Monday, April 28, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Campus urged to monitor today's weather
The National Weather Service is now predicting a highly volatile weather situation from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. today, with the potential for tornadic activity, hail, wind and heavy rains for all of central and northern Mississippi. This situation could become dangerous quickly. Monitor all available news outlets and take every precaution for safety. If weather sirens sound, seek shelter immediately on the lowest interior level of a building and remain in a safe location. Please monitor for continuing details.
Officials warn of 'potentially catastrophic' weather system
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency officials are asking the public to take weather warnings seriously as a system that killed 17 people overnight in Arkansas makes its way through the state Monday and Tuesday. That weather front is coming through Mississippi Monday afternoon and Monday night, throughout the day Tuesday, and possibly into the morning hours of Wednesday. Officials have compared it to the outbreak of tornadoes that destroyed Smithville almost exactly three years ago, and hit major parts of Tuscaloosa, Ala., shortly thereafter. MEMA Executive Director Robert Latham called the incoming system "potentially catastrophic."
Millions threatened with severe weather after deadly Sunday storms
Parts of the South and Midwest may be in for more severe weather Monday, a day after suspected tornadoes killed at least 16 people in three states, including 10 who died in one devastated Arkansas county "There were cars flipped everywhere, there were people screaming," James Bryant, a Mississippi State University meteorology student, told CNN's "New Day" on Monday after a suspected tornado in Faulkner County, Arkansas. "It was a tough scene."
Mississippi State program promotes entrepreneurs
Charles Parker acquired Rod Sox, a manufacturer of fishing rod protectors, last May. The first thing he did was tell owners of stores who supplied the product that they would not be receiving any new stock for six months. "We gave the stores a heads up and told them we're changing the product," Parker said. In the first quarter of 2014, he sold 850 units of the new and improved spinner and casting rod covers. Their use prevents tangle with other fishing lines for anglers who carry several poles, he said. A 23-year-old Mississippi State University senior majoring in wildlife and fisheries, he is active with Mississippi State University's Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer, which program coordinator Eric Hill said is a two-fold entity tasked first with taking researchers' intellectual property generated at the university and commercializing it. Secondly, it works to create start-up companies out of the technology or through students who develop products in house, Hill said.
Inmates to get training from Mississippi State
Inmates will leave prison with managerial and manufacturing training from the Franklin Furniture Institute at Mississippi State University. Twenty Mississippi Prison Industries Corporation inmate workers at South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Leakesville are enrolled in "The Management and Supervision of Modern Manufacturing" course. The three-hour night class began April 3, and will run for 16 weeks. Fourteen MPIC inmate workers at the Mississippi State Penitentiary have successfully completed the course. The Franklin Furniture Institute uses resources to increase international competitiveness in the furniture industry while enhancing the economic growth of the state and region.
Extension Service centennial celebrates with open house
To celebrate 100 years of the Extension Service in Mississippi, the Lowndes County Extension office hosts an Open House with cake, punch and beverages Thursday, May 8 from 2-5 p.m. at the Lowndes County Extension Office, 318 Seventh St . N. in Columbus. Centennial events include the open house and a tomato growing seminar, beginning at 5:30 p.m. and ending with information on how to enter a tomato growing contest in Lowndes County. "The Mississippi State University Extension Service is committed to providing research-based learning opportunities designed to help Mississippians solve problems, develop skills and build a better future," said Gary Jackson, director of the MSU Extension Service.
Rain delays start for corn crop
The corn yield for the 2014 harvesting season could be struggling to meet growers' hopes this year. According to the MSU Extension Service, rain has affected the crop in major ways. Though rain has delayed much for the crop, there's still a chance the yield will be as impressive as last year's record harvest. Mississippi growers expect to plant 580,000 acres of corn in 2014, down from 860,000 acres planted in 2013.
As gaming taxes lag, town looks for dollars
Changes to the Town of Tunica's water and sewer rates may be on the way as officials consider how to make utilities self sufficient and make up for lost gaming revenue. Hamp Beatty and Dr. Jason Barrett of Mississippi State University presented a water rate study to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen on April 15. Beatty said the town took in $789,649 in water and sewer fees for fiscal year 2013. Debt service affiliated with water and sewer system was $1,214, 499. The town faced a $424,338 cash deficit, which was made up by transfer from the general fund and a beginning cash balance. "It's basically a break even operation," Beatty said.
