Friday, March 7, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi awaits way to tap oil, gas reserves
Mississippi has vast reserves of oil and natural gas in the ground, waiting for the right technology and best possible business plans to tap into it, speakers said at a Thursday conference. The daylong symposium at the Marriott in downtown Jackson was devoted to enhanced oil recovery, a term generally referring to techniques that can draw greater amounts of oil and natural gas from the ground than longer-established methods. The event was co-hosted by Mississippi State University and Rice University. Mississippi is producing as many as 30 million barrels of oil per year and has been in an upward trend in that regard for roughly the last decade.
Mississippi leaders promote using carbon dioxide in oil output
Gov. Phil Bryant and others are extolling Mississippi as a national leader in using carbon dioxide to extract more oil from old oil fields. A conference hosted Thursday in Jackson by Rice University and Mississippi State University discussed expanding what's called enhanced oil recovery. Proponents say it could be a way to increase oil production while at the same time storing carbon dioxide underground, mitigating global warming. Jostein Mykletun, a Norwegian diplomat based in Houston, said he was following up on a visit last year by the Norwegian minister of petroleum to a Mississippi power plant. He told attendees he'd talked to Bryant and hopes to build a partnership with Mississippi universities to study issues around carbon capture.
Vinyl Records Revived at Mississippi State
"Vinyl Revival," a collection of vinyl records "with a sense of style," is on exhibit at Mississippi State. Free and open to all through March 21, the showing in the second-floor Colvard Student Union Art Gallery is a collaboration between the university's student activities office and campus Music Maker Productions. "Music is often thought of as an auditory art, but it can also be a very visual art form," said Amelia Treptow, assistant director for student activities. "The exhibit aims to express this visual art through the display of classic and modern vinyl records and sleeves."
Sign language interpreter hired full-time at Mississippi State
Mississippi State University hired its first full-time sign language interpreter who will work with the Student Support Services office. Interpreter Niall Cook began his pursuit into American Sign Language as a child and studies linguistics at the University of Mississippi. University officials said Cook will conduct counseling and related sessions for new students, assist those with hearing and sensory impairments and interpret for campus visitors during graduation and campus events.
Mississippi State Hires First Sign Language Interpreter
A first full-time sign language interpreter at Mississippi State is beginning his duties with the university's Student Support Services office. Niall Cook was a staff interpreter at Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services for 10 years before joining MSU earlier this semester. Cook said he became fascinated by different languages in childhood and began learning American Sign Language in 1993 while studying linguistics at the University of Mississippi. While there, he quickly made friends with members of the local deaf community who eagerly shared their language and culture with him.
Educator's love of faith, family, school remembered
April DeLoach, a Madison resident who served as principal of Camden Elementary until the end of the 2012-13 school year, died Tuesday at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Her family was at her side as she ended a feisty battle with the blood cancer leukemia that spanned a year and a half, including a recent stem cell transplant. DeLoach, 37, and her husband Trey have two children, Heath, 13, and Perry, 9. "April was such a light to me, from the day I first met her and at the time of diagnosis until the end," Heather Smith, DeLoach's Mississippi State University roommate, said. DeLoach earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Mississippi State. DeLoach loved to watch Heath play baseball and Perry cheer and to yell for the Bulldogs at MSU football games.
Oktibbeha school deals with structural woes
Students at East Oktibbeha County High School in Crawford began using the cafeteria again on Tuesday after the school district paid Fair Construction of Starkville $15,100 for repairs. A late February storm severely damaged a portion of the school's roof above the cafeteria, causing water to pour into the cafeteria and kitchen floors. Oktibbeha County School District Conservator Margie Pulley tells the Starkville Daily News that students ate sack lunches in classrooms for more than a week while contractors repaired the roof. EOCHS's heating unit, which is reportedly between 10 and 15 years old, continues to struggle when temperatures fall below freezing, Pulley said.
Mississippians attribute 'most obese' ranking to state culture
Mississippi was the most obese state in the U.S. in 2013, according to a new Gallup-Healthways poll -- and locals are attributing the title to the state's cultural attitudes. According to the poll, Mississippi had an obesity rate of 35.4 percent in 2013 and has ranked among the top 10 obese states in the nation since 2008. The state's laid-back lifestyle may also be to blame, according to Mississippi State University student Will Prater. "Obesity has been a problem for Mississippi. Complacency is not only characteristic of the sedentary lifestyles leading to high obesity rates, it is also characteristic of a cultural attitude towards the issue itself," Prater, 22, told Retired air traffic controller Paul Donaldson, of Starkville, said the state's obesity problem is obvious.
