Tuesday, April 22, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
ORAU Official to Visit Mississippi State on Thursday
A top official of the Tennessee-based Oak Ridge Associated Universities will visit Mississippi State this week. University faculty and staff are invited April 24 to Cathy Fore's presentation, titled "ORAU: The University Value Proposition." The program begins at 10 a.m. in Colvard Student Union's third-floor Fowlkes Auditorium. Fore, who directs collaborative initiatives for ORAU's University Partnerships Office, will discuss research opportunities and provide other information about the organization's national mission. "We have a very productive relationship with Oak Ridge," said David Shaw, MSU vice president for research and economic development.
Mississippi State Hosts Entrepreneurship Week
It is Entrepreneurship Week at Mississippi State, and the week-long conference began Monday night. The evening's workshop focused on conceptual challenges. Students offered their ideas for economic development projects and business ideas and how they would make them work. Throughout the week, the six start-up plan and "elevator pitch" competitions will add up to more than $40,000 in prizes and start-up money. "Our theme of 'Accelerating Progress' is in full swing," said Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer director Joshua Jeanson.
Unity Park group eyes January opening
Unity Park committee members hope to unveil a redesigned public green space on Martin Luther King Jr. Day -- Jan. 19, 2015 -- that provides more acknowledgements to local and state-level civil rights pioneers. Speaking on behalf of the group, William "Brother" Rogers, a Stennis Center for Public Service Leadership member, brought forth new Unity Park proposals, which include removing several plaques in favor of new ones honoring area civil rights efforts, to Oktibbeha County supervisors Monday. A plaque honoring the historic "Game of Change," when the Mississippi State University men's basketball team defied the governor by stealing away to play an integrated Loyola University team in the NCAA Tournament in East Lansing, Mich., in 1963, was also proposed Monday.
Video: Beans and Greens Dinner Held in Starkville
Oktibbeha County Democrats held their annual "Beans and Greens" fundraiser at the Starkville Sportsplex Monday night. Travis Childers was the keynote speaker. A former congressman from north Mississippi, Childers is currently running in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. The seat is currently held by Republican Thad Cochran.
Garrard ready to lead as Oktibbeha County administrator
While Oktibbeha County Administrator Emily Garrard formally took over the county's top administrative post earlier this month, she has yet to physically move into the head office. Garrard, an Oktibbeha County native, sorted papers Thursday in the comptroller's office -- soon to be her old office -- while eyeing the door adjacent to her new office. She will soon make the move, she said, into a seat held by mentor and former County Administrator Don Posey. Posey "kept the seat warm," she said, from 1996 to December, when he retired after serving five different boards of supervisors. Supervisors hired the incoming administrator on April 7 with a 4-1 vote. Garrard worked with Posey for 12 years and said she will draw from his experience and tutelage to effectively guide Oktibbeha County.
Stennis Space Center cuts ribbon on SpaceX Raptor rocket testing facility
The engines which propelled Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon on Apollo XI were tested at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County. One day, Stennis may also test the engines which take man to Mars. At least that's the hope of Stennis, SpaceX and other officials who gathered to cut the ribbon Monday afternoon on the SpaceX rocket testing program at the NASA facility. Calling space an "unforgiving business," Stennis Director Rick Gilbrech said SpaceX was a welcome addition to NASA's growing commercial spaceflight contracts. Gilbrech was joined for the ceremony by SpaceX President/COO Gywnne Shotwell, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo. Cochran called Stennis a "unique national asset" because of its partnerships between the public and private sector.
Public safety focus: Bryant signs bills that fulfilled a pledge
Three bills that supporters say will make Mississippians safer were signed into law Monday by Gov. Phil Bryant during ceremonies in his state Capitol office. The bills would: add 16 assistant district attorneys across the state; fund a new trooper school to add 60 officers to the ranks of the Mississippi Highway Patrol; take DNA samples from people arrested on violent felony charges to run tests to try to determine if they might have been involved in other crimes. "Last year I pledged that this legislative session would focus on public safety, and these bills are a reflection of that effort," Bryant said in a news release. "Taken with the criminal justice reforms we enacted earlier this year, this package of bills will ensure that Mississippi is better prepared to execute the first duty of government: protecting public safety."
Mississippi trooper training school to begin in November
Gov. Phil Bryant signed a Department of Public Safety budget bill today that will lead to more Highway Patrol troopers on the road. "Very few bills have the effect of savings lives," Bryant said today, flanked by state troopers. "We will make sure lives will be saved. It's an important day for public safety." The budget bill includes $6.9 million for a trooper school to train, equip and pay the first year salary of about 60 new trooper recruits. But it's expected to be about year before the new troopers will be on the road. The trooper class will begin in November and will take 23 weeks to complete.
