Tuesday, March 25, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
High Performance Computing Collaboratory to get $2.5M in upgrades
Mississippi State University received clearance from the IHL Board of Trustees Thursday to invest as much as $2.5 million in more supercomputing power for its High Performance Computing Collaboratory (HPC2) and an extra $1.5 million in a new dining facility. IHL approved a new purchase agreement between MSU and Cray, Inc. to purchase expansion equipment to be integrated with MSU's current Cray supercomputer. MSU purchased this computer from Cray in December.
Restaurant Week tallies record number of ballots
More visitors cast ballots in Starkville Restaurant Week in five days this year than 2013's entire week, and organizers say they expect weekend baseball crowds to set a high benchmark for future competitions. Mississippi State University's weekend baseball series -- the crowds it attracted to Starkville, specifically -- against Vanderbilt University are expected to boost total restaurant visits and the overall ballot count. The Partnership will announce the winner of Starkville Restaurant Week's charity aspect 4 p.m. Tuesday at Cadence Bank Plaza. Restaurant diners last week had a chance per entree to decide which local entity -- Homeward Bound Project of Mississippi, Starkville Pregnancy Care Center and MSU's T.K. Martin Center -- will receive a $5,000 donation.
Mississippi State University Extension Service to host garden workshop
Lamar County extension agent Ross Overstreet will present Starting a Garden workshop at 9 a.m. March 29 at the Mississippi State University Extension Service office, 952 Sullivan Dr. in Hattiesburg. Overstreet will discuss basic vegetable gardening, composting, soil and more.
Drones Becoming Popular for Local Businesses
They've been used by the military for some time, and now civilians are taking advantage of drone technology. "You can get in places to where you'd normally have to have, you know, super tall ladders, crane lifts, or look on top of buildings," said videographer Richard Eairheart of Columbus. Eairheart says these types of drones are becoming more popular for residents and local businesses, but they can be a safety issue. Not everyone gets training on how to use them properly. As drones continue to become more popular, they raise privacy concerns. Eairheart doesn't see that as an issue -- at least for this area.
Tuition program reopens in fall
The Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Program, closed since the fall of 2012 because of a funding shortfall, will reopen this fall. The College Savings Plan Board, chaired by state Treasurer Lynn Fitch, decided Monday to reopen the beleaguered MPACT program. "The board's decision allows MPACT to remain an option for families in planning for a college education in a fiscally responsible way," Fitch said. Fitch said the cost to buy into MPACT will rise, and consumer options will be streamlined. The board will decide the specifics of those changes before the fall enrollment starts. MPACT, created in 1997 by the Legislature, allows parents and grandparents to pay current tuition levels for their children's and grandchildren's higher education in later years.
Mississippi lawmakers enter final days of budget writing
Mississippi legislators expect to be busy this week working out final details of a $6 billion budget for the coming year. Among other things, they need to agree on how much to spend on a teacher pay raise plan and whether to fund training for a new group of Highway Patrol troopers. They're also trying to find ways to stop using money that's available only a single year at a time, such as lawsuit settlements, to pay for ongoing state expenses, such as salaries. Legislators have relied on "one-time money" for more than a decade, but financial analysts say that habit could hurt the state's credit rating. "I think we have a realistic chance of passing a budget in the next seven or eight days which only spends recurring revenue on recurring expenses," Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said in an interview Monday.
Revenue estimate may increase today | Daily Journal
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves has confirmed that he will call a meeting of the 14-member Legislative Budget Committee today to consider raising the state's revenue estimate. If the estimate is raised, there will be more money for the Legislature to appropriate for the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1. Legislative leaders are facing a Saturday night deadline to reach a budget accord that the full Legislature then has until Monday to pass. The Budget Committee will hear a recommendation from the state's financial experts before making a final decision Tuesday.
