Thursday, October 3, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State president speaks to Hattiesburg students
Dr. Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University, paid a visit to Hattiesburg on Wednesday to speak to hundreds of Oak Grove High School students. Topics covered ranged from the importance of technology, to the significance a college education provides. The program was held at Temple Baptist Church. Keenum took time to speak to over 800 faculty and staff members. He talked about how noteworthy a college degree can be for a person's livelihood. "You're the leaders that we're going to be counting on, and I can tell you that we're going to need some great leaders in Washington, D.C.," Keenum said. Keenum also paid a visit to Presbyterian Christian School, and spoke to juniors and seniors about similar topics.
Mississippi State boosts power with liquid-cooled 'Shadow'
Mississippi State University already boasted a lot under the hood when it comes to supercomputing power, and it is boosting that with a new, liquid-cooled model. MSU's High Performance Computing Collaboratory (HPC2) will soon be home to a CS300-LC cluster supercomputer manufactured by Cray Inc. Named "Shadow," the new system will serve as the primary high-performance computing asset for shared research. Shadow will be housed at the HPC2 facility in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park adjacent to the MSU campus in Starkville.
Cray to Install a Liquid-Cooled Cray CS300 Cluster Supercomputer at Mississippi State University
Global supercomputer leader Cray Inc. on Wednesday announced it has been awarded a contract to provide Mississippi State University with a Cray CS300-LC system -- a liquid-cooled version of the Cray CS300 cluster supercomputer. The new Cray system, nicknamed "Shadow," will be located at the university's High Performance Computing Collaboratory, and will serve as the primary high performance computing system for shared research. "Our mission is to serve the university, state and nation through excellence in computational science and engineering, and we are pleased to have the resources of a Cray supercomputer to support our efforts," said Trey Breckenridge, director of high performance computing at Mississippi State.
Law enforcement efforts ramping up for Bulldog Bash
As Starkville's weekend population swells with visitors to Bulldog Bash and Mississippi State University's home game against Louisiana State University, local law enforcement agencies will increase the amount of officers patrolling city and county roads. Starkville Police Department will increase the number of active police officers from seven per shift to 26 during Bulldog Bash, Chief David Lindley said. Oktibbeha County Sheriff Steve Gladney confirmed his office will utilize a similar increase -- five to about 10 -- to help police county roads. Besides alcohol-related incidents, Lindley says SPD responds to numerous injury calls while patrolling the event. Twisted ankles, he said, are commonplace during Bulldog Bash. "It's kind of a strange thing, but it's understandable if you're wearing improper footwear and in close proximity to others in the crowd," he said.
Law enforcement ready to help with Bulldog Bash
With crowds of thousands expected to descend on the Cotton District for Bulldog Bash, Starkville Police Department is preparing to keep the crowds safe, working with MSU to manage traffic and parking. Capt. Chris Thomas said SPD would have a minimum of 27 officers active in total Friday night, with 20 at Bulldog Bash itself and the others patrolling the city. Some officers would patrol Bulldog Bash's perimeter, he said, and those on the ground at the concert itself would patrol in pairs. (Subscriber-only content.)
Fashion Industry Leader Hosts MSU Workshop
Design students at Mississippi State University got the chance to learn from one of the industry's top designers as they prepare for a fashion competition. Ellen Sheppard is the lead apparel developer for REI and held a workshop with MSU design students Wednesday. "I think that coming in and reminding them that the skills that they come out of school with, are going to be able to be applied in so many ways to so many different jobs and that there are opportunities wherever they go," says Sheppard.
Big Read kicks off today at Dumont Plaza
Meridian's participation in a nationwide effort to revitalize the role of literary reading in American culture will kick off today in Dumont Plaza. A major initiative from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Big Read hopes to unite communities through great literature. The MSU Riley Center chose "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury as the grant's focus. "'Fahrenheit 451' is in some ways Ray Bradbury's tribute to the role that books and libraries played in his life," said MSU Meridian Education Director Charlotte Tabereaux. "After all, he wrote hundreds of works (novels, stories, screenplays, essays, and poems) with only a high school education, an inspiring desire to learn, and a worn out library card." According to Tabereaux, many partners in the community have joined forces to support the grant.
