Monday, April 21, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Universities receive second set of bonds
The state's eight public universities received during the just-completed 2014 legislative session their second year of a three-year commitment of bonds to finance long-term construction projects. The Legislature approved bonds for the schools totaling $92.8 million. During the 2013 session, the Legislature approved $96.5 million in bonds for the universities. Under the 2013 commitment agreement, the universities are slated to receive $68.6 million in bonds in 2015. University leaders have said they like the three-year commitment because it allows them to better plan for the long-term capital needs without the yearly doubt of how much they would receive in bonds from the Legislature. The bond bill includes $7 million for continued repair and renovation of Mitchell Memorial Library at Mississippi State University
Hail State Day proves successful
When the Mississippi State University Foundation conducts a capital campaign, it usually sets a dollar amount as a goal. Its Infinite Impact campaign, for instance, has a goal of $600 million, and it recently exceeded two thirds of that goal six months after it became public. But the MSU Foundation had a different kind of goal for Hail State Day, a fundraising event within Infinite Impact held on Monday. Cathy Lammons, MSU Foundation director for communication and donor relations, said instead of aiming to collect a certain amount of money, Hail State Day's goal was to have 1,001 donors.
State Superintendent of Education Keynoting Research Forum at MSU
Mississippi State University will host a visit from the top Mississippi Department of Education official on Friday. Carey M. Wright, state superintendent of education, will deliver the keynote address titled "The Power of Research in Improving Student Achievement" at the seventh annual College of Education Faculty-Student Research Forum at the Bost Extension Center. During her visit to MSU, she will discuss MDE funding opportunities that may be available to faculty looking to promote their research agendas. This could improve student achievement, especially in high-need local education agencies, said J. Elton Moore, associate dean for research and assessment.
'Pirates of Penzance' concludes Theatre MSU's 50th season
The final production of the 50th theatrical season of Mississippi State's communication department will open April 24. Two longtime MSU communication department faculty members will be honored on the same night. Theatre MSU presents "The Pirates of Penzance," Gilbert and Sullivan's popular comic opera on the McComas Hall mainstage on campus for three nights April 24-26, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the door or online. Cody Stockstill, a visiting assistant professor in the department, directs the two-act musical in another collaboration between Theatre MSU and the music department.
MSU Public Event to Launch All-Steinway Initiative
Mississippi State's College of Education formally announces its All-Steinway Initiative with a April 24 public display of the first class of pianos acquired toward the effort. The celebration marks the formal beginning of the college's commitment to make the music education department an All-Steinway School. In addition to joining more than 160 institutions of higher learning and conservatories throughout the world with this distinction, the university seeks to become the only Mississippi school holding the prestigious honor.
Toyota endowment expands course offerings
Students in Lee, Pontotoc and Union Counties will have a chance this fall to learn how to fly a plane, program industrial robots or dig into health care careers. The Toyota Wellspring Education Fund will offer three new dual-enrollment courses next school year designed to prepare students for in-demand professions. Twenty two students recently completed the first course funded by the endowment -- a class on web app entrepreneurship taught by six faculty members from Mississippi State University. Students who completed the web app class learned not only programming but also marketing and branding. "That was the tool we used to teach entrepreneurship," said Rodney Pearson, professor of business information systems at MSU. Before designing their programs, groups had to conduct market research with students and teachers at their schools, said Allison Pearson, Rodney's wife and a professor of management at MSU.
Stoneville compiling five-year insurance coverage models for Mississippi growers
Mississippi growers at some point this fall will have to make a momentous, one-time decision on how best to insure their livelihood over the next five years. In arriving at that decision, they will depend in large part on agricultural economists such as those at the Mississippi State University Delta Research and Extension Service who are now assembling projections to help in making that decision. For now, however, growers in the Mississippi Delta have a more immediate concern: getting their crops in as untimely rains continue to pass through the area, soaking fields and idling tractors.
