Thursday, May 8, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Bost Extension Center, county office to hold open house events today
Gary Jackson, director of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, considers 1914 the year that MSU and other universities like it became complete. The first piece, he said, was the Morrill Act of 1862 that created land-grant universities like MSU, then known as Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College. The second piece, he said, was the Hatch Act of 1877 that created agricultural experiment stations for each of these universities. But the last piece, he said, was the Smith-Lever Act of 1914 that established those universities' cooperative Extension services.
New book honoring G.V. 'Sonny' Montgomery
The Montgomery Foundation and the Mississippi State University Libraries will make a formal presentation of a new book honoring the life and work of the late U.S. Rep. G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery. The pictorial book, entitled "G.V. 'Sonny' Montgomery: Patriot, Soldier & Statesman," was commissioned by the Montgomery Foundation and produced by the Mississippi State University Libraries. The presentation will be made at 2:30 p.m. Friday at the Phil Hardin Foundation Library on the Mississippi State University-Meridian campus.
MSU Inducts Two Former Administrators to Student Affairs Hall of Honor
Two former Mississippi State University administrators have been inducted into the Robert L. Jones Student Affairs Hall of Honor. Mike White and the late Durward Aiken Senior were formally inducted into the Hall of Honor at the Colvard Student Union Ballroom. Induction into the Hall is reserved for those who have provided distinguished service to MSU's Division of Student Affairs.
Head of World Food Programme to address Mississippi State grads
The head of the United Nations' World Food Programme will address Mississippi State University graduates during ceremonies May 16 and May 17 at Humphrey Coliseum. Erathin Cousin, a native of Chicago, has led the world's largest humanitarian organization since 2012. Before that, she was the U.S. ambassador to three U.S. food and agriculture agencies based in Rome.
Woodpecker beaks divulge shock-absorbing properties
Damage control is in the details. Tiny structures in a woodpecker's beak help the bird hammer furiously without turning its brain to mush. The birds can strike a tree 100 to 300 times a minute, decelerating each time with a jolt around a thousand times stronger than the pull of gravity. The structure of woodpeckers' heads has already inspired designs for shock absorbers. And now Lakiesha Williams and colleagues at Mississippi State University have found damage-control measures in the beak itself, they report May 7 in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
How North Carolina could become a national launchpad for drones
North Carolina could be drone central on a national scale, should the FAA decide to continue the state's "First in Flight" status. Kyle Snyder, director of the NextGen Air Transportation Center at North Carolina State University, confirms he has teamed up with other institutions to answer the FAA's call. That call, specifically, comes in the form of an Unmanned Air Systems Center of Excellence RFP. Snyder, along with officials from places such as Mississippi State University, the University of Alaska and Kansas State, is prepping the paperwork to answer that RFP.
Ranchers pad revenue with 'agritourism'
Klamath Basin landowners gathered at the Yamsi Ranch last week to learn about increasing revenue on their properties without taking away from the existing farming operation. The workshop was held to outline strategies for farmers thinking about incorporating outdoor recreation activities into agriculture business, according to Daryl Jones, the Natural Resources Enterprises coordinator. "We saw a need for it. It's a way for landowners -- mostly farmers and ranchers to find a new form of revenue," said Keely Moxley, a coordinator at the Oregon State University Extension Center, who organized the event. NRE is an extension service program offered from Mississippi State University. OSU and Mississippi State are both land-grant universities.
Wynn is focus of ethics complaint
An Open Meetings Act complaint against Starkville aldermen alleges Ward 2 Alderman Lisa Wynn and other city representatives repeatedly participate in secret meetings and seeks a full state investigation into a pattern that dates to July 1. The city has 14 days upon receipt of the complaint to file its response. The city is believed to have been notified of the complaint Monday. The Mississippi Ethics Commission could dismiss the petition or schedule hearings on the matter. The complaint specifically targets Wynn's comments made during February's Starkville School District Board of Trustees appointment, in which the board ousted 10-year school board veteran and former President Eddie Myles in favor of Juliette Weaver-Reese.
Authorities warn of scams in Starkville area
The Starkville Police Departments asks citizens to be aware of a phone scam in the area. Officials say people have been calling residents and claiming to be with organizations raising money for a law enforcement or charity fund. The Starkville Police Department says it does not solicit funds via phone or email, and citizens should hang up immediately if called. Authorities have had reports of other scams in the area involving sweepstakes, prizes and raising money for storm victims.
