Friday, April 25, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
MSU Engineering Students Showcase Senior Projects
Electrical and Computer Engineering students from Mississippi State had a chance to show off the practical side of their studies Thursday. Fourteen teams unveiled their Capstone Design Projects at the Engineering Senior Design Open House. The range of innovations included everything from a Smart/Safe Car Seat, that use both a car's alarm system and a driver's Bluetooth connection to remind parents that their child is still in a car seat. To the Grassinator 1300, a remote controlled lawn mowing system that can be programmed to run on its own. There was even an Internet controlled personal home security drone.
Reeves talks shop with leaders of furniture industry
Mississippi's second-highest elected official believes he knows exactly what the furniture industry needs to be profitable. The Magnolia State can better encourage capital investment through improved education, low taxes and balanced budgets, said Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves at Mississippi State's Furniture Summit. Reeves spent more than half his keynote speech emphasizing the importance of education at all levels -- from kindergarten through 12th-grade, through community college and university, and as part of workforce skills enhancement.
MSU Makes an Instrumental Upgrade
The Department of Music in Mississippi State University's College of Education received an instrumental upgrade. Five Steinway pianos were delivered to the campus this week. The department is joining the "all Steinway Initiative" in order to give their students and faculty access to the best possible equipment. The university purchased one grand piano and four uprights. The purchase was made possible by a gift from the estate of Scarvia Bateman, a 1945 MSU education alumna. The department's goal is to purchase a total of 30 pianos.
Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station recognizes Reddy, Rushing, Yu
The Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station recently honored members of the Mississippi State faculty and staff for outstanding research, service and facility maintenance. Fei Yu, a MAFES scientist and assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, received the 2014 Excellence in Research Award sponsored by Mississippi Land Bank. Yu also received the MAFES Grantsmanship Award for amassing more than $4.5 million in grants. Raja Reddy, research professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, received the Outstanding Scientific Publication Award. Brett Rushing, a research associate in Plant and Soil Sciences, received the Research Staff Award for his outstanding scientific contributions.
Cold, wet weather raising concerns of hay producers
Hay producers need warmer temperatures and drier ground to catch up with production this spring. "Everything is shaping up to be late with all the wet, cool weather we've had," said Charlie Bush, Mississippi State University Extension Service agent in Simpson County. Simpson was one of the counties where some fields flooded after most areas in central Mississippi received between three and 10 inches of rain between April 5 and 7. Bush said producers who experienced flooding from the recent rains could lose what is left of their winter ryegrass pastures.
Mitchell Creates Agritourism Business, Impacts Family Farm
When Jo Lynn Mitchell started an agritourism business to add income to the family farm, she had no idea she would end up proving that people can still farm for a living. Mitchell fell in love with farming as a way of life after marrying her husband Don, and she wanted to introduce farm life to children and adults. In 2006, she planted pumpkins and invited schools and churches to visit for an educational experience on how crops grow. As president of the Mississippi Agritourism Association, Mitchell travels to events throughout the state to share her experiences bringing agritourism to Mitchell Farms. Carolyn Conger, Covington County Extension agent, has known Mitchell for years and has seen her agritourism vision flourish.
Biscuit-maker opening shop in Starkville
On Mother's Day weekend in Starkville a placed called The Biscuit Shop will open. It will be located in a small shotgun house at 600 S. Jackson St., and the doors will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays through Sundays. There will be buttermilk biscuits, as well as a variety: sweet blueberry, sausage, jalapeno cheddar, cranberry orange, cinnamon sugar and others.
Camgian's Gary Butler named to Board of Visitors post for Vanderbilt engineering school
Camgian chairman and CEO Gary Butler has been named vice chair of Vanderbilt University School of Engineering's Board of Visitors. Butler is a 1994 graduate of Vanderbilt University with a master's degree in mechanical engineering. After graduating from Vanderbilt, Butler went on to receive his doctoral degree from the University of Cambridge. In 2006, he founded Starkville-based Camgian Microsystems.
