Wednesday, April 16, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State ranks high among research universities
Mississippi State University continues to rank among the nation's top research universities, according to a new survey by the National Science Foundation. The survey is the primary source of information about research and development expenditures at U.S. colleges and universities, according to the NSF. Nationally, MSU is ranked 54th in non-medical school R&D expenditures; 62nd among all public institutions. "Mississippi State's research enterprise is very diverse," said David Shaw, vice president for research and economic development. "Our researchers are pursuing initiatives that are solving challenging problems, creating knowledge and unlocking mysteries in our state and in communities across the globe."
Mississippi State ranks among top 100 research universities
A survey recently released by the National Science Foundation ranked Mississippi State University as one of the top 100 research universities in the nation. The NSF Higher Education Research and Development Survey placed the university as 92nd overall based on $233.2 million spent on research and development expenditures, which accounts for almost half of the total $476 million expenditures reported by all Mississippi institutions.
Mississippi State makes NSF ranking of research universities
Mississippi State University continues to rank among the nation's top research universities, according to a new survey by the National Science Foundation. "The NSF survey provides important benchmarks, and it is gratifying to see the hard work of our faculty, students and staff compare very well with, and in many cases surpass, our peers," said David Shaw, vice president for research and economic development. The latest report lists the 136-year-old land-grant institution at sixth in the nation for research and development expenditures in agricultural sciences among public and private institutions -- a jump from ninth in FY 2011. MSU has ranked among the Top 10 in this category for 15 consecutive years.
Meeting to aid catfish growers
East Mississippi catfish producers are invited to an April 30 workshop that will help them address a new challenge to their profit margins. The Mississippi State University Extension Service is offering a short meeting on trematode infection in catfish. "This is a relatively new problem for east Mississippi catfish growers," said Mark Peterman, Extension aquaculture associate and event organizer. "We want to educate growers on the hazard so they can make the best management decisions for their operations."
Starkville police make meth arrest
The Starkville Police Department arrested a Stewart woman for possession of a controlled substance Monday. Police say they were dispatched to Walmart around 5:30 a.m. on a suspicious activity call. At the scene, officers found Melody Rushing Stagg with slurred speech, constricted pupils and poor motor skills. Through investigation, officers discovered Stagg was in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia and arrested her.
Southern Co. agrees to coal research with Chinese firm
Southern Co. says it has signed a deal with a state-owned Chinese coal and energy company to work together to develop coal technologies, based in part on the coal gasification and carbon capture technology that Southern subsidiary Mississippi Power Co. is deploying at the $5 billion Kemper County power plant. The deal signed April 8 calls for Atlanta-based Southern to work with Shenhua as well as government agencies and universities. Industry observers say the research deal could be a big step toward commercializing the technology.
Historic tax credit revived amid end-of-session mayhem
Sen. Joey Fillingane promised to find a way to revive legislation that would keep the state's historic tax credit program from all but going away at the end of the year. He did, though there was some doubt among supporters of the original bill -- authored by Speaker Philip Gunn -- that he would follow through on his promise. The backstory is strange.
State Sen. Videt Carmichael Released from Hospital
State Sen. Videt Carmichael of Meridian was able to go home from the hospital after an extended stay Tuesday. The District 33 senator had been hospitalized since March 31 when he fell and hit his head on a concrete surface in Jackson right before the end of the legislative session. Carmichael's son, Fredie, says the senator has made significant progress, making his return home possible.
Cochran tops McDaniel in 2014 campaign fundraising
U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi has raised more than three times as much campaign cash this year as Chris McDaniel, his challenger in the June 3 Republican primary. Cochran campaign manager Kirk Sims said Tuesday that Cochran raised $1.7 million from January through March, with more than $1 million coming from inside the state. McDaniel campaign spokesman Noel Fritsch said McDaniel raised $474,624 during that time. He didn't specify how much came from inside or outside Mississippi. "For someone who says he doesn't like Washington, he certainly appears to like Washington, D.C., groups financing his entire campaign," Sims said of McDaniel.