Kids and bugs connect at Mississippi State
They are creepy and crawly, but it seems kids just can't get enough bugs in their lives. The seventh annual Bugfest was held Sept. 27-28 at Mississippi State University, and drew around 1,000 visitors -- almost twice as many as last year, said Pat Drackett, arboretum director. John Guyton, Extension entomology specialist in MSU's Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology, said he wants people, especially children, to get excited about insects.
Meridian Medical Corridor
According to Mayor Percy Bland, the city of Meridian is making progress in its effort to develop a comprehensive plan to attract more healthcare based companies to Meridian. Once the plan is in place it will help the city take advantage of benefits from the Medical Zone Act that has been put in place by Governor Phil Bryant. Currently, the city of Meridian is working with both Anderson Hospital and Rush Hospital, Mississippi Power, Atmos Energy, Meridian Community College, and MSU-Meridian to raise funds for a study that would help develop the comprehensive plan.
Supes continue looking into Bolivar expo marketing
The Bolivar County Board of Supervisors recently returned from a three-day visit to the Stennis Institute at Mississippi State University. The purpose of the visit was to discuss renaissance and revenue for the Bolivar County Expo Center in Cleveland and to get an update on the progress of the market analysis for Bolivar County. "One of the greatest aspects about our partnership with Stennis is the fact that the institute helps us to make sound decisions. They provide us with factual information, which in turn aids us in the decision making process," said County Administrator Will Hooker.
Stennis Institute hosting Mississippi AG at Jackson forum
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood will address the Oct. 7 Stennis-Capitol Press Forum, which will include a Q&A with the Capitol Press Corps. The event will be held from noon to 1 p.m. at The Capital Club on the 19th floor at 125 South Congress Street in downtown Jackson. Cost to attend the event is $20, and is payable at the door (make checks payable to Stennis Institute). This event is open to the public, but advance registration is required by noon on Friday [Oct. 5]. To register, please send an email to Phil Hardwick at indicating your attendance.
Sex ed debate: Teaching about contraception is a key divide
More Mississippi teenagers are having sex than their peers in other states. They're also having more babies. Reducing that number, experts say, must involve education about the risks of those behaviors. That includes providing information to school children. "Students are going to make choices on their own," said Interim State Superintendent of Education Lynn House. "We can not be with them 24/7 to tell them the choices they are going to make. But we need to at the least give them clear, correct information." More than 92 percent of Mississippi parents supported the teaching of sex education at an age-appropriate level in the state's public school system, according to a survey conducted by Mississippi State University's Social Science Research Center.
Most parents support sex education in schools
After the Mississippi Legislature passed a 2011 law that required school districts to adopt a policy on sex-related education, the Center for Mississippi Health Policy commissioned Mississippi State University's Social Science Research Center to survey parents of Mississippi public school students.
Consolidation discussions continue in Starkville
July 2015 marks a new beginning for Starkville and Oktibbeha County schools. That's when the districts will be combined. Those working to make the transition a smooth one include members of the Parents for Public School Starkville. "We want to capitalize on the fact that we have the resources here with Mississippi State and others that are heavily involved in education to put together a plan that works for us," Jeremiah Dumas said.
Starkville Parents Hold Power Breakfast To Discuss Consolidation
When the Mississippi Legislature began talking earlier this year about forcing the Starkville and Oktibbeha County school districts to consolidate, the discussion sparked worry and misgivings across the county. However, as work on the merger has been going on for several months, the talk is focusing more on long-term opportunities. That was the focus Wednesday morning with business and civic leaders at the Hilton Garden Inn in Starkville. Officials with The Greater Starkville Development Partnership informed people about the economic benefits of the merger.
Board places sidewalk, landscaping ordinances under microscope
Starkville aldermen unanimously tasked Community Developer William Snowden with reviewing the city's sidewalk and landscaping ordinances after two representatives -- Ward 2's Lisa Wynn and Ward 3's David Little -- said the rules place unfair, economic development-prohibiting burdens on property owners. Snowden will present his report and any recommended changes to the board during its Dec. 3 meeting. While Wynn and Little cited numerous developers' demands to ease restrictions, the board did not set scope or expectations for the report.