Governor announces intent to sign teacher pay raise Tuesday
Gov. Phil Bryant says he will sign into law Tuesday morning the $2,500 pay raise the Legislature approved during the 2014 session for Mississippi's classroom teachers. The governor's office announced in a new release Monday afternoon that Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves will attend the bill signing in the state Capitol.
Mississippi looks to step up reading instruction
State officials say they plan to use bolstered state funding to hire more literacy coaches and better train teachers as schools seek to meet legislative requirements that all third graders read at a basic level by next year or be flunked. Lawmakers gave the Mississippi Department of Education $15 million to spend on the program, up from $9.5 million this year. Officials with the department say they intend to use the money to hire 45 literacy coaches and supervisors, up from 31 this year. Those coaches will cover 74 target schools in 50 districts, up from 50 schools in 30 districts. The state has tried to focus on schools with the lowest reading scores.
Cochran's keeping it positive in Gulfport
U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran does not want to discuss any backlash the Republican party in Mississippi might experience over his race against tea party challenger Chris McDaniel. After Cochran spoke briefly Monday to the Gulfport Business Club, the Sun Herald asked if the campaign is creating issues for the party. The six-term senator responded: "Economic growth, expansion of our base across a broad majority of Mississippians -- those are our goals. And it's working. Mississippi probably has one of the strongest and politically influential parties in the Republican party."
Former GOP senators give to Thad Cochran
Thad Cochran has made a lot of important friends during his 35 years in the Senate -- and they haven't forgotten about him as he stares down a challenge from the right. Former Senate colleagues Bob Dole (R-Kan.), Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), Bob Packwood (R-Ore.) and Steve Symms (R-Idaho) all donated to the Mississippi Republican during the first three months of the year, as did the leadership PACs of two of Cochran's colleagues, Sens. Mark Kirk of Illinois and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, according to newly filed campaign finance documents. The lawmakers donating to Cochran come mostly from the party's deal-making wing, evidence of the yawning ideological gap between the six-term Republican senator known for his soft touch and backroom power and state Sen. Chris McDaniel, a controversial former radio host.
Palazzo: 'A sleeping giant has been awakened' as he opens Gulfport office
Saying a "sleeping giant has been awakened," Rep. Steven Palazzo on Monday opened his Gulfport campaign office. Dozens came through the office during the lunchroom grabbing a sandwich and handshake or a hug and often a yard sign as well. He said if voters would return him to Congress he would continue to try to help cut the debt, particularly "the No. 1 driver of our debt and that's mandatory spending."
Supreme Court to take on Web's ability to cut cable TV cord
Tuesday's Supreme Court showdown pitting start-up video service Aereo against U.S. broadcasters has everyone from the White House to cloud computing advocates filing briefs and taking sides. All parties agree on one thing: No matter what the court decides, it's likely to be a landmark copyright case with implications far beyond the company's future -- from the way you pay for television to whether your use of Google Drive will be affected.
Southern Baptist summit has frank talk on sex
The nation's culture war is over when it comes to homosexuality and same-sex marriage, Southern Baptist leaders said Monday, but now it's up to the church to stand firm on its principles despite what the majority believes. That goes for fighting off pastoral adultery and the urge to look at porn, counseling folks who live together without marriage and speaking out against divorce, too. There weren't doctrinal surprises, but it was frank talk for a group of about 200 pastors from across the U.S. gathering in Nashville for the denomination's first Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission Leadership Summit in more than a decade. It continues through Wednesday. Southern Baptists are the nation's largest Protestant denomination, with 16 million members, and the commission is its public policy and pastoral education arm.
USM to host broadcasters Wednesday
Mass communication professionals from across the state will visit with students from the University of Southern Mississippi's School of Mass Communication and Journalism from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday for Mississippi Association of Broadcasters Day. The event will be held in the Thad Cochran Center on the Hattiesburg campus. MAB professionals will discuss current issues in mass communication with an emphasis on television news, radio entertainment, promotions and media productions.
ABC news anchor Byron Pitts, Nielsen VP to deliver JSU commencement addresses
A national news anchor and a vice president for a global provider of consumer information will address Jackson State University graduates during commencement exercises scheduled May 2-3. ABC News Anchor and Chief National Correspondent Byron Pitts will address undergraduates during the ceremony on May 3. Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, senior vice president of U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement for Nielsen, will give the commencement address at the graduate ceremony on May 2.
Entomologist E.O. Wilson donates awards to U. of Alabama
Perhaps it is predictable that talk on the Monday after the Crimson Tide's spring football scrimmage turned to college football during a ceremony in downtown Tuscaloosa announcing a donation by a prominent University of Alabama alumnus. Though it might seem odd that the gridiron moment renowned entomologist and UA graduate Edward O. Wilson picked to celebrate was Auburn University's last-second return of a missed field goal that derailed dreams of a third consecutive national title for the Crimson Tide. But perhaps it's just the complex perspective to be expected from the professor emeritus at Harvard University and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, one of the world's leading experts on ants, evolution and biodiversity.