Cochran rebounds in 1st quarter fundraising
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) rebounded in fundraising in the first quarter of the year, bringing in $1.7 million from January through March. He has $1.5 million cash on hand. His primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, has not yet released his first-quarter fundraising numbers, but last quarter significantly outraised Cochran, bringing in $561,000 to the senator's $340,000. Democrats are cautiously optimistic about their chances in Mississippi, as McDaniel has a history of controversial comments that Democrats believe could bite him in a general election, if he makes it through the primary. Democrats are running former Rep. Travis Childers in case of such an outcome.
Cochran hits primary opponent McDaniel on voting history
A new ad from Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) released Tuesday lambastes his Republican primary for his voting record in past elections. The narrator of the 30-second TV ad says that McDaniel, a favorite of national tea party groups, voted in the Democratic gubernatorial primary in 2003 and didn't vote in the 2004 presidential election or the 2008 Republicans presidential primary. "If Chris McDaniel doesn't vote, why should we vote for him?" asks the narrator. McDaniel's campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Palazzo hosts open house at Hattiesburg campaign headquarters
Supporters of 4th District Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo gathered for an open house Tuesday at his Hattiesburg campaign headquarters on Hardy Street. Palazzo spoke about his many votes to repeal Obamacare and his efforts to minimize cuts in defense spending. "(Voters) see that I'm delivering on the promises," said Palazzo. Palazzo will face former Democratic congressman Gene Taylor, Ron Vincent, Tom Carter and Tavish Kelly in the June 3 primary.
Three USM students to bike America for a cause
Three University of Southern Mississippi students will bike across the United States this summer to raise funds and awareness for people with disabilities. Preston Bell, Dylan Kennedy and Brentley Wells are members of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity at USM who will make the summer trek along with nearly 100 other fraternity brothers from across the nation. The 32-state trip is called Journey of Hope, which is a part of Pi Kappa Phi's national philanthropy, Push America. "It's awesome, the fact that we have this, that Pi Kappa Phi owns and operates this philanthropy," said Bell. "It certainly makes you feel something a lot bigger than yourself."
USM Gulf Park reaches record master's enrollment
The number of students getting a master's degree from the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park campus in Long Beach has reached an all-time high, and more than 30 percent of those students are working toward a computer science degree. During the spring 2014 semester, 361 students were earning a master's degree -- a record high for the Gulf Park campus. "An expanding number of career paths require graduate degrees and, as a result, we have seen consistent growth in our graduate programs at Southern Miss," said Tom Lansford, academic dean for the Coast campus. The Gulf Park campus offers 11 master's degree programs, and computer science is the largest of those with 113 students.
U. of Memphis could reduce out of state tuition
Tuition fees could soon be slashed for some out-of-state students looking to enroll at University of Memphis. The Tennessee Board of Regents will review a recent request made by the university over the summer. High school students living out of state, who graduate within a 250 mile radius of Memphis, could save more than $8,000 as a full-time undergraduate. Students living in border counties like DeSoto, Marshall, Tate and Tunica counties in Mississippi, or Crittenden County, Ark. already attend the school at an in-state rate. Jase Willbanks grew up in Ripley, Miss., about 80 miles from Memphis. He was pleasantly surprised to learn that he could soon get a big discount to go to college at University of Memphis.
Auburn University threat rumor 'not substantiated'
Auburn University is assuring the public that an alleged threat written on campus has no merit. On Tuesday night, law enforcement were called to investigate an alleged threat reportedly written on wall on campus at Auburn. Rumors of the alleged threat began to surface after a picture was shared across social media Tuesday depicting writing scribbled on a white wall in an undisclosed building. According to Mike Clardy, director of communications at AU, there are no plans to cancel Wednesday classes.