Secretary of State Kicks Watkins; Watkins Alleges Republican Politics
Jackson developer David Watkins just got bad news. It came in the form of a final order issued Monday by Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann concluding that Watkins "operated in a manner to 'mislead or deceive'" in the transfer of bond money from a Metrocenter project to an unrelated one in Meridian. In response, Watkins is claiming partisan politics. Watkins responded in a one-page statement distributed by his attorney, Lance Stevens. "The finding of the hearing officer is a joke," Stevens said in the statement. He added that "there was no evidence of fraud whatsoever."
NRA endorses Cochran
The National Rifle Association has endorsed Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., for re-election, the senator's office announced Tuesday. Chris Cox, chairman of the NRA, in a March 13 letter to the senator cited Cochran's A+ rating from the organization. Cox also noted Senator Cochran's seniority and influence on the Appropriations Committee as a valuable tool. In other news, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, Cochran's primary opponent, campaigned Sunday at the Laurel Gun Show.
Steeped in Overhead: A Look at the Expenses of Tea Party Groups
Republican leaders are stepping up their campaign to discredit tea party activists who are challenging them on Capitol Hill and on the campaign trail, accusing conservatives of lining their own pockets at the expense of the GOP. A recent radio ad for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. -- who is under attack from the right in his own primary -- blasts the Senate Conservatives Fund for spending its money "on a luxury townhouse with a wine cellar and hot tub in Washington, D.C." House Republicans joke privately about the "conservative-industrial complex." Whatever their overhead, tea-party-aligned groups are spending tens of millions collectively, sometimes with little or no board oversight. GOP leaders are finding new ways to vent anger over the large sums conservatives spend attacking incumbent Republicans.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Are planes vulnerable to cyber-attack?
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went down in the southern Indian Ocean, authorities stated Monday, citing a new analysis of satellite data. But nobody knows just what took it so far off course -- including whether a cyber-attack on the aircraft might have been responsible. At a hacker conference last April in Amsterdam, Hugo Teso, a Spanish cyber-security expert and commercial pilot, demonstrated how an airliner could be hacked using a smart phone app he developed, dubbed PlaneSploit. European and U.S. authorities quickly swatted down Teso's claim, proclaiming he had only tested his attack on pilot-training software -- not on a real flight management system, which they said was configured differently. So, they asserted, his exploit could not possibly succeed in the real world. Other security experts disagree, saying minor adjustments would make Teso's experiment work on the real thing.
Smoking Proves Hard to Shake Among the Poor
When smoking first swept the United States in the early decades of the 20th century, it took hold among the well-to-do. Cigarettes were high-society symbols of elegance and class, puffed by doctors and movie stars. By the 1960s, smoking had exploded, helped by the distribution of cigarettes to soldiers in World War II. Half of all men and a third of women smoked. But as evidence of smoking's deadly consequences has accumulated, the broad patterns of use by class have shifted: Smoking, the leading cause of preventable death in the country, is now increasingly a habit of the poor and the working class. While previous data established that pattern, a new analysis of federal smoking data released on Monday shows that the disparity is increasing.
Carp(e) Diem: Kentucky Sends Invasive Fish To China
The invasive Asian carp has now been found in 12 states and in the Great Lakes watershed, gobbling up native fish, jumping aggressively into boats and reproducing like crazy. Researchers have tried various ways to slow the spread of the fish as it prowls other waterways. And, so far, efforts to introduce the big, bony fish to American diners haven't caught on. So now a processing plant in Kentucky is trying the latest method of Asian carp disposal: sending them to China. Plants have found markets for Asian carp. In Mississippi, one company uses the fish for pet food and fertilizer. Kentucky officials are aggressively trying to get rid of the fish.
Ole Miss dorm to be named Burns Hall
One of three dormitories opened last fall at the University of Mississippi will bear the family name of long-time Ole Miss supporters. The Board of Trustees, Institutions of Higher Learning, last week approved renaming the University Housing South Building as "Burns Hall" to honor the financial and personal contributions of Roland and Sheryl Burns. Roland O. Burns Jr., who is president of Comstock Resources Inc., earned bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting from Ole Miss. The IHL board also approved renovation and addition to the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.
