Wednesday, May 28, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Record year for Boys State at Mississippi State University
Sponsored by the American Legion, organizers say that Boys State is not just a program that builds future politicians, but future leaders in everyday life as well. Three-hundred and eighty-four boys are at Mississippi State University for Boys State this year, and organizers say that's a record.
MSU Building Construction Science Majors Receive Scholarships
Mississippi State students from Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee are receiving 2014-15 building construction science scholarships. Part of the university's College of Architecture, Art and Design, building construction science is one of only two such studio-based programs in the nation. Its interdisciplinary curriculum in business, engineering, and construction sciences prepares MSU graduates for careers in construction or construction-related fields.
Search for New Sul Ross University President Narrowed to Three Finalists
Sul Ross University is one step closer to finding its new president. A committee had identified nearly 40 candidates in a national search but has now narrowed it down to three finalists. Those candidates are William Kibler, H. Neil Matkin and Quint Thurman. Kibler is currently the Vice President for Students Affairs at Mississippi State University and got his doctorate from Texas A&M.
Ocean Springs High School graduation full of surprises
Tuesday night's Ocean Springs High School commencement exercises had a little something for every taste. It was at various times a solemn ceremony, a party and a going away celebration for Principal David Baggett. For Baggett, it was his eighth and final graduation as the OSHS principal. He will leave at the end of June to take the same position at Starkville High School. Baggett made no mention of his departure during his remarks. He didn't have to. He received a raucous standing ovation from the students when he was introduced and, before handing out the diplomas, superintendent Bonita Coleman-Potter asked everyone to stand and applaud Baggett for "his years of incredible service to the Ocean Springs school district."
Voters must have ID at polls Tuesday
People going to vote on Tuesday comfortable that they know the poll workers and will not need a government-issued photo identification to cast a ballot better think again. In response to a request from the secretary of state's office, the attorney general has issued an official opinion stating that Mississippi law requires poll workers to seek photo ID from all voters, even those the poll workers might know. Poll workers who do not ask for ID could face legal consequences. When Mississippians go to the polls on Tuesday to cast a ballot in either the Republican or Democratic primaries for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House race and a smattering of other races, they will be required to show an ID for the first time.
Judge holds Pickering in contempt in DMR records case
A chancery court judge found Auditor Stacey Pickering and his office in contempt of court for improperly withholding public records from the Sun Herald and abusing the grand jury system in the process. Judge Jennifer Schloegel also ordered Pickering, his office and the state Department of Marine Resources to pay the more then $36,000 in attorney fees the newspaper incurred in its 19-month battle to see the documents related to its investigation of possible wrongdoing at the DMR in Biloxi. Schloegel also fined Pickering, Attorney General Jim Hood and auditor investigator David Huggins, audit special agent Chris Lott and assistant attorneys General Melissa Patterson, Joseph Runnels, Sandra Chesnutt and Harold Pizzetta $100 each for their roles in the "willful and wrongful denial" of the public-records request by the paper.
National spotlight shines on Cochran-McDaniel fight for Senate seat
Mississippi's Senate primary has morphed from a high-profile proxy for the national fight between the tea party and establishment Republicans into an ad war driven by clandestine images of Sen. Thad Cochran's ailing wife in an online video. State Sen. Chris McDaniel, who aims to deliver a rare victory for the tea party this midterm election year primary season, unveiled a statewide ad yesterday accusing Cochran of "outrageous" attacks. McDaniel's campaign describes the spot as a "six-figure" ad buy. It comes after the Cochran campaign launched its own ad last week that shows a McDaniel supporter -- conservative Mississippi blogger Clayton Kelly -- who's charged in the criminal case over a photo of 72-year-old Rose Cochran. She has lived in a nursing home the past 13 years with dementia.
Mississippi's Cochran Plays Offense
The last time Thad Cochran had a competitive Senate race, Ronald Reagan was president, Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" was getting regular radio play, and the Internet was years away from common use. That's why many of Mr. Cochran's supporters worried when he announced his campaign for re-election in December. With little money in the bank, no political staff and a tough tea-party opponent, the 76-year-old Mississippi Republican quickly came to be viewed as one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the country. Now, they're breathing easier. The race in Mississippi has been nasty and unpredictable. But Mr. Cochran, powered by support from the state's top Republicans, has built a campaign versed in Twitter, quick-hit negative ads and other tools of modern electioneering to counter a challenge from state Sen. Chris McDaniel, whose campaign has been taken off-point by the arrest of four supporters.
