Thursday, May 29, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
MSU Physics Professor Appointed as Fellow of American Physical Society
Mississippi State physics professor Anatoli Afanasjev is one of 13 newly appointed Fellows of The American Physical Society's Division of Nuclear Physics. "Very few people are getting this honor, and I am definitely happy to get this kind of recognition," the Latvian native said. "For me, what is important is simply the recognition of my achievements." The APS, founded in 1899 in New York state, is the world's second largest organization for physicists; it has approximately 50,000 members. Afanasjev said his curiosity about how the universe is built drives his professional interest in theoretical nuclear physics.
Mississippi Horse Park to host national event
The Mississippi Horse Park has been selected as a site for a prestigious nationwide barrel-racing competition. Officials say the arena will host a qualifying event for The American, a major national rodeo, on Oct. 17. The Mississippi Horse Park is one of 10 locations around the country to hold qualifying races. The event is sanctioned by Better Barrel Racing and is described by MHP officials as "the SEC Championship of Barrel Races."
Big win for Mississippi tourism with hosting 'SEC Championship of Barrel Races'
The eyes of the barrel-racing nation will turn to the Mississippi Horse Park in Starkville in October. The Mississippi State University facility will host a qualifying event for The American, a major national rodeo. Parts of the qualifier will be broadcast nationally on RFD-TV and live-streamed over the Internet. "This is an exciting opportunity for our Mississippi Horse Park to host one of the 10 qualifiers in barrel racing for the world's richest one-day rodeo," said Bricklee Miller, horse park manager. "Part of what makes this so impressive is the list of other venues hosting one of these barrel-racing events."
MSU Singers to Perform in Paris and Normandy During Trip to France
The Mississippi State University Singers are performing in Paris and Normandy during a nine-day international trip to France. The 30 members arrived in the French capital Tuesday, said Gary Packwood, director of choral activities. Notre Dame Cathedral, L'eglise de la Madeleine, Saint-Suplice and the American cemetery at Omaha Beach are among the locales at which they will perform, he added. He said the student group has practiced for about eight weeks on a repertoire that includes both American and French selections. Packwood, who often teaches in Europe, Asia and South America, said international experiences such as this support MSU's emphasis on global opportunities for students.
Meridian resident inducted into MSU Society of Scholars
Nineteen Mississippi State seniors are new members of the university's prestigious Society of Scholars in the Arts and Sciences, including Marisa Brooke Potate, daughter of Mike and Teresa Potate of the Clarkdale community. A psychology major at Mississippi State University-Meridian, Potate was president of the MSU-Meridian student association, vice president of the Psychology Club, historian for Psi Chi National Honor Society, a Riley scholar and earned a 4.0 GPA.
Hood Says Improving Technology Requires Increasing Responsibility
The Internet is a wonderful tool, but you have to use it wisely, said Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood when addressing an audience of more than 380 Boys State delegates at Mississippi State University on Wednesday. "What we're seeing is a vast expansion of crime on the Internet -- everything from cyberbullying to intellectual property to hacking," said Hood, a Chickasaw County native who is now in his second term in office and is Mississippi's only Democratic statewide elected official. Protecting technology and intellectual property is another major issue that will be of great importance to future generations.
Starkville aldermen OK numerous drainage, street projects
Five Starkville aldermen unanimously approved the city's proposed Fiscal Year 2014 capital improvements work list for roads, drainage systems and sidewalks with little discussion and no modifications from the table during a Tuesday recess meeting. The plan will address eight drainage projects, including the board's previous obligation to Carver Drive's ditch woes, seven road projects and facilitate a Garrard Road sidewalk connector for an estimated $1.24 million. Aldermen signaled they would hold developers accountable for infrastructure pledges after Spruill Property Management owner Lynn Spruill questioned the board about Bay Meadows and Kerkling subdivision road work.
