Wednesday, June 4, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State's Keenum elected to SEC executive committee
Mississippi State University President Mark E. Keenum has been elected to the Southeastern Conference Executive Committee. Keenum, who since 2009 has served as MSU's 19th president, will represent the conference's university presidents on the seven-member executive committee. "It is indeed an honor to have the opportunity to serve in a leadership position and to help direct policy in the most prestigious athletic conference in the nation," said Keenum. Keenum will also continue to serve on the SEC's Content Committee. It is the league's oversight committee in the development of the new SEC Network.
Mississippi State picks police chief
Vance Rice has been named police chief at Mississippi State University. WCBI-TV reports Rice is a veteran law enforcement professional with nearly 25 years of service at the University of Arkansas. His appointment requires formal approval by the Board of Trustees for State Institutions of Higher Learning. Mississippi State officials say Rice is expected to begin work July 16.
MSU announces new police chief
Mississippi State University officials announced Tuesday a new police chief has been selected for the university. Officials say M. Vance Rice, a former employee of the University of Arkansas, is expected to begin work in July. The university says Rice has served in law enforcement for nearly 25 years, holding positions as a law officer, patrol sergeant, patrol and criminal investigation department lieutenant, police services captain and more.
MSU selects new police chief after previous hire backs out
Tim Potts loves Mississippi State University and Starkville, but he loves his daughter more. On April 3, MSU announced it had selected Potts, a captain of patrol operations at the police department at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., with 23 years of experience, as its next police chief. Potts said he had been excited to join MSU, but by the end of April, he decided to stay with Purdue so that his daughter could finish her senior year of high school with the network of friends she had built in West Lafayette.
Mississippi State Joins Task Force to Address Water Quality
Mississippi State University and 11 other land-grant universities recently joined a national effort to improve water quality in one of the nation's most significant watersheds. The Mississippi River/Gulf of Mexico Watershed Task Force partnered with nongovernmental agencies for the first time when it invited university scientists and Extension specialists to share their research findings and ideas for reducing water pollution. "Mississippi State University and the other land-grant universities can provide substantive capacity in addressing nutrient management and environmental quality," said Wes Burger, associate director of the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and the Forest and Wildlife Research Center. "
Supervisors amend Mississippi Horse Park dedication
Oktibbeha County supervisors agreed to split an $8,000 fee with Mississippi State University to assess potential repairs at Miss. Horse Park Monday after pledging $4,000 and in-kind services for harness track fixes in April. MSU Extension Director Gary Jackson asked the county to foot a $4,000 bill for Neel-Schaffer to analyze large washes in the track that developed after years of inactivity. Supervisors previously authorized Mississippi Trotting Association President Eric Tinsey and two of his associates to supervise repairs at the same cost, but Jackson said MSU must vet engineering work due to liability issues and follow state-mandated protocols for repairs. Jackson said the university is committed to re-opening the track for competition, but officials need commitments for its use before expending funding from the horse park's already-tight budget.
Campers Creating Fashion at Mississippi State University
It's fashion week for some campers at Mississippi State University. The first ever fashion camp is being held this week. Nearly a dozen 14-16 year olds are learning how to sharpen their fashion skills. Campers learn about retail, how to own your own business and of course how to sew. The camp allows each teen to come up with their own idea and designs. Campers even have a chance to create their own dress that will later be sent to young girls in Africa.
Four MSU students win Toyota Scholarship
Four rising Mississippi State University freshmen from northeast Mississippi will be among the first recipients of scholarships created by Toyota. The winners competed for the scholarships as high school seniors. To be eligible they had to north Mississippi students, maintain a minimum 3.0 grade-point average and declare intentions to major in mathematics, physics, or industrial or mechanical engineering when in college.
First Toyota-Haley Barbour Scholars Named at MSU
Five incoming freshmen at Mississippi State are the university's first selections for the recently established Toyota-Haley Barbour Scholarships. Each is receiving more than $32,000 over four years -- or $8,000 per year -- to cover the current cost of tuition. Established by Toyota Manufacturing Mississippi, the competitive scholarship program bearing the Yazoo City native's name is designed to enable recipients to give back to area communities that serve and are served by the Blue Springs-based automobile manufacturing facility.