Down on the farm: Getting to know your food and where it comes from
Old MacDonald made room for a younger generation of farmers Sunday, plus an estimated 50 to 70 people who wanted to check out their farms. The fairly new Mississippi Sustainable Agriculture Network coordinated free tours Sept. 29 of Black Creek Farms in Columbus, Beaverdam and High Hope Farms in Cedar Bluff, and Bountiful Harvest Farm in Starkville. MSAN is a network of farmers, consumers and educators working together to improve the sustainability of Mississippi's existing agriculture system.
Disturbance in Gulf predicted to make landfall by weekend
A tropical disturbance headed to the Gulf of Mexico has a high chance of further development, forecasters say, and models show it making landfall just east of South Mississippi this weekend. As of Wednesday afternoon we couldn't call it a tropical depression, but that could change," said Freddie Zeigler, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Slidell. "A good deal of the models have the system just to the east of us." The system was given a 70 percent chance of further development, and Zeigler said it could bring weekend rain to South Mississippi.
AG: Hidden guns OK on public school campus, with enhanced permit
A person with an enhanced concealed-carry permit -- the kind that requires firearms training -- may legally take a concealed weapon onto parts of public school campuses that are generally open to the public, but not onto parts of campus that require permission for access, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said in a nonbinding legal opinion this week. That means the enhanced permit holder could take a concealed weapon to a gym or football field, for example, but not to a parent-teacher conference. Mississippi issues two types of concealed-carry gun permits. The enhanced permit requires firearms training, while the standard concealed-carry permit does not require training.
Audit report critical of performance of Mississippi public schools
State Auditor Stacey Pickering has released an annual audit report on Mississippi public schools that is critical of schools on following safety regulations, tracking attendance and providing textbooks to students. "Many of these findings are alarming, but I am encouraged many schools are making improvements," Pickering said. "My office will continue to audit schools to ensure policies are being followed and school funding is being handled properly." Pickering's reports prompted debate in this year's legislative session and new legislation, including a law that requires students to attend most of a school day to be counted present.
Federal Workers Wait, Worry During Government Shutdown
Federal workers won't be paid until the shutdown is over. They also don't know if they'll be paid for these furlough days, though during past shutdowns, they have been. Jennifer Hailes, who works for the Naval Oceanagraphic Office at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, says her family started saving during the furloughs this summer. "This is not as scary because we just went through that, but it is scary in the sense that we're off now -- we don't know if we're going back tomorrow or not. We're just in limbo-land now," she says.
Republican Centrists Plot Revolt to End Government Shutdown
As the shutdown stretches on, a bloc of moderate House Republicans could be the key to reopening government. On Wednesday, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, held meetings with groups of "pragmatist" lawmakers -- as Michael G. Grimm, R-N.Y., described them -- who want to pass a policy-rider-free continuing resolution and end the government shutdown as soon as possible. Grimm said the group was "spitballing some ideas" on how to pass a CR that would fund the entire government, but he indicated that any plan would probably require a number of centrists to join Democrats in voting down a routine procedural motion in an attempt to seize control of the debate and the House floor. Grimm also expressed support for wrapping negotiations over the debt limit, sequester and the CR into one. "I do feel we're moving in the right direction, but for me, it can't be fast enough," Grimm said.
Budget fight closes national parks in Mississippi, for now
Visitors are being turned away from the Civil War battlefield in Vicksburg and seven other National Park Service sites in Mississippi because of the partial shutdown of the federal government. The Natchez Trace Parkway remains open for traffic and recreation, but its visitor centers and restrooms are closed. James Gray, a 38-year-old Jackson resident, said he runs four miles a day along the Trace in Ridgeland. It's his Monday-through-Friday morning routine before starting his shift as a press operator at the Nissan manufacturing plant near Canton. "It would be devastating if they closed it down," Gray said Wednesday after running along the Trace. "It's well kept, maintained. I like the peace that it gives you, the solitude."
Damaged state plane grounded
Mississippi's only state-owned airplane has been out of service for a month after it was damaged in a ground collision with a jet owned by petroleum refiner and distributor Ergon Corp. The incident happened Sept. 4 at Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport. One of the wings on Ergon's Raytheon Hawker 800 twin jet clipped the tail of the state's Beechcraft King Air 350 twin-turboprop. The state's two executives -- Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves -- and the head of the Mississippi Development Authority are the most common users of the state plane.
