Friday, October 11, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
Infinite Impact goes public: MSU Foundation's capital campaign aims for $600M
When the Famous Maroon Band takes the field Saturday during Mississippi State University's homecoming game against Bowling Green State University, the band will form an infinity symbol for the announcement of a new capital campaign. John Rush, MSU vice president for development and alumni, said the symbol came from associate business professor Joel Collier during a planning meeting for the capital campaign. He said Collier noticed that MSU consisted of eight colleges, and turning the number 8 on its side yielded an infinity symbol. Rush said that lined up with something MSU President Mark Keenum often told high school students. (Subscriber-only content.)
Mississippi State goes public in effort to raise $600 million
Mississippi State University went public Thursday with its effort to raise $600 million for academics as well as athletics. The university quietly started the fundraising effort in 2010 and has raised nearly $345 million so far. "This effort is going to give us the edge that we need to really push Mississippi State forward and really advance us into one of the leading research universities in the country," said Jerry Gilbert, provost and executive vice president. "It's an ambitious goal, but we truly believe it's an attainable goal," said John Rush, vice president for development and alumni.
Mississippi State University launches effort to raise $600M
Mississippi State University is going public with a $600 million fundraising effort for academics and athletics. Jerry Gilbert, MSU provost and executive vice president, says in a news release that the school quietly started the fundraising effort in 2010 and has raised nearly $345 million so far. Gilbert says money raised will go toward MSUs eight academic colleges, its libraries, its athletic programs, the Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College and its campus in Meridian.
Second Chilifest event promises food, family fun
The aroma of charcoal and the grill being fired up is typical on Saturdays in The Junction at Mississippi State University, but the cooking will begin early this week. Pots will be stirred and the smell of chili will begin wafting through the air at MSU's Amphitheater for today's Junior Auxiliary's fundraiser Chilifest. This is the second consecutive year Junior Auxiliary has hosted Chilifest. The fundraiser will run from 5-7 p.m. and will feature a variety of activities for families. The event will be in the middle of a plethora of homecoming events Mississippi State has planned for the day. (Subscriber-only content.)
Mississippi State announces Homecoming road closure
Mississippi State is preparing for a big weekend. On Friday, Bost Drive South, between Stone Blvd. and Old Bully Blvd., will be closed for MSU Student Association Homecoming activities from 4-7:30 p.m. in the Amphitheatre. Creelman St., between Stone Blvd. and the East entrance to the Dorman Hall parking lot, will be closed from 2-7:30 p.m. for Maroon Madness. The Homecoming parade, which begins at 5:30 p.m. in Aiken Village, will also cause short closures of Barr Ave., Bost Drive North and Stone Blvd. as it progresses through campus.
Hood aiming for Zacharias road bill in next legislative session
State Rep. Joey Hood, R-Ackerman, confirmed Tuesday he will again propose renaming a portion of a local roadway after former Mississippi State University President Donald Zacharias in the upcoming legislative session. The designation would be the second such local honor for MSU family members in the past two years. A 2011 designation honored longtime radio broadcaster Jack Cristil's career and dedication to the university by naming a portion of U.S. Highway 182 between the Miss. Highway 12 bypass and the northern campus entrance after the legendary voice of the Bulldogs. Zacharias, the second-longest serving MSU president, died March 3 of complications from multiple sclerosis after an extended illness. He was 77.
50 years later: MSU plans warm reception for 'cold' memory
On a freezing afternoon in 1963, Mississippi State's football team blocked a punt and ran it in for a touchdown at the Bulldogs' first post-season appearance in 22 years. MSU went on to defeat North Carolina State, 16-12, in a victory remembered by many fans as much for the weather as the outcome. The weather that day in Philadelphia, Pa. -- the bowl game was later moved to Memphis -- was "colder than a pawnbroker's heart," as Voice of the Bulldogs Jack Cristil described it during the radio broadcast. However, the cold didn't stop the Bulldogs, and the 1963 Liberty Bowl continues to be one of the most memorable events in Bulldog football history. To commemorate the 50 years that have passed since that big win, MSU's Bulldog Club is sponsoring a Liberty Bowl reunion before the 2013 MSU Homecoming game on Saturday when MSU faces Bowling Green.
Stuart Little at MSU Riley Center tonight
One child in the Little family is quite different from the rest, but only Snowbell, the Littles' pet cat seems to notice. This is no surprise, since well-dressed, perfectly mannered Stuart Little is actually a mouse. Based on E. B. White's classic children's book of the same name, the play produced by Dallas Children's Theater relates many of the endearing situations Stuart shares with his human family. The touring production comes to the MSU Riley Center tonight at 7 p.m. family show performance.
