Thursday, April 17, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Cotton to take center stage during MSU summit
From entrepreneurs to designers, anyone interested in cotton textiles will learn something more about the market at Mississippi State University's upcoming Cotton Summit. The three-day free educational opportunity, April 22-24, will be held at locations throughout campus. Sessions will be led by a range of professionals who know the ins and outs of the cotton supply chain, said Charles E. Freeman, assistant professor of apparel, textiles and merchandising in MSU's School of Human Sciences. The program will include lectures, discussions and workshops.
Cotton Summit Coming to Mississippi State University
From entrepreneurs to designers, anyone interested in cotton textiles will learn something more about the market at Mississippi State University's upcoming Cotton Summit. Keynote speaker Maria D'Andrea, supervisory international trade specialist at U.S. Department of Commerce's Office of Textiles and Apparel, promotes American textiles among foreign markets. The 2014 Cotton Summit is one aspect of MSU's participation in Cotton University, a consortium of professionals and educational institutions advocating increased understanding of the cotton textile industry.
Event to look at 'The Road Ahead' for manufacturing sector
Furniture-industry experts, as well as government officials, will examine "The Road Ahead" at Mississippi State University's 2014 Manufacturing Summit. The fourth-annual summit, to be held April 23, will feature Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves for the keynote address. Gov. Phil Bryant will deliver opening remarks, via video. In addition to Bryant and Reeves, other elected officials scheduled to present include District 1 U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee of Tupelo and Mississippi Department of Transportation's Northern District Commissioner Mike Tagert of Starkville. MSU president Mark E. Keenum and institute director Bill Martin will also speak during the morning sessions.
MSMS pair earns computer-tech honors
Two students from Mississippi School for Math and Science are among six Mississippi girls honored during the Mississippi Aspirations in Computing award ceremony. Held at Bomgar Corp.'s Ridgeland headquarters, the National Center for Women and Information Technology event honored students for their computing-related achievements and interest. Each winner received a scholarship to Mississippi State University. MSMS students Kendra Carr of Columbus and Emoree Heislet of Starkville were among those honored.
Theatre MSU to Honor Durst's Following 'Pirates' Production
Two longtime Mississippi State communication department faculty members will be honored next week following the first performance of the final production of Theatre MSU's 50th season. Professor Emeritus Wayne Durst will be honored with a portrait unveiling April 24 in the McComas Hall lobby. His wife Betty "Jo" Durst, a university instructor who is concluding 34 years of service, also will be honored with a retirement reception at the same location.
McCullough: Trucking Critical to Local Economy
Jim McCullough could have ended up in a cubicle working in the accounting industry after he graduated from the Mississippi State University School of Business. "I knew I wanted to make it in business and I sort of liked accounting but I had a friend several years older than me who got an accounting degree and went to work at an accounting firm sitting at a desk with a calculator and an adding machine," McCullough said. "But ever since I was a kid I had an attraction to trucks and airplanes and boats, any machine that transported stuff, so I thought that might be a good thing to try." So after college McCullough set off on a career in the trucking and transportation industry. This year McCullough is king of Carnival Memphis. As part of its 83rd anniversary celebration, Carnival Memphis will salute the Mid-South trucking industry during the annual Business & Industry Salute Luncheon.
Starkville aldermen move forward with four sanitation studies
Starkville aldermen on Tuesday unanimously approved four separate sanitation studies -- including one that would outsource service -- in an effort to find future savings to help balance the department's budget. All four reports are due before the board on May 20. The four motions came after a pointed discussion between Sanitation and Environmental Services Director Emma Gandy and the three-person Starkville Audit and Budget Committee last week.
Senator Carmichael at home, resting
Fredie Carmichael knew his dad, State Sen. Videt Carmichael, was going to be fine when after being moved from the ICU at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, the senator, a huge Mississippi State University fan, was bantering back and forth with doctors who were Ole Miss alumni. "There is dad, decked out in all of his Bulldog glory, getting after the Ole Miss doctors," Fredie Carmichael said Wednesday afternoon. "We continue to be amazed at the speed of his recovery. It is nothing short of a miracle." The senator had been in an induced coma and on a ventilator since March 31 when he passed out and hit his head on the concrete outside his Jackson apartment.