Southern Gaming Summit reflects energy in South Mississippi casino market
Ribbon-cuttings and announcements of new casino amenities in South Mississippi are happening monthly and sometimes weekly, and state Rep. Richard Bennett said at Wednesday's Southern Gaming Summit, "We just don't see it slowing down." The energy created by the new hotels, restaurants and swimming pools is a good sign, said Bennett, R-Long Beach. But he's also looking to the future. The committee he assigned the task of collecting the facts about Internet gambling and sports betting for Mississippi met for the first time this week.
No problems expected in tornado session
House Appropriations Chairman Herb Frierson, R-Poplarville, said he expects little, if any, controversy today when the Legislature meets in special session to consider increasing the spending authority for the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency by $20 million. Gov. Phil Bryant said he called the special session, which starts at 1 p.m. today, to ensure MEMA has the funds to pay for costs associated with the response and recovery from the tornadoes that ravaged the state on April 28. Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, whose legislative district includes Smithville in Monroe County that was devastated by a 2011 tornado and parts of Tupelo, said the special session also could have symbolic value. He said people want "the comfort" of knowing their government is responding and will continue to do so.
Special session will focus on tornado spending
Gov. Phil Bryant and top lawmakers say the state has the cash to cover tornado recovery spending in Thursday's special session, but changes in disaster budgeting would make the expense and headache of a special session unnecessary. But lawmakers are reluctant to allow the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency to tap into state bank accounts without legislative approval after disaster strikes. And they've cut the agency's budget in recent years, although it had ballooned after Hurricane Katrina required unprecedented work and spending for several years.
What do Mississippi taxes cover?
Mississippi ranked second to last in the nation in overall return on investment when it comes to government services for tax dollars, according to a recent study. The study, by finance website, showed Arkansas as the worst in the nation. The state's tax rate rank, meanwhile, was 15th, which may have something to do with the unfavorable return on investment number. "I think a lot of taxpayers think about taxes in kind of a binary mode -- low taxes are good, high taxes are bad," WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou said. "But everything comes at a price."
House Armed Services committee passes defense bill, which includes authorization for 12th LPD ship
The U.S. House Armed Services Committee late Wednesday night passed the fiscal year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes authorization for a 12th amphibious LPD and 2 additional DDG-51 destroyers, both ships that are built at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula. The bill now proceeds to the House floor for a vote. "Our nation's defense programs have been cut enough already," said U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Biloxi. As a member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, Palazzo worked over the past few months to raise awareness of the need for the 12th LPD. The proposal received praise from top Navy and Marine Corps officials and retired Marine Corps generals.
McConnell crushing rebel Senate Conservatives Fund
Mitch McConnell may have neutered the Senate Conservatives Fund. The organization, founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) to defeat or dragoon the GOP's old guard into stauncher conservatism, appears to have been silenced. That's in line with a warning handed down by the Senate minority leader, who told the SCF after it endorsed his primary challenger, Matt Bevin, that the establishment would "crush [it] everywhere." Now, the SCF has gone silent in Kentucky just two weeks ahead of the primary and dropped off the air in Mississippi, where it backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel's June 3 primary against incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R). McDaniel's candidacy has suffered from persistent news reports about controversial comments he made when he was a talk-radio host.
Spring election hopes dim for the tea party movement
The tea party movement's 2014 prospects began to crumble in North Carolina this week, and more trouble appears to be on the way around the country in the next few weeks. The contrast with 2010 and 2012, when tea party hopefuls upset well-known Republican establishment figures, is stark. The establishment is now fighting back hard. The oldest political motivation of all also is hurting tea party candidates this year: a desire to win.
Earmarks divide Republicans
The debate over earmarks is back on Capitol Hill. Three years after earmarks were banned amid public outcry over perceived wasteful spending such as the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," opponents of the practice insist that earmarks could still make a comeback, despite unpopularity among voters. And while the anti-earmark crowd -- which includes President Barack Obama -- urges senators in both parties to sign onto an endorsement of keeping the ban, some Republicans are telling their colleagues that earmarks aren't as evil as they might think. As the latest debate plays out, lawmakers like Sen. Thad Cochran are left in a tough spot. The Mississippi Republican has a proud reputation back home as someone who's always been able to bring home the bacon, and his penchant for delivering money to state projects and Hurricane Katrina recovery is central to his primary battle against insurgent state Sen. Chris McDaniel.