State Soybean Value Grew $1 Billion Since 2006
Soybeans have been an important commodity in Mississippi for more than 50 years, but recent advances have pushed the crop's value above $1 billion. Mississippi soybeans had a value of $267 million in 2006, $1.27 billion in 2012 and $1.17 billion in 2013. "Soybean prices have been favorable in recent years, and combined with better management to produce higher yields, the crop has become an even more significant contributor to agricultural value in the state," said Greg Bohach, vice president of the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine. "In the past decade, yields have steadily increased. The acreage devoted to soybeans has stayed fairly constant at about 2 million acres for the last six years."
Expert: Rain barrels good for plants and pocketbook
An inexpensive do-it-yourself project can cut the cost of watering the lawn and landscaping during the summer. Building a rain barrel is a relatively simple way to conserve water and cut costs, said Dr. Wayne Porter of Mississippi State University Extension Service during a recent teleconference lunch meeting.
Mississippi ranks last in Internet usage; lack of rural access to blame
When it comes to Internet usage, experts say Mississippi ranks dead last and they say that's largely because of a lack of access in rural areas. The Mississippi State University Extension Service is hosting community forums hoping to gain public support to convince Internet service providers there is enough demand to warrant expanding their coverage areas. "With Mississippi being a mostly rural state, we see that we are the number 50 out of 50 as far as states that use the Internet," said Andy Collins, Regional Broadband Coordinator. "Right now about 22 percent of Mississippians do not use the Internet at all."
Gilbert named finalist for Austin Peay's top position
Mississippi State University Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Gilbert was named one of four finalists for Austin Peay State University's top post's upcoming vacancy. About 80 applicants were selected and narrowed to the four-person finalist pool Friday. APSU, located in Clarksville, enrolls more than 10,000 students, has almost 400 full-time faculty members and operates with an annual budget of about $125 million.
SED manager predicts no electricity rate hikes
Starkville Electric Department will operate a Fiscal Year 2014-2015 budget similar to current funding levels and does not need an electric rate hike to subsidize its operations, General Manager Terry Kemp said Thursday. Kemp delivered a brief, yet pointed preliminary budget presentation to the three-person Starkville Audit and Budget Committee Thursday, one that mapped out improvements to the city's infrastructure and customer service across the next five years. While sales are projected lower than expected in this year's fiscal budget, he said it would have a nominal impact on SED's budget.
Board narrows community developer list to five
Starkville aldermen narrowed a list of 26 community developer applicants to five finalists this week and scheduled interviews for a 5:30 p.m. special-call board meeting on Tuesday. Twenty-six people applied for the position after aldermen voted in March to expand the search nationally and expand its time window. The five finalists selected by the board are: Andrew Ellard, director of Hattiesburg's federal and state programs; Canton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jordan Hillman; Kelly McCaffery, a landscape architect with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans; Starkville City Planner Buddy Sanders; and Walton County (Fla.) Board of Commissioners senior planner Brian Underwood.
Food insecurity a growing problem in Mississippi
It's easy to assume that food shortage only affects the Third World, that the U.S. and its citizens are immune to the issues of hunger and food insecurity. And while it is true that the issue is much more prevalent in other parts of the world, it would be misguided to believe that there aren't families and children going hungry in our very own country. Simply visiting one of the few food shelters in Jackson will verify that point. Still, though, most people don't understand what it means to be "food insecure," or that they, in fact, can do something about this terrible circumstance that nearly 49 million Americans face every day. In order to understand the state of need for food in the U.S., it's necessary to understand that there is a definite distinction between someone going hungry and someone being "food insecure." Marylyn Blackledge of the Mississippi Food Network puts it this way: "Food insecurity is actually when you don't know where the next meal is coming from."
Rebranding Camp Shelby: Base may be chosen for equipment returns
For the past decade, Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center has seen about a half million soldiers pass through its gates as one of the nation's largest mobilization sites during the United States' military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. But while the number of troops will dwindle, the 134,000-acre site located south of Hattiesburg could be transformed into a huge hub for military material returning from the Middle East. Camp Shelby is considered one of the big reasons South Mississippi could be one of the top options for the sorting, care, storage and eventual redistribution of an estimated 750,000 pieces of equipment. The "South Mississippi Defense Corridor" also includes installations along the Gulf Coast at Keesler Air Force Base, Combat Readiness Training Center, Naval Construction Battalion Center, 1108th Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group and Stennis Space Center.
