Tuesday, May 13, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
MSU Hands Out Faculty Honors
Meghan Millea, Mississippi State professor of finance and economics, recently was named a John Grisham Master Teacher during the university's 2014 Faculty Awards and Recognition Program. Awarded for excellence in teaching, master teachers also serve as role models and mentors for their colleagues. Additionally, four departmental faculty in the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, and Bagley College of Engineering, and a staff member in the College of Veterinary Medicine, received awards, which are sponsored by the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President and the MSU Alumni Association.
Results of economic study to be released to public
The results of a comprehensive strategic economic and community development study of the Golden Triangle will be made available to the public Tuesday. The Commercial Dispatch reports William Fruth, president of independent economic research firm POLICOM, presented the report to county and municipal government leaders Monday. He'll hold a public session at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Lyceum building on the Mayhew campus of East Mississippi Community College. Two of Fruth's recommendations involve expansion of the research park at Mississippi State University and a new Center for Manufacturing Technology Excellence at EMCC for industrial training.
Mississippi poultry farmers in need after more than one million birds killed in April 28 tornadoes
Poultry growers are looking for some help after the April 28 tornadoes that caused tremendous damage on farms and the loss of more than a million birds in four Mississippi counties. The Mississippi Board of Animal Health reports more than one million birds were lost. Tom Tabler with the Mississippi State University Extension Service said many poultry growers have significant recovery expenses but no options for income except disaster money. He said some of them may have lost their homes in addition to their poultry houses. "There will not be any quick fixes for these farm families," he said.
MSU Experts Help Shape Path Ahead
Two Mississippi State University administrators are helping shape natural resources education and policy in a recently released national report. Rubin Shmulsky, head of Sustainable Bioproducts, and Bruce Leopold, executive director of the Center for Resolving Human-Wildlife Conflicts were part of a team of 35 scientists who authored "Science, Education, and Outreach Roadmap for Natural Resources." The U.S. Department of Agriculture-sponsored report details six major challenges facing the country in the areas of sustainability, water, climate change, agriculture, energy and education.
Group working to preserve Mississippi's farm legacy
Names like John Deere, Massey Furgeson, Allis Chalmers, International and Ford helped make Northeast Mississippi what it is today. For generations, those brands have plowed their legacy into the muddy Mississippi landscape. Jimmy Whitfield loves to remember his childhood on his family's farm. He recalls it was a simpler time when man and tractor roamed the countryside together in search of survival. "Farming in times past was our way of life in this area," Whitfield says. Now Whitfield and several other tractor enthusiasts want to keep that farming legacy alive. They founded the Tri-State Tractor Club to promote that cause.
Mississippi Hills seeks support for plan
The draft management plan -- also known as the planning framework -- for the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area is available on the National Park Service's PEPC (Planning, Environment and Public Comment) website. Through June 12, the public can review the draft plan and post comments. MHNHA covers 19 full counties and portions of 11 others in the northeastern part of Mississippi, including Alcorn, Attala, Benton, Calhoun, Carroll, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clay, DeSoto, Grenada, Holmes, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee, Lowndes, Marshall, Monroe, Montgomery, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Panola, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tate, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union, Webster, Winston and Yalobusha.
USDA to send final rule on catfish inspections
U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Committee, says he intends to keep pressure on the Obama administration to fully establish a catfish inspection program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Cochran took part in a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing last week regarding implementation of the 2014 farm bill. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack testified that the USDA will be prepared to send a final rule establishing a catfish inspection program to the White House Office of Management and Budget by the end of May.
Volvo to build Byhalia distribution center, creating 250 jobs
The Volvo Group on Monday announced plans to build a 1 million-square-foot distribution center in Byhalia, Miss., that will create 250 jobs. The "state-of-the-art" facility in north Mississippi, which will be finished in the fourth quarter of 2014, will be the "keystone" of Sweden-based Volvo's plans to streamline its North American parts distribution network, according to a release. "In addition to featuring the industry's best logistics technologies and lean processes, we also intend for the new CDC to be energy efficient, by careful and innovative design of the building," said Marcus Avenstam, project manager at Volvo.