Police arrest man after indecent exposure incident Monday morning
The University Police Department arrested a man Monday morning who allegedly exposed himself near the Ford Center. The arrest comes after similar crimes were committed on campus March 20. UPD Chief Calvin Sellers said the man arrested Monday is the same man who committed last week's crimes. "We got a couple calls this morning, and we had an officer in the area," Sellers said. "I'm happy we got this guy, and I hope everyone can feel safe." Sellers also said the man arrested is not a student at Ole Miss.
Ole Miss gets BCBS grant for expanded health program
The University of Mississippi received a $250,000 grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation to expand its fitness and nutrition programs with the addition of a new program, RebelWell. Officials say RebelWell will make the programs already available at the university grow to be easily accessible to the broader community.
Delta State University student prepares for leadership abroad
Lawrence Yawn's passport booklet is filling up fast and will get another stamp this summer. After seeing a photo on Instagram by Global Lead of a girl bungee jumping with the caption, "Don't just go. Lead," Yawn knew she wanted to be a part of the adventure. According to their website, "Global Lead is an innovative, purpose-driven organization, focused on leading transformative experiences at home and abroad." Yawn is a senior graphic design major at Delta State and said she has always loved traveling and caught the travel bug from her dad. Lawrence will be leaving May 10 for Cape Town, South Africa, and said she chose this trip from all others because it allows her to do services for the community.
Auburn business college server reportedly targeted in cyber attack
A server in the Auburn University College of Business was the recent target of a cyber attack, according to a letter that was published on the Vermont Attorney General's website. "On November 20, 2013, Auburn University became aware of a compromised server within the College of Business Network," the letter, dated March 20, states. "Upon learning of this incident, Auburn University immediately patched the vulnerability and launched an internal investigation to determine the scope of this compromise." Multiple media reports state that the college was targeted between Oct. 21 and Nov. 20, and that the personal information of up to 14,000 students and staff was identified on the server.
Steve Forbes discusses economy, upcoming election while in Auburn
Renowned entrepreneur and business executive Steve Forbes visited Auburn on Friday, speaking to a crowd of Auburn University students and local residents at Auburn Arena. Forbes was scheduled to deliver the keynote speech as part of an event put on by the Auburn Conservatives for Tomorrow and Young America's Foundation. Before the event, Forbes met with members of the media to discuss several topics -- including the state of the national economy. While expressing concern over a number of national issues, Forbes did maintain a certain level of optimism moving forward.
U. of Florida faculty encouraged by Machen's push for raises
University of Florida faculty said they were encouraged by President Bernie Machen's recently announced commitment to finding money for raises this year. Machen sent a letter to alumni and other UF supporters last week recognizing the need to make salaries more competitive to attract top-drawer faculty who can help elevate the university's status among other public universities. "We are well behind the group we want to be compared to," said John Biro, president of the UF chapter of the United Faculty of Florida -- a group that represents 1,700 faculty, or 37 percent of the total faculty. If UF is serious about its "proclaimed commitment to move into a certain bracket," Biro said, it needs to "commit to salaries commensurate with that."
UGA will start over, again, on business dean search
The University of Georgia will start over -- for the second time -- in its search for a new dean for the Terry College of Business. Four finalists for the job visited the UGA campus last month, but none will get it, UGA Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten told faculty members in the business college last week. In the meantime, former UGA President Charles Knapp will stay on as interim dean. Knapp said Monday he is willing to continue while the university looks again for the right candidate.
Two finalists named for UGA development vice presidency
Two candidates for a soon-to-be-vacant University of Georgia vice presidency will make public appearances on the UGA campus in the next week. Kelly Kerner of Bowdoin College and Kenneth Sigmon Jr. of Oklahoma State University are a search committee's two finalists to succeed UGA vice president for development and alumni relations Tom Landrum, who will retire at the end of June. The candidate who gets the job will have major responsibility for a billion-dollar capital campaign at the University of Georgia, now in its so-called "quiet" phase. Both candidates have proven records in fund-raising.