Overnight fire at Starkville church
Starkville and East Oktibbeha County firemen stayed busy overnight. Around 2 a.m, crews were called to the Church of Christ on Lee Boulevard in Starkville. Officials say a smoke detector alerted firemen there was a fire in the building. The firemen responded quickly and were able to contain what's believed to be an electrical fire that started in the kitchen.
Pay, work hours to decrease for OCH Regional Medical Center employees
OCH Regional Medical Center CEO Richard Hilton confirmed some hospital employees will see a slight reduction in pay and work hours as the company attempts to offset rising expenses and lower reimbursements for health care services. A 5-percent pay cut will affect hourly employees who earn more than $8.50 an hour, while workers' 80-hour work weeks will be scaled back to 76 hours, Hilton said. The pay cut also applies to salaried workers. The hospital is not expected to lay off employees.
Demolition underway to make room for City Hall
The city of Starkville is making progress on constructing the new City Hall. Demolition began Thursday morning, demolishing the old electric department building. The old structure sat on Miegs Street for more than 60 years. Crews will be hauling off what's left of the old structure, and a new $6.75 million structure will go up over the next 18 months.
Hosemann might run if Cochran retires
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann has his eyes on a U.S. Senate seat, if sitting Sen. Thad Cochran decides not to run for re-election in 2014. While Cochran has "been phenomenal -- I'll support him if he runs again," Hosemann said that if the 75-year-old senator decides to retire, "I have an interest in that race." His remarks came in response to a question in a Thursday afternoon interview with the Daily Journal. Cochran, first elected to the Senate in 1978, has said he will announce whether he will seek re-election well before the March qualifying deadline, possibly by the end of this year. Shortly before his interview, the 66-year-old Hosemann announced he'd hired former state Sen. Doug Davis, a Republican from DeSoto County, to be his new chief of staff.
Hosemann hires Parole Board leader; Davis to serve as chief of staff to secretary of state
New state Parole Board Chairman Doug Davis is leaving his job to become chief of staff for Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. "Doug has a long served the citizens of the state of Mississippi," Hosemann said in an announcement. "No doubt his legislative experience, extensive background in policy and commitment to our state will be an asset to our agency." Davis, a former state senator, served only three months as chairman of the Parole Board. Davis said Thursday he is looking forward to his new role. He said he had worked with Hosemann and his office when he was in the Legislature.
Panel: Consolidate domestic violence efforts
A legislatively created task force is recommending that a new state commission be created to consolidate the efforts of multiple agencies to combat domestic violence. The proposal, made Thursday during a news conference at the state Capitol by the Domestic Violence Task Force, has the backing of Gov. Phil Bryant. Bryant, who attended the news conference, said it would be "a win, win" to direct federal and state grants dedicated to curbing domestic violence to a new agency. He said it would help the victims, make it easier for law enforcement and even reduce costs in the long run. Currently, grants are directed to the departments of Health, Mental Health and Public Safety.
Domestic Violence Task Force criticizes Health Department over victims' fund
A domestic violence task force on Thursday blasted the state Department of Health for failing to distribute or account for almost $600,000 in state and federal money intended for victims. Also, the Domestic Violence Task Force, created by the Legislature this year, wants to change the term domestic violence to "interpersonal violence" to include domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, trafficking, child sexual abuse and related crimes. The 26-member task force, joined by Gov. Phil Bryant, released its report Thursday at the state Capitol.
House Speaker Gunn stops, listens in South Mississippi
State House Speaker Philip Gunn came to South Mississippi to hear the peoples' concerns. He got an earful. The Grand Magnolia Ballroom was packed Thursday with people who wanted to rail against Common Core, the education standards adopted by the state four years ago; propose an alternative plan for the controversial Kemper power plant; urge lawmakers to do something about wind and flood insurance increases; get money for child care for working families; get permission for deputies to use radar; lobby to expand Medicaid; seek adequate funding education; and, occasionally, just thank lawmakers for serving.
Rally at Flowood hospital targets state's largest insurer
A rally in Flowood on Thursday rang the bell for Round 2 in an ongoing fight between a hospital group with 10 facilities in the state and the largest insurance provider in Mississippi. Members of the community and medical staff gathered at River Oaks Hospital to protest Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi dropping all Health Management Associates hospitals in the state from the insurer's network. Meredith Virden, spokeswoman for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi issued statement saying HMA's allegations are misinformed. "The issue is not about access, as HMA would like you to believe. The issue is about the cost of healthcare," Virden wrote.