Job search etiquette changing for applicants, bosses
Many potential employees don't follow directions on job postings, are no-shows at interviews and sometimes accept a job only to say at the last minute, they're going to work for somebody else. It's a situation that makes small business owners wonder as they wade through piles of resumes, are many job applicants unskilled, unreliable slackers? Many of the complaints are about younger workers, but human resources consultants say it's an issue across the age spectrum and pay scale. But the problem isn't just a flippant attitude on the part of job applicants. Employers have contributed to a change in job search etiquette.
News Media Join Fight Against FAA Commercial Drone Ban
A drone operator fighting an FAA fine of $10,000 has gotten some very important new friends. Arguing that the FAA's drone ban affects the "public's First Amendment interest in the free flow of information", more than a dozen newspaper and magazine publishers, broadcast and cable television companies, wire services, website operators and nonprofit journalists' associations filed a friend-of-the-court brief this week with the National Transportation Safety Board in a closely watched FAA-case involving commercial operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle or drone.
UPS delivers government drone to random person
The odds of receiving part of a $350,000 government drone in the mail are very slim. But Reddit user Seventy_Seven got just that. He posted images of the contents of a UPS package Monday that contained wings and a control panel. "Did I just get a drone in the mail?" Seventy_Seven wrote. The wrongly delivered box, which was sent to an address in New York, came with a card stating it was the property of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's aircraft operations center in Tampa.
For Many, Farming Is A Labor Of Love, Not A Living
Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture carries out a census of farmers: who they are, and what they are doing on their farms. The agency just released the latest one, and it's a feast for all ag geeks. And here's the very first, most basic piece of new information: There are 2,109,303 farmers in this country. But look a little closer at that number, and you can see that it's not quite what it seems. Most of those farmers are not actually making a living by farming. The census numbers reveal the continuing transformation of American agriculture. The huge number of part-time farmers represents a kind of historical legacy. To a large extent, they are what's left of the days, a century ago, when farmers made up almost a third of the labor force. Meanwhile, though, big farms are getting bigger.
Honors College sophomores pinned during ceremony at Meridian Community College
With smiles, laughs and a just a few tears, the Meridian Community College 2014 Honors College graduates gathered one more time together. These students were the first to comprise the newly-formed Honors College in Fall 2012, and now they are joined by 25 freshmen this year. This time it was in a ceremony held in the Dulaney Room on the MCC campus with parents, faculty, administrators and friends watching as the students were pinned and donned medallions commemorating their achievements. Cathy Parker, director of institutional research and adviser to the group, said, "They have been a vital part of campus."
Commissioners approve bus contract with UGA without changing Prince Ave. route
Athens-Clarke County Commissioners voted to renew the contract between Athens Transit and the University of Georgia without disrupting the shuttle service between the main campus and the Health Sciences Campus on Prince Avenue. The vote came Tuesday after a motion by District 6 Commissioner Jerry NeSmith to table the contract failed. NeSmith wanted the board to have time to consider another option. He suggested they consider allowing the county to take over the route, run its own buses between the two campuses and charge riders without a university bus pass a regular fare. UGA bus drivers don't check identification on that route in the interest of efficiency.
Bobbitt Names Key to University Relations Post for U. of Arkansas System
University of Arkansas System President Donald R. Bobbitt on Wednesday named state Sen. Johnny Key associate vice president for university relations for the UA System. The UA said Key will assist Melissa Rust, vice president for university relations, in coordinating the government relations efforts of the UA's 18 campuses, units and divisions. He will make a salary of $130,000. Key was recently a finalist for the position of vice chancellor for university relations at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The job went to Randy Massanelli, the state director for U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.
U. of Kentucky awarding honorary degree to black student denied admission in 1946
Seven decades ago, Harrison Wilson returned home from World War II with plans to take advantage of the GI Bill and attend the University of Kentucky, his first choice college. A talented student and athlete who had served his country for four years at war, Wilson was nonetheless denied admission. Wilson went instead to Kentucky State University, later becoming a successful basketball coach, administrator and university president. After all these years, UK will award Wilson an honorary doctorate Saturday. Wilson said it will be particularly special, as he will share the day with his grandson, Brandon Wilson, who will be getting his master's degree in history from UK.