LSU's main campus set to absorb law school
LSU's main campus in Baton Rouge is set to absorb the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, in a move that university President F. King Alexander said will make LSU stronger and better positioned to compete with other flagship schools around the country. Although the law school currently sits on LSU's campus, it is considered a separate institution, with a separate chancellor. It also goes through a separate accreditation process. "If you look at the schools we compete against, we are the anomaly. We are the only one that is set up this way. They're not separate at the University of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana or Michigan, and no other SEC school is structured that way," Alexander said, referring to the Southeastern Conference.
Faculty, industry analysts highlight challenges facing U. of Arkansas' online institution
The University of Arkansas System's new online institution will face a crowded field of distance education providers when it launches in 2015. While its backers say they are mindful of other states' missteps, faculty members and industry analysts are already questioning the institution's chances. On Thursday, just weeks before Arkansas is set to license its 101st distance education provider to operate in the state, the university system's Board of Trustees approved eVersity, an institution that will compete to attract adult learners. Organizers now have until the fall of 2015 to recruit faculty from across the system's 17 four-year institutions, community colleges and other members, seek $10 million in startup funding and build products that surpass those offered by for-profit entities with decades of experience.
In-state tuition for undocumented immigrants dropped in Tennessee
A Republican state senator dropped legislation Monday that would have extended in-state tuition to some undocumented immigrants, saying he doesn't have the support to pass the measure this year. State Sen. Todd Gardenhire withdrew Senate Bill 1951, which would have offered in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants who come to the United States as children, spend at least five years in Tennessee schools, graduate and meet academic eligibility requirements. Gardenhire said he lacked enough votes to get the bill through the legislature this year.
Nobel Prize winner, former Texas A&M professor Norman Borlaug getting Capitol honor
The man who saved a billion lives, former Texas A&M professor Norman Borlaug, will be enshrined in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday. To coincide with what would have been his 100th birthday, the state of Iowa, Borlaug's birth state, will unveil a statue in the U.S. Capitol. The bronze sculpture will be placed in an area reserved for the state's most revered citizens. Known as the "father of the green revolution," Borlaug's research into modified wheat crops made food available in developing countries. The work earned him the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize, and he joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1984 as a distinguished professor of international agriculture. He worked at A&M for 25 years until his death in 2009.
Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton Promote Higher Education
Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jeb Bush, potential foes in the 2016 presidential contest, said Monday that higher education has the power to transform lives and be a force for democracy around the globe. Clinton and Bush spoke separately at the Globalization of Higher Education conference, but chatted briefly offstage. The event, co-organized by Bush, offered a bipartisan twist for the nation's two dominant political families, both of whom could return to the presidential campaign trail next year. Onstage in solo performances, Clinton and Bush each focused on education policy and the need to make higher education affordable and accessible across the globe.
Grad-School Debt Is Said to Rise Rapidly and Deserve More Policy Attention
Conversations about increases in student debt often focus on undergraduate borrowers and the rising price of a bachelor's degree. But the largest changes in student borrowing are taking place in graduate education, a new report says. The report, being released on Tuesday by the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan public-policy institution, also questions federal policies on lending to graduate students. It suggests the government consider placing limits on the amount that students pursuing graduate degrees can borrow, as it does for undergraduates. The report, "The Graduate Student Debt Review," also asks whether income-based repayment programs that include loan-forgiveness benefits might be part of what is driving increases in graduate-student borrowing.

Bulldogs advance in two overtimes
Mississippi State advanced to the Sweet 16 of the Women's National Invitation Tournament on Monday night. It took two overtimes before the Bulldogs pulled away from Southern Miss, 74-66, reaching the third round of the WNIT for the first time since 2007. "That was one heck of a basketball game," said MSU coach Vic Schaefer. "You have to take your hat off to Southern Miss, they came in here and played. It was another great crowd and a great environment. I loved the fans tonight and that's probably what really got us through. I'm not sure we deserved to win at times but we made enough plays down the stretch."
