Friday, May 16, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Twister the dog makes an impact on veterinary student, team
In the wake of the tornado that tore through Louisville on April 28, overwhelmed storm victims had to make tough choices about caring for people, property and pets. But one pet owner found a way to help his dog, ironically named Twister, when a Mississippi State University Extension Service disaster assessment team visited his property. Twister had survived the tornado but had injuries that needed immediate attention. Brandi Karisch, Extension professor in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences and member of a disaster assessment team, said the team found Twister at its last stop for the day on May 1.
Business brief: Keenum receives charitable contribution from Cadence Bank
Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum recently received a charitable contribution from Cadence Bank, which was presented by Jerry Toney, bank president for Mississippi. Cadence Bank is generously supporting the MSU Promise Program, as well as the Department of Finance and Economics in the MSU College of Business, with a multi-year pledge of $150,000 for student scholarships and faculty support, two major university initiatives.
MSU's Durst Gets a Warm Farewell On Campus
Thirty-four years of dedication to education was celebrated on Mississippi State's campus Thursday. Friends and family along with university staff attended a retirement party for Betty "Jo" Hurst at the Mitchell Memorial Library. Durst spent three decades working in the communication department at MSU. Department head Dr. John Forde says Durst and her many contributions to MSU will be remembered.
Barrel racing award goes to Mississippi State employee
A Mississippi State University employee was recently given an award for starting barrel racing competitions. Officials say Bricklee Miller, manager of the Mississippi Horse Park, was the first Mississippi producer to receive as the 2013 National Producer of the Year award. MSU says the award was given for Miller's work in producing the Horse Poor Barrel Racing event as well as hosting the Better Barrel Racing Association Eastern Regional Tour Finale in October. In December, the Mississippi Horse Park received another honor, the Southeastern circuit Justin Best Footing Award from the Women's Professional Rodeo Association.
Day in the Life: MSU Army ROTC
They are from different hometowns. They have individual career goals. When they unite, they are one. They are Army Strong. They are junior cadet class of Mississippi State's ROTC program. Under the guidance of their instructors, they will soon become leaders themselves. This summer, these students will use the skills they've learned so far to compete against other college cadets.
Higgins: 'Good Ole Boy' system is out of business
Golden Triangle Development LINK CEO Joe Max Higgins sternly warned Golden Triangle elected officials to stop pressuring companies for personal favors in job hires Monday. Higgins' comments came at the close of an independent economic development report given to about 35 city and county representatives from the Golden Triangle. As Raj Shaunak, vice president of workforce and community services at East Mississippi Community College, finished his own overview of the school's efforts to train local workers for incoming Yokohama Tire Corporation jobs, Higgins took aim at the elected officials and said companies have already begun complaining about facing pressure to make specific hires as favors. "Guys, this is a teachable moment for you as elected officials," he said to the silent room. "These aren't your jobs to give. These aren't yours to offer."
18 arrested on drug charges in Oktibbeha County
A year-long investigation led to the arrest of 18 Oktibbeha County residents on drug charges Thursday. Oktibbeha County deputies say they seized cocaine, marijuana, firearms, a vehicle and approximately $3000 during the arrests. Of the 18 arrests, 15 were related to the sale or possession of cocaine and three involved the sale or possession of marijuana.
Machinists and aerospace workers vote to strike at Stennis Space Center
As the clock struck one minute past midnight on Friday, dozens of Lockheed Martin Employees held up signs outside Stennis Space Center gates in Hancock County officially announcing they are on strike. The employees, who are a part of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union, are fighting to save their retirement. The protestors said having a pension is a perk all Stennis Space Center employees enjoy, and they will not be the only ones forced to take a gamble with their retirement.
McDaniel, Cochran aide spar on state Capitol steps
State Sen. Chris McDaniel and his U.S. Senate opponent's press spokesman went tit for tat with media on the Capitol steps Thursday, each accusing the other side of lying. McDaniel held a morning press conference in which he voiced support for "grand-scale reforms" being proposed by Utah Sen. Mike Lee. Then he chided Incumbent Republican Sen. Thad Cochran for refusing to debate him and "hiding behind false attack ads." He said Cochran "owes it" to Mississippians and the press to be in state and in public "to defend his liberal record." Cochran campaign spokesman Jordan Russell hung at the periphery of the conference, then blasted McDaniel in rebuttal. "You can pretty much tell he's lying when his mouth moves," Russell said of McDaniel.