Mississippi government: Little impact from fed shutdown
Agency directors and spokesmen say Mississippi government is feeling little effect from the federal government's partial shutdown that started last week. This includes the Department of Transportation, the Department of Education, the Department of Human Services and the Division of Medicaid -- state agencies that handle large amounts of federal money. For now, there's enough federal money on hand keep providing services like Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and food aid, and for highway contracts to stay on track. Kevin Upchurch, director of the state Department of Finance and Administration, said states might be entitled to reimbursement from the federal government for some mandatory programs after a congressional dispute over the federal budget is resolved.
Leaders urge research universities to look beyond U.S. government for support
The leaders of American research universities may be well-advised to shift some of their energy away from lobbying Congress and focus more on partnerships with state governments and businesses, several higher education leaders said Thursday. Research universities need more funding to remain competitive, they said, but given the political dysfunction in Washington it may be time to look outside of the federal government for support. Against the backdrop of this dismal federal outlook for scientific research, Hunter Rawlings III, president of the Association of American Universities, told his colleagues Thursday that it was time to start looking away from Congress and toward state governments and business leaders to make investments in research.
Obama, Republicans in debt talks on two fronts
President Obama opened talks with House Republicans on Thursday about their plan to lift the federal debt limit through late November, raising hopes that Washington would avert its first default on the national debt. But after a 90-minute meeting at the White House, the two sides remained at odds over how and when to end the government shutdown -- now in its 11th day -- with Obama insisting that Republicans reopen federal agencies before negotiations over broader budget issues can begin. In the Senate, top Republicans began crafting a proposal that would reopen the government and raise the federal debt limit for as long as three months -- an approach closer to the terms Obama has set to end the standoff. The developments meant that bipartisan negotiations were suddenly underway on two separate tracks Thursday after weeks of stalemate. Major questions remain, however, about the path ahead.
White House sees GOP on ropes
The White House thinks it has the GOP on the ropes. Senior administration officials and White House allies point to the unsteady political maneuvers taken by Republicans in recent days as proof that the president's "no negotiation" strategy is succeeding. They say the GOP's plunging poll numbers are proof that the fight over the shutdown and the debt ceiling is doing lasting damage, and that it's only a matter of time until Republicans relent on their demands.
NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll adds to Republican shutdown woes
For Republicans, the last 10 days have felt like falling down a darkened elevator shaft: You want to hit bottom, but wonder about the odds of survival. In what has become an almost daily occurrence, Thursday night brought another poll showing the damage the party has suffered as a result of the government shutdown. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that the party's popularity had dropped and Americans were far more likely to blame them for the goings-on in Washington than their Democratic opponents.
Mississippi unemployment filings rise in wake of shutdown
A large uptick in unemployment claims with the Mississippi Department of Employment Security is being linked to the partial federal government shutdown. For the week ending Sept. 28, just before the Oct. 1 shutdown, MDES had just more than 1,200 initial claims, department spokeswoman Katheryn Stokes said. That number jumped by 16.7 percent to 1,400 last week. But through Wednesday evening, Stokes said MDES had received more than 2,600 initial claims. The 85.7 percent increase could double last week's claims before the reporting week ends at midnight Saturday. While the number of claims ebbs and flows, Stokes said the department generally doesn't see such large swings unless a major employer has closed.
Supreme Court will tackle affirmative action once again
An affirmative action backlash that began in California and migrated to Michigan has now reached the Supreme Court, with university admissions and more potentially on the line. In one of the new term's highest-profile cases, the court on Tuesday will consider a Michigan ballot measure that bans the use of race in public university admissions. Inspired by a similar measure in California, the Michigan policy has divided other states, while giving court conservatives their latest chance to roll back race-based preferences.
Chemical Weapons Watchdog Wins Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the group overseeing the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons, as the award committee's chairman emphasized the importance of disarmament in the pursuit of world peace. The award, given Friday in Oslo by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, comes as the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons embarks on the highest-profile task in its 16-year existence: overseeing the destruction of Syria's arsenal amid a bloody civil war and calls for a cease fire so disarmament work can be done.