Camgian to launch Egburt at D.C. summit in October
Camgian Microsystems Corporation intends to bring edge computing to the Internet of Things (IoT) market through a new category of device to be released this October. The device, called Egburt, will offer enterprises a new way to implement IoT solutions where all crucial data and real-time, actionable analytics remain local with higher-level information processing, visualization and distribution performed in a secure, cloud environment. "Real-time, actionable information is going to be a crucial piece of IoT," said Gary Butler, chairman and CEO of Starkville-based Camgian Microsystems.
Hiring to push Mississippi Nissan employment over 6,000
A Nissan Motor Co. contractor has begun seeking applicants for 500 workers as part of the automaker's buildup to begin producing a new model in Mississippi. The hiring will push the combined number of Nissan and contract employees at its Canton plant to more than 6,000 for the first time. The total currently stands at more than 5,600. In a Thursday statement, the company said it needs workers to begin production of the Murano crossover vehicle in late fall. Nissan is also building a supplier park so component makers can move nearer to the Canton plant. Nissan projects suppliers will hire another 400 workers there after the park is completed in the fall.
NauticStar to bring 30 new jobs to Amory
A company investment of $460,259 means an additional 20,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 30 new jobs for boat manufacturer NauticStar. The official announcement was made Wednesday by Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Brent Christensen. "You read so often about the big projects like Toyota, Nissan and Yokohama just down the road, but we put in just as much, if not more, for existing industries," said Christensen. Monroe County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Skip Scaggs credited the expansion to teamwork.
Study: Mississippi worst state for nursing
At a time when the Affordable Care Act and an aging baby boom generation could combine to create greater demand for nurses nationwide, Mississippi is the most ill-prepared state in the union to handle the nursing industry's shifting job market, a new study finds. Financial website WalletHub measured each state and the District of Columbia through 15 metrics, including job opportunities in each state, competition for each job opening, differences in workplace environment and future jobs projections. Mississippi ranked 51st overall in the study and didn't fare much better in key individual metrics, finishing in the bottom 10 in job opportunities, competition for each opening and work environment.
MDEQ chief Trudy Fisher announces she'll resign
Trudy Fisher, Mississippi's top environmental regulator, will resign her post at the state Department of Environmental Quality at the end of the summer. Fisher, 53, announced the news Wednesday to agency employees in an email obtained by The Associated Press. She said she will "explore options outside state government" after taking a break. Fisher and MDEQ have been leading planning efforts on how Mississippi should spend money from BP PLC -- the RESTORE ACT funds -- arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "Fisher's departure will not affect any planning of the RESTORE Act funds," Gov. Phil Bryant spokeswoman Nicole Webb said.
Musgrove suggests schools join lawsuit for funding
At Tuesday night's Brookhaven School District board meeting, former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove invited Brookhaven schools to join a lawsuit against the State of Mississippi over underfunding of public education. "Without court action, history shows the Legislature will continue to underfund MAEP (Mississippi Adequate Education Program)," Musgrove said. Board members said they would take it under consideration.
Senate campaign rolls through Columbus
The race for a U.S. Senate seat in Mississippi has reached its last leg before the June 3 primary narrows down the field, and the two most publicized candidates for the Republican ticket have included Columbus in their campaign stops. Six-term Senate veteran Thad Cochran made an appearance Tuesday at the Sprint Mart near the intersection of Bluecutt Road and Highway 45 North. Two-term state Senator McDaniel was scheduled to attend a private campaign event on Wednesday in Columbus. The contentious nature of that primary race has made national headlines. Each opponent stuck to his platform Tuesday -- Cochran during his stop in Columbus, and McDaniel in a phone conversation with The Dispatch -- saying fundamental values are what voters should take stock in when they cast their ballots.