McDaniel, Cochran camp exchange harsh words
State Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, reiterated his call Thursday for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran "to come home" and debate him. McDaniel, who is challenging the six-term incumbent in the June 3 Republican primary, said at a Thursday morning news conference outside the state Capitol that Cochran and his supporters are distorting his record in "attack ads." The news conference highlighted the contentiousness of the race. After McDaniel's news conference, Jordan Russell, the Cochran campaign communications director, responded to McDaniel's criticism. "Senator Cochran is not going to debate a liar," Russell said, saying McDaniel was untruthful about his record and Cochran's record "like a trial attorney does."
Senate campaigns of Thad Cochran, Chris McDaniel accuse each other of distortion
Republican primary challenger Chris McDaniel said Thursday that longtime U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran is "one of the biggest spenders in Washington" and is out of touch with Mississippi. Cochran's campaign spokesman, Jordan Russell, attended McDaniel's news conference and responded immediately. Russell said the challenger's statements were "a sign of a desperate campaign." "It's kind of unfortunate, and absurd, really, for him to suggest that somehow Sen. Cochran is not, you know, Mississippi enough," Russell said. Russell also said most of McDaniel's campaign money comes from "out-of-state, phony supporters."
Tea Party upset with Holliday's praise of U.S. Sen. Cochran
Tupelo dentist Ed Holliday says he still supports the principles of the Tea Party and plans to stay active in the group even though members are upset with an opinion piece he wrote in the Daily Journal praising U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. Cochran is being challenged in the June 3 Republican primary by state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Jones County, a Tea Party favorite. Holliday, who writes a monthly point-counter point feature on the Saturday opinion page of the Daily Journal with James Hull, a Tupelo-based political consultant, said he was not endorsing Cochran in the commentary published May 10. He said he was trying to educate people on the good Cochran could do for Mississippi -- especially if Republicans gain control of the Senate and Cochran again serves as Appropriations chairman.
Pro-Cochran PAC silent owner of CD backing loan
The $250,000 loan granted to the Mississippi Conservatives PAC is secured by a certificate of deposit belonging to an unidentified third party, according to the organization's executive director. Brian Perry, the director of the PAC supporting U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, said in an interview with The Clarion-Ledger that Trustmark National Bank granted the loan based on collateral provided through a certificate of deposit, and all appropriate paperwork was filed with the FEC. When asked if the certificate of deposit belonged to the PAC or to someone else, Perry said "someone else." He declined to reveal who owns the certificate of deposit. Perry said there was nothing illegal about the loan. He called the complaint a stunt to help bolster Chris McDaniel, Cochran's GOP primary opponent supported by the Tea Party Patriots.
Democrats not buying rumors of their demise on Mississippi Coast
Democrats know they face some formidable opponents -- chief among them the belief they are all but nonexistent on the Gulf Coast, one of the most conservative congressional districts in the nation. More than 100 Democrats gathered at the Donal Snyder Community Center on Thursday to hear three of their candidates -- Trish Causey and Matt Moore in the District 4 Congressional race and Travis Childers in the U.S. Senate race -- advocate for an increase in the minimum wage, health care coverage for the working poor, women's rights and other issues near and dear to the party. But most of all, they wanted to get the word out that there are Democrats running and that Democrats shouldn't be tempted to vote in Republican primaries in hopes of electing weaker candidates. "Rumors of the demise of Gulf Coast Democrats are greatly exaggerated," said Childers.
Palazzo, Taylor fireworks don't materialize during candidates forum in Gautier
Those who may have come to Thursday night's Republican candidates forum at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College hoping for fireworks between incumbent Steven Palazzo and challenger Gene Taylor came away disappointed. Palazzo, who has spurned Taylor's challenges to debate, spoke first and left quickly, ostensibly for another engagement. Taylor, speaking last amongst the five candidates for U.S. Representative, noted Palazzo abrupt departure. "I thank the (Jackson County) Republican Club for getting Mr. Palazzo here," Taylor said, "because he won't debate us. I'm sorry he's already gone."
Forum in Jackson County spotlights GOP candidates' views
Whoever is elected to represent Mississippi's 4th District in Congress will have a lot of work to do -- balancing the federal budget being top of the list. That's what the five Republican candidates for the office told about 60 people gathered Thursday at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College for a forum sponsored by the Jackson County Republican Club, Jackson County Republican Women and Jackson County Republican Party Executive Committee. In addition to the congressional candidates, the forum heard from two representatives of candidates running for the U.S. Senate -- state Sen. Michael Watson, who spoke for Chris McDaniel, and Joe Cloyd, who spoke for Sen. Thad Cochran.