Justice overhaul closer to law
A comprehensive package designed to curb the state's burgeoning prison budget has passed both chambers of the Mississippi Legislature with limited opposition. On Thursday, the proposal passed the 52-member Senate with three dissenting votes. Earlier this session, on final passage in the House it was approved 104-4. The proposal, which provides a litany of changes to the criminal justice system ranging from giving judges more sentencing alternatives to limiting the ability of the Department of Corrections to release inmates early, now goes back to the House. The House can accept the changes the Senate made and send it to Gov. Phil Bryant or invite negotiations to hammer out the differences.
Sen. Thad Cochran: Corps adds $14M for Mississippi projects
Mississippi is one of only four states receiving additional funds from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for dredging and flood control along its major tributaries. That's according to U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. Cochran, R-Miss., says in a news release that the Corps of Engineers will give an additional $14.4 million to Mississippi this year to support more dredging, flood control, and other construction and maintenance projects. Cochran says Congress approved the additional funding in January.
U.S. Adds 175,000 Jobs; Unemployment Ticks Up to 6.7%
The U.S. labor market in February picked up from recent months, though growth remained measured and the unemployment rate stubbornly high. U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by a seasonally adjusted 175,000 in February, the Labor Department said Friday. Revisions by the agency showed the economy added slightly more jobs in recent months than previously believed. Employers added 129,000 jobs in January, up from 113,000, and 84,000 jobs in December, up from 75,000. The nation's unemployment rate ticked up to 6.7% in February from 6.6% in January. The labor force grew, but so did the number of unemployed.
Major changes ahead for Ole Miss Student Union
The Ole Miss Student Union has seen countless students come and go through its doors since first opening in the 1970s. The union will soon undergo major renovations and a huge expansion. "There's been no expansion to the building since 1976 when it came on line. The student population has more than doubled. Now, we're going to essentially double the size of the building itself," said Ole Miss architect Ian Banner. With a $50 million price tag, the union will go from 97,000 square feet to 157,000 square feet.
U. of Southern Mississippi kicks off 'Healthy 100'
It may seem strange given her title, but licensed dietitian Lisa Malone said she doesn't let her clients use the d-word. "We don't diet. We just change our eating habits," said Malone, a former Southern Miss nutrition instructor. That means recommending fresh foods and lean meats, as well as nudging folks, on occasion, to cut out the gallons of sweet tea. Malone is about to become extra busy changing habits, with the kickoff of the Healthy 100 Thursday afternoon at the University of Southern Mississippi. One hundred qualified faculty and staff members began signing up for free consultations with Malone. Additionally they'll receive free memberships to the university's Payne Center that include sessions with a personal trainer.
Choctaw Chief opens Women's History Month at Southern Miss
The University of Southern Mississippi has several events scheduled in March in observance of Women's History Month. Thursday they kicked off the observance with a reception at the International Center on campus. Featured speaker was Chief Phyllis Anderson, the first female chief elected to lead the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Anderson talked to the students and faculty about leadership and how adversities while she was growing up had shaped into the leader she is today.
Delta Music Institute in Washington
Ten Delta State University students from the Delta Music Institute program touched down in Washington, D.C., Tuesday afternoon. This marks the first trip to the White House for the students, where they are participating in "I Am Every Woman: The Women of Soul" -- an educational program sponsored by Grammy L.A. In addition to the educational program, the students will participate in several tours of the nation's capital.
Unity Summit to be held at MC Law in Jackson
Threats to Americans' rights of free speech, misuse of the judicial system, and hate speech around the nation will be among the topics explored at the inaugural Unity Summit. Political leaders, attorneys, and prominent speakers are coming to the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson for the March 13-14 conference. Experts will discuss the First Amendment rights of free expression and worship along with the Second Amendment right to bear arms. In addition, conference guests will focus on the Seventh Amendment right to trial by jury. Speakers will include U.S. Congressman Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, IRS abuse expert Frank Sommerville and Tupelo trial lawyer Jim Waide.
U. of Florida class constructing a safe haven for migrants
Nestled between the Tioga Town Center and expensive homes on Newberry Road, several migrant farmworker families live squeezed into a rotting 1978 mobile home and a tiny camper trailer. The mobile home and trailer, which are shrouded from the path by trees, belong to Latino church pastor Dino, 50, and his wife, Maria, 48. And although they don't have much, Dino and Maria, who asked that their last names not be used out of fear of persecution, offer their home to anyone in the migrant community -- even a stranger -- who needs a place to stay. Now a University of Florida architecture class is working to make sure Dino and Maria can continue sharing their home with others.