Others knew of Cochran video before it was made
Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest says people other than those charged so far knew beforehand that Clayton Kelly was working on a hit piece video against U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, but they are not the focus of the ongoing investigation. "Just the knowledge of it is not a crime," said Guest, who would not identify others who knew of the video beforehand. He said investigators are focused on who aided Kelly in taking photos of Cochran's bedridden wife in her nursing home room. Guest said, "There is definitely a potential that others could be charged in this matter, but at this point I'm being very careful on making comments about possible further arrests."
Palazzo touts accomplishments, fight for flood insurance, against Obamacare
U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-4, takes exception to the view that the current Congress is the least productive of all time; still wants to repeal Obamacare; and counts the overhaul of the Biggert-Waters flood insurance bill among his accomplishments. "If you look back at our record for the past four years, we've introduced -- this of course the Republicans in the House -- over 200 bills that basically would repeal the obstacles to job creation, which is a lot of the regulation," he said during an interview with the Sun Herald. He said Republicans know how to create jobs, get the nation out of debt and improve the economy.
Drones are newest hurricane research tools
The point where the roiling ocean meets the fury of a hurricane's winds may hold the key to improving storm intensity forecasts -- but it's nearly impossible for scientists to see. That may change this summer, thanks to post-Hurricane Sandy federal funding and a handful of winged drones that can spend hours spiraling in a hurricane's dark places, transmitting data that could help forecasters understand what makes some storms fizzle while others strengthen into monsters. Knowing that information while a storm is still far offshore could help emergency managers better plan for evacuations or storm surge risks.
Brokers use 'billions' of data points to profile Americans
Are you a financially strapped working mother who smokes? A Jewish retiree with a fondness for Caribbean cruises? Or a Spanish-speaking professional with allergies, a dog and a collection of Elvis memorabilia? All this information and much, much more is being quietly collected, analyzed and distributed by the nation's burgeoning data-broker industry, which uses billions of individual data points to produce detailed portraits of virtually every American consumer, the Federal Trade Commission reported Tuesday. The FTC report provided an unusually detailed account of the system of commercial surveillance that draws on government records, shopping habits and social-media postings to help marketers hone their advertising pitches. Officials said the intimacy of these profiles would unnerve some consumers who have little ability to track what's being collected or how it's used.
Can we hide carbon dioxide underground? Algeria site offers note of caution
A facility in Algeria that captured carbon dioxide on an industrial scale -- and locked it up deep underground -- is yielding this lesson for researchers exploring ways to deal with global warming: Select a site with care, because the unexpected can happen. A new study that aims to explain why sequestered CO2 was moving surprisingly quickly through rock formations beneath In Salah, a natural-gas extraction site in central Algeria. The new study of In Salah's effort identifies the injected CO2 itself as a key culprit.
Tulane expands offerings to include master of liberal arts
Mississippians wanting to earn a graduate degree now have another choice. Tulane University's Madison Campus is now offering students the opportunity to earn a master of liberal arts degree. "Tulane's Madison campus first opened its doors in 2010 with a mission to give our residents the opportunity to better themselves with a first-rate educational experience," said Sherry Chance, assistant dean of Tulane's Madison Campus. "This new MLA program was created to provide metro area residents the chance to hone their creativity as they open their minds to new cultural perceptions and societal understandings."
Ladd Taylor named vice president of MGCCC Perkinston campus, George County Center
Dr. Ladd Taylor was named vice president of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College's Perkinston Campus and George County Center, according to a news release. An MGCCC alumnus, he has served as interim vice president since January. Working at MGCCC since 2002, Taylor most recently served as dean of Athletics for six years. Taylor has been devoted to the improvement of athletics at MGCCC, implementing the "I.C.E." theme for the athletic program. I.C.E. stands for Integrity, Class and Enthusiasm, which he says serves as the foundation for MGCCC's athletic success.
U.S. judge OKs houndstooth trademark settlement between company, U. of Alabama
As part of a settlement agreement in the lawsuit between the University of Alabama and a Georgia-based company over use of the houndstooth pattern, UA will get the rights to the company's Houndstooth Mafia mark. U.S. District Court Judge R. David Proctor on Tuesday approved the final consent judgment submitted by the attorneys. Some of the details of the settlement were included in the document, which was filed in federal court Friday by the attorneys. Company founders agreed to sign over the rights, title and interest in Houndstooth Mafia to the university, according to court documents. UA officials could not be reached for comment about details of the agreement.