Bryant signs three anti-union bills
Gov. Phil Bryant signed three bills into law Wednesday designed to curb union activity in the state. "Mississippi won't tolerate any activity like intimidation," said Bryant moments after a bills signing in his office attended by Speaker Philip Gunn, Sen. Nancy Collins, R-Tupelo, Rep. Jerry Turner, R-Baldwyn, a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others. He added, "We wouldn't allow someone to block an entrance to a business or intimidate that business into allowing union membership. I think it's important to let them know that this administration, this Legislature, is not supporting any unions of any type at any time in Mississippi's business or public sector." Collins said the legislation is important to the whole state, but especially to Northeast Mississippi because of Toyota's manufacturing plant in Blue Springs. There have been efforts to unionize other auto manufacturing plants in the South, including Nissan in Canton.
Bryant signs bills to limit union activities
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant today signed three bills to limit union activities in Mississippi, saying he hopes they strengthen the state's reputation as a place where organized labor has little influence. "Just to be blunt about it: We just don't want unions involved in our businesses or our public sector," Bryant told reporters after he signed the bills, which become law July 1. Mississippi AFL-CIO president Robert Shaffer said in March that the bills will hurt low-wage workers.
State Supreme Court Justice Randy Pierce publishes second novel
It would make for a great news story: A popular Mississippi Republican governor, up for re-election against a Democratic female lieutenant governor in a campaign replete with mudslinging, backdoor politics and the like. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on point of view), it's not for the front page of the newspaper. It's the plot of Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Randy "Bubba" Pierce's new novel, Magnolia Mud. A native of Leakesville and a former Jackson County Chancery Court Judge, Pierce was elected to his first 8-year term on the Mississippi Supreme Court in 2009. He published his first novel, Pain Unforgiven, in 2011 after staffers suggested he was working too much and needed a hobby.
The tea party radio network
The tea party nonprofit group FreedomWorks has paid more than $6 million in recent years to have Glenn Beck promote the group, its initiatives and events. The FreedomWorks-Beck relationship is just one example of a powerful and profitable alliance between the conservative movement's most aggressive groups and the most popular radio hosts. The details of the arrangements are little-known, but they have been lucrative for the recipients, and, in turn, have helped ensure that the groups get coveted airtime from hosts with a demonstrated ability to leverage their tens of millions of listeners to shape American politics. A POLITICO review of filings with the Internal Revenue Service and Federal Election Commission, as well as interviews and reviews of radio shows, found that conservative groups spent nearly $22 million to broker and pay for involved advertising relationships known as sponsorships with a handful of influential talkers.
Far off? Russia-Ukraine clash echoes through U.S. farm belt
America's diplomats and generals aren't alone in watching the unfolding conflict between Russia and neighboring Ukraine. The U.S. agriculture sector is following the faraway events closely for reasons of both opportunity and risk. From rising global commodity prices to potential supply disruptions, there's a lot at stake in the conflict for American farmers and producers. Since the early 2000s, both countries have garnered a bigger slice of the global market. What does or doesn't happen there affects decision-making on American farms. The two countries are also an important growth market for John Deere tractors, pesticide manufacturers and high-tech seed companies such as Monsanto.
Plant Breeders Release First 'Open Source Seeds'
A group of scientists and food activists is launching a campaign Thursday to change the rules that govern seeds. They're releasing 29 new varieties of crops under a new "open source pledge" that's intended to safeguard the ability of farmers, gardeners and plant breeders to share those seeds freely. It's inspired by the example of open source software, which is freely available for anyone to use but cannot legally be converted into anyone's proprietary product. At an event on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, backers of the new Open Source Seed Initiative will pass out 29 new varieties of 14 different crops.