Homeland Security secretary visits Mississippi
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson toured the state on Thursday, keeping a promise to the Mississippi congressional delegation, and said the state is vitally important to the nation's security. "I feel like I have a lot of business here on a lot of fronts," said Johnson, who is four months into his administration. On Thursday, Johnson toured Ingalls Shipbuilding and other sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast with U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo in the morning, and in the afternoon he was with Rep. Bennie Thompson at Jackson State University's Mississippi eCenter, which houses the Homeland Security Center for Excellence. He also met for a two-hour roundtable discussion with emergency management, business and elected leaders.
Simmons touts success of legislative session
Sen. Willie Simmons said Mississippi has made some positive changes during this fiscal year and he is pleased to have aided in the process. "Overall, I think the Mississippi Delta had a great year during this legislative session," said Simmons. "We were able to get a pay raise for teachers and state employees who make under $30,000 and a pay raise for teachers -- I was very pleased about this," he added. He also said he was very pleased with the progress that has been made with Mississippi's transportation system.
Analysis: School funding divides Cochran, McDaniel
How large a role should the federal government have in educating American children? It's a politically sensitive question dividing the Republicans in Mississippi's U.S. Senate race this year. Incumbent Thad Cochran and challenger Chris McDaniel are competing in the June 3 primary. Both men criticize Common Core academic standards, which have been adopted by Mississippi and most other states and outline what children should be learning in reading and math at each grade level. Both men say education policy should be set at the state and local level, not by the federal government. The candidates differ significantly on federal funding for education. McDaniel, elected to the state Senate in 2007, asserts the federal government should have no role in education -- not even in helping pay for it.
Cochran's healthy haul doesn't compare with Musgrove-Barbour
A national reporter asked Tuesday during a conference call how incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran's impressive $1.7 million in campaign contributions during the first three months of the year compared to efforts in other Mississippi races, such as for governor. Cochran campaign manger Kirk Sims replied it was unprecedented. "What we have seen the last quarter is a record amount of money raised," Sims said. No question, Sims and the rest of the Cochran campaign have reason to be buoyed by the amount of money the campaign raised during the January through March reporting period -- with more than $1 million of that total coming from Mississippians. But the showing pales in comparison to the fundraising efforts conducted by Republican challenger Haley Barbour and Democratic incumbent Ronnie Musgove in the 2003 gubernatorial campaign.
Who had the worst week in Washington? Mississippi Senate candidate Chris McDaniel
It was all going so well for Chris McDaniel. The Mississippi state senator trying to unseat longtime U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in a June Republican primary had united a panoply of conservative groups behind him. He'd been disciplined in his critique that Cochran had gone Washington. Even Cochran allies acknowledged that the incumbent was in for a tough fight. But, to paraphrase Alanis Morissette, life has a funny way of sneaking up on you. McDaniel spent much of this past week trying to explain away things he said while hosting a conservative talk-radio show in the mid-2000s -- things that don't sound so good coming out of the mouth of someone who wants to be in the U.S. Senate.
U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo declines Gene Taylor's debate challenge, entertains Homeland Security chief at Ingalls
U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo rejected an offer for a debate with political foe Gene Taylor today and also entertained Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson on a tour of Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula. Taylor, a longtime Democrat and congressman who lost to Palazzo in 2010, has switched parties and is challenging Palazzo in the June 3 Republican primary for the 4th District seat. On Thursday, Taylor -- accompanied by some media -- personally delivered a letter to Palazzo's Gulfport office, offering to debate the incumbent "anytime, anywhere." "He's not being genuine, so no," said Palazzo campaign manager Hunter Lipscomb. "This was all a coordinated effort to push a debate. He's a lifelong Democrat who only became a Republican because he thinks that increases his elect-ability. We don't believe it's genuine."