Millions of Poor Are Left Uncovered by Health Law
A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance, the very kinds of people that the program was intended to help, according to an analysis of census data by The New York Times. In Mississippi, Republican leaders note that a large share of people in the state are on Medicaid already, and that, with an expansion, about a third of the state would have been insured through the program. Even supporters of the health law say that eventually covering 10 percent of that cost would have been onerous for a predominantly rural state with a modest tax base. "Any additional cost in Medicaid is going to be too much," said State Senator Chris McDaniel, a Republican, who opposes expansion.
Same-sex divorce will make history
A DeSoto County woman seeking a same-sex divorce from her estranged wife said she never set out to make history when she filed for divorce in DeSoto County Chancery Court. That court, like other chancery courts in Mississippi, does not recognize same-sex marriage. By default, granting a same-sex divorce might, on a de facto basis, recognize same-sex unions, according to legal experts. In a packed hearing room in DeSoto County Chancery Court on Tuesday, Chancery Judge Mitchell Lundy of Grenada set a hearing date of Dec. 2 to hear arguments on the constitutionality of same-sex unions.
Barbour makes pitch for Kemper Plant
Much like a fast runner giving his opponent a seemingly insurmountable head start, Haley Barbour flexed his rhetorical muscles Tuesday before a joint lunch meeting of the Lowndes County Republican Women and the Columbus Rotary Club. The former two-term Mississippi Governor turned lobbyist conceded two of the major points used to attack the Kemper County lignite coal plant -- plentiful and cheap natural gas. Barbour ignored some other key charges levied by critics of the Kemper plant.
Governor heralds Olive Branch firm
Gov. Phil Bryant was on hand Tuesday to herald one of the state's newest medical device providers and used the occasion to say Mississippi has a "healthy economy." Teleflex Inc., a leading global provider of special medical devices for use in critical care and surgery, began "ramping up" its distribution operations in Olive Branch in November and has reached its expected volumes for the time being, a company official said Wednesday. Bryant, other top economic and government officials and Benson Smith, Teleflex chairman, president and CEO, spoke at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday marking the Olive Branch center's transition to full current operations.
Department of Marine Resources hires Joe Spraggins, Bill Feidt
The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources has hired a chief financial officer and a chief operations officer, an agency news release said Wednesday. Bill Feidt, 42, of Pascagoula, will be the agency's CFO, and retired Brig. Gen. Joe Spraggins, 60, will serve as COO. Spokeswoman Melissa Scallan said job titles have changed, but both men filled staff vacancies. Scallan said Feidt took what had been the deputy director job held briefly by Danny Guice, who then served as interim director after Bill Walker was fired in January amid allegations of mismanagement. Feidt holds a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Mississippi and an MBA from Dartmouth College. He has worked as director of finance and planning at WorldCom Inc. and Skytel Corp. Spraggins is best known to Coast residents as director of the Harrison County Emergency Management Agency during and after Hurricane Katrina.
UM students, football players disrupt play
Many members of an audience of mostly Ole Miss students, including an estimated 20 Ole Miss football players, openly disrespected and disrupted the Ole Miss theater department's production of "The Laramie Project" Tuesday night at the Meek Auditorium. Cast members of the play, which is about an openly gay male who was murdered in Laramie County in Wyoming, said members of the audience became so disruptive at times that they struggled completing the play. "The football players were asked by the athletics department to apologize to the cast," Ole Miss Theatre Department Chair Rene Pulliam said. "However, I'm not sure the players truly understood what they were apologizing for." Ole Miss Dean of Students Sparky Reardon was made aware of the incident Wednesday morning.
Chancellor speaks to Post; Ole Miss changes perceptions
Five years after the world's spotlight shone on the University of Mississippi, the university's stature on stage has only changed for the positive, its president said Tuesday. "I'd say the perception has been the biggest thing," Chancellor Dan Jones said during an interview with the editorial board of The Vicksburg Post. "Something switched in the minds of a lot of people." (Subscriber-only content.)