Bright first to graduate from MSU's dual-degree vet program
Lauren Bright may not consider herself a pioneer, but she has blazed a trail for Mississippi State University veterinary medicine students interested in medical research careers. In 2008, Bright became one of the first two students admitted to the newly combined doctor of veterinary medicine-graduate degree program at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine, in which students earn a DVM and a Ph.D. at the same time. Next month, she will become the program's first graduate, when she receives her DVM degree. She will receive her Ph.D. in spring 2015.
TV, radio winners announced at Mississippi AP contest
The Mississippi Associated Press Broadcasters awards were presented Saturday night in Jackson. The winners in the college category include for Best Radio Feature Story: Mississippi State University, Alyssa Harvey, Teresa Gawrych and Best TV Weathercast: Mississippi State University, Shelby Latino, Renny Vandewege.
Harness track repairs in limbo despite funding approval
Despite Oktibbeha County supervisors approving funding and in-kind services to repair Mississippi Horse Park's harness racing surface and bring the venue up to U.S. Trotting Association standards, park Director Bricklee Miller says officials have not yet approved work at the Mississippi State University-owned facility. The board authorized Mississippi Trotting Association President Eric Tinsey and two of his associates Monday to supervise the repairs, granting him up to $4,000 in funding and pledging in-kind services from the county. Although Tinsey and his associates are not formal engineers, they have experience performing similar jobs across the nation, he told supervisors Monday.
Yokohama construction on schedule despite harsh winter
Given the cold, wet winter just experienced in the area, Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins said it is impressive that construction is still on schedule for both the Yokohama Tire manufacturing plant and connector road to be done at the end of the year. "I was starting to get wary, but we're about to the point with the weather where it's not going to screw us up," Higgins said. "The winter is gone and this is good construction weather." Higgins added that contractors are "bringing in a trailer a week" for temporary offices as different phases of the project are under way.
Hosemann: Voter ID law fair, historic
Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision saying states that in the past had discriminated against minority voters, such as Mississippi, no longer had to have their election changes approved by the federal government. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said he told U.S. Department of Justice officials at the time that he intended to continue to work with them on enacting voter identification. With the June 3 party primaries quickly approaching where the state's newly minted voter identification law will be used for the first time, thus far no one has filed a lawsuit to challenge Mississippi's newly minted law. "Of course, anyone can still sue," Hosemann said recently.
Mississippi's Lone Abortion Clinic Fights To Remain Open
Mississippi's only abortion clinic is fighting to remain open in the face of ever-tightening state regulations. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans hears arguments Monday in a dispute over a state law that requires abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges. The bright pink Jackson Women's Health Organization, located in an art deco section of Jackson minutes from the Mississippi state Capitol, has long been a flashpoint in the abortion debate.
Dems' official outlines policies; education, pay among key topics
Starting with the upcoming Congressional primaries, Mississippi Democratic Party chairman Rickey Cole said he wants to see some common sense restored to the political conversation. "It's time to begin to talk about the bread-and-better issues, the pocketbook issues, things that touch the working people in Mississippi the most," said Cole, who made a recent tour of the state to talk with various media outlets. "We hear a lot of lip-service given to that group or this group or that other group, but the folks I want to talk are neither the have-nots nor the haves. They are the have-tos, folks that have to get up every morning and go to work and make a living." Cole said the Mississippi Democratic Party would be promoting a quartet of what he called "common-sense policies."
Chris McDaniel's Legal Past Becomes an Issue in Mississippi Primary
The Tea Party's most credible challenger of an incumbent this election cycle is now facing stinging criticism from within his own inner circle. Former co-workers of Chris McDaniel, who is taking on longtime Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, are going public with their descriptions of the candidate as "very selfish" and a "pathological narcissist," and questioning his lavish spending on sports tickets and friends while pursuing a lawsuit for a family member. While McDaniel's comments on his radio show have raised eyebrows, his interactions with co-workers during his legal career are now also raising questions about the Senate hopeful's temperament as well.
