Wednesday, June 18, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State Hosts World's Oldest Bug Camp
Dozens of children from across the country -- and the globe -- are in Oktibbeha County this week to learn more about insects and plants. They're here for the world's oldest bug and plant camp, which is hosted by Mississippi State University. "They're major disease vectors, and we need students to get interested in those kinds of things early in their life, so if they choose to go into entomology, they've got a head start on solving some of these problems," said Dr. John Guyton, MSU Extension entomology specialist. And this bug camp is just the motivation they need.
MSU's Kibler set to lead Sul Ross State University
Bill Kibler, Mississippi State University's vice president for student affairs, is expected to take over as president of Texas-based Sul Ross State University before the fall semester after he was recently named the position's sole finalist. The university's main Alpine, Texas, campus serves a 19-county area in West Texas, while its Rio Grande system also offers studies in Del Rio, Uvalde and Eagle Pass, Texas. Combined, nearly 3,000 students are enrolled at Sul Ross. The university reported a $37.69 million operating budget for Fiscal Year 2013.
100-times faster Internet service comes to Starkville
Starkville residents and businesses soon will have access to 100 times faster internet service. Officials with C Spire made the announcement along with local officials in Starkville. Suzy Hays with C Spire said, "Short term this means we all get a lot faster internet to do the things we all do today." Leaders say that means increased economic activity this service can help provide. Greater Starkville Development Partnership CEO Jennifer Gregory said, "It means high-tech investment, increased value of homes, opportunities for tele-health businesses, and high-tech advanced manufacturing." This is not C Spire's only major investment in the area. A multi-million dollar data processing center is going up at Cochran Research Park.
Natchez Trace officials issue dog attack warning for metro area
Natchez Trace Parkway officials are recommending that people avoid an area at mile marker 113 after a cyclist was attacked by a pack of dogs, WLBT-TV reported. A warning was issued after a 64-year-old cyclist was attacked Monday as he was riding along the Reservoir. Eight to ten dogs came at him from both sides of the road according to officials. The unidentified rider was bitten several times but escaped. Trace officials say this was an isolated attack, but the National Park Service recommends bicyclists, hikers and horseback riders use other sections of the parkway until further notice.
KiOR Cuts Nearly a Quarter of Workforce
Any hope of alternative-fuels producer KiOR surviving its financial difficulties faded further today. The company began laying off some 25 percent of its remaining work force this morning, which, according to employees, amounted to about 20 workers. The company opened its pioneering Columbus wood-to-fuels plant in late 2012, and operated for one year before idling the plant in January to try to raise more money and to make technical improvements. The company previously said it faces bankruptcy by August if it can't raise more capital.
Tariffs help solar panel maker Stion raise hiring
Solar panel maker Stion says it will hire 23 more employees, bringing its total to 177 at its Hattiesburg plant, as new U.S. tariffs on Chinese solar panels cause an increase in demand for American-made units. Peter DeGraff, Stion's executive vice president of sales and marketing, said Stion will expand operations from five days a week to seven and hire a fourth shift of workers. The San Jose, California, company is still far from reaching the $400 million investment and 1,000 employees it promised when it signed an economic development deal with Mississippi in 2011 in exchange for a $75 million loan and other incentives.
Airbus delivers new copter for state troopers
An Airbus Helicopters Inc. AS350 B3e AStar was delivered Tuesday to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. The new law enforcement-equipped helicopter was built in Columbus, where Airbus employs nearly 300 people. The Department of Public Safety paid for the AS350 B3e by selling its fleet of older helicopters. Gov. Phil Bryant says the helicopter is a welcome addition to the state's law enforcement tools.
Former governor Musgrove seeks more education funding
A lawsuit challenging the state of Mississippi's educational funding may be forthcoming. Former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove attended the Meridian Public School District Board of Trustees meeting Tuesday night to discuss the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. At the meeting, Musgrove, who is an attorney for the South Panola school board, discussed how he and some other school districts across the state plan to file suit against the state for underfunding. Musgrove said he has been making stops to different schools across the state to give them the opportunity to join the lawsuit which he plans to file before the end of July.