Thad Cochran's fight: Up close and all too personal
The ads tie Sen. Thad Cochran's primary challenger to a stomach-turning crime: a grave violation of privacy in the nursing home where the senator's stricken wife resides. In blaring language, they warn voters that the "McDaniel campaign scandal" is spreading, enveloping several men with direct ties to the ladder-climbing state lawmaker seeking to topple Cochran. But in the final days of Mississippi's Republican Senate primary, you won't hear any of that from Cochran himself. Cochran is greeting voters with a soft smile and nary a mention of his hard-right opponent for the GOP nomination. Cochran, 76, is said to be privately shaken up by the intrusion into Rose Cochran's living quarters at the St. Catherine's Village nursing home in Madison County, but the senator doesn't mention the incident on the stump. McDaniel's campaign did not make him available for an interview Wednesday.
Sen. Thad Cochran says use of bedridden wife's photo 'amateurish'
Republican Sen. Thad Cochran said Wednesday he thinks it's "kind of amateurish" that supporters of his primary opponent, Chris McDaniel, photographed his ailing wife in a nursing home and used her image in a political video against him. The six-term Mississippi incumbent said the motivation behind the video is beyond his understanding, and he's leaving the matter to investigators. McDaniel has denied knowing any involvement in the plot. Still, it has overshadowed his tea party inspired challenge to Cochran in Tuesday's primary and sparked a multimillion-dollar ad war between the Republican contenders and their allies.
Tea party: lay off the photo scandal
National and local tea party leaders on Wednesday said a photo scandal is a red herring and voters -- and the media -- should focus on issues such as the national debt and immigration in the Mississippi U.S. Senate GOP primary. When asked by reporters about the arrests, which included one state and local tea party executive, attorney Mark Mayfield, several tea party officials and members of the small crowd blasted the gathered media.
'Troubling' report sparks new wave of calls for VA chief's resignation
An independent review has determined that Department of Veterans Affairs officials falsified records to hide the amount of time former service members have had to wait for medical appointments, calling a crisis that arose in one VA hospital in Phoenix a "systemic problem nationwide." The inspector general's report, a 35-page interim document, prompted new calls for VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, a former general and Vietnam veteran, to resign. Some of the calls on Capitol Hill were from members of President Obama's party, complicating what is already a political challenge for a president who has made veterans issues a legacy-defining priority after more than a decade of war.
Obama Warns U.S. Faces Diffuse Terrorism Threats
President Obama tried once more to articulate his vision of the American role in the world on Wednesday, telling graduating cadets at West Point that the nation they were being called to serve would seek to avoid military misadventures abroad, even as it confronts a new set of terrorist threats from the Middle East to Africa. Speaking at the commencement of the United States Military Academy, Mr. Obama disputed critics who say his cautious response to crises like Syria's civil war and Russian aggression toward Ukraine had eroded America's leadership in the world. Those critics, he said, were "either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics."
Obama turns to concussion research
President Obama will announce millions in new funding for concussion research and prevention efforts during a summit on the topic Thursday, according to the White House. That will include a $30 million joint effort between the Pentagon and NCAA for what the White House described as "the most comprehensive clinical study of concussion and head impact exposure ever conducted." The National Football League will also pledge an additional $25 million over the next three years to support partnerships promoting youth sports safety, including efforts to expand access to athletic trainers for student athletes and education programs designed to teach students about the risk of sports injuries. The announcements will come at a sports summit featuring athletes, coaches, academics, and parents held at the White House.
Iran-Based Cyberspies Targeting U.S. Officials, Report Alleges
Hackers apparently based in Iran have mounted a three-year campaign of cyberespionage against high-ranking U.S. and international officials, including a four-star admiral, to gather intelligence on economic sanctions, antinuclear proliferation efforts and other issues, according to cybersecurity investigators. Using an elaborate ruse involving more than a dozen personas working for a fake U.S. news organization, the hackers developed connections to their targets through websites like Facebook and LinkedIn to trick them into giving up personal data and logon information, the investigators say. The alleged campaign, which dates back at least to 2011 and is still under way, principally has focused on U.S. and Israeli targets in public and private sectors.
Santa Barbara killings: Did misogynist hate groups play a role?