Mississippi PSC goes on record opposing nuclear waste storage
The Mississippi Public Service Commission has become the first state agency to go on record opposing storage of the nation's nuclear waste in Mississippi, Northern District PSC Commissioner Brandon Presley said Tuesday. With a unanimous vote, the commission passed a resolution calling on the federal government to cease consideration of any area in the state as a potential site for a national repository, Presley said in a news release. The resolution cites Mississippi's long-standing, official policy objecting to waste storage in the state and demands reconsideration of the originally developed site at Yucca Mountain, Nev.
Cochran carries Oktibbeha County
Six-term Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran outpaced challenger Chris McDaniel to carry Oktibbeha County Tuesday in the Republican U.S. Senate primary. Cochran received 2,613 total votes in the county (66.2 percent) to McDaniel's 1,301 (33 percent), according to unofficial totals. Thomas Carey received 27 votes.
McDaniel, Cochran in dead heat; runoff likely
Upstart state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville held an ever-so-slight slight lead over six-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in Mississippi's Republican senatorial primary late Tuesday night, but it appeared likely the two candidates would be forced into a runoff by a little-known third candidate in the race. To win the nomination, a candidate must garner a majority of the vote. With 99.5 percent of the state's precincts reporting, McDaniel, a second-term state senator and Tea Party favorite, had 49.6 percent of the vote to Cochran's 48.9 percent in one of the closest major statewide races in history.
Cochran, McDaniel: Runoff likely
A runoff appeared likely in the GOP Senate primary between six-term incumbent Thad Cochran and tea party challenger state Sen. Chris McDaniel on Tuesday night, with the race tight, neither at over 50 percent and a little-known third candidate, Thomas Carey, tracking just under 2 percent. McDaniel and Cochran swapped leads as results came in. McDaniel on Tuesday won the key battleground of DeSoto County handily, 65 percent to 35 percent, and pulled an upset in Jackson County, in Cochran's Coast stronghold, winning there 49.5 percent to Cochran's 47.6 percent.
Tea Party Challenge in Mississippi G.O.P. Primary Goes to the Wire
There was no clear winner early Wednesday in the most hard-fought Republican Senate primary race this year, with the six-term incumbent Thad Cochran of Mississippi and his Tea Party-backed challenger, State Senator Chris McDaniel, running neck and neck after a night of lead changes. Mr. McDaniel sounded confident in an address about 12:30 a.m. "For too long we let them have their way with us," he said. "Tonight in Mississippi, they heard us." At that point, Mr. Cochran had still not made an appearance before his supporters. The senator's backers were deeply concerned going into the balloting on Tuesday about the possibility of a runoff, fearing that Mr. McDaniel's Tea Party supporters would be more likely to show up at the polls again. Any runoff would be held on June 24.
Mississippi primary election results 2014: Thad Cochran, Chris McDaniel barrel toward runoff
Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran appeared to fall short of claiming the GOP nomination for a seventh term Tuesday, sending the longtime incumbent and his tea party challenger stumbling into a costly runoff election and scrambling the general election landscape in one of the nation's most conservative states. Already a savagely personal race, the duel between Cochran and activist state Sen. Chris McDaniel could now drag on until the next vote on June 24 and present national Republicans with a dilemma: Whether to continue supporting the senator and tearing down McDaniel at the potential cost of damaging the party's eventual nominee.
Sen. Cochran and tea party challenger almost tied in Mississippi GOP primary
The intense struggle for control of the Republican Party came to a dramatic head in Mississippi Wednesday morning and could be headed for another round, with the campaigns of Sen. Thad Cochran and tea party-backed Chris McDaniel each saying they were prepared for a runoff following an intense primary contest that was too close to call after nearly all ballots were counted. The antitax Club For Growth, a group that spent about $2.5 million backing McDaniel, called on Cochran to drop out and promised to "vigorously pursue this race to its conclusion," should he refuse. The National Republican Senatorial Committee issued a brief statement early Wednesday pledging to support Cochran if a runoff is triggered.
