Wednesday, April 30, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
MSU sending personnel, equipment to aid Louisville
Responding to a request for assistance from the town of Louisville, Mississippi State University sent MSU personnel and equipment to help in the clean-up of the neighboring community after it took a direct hit from tornadoes that ravaged central and northern Mississippi in the late afternoon and early evening hours of Monday. MSU Extension Service personnel have also been deployed. MSU President Mark E. Keenum said the MSU personnel were equipped with chain saws, generators, a portable light tower, a truck and trailer, and fuel and maintenance supplies necessary to be "self-sufficient."
Where Tornadoes Are a Known Danger, the One That Hits Home Still Stuns
Ilene Estes sorted through the rubble atop a concrete slab in Louisville, Miss., that used to be her home of 46 years. Like thousands of others in the South whose homes and lives have been devastated by a series of deadly tornadoes this week, she was stunned and weary. Even in parts of the country where tornadoes are commonplace, when they directly hit your street, they are uncommon terrors, their savagery discovered as if for the first time. Those who live in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and other parts of the South prone to violent tornadoes even have a name for the region: Dixie Alley. But in the aftermath of a series of tornadoes throughout the South and Midwest that have left at least 35 people dead and thousands of homes and businesses destroyed since Sunday, the reality has become painfully clear: No one, even in Dixie Alley, gets used to it.
State inmates get specialized training from MSU's Franklin Furniture Institute
Several state inmates will be leaving prison with specialized managerial and manufacturing training from the Franklin Furniture Institute at Mississippi State University. Twenty Mississippi Prison Industries Corp. 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. The manufacturing class has been made possible thanks to a grant from the Mississippi Development Authority.
Delta Council to hear ag official in charge of Farm Bill's implementation
Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden -- the official in charge of leading the government's implementing the new Farm Bill -- will be the keynote speaker for the 79th Annual Meeting of Delta Council May 30 in Cleveland. Harden's talk will be at 10:30 a.m in Delta State University's Bologna Performing Arts Center. Gov. Phil Bryant will introduce Deputy Secretary Harden to the Delta Council audience. The tradition of a fried catfish luncheon will conclude the 79th annual event on the grounds of the Quadrangle on the Delta State campus.
Report: Mississippi congressman sees racism in anti-Obamacare fervor
A Mississippi congressman has accused Republican Gov. Phil Bryant of turning down Obamacare's Medicaid expansion "just because a black man created it," according to a report by BuzzFeed, which posted a YouTube clip of the remarks. The comments by Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson came during an interview he gave over the weekend to a New Nation of Islam radio program, according to BuzzFeed. Thompson adds that much of the Republican opposition to Obamacare is "all about race."
U.S. economy stalls dramatically in first quarter
The U.S. economy stalled during the first three months of the year, according to government data released Wednesday morning, failing to meet even modest expectations for growth that could renew concerns over the sustainability of the recovery. The nation's gross domestic product expanded at a meager 0.1 percent annual rate in the first quarter -- well below forecasts for 1.2 percent growth. The slowdown reflected weaker exports, a decline in business investment and cuts in state and local government spending, among other things. The recovery was propped up by strong consumer spending, driven in part by health-care spending after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The Commerce Department, which releases the data, emphasized that the numbers are preliminary.
Next generation of cyber defenders prepare for expanding battlefield
High profile attacks such as the Target credit card breach, which left more than 70 million cards compromised, and numerous other vulnerabilities have ramped up the demand for high quality cyber defenders. This, in turn, has created a surge of interest in competitions that are recruiting and training the next generation of cyber defenders, one simulated hack at a time. Welcome to the Final Four of the cybersecurity world.
Delta State offers unique therapy for children
"The entire state of Mississippi is considered a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area, which of course includes Bolivar County. There seems to be even fewer clinicians working with children and adolescents. Therefore, having a program which focuses primarily on children and adolescents, particularly in the Mississippi Delta, where services may be limited and demand is high, can be an amazing asset to the community," said Misti Barnes, assistant professor of Delta State University's Division of Counselor Education and Psychology. Delta State has the only Play Therapy Training Institute in the area.
$127.8 million in U. of South Carolina projects headed to state regulators
The University of South Carolina is asking state higher education regulators to approve $127.8 million in new projects, including renovation of five dorms, and construction of a new student health center and a new indoor tennis facility. Work on some projects should start later this year or next year, though much of the construction is slated for 2016 and 2017, including renovating the soon-to-be vacated law school. USC and other state public colleges are putting their construction plans before the S.C. Commission on Higher Education on Thursday. University projects also must win approval from a pair of legislative and state administration budget panels as well as get approval from school trustees.