Chiquita verifies company considering a move from Gulfport port
Chiquita Brands International is scheduled to let state port officials know by Friday whether the company plans to leave. "They are just not providing me with any information," the port's executive director, Jonathan Daniels, said Monday. Daniels said too much is unknown to discuss the financial ramifications of a Chiquita departure, but the port is looking ahead based on several scenarios. The port, he said, has offered Chiquita an option for a two-year extension under current terms while a $570 million restoration and expansion is completed.
German company to create 366 jobs at Mississippi tannery
German tannery company ISA TanTec will open its first American tannery in Warren County. The company, which currently has tanneries in Vietnam and China, is investing $10.1 million and plans to hire 366 people over five years. ISA TanTec sells leather to shoe makers. The company will locate in the former CalsonicKansei factory in the Ceres Research & Industrial Interplex in eastern Warren County.
Lawmaker: ATV regulation seen as freedom issue
With few exceptions, there isn't much in the way of legal punishment for riding all-terrain vehicles on Mississippi's public roads. "If you catch one, you have to look for other statutes like the helmet requirement," said Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing. Even then, there's no specified penalty. Rushing said nuisance calls related to ATV use pick up this time of year, when longer days and warm weather allow for extended riding periods. Such was the case Sunday night, when Jackson attorney Precious Martin was killed and his 10-year-old injured after Martin lost control of his four-wheeler in Ridgeland's Bridgewater subdivision. State Rep. Robert Johnson, D-Natchez, has for several sessions filed legislation that would have strengthened existing law, including a fine for not wearing a helmet. The last attempt came in 2013. Each time, it has died either in the committee in which it originated or died in the corresponding Senate committee.
In Mississippi, A Tea Party Challenger Takes On A GOP Institution
The Tea Party Express bus tour made a recent swing through Mississippi, stopping on the lush grounds of the state Capitol in Jackson. It's a strategic stop to rally support for a state senator who is giving longtime Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran the re-election battle of his career. The Senate primary here is the latest episode in the national GOP power struggle between establishment forces and Tea Party upstarts. "The conservative movement is starting its life again," challenger Chris McDaniel says to the small crowd gathered under sprawling oaks and magnolias. Cochran has the backing of political titans, including former governor and Republican rainmaker Haley Barbour, and many of the state's top elected officials. "I'm supporting Thad Cochran," says Gov. Phil Bryant. "Sen. Cochran has done more for this state than anyone I know in public service."
Gene Taylor says Steven Palazzo cast three unforgivable votes
Gene Taylor said he's confident voters in South Mississippi will return him to Congress because U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo has made so many mistakes in his 3 1/2 years in office. Taylor said Palazzo voted against flood insurance payments for victims of Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast; voted for the Biggert-Waters overhaul of the flood insurance program; then helped broker a deal to overhaul it that still raises flood insurance rates "18 percent per year forever." "Those were three unforgivable votes on the part of South Mississippi's congressman," Taylor said.
Earmark end-around?: Pork-barrel is out, reviews of military ladder options are in
Army Secretary John McHugh has a lot to occupy his time. But Rep. Daniel Maffei (D-N.Y.) would like to tack another item onto McHugh's to-do list: briefing Congress on the benefits of ladders. Not just any ladders but "lightweight carbon fiber composite ladders." Deep in the phone-book-size budget bill for the Pentagon are two paragraphs, totaling 203 words, that tout the tactical ladders over the more "cumbersome" ones now in use. And it directs the Army secretary to present a review of "commercial ladder options that may reduce weight and provide additional flexibility to soldiers." No lawmaker's name is attached to the language in the defense spending bill, but Maffei's office acknowledged that the congressman was behind it.
FAA, Drones Clash on Rules for Unmanned Aircraft
Across the U.S., drones monitor crops, snap real-estate photographs, inspect roofs, shoot commercials and perform other tasks, according to people in the unmanned aircraft industry. Pilots of those drones are defying seven-year-old restrictions on commercial unmanned aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration, which has said the curbs are needed for public safety. But limited resources and legal complications have led to scattershot enforcement by the agency, emboldening even more drone operators. The FAA plans to propose in November, several years later than initially projected, new rules on how small drones could be used legally for commercial purposes. It could take several more years for the rules to become final.
