Monday, May 5, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Teams assess Mississippi agriculture disaster sites
Disaster assessment teams with the Mississippi State University Extension Service are providing "boots on the ground" as agricultural landowners begin the process of recovering from Monday's storms. "These trained teams can assess immediate and long-term needs," said Elmo Collum, a disaster response coordinator with the MSU Extension Service. "They may discover issues that need to be addressed immediately, such as an injured animal, or they may see things that will take weeks of effort, such as fence repair."
MSU Students Earn 'Scholars' Designation
Nineteen Mississippi State seniors are new members of the university's prestigious Society of Scholars in the Arts and Sciences. The honor organization recognizes top university students each semester from all majors who have demonstrated the highest standard of academic excellence, and who also have pursued a broad exposure to courses in the arts, sciences and humanities. Persons selected for the rigorous screening process must have demonstrated a sound foundation in languages, mathematics, sciences, oral and written communication, humanities, and social sciences.
Extension to offer workshop for youth
Trees, trees everywhere and now it is time to name them. The Bolivar County Extension service is hosting a Youth Tree ID workshop. The event is set to take place May 17 at 9 a.m. but the deadline for registration is May 9. Mississippi State University Extension and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will lead a field tour through Dahomey NWR. "The purpose of this workshop is to provide participants with the basic skills used in tree identification. Participants will also be allowed to collect leaves during the workshop," said Extension Forester Brady Self.
Extension Service to celebrate their centennial soon
The Pearl River County office of the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Poplarville provides education and technical assistance to the public thanks to the 1914 Smith-Leaver Act. May 8 will mark the 100th anniversary of the act, which allowed MSU to establish the Extension Service and provide education to counties across the state. The Pearl River County office will be celebrating the Extension Service's centennial with an open house on May 8 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., said MSU Extension Service County Agent Eddie Smith.
9 research revelations for the PR industry
Attending the International Public Relations Research Conference is like looking into the future; the research presented is a glimpse at the PR and measurement developments coming down the pike. A study by John E. Forde of Mississippi State University, Gemma Puglisi of American University, Brad Rawlins of Arkansas State University, Kenneth Plowman of Brigham Young University, and Bill Farrar and Judy VanSlyke Turk of Virginia Commonwealth University surveyed 659 Alumni from five universities about their perspectives on PR. Although PR alumni appreciated their PR degrees, many soon move on to marketing, sales, or other jobs.
Starkville officials interested in annexation study
Starkville aldermen could contract an Oxford-based planning firm, Slaughter and Associates, to begin a preliminary study identifying possible future annexation territory. The board is slated to discuss entering into contract negotiations for the service Tuesday, but city officials tempered the agenda item by calling it a preliminary part of a possible long-term project. ive areas are prime targets for possible inclusion, as they would add increased sales tax receipts, property values and population to Starkville, including MSU's campus, which could add a significant increase to population figures due to on-campus housing. Officials, however, noted census efforts with large universities prove problematic at times, and more study is needed.
Starkville aldermen consider change in alcohol law
Starkville aldermen are expected to discuss scheduling public hearings on lowering the city's alcohol sales restrictions Tuesday, a move that could allow on-premises sales and consumption to more business parcels. Starkville Main Street Association and Convention and Visitors Bureau boards both support the potential change, as well as Ward 5 Alderman Scott Maynard. Due to the physical placement of churches and businesses in the Main Street, Russell Street and Highway 182 corridors, the potential change could unlock new retail opportunities, thereby increasing Starkville's sales tax and 2 percent food and beverage tax receipts as the city continues branding itself as a restaurant destination for out-of-town diners.
Tornadoes' cost to treasury still being calculated
It seems no expense has been spared in dealing with at least 15 tornadoes that ripped through Mississippi last Monday, killing 14, including one in the twister that pummeled Tupelo and Lee County. The National Guard has been called out, and emergency responders have been working overtime to deal with the storms and their aftermath. A portable emergency room was set up, and eventually a portable hospital will be added in Louisville where the Winston County Medical Center suffered significant damage from last Monday's tornadoes. At some point, the bill will come due for the costs of the response and the recovery from Monday's storms. Much of that financial burden will be placed on the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. Gov. Phil Bryant recently said it is too early to determine if an additional appropriation will have to be made by the Legislature to deal with the costs of the storm.