Mississippi GOP Senate Primary Goes Down to Wire
A bruising Senate Republican primary fight in Mississippi could be headed to a runoff, extending for three weeks a divisive race that is widely seen as the last chance for tea-party activists to defeat a Senate incumbent this year. The lead between six-term Sen. Thad Cochran and tea-party backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel seesawed after Tuesday's balloting, and it wasn't clear that either would be able to garner more than the 50% of the vote needed to avoid a runoff, Associated Press tallies showed. A runoff could be a boon for Mr. McDaniel, 41, who has been a more energetic campaigner than Mr. Cochran, 76, who started his re-election bid late and has adopted a low-key presence in the campaign. Mr. Cochran would "need to use every ounce of energy to beat back McDaniel," said Ron Bonjean, who was an aide to former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R., Miss.) and is neutral in the primary fight. "The jury is out on whether he has the stamina to keep pounding."
Mississippi nailbiter heads toward run-off
The heated brawl between Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and primary challenger state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) looked headed towards a runoff early Wednesday morning. With 98 percent of the state's precincts in, McDaniel held a 2,500-vote lead over Cochran, with 49.6 percent to the incumbent's 48.8 percent. A McDaniel advisor told The Hill that the campaign still sees a pathway to an outright victory on primary night. "We are not conceding anything," the advisor said. With the outcome still in limbo, national Republicans reiterated their support for Cochran. "Should Mississippi go to a runoff, we will expect a vigorous debate about the future of our country over the next three weeks and we will continue to fully support Thad Cochran. We look forward to him emerging victorious in the runoff," National Republican Senatorial Committee executive director Rob Collins said.
Tea party threatens GOP establishment in Mississippi
Sen. Thad Cochran and tea party challenger Chris McDaniel dueled in Mississippi's U. S. Senate Republican primary Tuesday, trading leads through the night as they struggled to reach the majority needed to avoid a head-to-head runoff. A McDaniel win could be a much-needed boost for the staggering tea party. After losses in such high-profile GOP primaries as Georgia and Kentucky this year, the tea party push to oust Cochran was seen as the last shot at a major upset of the establishment this year for the grassroots movement. To the tea party, Cochran was an ideal symbol of the kind of politician it wants to dethrone.
Why Democrats are cheering over Mississippi primary
Mississippi appears headed for a runoff in its donnybrook of a GOP Senate primary. That's bad news for the Republican establishment, good news for the tea party -- and cause for Democratic hope in November, despite the state's deep-red hue. If Chris McDaniel wins the runoff, Democrats will have a rare -- if slight -- chance of winning a Republican-held seat in a cycle that generally favors the GOP. Democrats recruited former Rep. Travis Childers, a Blue Dog Democrat who held a solidly Republican House seat from 2008 to 2010, precisely in the hopes that McDaniel would beat Cochran. Childers is seen as the strongest recruit the Democrats could have hoped for, but he's still a long shot. If Cochran manages to win the primary, there are suggestions Childers will drop out. But against McDaniel, he will have to hope for a major gaffe.
Travis Childers outlines platform for November
Former U.S. Rep Travis Childers is trying to become the first Democratic U.S. senator from Mississippi since the 1980s. He defeated three opponents in Tuesday's Democratic primary. The question now is whether Childers can win in November against a Republican. "I do realize people may have more money to spend than I do, but no one will out-work me," Childers said Tuesday in a phone interview as he traveled to Jackson following campaign stops in the Mississippi Delta. Childers is laying the groundwork for why he believes his message will resonate with voters in the November general election.