U. of Southern Mississippi's Bennett talks retention, recruitment
University of Southern Mississippi President Rodney Bennett has only been on the job for six months, but he says his relationship with the university community has jumped off to a promising start. "Our faculty have been very responsive to me, and they have been very responsive to my conviction and passion for student success," Bennett told the Hattiesburg American editorial board Wednesday. Bennett, the former vice president for student affairs at the University of Georgia, said his plan for student success at Southern Miss focuses on recruitment, retention, completion and graduation.
Colleges take on 'Rent,' 'Hamlet'
Two very well-known theater productions are on the horizon at the University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University. But audiences may be in for a few surprises when they take their seats for "Rent" and "Hamlet" over the next two weeks. Take Southern Miss' production of "Rent," the sleek, smash hit musical that rocked Broadway in the mid-1990s. According to director Robin Carr and actor Sawyer McLeod, they've kept the rock energy in their rendition that opens tonight.
MUW holding reception in Natchez
If you are an alum, if you are related to an alum, or if you want to become a student at Mississippi University for Women, you are invited to a free, public reception honoring MUW's president, Dr. Jim Borsig, who took office in 2012. The informal party is from 5-6:30 p.m. Thursday at Routhland, 131 Winchester Road in Natchez, the home of MUW alumna Catherine Ratcliffe and her husband, Everette.
Alcorn State, Head Start partner to combat childhood obesity
Two education institutions are hoping local children find tools to healthy living by getting their hands a little dirty. Alcorn State University and Head Start are partnering for a program called "My Body Matters" created to combat obesity at a young age, Dr. Martha Ravola said. Ravola is an associate professor in Alcorn's department of human sciences and the program's director.
Funeral Service Set for East Central Community College Student
East Central Community College is mourning the tragic loss of sophomore Brittany Hutchinson of Forest, who was killed in one-vehicle accident on her way to classes Monday. ECCC president, Dr. Billy Stewart, said in a campus-wide e-mail he is "deeply saddened" about Hutchinson's death, and asks the EC family "to keep Brittany's family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time." Hutchinson served as a work-study student at the ECCC Success Center during her freshman year. She was a tutor and assisted in office work, according to Mary Boulton, Success Center/Warrior Path to Success Director.
U. of Alabama announces schedule for homecoming Saturday
The University of Alabama has announced the Saturday morning pregame schedule of events before the homecoming match-up with the Georgia State University Panthers. Public parking lots will open and Crimson Ride shuttles will begin running at 6 a.m. The homecoming parade will begin at 7 a.m. at Second Avenue and University Boulevard, proceeding west toward downtown. The parade will end at 19th Avenue and University Boulevard. The parade will be televised live locally by WVUA-TV, with commentary by news anchor Lynn Brooks and Terry Saban, wife of Tide head football coach Nick Saban.
Student Housing Task Force urges slowdown on city's rezoning
The Student Housing Task Force voted Tuesday to recommend that no more land be rezoned for multifamily housing within the city limits until an updated comprehensive plan for Tuscaloosa's development is in place. The recommendation was one of a series unanimously approved by the 15-member panel, which was created by Mayor Walt Maddox earlier this year to address issues arising from potential over-building of student housing units. "What we're saying with this motion is that we need to build out what we have instead of moving farther and farther away (from the University of Alabama)," said task force member Robert Reynolds, who was appointed as one of two members from the city's Planning and Zoning Commission.
U. of Florida farrier finds new career in making art
Jody Schaible, a farrier for the University of Florida, can bend forks, knives and spoons with his mind. Well, at least bend them into creations from his mind. Schaible has turned his career of shoeing horses into a venture called Forkinart, in which he creates sculpture, jewelry and other things out of silver and silver-plated eating utensils. Schaible had been shoeing horses six days a week for the past 15 years. But, last year, he was diagnosed with a heart condition and had to back off from his heavy work schedule. Now, he works at UF two days a week and does his artwork the rest of the time.
U. of South Carolina aerospace center hopes to land Boeing
When will Boeing become a wingman on the University of South Carolina's new aerospace research center? There are signs the Boeing-USC relationship is growing, holding out the possibility of growing the state's new aerospace sector. Representatives of the Chicago-based aerospace giant, which has a newly opened 6,000-employee plant in North Charleston, have attended events for USC's new McNair Center for Aerospace Research and Innovation. The center's new director also spent a year working for the company, and the school is talking with Boeing about sharing manufacturing processes used at its plants for research.