Graduate assistants at U. of Florida rally outside alumni hall
About 38 University of Florida graduate assistants rallied Tuesday at the Emerson Alumni Hall, carrying reams of grading material and other paperwork to show "how crucial graduate employee labor is in getting grading and research done." They held their grade-in two hours before officers of the Graduate Assistants United met with university labor negotiators over next year's contract. The assistants, who got a 4.4 percent raise last year, are more focused this year on trying to eliminate the fees they have to pay out of their salaries. "We love teaching, and we care about the students," said Kevin Funk, a doctoral candidate in political science and co-president of GAU, which represents more than 4,000 student teachers and researchers. "That is the reason we put up with this."
Feds investigate sex assaults at Vanderbilt University
Federal investigators will examine sexual violence at Vanderbilt University in response to a complaint filed in November by six current and former female students. The Office for Civil Rights within the U.S. Department of Education decided to open a case to look into possible failings in how Vanderbilt responded to sex crimes, a spokesman told The Tennessean on Tuesday. The students charge that women were discouraged from going forward with reports of sexual violence, university staff failed to follow through after incidents, education efforts were lacking and help for victims was not readily available. University officials, who will not be allowed to view the complaint, have vowed to cooperate with federal officials.
UGA, IBM work with farmers on water conservation project
Researchers in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences are teaming up with IBM to work with farmers in Georgia's Lower Flint River Basin to enhance water efficiency. The college and IBM are collaborating with the Flint River Partnership to help farmers make the best irrigation scheduling decisions in order to conserve water, improve crop yields and mitigate the impact of future droughts. The Lower Flint River Basin is one of the most diverse and ecologically rich river systems in the Southeast. The area is also the epicenter of agriculture in Georgia:
Kentucky universities can raise tuition 8 percent
Kentucky's public universities received permission Tuesday to increase tuition as much as 8 percent over the next two years -- potentially hiking yet again the sticker price of a college education. With state funding falling and university expectations rising, the Council on Postsecondary Education decided it had to approve the allowed increase, which applies to in-state undergraduate students for the coming school year. But, it capped the increase at no more than 5 percent in either year.
Texas A&M University System Board of Regents to discuss tuition for universities at meeting
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents will meet on Thursday to consider guaranteed tuition for its universities. The board is set to approve the budget for the system, its universities and its agencies with the exception of Texas A&M, which had its budget set at the previous meeting. The fiscal year 2015 system budget includes state-mandated fixed rate tuition and fees, which are budgeted to increase cumulatively by $68.3 million, or 6 percent, over the previous year. The A&M system's total revenue is projected to decrease by $8.6 million to $3.8 billion and expenditures are projected to increase by $30.3 million, also to $3.8 billion.
U. of Missouri police look for man who allegedly fondled student
University of Missouri police are looking for a man who allegedly fondled a woman Saturday afternoon near Francis Quadrangle. MU police Capt. Brian Weimer identified the man as Khaled Fathy Mahmoud Salem Farag, but he also goes by Khaled Salem. Jesslyn Chew of the MU News Bureau said Farag was a visiting scholar in the Division of Plant Sciences, which is in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. Chew said visiting scholars are not considered employees, thus MU does not conduct criminal background checks on them.
Mizzou Reads program to be discontinued
Mizzou Reads, a summer reading program for incoming students, was discontinued after 10 years due to a lack of faculty and staff participation as freshman enrollment numbers continued to grow. Director of New Student Programs David Rielley said he assumes the amount of faculty and staff volunteers decreased because of how hectic the beginning of the semester can be. He also said some might have stopped volunteering because they felt not enough freshmen were attending their discussions. The discussion leaders were the "heart of the program," Rielley said. In 2004, the program's inaugural year, there were 124 faculty and staff volunteers and an incoming freshman class of 4,668, Rielley said. In 2013, there were approximately 75 volunteers and an incoming freshman class of 6,194.