It's impossible for anyone to know what ultimately caused Elliot Rodger to launch his "Day of Retribution," beginning by stabbing to death his two roommates and their friend, and ending with him killing three more people and wounding 13 in a shooting spree in Isla Vista, Calif., before he took his own life. Based on his YouTube postings and 140-page autobiography that he e-mailed to some dozen people before starting his rampage, he was a deeply troubled and lonely young man who nursed extreme rage at everyone he felt was living a better life than him. But Rodger's killing spree also has sparked an online debate about the role misogyny might have played in his rampage, and has drawn new attention to anti-women hate sites, which he frequented, and the world of the "manosphere."
Mississippi reacts to Angelou death
It was chance meetings and moments of grace that Mississippians remembered most about Maya Angelou on Wednesday afternoon, hours after her death was announced by Wake Forest University. She was 86. Sen. Willie Simmons, D-Cleveland, was a guest at Angelou's 2004 appearance at Delta State University's Bologna Performing Arts Center. She spoke to an audience of mostly young people. "She was her normal self in her presentation in kind of telling the story of America in a warm and heartfelt way," Simmons said Wednesday morning. "But she made it understood that young people had to get their act together, so to speak, for the future."
Mississippi, home to federal government's official stash of marijuana
Walk along the narrow, brightly lit beige hallway, along the washed-out linoleum floor, around the corner to the imposing steel vault. As a scientist swings open the door, a familiar, overpowering scent wafts out. Inside, marijuana buds are packed into thousands of baggies. It is one of the nation's most impressive stockpiles of marijuana -- and probably the most controversial. What makes the cannabis here on the campus of the University of Mississippi unique is that it is grown, processed and sold by the federal government. The stockpile represents the only source of pot allowed for researchers who want to conduct Food and Drug Administration-approved tests on using marijuana for medical purposes. Researchers can't get anything from the Marijuana Research Project at Ole Miss unless the Drug Enforcement Administration gives the go-ahead. That has made Mahmoud A. ElSohly, the scientist who heads the team here, a favorite boogeyman for legalization activists and some researchers.
Students weighing Tennessee Promise of free college
Juniors walking out of Tennessee high schools for the summer have a big decision for the fall: Will they take the path to free associate degrees laid out in Tennessee Promise or stick with the plans they already had? Signed into law by Gov. Bill Haslam this month, the new statewide program offers "last-dollar" scholarships to ensure free two-year degrees or certificates from the state's 13 community colleges and 27 technical schools. Participants must meet with volunteer mentors, take at least 12 credit hours each semester, maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher and put in eight hours of community service per year. And if they want to move on to a four-year school, they'll need to pick one of 49 of the state's most common degree paths for their credits to translate.
LSU picks Rovaris to serve as chief diversity officer
Following a national search, LSU picked Wednesday an administrator from the university's Health Sciences Center in New Orleans to serve as the new vice provost for diversity. Dereck Rovaris Sr. will begin the new role at LSU on July 1, pending approval from the LSU Board of Supervisors. "Having a diverse and inclusive campus community is one of the pillars of a great university, and we look forward to working with Dr. Rovaris on enhancing LSU's diversity mission," LSU President & Chancellor F. King Alexander said in a statement. In his new role, Rovaris will serve as LSU's chief diversity officer and a member of the Chancellor's Executive Staff.
O'Donnell Named U. of Arkansas' Interim Vice Chancellor of Finance, Administration
Timothy J. O'Donnell has been named the University of Arkansas' interim vice chancellor for finance and administration. The news comes almost two weeks after Don Pederson, the university's vice chancellor for finance and administration since 1998, announced his retirement, effective June 30. O'Donnell, who was hired as the first associate vice chancellor for budget and financial planning in October 2013, will assume the duties July 1. O'Donnell spent 22 years with Arkansas Western Gas and its parent company, Southwestern Energy Co., before joining the university. He worked in various positions, including vice president.