Episcopalians name Ridgeland rector next Mississippi bishop
Mississippi Episcopalians have elected a rector from Ridgeland to become the next bishop of Mississippi. The Very Rev. Brian R. Seage of St. Columb's Episcopal Church was chosen over four other nominees, one from Hattiesburg and the others from North Carolina, Missouri and Denver. If confirmed, he will succeed the Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray III in February, when Gray retires. Seage has been rector of St. Columb's in Ridgeland since 2005. He has been a priest since 1998.
Social media, criminal case debate rages
The Mississippi Supreme Court could have added its voice to the national legal debate over law enforcement's use of emails, cellphones, Facebook and other electronic communications in criminal investigations and prosecutions. It didn't. "This is an ongoing problem with using Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in these proceedings. I think once more prosecutors get attuned to this, they will learn how to use this evidence," said Matt Steffey, a law professor at the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson. Steffey said courts at the highest level in the country are grappling with use of evidence gleaned from social media in criminal cases.
Mississippi-built Fire Scout aircraft on Navy's cutting block
President Barack Obama's proposed 2015 budget drops funding for purchases of the Navy's unmanned, rotary-winged Fire Scout aircraft, which takes off and lands from ships and is being built in Moss Point, Miss., home state of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. Even more ominous for the Fire Scout program, the Navy's five-year plan zeroes out its funding after purchasing the first 40 of them, heightening prospects that it might be among defense systems most endangered in a wave of budget cuts. However, the funding freeze wouldn't affect deliveries of 17 aircraft of an upgraded model that's still being tested with money committed previously.
Cochran banks on voting record in GOP primary
Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, defending his seat more vigorously this year than he's had to in recent memory, sees his four-decade voting record as key to his chances in next month's GOP primary. "He's proud of his record," said Jordan Russell, a spokesman for Cochran's re-election campaign. "He's been a conservative leader for Mississippi for a long time ...That's what he's running on."
McDaniel touts his conservative credentials
A main tack of state Sen. Chris McDaniel's campaign to oust incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in the Republican primary is that Cochran isn't conservative enough, and that his voting and spending record in Washington shows it. But McDaniel has taken return fire for his own, albeit much shorter, voting record in the state Senate, where he's served since 2008. McDaniel is, by most any measure, a conservative state lawmaker, particularly on social issues. But his voting record in other areas, mostly before he started his run for U.S. Senate, has been a mixed bag.
Cochran-McDaniel debate unlikely in Senate primary
A Washington-based anti-tax group is criticizing Sen. Thad Cochran for not debating challenger Chris McDaniel in Mississippi's Republican U.S. Senate primary. Cochran told The Associated Press that he doesn't see the point of debating McDaniel because he believes the challenger is misrepresenting his record in Washington. "I don't know what there is to debate," Cochran told AP after he made a campaign stop April 25 in Batesville. "He obviously is going to criticize my record of service. We disagree on some of the issues. And there are probably some things that we can agree on. But he's obviously, you know, trying to make me look bad by things he's saying about my performance in the Senate."
Cochran faces fresh residency questions
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) is facing fresh attacks from his primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, over his commitment to Mississippi after a report revealed he's listed a Washington, D.C., location as his primary address on numerous official documents. "Anyone who tries to tell you that Thad Cochran doesn't live in Mississippi doesn't know what they're talking about. It's just not true. This is clearly an attempt by Chris McDaniel's desperate, flailing campaign to make an issue of something that's just not an issue," Cochran spokesman Jordan Russell said.
Chris McDaniel hosts campaign event at his Ellisville home
With one month to go until the June 3 Republican primary, Senate candidate Chris McDaniel Saturday held a campaign event on his home turf -- literally. McDaniel hosted dozens of supporters at an informal outdoor event at his home in Ellisville. He said it was important to show that if elected, he'll spend only as much time as necessary in Washington.
Republican Wants to Revive Earmarks -- With Transparency
A Republican appropriator on Friday called for reviving congressional earmarks so lawmakers can use the power of the purse --- but wants it to be transparent. During a wide-ranging interview airing Sunday on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" program, Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota urged a transparent process of congressionally-directed spending, when asked if earmarks should be allowed again in appropriations bills. He said such a practice would provide a better opportunity to slash "pork" and "cut things that should not be funded." The Republican senator's viewpoint is similar to that of some other veterans of the Appropriations panel, including Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill.