University logos may appear on Louisiana drivers licenses
Louisiana drivers could soon be proclaiming "Geaux Tigers" or cheering on the Southern University Jaguars with their driver's licenses. Legislation heading to Gov. Bobby Jindal for approval would allow color logos from Louisiana universities on state-issued licenses or identification cards, with the additional fees associated going to the universities' foundations. Senate Bill 138 allows universities to set the fee and requires the state Department of Public Safety and Correction to establish rules and regulations necessary for implementation. "It would have to be a Louisiana university," state Rep. Terry Landry, D-New Iberia. He compared it to the state's new "I'm a Cajun" designation for driver's licenses.
For Jamal Sowell, aide to UF's Machen, mission is to be a college president
The wallpaper on Jamal Sowell's computer in his office at Tigert Hall shows him wearing the desert camouflage of the U.S. Marine Corps, sitting cross-legged in the dust and holding a Pashtun language book in his hand while talking to some Afghan youths. "It was hot. I hadn't showered in days," said Sowell, special assistant to UF president Bernie Machen, recalling that moment some 5-6 years ago. "We were doing youth outreach, to see what concerns they had and how to help them." That instinct to help others, to be of service to the community, is a driving force in Sowell's life, along with a desire to expand his horizons and see the world. He sees both attributes as necessary components in reaching his ultimate goal --- to be president of a major university himself one day.
Texas A&M-Blinn collaborative program gives vet students a leg up
Getting an education from Texas A&M's highly competitive school of veterinary medicine is getting easier thanks to a Veterinary Technology Program offered in collaboration with Blinn College. The program was created three years ago as a way to offer the first-ever licensed veterinary technician training program in the Brazos Valley. Program director David Sessum said the goal is to fill a void in the workforce for mostly small animal clinics in the area. Some students are combining their new training with previous academic experience to land top-tier internships around the country.
U. of Missouri System curators challenge allegations in Britt family's wrongful-death suit
The University of Missouri System Board of Curators has rejected several allegations Lt. Bruce Britt's family lodged against it in a wrongful-death lawsuit involving a walkway collapse at an MU-operated complex. The curators said that their employees believed that the University Village apartments were "structurally sound and safe at all relevant times," and they challenged the Britt family's ability to sue them based on claims of sovereign immunity and the "Fireman's Rule." In the lawsuit, the Britt family alleges that Britt's death was caused by dangerous conditions at the University Village apartments. The lawsuit states that the curators "acted recklessly and with wanton negligence when it failed to properly maintain and/or construct the Apartments and failed to correct the dangerous condition on its property."
International Students: Why They Stay or Leave
The main sources of dissatisfaction for international undergraduate students at U.S. institutions relate to finances, according to new research on retention released today at the annual NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference. International students who responded to a national survey cite access to jobs or internships (37 percent), affordability (36 percent) and availability of scholarships (34 percent) as their main reasons for dissatisfaction, followed distantly by meal plans (26 percent) and quality of housing (17 percent).
BRIAN PERRY (OPINION): Taylor-Palazzo rematch
Consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "Five candidates are seeking the Republican nomination in Mississippi's Fourth Congressional District Republican Primary. The matchup features incumbent Congressman Steven Palazzo, and the man he defeated four years ago Gene Taylor. Taylor represented Mississippi's Gulf Coast District for 22 years as an unconventional Democrat, but lost in 2010 after dropping his maverick reputation and voting for Democrat Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Taylor's Pelosi vote and a lackluster campaign provided an opportunity for the then state legislator Palazzo to sweep in and win with 52 percent of the vote. Now running as a Republican, Taylor wants a rematch."
CHARLIE MITCHELL (OPINION): Stakes are seriously high in Cochran-McDaniel primary
Longtime Mississippi journalist Charlie Mitchell writes: "Not to be melodramatic about it, but Mississippi voters -- bizarre campaign antics of the past few weeks notwithstanding -- face a soul-trying choice Tuesday. Thad Cochran is being challenged by Chris McDaniel for the Republican nomination to serve the next six years in one of the state's two seats in the U.S. Senate. Cochran, 76, has brought billions upon billions of federal dollars to Mississippi for everything from roads and parks to research centers and defense contracts. McDaniel, 41, says slashing spending is Priority No. 1. ...The choice, then, is whether to place the state's economy on the chopping block. ...Here's what Tea Partiers don't address: The federal dollars flowing into Mississippi are not lagniappe; they form the engine of the economy across almost all sectors. This is about Mississippi universities trying to operate without the $1.6 billion per year in student loans, grants and other allocations."