Poet Maya Angelou left a lasting impression at U. of Florida
When Maya Angelou came to speak at the University of Florida in February 2013, a record-setting crowd of 1,700 swarmed the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, with hundreds of others who couldn't get tickets spilling onto the lawn outside to watch on giant TV screens. Angelou's appearance generated a lot of buzz, and students were excited to have someone with so much historical and cultural significance on campus. The crowd was testament to Angelou's popularity, and the power of her words to move people of all generations, all genders, all backgrounds, said Josh Holtzman, chairman of the Accent Speaker's Bureau at the time. Angelou's performance that night -- reading her poems, singing songs, sharing her life experiences -- left a lasting impression, Holtzman said.
BILL MINOR (OPINION): Rose Cochran photo is a vicious invasion
Longtime political observer and columnist Bill Minor writes: "Mississippi Democrats haven't had this much fun in a long time: sitting on the sideline and watching state Republicans engage in vicious trench warfare within their ranks. On second thought, it's not fun to watch. Never before in seven decades I've covered and commented on players who occupy the state political stage have I seen one candidate's backers stoop so low seeking advantage against an adversary. Of course what I'm talking about is the photo scandal involving a supporter for a Tea Party challenger, Chris McDaniel, seeking to unseat senior U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in Tuesday's Republican Primary."
BOBBY HARRISON (OPINION): Two generally civil candidates rip into one another in the GOP
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "As director of the intramural program, Carlos McDaniel was everyone's best friend at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville back in the day -- longer ago than I want to admit. Carry on a conversation with the late Carlos McDaniel's son, Chris, who is a candidate for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate, and it is obvious the apple did not fall far from the tree. Chris McDaniel is polite and cordial, though a little more formal than his down-home father. He loves to debate the great issues of the day and can do so without being disagreeable. Thad Cochan has been literally an icon in Mississippi politics and has long been well respected in the halls where the country's greatest powers gather. Yet, through the years, he has remained humble, cordial and accessible. ...Yet these two paragons of Southern civility are engaged in a bare-knuckled, jaw-jarring, personal, in-your-face campaign."
SID SALTER (OPINION): GOP predicted to (barely) win Senate
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "While Mississippians have been witness of late to the bizarre political theater that has become the Republican U.S. Senate primary replete with nursing home infiltrations and voyeurism with corresponding arrests and 'perp' walks, the rest of the country is paying attention to which party will control the U.S. Senate after the November general election. Nate Silver, the founder of the FiveThirtyEight website and the hottest political prognosticator in the country based on his 2012 success in predicting electoral outcomes in all 50 states, has forecast that the GOP will claim the six seats necessary to regain control of the U.S. Senate from the Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections."

Catching up: Amory's Randolph comes into his own at Mississippi State
Zack Randolph was selected as the Daily Journal Player of the Year following a stellar senior campaign at Amory in 2010. Randolph batted .366 for the Panthers with a .514 on-base percentage that season but still did not receive any major interest from SEC programs. Instead, Randolph spent two years starring behind the plate at Itawamba Community College before transferring to Mississippi State, where he has spent the past two seasons. Randolph and the Bulldogs are preparing for the NCAA Lafayette (La.) Regional which begins Friday. Mississippi State (37-22) is the No. 2 seed will take on third-seeded San Diego State at 1 p.m. "We've had our ups and our downs but it always seems like Mississippi State gets hot at the end," Randolph said.
Mississippi State's Collins starting to 'make that jump'
There are a handful of games this season Mississippi State wants to forget. A mid-week loss to Jacksonville State probably tops the list. It was also during that loss that Gavin Collins turned around his freshman season. "I kind of had that feeling of doubt. I've never had that in my baseball career," Collins said. About a month later, the Southeastern Conference named Collins to its All-Freshman team. A few days prior, Collins earned praise from his coach for his play in the SEC tournament.