Journey of Hope: 3 USM students take part in cross-country ride
When Brentley Wells was rushing a fraternity at the University of Southern Mississippi, he heard tales of a cross-country, fundraising charity trek that some members had made on bicycles that summer. "They were very genuine about what they had been through, their experience," Wells said. "I saw them excited about helping others, and I guess that was the first seed that was planted that just sort of said, 'I want to do that. I want to be a part of that and ride my bike across America and help others while I'm doing it.'" Wells and two fellow brothers in USM's Theta Alpha chapter of Pi Kappa Phi, Preston Bell and Dylan Kennedy, soon will be doing just that.
Myrlie Evers to speak at Alcorn State commencement
Former NAACP Chairman Myrlie Evers will speak to Alcorn State University graduates at the school's 143rd commencement. Alcorn will award 440 bachelor's degrees and 156 master's degrees on Saturday in Lorman. Myrlie Evers may be best remembered as the widow of Medgar Evers, the NAACP state field secretary who was gunned down in his driveway in 1963. But she herself was a voting-registration activist.
Jackson State University graduates more than 1,000
More than 1,000 students are earning degrees from Jackson State University this year. The university held its undergraduate commencement Saturday at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium, with graduates addressed by Byron Pitts, ABC News anchor and chief correspondent. Pitts is urging graduates to use their degrees as an opportunity to change the wider world.
Co-Lin board OKs budget for 2014-15 year
The Copiah-Lincoln Community College board of trustees approved a budget Thursday afternoon for the 2014-2015 fiscal year that includes a tuition increase for area students, which will go into effect this fall. Tuition will go up $100 at the college after board members voted unanimously to approve the increase. The increase is in response to decreased enrollment, a trend that is happening statewide, Dr. Ronnie Nettles, Co-Lin president, said. "At least half the community colleges in the state are raising their tuition anywhere from $90 to $150. This is necessary to keep a balanced budget," he said. Despite decreased enrollment, the total number of AA and AAS degrees awarded to students at Co-Lin continues to go up.
Graduates take time to reflect at Auburn University commencement
Sitting on the Auburn Arena floor Saturday at commencement, Auburn University's newest alumni saw their entire collegiate academic careers flash before their eyes. Dressed in their caps and gowns in the middle of an arena packed with friends and loved ones with nothing to do but reflect on their own achievements, Auburn's newest graduates recounted every step along their respective journeys on the Plains, right up to those steps across the stage Saturday afternoon. At least that's what it was like for Andrea Gonzalez, who graduated summa cum laude with a degree in international business. "It's just really nostalgic," Gonzalez said.
Former hostage Terry Anderson, who will teach at U. of Florida, remains passionate about journalism
Terry Anderson is still settling into his new home in Hidden Village and getting to know the lay of the land in Gainesville. Even in semi-retirement at the age of 66, there is a restless agitation to this once globe-trotting correspondent for The Associated Press. Nearly 50 years after he began his career, Anderson is still plugged in - through his involvement with the Committee to Protect Journalists and by teaching college journalism. Not even spending seven years as a captive of the Shiite Hezbollah in Lebanon could dampen his enthusiasm for his chosen profession. He will teach a course in international journalism at the University of Florida in the fall and possibly another class in the future.
UGA employees want gender identity protections
Faculty members at Georgia's largest university say they want discrimination against employees for gender identity banned more explicitly, on par with race, sex and religion. Supporters acknowledge the change is a small one and doesn't create new protection but said it speaks volumes about the University of Georgia community to current and potential students or faculty. It also brings the Athens campus in line with other universities. "It says we do not discriminate, and we do not put up with discrimination," business management professor Janine Aronson said. A UGA spokeswoman said president Jere Morehead hasn't reviewed the faculty council's recommendation, which calls for making gender identity a specific protected category.
UGA will make it tougher to graduate with honors
Some 40 percent of the University of Georgia's Class of 2014 will graduate on Friday with honors. That's twice the percent of students named honor graduates 15 years ago. UGA students might be smarter today or reaping the benefits of grade inflation, but whatever the reasons, it's going to be a little bit harder in the future for UGA students to get those Latin phrases attached to their diplomas after a recent University Council vote. Acting on a proposal from the council's educational affairs committee, the council adopted tougher cutoffs in a voice vote. UGA isn't the only school where grade inflation has pumped up the number of honor graduates, nor the only one to toughen requirements in recent years.
Morehead touts UGA's biz orientation for development tour
The second Perspective on Progress Tour -- a two-day excursion through the Athens and Oconee County areas for site-selection executives from across the country -- came to a conclusion Friday morning with a talk by University of Georgia President Jere Morehead, who suggested that the future success of UGA leans heavily on continuing economic development within the state. "One of the things I believe our faculty have become conscious of at our institution is understanding that a strong and positive economic picture for the country and the state of Georgia translates into a strong and vibrant University of Georgia," Morehead said during a brunch at the Georgia Museum of Art.