Scientists breed a better seed, trait by trait
Alan Krivanek, a tomato breeder for Monsanto, dons a white protective suit, wipes his feet on a mat of disinfectant and enters a greenhouse to survey 80,000 seedlings. He is armed with a spreadsheet that will tell him which ones are likely to resist a slew of diseases. The rest he will discard. Krivanek, 42, is part of a new generation of plant breeders who are transforming the 10,000-year history of plant selection. And their work has quietly become the cutting-edge technology among today's major plant biotech companies. Instead of spending decades physically identifying plants that will bear fruits of the desired color and firmness, stand up to drought, and more, breeders are able to speed the process through DNA screening.
Bill Nye says he underestimated debate's impact
TV's "Science Guy" Bill Nye said he underestimated the impact of a February debate in Kentucky on evolution and creationism that drew a massive online audience. When Nye agreed to the debate at The Creation Museum with its founder Ken Ham, he said he believed it would draw about as much attention as presentations he makes on college campuses. But the Feb. 4 event was widely promoted by the museum, "and soon it seemed like everyone I met was talking about it," Nye wrote in a 3,000-word letter published in the May/June issue of Skeptical Inquirer. Nye wrote that despite no score being kept during the debate with Ham, by "a strong majority of accounts, I bested him."
America's Top Young Scientists Warn Of Systemic Brain Drain: Colleagues 'Sort Of Disappear'
At a Tuesday conference organized by the Science Coalition at the National Press Club, 10 of the nation's best and brightest warned that science in America is under a significant strain. At the heart of their concerns were sequestration cuts and a budget that, even with some of those cuts fixed, is still stagnant. The lack of available money, the PECASE recipients said, has created a hyper-competitive climate, in which a large group of very talented scientists are competing for a very small pool of grants. With more competition and fewer opportunities, the science and medical communities have watched a promising generation of young researchers leave their ranks -- disenchanted or lured to better opportunities elsewhere.
Borsig hails boost in undergraduate degrees at MUW
Mississippi University for Women President Jim Borsig told Columbus Rotarians Tuesday that a dramatic increase in degrees awarded is an indicator the school is on the right track. According to Borsig, The W has had an 86 percent increase in baccalaureate degrees since 2008. In 2008, 356 people graduated from the university with baccalaureate degrees. That number rose to 688 baccalaureate degrees in 2013. "That's pretty unprecedented," Borsig said.
Authorities: Suspicious package at Ole Miss not dangerous
The University of Mississippi says a building has been reopened after emergency personnel declared a suspicious package left in the area was not dangerous. Around 4:13 p.m. Wednesday, officials issued an evacuation for a building on campus known as The Lyceum due to a suspicious package report. Officials say a fire HAZMAT team evaluated the package and declared it was not dangerous.
Delta State play focuses on issues of bullying
This Sunday will mark 15 years since the infamous Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colo. The Delta Players of Delta State University will present the play Columbinus, written by Stephen Karam and PJ Paparelli and directed by Dr. Noah Lelek of DSU. This play will be a theatrical exploration of the events surrounding the 1999 Columbine School shooting. The play will run from April 21-24 with anti-bullying and school violence awareness discussions before and after each performance. Lelek has a special interest in this type of play because of his background in social justice theatre.
Mississippi College to keep university name for foreseeable future
The recent discussion among Mississippi College administration this year has been whether to change the name of the university or to keep the current MC title. The idea stemmed from misconceptions about MC being a two-year college and the connotation that the name advertised to out-of-state and international prospective students. However, the school has decided that altering the name may not benefit the university enough to justify the change. Therefore, the name 'Mississippi College' still stands. According to Jim Turcotte, the vice-president of Student Affairs at MC, the university hired a marketing firm specializing in higher education called STAMATS to help oversee the name-change process. The opinions of those involved with MC were also taken into account.