Mississippians, like Americans, are becoming more politically polarized
Once upon a time, it was considered taboo to discuss politics and religion, but in 2014 it seems people scream about it, and everyone's got an opinion. A new survey from the Pew Research Center finds Americans are more politically polarized than ever. Retired Mississippi State University Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development director and political observer Marty Wiseman said the internet has contributed to that divide in that it's conditioning people to be rude as a first response. "The websites you can get on and be anonymous, you've got people saying things to each other they'd never say to each other's face. There's a harshness being built in the process that's disheartening at best," he said.
Senate race interest uneven around state
While a record number of Mississippians turned out for the June 3 Republican primary to vote for either incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran or challenger Chris McDaniel of Ellisville, that doesn't necessarily mean there was intense interest in the race statewide. The campaigns of McDaniel and Cochran are currently studying those election returns while the candidates crisscross the state hoping to maintain their voters and entice new supporters for Tuesday's runoff. Oktibbeha and Lafayette were the only two Northeast Mississippi counties where turnout was higher than the 2012 primary. Oktibbeha is home to Mississippi State University and Lafayette is home to the University of Mississippi -- schools that have benefited from Cochran's influence over the congressional appropriations process through the years.
Senate GOP candidates spar on who can keep the jobs
The candidates for U.S. Senate continued to argue Tuesday over who would be best suited to keep jobs that rely on federal spending. Sen. Thad Cochran offered a gentle message to a standing-room-only crowd in an upstairs conference room at Peoples Bank in Magee, just south of Jackson, three times mentioning voters should send someone "thoughtful" to Washington. And he reiterated his plea to keep him and his influence in Congress. Cochran stands to become chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which has broad power over federal spending, if he returns to the Senate and if Republicans win a majority.
Cochran seeking union and black support
Six-term Republican Sen. Thad Cochran is trying to survive an intense TEA Party challenge by reaching out to union members and black voters -- two groups that traditionally support Democrats. But he risks a backlash from conservatives ready to support his opponent, state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Cochran said there's nothing nefarious about seeking support from a broad cross-section of voters. Because black voters comprise a significant portion of the overall electorate, Cochran is hoping they -- like white voters -- will reward him for his support of a wide variety of programs.
Former Congressman Taylor campaigns for Sen. Cochran today, greets workers at Ingalls
Former U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor showed his support for Sen. Thad Cochran in his Republican runoff race against Chris McDaniel by campaigning for the six-term senator by greeting workers at Ingalls Shipbuilding early today. "As someone who understands former Congressman Taylor's history of support for the employees of Ingalls, I am not surprised that he, like so many others, recognizes the importance of re-electing Sen. Cochran," said former Ingalls President Jerry St. Pe. "He received a very warm welcome." Taylor, of Bay St. Louis, served in the U.S. House for 21 years.
Hinds supervisor says elected official let McDaniel supporters into closed courthouse
Hinds County Supervisor Robert Graham said he was "shocked" to learn that an elected county official let supporters of Chris McDaniel into the county courthouse in the wee hours after the June 3 primary election. "I was briefed yesterday by the district attorney," Graham said Tuesday. "The reports that a county employee let them in is completely wrong. It was an elected official." Hinds County Constable Jon Lewis, a McDaniel supporter, said, "That's me they're referring to, but it's a crock ..." He said he called the McDaniel campaign about 10:30 the night of the election and told them they needed to get people to the Hinds Courthouse to oversee ballots and counting, but he then went home and went to sleep. Lewis said he's done his own investigation into the incident, trying to clear the McDaniel supporters.
New Mercedes-Benz C-Class is 'another step in the journey' for Alabama plant
The Tuscaloosa County operation of Mercedes-Benz will mark a major milestone today as it celebrates the production launch of the redesigned 2015 C-Class. The new model, which also is being produced at Mercedes factories in Germany, South Africa and China, is the first sedan to be built at the Alabama plant. Up to now, the lineup was limited to SUVs and crossovers: the M-Class, GL-Class and R-Class. Mercedes is adding 1,000 jobs tied to the C-Class at the Alabama plant. Bill Taylor, president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and the former longtime head of Mercedes' Alabama plant, said the addition of the C-Class validates the company's decision to set up shop in the state more than 20 years ago.