UAW withdraws appeal of Volkswagen union vote
The United Auto Workers announced Monday it is withdrawing an appeal of the outcome of a union vote at Volkswagen's assembly plant in Tennessee. In a statement released one hour before the scheduled start of a National Labor Relations Board hearing in Chattanooga, Tenn., UAW President Bob King said the union decided to put the "tainted election in the rearview mirror" because the challenge could have taken months or even years to come to a conclusion. The UAW had filed its appeal with the National Labor Relations Board after Volkswagen workers rejected the union in a 712-626 vote in February, arguing that public statements from U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and other GOP officials raised fears about the plant's future if workers there organized.
Study: Fuels from corn waste not better than gas
Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration's conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change. A $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and released Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline. The biofuel industry and administration officials immediately criticized the research as flawed.
Conservative heavyweights have solar industry in their sights
The political attack ad that ran recently in Arizona had some familiar hallmarks of the genre, including a greedy villain who hogged sweets for himself and made children cry. But the bad guy, in this case, wasn't a fat-cat lobbyist or someone's political opponent. He was a solar-energy consumer. Solar, once almost universally regarded as a virtuous, if perhaps over-hyped, energy alternative, has now grown big enough to have enemies.
Hey, Kids, Remember You're On Our Side: The FBI Makes A Movie
Earlier this week, the FBI posted a video on their website. It's a 25-minute movie called Game of Pawns, based on the true story of GLENN SHRIVER, an American college student who was recruited as a spy by the Chinese government. According to the FBI's website, the film is aimed at college students about to study abroad themselves. The message is obvious: Don't be a spy. The rationale is that a dramatic movie will capture young people's attention better than public service announcements or PowerPoint. Shriver himself cooperated extensively with the FBI in the making of Game of Pawns.
New dean of students announced at UM
The intensive search for retiring dean Sparky Reardon's replacement came to an end yesterday as Melinda J. Sutton was announced as The University of Mississippi's new dean of students and assistant vice chancellor for student affairs. "This is a new chapter for The University of Mississippi and the dean of students," Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Brandi Hephner LaBanc said. "I'm excited about that." With more than 15 years of experience in higher education, Sutton, a native Texan, currently serves as the associate dean of student life at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Prior to her tenure at SMU, she served students in various administrative positions at the University of Texas-Austin, Indiana University-Bloomington and Vanderbilt University.
Gov. Bryant to speak at U. of Mississippi commencement
The University of Mississippi says Gov. Phil Bryant will be the main speaker at its 161st commencement on May 10. He will speak to graduating students, their families and other guests at 9 a.m. This year's graduating class includes about 2,650 spring candidates for undergraduate and graduate degrees and about 1,000 August 2013 graduates. The ceremony will be in the Grove unless there's rain. Bad weather would send it indoors, into Tad Smith Coliseum.
Fraternity Shuts Ole Miss Branch After Noose Tying
A national fraternity group has closed its University of Mississippi chapter after three members were accused of tying a noose around the neck of a statue of the first black student to enroll in the Southern college that was all-white at the time. The university announced Thursday that the national office of Sigma Phi Epsilon, based in Richmond, Va., had closed its Ole Miss chapter. Besides the noose, someone draped a pre-2003 Georgia state flag with a Confederate battle emblem in its design on the face of the James Meredith statue in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 16. Meredith's enrollment in 1962 set off a violent attack by anti-integration protesters on federal authorities, leaving two people dead and scores injured. Ole Miss and fraternity officials said they found a pattern of underage drinking and hazing which broke both university and Sigma Phi Epsilon rules.
USM names new Science & Technology dean
The University of Southern Mississippi has named David T. Hayhurst the new dean of the College of Science and Technology Hayhurst previously served as dean of the College of Engineering at both San Diego State University (2002-2013) and the University of South Alabama (1992-2002). Pending approval by the Board of Trustees, State Institutions of Higher Learning, Hayhurst will begin his new role at Southern Miss on August 15. A Massachusetts native, he earned his undergraduate in chemical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute; his master's degree in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his doctorate in chemical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Don't Call It Ping Pong: College Sports Rivalry Expands to Table Tennis
When the Texas Wesleyan Rams arrived this month to defend their 10 straight national titles, the 14 players and coaches wore navy blue and gold track suits and carried matching bags. The walkie-talkies worn on the hips of tournament personnel crackled to life: "Texas Wesleyan has entered the building." The opposing teams,— most of whom brought only a handful of players, some in a mishmash of college sweatshirts,— stopped to watch in awe and dread. "We are the New York Yankees of table tennis," said Texas Wesleyan University Coach Jasna Rather. "Everybody hates our guts." Coach Ken Qiu of Mississippi College, whose Choctaws have taken second place to the Rams the past two years, looked on stony faced. His team had defeated Texas Wesleyan only once, but he had an ace up his sleeve:— a Chinese national whom he recruited in one of his frequent trips to his homeland. In much of the world, table tennis is big business. Most Americans still call the sport ping pong, a term that makes aficionados wince.