McDaniel leads Senate race; Palazzo confident he'll avoid runoff
A problem with ballots in Harrison County has the race for the 4th District congressional seat in limbo until at least today. With 100 percent of the votes counted, U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo had a lead about 800 votes above the 50-percent-plus-one threshold that would have him avoiding a runoff with former Rep. Gene Taylor in the Republican primary. Matt Moore won the Democratic primary outright. The Associated Press has Palazzo leading 52,511 to 44,679. As in his loss in 2010, Taylor did well on the Coast but got beaten in the Pine Belt. However, in Harrison County, GOP election officials delivered the wrong boxes to 13 precincts, which means an undetermined number of ballots will have to be counted by hand.
House incumbents Thompson, Harper win in Mississippi
Incumbent Republican Steven Palazzo was leading Tuesday in Mississippi's 4th Congressional District in his rematch with Democrat-turned-Republican Gene Taylor, with Palazzo aiming to avoid a runoff. Meanwhile, congressmen Bennie Thompson and Gregg Harper cruised to victory in primaries. Thompson, a Democrat from Bolton, won his nomination in the 2nd District. Harper, from Pearl, won the Republican primary in the 3rd District. In the 3rd District, which crosses all or parts of 24 counties stretching from Starkville southwest to Natchez, Harper defeated 68-year-old Quitman resident Hardy Caraway in the Republican primary.
New Voter ID Law Passes First Real Test Without Trouble
This was the first election in Mississippi in which the new voter ID law came into play. By all accounts the transition went smoothly. Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is clearly pleased: "It worked really well. We were in 82 counties today, every county had a representative from the Secretary of State's office in it and we got report after report from Democrats and Republicans that it was going smoothly. People showed their ID -- no problems."
Atlanta airport finally gets free wi-fi
At long last, free wi-fi is finally arriving at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The lack of free wireless Internet access has been the top complaint at the world's busiest airport for years. Now, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and airport officials plan to celebrate the long-awaited arrival of the amenity at the airport Wednesday. The old system could handle only about 2,000 users at once, but with a just-completed infrastructure upgrade, airport officials expect as many as 15,000 can use the service at the same time.
Jackson arts icon Jack Kyle joins Belhaven University
Jack L. Kyle, the man who brought the cultures of Russia, Versailles, Spain and Dresden to Jackson, has joined Belhaven University as Senior Director of Arts Development and Chair of Arts Administration. Kyle is nationally recognized for his services to the arts and international cultural exchange. Kyle holds a Bachelor of Vocal Music Education from Delta State University where he received both the Distinguished Alumnus Award and Outstanding Alumnus Award and was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame. He served in the United States Navy and on the staffs in Washington, D.C. of Mississippi Congressman G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery and California Congressman John H. Rousselot.
U. of Kentucky gets $1.9 million grant to help graduate more math and science students
The University of Kentucky has received a $1.9 million grant to graduate more students in the STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The grant, made by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, will fund a series of initiatives called STEMCats aimed at better preparing students for the rigors of college-level science and math. UK will partner with the Bluegrass Community and Technical College to help students in those disciplines succeed before and after they transfer to UK.
Prosecutor: No Charges Over Conflicting Testimony by U. of Arkansas Officials
Contradictory testimony given under oath by the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville's chancellor and former spokesman to a legislative audit committee in September do not warrant prosecution, according to Larry Jegley, prosecuting attorney for the 6th Judicial District of Arkansas. In a letter Monday to Roger Norman, the state legislative auditor who requested the review, Jegley said Chancellor G. David Gearhart and former spokesman John Diamond may have provided "differing versions of the events and discussions," but "none rise to meet the standards meriting further actions."
Mizzou Advantage announces $3.8 million in awards for 45 research teams
Mizzou Advantage, an initiative that promotes interdisciplinary projects at the University of Missouri, announced some expansion efforts to cover several dozen research-based projects as well as the addition of a faculty fellow to oversee the program. On Monday, the initiative announced $3.8 million worth of awards to 45 teams of researchers. Every project Mizzou Advantage funds falls in one of four areas: food, media, sustainable energy and One Health/One Medicine. The increased focus on research-based projects backs MU's strategic plan to improve the university's rank in the Association of American Universities from No. 32 to No. 28 by 2018.