Louisiana colleges not worried over funding report
There is a possibility looming that sometime within the next few months Louisiana's public colleges and universities will be unable to pay their bills, including employee salaries. The Legislative Fiscal Office, which advises the Legislature on financial matters, issued a report this week bringing up the potential for schools to run out of their share of state funding by January. The report echoes what a lot of higher education leaders were alarmed about this spring when Gov. Bobby Jindal and the Legislature agreed on a state budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year --- that much of the money earmarked for colleges and universities is speculative and may not materialize at all. About $340 million, or 40 percent of the funds colleges and universities expect to get from the state, is so-called "one-time" money.
Publication ranks LSU Law Center for value
LSU's Paul M. Hebert Law Center was ranked the No. 3 "Best Value Law School" in the country by the National Jurist, a legal education publication. The rankings factor in tuition, bar passage rates, debt accumulation and employment access. "This is the second straight year in which LSU has been named one of the top three law schools in the nation for value," LSU Law School Chancellor Jack Weiss said.
LSU, Southern, BRCC release 2012 crime statistics
While college campuses in Baton Rouge enjoyed another year in 2012 without any homicides, some experienced a slight rise in other major crimes from 2011 to 2012, according to recently released crime statistics. The stats were released in accordance with a federal law that mandates all campus crime stats must be publicly reported each year by Oct. 1. At LSU, the Police Department dealt with slight increases in robberies, burglaries and aggravated assaults. They also investigated three incidents classified as hate crimes. One incident involved derogatory racial comments were found in a note in a custodial closet, and the other two occurred when tensions flared at a gay rights rally, leading to a harsh exchange of words and a punch being thrown.
Aggie-run BUILD plans to raise houses for charity
In a matter of months, a handful of Texas A&M students have been able to transform the idea for a service organization that could unite the entire campus into a fully operational group that's gearing up for its first project this weekend. Texas A&M senior Andrew Abbott, who serves as the deputy commander for the Corps of Cadets, said the thinking behind the newly formed, student-led organization, BUILD, was to create a community that would bring Aggies together from all corners of campus who would then work together to improve lives. "Last semester, student leaders across campus got together and noticed Texas A&M had all these student organizations doing great, great things, but what we didn't have is this unity that brought all of these organizations together for one central cause," said Abbott, who is command team leader for BUILD.
Vanderbilt lecturer says she prays for those attacking on Twitter
Provocative religion commentator and Vanderbilt University graduate Anthea Butler returned to Twitter after some accused her of racism over her tweet that the government shutdown had racist underpinnings. "Please note that the last govt shut down was with the fake black president Clinton. Now they are have a real black president to mess with," the University of Pennsylvania associate professor of religious studies tweeted Monday. The comments prompted a round of retweets and responders calling Butler herself racist. Butler was a prestigious Cole Lecturer at Vanderbilt last year, speaking on "Whitewashing the Past: The Religious Right and the Quest to Reframe American History."
Jackie Jones announces retirement from U. of Missouri
Jackie Jones, University of Missouri vice chancellor of administrative services, announced Wednesday that she will retire at the end of this year after 34 years at MU. Jones was appointed to her current position in 2001. She is responsible for the administrative oversight of financial and service operations and for planning, business operations, and facilities operations. Jones began working at MU in 1979 as manager of business services. Jones' announcement comes after MU Provost Brian Foster last month announced he is retiring effective Jan. 1. Also, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton is set to retire Nov. 15.
U. of Missouri General Faculty meeting discusses shared governance
After planned presentations wrapped up at Wednesday's General Faculty meeting, a discussion concerning the lack of shared governance in the 2012 decision to reorganize the University of Missouri's Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute took center stage during the comments section. The conversation revolved around the administrative decision to reorganize the Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute without speaking to affected professors beforehand in March 2012.