Suter to address Mississippi College law school graduates
Retired Maj. Gen. William Suter, a former clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court, will speak at the Mississippi College School of Law commencement on May 16. The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church in Jackson. Suter served as the 19th clerk of the United States Supreme Court from 1991 to 2013.
JSU student recognized at national engineering convention
Jackson State University computer science student Dominick Sanders was elected Region III Pre-College Initiative Chair at the 2014 National Society of Black Engineers annual convention last month in Anaheim, Calif. "I am honored to have been selected by my peers to help to lead an incredible organization that I grew up in," Sanders said. "I started in the 6th grade, and if it had not been for this organization, I probably would have never pursued a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)."
Tougaloo College hopes to raise $1 million
Tougaloo College President Beverly Wade Hogan says she hopes the school will raise $1 million at a scholarship gala honoring civil rights activists. Two Rivers Gala/Tougaloo Honors takes place May 31 at the Jackson Convention Complex. Tougaloo is a private, historically black college in Jackson.
Community colleges' needs unmet
The $23 million in bonds approved for the state's 15 community colleges by the recently completed 2014 session of the Legislature will fall far short of addressing all the capital needs of the two-year schools. A five-year capital improvement plan submitted to the state Department of Finance and Administration cites $156 million in needs for preplanning, repair and renovation and other capital improvements at the community colleges. It is important to note that in addition to the community colleges being awarded $23 million in bonds to finance long-term construction projects, the Legislature provided an additional $3 million for routine repairs and renovations.
Jimmy Buffet among former students honored at Pearl River Community College
A world-famous Mississippi musician was among a distinguished group of former Pearl River Community College students and graduates recognized for their outstanding achievements Thursday night. Singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffet was one of six people inducted into the college's Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame during a ceremony in Hattiesburg. Buffet, who attended PRCC from 1965-66, sent a brief video message thanking the school for the honor.
Northwest Mississippi Community College to increase tuition
Northwest Mississippi Community College says it will increase tuition for the 2014-15 academic year. The Commercial Appeal reports the community college cites costs associated with maintaining new facilities and providing the programs those facilities will offer. Under the plan approved by the Senatobia-based school's Board of Trustees, full-time in-state students will see an increase of $150 per semester in tuition, to $1,275.
Itawamba Community College receives film equipment donation, expands film offerings
Itawamba Community College's film club will be evolving in the coming year thanks to a more than $100,000 equipment donation from a filmmaker. Kat Phillips, of Kat Scratch Films, presented a Sony Cinealta high-definition camera along with an HD monitor and other filming equipment to ICC officials at Malco Cinema on Saturday during the Tupelo Film Festival. "This year marks the 10th anniversary of my very first film's debut at the Tupelo Film Festival," Phillips said. "Ron Tibbet and Pat Rasberry reinforced that I should stay in film when I was upset about the process of getting films into festivals. They said to stay with it and I did." Phillips, a Mississippi native, said since then, she has seen a wealth of filmmaking talent in Mississippi, especially in Tupelo, and wanted to help nurture that.
Crimson White staff awarded for reporting on segregation in Greek system on U. of Alabama campus
Staff members of the University of Alabama's Crimson White student newspaper were among the winners of the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication 2014 Ancil Payne Awards for Ethics in Journalism. Editor Abbey Crain, magazine editor Matt Ford and editor-in-chief Mazie Bryant were chosen for an Ancil Payne Award for their work on "The Final Barrier," the September 2013 article reporting allegations that black students were passed over for bids at traditionally white UA sororities because of their race.
Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon, Wife Give $1M to U. of Arkansas Walton Business College
Doug McMillon, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville, and his wife, Shelley, are giving $1 million to the University of Arkansas' Sam M. Walton College of Business. The UA said the money will establish the McMillion Family Endowed Excellence Fund, which will help the UA create the proposed School of Global Retail Operations and Innovation within the business college. "The school has the potential to offer interdisciplinary programs in retail, generate international prominence and establish ourselves as the premier location for consumer research and retail education," UA Chancellor G. David Gearhart said in a news release. "The McMillons' generous contribution will positively impact both the Walton College and the University of Arkansas as a whole, as each one will benefit from the other's success."
UGA BioBusiness Center helps turn discoveries into companies
The University of Georgia unleashes thousands of graduates each year into the business world, but one modest building tucked away on the edge of campus aims to produces businesses. The Georgia BioBusiness Center's primary aim is to give a leg up to UGA scientists who want to turn their scientific discoveries into commercial ventures. The aim is to help start-up companies through the earliest stages of growth by giving them a low-cost space for a few years. And through the 6-year-old Georgia VentureLab Program, sponsored by the Georgia Research Alliance, companies can actually get some limited funding at their very earliest stages.
With Nygren's death, fate of U. of Florida film production program in doubt
The death last month of University of Florida Center for Film and Media Studies director Scott Nygren has faculty close to the program concerned about its long-term viability. Nygren's death from complications related to leukemia not only creates a leadership vacuum. With Nygren gone, and the departure in January of Roger Beebe, who worked by Nygren's side for more than a decade, it also means the program has nobody qualified to teach film and video production. "I'm afraid that production at UF -- the program that Scott started and that I contributed to for 13 years -- is in grave danger right now," said Beebe, who accepted a similar job at Ohio State University. "We'd all been hoping that Scott would recover fully and would be able to return to the classroom, but with this sad turn of events, there are no faculty members left in the production area in the English Department."
Texas A&M officials slim down dining mandate for on-campus students
Texas A&M University has partially relented on a controversial meal-plan mandate that forces on-campus students to purchase plans from a private vendor. Starting in the fall, only freshmen who live on campus and members of the Corps of Cadets will be required to purchase meals from outsourced dining provider Chartwells. Plans to require on-campus sophomores, juniors and seniors to purchase the meal plans have been scratched. Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp spearheaded efforts to outsource university dining to the Compass Group subsidiary in 2012, the same semester that then-university President R. Bowen Loftin implemented a roll-out to make the purchases mandatory. While university and system officials maintain the decisions were made independently -- Loftin's decision to make meal plans mandatory was made in 2010 -- student leaders have long decried the collective changes.
Guy Diedrich the latest to resign from the Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System official pushed by Gov. Rick Perry to take over the top spot at the College Station campus has resigned. Perry lobbied in December to place Guy Diedrich, the system's former vice chancellor for strategic initiatives, as interim president of Texas A&M University. When Perry couldn't rally support from the regents to place Diedrich at the head of his alma mater, the governor suggested a new role "on par" with Chancellor John Sharp. Ultimately, Deidrich was never promoted to either position and ended his decade of service to A&M on March 31. There was no announcement from the system regarding the departure and he couldn't be reached for comment Friday.
Museum of Anthropology marks last day at U. of Missouri campus home
The second of two University of Missouri museums slated to move to the former Ellis Fischel Cancer Center closed its doors Friday to begin preparing for the move to so-called Mizzou North. Friday was the last day in Swallow Hall for the MU Museum of Anthropology. The museum's history stretches back to 1885, when it was in Academic Hall. It was there until the historic 1892 fire. The museum was located in Switzler Hall until 1967, when it moved to Swallow Hall. The Anthropology Museum is being moved so crews can renovate the 121-year-old Swallow Hall to make it more useful for students and faculty, MU spokesman Christian Basi said.