Georgia regents approve tuition increases
Georgia's public college students will pay more to attend school in the fall following a tuition increase approved Tuesday by the state's Board of Regents. The board approved a 2.5 percent undergraduate tuition increase for 27 of the 31 colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia. The rate change means most students will pay between $32 and $85 more in tuition each semester, depending on the where they are enrolled. At the University of Georgia, tuition will increase 7 percent. Students will pay and additional $281 per semester. This is the third year that the regents have set separate rates for the four research institutions.
Lawmakers approve Tennessee Promise college scholarship program
Gov. Bill Haslam's proposal to provide free community college received the overwhelming endorsement of state lawmakers Tuesday night, passing the House of Representatives on an 87-8 vote. The House joined the Senate in approving "Tennessee Promise," the plan Haslam laid out in February to cover the full cost of two-year college for every high school graduate starting in fall 2015. The plan also calls for reducing the amount of Hope scholarships for freshmen and sophomores at state universities to $3,500, a cut of $500 a year.
Aggie father, daughter remembered for how they lived at memorial service
Tuesday's funeral for Mac Devin and his daughter Noel focused not on the horrific manner in which they died, but how both lived. The 32-year-old daughter and her 63-year-old dad, both Aggies, were discovered April 7 inside Noel Devin's Bryan home, which had been set ablaze after being burglarized, authorities said. A Texas A&M bus parked outside the church signaled the impact Noel Devin had through her role as associate vice president of resource management for the 12th Man Foundation. Members and coaches of the Texas A&M women's basketball team, as well as others throughout the athletic department and university, went to honor their friend.
Graduation event for A&M GLBT center draws backlash
Texas A&M University's decision to host a graduation event for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender graduates has drawn the ire of a few conservative groups. The Texas A&M University Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center has organized a "Lavender Graduation Celebration" for Wednesday evening. The ceremony, started in 1995 at the University of Michigan and celebrated at dozens of colleges across the nation, is a special event to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and ally students and to acknowledge their achievements, organizers said, adding that the event is open to all students and is not, contrary to the name, an official commencement ceremony.
U. of Missouri chancellor meets with concerned student parents, shares his own experience
University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin and student parents concerned about the future of an on-campus day care facility found common ground in a private meeting Tuesday, but no decision has been made regarding where the center will reopen. The parents -- who created a petition asking that the day care, the Student Parent Center, be relocated elsewhere on campus -- had collected 1,174 signatures, which they showed to Loftin at the meeting. But after Loftin shared his own experience as a student raising two children, some parents believed he understood their position. The chancellor announced on March 12 that University Village would shut down on June 30 and would be demolished shortly thereafter and that the day care would be shut down and demolished, as well.
Truman's Closet offers clothing rentals for Missouri students, staff, faculty
Last semester, Lanre Shitta-Bey helped a student pick out a suit to rent from Truman's Closet. For weeks afterward, the student came back for more clothes. The student was always happy with what he checked out and was incredibly thankful for the service, said Shitta-Bey, education chairman of Truman's Closet. Run by the Missouri Students Association, Truman's Closet provides University of Missouri students, staff and faculty with access to business attire and formal wear, which they can rent for free with their university email username. Clothing can be rented for a variety of events, including job interviews and fraternity and sorority formals.
Indiana U. Puts IT and Safety Under One Umbrella
Even as campus functions like building access and emergency response become increasingly dependent on institutions' information-technology infrastructures, physical security and information technology remain administratively separate almost everywhere. But at Indiana University, officials are nearly five years into an unusual experiment, and they say it's yielding good results. The undertaking began when President Michael A. McRobbie set in motion an overhaul of the university administration, which included bundling systemwide physical security and information security into the hands of one associate vice president, Mark S. Bruhn. He reports to both the executive vice president for university academic affairs and the vice president for information technology.
BOBBY HARRISON (OPINION): GOP primary may set record
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "The June 3 election where state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville is challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran most likely will produce the largest Republican Party primary turnout in the state's history."