South Carolina needs more educated workers, study finds
South Carolina needs 114,550 more college-educated workers by 2030 to bolster the state's economy, according to a University of South Carolina study paid for by a business group that includes two former governors. More than half of the nearly 555,000 new jobs in South Carolina by 2030 will require higher education degrees, according to the study conducted by USC economists Doug Woodward and Joey Von Nessen. But South Carolina will have a shortfall of 44,010 workers holding two-year degrees and 70,540 workers with bachelor's or higher degrees unless changes are made, the study found.
Media coalition: Vanderbilt records are clearly public
A media coalition led by The Tennessean argued in a new court filing that the text messages and other documents it's seeking in a Vanderbilt University rape case are clearly public records that no law or policy can shield from public view. Metro government, the state attorney general's office and the alleged victim in the case argued against releasing the records in briefs filed in Davidson County Chancery Court last week, saying their release would harm the victim and compromise the defendants' ability to receive a fair trial. The media coalition responded Thursday. The Tennessean and other news organizations sued Metro last month over its refusal to release records from the rape investigation that led to charges against four former Vanderbilt football players.
Texas A&M seeks to double study abroad participation within five years
Texas A&M plans to double its number of students who study abroad. The university this week announced plans to increase the number of Aggies overseas to 4,000, which top officials said would be the largest increase in Texas and one of the largest increases in the nation. "I think it's really important for students to have experience doing things they don't do normally," said Jane Flaherty, A&M's study abroad program office director. "I feel very strongly about the fact this will help students be better participants in the Texas economy when they graduate from A&M because they will just understand a bit better how markets, economies and cultures work in other places."
U. of Missouri housing plan recommended demolishing University Village in 2011
A University of Missouri housing plan drawn up in 2008 recommended that University Village apartments, where part of a walkway collapsed and killed a firefighter Feb. 22, be vacated and demolished by August 2011. According to the plan, the buildings at University Village, which were built in 1956, were in such poor condition that renovating them would require their demolition and replacement, at an estimated cost of more than $15 million. The plan concluded that "the renovation of University Village is not a financially reasonable option." The plan identified the buildings' walkways as safety hazards and proposed their replacement.
Another Report Describes Shrinking Amount of State Money for Higher Ed
While increased federal spending for higher education faces an uphill battle in Congress, pressure is mounting from Democrats in Washington, D.C., to raise state appropriations for higher education. A report released on Thursday by the liberal-leaning group Demos is just the latest to detail the growing cost of tuition at public colleges, along with the shrinking amount of money that state governments provide to those institutions. Per-student state spending on public higher education shrank nearly 27 percent from 2008 to 2012, the report says. At the same time, average tuition at four-year public universities has risen about 20 percent, it says.
Survey: Cost a growing factor in college decisions
A new survey of the nation's college freshmen has found that the percentage attending their first-choice school has reached its lowest level in almost four decades, as cost and the availability of financial aid have come to play an influential role in decisions of where to enroll. Although many colleges are turning to online courses as a way to reduce costs and the time it takes to earn a degree, the survey showed that the idea was not very popular with students. While college campuses are often thought to be hotbeds of radical politics, only 3 percent of the survey respondents described their political leanings as far-left, and only 2 percent as far-right. More students, 46 percent, regarded their political beliefs as middle-of-the-road, while 28 percent saw themselves as liberal and 21 percent conservative.
States Eye Plans to Lower Cost Barriers to College
Persistent worries about the cost of higher education are prompting state leaders to propose a new stream of plans to increase college affordability and expand access for their students. Despite the activity across states, some of the proposals---whether giving a free ride in community college or the "pay-it-forward approach---are getting a mixed reception. Experts say states have a history of making promises that can be tough to sustain. But state leaders are feeling pressure to respond to frustrated consumers who fear that college is financially out of reach at the same time that the college-for-all push continues.
Progressive groups launch new campaign to tackle student debt, college affordability
A coalition of progressive groups on Thursday formally began a new campaign aimed at curbing rising student debt and reducing the price of college. The group of think tanks, student organizations, consumer advocates, and unions is targeting the country's "increasingly dysfunctional system of higher education," said Anne Johnson, executive director of Generation Progress, the youth division of the Center for American Progress, which is an organizer of the campaign. Speaking at the launch event Thursday, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a Democrat, said the $1.2 trillion in outstanding student debt was unfairly "penalizing young people for getting an education."