Severe storms forecast to hit Mississippi Sunday
Forecasters are predicting a significant chance of strong tornadoes this weekend across a large part of the nation's mid-section, an outbreak that could stretch from the Great Plains to the Midwest and South. It's been a quiet year for tornadoes so far, but that doesn't mean the placid weather won't take an abrupt turn, forecasters said Thursday. "Our run of relatively quiet weather may be about to come to an end," Bill Bunting, operations chief for the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said. The system is expected to stretch into parts of Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama later Sunday.
Bipartisan bill tests economic development incentives' effectiveness
State Rep. Brad Mayo, an Oxford Republican, and Sen. David Blount, a Jackson Democrat, may be on different sides of the political aisle, but they can agree on a good idea. That idea is legislation to require a regular analysis of the incentives offered to lure economic development projects to the state. The legislation, which was signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant this week, authorizes the University Research Center to analyze the incentives provided by the state and submit a report at the beginning of each new four-year term of the Mississippi Legislature. The House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees will hold a joint hearing to hear the report of the University Research Center, which is the research arm of the Institutions of Higher Learning.
Bond bill expected to be signed by governor
Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to sign the approximately $200 million bond bill passed by the state Legislature. The bill includes $92 million for projects at state universities and colleges, $23 million for projects at communities and junior colleges. It also includes $14 million for two museum projects: The new Civil Rights Museum and the State History Museum under construction in Jackson. The deadline is Friday for the governor to sign the bond bill.
McDaniel promises South Mississippians election-night 'shockwaves'
State Sen. Chris McDaniel promised the crowd gathered for the Tea Party Express rally on the Biloxi Town Green on Thursday "shockwaves will go through the system" when they count the Republican primary ballots. "That's what this is all about," said McDaniel, who faces Sen. Thad Cochran on June 3. "It's always about the people. It is your government, not theirs. They work for you and they've ignored you far too long. And on June 3, we're going to make them listen to you one more time." It was a standard stump speech in McDaniel's campaign against Cochran.
Palazzo wraps up tour of Pine Belt
As part of his recent tour around the Pine Belt, Congressman Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., paid a visit Thursday to the GE Aviation composites factory in Ellisville. Palazzo was given a brief tour of the facility, which will celebrate its first anniversary Wednesday, by Ellisville plant leader Nate Beach during his last stop of the Pine Belt tour. Earlier in the week, Palazzo visited St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church and Wesley Medical Center in Hattiesburg, as well as Pearl River Community College in Poplarville. "(Palazzo) is somebody that GE has worked with on a lot of things, and he's a big supporter of GE," Beach said. "He was here at the grand opening, and he wanted to come back and see all the changes in the facility."
The role issue ads play in political campaigns
Political ads are often flashy and don't hold back on opinions. If you listen closely, many of those lack approval from a candidate. There's a difference in ads from candidates' camps and those that are called issue ads. Liza Looser with the marketing and PR firm Cirlot Agency says the ads are well-calculated. Political author and analyst Jere Nash isn't convinced those ad strategies are worth the large amounts of money. "Voters have sort of gotten wise to them and don't put as much emphasis on the message that's coming in from independent campaigns that they do from messages put out by the candidates," Nash said.
Republican leaders slam controversial Nevada rancher's remarks as racist
Republicans leaders and potential presidential candidates were rapidly distancing themselves Thursday from a controversial Nevada rancher they previously supported after he made racially-insensitive comments about African-Americans and slavery. Rancher Cliven Bundy regarded as a hero by some on the political right for his two-decade standoff with the federal government over illegal grazing of cattle on public land, was being condemned by several of those who had previously hailed him. Fox News host Greta Van Susteren, also criticized Bundy's comments. Fox News has extensively covered Bundy's battle with the federal government's Bureau of Land Management.
VW lawyer: Automaker has deals in place outside Tennessee
Volkswagen warned Tennessee officials during difficult negotiations over incentives to expand the German automaker's lone U.S. plant that the company has already secured offers to build a new SUV elsewhere. Volkswagen attorney Alex Leath said in a Jan. 27 email to the state Department of Economic and Community Development that the Volkswagen board would be presented options to build the new vehicle at the Chattanooga plant and or "alternative sites outside of Tennessee." Tennessee's $300-million incentive offer to expand the plant has been complicated by Republican politicians' opposition to the United Auto Workers campaign to unionize workers there.
