of October 1, the start of the federal fiscal year. Such a sudden and substantial decrease would have made it impossible for the group to administer some 41 active projects involving American and foreign colleges. It had begun to inform grantees that it would have to suspend all partnerships and close down.
Senate education committee begins process to reauthorization Higher Education Act
As the U.S. Senate's education committee formally began the process of updating the massive law governing federal student aid Thursday, its chairman laid out a straightforward plan: hold 11 more fact-finding hearings over the next several months and then produce a draft Higher Education Act by early next year. But a number of obstacles stand in the way of that goal, put forth by Senator Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who leads the panel. Further complicating the timeline for the Higher Education Act were comments Thursday by Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who is the senior Republican on the education committee. Alexander said he had asked his staff to consider drafting a new Higher Education Act "from scratch."
Congress Gears Up for Higher Ed Law Renewal
There's no shortage of proposals in Washington to inject additional scrutiny into higher education amid soaring student loan debt, as Congress considers renewal of the Higher Education Act. The issue has gotten a lot of political attention lately, thanks in part to this summer's protracted debate over how to cope with a planned rise in student-loan interest rates---resulting in a plethora of postsecondary accountability proposals, including a high-profile pitch from the president himself to tie federal financial aid to student outcomes. Teacher colleges are likely to be under a special scrutiny, as the Obama administration and members of Congress contemplate holding them accountable for whether their graduates are able to move the needle on student achievement once they graduate and enter the classroom.
College-educated workers are taking jobs that don't require degrees
A college degree once all but guaranteed a well-paying job and higher earnings than high school graduates. But fewer of these good jobs are now available because of both long-term economic changes and the lingering effects of the Great Recession. People with college and advanced degrees are working jobs that don't require them, whether by choice or necessity. That in turn pushes people without college degrees out of those jobs. In the 1980s and 1990s, the demand for college graduates started booming, especially in the lead-up to the tech boom, said Paul Beaudry, an economist at the University of British Columbia who has studied this trend. Wages grew and a college education paid off. But when the tech bubble burst, the economy was left with an oversupply of college graduates. Some went into industries related to housing or finance, and then the recession wiped out those jobs. No industry has emerged to employ all the people who got college degrees in that time, he said.
OUR OPINION: Federal funds remain important to state jobs
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "State economist Darrin Webb, told legislative leaders Thursday that Mississippi's jobs recovery from the recession had finally picked up some steam, and Gov. Phil Bryant optimistically boosted Mississippi's economic strength in response. The quantifiable rebound has been a long time coming for Mississippi, which usually drops late and rises late in times of economic stress nationwide. ...Mississippi also is heavily reliant on federal money. Mississippi has more than 49,000 federal employees and retirees. ...Vulnerability to the loss of federal money and the jobs it supports in Mississippi should be a consideration of our state's delegation as it approaches votes that could lead to a government shutdown over partisan disagreement about the Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare. Mississippi can do everything right internally for private-sector development, but if federal funding ends -- for any reason -- the impact will be negative and quick."
MARTY WISEMAN: Defunding Obamacare: Plenty of questions but few answers
Marty Wiseman, director of the Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development at Mississippi State University, writes: "As we approach what will probably be the definitive debate on the future of the Affordable Care Act, a word or two of explanation is in order. This column will contain a number of questions, but very few concrete answers to those questions. The subject today involves arguably the most significant piece of social legislation in our lifetime -- the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it has become known. With the passage of a budget, or alternately a government shutdown, and the raising of the ceiling on the national debt, or by contrast the default on the nation's debt obligations hanging in the balance, the debate and vote on funding, or effectively repealing, Obamacare stands as the fulcrum upon which these Armageddon-like actions hinge."

Math aside, Mississippi State stellar on 4th downs
Officially, Mississippi State (1-2) leads the nation with 12 fourth-down attempts. Unofficially, Dan Mullen likes to pad that lead. "One of them's a fake punt --- went horribly wrong. That's only 11 now on offense that we tried. So we're 7 of 11," Mullen said. "Even though I called the fake punt I guess." By Mullen's stat keeping or the NCAA's, the Bulldogs would still sit atop the leaderboard. Army ranks second with 10 attempts on fourth down. MSU's seven conversions also lead the country. Central Florida sits two behind the Bulldogs with five. The upswing in fourth-down attempts coincides with Mississippi State's inexperience. In their only win this season, the Bulldogs had five seniors dress for the game.
Rested Troy getting healthy as it preps for Mississippi State
Aside from the fact that it's coming off a loss, a narrow seven-point defeat on the road against two-time defending Sun Belt champion Arkansas State, things couldn't be looking better for Troy as it sets to travel to Mississippi State Saturday at 6:30 p.m. The Trojans (2-1, 0-1) will be more the more rested team. They took a couple days off after falling to the Red Wolves last Thursday and are getting closer to being 100 percent healthy coach Larry Blakeney said Wednesday. "Physically, I think, we're getting back to full strength," Blakeney said. (Senior linebacker Wayland) Coleman-Dancer, I think, will be back for us this week. I think we're very close to full strength and I'm looking forward to getting through the week and seeing where we are and making the trip. I think our coaches have got a good plan for Mississippi State. Anytime you play against an SEC team, you're going to find good football players that are big and fast. They're going to be well-coached."
Bulldogs work on finding answers to their questions
For the first time in Dan Mullen's tenure at Mississippi State, the Bulldogs suffered a loss when leading after the third quarter. Numerous questions surrounded MSU's offense heading into its conference opener against Auburn last weekend, and the Bulldog's loss to the Tigers on the road provided even more questions than answers. Mullen and his squad will seek to bounce back against Troy on Saturday as they return home to Davis Wade Stadium. "The joy doesn't last real long when you're trying to fix all the problems," Mullen said. "When you lose, you have no answers and everything seems terrible. Then you watch the film the next day and it's the same thing -- what do we have to fix, what do we have to correct?"