UGA students say elderly lack social media etiquette
More older Americans are jumping onto the social media bandwagon, according to a recent survey. And their younger "friends" aren't too happy about it. Social networking use among people age 50 and older nearly doubled from 2009 to 2010, the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project reports. But according to those who grew up with social media, the older folks have a lot to learn. First, says University of Georgia junior Jacob Maddox, you don't have to comment on everything. Another pet peeve Maddox has is status updates filled with complaining.
Culinary Education Heating Up at Arkansas Colleges
Culinary education in Arkansas' public colleges and universities has boomed in recent years, and educators say they're placing their students in jobs before they even graduate. The institutions are responding to demand from both students and employers with new facilities or plans for new facilities. The hospitality industry, which includes chefs and other kitchen wizards, is a $5.6 billion industry in Arkansas, the Arkansas Hospitality Association says. Interest in culinary arts programs in the state's higher education institutions began to take off around 2007.
Billboards urge Ted Cruz to end controversial testing of pregnant sheep at Texas A&M
Experiments at Texas A&M University in which researchers get pregnant sheep drunk enough to cause brain damage to their offspring has drawn the ire of a Washington, D.C., group, which is also targeting U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit health organization that advocates for alternatives to animal testing, is opposing A&M's practice of getting sheep drunk to examine the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome. University officials have chosen not to answer questions about the practice.
Open-Source Software for College Administrators Reaches 'Tipping Point' After 10 Years
In 2004, when information-technology leaders at Indiana University and the University of Hawaii announced plans to develop a financial-management system for higher education and distribute it free, they met plenty of skepticism. Their open-source-software project---or community-source, as they refer to it---was a complex undertaking, requiring technical and financial collaboration among multiple institutions. And it openly challenged the for-profit vendors. A decade later, that single project at Indiana has grown into the Kuali Foundation, comprising 74 dues-paying member institutions and offering a suite of open-source software products -- in various stages of development -- for higher education.
Duke and U. of North Carolina debate changing names of buildings that honor racists
In the center of Tobacco Road, students are trying to wash away traces of racism and white supremacy on their campuses. Students at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill want to rename an academic building that is currently named after a Reconstruction-era Ku Klux Klan leader. Ten miles away, at Duke University, students want to strip the name off a residence hall named for a state governor who was a vocal white supremacist. The proposals are getting attention from the colleges' top brass. More than ever, colleges are getting in tune with the grimy parts of their roots.
The 'transfer' deficit: Push is on to propel students past community college
With the cost of college rising so fast, community colleges are gaining attention as an affordable route. And with the majority of college-going African-American, Hispanic, and first-generation students attending community colleges, low rates of transfer and bachelor's degree attainment don't bode well for closing achievement gaps, college experts say. Eighty percent of community college students say they want to go on to four-year schools. But only 15 percent earn bachelor's degrees within six years. Model programs are tackling this transfer gap.
High school ag programs flourish as farms dwindle
High school agriculture programs sprouting across the nation's Corn Belt are teaching teenagers, many of them in urban environments, that careers in the field often have nothing to do with cows and plows. The curricula, taking hold as school budgets tighten and the numbers of farms in the U.S. decline, are rich in science and touted as steppingstones for college-bound students considering careers in everything from urban forestry to renewable natural resources and genetic engineering of crops, perhaps for agribusiness giants such as Monsanto, Dow, DuPont and Pioneer.
BILL CRAWFORD (OPINION): Facts from Mississippi LifeTracks
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford of Meridian writes: "The first special report from Mississippi LifeTracks has been published. What, you may be asking, is Mississippi LifeTracks? It's a newly established, robust statewide integrated longitudinal education and workforce data system. Right. So what is it really? It is a data collection and innovative analysis system operated by the National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center (nSPARC) at Mississippi State University that can aggregate data from administrative records that date as far back as 2005 from all education and workforce agencies in the state."
PAUL HAMPTON (OPINION): It's time for Tea -- to go
The Sun Herald's Paul Hampton writes: "It looks increasingly likely the Tea Party will lose the Senate race, the race they must have. I'd like to say, 'It's been nice knowing you,' but it hasn't. A couple of week ago, the party that's not a party bused in its national superstars for a high-noon showdown on the Biloxi Town Green. I've seen bigger and livelier crowds at a yard sale. Seems the shine is off state Sen. Chris McDaniel, the party's only viable candidate. He's behind in the polls, not drawing big crowds and is about to experience the full heft of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's bankroll. He should advise his family to avoid watching television for the next few weeks."