Oklahoma coming to terms with unprecedented surge in earthquakes
When Austin Holland was being considered for his job as the sole seismologist at the Oklahoma Geological Survey in 2009, his interviewer posed a wry question: "Are you going to be able to entertain yourself as a seismologist in Oklahoma?" Back then, the state had a 30-year average of only two earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or higher per year. As it turns out, though, boredom has been the least of Holland's concerns. Over the last five years, the state has had thousands of earthquakes -- an unprecedented increase that has made it the second-most seismically active state in the continental United States, behind California. Scientists have never observed such a dramatic swarm of earthquakes "in what's considered a stable continental interior," Holland said. "Whatever we're looking at, it's completely unprecedented."
Safety last: Lies and coverups mask roots of small-plane carnage
Nearly 45,000 people have been killed over the past five decades in private planes and helicopters -- almost nine times the number that have died in airline crashes -- and federal investigators have cited pilots as causing or contributing to 86% of private crashes. But a USA Today investigation shows repeated instances in which crashes, deaths and injuries were caused by defective parts and dangerous designs, casting doubt on the government's official rulings and revealing the inner workings of an industry hit so hard by legal claims that it sought and won liability protection from Congress. Wide-ranging defects have persisted for years as manufacturers covered up problems, lied to federal regulators and failed to remedy known malfunctions, USA Today found.
USM to host Freedom Summer conference
There are photos of political meetings and photos of children living in poverty. There are even visual documents of folks beaten and bruised in their quest for equal rights. Hattiesburg's place as the ground zero of Freedom Summer 50 years ago has come alive on the Cook Library walls this summer, thanks to the eyewitness photography of Herbert Randall. "It's just a tremendous treasure that can be continuously mined for insight and commentary," said Steven Haller, University of Southern Mississippi curator of historic manuscripts and archives, of Randall's collection. Now, local residents will get a chance to meet some of the people from those historic photos, as Southern Miss holds its Freedom Summer Conference from Thursday to Saturday.
Campers learn activities the Okra way at Delta State
"I love Okra camp! I liked learning that there are 206 bones in the body," said camper Sara Elizabeth Crews. Excited is an emotion that was strong throughout Delta State University's campus as kids began their first day of Okra Camp -- a summer day camp providing children a week-long opportunity to participate in structured indoor and outdoor recreation activities. "So far so good. We've got a full crew of 180 kids and it's the fifth year running," said Todd Davis, camp director.
WCU turning old apartments into new student housing
William Carey University will soon be opening some new student housing in an old apartment complex across the street from the Hattiesburg campus. School officials said renovation work is nearly complete on the three-story building, located at the intersection of Penton St. and Tuscan Ave. They said it should be ready for use in the fall semester and could house up to 30 students. The complex was bought more than a year ago and is one of more than 50 pieces of property acquired near the campus in the last seven years. William Carey University president Dr. Tommy King said the school has spent about $2.5 million purchasing property in the campus area to help ensure future growth of the school.
Auburn University expands global engagement
Auburn University provides a variety of opportunities for its faculty and students to experience an international education, according to Assistant Provost Dr. Andrew Gillespie. Gillespie discussed Auburn's global engagement initiatives at Tuesday's Senate meeting. Gillespie, assistant provost for international programs, discussed the Office of International Programs and its efforts to help faculty, staff and students engage with counterparts abroad. "Today, we're seeing over 1,100 students go abroad on an annual basis," Gillespie said. "We're seeing more and more students going abroad every year."
Regents launch search for new Louisiana higher education commissioner
The Louisiana Board of Regents expects to have a slate of finalists for the state's higher education commissioner job by October. The search for a new commissioner formally launched this month, after state lawmakers, in the final days of the 2014 legislative session, handed Regents the authority to set the job's salary -- a task previously left to a legislative committee. AGB consultant Tom Layzell, who held higher education roles in Mississippi, Illinois and Kentucky, spoke during hearings at the State Capitol this session, urging legislators to change the state's process for hiring its commissioner.
Toby Graham named head of UGA Libraries
Toby Graham, who has served in a variety of leadership roles at the University of Georgia Libraries for more than a decade, has been named university librarian and associate provost following a national search, Provost Pamela Whitten announced Monday. His appointment is effective Sept. 1. Graham has served as deputy university librarian since 2009, a role in which he supported strategic planning, administration and resource allocation for the libraries and oversaw fundraising. He previously served as head of special collections at the McCain Library and Archives at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Pros check out what's new in UGA Trial Gardens
Dozens of green industry professionals strolled through the University of Georgia's Trial Gardens Tuesday morning, thoughtfully eyeing hundreds of plants that formed a rainbow sea of color in the little garden behind the UGA School of Pharmacy. Many brought family members along on a trip that combined beauty and business at the garden's annual Industry Open house, when plant breeders, nursery owners, landscape architects and others are invited in to see and evaluate the hundreds of new flowers and ornamental plants on display. A public open house is scheduled in a little less than a month on July 12.