Vincent hoping to slip into District 4 runoff in South Mississippi
Ron Vincent is pretty sure he's running back in the pack in the Republican primary for the District 4 congressional seat but he says he sees a way he could slip into the runoff. "As I read the tea leaves today, I think (Gene) Taylor is probably out front solidly followed by (Steven) Palazzo and if the election were today, they would probably end up in a runoff," the Hattiesburg Republican told the Sun Herald in an interview Thursday. "My job is to beat Palazzo and it's going to be an uphill battle but I'm not totally out of it -- I still have a few tricks up my sleeve."
Conservatives seek to regain control of Republican agenda
Although many Republicans are optimistic about their chances in this year's elections, some of Washington's leading conservatives gathered Thursday to privately vent frustrations about what kind of party they will be left with after November. The group, alarmed by a resurgence of the GOP establishment in recent primaries and what activists view as a softened message, drafted demands to be shared with senior lawmakers calling on the party to "recommit" to bedrock principles. Thursday's gathering at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner, Va., was coordinated by Reagan-era attorney general Edwin Meese III and former congressman David McIntosh (Ind.) as part of an initiative called the Conservative Action Project.
States, pols in race for cyber jobs
As digital threats grow more dire, it's been a boom time for cybersecurity business -- and spending. That's only triggered something akin to an arms race among cash-hungry regulators. Members of Congress around the country also have sought to drive federal cyber dollars back to their home turfs, according to federal records. "Cyber is one of the few areas that's still a bit of a green field," explained John Slye, advisory research analyst at Deltek. His firm estimated at the end of last year that federal contracted spending would continue to surge -- from $9 billion in the 2013 fiscal year to $11.4 billion by the 2018 fiscal year.
Are Filmmakers Using Drones Illegally? Looks Like It
It is illegal in the U.S. to operate a drone for cash. That's the position of the Federal Aviation Administration -- which is in charge of protecting air space. But at least one industry has decided that it doesn't care and it's going to put drones to work anyway: the film industry. Hollywood wants to use drones. But if you ask for a permit, you'll get denied. So people don't ask and don't tell. "Whatever they're doing is between themselves and their client, and it's more of an underground operation now, I think," says Mark Bolanos, who works on aerial safety for the Los Angeles Police Department.
Websites Throttle FCC Staffers to Protest Gutting of Net Neutrality
People worry that new rules proposed by the Federal Communications Commission will allow internet service providers like Comcast or Time Warner to throttle download speeds for the next YouTube or Netflix. And some are actively pushing back against the FCC through the press and political channels. But that's not the only way to protest the commission's new rules. Various companies and organizations have added code to their websites that kicks in whenever there's a visit from someone who works at the FCC. While everyone else is enjoying these websites at ordinary broadband speeds, this code ensures that FCC staffers view them at dial-up speeds reminiscent of the 1990s.
Apartments slated for leased land on UMMC campus
The University of Mississippi Medical Center will lease 4.4 acres on the north edge of it Jackson campus to a developer who plans to build a 224-unit apartment complex with ground-level stores and offices. The College Board approved the lease Thursday. SKD Development, a consortium led by Jackson developer Stewart Speed, will lease the property on the north side of Lakeland Drive for at least 40 and up to 80 years, paying up to $9.5 million.
Ole Miss student receives $175K teaching fellowship
A University of Mississippi graduate student became the first Mississippian to receive a Knowles Science Teaching Foundation Fellowship worth $175,000. A UM student and Mooreville native, Jessica Fancher Peralta received a bachelor's degree in mathematics education and is a graduate research fellow at the UM Center for Mathematics and Science Education. She will begin her first year of teaching this fall.
Oak Grove team goes to underwater robot event at USM
An Oak Grove High School robotics team has been practicing since early this year for its chance to shine at the National Underwater Robotics Competition on Saturday at the University of Southern Mississippi. Southern Miss President Rodney Bennett is looking forward to the students' arrival. "We are happy to host the SeaPerch program on our campus," he said in a news release. "Our understanding of the role that robotics can play in underwater exploration is vital to our ability to unlock the ways marine and ocean research can improve our individual lives and our communities. I wish the student participants all the best in this competition and as they continue to pursue educational opportunities both in and out of the classroom."