White House calls on colleges to do more to combat sexual assault
As the White House pushes its campus sexual assault prevention efforts this week, colleges and universities once again find themselves in the crosshairs of an administration that has sought time and again to hold institutions more accountable. That theme of accountability continued Tuesday as Vice President Joe Biden said that it was time for colleges to "step up" their efforts to combat sexual assaults on campus. Victims' advocates on Tuesday largely praised the administration's efforts and said they were grateful for the aggressive policy push on the issue. Colleges and universities reacted far more cautiously.
Virginia Attorney General Opens In-State Tuition to Students Brought to U.S. Illegally
Attorney General Mark R. Herring of Virginia told the state's public colleges and universities on Tuesday that children brought to the United States illegally and raised here, the so-called Dreamers, qualified for in-state tuition. Mr. Herring, a Democrat, issued the legal opinion after Republicans in the General Assembly killed a state Dream Act early this year. It was the second time he acted independently on a controversial policy in his short tenure: In January, days after being sworn in, he refused to defend Virginia against lawsuits challenging its ban on same-sex marriage, a choice that enraged Republican leaders, with some calling for his resignation.
BRIAN PERRY (OPINION): Landrum faces challenge
Consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "In November, Mississippians will cast votes for a number of judicial offices, including all the state's circuit court judges. Typically, incumbent judges face little to no opposition when they seek reelection. Four years ago, only 10 incumbents faced a challenge and only two of those lost (53 total circuit judges were elected and of those there were seven open seats). But this year, one race in Jones County promises to be a political donnybrook. Seeking reelection as the 18th Circuit Court District Judge is the 28-year-incumbent Billy Joe Landrum. He faces four opponents, a reputation for being too friendly in his rulings for trial lawyers and a current and ongoing investigation by the Office of the State Auditor. ...Landrum calls the investigation 'a political witch hunt'..."

Setup Pitch: No. 23 Mississippi State vs. Jacksonville State preview
Mississippi State is coming off a disappointing series loss at home to Texas A&M. The Bulldogs enter the mid-week matchup against Jacksonville State on a two-game losing streak. The good news for MSU is its won eight straight mid-week games. It is 19-1 since the start of last season in non-weekend matchups. Adding to that, the Bulldogs own a perfect 11-0 record against the Gamecocks. There will be some parking restrictions for fans attending tonight's games. The Mississippi Task Force will be parked in the lots behind Humphrey Coliseum and next to the Palmeiro Center. With limited space some fans will be asked to park in the lots on the other side of the Hump off Lakeview Drive.
Rebels, Bulldogs in tennis nationals
The Mississippi State men and both Ole Miss tennis teams are in the field for the NCAA tournaments that begin next week. MSU was assigned to the Austin, Texas, regional and play Louisiana.-Lafayette on Friday, May 9. Host Texas and Marist play in the other first-round match there. ULL is coached by a former MSU standout player, Mark Jeffrey.
Mississippi State women's golf headed to NCAA Central Regional
For the second consecutive season, the Mississippi State women's golf team earned a place in the NCAA Central Regional, the program's first consecutive regional appearances since the 2005 and 2006 seasons. The Bulldogs are headed to Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., as the 11th seed to tee off on May 8-10. The top-8 teams of each of the four NCAA regionals will earn a place in the NCAA Championships on May 20-23 at Tulsa Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.
City spent more than $150,000 on overtime, other expenses during U. of Kentucky's NCAA tourney run
The city of Lexington spent more than $150,000 on police, fire and jail overtime and other costs during the University of Kentucky men's basketball team's NCAA Tournament run. Public Safety Commissioner Clay Mason said Tuesday that it's unlikely that police, fire or the jail will have to ask for additional money to pay for those overtime costs. The city also spent roughly $14,000 replacing damaged or stolen street signs. The city released the final tally of $150,254 on Tuesday. The costs were incurred during the weekends of March 28 to 31 and Final Four weekend, April 5 to 7.
After NBA Bans Owner of LA Clippers, UCLA Rejects His $3-Million Gift
Donald Sterling, you can keep your millions. A little more than an hour after the National Basketball Association issued a lifetime ban on Tuesday against the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers for making racially charged remarks, the University of California at Los Angeles said that it would reject his foundation's $3-million pledge for kidney research. "Mr. Sterling's divisive and hurtful comments demonstrate that he does not share UCLA's core values as a public university that fosters diversity, inclusion, and respect," the university said in a written statement. "For those reasons, UCLA has decided to return Mr. Sterling's initial payment of $425,000 and reject the remainder of a $3-million pledge he recently made to support basic kidney research by the UCLA Division of Nephrology."

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