Friday, May 23, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Friends, MSU leadership honor Wiseman
Amy Tuck first knew Marty Wiseman as her professor when she majored in political science at Mississippi State University. Then, when Tuck became state senator and then lieutenant governor, she said she routinely consulted Wiseman's expertise as director of the John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development. Tuck is now campus services vice president at MSU, and Wiseman is now retired, but she said she would always remember him as a teacher.
MSU recertified as leading cyber security learning center
Federal officials have reaffirmed Mississippi State University as a leading institution for cyber security education and research. "Mississippi State is among an elite group of schools helping the nation meet its need for highly-skilled cyber professionals," said David A. Dampier, a professor of computer science and engineering at the land-grant institution. In addition to Dampier, the MSU team which worked to attain recertification included, from computer science and engineering, Wesley McGrew and Mahalingam Ramkumar; from electrical and computer engineering, Tommy Morris; and from management and information systems, Robert Crossler and Merrill Warkentin.
Mississippi State Recertified as Top Cyber Research Institution
Federal officials have reaffirmed Mississippi State as a leading institution for cyber security education and research. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency have recertified the university as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research. The designation is valid through 2021. The designation comes after extensive work by faculty in the departments of computer science and engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and management and information systems. Earlier this year, the university's cybersecurity courses and degree programs were ranked among the top three institutions in the U.S. for academic excellence and practical relevance in a Hewlett Packard-sponsored survey.
Gautier High School to graduate 214 in ceremony, which features school's first black valedictorian
Gautier High School handed out 214 diplomas as it graduated the class of 2014 at 8 p.m. yesterday. The graduation ceremony took place at the school's stadium. The school's valedictorian, Bianca Thomas, is the daughter Brian and Octavia Thomas. She plans to attend Mississippi State University and major in chemical engineering. Thomas is the school's first ever black valedictorian. "You should never settle for climbing hills, when you are capable of climbing mountains," Thomas told her classmates in her valedictorian speech.
Browning on Business: Golden Triangle to get new barbecue place
Let's start in Starkville, where by the end of summer there will be a new barbecue restaurant and watering hole. The plan is for Two Brothers Bar to open in late July. It will be located in the Cotton District at 103 Rue du Grand Fromage, the former home of Jean's Cafe, which closed in late March. Two Brothers Bar will focus on barbecue -- smoked brisket, smoked pork tenderloin, smoked duck, pulled pork, smoked ribs -- delivered with upscale flavor in a laidback atmosphere, according to Barton Dinkins, the man behind it. A recent Mississippi State University graduate with a bachelors degree in business, Dinkins is 24. He has always been around the food industry.
Six business proposals win at Startup Weekend
All eyes will be on a half-dozen winning ideas to see if the entrepreneurs behind those plans can get their businesses started. Innovate Mississippi held Startup Weekend Jackson May 16-18 at Millsaps College. This was probably the most successful Startup Weekend we've ever hosted," said Tony Jeff, president and CEO of Innovate Mississippi. "All teams from top to bottom made great progress and can no doubt be successful if they continue to work the plans they put in place."
State of the Region: Education chief calls for greater emphasis on pre-K
At the annual gathering of business and community leaders from Northeast Mississippi, the head of the state's school system highlighted the importance of educating the youngest residents. "Early childhood education is critical," State Superintendent of Education Carey Wright said during Thursday's 18th annual State of the Region meeting at the BancorpSouth Conference Center. Wright was among three speakers at the event, which focuses upon the 17-county area of Northeast Mississippi. Tennessee Valley Authority President and CEO Bill Johnson spoke about TVA's role in the region, and Philip Walker of the Walker Collaborative noted the value of cultural heritage tourism.
Heritage tourism contributes to the economy
Heritage tourism -- also called cultural tourism -- has plenty of potential for Northeast Mississippi. Phil Walker of the Walker Collaborative in Nashville has worked with the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area to develop a plan to attract more visitors to the region. The MHNHA covers all of 19 counties and parts of 11 others most in the northeast part of the state. The designated area bordered by Tennessee, Alabama, Interstate 55 and U.S. Highway 14. Heritage tourism, Walker explained, "is a strategy in which a site, community or region pursues historic preservation, tourism and economic development by determining interpretive themes, identifying cultural resources tied to the themes, preserving and enhancing the cultural resources and enhancing tourism 'infrastructure.'"
Connecting the dots: Mayfield, Sager, Mary and McDaniel
Mark Mayfield is an attorney, Madison County Republican Party leader and officer in multiple tea party organizations. Richard Sager is an elementary school physical education teacher and high school soccer coach. And John Mary is a political activist who once co-hosted The Right Side Radio Show with Jack Fairchilds -- and occasionally with Chris McDaniel. The three men found themselves at the center of the Rose Cochran scandal Thursday when they were arrested on conspiracy charges. Sager also faces a charge of tampering with evidence. The McDaniel campaign has continually denied any involvement with the alleged illegal photographing of Cochran by 28-year-old Pearl blogger Clayton Kelly. While all three men arrested Thursday are McDaniel supporters, none of them have any official role with the campaign.