Poll finds most college leaders oppose concealed carry on campus
Amid a national push by gun advocates to permit concealed carry on campuses, a new poll of college presidents found that 95 percent of them oppose measures to allow concealed weapons on campus. The reason cited by more than 9 out of 10 presidents was that concealed carry would lead to accidental shootings of students. And 65 percent of presidents are opposed to concealed weapons off campus, not just on campus. The poll was conducted before last month's tragedy near the University of California at Santa Barbara, where six students were killed (three by shooting) by a disturbed man who vowed to punish college women for not finding him attractive. Just over 400 college presidents responded to the survey.
BRIAN PERRY (OPINION): New EPA coal rules bad for Mississippi
Consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "I was born in Kentucky, coal country. Well, not really. I was born in Western Kentucky which is as removed from coal country as Pascagoula is from the Mississippi Delta. But I like songs about coal miners. And I like affordable energy. About 15 percent of electricity generated in Mississippi comes from coal burning plants, according to the Energy Information Administration's 2013 data. We have one surface coal mine in Choctaw County that powers the Red Hills Power Plant. A second lignite coal mine will provide fuel for Mississippi Power's Kemper County plant which will gasify the lignite into synthetic natural gas. Other than the battles over Kemper, Mississippi has not been vocal in the political coal wars. But that is changing. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a regulation this week to cut carbon dioxide emissions in Mississippi by 38 percent more than 2005 levels. This is a critical plank in President Barack Obama's environmental policy -- a plan which he famously said would necessarily cause utility rates to skyrocket."
SID SALTER (OPINION): Implementation of Mississippi's new voter ID law was a non-event
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Imagine my absolute shock on Election Day when I approached the South Starkville precinct with my wife and we were indeed not overrun by voters stampeding from the precinct in fright over the requirement that they produce a photo ID in order to vote. Despite the predictions of post-apocalyptic turmoil from opponents of adopting a voter identification law in Mississippi, the debut of voter ID in Mississippi in practical application was a non-event. Voters didn't recoil from the process as predicted and there is no discernible evidence that voter ID had any impact on voter turnout. The fact of the matter is that voters didn't react any more or less to being asked for an ID in the voting precincts than they do in airports, financial institutions or other venues in which photo IDs are required."

Mississippi State seniors depart without Omaha return
Moments after falling to UCLA in the College World Series championship a year ago, Mississippi State coach John Cohen vowed not only to return to Omaha but to win it all. The 2014 season, however, did not end with the Bulldogs hoisting a trophy and confetti falling from the sky at TD Ameritrade Park. Instead, MSU's year came to a close Monday night as top-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette dog-piled on its home field, having punched a ticket to host a super regional against Ole Miss by eliminating the Diamond Dogs with 14-8 and 5-3 victories. The losses marked the end of an era for six seniors – Demarcus Henderson, Alex Detz, Ben Bracewell, Derrick Armstrong, C.T. Bradford and Brett Pirtle. That group helped guide the program to an SEC tournament title, three regional appearances, two super regionals and last year's College World Series trip.
MLB draft could deplete Mississippi State pitching staff
On Sunday morning, many Mississippi State baseball fans were planning their itineraries for a Super Regional in Oxford. A the end of Monday night, the Bulldogs season ended, with back-to-back losses to top-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette. The season began with the highest of expectations coming off a loss in the College World Series finals and with the program bringing in the No. 2 recruiting class in the country. It ended in the Lafayette Regional of the NCAA tournament. The action on the field has finished, but there are storylines as we enter the offseason.
MDA to sponsor ISPS Handa Cup at Old Waverly
One of Mississippi's most venerable golf courses will soon play host to legends, and the state is throwing in its support. The Mississippi Development Authority will help sponsor the ISPS Handa Cup, the longest-running tournament on The Legends Tour, at Old Waverly Golf Club. Pitting a team of 12 U.S.-born LPGA Legends against a team of 12 internationally-born LPGA Legends in 36 holes of head-to-head stroke-play competition, the ISPS Handa Cup will make its Mississippi debut Sept. 25-28.

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