Gene Taylor says race for South Mississippi congressional seat is a dead heat
Former U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor said the race with incumbent U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, the man who beat Taylor in 2010, is neck and neck. Taylor, who opened his Gulfport campaign office on Washington Avenue on Friday, said Palazzo is below 50 percent in at least one poll. "He's the incumbent," Taylor said. "Everybody knows he's below 50 percent. It's about five weeks out from the election and he's desperate."
Gay Rights Push Shifts Its Focus South and West
The country's leading gay rights groups and donors, after a decade focused on legalizing same-sex marriage, are embarking on a major drive to win more basic civil rights and workplace protections in Southern and Western states where the rapid progress of the movement has largely eluded millions of gay men and lesbians. The effort will shift tens of millions of dollars in the next few years to what advocates described as the final frontier for gay rights: states like Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas and Texas, where Republicans dominate elected office and traditional cultural views on homosexuality still prevail.
Ole Miss gas leak prompts evacuation
Firefighters evacuated dozens of students from a University of Mississippi dormitory on Thursday afternoon after finding high levels of carbon monoxide that responders said would have gone unnoticed if not for a student's store-bought detector. "If she had not had it, it could have been bad, especially overnight when people are sleeping," said Oxford Fire Chief Cary Sallis. The parent of a dorm resident had called Ole Miss after the girl's personal carbon monoxide detector sounded. "We will definitely consider carbon monoxide detectors," said university spokesman Danny Blanton. "The safety of our students is our utmost priority."
Forum at Jackson State focuses on educating youth of color
E.J. Boddy has a hulking frame and a gentle voice. The 18-year-old from Philadelphia, Pa., grew up with a drug-addicted parent and often had to help care for his three younger siblings. He says he was bullied by his peers for being "smart, overweight, just different. I remember getting my teeth knocked out. I remember not being able to walk." Boddy shared his emotional story with hundreds of educators and students from across the country on Thursday during the opening of the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color's eighth annual gathering of leaders at Jackson State University. JSU and the Center for Education Innovation are co-hosting the event sponsored by COSEBOC.
WVUA broadcasts from its new on-campus media center on Monday
WVUA is set to begin is first broadcast from the new Digital Media Center in the University of Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium on Monday. "Parting with our current location is going to be incredibly bittersweet," said longtime WVUA News Anchor Lynn Brooks in a released statement. "We have definitely had some great years here and this has become home, but I look forward to seeing all of the things WVUA News can accomplish in our new state of the art facility." The commercial television station operated by UA's College of Communication and Information Sciences broadcast its last program from its longtime home in Reese Phifer Hall next door to the stadium on Friday night.
Man accused of recording LSU student showering in dorm
Showering alone in a community bathroom at a LSU dormitory Wednesday night, a young woman watched as a tall silhouette passed by her stall and entered the shower next to hers. The college student later told LSU police that the person disappeared into the stall and turned on loud music. After five minutes, the music stopped. The young woman, fully disrobed, then noticed a cellphone suspended near the small gap between the floor and the stall divider. The phone's camera piece pointed straight up at her, and the student believed it was either recording video or snapping pictures of her, she later told a detective. In response, the young woman wrapped herself in a towel and confronted the person --- a tall man with braids in his hair and not a stitch of clothing covering his body. The man was later identified as 27-year-old Mystyr Terry Stewart Jr., a convicted sex offender from Texas.
U. of Arkansas Aims To Start eVersity By 2015
In March, the University of Arkansas board of directors approved UA System President Donald Bobbitt's proposal to create the UA System eVersity, an online-only branch of the state system. The project, given a budget of $7 million to $10 million, will create classes that cater to the state's nontraditional students and will compete with other online-only universities, primarily for-profits like the University of Phoenix. Bobbitt said he hopes to have students enrolling in classes by summer 2015. Michael Moore, the UA system's vice president for academic affairs, was hired in January to oversee the development of the eVersity, Bobbitt said. Arkansas didn't have any other online-only schools to serve as inspiration, but Moore had experience developing a similar program for the University of Texas in Arlington.
Diploma burning planned in protest against ban on undocumented students at UGA
Undocumented immigrant students will gather at noon Monday at the University of Georgia Arch to protest a ban that bars them from the state's top-tier universities. Demonstrators plan to burn high school diplomas and march to the office of UGA President Jere Morehead and demand that he make a statement in support of reversing the 2010 State Board of Regents policy that keeps undocumented immigrants out of institutions like UGA, said Eduardo Samaniego of the Georgia Dreamers Alliance, one of the groups organizing Monday's protest. Samaniego said protestors want to speak directly to Morehead and will commit "civil disobedience" in the president's office if he does not speak with them.