A 'nightmare becoming reality'? Iran unveils American drone replica
Iran has unveiled its own copy of an American stealth drone it captured in late 2011, claiming to have cracked the "secrets" of the bat-wing craft and added weapons capabilities. On Monday, Fars News Agency reported that while Iran's duplicate of the U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel drone was smaller, it also had a "bombing capability to attack the U.S. warships in any possible battle." The story in Persian was headlined: "America's nightmare has become reality." State television showed footage on Sunday it said was of a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf filmed by an Iranian drone. U.S. officials said Iran was incapable of replicating the drone's sophisticated radar-evading skin and shape, its aerodynamics, and top-of-the-line surveillance equipment, though it might be able to do so with the help of Russia or China.
Lucas Named 2014 Woman of the Year for Education
Frances Lucas, vice president for the Gulf Park campus at the University of Southern Mississippi, was named 2014 Woman of the Year in the Education category by the Mississippi Commission on the Status of Women at the organization's annual spring luncheon, held May 6 in Jackson. Receiving the honor at this year's luncheon, which featured the theme "Harder in Heels," Lucas was selected for the honor because her contributions to the state of Mississippi make her an outstanding woman in the state. Lucas has more than 30 years of executive experience in the field of education.
No marker for civil rights martyr at Jackson State University
Ben Brown was killed on the Jackson State University campus 46 years ago Monday -- but there is still no marker there in his memory. "No one really talks about Ben Brown," said Daphne Chamberlain, who until recently served as director of the Council of Federated Organizations Museum at JSU. He is listed among 40 martyrs on the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Ala. In 2001, a Hinds County grand jury reviewing the case blamed two deceased officers: Jackson police officer Buddy Kane and Mississippi Highway Patrolman Lloyd Jones. The Brown family filed a lawsuit, and the city of Jackson settled for $50,000.
Alabama reaches settlement with Houndstooth Mafia Enterprises in lawsuit over pattern
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the University of Alabama System board of trustees and its president pro tem against a Georgia-based company over use of the houndstooth pattern after the parties reached a settlement. In an order filed Monday, U.S. District Court Judge R. David Proctor dismissed the case, noting the parties had reached a settlement. Details of the settlement were unavailable Monday. The attorney for Houndstooth Mafia Enterprises was unavailable for comment on Monday. Officials with UA did not provide comments by press time. Proctor's order said the court will retain jurisdiction over the matter to enforce the settlement.
LSU names honors dean
LSU has picked Jonathan Earle to serve as its new dean of the Honors College. Earle, who is the director of the University Honors Program at the University of Kansas, will start at LSU on Aug. 15, pending approval from the university's Board of Supervisors. A suburban Washington, D.C.,-native, Earle received a bachelor's degree from Columbia University and a master's degree and doctorate from Princeton University. His background is in history and politics.
TOPS scholarship standards revamp legislation fails in Louisiana Senate
The state Senate rejected legislation Monday night that would have raised the eligibility requirements for TOPS, Louisiana's merit-based college tuition program. But ongoing discussions about the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students signal a desire by some in the Legislature to tighten the program's costs to the state, potentially leaving parents and other assistance programs to take on more of the burden. "There needs to be more efforts to tinker with the TOPS program," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville, who sponsored the bill voted down Monday as well as two others heading to the Senate floor for debate.
UGA student facing felony charge for dorm damage
A University of Georgia student is facing a felony charge for allegedly causing more than $2,000 in damages at Creswell Hall this month. Joel Matthew Larsen, who lives in Creswell Hall, was booked into the Clarke County Jail on Friday on a charge of felony criminal damage to property. UGA police officers responded to the dorm building when a fire alarm was activated there shortly before 5 a.m. on May 3, police said. The alarm was set off by someone discharging a fire extinguisher on the seventh floor and in a stairwell, police said. Officers noticed an odor of burnt marijuana in the kitchen area of the seventh floor, according to police. "It took a substantial effort to clean that up," UGA police Lt. Eric Dellinger said.