Small group of U. of Kentucky students protests plan to privatize dining services
A group of University of Kentucky students are continuing their fight against the administration's decision to outsource the school's dining services. On Monday, about five UK-United Students Against Sweatshops held a protest outside the Administration Building before holding a sit-in at UK President Eli Capilouto's office. UK senior Brock Meade said they are particularly concerned that UK will choose Sodexo, a multi-national food services company that has switched some of its full-time food service workers to part-time status due to the national health care law. UK decided to privatize earlier this year but has not yet picked a vendor.
U. of Georgia police release photo of burglary suspect
University of Georgia police released a photo of a man accused of burglarizing the UGA Bookstore this month. The photo shows the man wearing denim pants, a black hoodie and a red bandana over his face. The bookstore was burglarized on April 5. Police believe the same man also burglarized the Tate Center on the UGA campus on April 10.
Ensembles to premiere U. of Missouri composer Stefan Freund's Civil War oratorio
University of Missouri composer Stefan Freund got hooked on the Civil War when he took American history in high school in Memphis, Tenn. It was about the time Ken Burns' "The Civil War" came out, and Freund said he would go to his girlfriend's house and stay over all day, watching her parents' VHS copies of the series. Decades later, Freund, now an associate professor of composition and music theory at the MU School of Music, has channeled his passionate interest in the Civil War by writing an oratorio, "The War Amongst Families and Neighbors: The Civil War in Missouri." The 90-minute oratorio premieres at 7 p.m. Thursday in Jesse Auditorium. I
College Attainment Rises, but Lumina's 60% Goal Is Now Harder to Reach
The percentage of American adults with a college degree grew 0.7 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to a report on college attainment released on Tuesday by the Lumina Foundation. That small increase means the nation is already behind on the foundation's goal of 60-percent attainment by 2025. This is Lumina's fifth annual report, titled "A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education," to include national and state-by-state figures on college attainment. The report says 39.4 percent of U.S. residents age 25 to 64 held some form of postsecondary education credential in 2012. While this year's report shows an improvement from the previous year, the figure is nearly two percentage points less than what the foundation plotted as a benchmark for this point two years ago.
Student Loans Can Suddenly Come Due When Co-Signers Die, a Report Finds
For students who borrow on the private market to pay for school, the death of a parent can come with an unexpected, added blow, a federal watchdog warns. Even borrowers who have good payment records can face sudden demands for full, early repayment of those loans, and can be forced into default. The problem, described in a report released Tuesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, arises from a little-noticed provision in private loan contracts: If the co-signer dies or files for bankruptcy, the loan holder can demand complete repayment, even if the borrower's record is spotless. If the loan is not repaid, it is declared to be in default, doing damage to a borrower's credit record that can take years to repair.
Obama Administration to Face Hurdles on Vulnerable Programs
President Barack Obama has reshaped the education policy landscape over the past five years by dangling money---much of it in the form of competitive grants---in front of cash-strapped states and districts. But, as his administration enters its twilight years, the future is in doubt for programs that have become brand names in the world of K-12 policy, including Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation, and Promise Neighborhoods. Lawmakers have grown increasingly uninterested in funneling scarce federal dollars to programs closely associated with a president whose popularity and influence are on the wane. It's unclear if those programs will be around after a new administration takes over in 2017. And they could disappear even faster if Republicans gain control of the Senate in the 2014 midterm elections, as some political forecasters expect.
OUR OPINION: Cutting federal school funding not realistic
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "Imagine what the impact would be if 25 percent of the money coming into Mississippi's public schools suddenly disappeared. ...But U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel doesn't believe the federal government should spend any money at all on education. He's said on the campaign trail recently that the U.S. Department of Education is unconstitutional and he'd vote to abolish it. ...The consequences would be devastating, of course. ...This doesn't even speak to the federal funds for education that come to Mississippi's community colleges and universities. McDaniel has been critical of the man he is challenging in the June 3 Republican primary, Sen. Thad Cochran, for channeling federal funds to Mississippi State University, the University of Mississippi and other institutions in the state. The programs those congressionally directed appropriations -- earmarks, in the Capitol nomenclature -- have been significant in keeping Mississippi's higher education system competitive."

Governor's Cup at stake in Pearl tonight
Ten days after playing a decisive third game in an SEC series, Ole Miss and Mississippi State will square off on a neutral field. First pitch at Trustmark Park in the Governor's Cup game is 6:30 p.m. The game does not affect the SEC standings where the two teams are both 10-8 and two games behind West leader Alabama. An odd twist of scheduling gives Ole Miss an advantage in this game, MSU coach John Cohen says. Tonight's game was set before MSU knew it would be playing this week's SEC Thursday TV game against Texas A&M.