Computer scientist, Vietnam vet receiving honorary degrees from Texas A&M
A renowned computer scientist and a Medal of Honor recipient will be welcomed into the Aggie family on Friday. Texas A&M is set to award two men with honorary degrees: Judea Pearl, known internationally for his contributions to artificial intelligence, human reasoning and philosophy of science, and Clarence Sasser, a Vietnam veteran who was awarded the Medal of Honor. "These are very high-level people that have been very successful in their life and will shine brightly on Texas A&M and Texas A&M will, we feel, add prestige to their status around the world," said Jim Woosley, A&M faculty senate speaker-elect.
SID SALTER (OPINION): New book honors life of 'Sonny'
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "It's sad but true that many of the Mississippi State University students who walk past the bronze statue at the southwest corner of the Drill Field on a daily basis have little or no idea who Gillespie V. 'Sonny' Montgomery was or why his imposing visage guards the heart of the campus. But older Mississippians know that perhaps no single individual ever did more to advance the cause of accessibility to higher education and to guarantee the survival of America's volunteer armed forces than did the longtime soldier, businessman, congressman and patriot from Meridian whose ancestors were among the founding fathers of MSU. A new book honoring Montgomery's extraordinary life and work is set to debut later this week."

Bulldogs' Jackson worked his way to high acclaim
Gabe Jackson came a long way from the true freshman who hid Snickers bars inside his pants in case he got hungry at football practice. After starting all 52 games of his career at Mississippi State and being the only player in the program's history to start four bowl games, Jackson is ready for the next step. The 6-foot-4, 336-pounder is rated the top offensive guard in the NFL Draft by and is anxiously awaiting the phone call to find out his future destination. "It's like a dream," Jackson said. "I never really thought this could be a reality. You always want to dream big and hope for the best but you never know how life's going to go. I'm fortunate that it went a good way for me." Jackson is projected as a second-round selection by ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. after participating in both the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine.
Mississippi State OG Jackson nears lifelong dream of playing in NFL
Gabe Jackson's career follows a weekly calendar. Fridays highlighted his high school career in Liberty. In Starkville at Mississippi State, the guard showcased his talents on Saturday. This weekend, a new destination will be determined with games on a new day -- Sunday. The realization of a dream developed more than a decade ago could be realized tonight as the NFL begins the first round of this year's draft. "Oh man, it's a great feeling," Jackson said.
RICK CLEVELAND (OPINION): Mississippi always had impact on NFL Draft
Mississippi sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes: "One pretty sure thing about this week's NFL Draft where Mississippians are concerned: Mississippi State's Gabe Jackson, the 2013 C Spire Conerly Trophy winner, will be the first player taken from the Magnolia State. And here's one sure thing about this draft and any draft: Mistakes will be made. Future stars will go undrafted or in the late rounds. Some early first rounders will be busts. It happens every year."
Kentucky tops MSU at SEC Softball Tournament
Kentucky used a walk-off single from Nikki Sagermann to claim a 4-3 nine-inning victory against Mississippi State in the opening game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. The Bulldogs trailed 3-0 going to the top of the sixth before freshman Katie Anne Bailey tied the contest with a bases-clearing triple. The loss eliminates the Bulldogs from the tournament. Mississippi State will wait to learn its NCAA Tournament fate until Sunday at 9 p.m. with the NCAA Selection Show. The one-hour show will be broadcast live on ESPNU.
Texas A&M men's basketball team adds former Mississippi State head coach to staff
Former Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury has been chosen to become an assistant for the Texas A&M men's basketball team. A&M head coach Billy Kennedy announced the hire Wednesday, adding Mississippi State's all-time coaching victories leader to the Aggies staff. Stansbury, 54, spent 22 seasons at Mississippi State, including his last 14 as head coach (1999-2012). He compiled a 293-166 record while guiding the Bulldogs to the postseason 11 times, including six NCAA tournament appearances. His 293 wins rank ninth in SEC men's basketball history.
Moreland takes the mound
If there was ever a ray of sunshine in a blowout loss, Mitch Moreland provided it Tuesday night by throwing heat. The former Amory and Mississippi State star plays first base, outfield and designated hitter for the Texas Rangers. He is 4-for-6 as a pinch hitter. After Tuesday, add pitcher to that. Down 12-1 in the eighth inning at Colorado, Moreland happily -- and admittedly a bit nervously -- trotted out to the mound. "A little anxious, but not what I ...I thought I would be really nervous," Moreland said.

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