SID SALTER (OPINION): Talking politics, sausage and baseball
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Over a lifetime, I've seen a lot of ball games and eaten a lot of hot dogs and talked a lot of politics with friends old and new. ...This weekend, I had a chance to watch an NCAA baseball game between the Mississippi State University Bulldogs and the Eastern Illinois University Panthers in one of the Diamond Classic Tournament games at Dudy Noble Field on the MSU campus. ...While I've eaten a lot of ball game hot dogs, this was my very first time to watch a ball game while seated next to the guy whose company made the hot dog I was enjoying. To be accurate, this was not exactly a hot dog, but a smoked sausage dog with a little relish and a lot of mustard. Seated beside me at the game was state Sen. John Polk, R-Oak Grove, the chairman and retired CEO of Polk's Meat Products -- a Mississippi company employing more than 100 workers with 10 brands and a varied product line."

Baseball Bulldogs hit road for major weekend
Mississippi State is doing everything it can to have a healthier version of two veteran players when they travel to Arizona. Bulldogs coach John Cohen and the rest of the MSU staff have been admittedly cautious in handling the injuries of center fielder C.T. Bradford and Jonathan Holder before they prepare for their first road games of the 2014 season. No. 12 MSU (11-4) will embark on a 3-team and four-game event in the Hi Corbett Classic in Tucson, Ariz., that will feature 2012 national champion Arizona and a mid-major power California at Santa Barbara.
Bulldogs playing in Arizona
No. 12 Mississippi State hits the road for the first time this season traveling to Tucson, Ariz., for the Hi Corbett Classic. The Bulldogs (11-4) will play four games in the round robin tournament. State will start senior right-hander Ben Bracewell (2-0, 0.59 ERA) in Game 1 while the Gauchos counter with sophomore southpaw Justin Jacome (1-0, 1.38 ERA). Junior righty Brandon Woodruff (1-1, 5.00 ERA) will take the mound for the Bulldogs in the nightcap tonight while Arizona goes with senior right-hander James Farris (2-1, 2.08 ERA). Mississippi State won it's only meeting with UC-Santa Barbara 6-2 in the 1996 West Regional and are 8-3 all-time against Arizona.
Setup Pitch: Mississippi State (11-4) in Hi Corbett Classic
Mississippi State plays at Hi Corbett Field for the first time since 2006. The Bulldogs took a three-game series from the Wildcats then. They now return for four games, playing two games each against Arizona and UC Santa Barbara. Mississippi State makes the trip on a seven-game winning streak after it started the season 4-4. MSU found its identity during the recent win-streak. The trip to Arizona could act as the final auditions for positions on the field and in the rotation.
Long journey for Borchert ends with Senior Day, graduation at Mississippi State
Colin Borchert is just months away from receiving his degree from Mississippi State in human sciences. He and fellow senior Tyson Cunningham will play in their final home game Saturday when the Bulldogs (13-17, 3-14 in Southeastern Conference) host South Carolina in the regular season finale. In his MSU career, Borchert has averaged 9.1 points per game and 4.7 rebounds per game and is still hoping he can continue his journey in professional basketball in a overseas capacity. "I like new adventures and I like to travel a little bit," Borchert said. "I like to experience new things and if I could travel the world, I would absolutely do that and see new cultures."
Long road to Senior Day for Mississippi State's Cunningham
Tyson Cunningham will be one of two players honored at Mississippi State's senior day against South Carolina on Saturday. Four years ago, that seemed like only a pipe dream. The 6-foot-3 guard did not have any scholarship offers in basketball following his senior season at Columbus High School, even after averaging 11.2 points a game. Cunningham had sisters attending Stillman (Ala.) College and was offered a band and basketball scholarship following a tryout there. "I knew I had responsibilities at church and didn't want to go that far from home," Cunningham said. "My girlfriend, who is now my wife, was here, so I ended up coming to State on a drumline scholarship. I always had it in my heart to play (basketball), so I had an opportunity to try out later on."
South Carolina coach Frank Martin suspended for language
South Carolina basketball coach Frank Martin was suspended for Saturday's regular-season finale at Mississippi State by athletics director Ray Tanner on Thursday, following a verbal altercation with a player during Tuesday's 72-46 loss to Florida. It is the second time this season that Martin's sideline behavior has been called into question. A USC season ticket-holder who did not wish to be identified said he called Tanner to address Martin's behavior, and it wasn't the first time he had done so.
Mississippi State softball faces No. 8 Kentucky for weekend series
Mississippi State took a large amount of confidence from playing No. 12 Baylor to an extra-inning defeat last weekend. Now, the Bulldogs want to take that next step -- defeating an elite opponent. That opportunity presents itself this weekend when No. 8 Kentucky comes to Starkville for a three-game series. The opening Southeastern Conference series for both teams starts at 6 tonight at the MSU Softball Field. "We saw how close we were to beating a really great team," MSU senior pitcher Alison Owen said. "I think what we learned is that you have to take advantage of every opportunity that you get. One pitch or one at-bat can be the difference in the game."

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