DA says Cochran's primary rival not cleared in nursing home photo case
A top law enforcement official told The Washington Post Thursday night that state Sen. Chris McDaniel and members of his campaign have not been "cleared" in relation to allegations that a Mississippi man entered a nursing home to photograph the bedridden wife of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), McDaniel's opponent in the upcoming Senate GOP primary. When asked whether he is investigating McDaniel and his advisers, Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest said "no persons or persons have been cleared." A local news outlet reported earlier Tuesday that Guest does not believe there is a potential connection to the McDaniel campaign. McDaniel's campaign seized on the report and McDaniel issued a statement. Pushing back on that report and McDaniel's statement, Guest said Thursday evening, "I want it to be clear that the investigation is ongoing."
Is 'ageism' at heart of shocking video against Mississippi senator?
In two hotly contested primaries, age is creeping into the narrative and raising the specter of "ageism" as voters prepare to go to the polls. In Texas, the oldest member of Congress -- Rep. Ralph Hall (R) -- faces a primary challenger 43 years his junior in a runoff next Tuesday, and the issue is starting to bite. In Mississippi, six-term Sen. Thad Cochran (R) is in his mid-70s -- a spring chicken, by the Senate's historical standards -- but he's still fighting his primary opponent's story line that it's time for new (read: younger) blood. What's more, Cochran's opponent, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, is embroiled in a controversy over the actions of a supporter who allegedly photographed Cochran's bedridden wife in her nursing home and posted a video online. Though the photos were of Cochran's wife, the intent of the video was "clearly to make Cochran look like an old man," says Republican strategist Ford O'Connell.
U.S. Case Offers Glimpse Into China's Hacker Army
Many hackers working directly for the Chinese government are men in their 20s and 30s who have been trained at universities run by the People's Liberation Army and are employed by the state in myriad ways. Western cybersecurity experts saw a surge of online espionage attacks on corporations starting in late 2006. Before that, attacks had been aimed mostly at government agencies or contractors. The experts said much of the initial wave of corporate espionage was traced to China, and specifically to the Comment Crew. About a year later, the Beijing Group appeared on the scene.
Mississippi Delta Community College honors oldest alumnus
"I don't feel like I deserve it," said Farno "Bud" Manning as he discussed being honored by Mississippi Delta Community College. Born in 1915, Manning was born and raised in Drew and attended MDCC from 1933-1935, which was Sunflower Junior College at that time. "At that time they were very strict. There was a high school connected to the school and younger students with discipline problems were sent there," said Manning. Despite the administrators being strict, Manning still managed to pull a few pranks during his time there. Debbie Gantz, director of alumni relations at MDCC, said, "Several alumni wanted to honor him because he's been such an active supporter of the school as well as an active member of the alumni association. It's for his dedication and years of service for the alumni association."
U. of Alabama names new dean for School of Social Work
An associate dean at Portland State University has been named the next dean of the University of Alabama School of Social Work. The appointment of Vikki Vandiver, currently the associate dean for academic affairs at the Portland State University School of Social Work, was announced by UA on Thursday. Vandiver, who has been a faculty member at Portland State since 1992, will begin her new role on July 15, according to UA. She will succeed interim Dean Lucinda Roff, who has led the school since 2010 and previously served as dean from 1987-2000.
UGA gets $1M gift to promote alcohol education
The University of Georgia has received $1 million to promote alcohol education on campus. The school says the money will help the University Health Center teach students about responsible decision-making about alcohol and drugs. The gift will support the health center's John Fontaine Jr. Center for Alcohol Awareness and Education, which provides a range of prevention, intervention and recovery support services.
UGA employee wrecks vehicle on campus while under influence of drugs and alcohol
A University of Georgia employee was arrested Wednesday afternoon after he wrecked a university-owned vehicle while driving on campus, UGA police said. Brody Strickland, a UGA Central Receiving employee, was under the influence of both alcohol and drugs, according to police. Officers responded to a report of a UGA vehicle being driven recklessly on East Green Street at about 2 p.m., police said. When officers found the vehicle near the Davison Life Sciences Building, it had been disabled from having struck curbing multiple times, according to police. Officers subsequently determined that Strickland was driving under the influence of pain medication and had been drinking, police said. The medication had not been prescribed to him, police said.
U. of Arkansas System Board Approves Tuition, Fee Increase for Campuses
The University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees approved a tuition and fees increase on Wednesday for its campuses in the 2014-15 academic year. The increases ranged from 3.5 percent at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to 6 percent at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. What the university referred to as "modest tuition and fee increases," will help fund faculty salaries and efforts to improve retention and graduation. Undergraduates at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville will see a 5 percent increase, or $13.03 per credit hour, to $8,209 compared to $7,818 this year. In terms of dollars, the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville students will see the largest increase, $391.