Zeeko partners with U. of Florida professor, plans Innovation Square facility
An English company that makes precision polishing machines plans to open a small research facility in Innovation Square to collaborate with a University of Florida engineering professor. Zeeko Ltd. plans to move in, in early summer following renovations to a 1,500-square-foot office at 417 SW Eighth St., the former home of the Florida Division of Blind Services. Arthur Graziano, manager of research and director of the facility, said the office will open with two employees -- himself included -- and fund a UF graduate student to work on a research project. Zeeko plans to add an additional employee after a year and then grow as necessary, he said.
UF researchers create simulators that produce 3-D models for training
Researcher Didier Rajon lifted the top of the printer in a ground-floor laboratory at the University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute and dusted off an unusual item: an ear. Not one made of flesh, but a perfectly formed plaster ear that grew out of software Rajon himself had developed. Rajon and Dr. Frank Bova, the director of the Institute's radiosurgery/biology laboratory, initially developed the technology to create models for plastic surgeons. They've made the ear model for a girl who lost her left ear. They've also made a patch of missing skull for a trauma patient. Most recently, the researchers expanded the models' application as teaching tools.
Preeminence hiring making progress at U. of Florida
The University of Florida is well on its way to hiring at least a quarter of the newly authorized positions under its preeminence program, Provost Joe Glover said during a recent Faculty Senate meeting. UF and Florida State were designated the state's preeminent universities by meeting criteria established by the Legislature last year. That designation came with $15 million a year over five years for each school to hire new faculty and make other investments to increase their national standing -- an amount the Legislature this year raised by an additional $5 million a year. With an additional $3 million authorized by President Bernie Machen, that gives UF $23 million this fiscal year (which ends June 30) to recruit and hire top faculty in targeted fields like big data, nutrition, neurosciences and other fields.
John Diamond Joins U. of Wisconsin System
A newly hired top-level communications director for the University of Wisconsin System was fired last year as University of Arkansas spokesman following a disagreement over that school's handling of an open records request filed by a newspaper. The UW System announced Friday that John Diamond had been selected as interim associate vice president for external relations and strategic communications. Diamond was fired in August 2013 by the University of Arkansas from a similar position for insubordination after a confrontation with his direct supervisor. Diamond has said he was fired because of disagreements over the school's openness and accountability to the public, specifically that a Freedom of Information Act request from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette was being unjustifiably delayed by his supervisor.
Texas A&M faculty senate elects Bob Strawser as 2015 speaker
The Texas A&M faculty senate has elected a new speaker with a focus on shared governance. The senators, in a secret ballot Monday, voted accounting professor Bob Strawser as speaker-elect. The position is elected a year in advance, and Strawser will take over as speaker in 2015. He has served on the A&M faculty senate for more than 25 years and has served as speaker three times. "I think [former A&M president] Bob Gates, when he was president, really used the faculty senate for input and as a sounding board, and I think over the years with the passage of time that's changed and I think we need to emphasize the role of the faculty and students in shared governance," Strawser said.
Protests by Students, Faculty Have Derailed Several Commencement Addresses This Spring
The head of the International Monetary Fund on Monday joined an elite group -- those whose plans to give commencement addresses this graduation season were derailed by student or faculty protests. "There are serious implications for what is going on here; universities are becoming havens of the closed minded," said Anne Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, which says it promotes academic standards and accountability. "What we are beginning to see is a heckler's veto." Rudy Fichtenbaum, president of the American Association of University Professors, defended the rights of students and faculty to protest, petition and otherwise make their voices heard.
Panel Finds Grounds for Impeaching a U. of Texas Regent
A committee of the Texas House of Representatives voted, 7 to 1, on Monday that grounds exist to impeach Wallace L. Hall Jr., the regent who has inundated the University of Texas at Austin with records requests in an apparent bid to unearth information critical of the flagship campus and its president. This is the first time in state history that Texas lawmakers have voted that grounds for impeachment exist for a gubernatorial appointee, State Rep. Carol Alvarado, the committee's co-chair, pointed out. Mr. Hall's critics have accused him of being on a witch hunt to oust the flagship's president, William C. Powers Jr. The regent's voluminous records requests include all of the president's personal and business travel expenses for his entire eight-year presidency.