U. of Alabama geologist Samantha Hansen honored at the White House
University of Alabama geologist Samantha Hansen was among a group of about 100 scientists and engineers honored Monday in Washington, D.C., for their innovative research and commitment to community service. Hansen and the other recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers received their awards in a ceremony at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and were later greeted at the White House by President Barack Obama, according to a release from UA. Hansen is studying the mountains using seismic sensors that use energy signals from earthquakes occurring worldwide to create images of the range, much of which is covered in deep snow and ice.
Auburn University to resume normal operations today, but administrators encourage reporting of 'suspicious activity'
Auburn University will resume normal operations as of 5:30 a.m. Thursday, officials have announced. But they are still encouraging students, faculty, staff and visitors to "remain aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activity by calling 9-1-1. The announcement comes after the university cancelled classes today on the basis of message scrawled on the wall of a campus bathroom that warned of a "rampage of biblical proportion" to occur today on campus. University spokesman Mike Clardy said "law enforcement officials see no threat to campus from the events of the past 24 hours."
Administration, students respond to Auburn University threat
After news broke Tuesday evening of a threatening message written in a restroom on Auburn University's campus, students took to social media to express concerns about the safety of campus in light of the threat. Auburn canceled all operations Wednesday due to concerns expressed by students and parents. Amanda Jackson, a pharmacy student at Auburn, said she first heard about the threat on Twitter. "My immediate feeling was a mix between anger and anxiety," Jackson said. "I was upset because I felt that it was very cruel to make the same threat for the day of the Virginia Tech shooting. I was also worried because I stay on campus and could experience the threat." Jackson said she intended to miss class even if Auburn didn't suspend operations.
Arkansas Lottery Eyes Advertising with State's Universities
A committee of the Arkansas Lottery Commission is discussing the prospect of advertising with universities in the state. Lottery Director Bishop Woosley said Wednesday that it would be a natural fit because proceeds from the lottery fund college scholarships. For instance, Woosley says the lottery could sell instant tickets with an Arkansas Razorbacks theme and have in-game ads that promote how much lottery money goes toward scholarships.
LSU student named as a Truman Scholar
LSU junior Marlee Pittman, of Baton Rouge, has been awarded the nationally prestigious Truman Scholarship. The scholarship is given to students who have demonstrated exceptional leadership potential and a commitment to public service. Pittman, according to a news release, is an LSU Honors College Student and political science major with a concentration in global diplomacy. Pittman is expected to graduate in May 2015. Her plan is to pursue graduate studies in public policies and Southeast Asian studies at the University of Michigan.
Goldfarb stepping aside as CEO of UF Health Shands Hospital
Timothy Goldfarb is stepping down in July as the CEO of UF Health Shands Hospital, and his interim successor will be Shands Chief Operations Officer Edward Jimenez. Goldfarb, 64, whose retirement was announced by the University of Florida on Tuesday afternoon, will assume a new position overseeing the hospital's regional and governmental affairs. David Guzick, UF senior vice president for health affairs and president of UF Health, said the transition for Goldfarb has been in the works for the past four years, and that when they hired Jimenez, they were looking for a COO who might also succeed Goldfarb as CEO.
U. of Kentucky junior receives $30,000 Truman Scholarship
A University of Kentucky student has been given a prestigious national scholarship that will help pay for graduate study in public service. Grace Trimble of Winchester, a junior political science major who plays on the UK tennis team, was awarded the Truman Scholarship on Wednesday. She will receive $30,000 from the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. In her application, Trimble said her family could not afford to pay for top-level tennis lessons, but her coach, Joanne Wallen, helped her financially. That inspired Trimble to start a non-profit that provides tutoring and tennis lessons to underprivileged students.
Forensic nurse filling need created by sexual assaults
It took one job as a women's health nurse practitioner in a Washington state college town for Trisha Sheridan to recognize the need for forensic nurses. Sheridan, who now works at Scott & White and as an assistant professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Nursing, is leading an effort to bring more certified forensic nurses, trained to care for victims of sexual assault and collect evidence, to Bryan-College Station. While the College of Nursing offers a forensic nursing elective online, it is looking to expand to have a department dedicated to forensic training and research in the future.