SID SALTER (OPINION): Senate race: Goldwater was wrong, extremism is a vice
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "So exactly who among us becomes convinced that an incapacitated dementia patient's dignity, safety and privacy are expendable so long as those sacrifices are useful in swaying a few votes in a political campaign? In a word, extremists. If it frightens an elderly woman lost inside herself, so what? The judicial process will determine the particulars of what happened to Rose Clayton Cochran in the supposed privacy and safety of her room at St. Catherine's Village in Madison. But the arrests in the case to date suggest a common bond among the accused."

Cohen has much to weigh before setting Mississippi State rotation
John Cohen won't wait anymore. Mississippi State's coach saved Bulldogs' best starter until the second game of a series throughout the regular season. That could all change now. "In the postseason, there are very few tomorrows," Cohen said. "So you do whatever you can do win that game. Game 1 is critical. There is no Game 2." The Bulldogs enter their fourth straight postseason under Cohen. They are coming off their most successful postseason ever with a run to the College World Series finals in Omaha, Nebraska, last year. MSU begins this year's journey in the Lafayette (Louisiana) Regional against San Diego State on Friday. It will arrive in Louisiana improved in one area from last year's team -- starting pitching depth.
Lindgren plays dominant role in Mississippi State bullpen
Asked to pick the one relief pitcher he would prefer being taken out of the game for, Ross Mitchell knew immediately his answer. "I really don't think there's a better relief pitcher in all of college baseball than Jacob Lindgren," Mitchell said Monday. "You would have to show me multiple outings from somebody else before I'm convinced otherwise." The very next day the Southeastern Conference coaches agreed with Mitchell's assessment. The junior left-hander was named as MSU's only representative on the first-team All-Southeastern Conference team and the only relief pitcher in the group.
Michigan transfer gets chance at Mississippi State
Growing up two hours from East Lansing, Michigan, J.J. McGrath dreamed of playing college football at Michigan State. Considered the state's best kicker in the Class of 2013, McGrath still holds the record for the third-longest field goal for a high schooler in Michigan history. McGrath didn't receive many offers, though. After a spring season as a preferred walk-on at Michigan, McGrath walked into coach Brady Hoke's office to see about his chances of earning a scholarship. He was told the school didn't have one available for him. A month after receiving his transfer papers, McGrath gets his second chance at Mississippi State.
Mississippi State standout Wilson returns to coaching position at Starkville High
Two things Darryl Wilson loves are basketball and Starkville, Mississippi. For the first time since 1996, he'll get to once again revisit both as he will be the lead assistant coach for the Starkville High boys basketball program starting next season. The Starkville School District approved Wilson as a full-time faculty member in its board meeting on May 13 and he'll be a Physical Education teacher at Ward Stewart Elementary in Starkville along with his duties assisting Yellow Jackets coach Greg Carter. Wilson will officially begin his position on Aug. 1.
Benefits hot topic at SEC meetings
Though the biggest names among cable television providers have not embraced the coming of the SEC Network, conference commissioner Mike Slive has proclaimed the network available to everyone. All you have to do is switch to Dish. Or to ATT U-verse. The SEC Network isn't the biggest agenda item at the annual business meetings of the Southeastern Conference. That goes to the restructuring discussion of the NCAA, which would allow greater freedom for the five power conferences -- the SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big 10 and Pac-12. When that picture clears up -- perhaps late this summer -- change will occur swiftly and expanding the benefits of a student-athlete's scholarship will be the first dominos to fall. What is commonly referred to as "full cost of attendance" was the biggest item Slive addressed with football and basketball coaches on Tuesday. The meetings will continue through the week and will conclude with votes by the presidents on Friday.
Slive: NCAA agent rules are problem not solution
SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said Tuesday the NCAA's rules regarding relationships between athletes and agents don't allow for players to make the best judgments about when to leave school early. Slive hopes rules regarding agents will be one of the many areas the five major college football conferences will be able to reform when and if the NCAA agrees to change its governance structure to allow those leagues to pass legislation without the approval of other conferences. Speaking to reporters after the first day of the Southeastern Conference spring meetings, Slive said "NCAA's current rules (regarding agents) are really part of the problem not part of the solution."

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