Itawamba Community College, Northeast to collaborate on career classes
Two rival community colleges signed an agreement on Thursday to work together to help high school students in the region. The presidents of Northeast Mississippi Community College and Itawamba Community College signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate in providing classes that would help students in Lee, Pontotoc and Union counties prepare for future careers. The classes will be offered through the Wellspring Center, which is funded by a $50 million endowment from Toyota to enhance education in the three counties that worked together to attract it to the region.
Meridian Community College to graduate all-time record class Friday
An all-time record number of spring term graduates will be awarded their Associate Degrees and certificates when Meridian Community College holds its general commencement exercises at Evangel Temple at 6 p.m. tonight. MCC Dean of Student Services Soraya Welden reported that some 512 students had applied to graduate, marking the first time in its 76-year history that the college has eclipsed 500 honorees for a single commencement program. MCC President Dr. Scott Elliott said he is "elated" that MCC broke the 500-student graduate mark.
Northeast Mississippi Community College has commencement exercises
Northeast Mississippi Community College presented the first of its two-night commencement exercises Thursday in the Bonner Arnold Coliseum on the Booneville campus. In front of a near-capacity crowd, Northeast honored candidates for degrees and certificates from the college's Division of Health Sciences to kick off the college's 66th annual commencement. Northeast will continue its graduation exercises today when the college honors degree and certificate candidates from the divisions of Mathematics and Sciences; Engineering Technology and Occupational Education; Business and Business Technology; Fine Arts; and Humanities and Social/Behavioral Sciences.
LSU graduates hear message of service
U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus encouraged LSU's newest crop of graduates to "do something bigger than yourself" as they head out into the real world. Mabus, the 75th secretary of the Navy and leader of America's Navy and Marine Corps, was the keynote speaker during LSU's main spring commencement ceremony Thursday night at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Individual colleges will have separate events Friday to celebrate their graduates. "At the end of this life, the things that are going to matter are the lives you've touched, the futures you've made brighter, the people you've helped," Mabus told The Advocate of his advice during an interview before the ceremony.
U. of Florida's Graham Center giving students a closer look at public policy
About 50 college students from around the state will converge on the Bob Graham Center at the University of Florida this weekend to take part in the center's first Robert A. Bryan Future of Florida Public Policy Summit. The summit -- to run from Friday through Sunday -- was started by several UF students after they had returned from the Harvard Institute of Politics conference in Cambridge, Mass. These students wanted to create something similar but more focused on Florida, said Sheila Dickison, associate director for academic programs at the Graham Center. "They were very enthusiastic and creative figuring out how to do this," Dickison said.
Texas A&M professor says studying weather on Mars integral to future manned missions
What's the weather like on Mars? Sometimes cloudy with rust-colored skies, Texas A&M associate professor Mark Lemmon says. And the dust -- oh, the dust. Lemmon has spent the last decade working with NASA's Mars Exploration Rover team to measure dust levels in the Martian atmosphere and explain its effects on weather patterns. The data was compiled into a summary article published in April's edition of the space-based research journal Icarus. "The basic idea is that dust is important to Martian climate and weather. It is hard to measure accurately from space, but easier from the rover," Lemmon wrote in an email.
U. of Missouri seeking private sector proposals for child care
The University of Missouri announced Thursday that Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin is requesting proposals from developers interested in building and operating a new child care facility on MU property. Loftin has proposed the university would lease land for the facility at no cost to a private developer, expecting the facility's operator would offer discounted rates to MU students, faculty and staff, a university news release said. MU spokesman Christian Basi said there currently is no set timeline for the process or when the new child care center will be built. "He would like to proceed with this as soon as possible," Basi said.
Monsanto, U. of Missouri partner on leadership program
A new program at the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources this fall will give a few dozen promising doctoral candidate students the chance to learn communication and management skills as they prepare for the next steps of their professional careers. The yearlong program, called "Preparing Tomorrow's Leaders for Science," is set to start with the first class of 15 to 20 students this fall. After hearing from industry leaders that students are leaving their institutions educated but lacking many essential communication tools, program coordinator Loriana Tisher, president of leadership coaching and consulting company BONSAI, decided it was time to act. Tisher decided to bring MU and St. Louis-based Monsanto to the table to discuss a solution, which became the program.