State and Local Money for Higher Education Increased Slightly in 2013
The latest report on state financing of higher education shows a glimmer of good news for public colleges. But it's also a reminder of how much has changed for public higher education since the start of the recession, in 2008. State and local dollars for higher education increased by 0.7 percent from the 2012 to the 2013 fiscal years, according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers. At the same time, enrollment at the nation's public colleges dropped by 2.4 percent, according to the association's "State Higher Education Finance" report.
Common Core at Four: Sizing Up the Enterprise
The Common Core State Standards have been reshaping the American education landscape for four years, leaving their mark on curriculum and instruction, professional development, teacher evaluation, the business of publishing, and the way tests are designed. Even as those touchpoints of schooling shift with the new standards, another key milestone hovers. A year from now, all but a handful of states will do something they've never done before---give exams based on one shared set of standards. In fact, more than three dozen of those states will use two shared sets of assessments, too. It's an unprecedented level of change in a K-12 system that has long prized its ability to make curriculum and testing decisions at the state and local levels.
OUR OPINION: Earth Day brought many new attitudes
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "Across campuses nationwide -- including the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University -- students and scientists are gearing up this weekend for the 44th annual celebration on April 22 of Earth Day, the iconic American observance marking a milestone in the environmental and sustainability movements, now reaching worldwide. Ole Miss and MSU both have offices of sustainability leading campuswide action-focused programs, and they are part of Green Week in a specific and larger context. Both universities also have direct ties to proof that sustainability and corporate environmentalism produce jobs and prosperity, a concept somewhat discounted in the beginning of Earth Day. ...Mississippi, which has had fewer major environmental issues than many other states, still has great opportunities to lead for sustainability in a new world economy. Our state's universities and industries like Toyota and Nissan provide resources and leadership moving forward.
BILL CRAWFORD (OPINION): Mississippi out of community college spotlight
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "President Barack Obama last week announced the fourth and final installment of his $2 billion workforce development fund benefiting community colleges. Colleges and consortia of colleges, working closely with industry, can compete for $450 million to create career training paths for high-wage, high-skill jobs. Also last week, the Tennessee Legislature approved Gov. Bill Haslam's plan to provide free community college access to high school graduates. 'Tennessee Promise' will pay the costs not covered by other scholarships or grants. These two announcements illustrate the intensifying national spotlight on the crucial role community colleges play in access to higher education and skill development for ever-more-technical jobs. ...Mississippi's community college system is one of the nation's best. It is somewhat surprising to see our colleges out of the spotlight as the nation steps up attention and support for community colleges."
PAUL HAMPTON (OPINION): GOP welcomes party switchers, unless they're named Taylor
The Sun Herald's Paul Hampton writes: "'I didn't leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.' Sound familiar? It should. Ronald Reagan's words from 1962 have been repeated enough, echoing especially loudly in the South where a thundering herd of Democrats have switched sides. Just Thursday, the Mississippi GOP was loudly welcoming Lincoln County Supervisor Dudley Nations into the fold. The party says 60 elected officials have switched since 2009. ...And Gov. Phil Bryant was just as effusive. 'I also welcome Supervisor Dudley Nations to the Republican Party and extend an invitation to anyone who is tired of the liberal overreach in Washington,' he said. Unless you're Gene Taylor. I don't recall getting emails from the GOP when he switched earlier this year..."
SAM R. HALL (OPINION): Cochran, Palazzo simply scared to debate
The Clarion-Ledger's Sam R. Hall writes: "The push by supporters of state Sen. Chris McDaniel to get U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran to debate has intensified quite a bit over the past couple of weeks, though it is unlikely to do any good. The bottom line is that Cochran has nothing to gain from debating and just about everything to lose. Only a knockout performance would politically justify him debating, and that's unlikely against someone as polished as McDaniel, though I suspect Cochran could handily win a substantive debate on issues. flags are being thrown up around U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo in his race against Democrat-turned-Republican challenger Gene Taylor, whom Palazzo defeated to win the Fourth Congressional seat. Taylor has challenged Palazzo to a debate. Palazzo, however, refuses."