Press group: Obama is worst since Nixon in going after leaks
Despite a promise of transparency, President Barack Obama has run a secretive government that's chilling the flow of information to reporters while it tries to channel its version of news through its own government media, according to a new report from a journalists' group. The report says the Obama administration has curbed the disclosure of government information, limited the use of the Freedom of Information Act, launched a program of internal surveillance to stop people from talking to reporters and conducted an unprecedented number of investigations of journalists. "In the Obama administration's Washington, government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press," says the report by Leonard Downie Jr. for the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Trent Lott expected at Everybody's Tent
After seeing the success of Everybody's Tent at the Southeastern Missouri football game, the Associated Student Body is bringing it back this weekend for the Texas A&M game and is expecting former U.S. Sen. Trent Lott to be among the attendees. Everybody's Tent was started this semester by ASB President Gregory Alston and current director of Everybody's Tent William Fowler. The tent was created as a place for people to go if they have nowhere else to tailgate during the game or if they need somewhere to cool off during the day. This weekend, it will be sponsored by the Trent Lott Leadership Institute and University and Public Events, according to Alston. "I was very excited to hear that Trent Lott is expected to stop by Everybody's Tent this weekend," Alston said. "He is a great leader and representative of this university."
Reconciliation: 'Mind, Body and Spirit'
Two ministers and two academics agreed Thursday that opposition to racism is an active effort. Their discussion was "Reconciliation in Mind, Body and Spirit," hosted by the University of Mississippi's William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. "There's no such thing as passive anti-racism," said Stephen Haynes, professor of religious studies at Rhodes College in Memphis. "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." Others on the programs were Nate Northington, the first black athlete in the Southeastern Conference; the Rev. Eric Hankins, pastor of Oxford's First Baptist Church; and moderator Michele Alexandre, professor of law at Ole Miss. Panelists agreed that much progress has been made in race relations, but not nearly enough.
Long-ago history comes to life at Co-Lin Community College
The class syllabus for history instructor Brett Shufelt's world civilization class sounds precisely like what a student might expect it to sound like. Or, it sounds similar to just about any other class syllabus for college. What one does not get, but should now, is that Shufelt's classes tend to be atypical. Wednesday's less provided a little context. Held outside Smith Hall at Co-Lin Community College, approximately 30 students assemble before their instructor equipped with uniquely personalized shields and mock eight-food bamboo spears. Shufelt is re-inventing ancient Greece.
U. of Alabama's 'Seven Guitars' pulses with vividness
In a show built around a young blues singer who scores an unexpected hit record, more than one refrain plays. That's literally true of the sound design for "Seven Guitars," which erupts with ecstatic blasts of Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and other blues greats. But it's from within playwright August Wilson's language, and the subtexts and themes of "Seven Guitars" that the strains of a musical style, called "nothin' but a good man feelin' bad" by Tuscaloosa's own Johnny Shines, emerge.
Louisiana legislators study higher ed tuition
One by one, Louisiana state legislators, higher education administrators and government watchers took a turn Thursday at a microphone inside downtown Baton Rouge's Claiborne Building to talk about how colleges and universities can perform better while also remaining affordable for students. It was the first of three meetings of the state's Tuition Task Force, a panel set up by the Legislature earlier this year to come up with college pricing recommendations. Legislators are worried that as state funds to colleges and universities are drying up, tuition is steadily creeping higher, making it more difficult for students to afford a postsecondary education. Higher education leaders are concerned the Legislature refuses to give them authority to set their own tuition rates, essentially denying them the ability to manage their operations as they see fit.
U. of Florida grad student finds peanut butter test may be key to Alzheimer's diagnosis
A little bit of peanut butter can go a long way -- namely, in helping to diagnose Alzheimer's disease. Julie Samples, a University of Florida graduate student in neurology, was looking for a quick and easy way to test patients' cranial nerve I, also known as the smell nerve. So she came up with the peanut butter test, and the results of her small pilot study were recently published in the Journal of Neurological Sciences. Samples' advisor, Dr. Kenneth Heilman, a professor of neurology and health psychology, told her, "If you can come up with something quick, let's do it," Samples recalled.
Officials: Texas A&M may be opening branch campus in Israel
High-ranking A&M System and university administrators recently have made trips to the country to negotiate the partnership, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. They said the initiative has not been finalized but that an announcement is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 23. They say A&M System Chancellor John Sharp, who has been steering the effort, has a serious interest in a second physical presence for A&M in the Middle East. It's unclear if the potential branch campus would offer a range of A&M degrees, or focus on a specific discipline. It is also unclear how the initiative would be funded. The sources said Sharp, A&M Provost Karan Watson and Rabbi Peter Tarlow, former executive director of the A&M Hillel and a tourism expert, have traveled to Israel to work on the initiative.
U. of Missouri among high-speed 'innovation campuses'
The University of Missouri announced Thursday that it has connected to a high-speed network that offers speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second and will help enhance its research capabilities. Gary Allen, vice president of IT for the UM System, said MU is one of a select group of institutions across the country that are being designated as "innovation campuses" by Internet2, a not-for-profit computer networking consortium led by members from the research and education communities, industry and government. Allen said the development of the Internet2 Innovation Platform came from a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation.