Obama administration unveils $75 million fund to spur higher ed innovation
The Obama administration on Thursday formally unveiled a new program its officials hope will spur innovation, improve college access and completion, and cut student costs. Yes, that's all it aims to do. The First in the World competition, as the administration calls the $75 million effort to which it invited applications in today's Federal Register, will award grants of up to several million dollars to institutions (or consortiums of them) to implement or scale up ideas that might advance President Obama's goal of increasing the proportion of Americans with postsecondary credentials. Up to $20 million of the total will be set aside for colleges that meet the federal definition of "minority-serving institution."
Colleges reach out to Hispanics as enrollment sags
Tennessee, like fellow Appalachian states Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, is home to one of the fastest-growing Hispanic populations in the country, much younger on average than the region's non-Hispanic white and black populations, and with larger families. This hasn't escaped the attention of the region's colleges, most of which have drawn heavily on the area's non-Hispanic white population for their students. But that population is shrinking, said Deborah Santiago, the vice president for policy at Excelencia in Education, a nonprofit agency that advocates for Hispanics in higher education. "It's in their economic self-interest to learn how to attract and retain Latinos," Santiago said.

Road success continues for Bulldogs
Mississippi State's road success continued just across the state line on Thursday night. The 20th-ranked Bulldogs won their ninth consecutive game away from home, claiming a 9-4 victory over No. 19 Alabama. It was MSU's seventh straight SEC road victory as the team improved to 12-7 away from Starkville this season. "I think we come together on the road," said MSU centerfielder C.T. Bradford. "We ride and hang out together. We really get after it, and I think it's showing on the baseball field."
Alabama baseball drops opener to Mississippi State
If Alabama is going to make a run at a Southeastern Conference Championship, it will now have to take the long road to get it. The Crimson Tide fell to Mississippi State 9-4 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium on Thursday, eliminating any chance of earning a first-round bye in next week's SEC Tournament and assuring the Crimson Tide of a single-elimination opening game in Hoover on Tuesday. Mississippi State (34-19, 17-11 SEC) took over in the middle innings, jumping on Alabama starter Geoffrey Bramblett.
Mississippi State softball opens regional play
The Mississippi State softball team, which is enjoying one of the finest seasons in school history, takes on Texas today to open NCAA regional play at Lafayette, La. The teams square off at 3 p.m. MSU is 38-19, the second-best 57-game record in program history. "Pitching is how you win a championship on this level," said MSU coach Vann Stuedeman. "You need a couple of pitchers who can step in the circle, throw strikes and give you a chance to win. We feel blessed to have that kind of staff." MSU has reached the NCAA in each of Stuedeman's three seasons.
Mississippi State's Ally McDonald recognized by Capital One for dual success
For a year of great success on the course and in the classroom, Ally McDonald of the Mississippi State women's golf team was named to the Capital One Academic All-District Women's At-Large Team District 6 on Thursday. "Another honor for Ally [McDonald]," fourth-year head coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. "The dedication she has for balancing academics and athletics is tremendous to be able to have the success she has in both. We are thrilled the College Sports Information Directors of America have recognized her in this way."
Coaches, Not Presidents, Top Public-College Pay List
It's no secret that in more than 40 states the highest-paid public employee isn't the governor or even a university president. It's a public-college football or basketball coach. Coaches' salaries are well documented and are often cited in comparisons with the salaries of student-athletes ($0) or with professors and college presidents (considerably higher). The Chronicle's latest survey on executive compensation at public universities, to be published on Sunday, provides even more information for such comparisons. There's a caveat here, however. Many coaches' salaries are paid---at least in part---by athletic foundations, meaning it's the alumni base and not the tax base that is supporting them. But as public support for public universities has declined, some presidents of the universities also receive a portion of their salaries from private university foundations.
Which Type of University -- Public or Private -- Benefits Most From Athletic Success?
It's no secret that generous donations tend to follow Final Four appearances. After Michigan's basketball squad made it to the 2013 national championship, Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charles T. Munger pledged a $110 million gift to his alma mater. But which type of university -- public or private -- benefits most from athletic success? When Adam G. Walker set about researching that question as part of his doctoral thesis, he hypothesized that sports glory would rain more money on public institutions. Their alumni bases tend to be much larger than those at private schools, after all. And private institutions tend to take more pride in their academic than athletic excellence.

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