Mississippi State's 5-foot-5 Jerica James comes up big
Mississippi State is known for its shot-blockers. Jarvis Varnado holds the NCAA all-time shot block record and Martha Alwal set the MSU women's record. At 5-foot-5, though, Jerica James had only swatted four shots in her MSU career. Her fifth, followed by a 3-pointer, helped send Mississippi State to the round of 16 in the Women's National Invitational Tournament after a 74-66 double overtime win against Southern Miss on Monday. USM ended the season 27-7. "Yes, yes!" Alwal interrupted when James was asked about her block. "I'm sorry." "It was one of those moments where she double-pumped," James said. "Once I got the block and got the ball for us, I knew after that we had it (won)."
Bulldogs move on: Mississippi State defeats USM in WNIT to advance
Jerica James was making basketball plays all over the court when the Mississippi State Bulldogs needed them the most against Southern Mississippi Monday night. She started it on defense with a key block of Gillom Trophy winner Jamierra Faulkner of the Golden Eagles with 24 seconds remaining in the first overtime and the Bulldogs holding a slim 65-64 advantage. In the second overtime, James hit a big 3-point field goal to increase a two-point lead by MSU to 70-65. The Bulldogs ended up taking a 73-66 victory over the Golden Eagles in a highly-competitive second round game of the Women's National Basketball Tournament at Humphrey Coliseum.
Mississippi State overcomes USM women 74-66 in two overtimes
After shooting 27.8 percent from the field in the game's opening half, Mississippi State scored the second half's first 10 points and eventually turned back Southern Miss 74-66 in a double overtime thriller in the second round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament at Humphrey Coliseum. The Bulldogs were credited with eight blocked shots, but none may have been bigger than Jerica James' rejection of Southern Miss leading scorer Jamierra Faulkner in the closing seconds of a tied game in regulation. James also gave her team much-needed separation in the second overtime with a critical three-point basket as the shot clock expired.
Lady Eagles run out of steam in WNIT
The Southern Miss women's basketball team's magical run has officially been halted. The Lady Eagles fell at Mississippi State 74-66 in double overtime on Monday, ending their season in the second round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament. In her final game as a Lady Eagle, senior guard Jamierra Faulkner scored 20 points, passed out six assists and collected seven rebounds. "It actually seems unreal to not be playing again for Southern Miss," Faulkner said during a postgame radio interview Monday. "It's like, 'What am I going to do with my free time?'"
Tanner sparks big second half for Tigers in WNIT win over ODU
Tyrese Tanner blocked Destinee Young's shot attempt early in the second half, getting the Auburn Arena crowd on its feet. She then kept them there, scoring the next three baskets to put the momentum squarely on the Tigers' side with more than 15 minutes to play in Auburn's 82-59 win over Old Dominion in the second round of the WNIT on Monday night. Auburn now advances to play Mississippi State in Starkville at 7 p.m. Thursday in the third round.
Setup pitch: Mississippi State (17-9) vs. Southeast Missouri (14-9)
Mississippi State has never lost to Southeast Missouri State in four prior meetings. The Bulldogs don't look to change that. MSU is playing its best baseball of the spring. It's coming off four wins in six Southeastern Conference games. Mississippi State owned two of the top pitches in the conference on Friday and Saturday. It scored 23 runs in its two wins in the series. The Bulldogs turn to freshman Austin Sexton to continue the winning ways.
Mississippi State's Chris Jones dedicated to technique but feeds off raw energy
Spend five minutes with Chris Jones and his 6-foot-5, 300-pound frame disappears. The girth that makes Southeastern Conference linemen cringe takes a back seat. Remove his Mississippi State helmet and the soon-to-be sophomore focuses more on happiness than intimidation. "I'm like a goof ball. I goof around a lot, man. I have fun," Jones said. "That's what I like to do, have fun in whatever you do because if you're going to be out here two and three hours, you might as have fun in what you're doing." Strap on the helmet and his attitude changes.

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