Federal Web Sites Go Dark Amid Shutdown
The budget impasse that brought nonessential operations of the federal government to a halt on Tuesday also had a major impact on Web sites used by many educators, researchers, and students. The shutdown, which triggered furloughs for approximately 800,000 federal workers and the closing of offices, research labs, and national parks across the country, is expected to affect colleges, students, and academic scientists only minimally at first. The National Science Foundation's Web site and its sister sites, FastLane and, are inaccessible "until further notice," according to a message posted on Tuesday. The foundation's message includes specific instructions for things like the publication of new grant opportunities, which have been suspended.
Government shutdown curbs academic research at many levels
A wide range of academic research across the country, from sophisticated biomedical experiments at the National Institutes of Health to undergraduate political science essays, was being interrupted Wednesday as the federal government shutdown continued for a second day -- with no clear path to a resolution. Researchers who had traveled to Washington for the purpose of using federal resources to advance their work said they were frustrated by the shutdown. The shutdown was also affecting academic gatherings in Washington and elsewhere in the country. Elsewhere academic researchers at all levels -- from postdoctoral researchers to college freshmen to lament the loss of electronic government resources.
Obamacare 101: What college students need to know
College students, like others, can purchase health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges that went live Oct. 1. But many students already have insurance through their parents or schools.
Supreme Court to Tackle Race Case
Combatants in the long-running war over affirmative action in education are lined up again in the U.S. Supreme Court. But the coming battle is a little different from those that produced well-known high court landmarks involving race and admissions. Early in the new court term that opens next week, the justices will weigh a case about a 2006 Michigan ballot measure that prohibited racial preferences in education and other areas of state and local government. Last year, a federal appeals court struck down the measure as it applies to admissions policies at state colleges and universities.
RODNEY BENNETT: Offer football guests hospitality | Rodney Bennett (Opinion)
University of Southern Mississippi President Rodney Bennett writes in the Hattiesburg American: "In my experience, travel can lead to anxiety resulting from the unknown. As I traveled across the country in support of our football team over the past month as the new president of the University of Southern Mississippi, I did not know what to expect from Lincoln, Fayetteville or Boise. Lincoln set the tone with welcome words and warm hospitality. Fayetteville followed. And the city of Boise did not disappoint. ...As our Golden Eagles prepare to host our first home game in more than a month, I am hopeful that our community will continue to reciprocate the hospitality our team and fans experienced on the road for everyone who travels here to enjoy the game this weekend."
Our view: Barbour: The master in his element
The Dispatch editorializes: "He's been gone for a while, but hardly forgotten. Haley Barbour's second term as governor of Mississippi ended two years ago. Old elected officials never die, of course, they just become lobbyists, which was the reason for Barbour's visit to the Friendly City on Tuesday. Before an adoring joint luncheon of the Columbus-Lowndes Republican Women and the Columbus Rotary, Barbour displayed some of the skills that allowed him to rise from an obscure Yazoo City lawyer to the inner sanctum of the national Republican Party. He held the audience in his amiable grasp for the better part of an hour while addressing a subject that most of the crowd could not have cared less about, U.S. energy policy, specifically, the controversial Kemper County lignite plant."
JIMMIE GATES: In-state hires: Give 'em a shot | Jimmie Gates (Opinion)
The Clarion-Ledger's Jimmie Gates writes: "Carey Wright may end up being the best education superintendent this state ever had, but I keep thinking that when it comes to hiring top administrators in this state, too often we don't give highly qualified in-state people a chance to show what they can bring to the table. Especially in the educational arena, those responsible for hiring top administrators bring in someone in from out-of-state and often find out later the person wasn't the right choice for the job. ...We should always strive to hire the best person for the job but that doesn't mean the best person always has to be someone from outside the state."

Mullen: Russell likely Mississippi State starter
Dan Mullen was not kidding when he's said Tyler Russell will start when he recovered from a head injury. We think. The Mississippi State coach confirmed again Wednesday that Russell would start against No. 10 LSU on Saturday. Last week's bye created a buzz around Mississippi State's quarterback situation. Despite Dak Prescott's recent success under center, Mullen never wavered from Russell as his starter. Some called it coach speak, others viewed it as a distraction for LSU. Earlier this week, Mullen indicated the starter would be a likely game-day decision. But on Wednesday in a media teleconference, it sounded a lot like Russell would be leading the Bulldogs' offense.