Pushed by Lawmakers, U. of Florida Dives Into Online Education
A little more than a year after Florida lawmakers committed $35-million to the University of Florida to create a reduced-cost, online-only baccalaureate program, university officials say they are taking stock of the inaugural semester while preparing for the second. UF Online began in January with 20 classes. About 565 students completed the first semester -- 95 percent of those enrolled, says W. Andrew McCollough, associate provost for teaching and technology, who oversees the program. All of them were transfer students because operations were not up and running until after the application deadline for first-time students had passed. "The persistence acid test will come when we get a larger number of first-time-in-college kids," Mr. McCollough says.
#UFGrad is a booming success
Social media is here to stay. And so is #UFGrad. "Social media is a thing now," said Bruce Floyd, UF's social media guru. "All the kids are doing it." Floyd's job, with the help of his assistant Sixtine Gurrey, has been to come up with new and more engaging ways each year for the thousands of graduates, parents and others to connect during spring and fall commencement. It's one of the reasons UF doesn't discourage students from taking selfies during commencement., something that many other universities around the country have begun to ban.
U. of Tennessee frat suspended for hazing involving hot sauce
The University of Tennessee has suspended a fraternity after students admitted to hazing, which involved paddling and pouring hot sauce on the pledge's genitals, according to UT documents. Student life officials launched an investigation into the UT chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha after receiving a complaint from a concerned parent. UT officials say the fraternity wasn't supposed to be admitting any more members, but a dozen students were trying to gain entry. Ten students denied the hazing, but two admitted it after initially denying it.
'1 Percent' isn't America's biggest source of inequality; college is
One of the striking stories in the American economy over the last several decades is just how much the incomes of the super-rich have grown, compared to the incomes of everyone else. But what if that the focus on those super-rich -- the top 1 percent of all earners -- has overshadowed a larger, more troubling gap: the widening one between college graduates and workers whose education stopped after high school? That's the argument MIT economist David Autor makes in a brief research paper out Thursday -- that "the growth of skill differentials among the 'other 99 percent' is arguably even more consequential than the rise of the 1% for the welfare of most citizens." In the last 35 years, he calculates, the so-called college premium -- the boost in your paycheck from earning a diploma -- increased by $28,000, adjusted for inflation.
Public Schools Outperform Private Schools, Book Says
The recent publication of a scholarly book has reopened the debate surrounding the academic achievement of public vs. private schools. Public schools achieve the same or better mathematics results as private schools with demographically similar students, concludes The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools, published in November by the University of Chicago Press. The authors are Christopher and Sarah Lubienski, a husband-and-wife team of education professors at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Central to the controversy is their suggestion that vouchers, which provide public funding for private school tuition, are based on the premise that private schools do better -- an assumption that is undercut by the book's overall findings.

Bulldogs come up short in extra innings
Mississippi State's magic finally ran out in the early morning hours of Friday. No. 9 seed Kentucky outlasted the Bulldogs 7-6 in 12 innings to remain in the winner's bracket of the Southeastern Conference Tournament. The Wildcats loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the 12th inning and walked off victorious on a chopper to shortstop by pinch hitter Zach Arnold, ending the four hour, 36-minute affair. "We really competed hard in this marathon game," said MSU coach John Cohen. "It comes down to a couple of plays when you're in these extra-inning deals. I thought we put ourselves in a pretty good position a couple of times but didn't hit situationally the way that we wanted to."
Mississippi State falls to Kentucky in 12 innings
A chopper to shortstop acted as the final punch in a 12-round battle between Mississippi State and Kentucky. When Seth Heck couldn't field the bouncer quick enough, it gave Kentuckya 6-5 win in 12 innings over Mississippi State early Friday morning. Mississippi State plays Florida today at 7 p.m. in Southeastern Conference tournament. The Bulldogs will be playing for their third straight trip to the semifinals.
Mississippi State women's golf moves into top 5 with one round remaining in NCAA Championship
Following a fast start in the third round of the NCAA Championship, the Mississippi State women's golf team moved up three spots on the leaderboard into fifth heading into the final round of the NCAA Championship, while Ally McDonald remains in the top 10. Coach Ginger Brown-Lemm's squad will tee off Friday's final round at 11:20 a.m. on hole one, paired with No. 2 UCLA and No. 5 Arizona State.
Former Michigan kicker says he's joining Mississippi State
Mississippi State's options at kicker may have increased Thursday. J.J. McGrath, a former Michigan preferred walk-on, tweeted Thursday afternoon, "Officially heading down to Starkville to join the Mississippi State Bulldogs. #HailState." McGrath did not play for the Wolverines last year as a freshman. Mississippi State could not confirm McGrath's tweet nor could a university spokesperson immediately say if the kicker would even be eligible in the fall.

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