UMMC to merge some functions with rehab hospital
The University of Mississippi Medical Center will merge some functions with a neighboring rehabilitation hospital. The College Board approved the agreement with Methodist Rehabilitation Center Thursday. UMMC will close its inpatient rehabilitation unit over the next two years and move it into Methodist's building, hiring some of Methodist's physicians and nurse practitioners as faculty members. Some UMMC employees may shift to Methodist, but no layoffs are expected.
New dean takes over Alcorn State nursing program
Alcorn State's new dean of the school of nursing has only been in Natchez for 60 days, but said it only took one day to realize the importance the university and the program have within the community. Dr. Yolanda Powell-Young took over the nursing program at ASU's Natchez campus after spending 10 years in New Orleans, the majority of which was spent at Dillard University, where she was one of the researchers for a National Institutes of Health-funded exploratory center for health disparities.
East Mississippi Community College says thank you
East Mississippi Community College and their industrial partners are celebrating it's success with a luncheon. "In the end, relationships and partnerships is what's it's all about," said East Mississippi Community College Vice President for Workforce Services Dr. Raj Shaunak. "We're now competing not only with our friends and neighbors in Alabama, Tennessee and Louisiana, but we're competing with people from all over the world," said Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College dives into teaching about aerospace, gambling
At a time when community college enrollment across the nation is trending down, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is getting creative in its efforts at attracting students and teaching them. "What we've done to try to counter that is to look at new markets and do some things differently," said Mary Graham, MGCCC president. "We're excited about what we're doing." On the Jefferson Davis campus in Gulfport, that means teaching something that's never been taught before -- the gambling industry. In Jackson County, it means getting hands-on with developing the area's economy. "Right now, the place that's experiencing a lot of growth is the hospitality industry," said Jonathan Woodward, Jeff Davis campus vice president. Beginning as early as this summer, MGCCC will start a new aerospace and aircraft training package aimed at preparing students for jobs at such employers as Airbus in Mobile.
Bike ride to aid Itawamba Community College scholarships
The Itawamba Community College Foundation will host a bike-riding event to raise money for student scholarships. The "Riding Tanglefoot Trail" event will be May 3, with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. in Pontotoc, where cyclists will begin and end. The event will go from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., with participants going as far as the 50-mile round trip to Houston or as short as they would like. The event will not be a race, but is intended as a fun ride for individuals or families. "We thought this was a great way to get out and get exercise," said Jim Ingram, director of the ICC Foundation.
U. of Kentucky to relax campus alcohol policy; new rules yet to be developed
Sixteen years after the University of Kentucky banned alcohol from on-campus housing, the school will open the door to some legal drinking, President Eli Capilouto announced Thursday. UK will revise its policies to permit alcohol to be served and consumed on campus under certain guidelines and conditions, but those details -- such as whether drinking would be allowed in fraternities or other on-campus housing -- haven't yet been worked out, Capilouto said. His decision follows recommendations made in a new report written by a group of UK, city and community officials who studied the issue, including problems that have occurred with off-campus partying.
U. of Tennessee revisits required dining plans for off-campus students
Five months after the University of Tennessee scrapped a new dining plan that required a buy-in from off-campus students, the university is once again floating a similar proposal. The newest proposal, which would be effective in fall 2015, once again requires students who live off-campus to purchase $300 in "dining dollars," which works like a declining-balance debit account, each semester. The requirement applies to all students taking more than six credit hours and can be fully refunded at the end of the semester if the money is not used. It can also be rolled over to an "All-Star" account, which can be used at restaurants on Cumberland Avenue or for books, supplies, apparel and vending at campus facilities. In its previous incarnation, the proposal allowed for leftover money to roll from the fall semester to the spring semester, but could only transition into a refundable "All-Star" account at the end of the spring semester.