Knox County cop fired immediately after photos show brutal choking of student
Usually, after charges of police brutality, police officials take their time reacting while they follow procedure to determine who did what. But this episode in Knoxville, Tenn., was so extreme and well-documented that the local sheriff fired the officer immediately. Frank Phillips, a Knox County Sheriff's officer, was fired Sunday night after a series of pictures taken by photographer John Messner were published in the Daily Mail in Britain. They showed an officer identified by the Sheriff's Office as Phillips grabbing 21-year-old college student Jarod Dotson around the neck and squeezing him until he fell to his knees. WBIR reports that law enforcement responded to a "disturbance" near the University of Tennessee where a house party with about 800 people had reportedly become unruly and spilled out into the street.
Texas A&M System team gives few details about candidates for president
The Texas A&M University System's commitment to near-absolute secrecy in the search for a president for its flagship has not soothed an administration-weary faculty and staff, but those closest to the hunt say it's going smoothly. The completion date has been pushed back indefinitely to find a replacement for former president R. Bowen Loftin, who stepped down in January. System Chancellor John Sharp indicated when Loftin announced his resignation that he would like to have a replacement by March, but earlier this year backed off that time line. That's because the system administration has an interim leader it's happy with -- Mark Hussey, who was unanimously appointed by the A&M regents after a spat between Sharp and Gov. Rick Perry over who would temporarily take the top spot. The nine-member search committee selected by the system has been conducting airport interviews and already has had a few candidates rebuff A&M's advances, according to a source close to the search committee who requested anonymity.
Students, faculty at U. of Missouri celebrate Gwynn Hall renovations at grand opening ceremony
The University of Missouri College of Human Environmental Sciences is back in its first home: Gwynn Hall. Dean Stephen R. Jorgensen told a crowd of about 50 people at a reopening celebration on Sunday that the hall he calls "this grand old lady" is now brand new and operational after more than a year of renovations. The grand old lady, built in 1920, had serious structural problems and a foundation in need of repairs, Jorgensen said. There were electrical circuit problems and leaks on the roof. Students said the basement used to be moldy and the building sometimes scary. But that was the old Gwynn Hall. Sunday's reopening ceremony was only symbolic, as professors and students have been back at the building since January. The 15-month renovation project started in October 2012 and was completed in December 2013.
Colleges confront an increase in use of heroin by students
Officials at the University of Rochester are discussing a problem that rarely reaches the agendas of campus medical centers or presidents: How do you identify and treat students who are addicted to heroin? Last month's death of freshman Juliette Richard, which her father attributed to a heroin overdose, led President Joel Seligman to issue a "special plea" to students to "please get help" despite campus and national surveys that show less than 1 percent of students use the drug. The college is starting to consider substance-free housing on campus, though administrators have just started to focus on the issue. Like most campuses, Rochester has been focused mostly on abuse of alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs. Now, colleges located in cities with new, well-documented heroin scourges are starting to realize they have a lot of catching up to do.
ALAN TURNER (OPINION): Sen. Cochran visits with Madison County leaders
The Mississippi Business Journal's Alan Turner writes: "On Tuesday, Sen. Thad Cochran spoke to a group of several hundred Madison County business and civic leaders gathered at the Jackson Country Club. Billed as 'Coffee with the Senator,' the event was actually a very nice luncheon... Cochran was introduced by Haley Fisackerly, president and CEO of Entergy Mississippi, who worked on Cochran's staff for several years. He credits his association with Cochran as an important part of his own success. Currently running for his seventh term in the United States Senate, Sen. Cochran touched on some of his key campaign themes in his remarks to the group, including fiscal conservatism, improved infrastructure, a strong national defense and the need to support small businesses who are some of the most important 'job creators.'"
BILL CRAWFORD (OPINION): McDaniel's record at odds with rhetoric
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "Do you favor politicians who vote for earmarks funded with borrowed money? How about those who vote for tax increases? If your answer is 'no' and you want to throw the rascals out, then there won't be many Republicans left in the Mississippi Legislature. Huh? Yep, Republican legislators regularly vote to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in borrowed money for earmarks -- for zoos, museums, cemeteries, colleges and universities, and more. They consistently vote in favor of allowing local tax increases and voted for increased tobacco taxes in 2009 and taxes on hospitals in 2008. Oh, and amongst those Republican legislators who voted for earmarks and tax increases is a state senator named Chris McDaniel."