Aggie Cricket Club finds new home in former polo fields
After being displaced for nearly a year, the Texas A&M cricketers have a new home. The Aggie Cricket Club has been gifted a new playing area in what used to be the polo fields, located in between Texas Avenue and the Bonfire Memorial. The pitch, a 22-yard-long hard flat surface that a ball is bounced off of, was commissioned by A&M's department of recreational sports and constructed during spring break. James Nash, associate director of facilities for the department of recreational sports, said other field improvements should be completed in the coming weeks. The previous home for the world's second most popular sport was demolished to make room for a 60-acre mixed-use development planned by the Texas A&M University System.
U. of Missouri System hires risk management firm to address sexual assault policies
The University of Missouri System has hired a higher education risk management consulting firm to look at how each campus handles sexual assault and mental health issues. UM System President Tim Wolfe announced Wednesday that the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management Group, based in Pennsylvania, will assess the "inventory" the UM System task force completed as part of Phase I. For MU, that inventory was a list of campus resources for students with mental health problems or who have been the victim of a sex offense. As part of Phase II, the Pennsylvania firm will provide an independent analysis of each campus' sexual assault and mental health resources, UM System spokesman John Fougere said via email.
Federal job training programs encourage collaboration with employers
The White House on Wednesday rolled out two job-training grant programs that focus on the community college sector. Both push for closer ties between colleges and employers. The news wasn't exactly new for the largest of the two pots of money -- the fourth and final installment of a $2 billion workforce development fund. This week the U.S. Department of Labor released the application website for the last $450 million of the competitive grants, which were created in 2010. The program was designed to create partnerships that last after the grants dry up. It also nudges community colleges to get creative about career services. President Obama and Vice President Biden talked up the workforce money Wednesday.
U.S. Graduate Schools Wonder if India Is Their New Engine of Enrollment Growth
International graduate-student trends appear to have hit a reset. For the second year in a row, applications to American graduate schools from India skyrocketed, while those from prospective Chinese students fell. The findings, from a report released on Thursday by the Council of Graduate Schools, turn the trend line of recent years on its head. For the better part of a decade, Chinese graduate applications -- and enrollments -- have climbed upward, regularly and robustly. Dismissed by some observers a year ago as an aberration, the cooling of the Chinese market no longer can be written off as a one-year blip.
President of the nation's largest community college calls out anti-tax state lawmakers
The head of the nation's largest community college said aloud what many higher ed leaders mutter in private about tightfisted lawmakers. "Bullies" and "ideologues," Miami Dade College President Eduardo PadrĂ³n called a few of Florida's anti-tax legislators. The comments, made last week to The Miami Herald's editorial board, weren't well-received by the state lawmakers. Daniel Hurley, who leads the government relations and state policy team at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, said he would like to see more assertive presidents. "I don't view this as a momentary lapse," Hurley said. "I see this as hitting a nail on the head in terms of unprecedented, rightful frustration."
Behavior at Dartmouth tarnishing image of elite campus, college's president says
Dartmouth College's president lamented Wednesday that the Ivy League school's promising future "is being hijacked by extreme behavior," including sex assaults, parties with "racist and sexist undertones," and a campus culture in which "dangerous drinking has become the rule and not the exception." Philip J. Hanlon, a Dartmouth alumnus who took office in June, said such problems were taking a toll on the image of the 245-year-old college in Hanover, N.H. Applications to Dartmouth fell 14 percent this year, the sharpest drop in two decades, and the federal government has launched an investigation of issues related to sexual harassment and sexual violence there. Hanlon's unusually stark assessment of the challenges facing the prestigious college came as many faculty, students and alumni have been agitating for action to prevent sex assaults and improve the campus climate. But the speech also reflected a larger national debate about campus safety.