Mullen: Targeting rule tricky for refs
Hundreds of flags fly each weekend on college campuses, and hundreds of complaints soon follow. But the loudest criticism the officials receive might involve the new targeting rule. "You see the bind some of the officials are put it," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. "I think, in their mind, anytime you put an emphasis on any rule, you always see it every single year. When you put an emphasis on any rule you always see that rule called a whole bunch."
Stats show power football on third down can be used out of shotgun spread
Defensive coordinators across the country have been racking their brains trying to figure out a method to stop tempo offenses. The conclusion might be actually hoping for a short yardage situation. It is becoming a common perception around the country that the shotgun spread offenses are hampered by short yardage defenses, such as third-and-short or goal line. However, the statistical numbers support both sides of the argument and Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen dismissed the idea there's a better formation to run in third downs. Mullen, who has been a position coach, coordinator and head coach primarily in a primary read-option spread offense, proclaimed it's not the formation but the execution that can keep a offense on the field.
MSU commit Staley dismissed from high school team
Mississippi State verbal commitment quarterback Elijah Staley was dismissed from his high school team Wednesday. Days after a disagreement between Staley and his head coach Mike Collins occurred after a poor first half from the Wheeler High School (Marietta, Ga.) team. Staley, a three-star 6-foot-6 quarterback commit was benched in the second half of the game and was told this week he was dismissed from the team. According to a report from, Wheeler head coach Mike Collins "concluded that it would be detrimental to the team and a distraction to have Staley remain on the roster for the second half of the season."
LOGAN LOWERY: History not on Bulldogs' side | Logan Lowery (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Logan Lowery writes: "Saturday I will celebrate my 32nd birthday by covering the LSU-Mississippi State game. During my lifetime the Bulldogs have only beaten LSU seven times and four of those came in the first four years I was on the earth. The Tigers have won 13 straight in the series and 25 of the last 28 games. MSU has not won since Rod Gibson scored on a 1-yard run with 1:39 remaining for a 17-16 victory in Starkville on Oct. 23, 1999. I remember that day very well as I found out I would become a father for the first time just hours before kickoff. That means that the Bulldogs have not won against LSU during my daughter's lifetime."
McDonald, Mississippi State dominate course to win Old Waverly Invitational
Ally McDonald and the Mississippi State women's golf team won what would be considered the closest thing the sport offers to a home game. The Bulldogs team and junior took home the championship trophies of the second annual Old Waverly Bulldog Invitational at Old Waverly Country Club. MSU broke the school record for a 54-hole team total (20-under-par, 844) by 20 shots. Their final round total of 275 was the lowest single round score in school history. "People are flat out having to try really hard to even make the traveling five-man team and when that happens the chemistry is great," MSU coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. "We were ripe for this win when you build a program. You can feel it was time. I told them this was their golf tournament to win."
McGillis: Plenty of changes potentially on the way at USM
New Southern Miss athletic director Bill McGillis described potential major changes and upgrades in store for the school's athletic department on Wednesday. Speaking before a room full of USM fans at the Courtyard Marriott in Gulfport, McGillis touched on a wide variety of topics, including the school's logo and future renovations at Reed Green Coliseum. McGillis, who fielded questions during the Eagle Club luncheon, said that the athletic department has put in a bid to host the Conference USA baseball tournament this season at Pete Taylor Park. Also on the long list of matters to address in the coming months is the athletic department's embattled logo. The eagle head logo has been largely fazed out in recent years after a three-judge panel in the United States Patent and Trademark Office ruled that USM's logo is too similar to Iowa's Tigerhawk emblem.
Study: Professional sports salary shares further evidence NCAA is a cartel
As the landmark antitrust lawsuit O'Bannon vs. National Collegiate Athletic Association trudges its way through the courts, studies on the monetary value athletes bring to their colleges seem more pertinent than ever. That lawsuit, which argues that athletes are entitled to a portion of that revenue, could ultimately compel the NCAA to adopt a more professionalized model. "By restricting player remuneration," writes Jim Monks, associate economics professor at the University of Richmond, "the NCAA is quite effectively controlling player costs to the universities in order to allow athletic revenue to be used for other purposes."

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