ANDY TAGGART (OPINION): Thad Cochran for Mississippi
Attorney and political analyst Andy Taggart writes in the Madison County Journal: "As a weekly television political commentator from the Republican side of the aisle on WLBT's 'Red/Blue Review,' I regularly offer my opinions of what I think is happening or will happen in the political arena. When I do, I try not to let my view of what I hope will actually happen override my objective view of what I believe actually will happen. In other words, my goal is for my television commentaries to be a reflection of my objective sense of what's going on in state and national politics. But I will readily admit that I am not objective when I write about how important I believe it is for Thad Cochran to be re-elected to the United States Senate this year. And I believe it is important not only for the State of Mississippi, but for the United States of America."
GEOFF PENDER (OPINION): Whoever wins in June, Mississippi GOP has decisions to make
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "Whoever wins the June 3 Republican primary for U.S. Senate, the Grand Old Party in Mississippi has some wounds to heal and decisions to make. It's hard to believe a party that 20 years ago could have held its meetings of elected officials in a phone booth now has a tent so big or loose that Republican infighting has taken the place of partisan battle. Or that in a state as conservative as Mississippi, Republicans are accusing each other of closet RINO-ism and liberalism. Or that a substantial group of Mississippi Republicans is working hard for the ouster of an incumbent Mississippi Republican who's in line to regain the Senate Appropriations chair should the GOP retake a majority. Strange days, indeed."
SID SALTER (OPINION): Amazon collects online sales taxes from Floridians
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Online retail giant this month began collecting sales tax for online purchases made by Floridians. Why now? It's because now has a physical bricks-and-mortar presence in Florida. Florida requires online companies to begin collecting sales taxes once a company has a bricks-and-mortar 'domicile' or physical presence in the state. Prior to the establishment of that presence, out-of-state online retailers, including Amazon, avoided collection of sales taxes on online purchases. As is current law in Mississippi, Floridians were supposed to voluntarily pay their sales taxes themselves when they made purchases from online retailers -- which also is as in Mississippi, most buyers simply don't do."

Show-me effort: Bulldogs battle into 11th for first SEC sweep
Mississippi State worked a few extra hours on the holiday weekend on the way to its first SEC sweep of the season. Winning its second extra-inning contest of the weekend, the Bulldogs used a two-RBI single by Reid Humphreys in the top of the 11th inning to get past Missouri 9-7 on Sunday afternoon. The 24th-ranked Bulldogs (26-15, 10-8 SEC) moved into a share of third place with Ole Miss in the SEC's Western Division and are just two games back in the overall conference race. "We fought our tails off," MSU coach John Cohen said.
Mississippi State's Spring: Dak Prescott a passing QB
The expectations for Mississippi State in 2014 are high. They're even higher for Dak Prescott. The quarterback deferred questions regarding his candidacy for this year's Heisman Trophy. His performance in this year's Maroon/White game will only bolster those whispers. Prescott completed 7 of 9 attempts for 131 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball three times for 12 yards with a score. "I just pay attention to what happens on this campus and what happens in our football facility," Prescott said. "I just go in each day and try to get better."
Mississippi State O-lineman Gabe Jackson readying for NFL draft
It didn't take long for Gabe Jackson to realize he had NFL potential. The former Mississippi State offensive lineman would sit in his living room, watching each team restock its talent by calling the very names he played against in college. Then it clicked. "The different opponents I was playing against after draft day I saw their name called," Jackson said. "I was like, 'Hey I played pretty good against them.'" Jackson could have forgone his senior season and entered the draft as a junior. Instead, he returned to Starkville for the 2013 season and shined
Lady Bulldogs down no. 4 Tennessee 11-7
For the second time in as many Sundays, Mississippi State clinched a Southeastern Conference series with an exciting victory. The Bulldogs trailed 5-4 entering the sixth inning, but exploded for seven runs in the frame to win 11-7 at No. 4/4 Tennessee. MSU had led 4-1 going to the bottom of the fifth before the Lady Vols scored four times to take a 5-4 lead. Mississippi State has nearly a week off before returning to action Friday to begin Senior Weekend. The Bulldogs face Arkansas at 5 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday and Sunday.

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