GEOFF PENDER (OPINION): Plenty of mud between gentleman, respectful challenger
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "For a race where one candidate is nicknamed 'Gentleman' and the other says he respects his opponent and vowed to run a clean race, the GOP primary between Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel has been every bit as ugly and negative as any other big modern campaign. Throw in the never-ending social media stream of mudslinging by 'supporters' -- many of whom are nameless and faceless -- and third-party groups and the Cochran-McDaniel face-off can hold its own in dirt-per capita with most contests nationwide."
SID SALTER (OPINION): Voter ID set to debut in primaries
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is telling everyone he sees about two national awards the state won for its voter ID campaign. Barring a lawsuit, the June 3 primaries in Mississippi will mark the first time the state has required voter identification in a statewide election, putting into practice a policy Mississippi voters approved by 62 percent back in 2012. Hosemann believes that the state has avoided a lawsuit on the implementation of voter ID because his office was proactive in working with the U.S. Justice Department in devising a voter ID process that respected the Constitution and was as fair and accessible as possible. That's a remarkably simply solution."

Mississippi State Bulldogs defense ready for next step
Make no mistake, Dan Mullen is a coach who thinks offense first. In addition to being the head coach at Mississippi State, he fancies himself the quarterbacks coach, sitting in on meetings and delivering pointers during practice. He wants his offense to go places in 2014, and with Dak Prescott, Jameon Lewis and Da'Runnya Wilson in place, he has the tools to see that vision through. But Mullen is also a practical man. He knows that however good his offense is or however good it will be, Mississippi State will rely most heavily on its defense. He acknowledges that the unit, led by defensive coordinator Geoff Collins, is the strength of the program entering a season that promises to be special as both players and coaches are embracing expectations now, rather than playing the familiar role of underdog in the SEC West.
Ole Miss, Mississippi State to add quality non-cons to meet SEC's future scheduling standards
Mississippi State and Ole Miss have some work to do in order to meet the new scheduling obligations set forth by the Southeastern Conference for football. The SEC announced Sunday that the league's schedule will remain at eight games and still include a permanent non-division rival, but added a requirement that schools play an ACC, Big 12, Big Ten or Pac-12 opponent on an annual basis, starting in 2016. "That's fine. There's been a lot of years where we played those kind of teams," Mississippi State athletic director Scott Strickllin said. "That's preferable than playing another SEC school. We'll go out and try to find a game that makes sense for us."
Mississippi takes series with senior day win against Arkansas
A six-run fourth inning propelled Mississippi State to an 8-0 victory in six innings against Arkansas Sunday on Senior Day at the MSU Softball Stadium. Freshman Caroline Seitz picked up two hits as six Bulldogs scored runs and five drove in a run. Three pitchers combined to toss the squad's 14th shutout of the campaign, tied for the third most in a year in program history.
Brinker's triple jump win highlights day two of Penn Relays for Bulldogs
Carrying momentum from top performances on Thursday, Mississippi State track and field continued its success on day two of the 120th Penn Relays, donning another set of top-10 finishes. "Our athletes competed with a purpose today," MSU coach Steve Dudley said. "Now they need to focus and prepare for the last day of competition, because we want to end this meet on a high note. The atmosphere will be electric tomorrow, and we need to match that with an equally electrifying performance." Leading the way for the Bulldogs on Friday was Ebony Brinker, who won the college women's triple jump with a leap of 41-06.00.
LSU's Joe Alleva 'very disappointed' by SEC's schedule decisions
LSU and Florida will remain a yearly date, even if one of them isn't happy about it. The Southeastern Conference will continue to use its current eight-game football scheduling format for the foreseeable future, including the permanent cross-division game. It leaves the Tigers playing their annual game against Florida -- which LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva criticized Sunday night. "I am very disappointed that the leaders of the SEC disregard the competitive advantage that permanent partners award to certain schools. It is definitely an advantage that should not exist in such a great league," Alleva told The Advocate on Sunday night.

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