JOHN L. PITTS (OPINION): Rebels vs. Bulldogs far from certain
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's John L. Pitts writes: "The speculation started late last week that Ole Miss and Mississippi State might get paired up at some point in the NCAA baseball tournament. Sure enough, if Ole Miss wins the Oxford Regional and MSU wins in Lafayette, the super regional -- with a trip to the College World Series at stake -- would be next weekend between the Rebels and Bulldogs. Other than a meeting in the NCAA championship series, it's hard to imagine a matchup with higher stakes. Or one with the potential to make either fan base more nervous. The season series between the teams is tied at 2 wins each. Anybody for a best-of-three, loser-goes-home series to settle things? Of course you are. But as much as we'd all like to see such a thing -- and, yes, it would sell more newspapers -- both teams have a lot of work to do."
Mississippi State women's hoops to play in 2014 Preseason WNIT
After a stellar run to the WNIT quarterfinals last season, the Mississippi State women's basketball team begins the 2014-15 season as part of the Preseason WNIT field that was announced Wednesday. The Bulldogs will be making their second appearance in the 16-team field. Joining MSU in the field is Albany, Arkansas State, Central Arkansas, Colorado, Eastern Kentucky, Jackson State, Mercer, North Dakota, Penn State, Rider, Seton Hall, St. Francis Brooklyn, Towson, West Virginia and Western Kentucky. The official tournament bracket with first-round opponents, dates and times will be announced in June.
Equity issues arise as top schools seek more power
The push for a greater role in the big picture of college football by the biggest schools will not upset the balance of the game, Ole Miss athletics director Ross Bjork says. Indeed, the power conference members are looking to retain the 128 schools that currently make up the Football Bowl Subdivision even while trying to elevate themselves ahead of the pack. "You have to schedule. You have to play each other. There hasn't been any talk among us about separating that," Bjork said. The theme coming from SEC coaches and administrators at their spring meetings is unity. Currently, the SEC is preparing a response to an NCAA proposal that begins to grant the additional autonomy that the bigger schools are seeking. "It's kind of tedious to go through the process of having to come up with a new governance structure, but once we do that we'll have the opportunity then to roll up our sleeves and get after the issues that are facing us," MSU athletics director Scott Stricklin said.
SEC debates scheduling of FCS schools
Many fans may roll their eyes when that FCS opponent appears on their team's football schedule. Some SEC coaches are beginning to agree with them, though not those at Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The Football Championship Subdivision was once called Division I-AA and features much smaller schools. The scheduling model at both Ole Miss and Mississippi State typically includes one FCS opponent. Last year for Ole Miss, it was Southeast Missouri in Week 2. This year, it's Presbyterian on Nov. 8. MSU played Alcorn State in Week 2 last season and will play Tennessee-Martin on Nov. 8. "I like it. We've played some pretty unique games. We played Jackson State. We were the first SEC team ever to play a team from the SWAC. That's a pretty historic game in the South. We've continued to do that with in-state rivalry," MSU coach Dan Mullen said.
SEC working to boost hoops image
Three SEC basketball teams accounted for 11 NCAA tournament wins in March. The fact that only three teams received bids returns SEC coaches to a familiar spring topic -- the league's national image. That was part of the motivation in Tuesday's news that SEC basketball, while continuing to play 18 regular season games, will move to playing three permanent opponents instead of just one. There is no division play for basketball. MSU coach Rick Ray says proximity and rivalry will be the driving forces for selecting the opponents. "Maybe some people don't want proximity. Maybe they want a Kentucky or a Florida to come into their building every single year," he said. "It will be interesting to see how that plays out, but it's got to make sense for everyone."

The Office of Public Affairs provides the Daily News Digest as a general information resource for Mississippi State University stakeholders.
Web links are subject to change. Submit news, questions or comments to Jim Laird.
Mississippi State University  •  Mississippi State, MS 39762  •  Main Telephone: (662) 325-2323  •   Contact: The Editor  |  The Webmaster  •   Updated: May 29, 2014Facebook Twitter