What sweep of Auburn revealed about Mississippi State
Mississippi State finished its series in Auburn with some impressive numbers. The three wins were the first back-to-back sweeps on the road in the conference for MSU since 2003. In its in 12-1 win on Sunday, the Bulldogs piled up 19 hits, the most since last year's Super Regional against Virginia. Most importantly, Mississippi State came out of the series sitting in second in the Southeastern Conference's west division. MSU is one game behind Ole Miss with the way the rest of the conference shuffled out on Sunday. The final two series of the season will paint a much more vivid picture of the 2014 Bulldogs heading into the postseason.
Bulldogs polish off sweep
Mississippi State continued its strong weekend of pitching on Sunday, but the Bulldogs also broke loose at the plate. MSU erupted for a season-high 19 hits in a 12-1 victory over Auburn to complete the series sweep. The Bulldogs (31-18, 14-10 SEC) won the first two games against the Tigers by 3-0 scores. "I really felt good about the kids going into the weekend," MSU coach John Cohen said. "I really love where we are right now. I wish we were playing tomorrow because we are really locked in on the task at hand like we need to be."
Mississippi State blasts Auburn again
After shutting out Auburn in the first two games of the series, Mississippi State blasted a season-high 19 hits for a 12-1 victory on Sunday at Plainsman Park. Ten Bulldogs recorded at least one hit. Matthew Britton led the the team with four RBIs on three hits, and C.T. Bradford and Brett Pirtle had two RBIs apiece. Sophomore Preston Brown (4-1) worked five innings, allowing two hits and walking one. The Bulldogs used eight different pitchers and held the Tigers to 13 hits and one run in the series.
Mississippi State sweeps Auburn
Mississippi State collected a season-high 19 hits and finished a three-game sweep of Auburn with 12-1 victory at Plainsman Park. The Bulldogs broke open a tight game by scoring eight times in the seventh inning. MSU improved to 31-18 overall and 14-10 in league play, while Auburn dropped to 25-23 and 9-15. The Bulldogs enter the final two weeks of the regular season in sole possession of second place in the Western Division, one game out of first place.
Tigers' offensive woes continue as Mississippi State sweeps
Auburn's players broke the postgame huddle in left and started toward their sanctuary beneath the Plainsman Park before stopping short. Fans had gathered down the left-field bleachers awaiting the team's weekly Sunday autograph signing session. There was no hiding for the Tigers on Sunday as Mississippi State delivered an eight-run seventh inning and rocked Auburn, 12-1, in the series finale to complete a SEC series sweep, outscoring the Tigers, 18-1, during the weekend. "It stinks," Auburn senior catcher Blake Austin said simply. "It just sucks, man."
Mississippi State softball earns no. 10 seed for SEC Tournament
The Mississippi State softball team returns to the Southeastern Conference Tournament and will enter this week's event as the No. 10 seed after finishing the regular season with a 38-18 overall record and a 10-14 mark in SEC games. The Bulldogs will play No. 7 seed Kentucky at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field in Columbia, S.C. Wednesday's contest will also be nationally televised on ESPNU.
Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen in Biloxi Monday night as part of 'Road Dawgs' spring tour
Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen visits Biloxi Monday night as part of the school's annual "Road Dawgs" spring tour. Mullen will appear at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino pool deck from 6-8 p.m. Basketball coach Rick Ray will also be in attendance. The group also stops at Southern Oaks in Hattiesburg from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday. Other tour stops include Vicksburg and Greenwood (Tuesday), Huntsville, Ala., and Memphis, Tenn. (Wednesday) and Philadelphia (Thursday).
Bill Battle takes businesslike approach to Alabama's future
There's nothing overly specific in Bill Battle's five- to 10-year vision for the University of Alabama's athletic department. No talk of championships in specific sports, although it's implied. No mentions of win totals, top 10 finishes or sparkling new facilities. When Battle speaks of the future, he sounds like a man with years of experience in the business world -- a man with an understanding of how to balance a multimillion dollar budget -- and one who knows the challenges and opportunities of intercollegiate athletics. Battle, who recently marked his one-year anniversary as UA's director of athletics, speaks in broader terms for the department's future.

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