UGA student suffers head wound in alleged fight over chicken
A University of Georgia student was taken to the hospital early Thursday morning with a head injury he claimed to have suffered when beaten by three men during a dispute over some food, Athens-Clarke County police said. The 21-year-old student called 911 at about 3:30 a.m. and told a dispatcher that "he was bleeding from his eyes and ears and that he was beaten up after an argument over chicken," according to police. He claimed to have been struck in the face with a bottle that didn't break. A dispatcher heard people in the background telling the student that they would kill him if he called for help, police said.
LSU researchers discover dark chocolate indigestable
A story in The New York Times Sunday Magazine credits LSU researchers with figuring out the reason people who eat dark chocolate have a lower risk of heart disease. The chocolate is indigestible. "Researchers at Louisiana State reached this conclusion after simulating the human digestive system in glass vessels. One represented the stomach and the small intestine, with their digestive enzymes, and a second reproduced a large-intestine-like environment, with gut microbes from human volunteers.
U. of Florida small animal vet credits pet experience for saving her life
When Dr. Sarah Boston was doing her nightly ritual of rubbing moisturizing cream on her neck a few years ago, she felt something that was new but all too familiar: a 2-centimeter-sized mass. As a veterinary surgical oncologist, Boston works with dogs and cats with cancer for a living. That vocation helped her diagnose her own cancer, of the thyroid, well before Boston's doctors made the diagnosis. Boston, who works for the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital, wrote about her experience with cancer and how being a vet influenced it in a book titled "Lucky Dog: How Being a Veterinarian Saved My Life," published by Anansi Press in Canada.
Lawmakers discuss academic freedom during U. of South Carolina Student Government panel
Politicians and a professor agreed to disagree at a panel on academic freedom hosted by the University of South Carolina Student Government on Thursday evening. The conversation quickly turned to the House's decision to cut $17,142 from USC Upstate for assigning freshmen to read "Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio," an essay book on coming out gay in the South and $52,000 from the College of Charleston for assigning a gay-themed book "Fun Home." USC Professor Augie Grant said he disagrees with some of the books his colleagues assign, however that presents a diversity of thought and ideas.
U. of Missouri faculty, students fight world hunger
Plant science is fundamental to agriculture and global food production. That's why University of Missouri plant science professor Robert Sharp takes a scientific approach in attacking world hunger. Sharp is director of the Interdisciplinary Plant Group, a community of 59 faculty across three academic divisions that provides, promotes and facilitates plant science at MU. A main focus of the group is how root architecture -- how individual roots grow -- can be used to grow more food in depleted soils. "What we are working on is the fundamental mechanisms of how roots grow and adapt to dry soil conditions," Sharp said.

Mississippi State-Texas A&M baseball series opener halted by rain
The Mississippi State offense brought its week-long momentum from Columbia, Mo., through Pearl and to Dudy Noble Field Thursday night. No, it doesn't mean MSU posted a ridiculous amount of runs but with the season long consistency of pitching and defense, four runs in six innings felt like a blowout number. The Bulldogs battered Texas &M early pitching to a 4-1 lead with three innings left to complete where they pounded out six hits and knocked out freshman left-handed pitcher Tyler Stubblefield before he could record an out in the second frame. A weather delay began at 8:35 p.m. and the contest was eventually postponed until 5 p.m. today. The second game of the series will start immediately after Thursday's postponed game concludes.
Rain suspends Bulldogs, Aggies opener
Mississippi State's offensive resurgence from a five-game winning streak carried over into Thursday night's nationally televised contest with Texas A&M. The Bulldogs collected six hits and led the Aggies 4-1 through six innings when a severe thunderstorm forced the tarp to be pulled and the game to be paused at 8:36 p.m. The game was postponed 24-minutes later and will resume at 5 p.m. this afternoon prior to Game 2. The game will start back in the top of the 7th inning.
Weather postpones series opener between Mississippi State, Texas A&M
Mississippi State held a lead heading into the seventh against Texas A&M but inclement weather prevented the Bulldogs from taking game one on Thursday. The game was postponed with MSU leading 4-1 after six innings. It will continue Friday at 5 p.m. The Bulldogs built their lead in the first two innings with three runs in the first and another in the second. Texas A&M needed Mississippi State's help to get out of the first frame. Two of MSU's three outs were attempted sacrifices. The first worked, the second resulted in Demarcus Henderson getting thrown out at the plate.