SID SALTER (OPINION): Cochran exudes determination, confidence
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "The keynote speaker at the Golden Triangle's premier annual fundraising event for the Boys Scouts of America never once mentioned the fact that he was engaged in a contested re-election campaign that is drawing national attention. Prior to the speech, Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran was patient with old friends and well-wishers alike who interrupted his meal for a handshake or a bit of personal conversation. He posed good-naturedly with Scouts who wanted cell phone camera shots with the veteran senator. ...Cochran's speech centered on the contributions that the Scouting program has made in his own life. ...No mention of a campaign, no mention of the stakes of his re-election bid and no corny or veiled appeal to those in the room who were very much attuned to the political realities of the 2014 election in Mississippi."

New-look Bulldogs shave Braves
Following Sunday's lopsided loss to in-state rival Ole Miss, Mississippi State coach John Cohen was disgusted with his team's approach and performance. The sixth-year coach vowed to outwork every other college baseball team in the second half of the season starting on Monday. "It's takeover time for the second half of the season," Cohen said following Sunday's loss. "I think we can still play well. There's a lot left out there for us. There are things like (Sunday) where we're not representing ourselves very well. We've got to move forward and not let that happen." Mississippi State responded in a big way Tuesday night in a 16-2 rout of Alcorn State.
Mississippi State breaks out against Alcorn State
The box score shows Mississippi State broke out of its recent skid and offensive slump. The Bulldogs scored the most runs since March 21 in its 16-2 win against Alcorn State on Tuesday. But keep in mind, a lot of teams have looked real good against Alcorn State. So how much weight does the win actually hold? "We were not playing an SEC team (Tuesday)," MSU coach John Cohen said. "But I thought our offense came to life."
Strong fall finish helps deliver positive spring for Mississippi State
Dan Mullen was never on the hot seat last season, not with the people who mattered most. As much as Mississippi State fans had grown frustrated by the program's apparent plateau, as loudly as they fretted about their rival Ole Miss' success on National Signing Day, the reality was that Mullen's boss understood far more about the cyclical nature of most college programs and how successful his overall tenure has been than to make a knee-jerk decision over one rough stretch. When the Bulldogs upset Ole Miss last Thanksgiving night, winning 17-10 in overtime on a gutsy fourth-down call by Mullen, it didn't just send Mississippi State to its fourth consecutive bowl game. It set the tone for an offseason in which Mullen's accomplishments, not his program's perceived shortcomings, were at the forefront of any conversation about the future.
Mississippi State softball downs JSU
A bases-clearing double from freshman Caroline Seitz in the fifth inning turned a 2-2 contest into a 5-2 Mississippi State lead and the Bulldogs held on for a 6-4 victory at Jackson State on Tuesday evening. MSU trailed 2-0 going into the fifth, but broke out for six runs in the frame to earn the win. With the victory, Mississippi State improves to 33-14, the best 47-game record in program history. The triumph is also the Bulldogs' 28th non-conference victory of the year, the most in the regular season for Mississippi State since tallying 28 in 2008.
Grind continues for the Bulldogs at SEC tourney
The grind continues today for the Mississippi State women's tennis team. After finishing the regular season schedule with Southeastern Conference road matches at Missouri last Friday and at Texas A&M Sunday, the Bulldogs have returned to Columbia, Mo., for the SEC Tournament. MSU gets an early wakeup call today when they take on the LSU Tigers at 10 a.m. The winner of that match advances to meet Tennessee on Thursday. "It was a long bus ride to Missouri (last week), then we flew to Texas A&M and then back to Missouri for the SEC Tournament," State women's tennis coach Daryl Greenan said about the travel.