STEM students fare better when professors don't just lecture, study finds
Scott Freeman and the other scholars behind a new study comparing the efficacy of lectures with more "active" forms of instruction in the science classroom are not aiming low in describing the significance of their findings. Just as the U.S. surgeon general's 1964 report on smoking provided strong evidence linking tobacco use to ill health, Freeman said, the study he and his colleagues published Monday "provides overwhelming evidence that active learning works better than lecture." That may not mean that instructors stop lecturing, he said, "but it shouldn't be about the evidence anymore."

Pitchers highlight finalists for 2014 Ferriss Trophy
Pitchers highlight this year's Ferriss Trophy nominees. Belhaven's Tyler Akins, who carried a double-duty role in the field and on the mound for the Blazers, joins fellow pitchers Ross Mitchell and Jacob Lindgren of Mississippi State, as well as Ole Miss' Chris Ellis as finalists. Rebels' outfielder Auston Bousfield rounded out the nominees. The Ferriss Trophy, which is sponsored by C-Spire, will be presented during a May 19 luncheon at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson. If Lindgren or Mitchell win the Ferriss Trophy, it would be the third straight year a Mississippi State player won the award.
Mississippi State women's golf books return trip to NCAA championships
For the second consecutive season, the Mississippi State women's golf team is heading to the NCAA Championships. "What a team! I am so impressed with the resilience and patience they showed this week," head coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. Posting the best round of the day at 2-under-par 70, All-SEC performer Ally McDonald turned in a 1-under-par 215 final score to earn fourth place at the event.
Bulldogs schedule home-and-home with Florida State
Mississippi State is beefing up its non-conference slate in men's basketball. Head coach Rick Ray announced via Twitter on Monday that the Bulldogs have a home-and-home scheduled with Florida State, to go along with the Oregon State home-and-home series that was revealed last week. MSU will host the Seminoles on Jan. 2 and will make the trek to Tallahassee in the 2015-16 season.
Henderson tweets earn swift rebuke from Ole Miss
Former Ole Miss basketball player Marshall Henderson says ESPN's coverage of Michael Sam becoming the first openly gay player drafted by the NFL was inappropriate and that he is boycotting SportsCenter. Henderson took to Twitter Monday morning using expletives to say that he would not watch the show until the network stopped running the Sam footage. The comments drew a quick and sharp rebuke from Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork, who responded on Twitter saying that he's "extremely disappointed & we do not condone the statements made by our former bball player. We believe in respect & dignity for all." Henderson later sent out a string of tweets that attempted to explain his comments.
The house that Johnny built? That's what one regent wants to name Texas A&M's renovated stadium
Officials from the Texas A&M University System, the 12th Man Foundation and the construction companies heading up the $450 million Kyle Field redevelopment project gathered Monday to offer a resounding promise that everything from the toilets to a new cellphone reception system will be ready when the home football season kicks off Sept. 6 against Lamar University. But Regent Jim Schwertner sidetracked the presentation when he proclaimed that the stadium should be renamed "Kyle Field: The House That Johnny Built." "The last person that we all need to thank, and I'm very serious about this, is Johnny Manziel," Schwertner said after running through a list of accolades for Chancellor John Sharp, the students of Texas A&M and the construction crews. Schwertner, a Texas Tech grad, said it would be up to the students and former students to make the change.
The Problem for Sports Parents: Overspending
When sports psychologist Travis Dorsch set about studying the effect of parental spending on young athletes, he expected to find a positive correlation. After all, recent research suggests that young athletes benefit from parental support. But his study, just completed, found that greater parental spending is associated with lower levels of young-athlete enjoyment and motivation. "When parental sports spending goes up, it increases the likelihood either that the child will feel pressure or that the parent will exert it," says Dr. Dorsch, a Utah State University professor and former professional football player. The study adds to a small but growing body of research suggesting that parents ought to temper their investments in youth athletics. The problem, at root, isn't financial: It is that big expenditures tend to elevate parental expectations.

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