Mississippi State's Lakat named SEC Freshman of the Year
Fueled by one of the most outstanding rookie campaigns in Mississippi State men's tennis history, Florian Lakat earned SEC Freshman of the Year honors, as well as places on the All-SEC Second and Freshman teams, the conference announced Thursday. The Paris, France, native, who is ranked 60th in the latest ITA National Singles Rankings, becomes the third Bulldog to earn the league's Freshman of the Year honor and the fifth to be named to the All-SEC Freshman Team in school history. Lakat and the rest of the Maroon and White are awaiting word to see where MSU will land in the 2014 NCAA Championship.
Mississippi State not ready to announce Mullen deal yet
Two months after entering into negotiations with coach Dan Mullen, Mississippi State is still not ready to announce a new deal. It's unknown whether a framework of a deal has been reached, but the university has indicated that it is not yet prepared to make the announcement. Multiple sources believe the deal will get done eventually. There doesn't appear to be any tension among the discussions. Mullen has led Mississippi State to four-straight bowl games for the first time in program history. He also boasts a 4-1 record against Ole Miss.
MSU Road Dawgs Tour comes to Biloxi on May 5
The Mississippi State "Road Dawgs Tour" will visit Biloxi on May 5 from 6-8 p.m. at the Hard Rock Cafe's Pool Deck. Football coach Dan Mullen and men's basketball coach Rick Ray will headline this year's tour and conduct autograph sessions. The Egg Bowl trophy will also be there. The Biloxi event is being hosted by the Harrison-Stone County MSU Alumni Chapter. This is the sixth year in a row Biloxi has been selected for the tour.
Two MSU players arrested for robbery, burglary
A former player and current member of the Mississippi State football team have been arrested and charged with robbery and burglary of a dwelling. Charles Siddoway, who just completed his eligibility at MSU and is considered a likely National Football League draft prospect and Jordan Washington, a sophomore defensive lineman were arrested Wednesday by investigators with the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Department. MSU coach Dan Mullen issued a statement Thursday through the team spokesperson confirming Washington has been suspended indefinitely from the football program.
N.C.A.A. Ensures Athletes Will Get All They Can Eat
When the University of Mississippi wanted to improve its athletic performance, Athletic Director Ross Bjork went beyond having the weight room renovated or updating the training facilities. He also drafted plans to build a state-of-the-art cafeteria. Bjork hired a sports nutritionist and a certified chef, and the food budget at the new dining hall nearly tripled to more than $1.3 million annually. The menus included prime rib, made-to-order pasta and an omelet station set up for Ole Miss's athletes. Now, the cafeteria bounty is likely to increase. The Division I board of directors voted Thursday to allow universities to offer unlimited meals and snacks to athletes in addition to the meal plans provided as part of athletes' scholarships.
Autonomy for power conferences, athlete voting rights within reach for Division I governance
A day before Northwestern University football players were set to vote on whether to unionize, the 17 college presidents who run Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association endorsed a plan that would allow the biggest programs to give athletes unprecedented benefits. They include scholarship increases up to the full cost of attendance, more insurance coverage for medical expenses, better academic support, and more money for expenses like travel, all of which could give the 65 programs in Bowl Championship Series conferences more freedom to lure the best recruits, and could raise their spending on athletics. In another significant change, a restructured Division I Board of Directors would include one athlete, an athletics director, a faculty athletic representative and a senior woman administrator, all with voting power.
A Fight to Keep College Athletes From the Pain of Injury Costs
In the sprawling battle to reform the N.C.A.A., medical care for injured athletes has emerged as a key front, a particularly sensitive subject that has become more important with increased awareness about head injuries. "It's the most important thing," said Ramogi Huma, the president of the National College Players Association. "We're talking about taking care of the players." It is unusual for an athlete to lose a scholarship after an injury, but those worst-case scenarios are part of the reason Huma has helped lead a recent push to unionize Northwestern's scholarship football players. Huma's goal is to ensure that current and former athletes never pay out of pocket for sports injuries. Some think a workers' compensation model could fill the gaps.

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