PAUL HAMPTON (OPINION): Taylor challenges Palazzo to debate
The Sun Herald's Paul Hampton blogs: "Gene Taylor, the former congressman who lost that seat to Rep. Steven Palazzo, said he is challenging Palazzo to a debate. His campaign said it will deliver a letter to Palazzo's Gulfport office on Thursday that says: 'As of this date, you have not indicated a response to this invitation to debate, whether negative or affirmative. It is also my understanding that you have declined to take part in the Coast Young Professionals forum with the other candidates and me. Therefore, please let this letter serve as my official debate challenge.'"

Bulldogs make changes in the baseball clubhouse
Mississippi State baseball wants a clean slate before the final part of the regular season. And that includes being clean shaven. All previous preconceived notions have been disregarded, the previously unsuccessful tactics have been withdrawn and old habits have died a hard death. Included in those habits is MSU coach John Cohen's lifting of the restriction on facial hair for his players. MSU junior pitcher Trevor Fitts said Monday on the radio coaches show at Buffalo Wild Wings that the Bulldogs coaching staff required they shave their beards before the afternoon practice. "We had a lot of discussion about where we needed to go and earning certain things," Cohen said Tuesday.
MSU adds needed depth in Zuppardo
Rick Ray dealt with insufficient depth throughout his second season at Mississippi State. His third year should be better as the school announced the signing of junior college standout Johnny Zuppardo on Wednesday. The 6-foot-9, 235-pound Kiln native led Jones County Junior College to the national championship last season, averaging 15.2 points and 6.9 rebounds. Zuppardo chose the Bulldogs over scholarship offers from Washington and Wichita State. "With the addition of Johnny, for the first time in my career here, we have an SEC front line that features size, length, strength, and what we sorely needed, depth," Ray said.
MSU adds juco forward to signing class
Rick Ray added one final piece to his 2014 class at Mississippi State on Wednesday by signing Jones County Junior College forward Johnny Zuppardo. The 6-foot-9, 240-pounder took an official visit to Starkville over the weekend and committed to the Bulldogs on Tuesday. He signed a national letter of intent today. Zuppardo also had offers from Washington, Wichita State, St. Bonaventure, Iona and Kent State.
Bulldogs add depth by signing Zuppardo
Rick Ray is determined to never be outsized near the basket ever again. Another piece of his bigger front court puzzle including the announcement of the signing of junior college forward Johnny Zuppardo. The 6-foot-9, 235-pound product from Kiln led Jones County Junior College to the National Junior College Athletic Association national championship this past season, averaging 15.2 points and 6.9 rebounds as the Bobcats posted a 28-5 ledger en route to becoming the first school from Mississippi to win the NJCAA title.
MSU women's tennis falls to LSU at SEC tourney
Despite putting forth a tremendous effort that came down to a third set on court six, the Mississippi State women's tennis team fell 4-3 to No. 53 LSU in the opening round of the 2014 SEC Championship on Wednesday.
Panel of administrators: NCAA system must change
A panel of college administrators agree the NCAA business model has to change to survive. Three administrators participated in a discussion this week on integrity and the commercialization of college athletics -- Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner Beth DeBauche, Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart and former Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe. Many athletic departments are flush with cash thanks to multi-million dollar TV deals. Conferences have started their own networks, and coaches' contracts continue to soar. Now athletes are demanding their fair share. "We have to have 21st century solutions," Barnhart said. "We didn't get to this problem overnight."
Fault Lines Appear at Northwestern Over Union Vote
The imminent vote by scholarship football players at Northwestern on whether to certify a union has students, professors and athletes in other sports choosing sides. When a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled last month that the players were employees and therefore eligible to form a union, it sent shock waves through higher education and college athletics that hit hardest here at Northwestern, a university in the Chicago suburbs that is known more for its academics than its athletics. "What it means for the athletic department and the greater economics of the school, I don't think anyone knows exactly," said Laura Beth Nielsen, a Northwestern professor of sociology and legal studies. "But no one is ambivalent."

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 17, 2014Facebook Twitter