U. of Florida plans to host governor's debate
Hope is an elusive thing called a gubernatorial debate. Florida Blue Key and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service have tried for years to land a gubernatorial debate at the University of Florida. This year, they believe their chances are strong. Florida Blue Key and the Graham Center have forged a partnership with Fox News Stations WOFL in Orlando, WTVT in Tampa and WOGX in Gainesville to host a debate at UF on Sept. 29. The Florida Law Review is also involved in the partnership. Incumbent Gov. Rick Scott, the presumptive Republican nominee, has been sent an invitation, as have Democratic candidates Charlie Crist, a former governor, and Nan Rich, a former state senator.
UF buildings vying for architectural honors
Three Gainesville buildings are in the running for best community building in Florida -- and they all belong to the University of Florida. The People's Choice contest, sponsored by the Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, is designed as a way to make the public more aware of architecture and its influence on their community and in their lives, spokeswoman Erica Villanueva said. Another UF building -- the Research and Academic Center at Lake Nona built in 2012 by HOK -- was also nominated for the People's Choice award.
U. of Kentucky's Gluck head Troedsson not reappointed; board meets in secret
The director of the Gluck Equine Research Center will not be reappointed to another six-year term despite a bid by the Gluck Foundation board to keep Dr. Mats Troedsson in place. Troedsson, who has been chairman of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment's Veterinary Science Department since June 2008, agreed to stay on for 90 days while an interim is named and a search begins. The board went into executive session over an objection from the media and against the advice of Tim West, the college director of business administrator and an attorney. The foundation board is appointed by the UK board of trustees.
Texas A&M announces plan to boost health care by 2025
The Texas A&M University System has announced an ambitious plan to promote preventative health care to better Texans' lives and cut billions in tax dollars spent on Medicaid. Chancellor John Sharp on Tuesday at the Capitol announced the Healthy South Texas 2025 program, which aims to reduce preventable diseases in South Texas by 25 percent by the year 2025. The program will combine A&M's AgriLife Extension Service and the Health Science Center. Essentially, A&M will build upon its existing infrastructure of agricultural extension stations, located in 250 of the state's 254 counties, by sending health educators to different parts of Texas. The four counties without a physical presence are still covered by neighboring AgriLife locations. The A&M system's infrastructure lends itself to such a challenge, Sharp said.
Texas A&M team works to restore Union ship, cannon blown up during Civil War
The USS Westfield was blown up by its commander in the Civil War and withstood more than a century of abuse and decay in a ship canal before it was rescued from the shallow waters along Texas' Gulf Coast. The pieces of the ship's broken history are slowly coming back together thanks to a team of conservationists at Texas A&M's Riverside Campus. On Tuesday, the team unveiled a restored 19th century Dahlgren cannon, one of the largest pieces discovered during the 2009 excavation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
U. of Missouri Board of Curators to vote on conduct rules changes
The University of Missouri Board of Curators will vote during its meeting this week to amend, and in some cases completely overhaul, parts of the Collected Rules and Regulations related to Title IX enforcement, sexual assault and student conduct procedures. Many of the changes address issues that have come up in the sexual assault discussion during the last several months, including the implementation of every university employee being a mandated reporter, with the exception of health care workers, lawyers and others with confidential privileges.
UM System to fund intercampus courses
The University of Missouri System announced funding for 34 intercampus courses, with 15 awards presented to faculty for a total of $250,000 for developing cooperative programs, the UM System said in a statement. As outlined in its strategic plan, UM System administrators have an obligation to identify and share best practices and bring the campuses together to collaborate in ways, the statement said. In the past, one of the major obstacles to sharing courses had been that when students from one UM campus took courses from another UM campus, the home campus lost tuition fees. This program alleviated that barrier by differentiating between the host and home campus.