Breaking down Mississippi State's potential starters vs. Ole Miss
When John Cohen was asked about his starter for Tuesday's matchup against Ole Miss, the MSU coach responded to the text message with "TBA." The initials have been used quite a bit lately. Cohen listed the Sunday starter for Mississippi State's last two series as "TBA." The midweek matchup against Alcorn State was the same. Tuesday's game holds a little more weight. Not only is it against an in-state rival, but it's the Bulldogs' best opportunity to pick up a quality win for a while. No. 13 Ole Miss represents MSU's last ranked opponent until the season series finale against No. 18 Alabama.
Mississippi State's Vickerson crucial for stretch run
Jake Vickerson may have the most difficult task of any first-year Bulldog. The junior plays behind two shadows. The most obvious is his brother Nick Vickerson, who played at Mississippi State and is now with the Texas Rangers organization. The more recent is Adam Frazier. For the majority of the season Vickerson has been in the leadoff role -- a spot held by Frazier last year. "You gotta know you're here for a reason. You've got to do what got you here," Vickerson said. "I know I'm a good hitter and I say that humbly. But I know I can hit."
Mississippi State makes jump in polls after sweep
Mississippi State baseball's four-game winning streak and recent sweep of Missouri hasn't gone unnoticed. The Bulldogs climbed four spots in the USA TODAY coaches' poll, jumping from just outside the top 25 to No. 22. Mississippi State can make an even bigger impression on the voters this week. The Bulldogs travel to Jackson today to battle rival Ole Miss at Trustmark Park, before hosting Texas A&M, which currently sits at the bottom of the SEC West, two days later.
Source: USM's Tyndall to accept Tennessee job
Southern Miss basketball coach Donnie Tyndall is set to become Tennessee's next head coach, the Hattiesburg American confirmed with a source close to the Volunteers late Monday. CBS Sports' Gary Parrish also reported that Tennessee officially offered Tyndall the job and that he plans to accept. Parrish also reported late Monday that a formal announcement of the deal is expected to be made today. Tyndall signed a four-year contract with Southern Miss in January, worth $500,000 a year.
UT confirms Donnie Tyndall's hiring; news conference set for 2 p.m.
The University of Tennessee has officially announced the hiring of Donnie Tyndall of Southern Miss as the Volunteers' 19th men's basketball coach. Tyndall will be introduced at a 2 p.m. news conference Tuesday at Pratt Pavilion. A source close to the negotiations confirmed to the News Sentinel late Monday night that UT and Tyndall had agreed in principle on a deal that will pay him $1.6 million per year. The length of the deal offered was five years, but a sixth year was on the table and negotiations were taking place between the coach and UT. The hire comes a week into UT athletic director Dave Hart's search.
Slive: League, union advocates have common ground on issues
Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive doesn't think college athletes should have employee status, but believes there is some common ground with the proposal from the five power leagues and a union movement. "I don't believe student-athletes should be employees," Slive said Monday, addressing a Southeast regional meeting of the Associated Press sports editors. "If you put the union issue aside and look at the substance of what's being asked for, you will see that in part, and maybe in great part, that what's being asked for are the same kind of things that the 65 institutions put forth in the vision as early as last fall. I prefer to think about what's the substance of [the] issue rather than the nature of it."
Future of Alabama-Tennessee game and other rivalries up for vote, Slive says
The future of the Alabama-Tennessee football game and other yearly rivalry games is in the hands of university presidents and chancellors and will be decided before the late-May annual Southeastern Conference spring meetings in Destin, Fla. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said the decision on whether to keep the existing eight-game schedule with a permanent cross-division rival or move to a nine-game conference schedule beginning with the 2016 season will be made by a "vote of the institution(s)," before the spring meetings, where conference legislative agendas are usually discussed and voted upon by university presidents and chancellors. If the league does away with permanent cross-division games, Alabama loses its annual game with Tennessee, and Auburn would drop Georgia from its yearly schedule.
Complaint says OCR failed to investigate Title IX sports violations
A complaint filed last week with the U.S. Department of Justice alleges that more than 120 California institutions are failing to provide sufficient athletic opportunities for women -- and that the government office in charge of enforcing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 isn't doing anything about it. The initial mass complaint against 121 public and private California colleges and universities of varying size and athletic competitiveness, filed with the U.S. Education Department Office for Civil Rights' regional San Francisco post, alleged that the programs were failing to address gender disparities in sports participation and opportunities. OCR uses a three-prong test to determine whether a college is in compliance with Title IX.

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