Bulldog golfers finish strong in Madison
Mississippi State successfully defended its BancorpSouth Intercollegiate tournament championship with a strong finish on Tuesday at the Reunion Golf Course. The Bulldogs jumped over 12 teams by shooting 1-under par on the back nine. "I am so proud of this team for the way they battled today," Coach Clay Homan said. "On a day where it was so easy to get frustrated and lose focus, we showed a tremendous amount of determination."
Time runs out on $80 million Rupp renovation aid
Plans to expand Rupp Arena and an attached convention center are up in the air after the Kentucky legislature did not vote in the closing hours of this year's legislative session on $80 million in proposed state aid for the project. The fate of the project has been in question for weeks as legislative leaders tried to wrap up the 60-day legislative session. Disappointment also was expressed by Brent Rice, Chair of Lexington Center Board. He said the outcome is "sad for UK basketball fans and those people who would have had good jobs in the Rupp District." "It's hard for me to understand how it's fair for Lexington and UK to be shut out when Louisville has been given $75 million for the Yum Center and $56 million for their convention center," he said. "But we'll work to find a way forward because this project is too important to give up on."
Clemson football accused of pushing Christianity on players
The leader of an organization that monitors separation of church and state said Tuesday that Clemson University head football coach Dabo Swinney and his staff have leavened their athletic program with so much Christian indoctrination that the administration needs to step in and say "hands off the consciences of these kids." But Clemson University said Tuesday it supports Swinney and his program and has found no improprieties. The complaint filed April 10 could set up a clash of culture and Constitution in a deeply religious and politically conservative region of South Carolina. But at least one or more Clemson residents were apparently uncomfortable with the practices of the football program and brought the issue to the attention of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
NCAA to Allow Unlimited Meals for Athletes
An offhand comment by Shabazz Napier might have caused a sea change in how colleges feed athletes. Late last month, the star guard of NCAA men's basketball champion Connecticut mentioned to reporters that he sometimes had gone to bed hungry. On Tuesday, the NCAA Division I Legislative Council on Tuesday enacted legislation allowing unlimited meals and snacks for athletes. Before the change, NCAA rules allowed three meals a day for athletes on full scholarship but limited snacks, and limited meals for walk-ons and those on partial scholarships. Athletes who lived off campus sometimes found stipends inadequate to pay for meals. The action isn't considered final until the Division I Board of Directors meets April 24. Once affirmed, the rule change would take effect Aug. 1.
Sports antitrust lawyer's latest target: NCAA scholarship limits
The big-time college sports industry is facing potentially momentous legal challenges from almost every direction, and an even bigger case may be ready to unfold in a federal courtroom in New Jersey in the coming months, in the form of a lawsuit by a leading antitrust lawyer seeking to create a free market for how college athletes are compensated. Jeffrey Kessler has a track record in the world of sports antitrust law that few can match, and now he's turning his attention to the collegiate level. That's because it's hard to distinguish big-time college football and basketball, he says, from their professional counterparts. "Those two sports have become gigantic revenue-producing businesses, divorced from the educational operations or missions of the universities involved," Kessler says.
A Tough Transition for Women's Triathlon
Triathlons can be grueling tests of endurance and grit, but the sport itself is facing a challenging course among N.C.A.A. programs. The N.C.A.A. in January adopted women's triathlon -- a race combining running, swimming and cycling -- as an "emerging sport," giving it a decade to attract at least 40 varsity teams in order to become a championship sport. More than 160 colleges and universities have triathlon clubs, and at least a dozen universities told the N.C.A.A. in a letter that they would consider adding a varsity program. But when asked about that commitment, only one -- Marymount University in Virginia, which already has a varsity program -- said it planned to compete at the N.C.A.A. level.

The Office of Public Affairs provides the Daily News Digest as a general information resource for Mississippi State University stakeholders.
Web links are subject to change. Submit news, questions or comments to Jim Laird.
Mississippi State University  •  Mississippi State, MS 39762  •  Main Telephone: (662) 325-2323  •   Contact: The Editor  |  The Webmaster  •   Updated: April 16, 2014Facebook Twitter