Obesity examined: Health Ethics Conference talk at U. of Missouri encourages compassion
There are no easy answers about how or why Americans struggle so much with their weight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2009-10 that 35.7 percent of the adult population was obese. That's more than one-third of all American adults. Anna Kirkland, an associate professor of women's studies at the University of Michigan, gave a presentation about obesity Thursday night at the University of Missouri's Memorial Student Union. Her talk focused on understanding environmental factors that lead to obesity and how weight discrimination affects people. The lecture hall was standing room only and attendees included MU nursing students, community members, health care professionals and professors, both active and retired.
Budget Tensions Cloud Hopes for End to 'Sequester'
Sequestration -- the across-the-board budget cuts that represent the biggest slash in federal education spending in recent history -- may continue for the foreseeable future, education advocates fear, a consequence of the budget deadlock that shuttered the U.S. government and congressional brinkmanship over the debt ceiling. With those twin fiscal crises having consumed lawmakers' attention for weeks, stopping the sequestration cuts has been shoved to the side, leaving school districts likely to cope with yet another round of reductions to programs that serve the neediest children and students in special education.

College reunion: Mississippi State's Mullen started his career at Bowling Green
Dan Mullen almost always guards his emotions and his team. Mullen addresses the state of Mississippi State football every Monday at the Leo W. Seal Football Complex. Often, his answers reveal little about his team or how the Bulldogs will stop an opponent. Even with something as simple as a starting quarterback, Mullen is tight-lipped. But reminiscing about his time with the Falcons, who the Bulldogs host Saturday at 6:30 p.m., punctured his seemingly impenetrable shield.
Falcons amped to play Bulldogs
It is always nice to win on homecoming. But Mississippi State's opponent Saturday night will not be a pushover. Bowling Green is 5-1 on the year and has won four of its 10 all-time meetings against teams that currently makeup the Southeastern Conference. The Falcons have three wins over Missouri and also defeated Kentucky in 1985.
Mississippi State's Russell able to use legs too
Tyler Russell watched from the sideline for three weeks. Against every opponent, Dak Prescott chewed up rushing yards and now leads the team in rushing. A hit to the head while Russell evaded the pocket in Week 1 sidelined him for a month, yet in his first series back, he did his best Prescott impersonation. "He's a tough kid. I'll be honest with you, quarterbacks take more hits in the pocket than they do running the ball," Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen said. "A lot of times guys get hurt. I imagine just as many guys are getting hurt sliding or trying to get down as they are in the pocket."
Bulldogs get back on baseball practice field
When the Mississippi State baseball team steps onto Dudy Noble Field today to start fall practice, they will have several players staying in the dugout. The Bulldogs have several players who are coming off of injuries and offseason surgery. Some have been hit with flu-like symptoms and possibly could sit out this weekend. "We have some nagging things that are keeping us from being full strength right now," MSU head coach John Cohen said. "We are really excited about this group when we start out." (Subscriber-only content.)
Mississippi State women to show new faces during Maroon Madness
There will be a little bit of madness taking place today near The Junction. After the homecoming parade, the men's and women's basketball programs will give fans a look at their teams in a public setting for the first time beginning at 6 p.m. on Creelman Street between Dorman Hall and The Junction. "I'm excited about our kids being able to get in front of our student-body and alumni that will be here in town," MSU women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer said. (Subscriber-only content.)
Texas A&M to sell grass plots from Kyle Field
Texas A&M will be selling pallets of Kyle Field's grass playing surface online beginning at 10 a.m. Monday on The redevelopment of the stadium will begins at season's end. A&M will harvest the playing surface following the final home game on Nov. 9. Each harvested pallet will cost $400 and contains approximately 450 square feet of sod. The buyer will be required to pick it up Nov. 10. No requests for specific sections of the field will be accepted.
Academics to propose federal legislation restructuring NCAA
An athletics watchdog group plans to pursue federal legislation that would dramatically restructure the National Collegiate Athletic Association by giving the sports governing body a "limited antitrust exemption," allowing colleges to cap spending and redirect revenue toward athletes in the form of educational and medical benefits, Inside Higher Ed has learned. The proposal, which is still in the early draft stages, would probably be introduced as an amendment when Congress renews the Higher Education Act of 1965, a process that has begun but is unlikely to unfold at a quick pace. It comes at a time when conference commissioners and college presidents at the highest competitive levels of the NCAA are calling for more autonomy in spending and legislative issues, and many have become resigned to the idea that there's no stopping the so-called arms race in collegiate athletics spending.

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