Troy hopes to sneak out another win in Starkville
Larry Blakeney knows what it is like to travel to Mississippi State as an underdog and leave victorious. The 23-year coaching veteran at Troy did just that in 2001 when his Trojans upset MSU 21-9 following a tornado delay. It is still considered one of the top wins in the program's history. "There's some good memories involved in that one," Blakeney said. "I think I or somebody on the bus had a cell phone and we got tons of calls on the way home. It was a great win for our program in a time of transition because we weren't in a conference yet." Blakeney and the Trojans nearly accomplished the feat against State the following year as well. But six turnovers proved to be too costly for Troy to overcome as the Bulldogs won 11-8 in Starkville.
Bulldogs, Sullivan begin SEC play at home tonight
The Mississippi State Bulldogs and Elisabeth Sullivan have some momentum going into tonight's Southeastern Conference opener against Missouri. Sullivan scored three goals last Sunday to lead the Bulldogs to a 4-2 victory against Jackson State. Even though defeating the in-state Southwestern Athletic Conference opponent may not catch very much attention, it's very important to Mississippi State. "It's just what we needed to be hyped up for practice," Sullivan said. "Hopefully, that will carry into (today's) game." The Bulldogs, who are 3-4 overall, host the Missouri Tigers at 7 p.m. and Aaron Gordon coaches MSU for the first time in SEC competition. (Subscriber-only content.)
Glen Collins selected as Mississippi State's SEC Legend
From 1978-1981, Glen Collins earned the reputation as one of the most feared defensive linemen in the nation. The former All-American and All-SEC standout, whose teams posted a 26-20 mark and went to two bowl games, was recognized Thursday for his tenacious style of play when he was named Mississippi State's SEC Legend. Collins, who currently resides in Jackson, and the other 13 legends from each school will be honored at the 2013 SEC Football "Weekend of Champions" Dec. 6-7 in Atlanta.
League to honor former Mississippi State DL Collins
Glen Collins earned the reputation as one of better defensive linemen in the nation from 1978-81. Now he'll forever be remembered for his career at Mississippi State, which made the Jackson native its 2013 SEC Legends Class honoree. Collins and the other 13 legends from each school will be honored at the 2013 SEC Football "Weekend of Champions" on Dec. 6-7 in Atlanta. "It's a great honor, for both myself and Mississippi State," Collins said in a release. "I played with some great guys and teammates, and I had great coaches that taught me a lot."
CECIL HURT: Nick Saban stomps out Texas rumors | Cecil Hurt (Opinion)
The Tuscaloosa News' Cecil Hurt writes: "Nick Saban, not wearing cowboy boots, nonetheless stomped pretty hard on the 'Saban-to-Texas' rumors on Thursday. On his weekly radio show, Saban addressed the latest version of a story that has been driving the rumor mill for months -- an Associated Press report that a University of Texas regent, apparently acting on his own volition and not at the behest of the school, contacted Saban's agent, Jimmy Sexton, last January, ostensibly to gauge possible interest in the still-occupied Texas head coaching position. It was a story that says a lot more about conditions at Texas than it does Saban or Alabama, but it sparked a lot of interest."
Bjork: More to keeping coaches than salary
Ole Miss athletics director Ross Bjork says the school can compete with big-name universities who might want to lure away football coach Hugh Freeze, but the competitive approach does not necessarily mean writing a big check at the end of such a courtship. Since inheriting a program on a 14-game SEC losing streak, Freeze has gone 10-6 at Ole Miss. He has the Rebels ranked for the first time since 2009 and at 3-0 for the first time since 1989. The still-young college football season has seen struggle and turmoil at some of the sport's most traditional programs -- Nebraska, Southern Cal and Texas. Angry fan bases and the speculation of change follow suit after struggle and turmoil. "We can be very competitive as our budget grows, as our season tickets grow, donations grow and our (capital) campaign evolves," Bjork said. "I think we can be very competitive within our league and within college football."
Slive: NCAA rules on agents 'part of the problem'
Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive remains very critical of the NCAA's rules governing agents, an issue that continues to plague his league. "I feel like the current NCAA rules and regulations are part of the problem, they're not part of the solution," Slive said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press. It was virtually a repeat of his message at SEC media days three years ago when agent-related incidents also prompted investigations at three schools. Slive is adamant change is needed.
Big traffic trouble at Jackson State game
Traffic was a big problem at the Jackson State football game on Thursday. Streets and parking lots were jammed with thousands of fans before the nationally televised game even began, WAPT reported. "It seemed to me like the interstate is getting too small for this town," JSU fan Gregory Knight said. "We need to make another lane." Parking was also limited. Officials said construction around the stadium and the proximity to the hospital with traffic was their biggest concern. They made sure to get out before the crowds. "I saw the traffic on State Street, so I said I would take West. No traffic," JSU fan Chequetta Lidell said. JSU won 35-7 over Texas Southern.
Diet Of Defeat: Why Football Fans Mourn With High-Fat Food
Backing a losing NFL team isn't just bad for your pride. It's bad for your waistline. A study that links sports outcomes with the eating behavior of fans finds that backers of NFL teams eat more food and fattier food the day after a loss. Backers of winning teams, by contrast, eat lighter food, and in moderation. In many ways, the research fits with what we already know about the psychology of eating. When many of us feel miserable, we'll down a big bag of candy. Call it a form of self-medication -- when your happiness levels are low, junk food and high-calorie food counterbalance provide the brain with much-needed pleasure.

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