College of Charleston research bill dies
South Carolina lawmakers failed to reach a compromise Tuesday on a bill that would allow the College of Charleston to become the state's third full-fledged research university. The same bill also would have relieved public colleges of some state regulation of their construction projects and land purchases. Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, who will become the college's president next month, called the bill's death "very disappointing." He added, "It will slow our progress." The College of Charleston said it would not offer doctoral degrees that duplicate those offered by the state's other major research schools, Clemson University and the University of South Carolina.
Beer With a Scientist Taking Research to the Masses
Crowds will gather tonight -- as they do every night -- at Against the Grain in downtown Louisville, Ky., to drink craft beer and catch up with friends. But this evening they'll be treated to some unusual entertainment, at least for a brew pub (even a classy one in a college town): a talk on using nanotechnology to combat HIV and other viruses. Those who want a seat are advised to come early: Last month's inaugural "Beer With a Scientist" talk was standing-room only. The program is the brainchild of Levi Beverly, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Louisville and an investigator at its James Graham Brown Cancer Center and the Institute for Molecular Diversity and Drug Design. Beverly said Beer With a Scientist seeks to connect scholars and intellectually engaged non-academics over important scientific questions and good beer.
BRIAN PERRY (OPINION): Campaigns, politics stir passion
Consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "The dirtiest campaigns are those you're most closely invested in. For many, that means a local mayor's race or supervisor's race. Even when not used in press releases or paid media, whisper campaigns abound... For candidates, campaign staff, volunteers and supporters the mission becomes not unlike the passions for a sports team... Sometimes when your team loses, you support whichever team from the SEC moves forward because ultimately that is good for the conference and your school. But some Ole Miss or Mississippi State fans; or Alabama or Auburn fans; might never support the other school. Politics isn't much different."
BOBBY HARRISON (OPINION): GOP leaders have a more nuanced message now
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "Maybe it is not a Paul on the road to Damascus moment, but many Mississippi Republican leaders have experienced an epiphany during the hotly contested U.S. Senate primary elections. ... in recent years, the state Republican Party establishment has been busy repeating the rhetoric that the federal government is bad, federal spending is bad, we do it better here in Mississippi. ...Now with Cochran possibly on the verge of defeat, the Mississippi Republican Party establishment is having to use a more nuanced message. And that message is not all federal spending is bad -- especially when it comes to Mississippi."

Jacob Lindgren still piling up honors even as a Yankee
Former Mississippi State pitcher Jacob Lindgren earned first-team All-America honors by Perfect Game. The honor comes one week after earning first-team accolades by Baseball America and second-team honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. Lindgren agreed to terms with the New York Yankees earlier in the week. New York drafted the lefty 55th overall in this year's MLB draft. The junior led the Southeastern Conference with a 0.55 ERA and a .114 opponent's batting average in league games.
Mississippi State's Lindgren named Perfect Game All-American
After signing a contract with the New York Yankees this past weekend, former Mississippi State junior left-handed pitcher Jacob Lindgren earned first-team All-America honors by Perfect Game, the national scouting service announced Tuesday. The honor comes one week after earning first-team accolades by Baseball America and second-team props from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
N.C.A.A. Begins Its Turn in Antitrust Case Brought by Athletes
Christine Plonsky, the director of women's athletics at the University of Texas, took the stand Tuesday morning in federal court here in an effort to persuade a judge that the N.C.A.A. and its biggest athletics programs are not the commercialized profit centers they have been accused of being by a string of witnesses during the past week and a half. Plonsky's appearance represented a turning point in the trial's narrative: The plaintiffs have called most of their witnesses, and now the N.C.A.A. is having its turn. Plonsky spoke about what she regarded as the mission of college athletics: to educate students, to prepare them for life and to shield them from commercialism. "The essence of our work is to work with other people's children," said Plonsky, who also testified that Texas' athletic programs generated about $165 million in revenue last year. "They come to us as 17-year-olds."
U.S. patent office cancels Redskins trademark registration, says name is disparaging
The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration, calling the football team's name "disparaging to Native Americans." The landmark case, which appeared before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, was filed on behalf of five Native Americans. It was the second time such a case was filed. "This victory was a long time coming and reflects the hard work of many attorneys at our firm," said lead attorney Jesse Witten, of Drinker Biddle & Reath. The ruling does not mean that the Redskins have to change the name of the team. It does affect whether the team and the NFL can make money from merchandising because it limits the team's legal options when others use the logos and the name.

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