Thursday, June 19, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
College Board may seek bigger budget for 2015
The College Board is likely to decide today how large of a budget increase it will seek from Mississippi lawmakers. The board's Finance Committee considered a plan Wednesday that would ask for an 11 percent increase over what the state's eight public universities will get in the 2015 budget year, which begins July 1. The centerpiece of the College Board's recent funding efforts has been a formula that allocates money to universities based in part on how many credit hours students complete. But some research units say they need large increases to recover from years of funding cuts, especially considering most don't have students to pay tuition.
Golden Triangle economic development officials have ambitious plans
Hustle and bustle is the norm in Starkville. Restaurants are plentiful. The ever-growing Mississippi State University is here and a thriving population, but something is missing. "There's a lot here, but if you don't have the physical space where potential industry can locate, well nothing else really matters," said Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman. That may be about to change. A plan to build a new industrial park in Oktibbeha County is in the works. It would differ in appearance to other industrial parks. It will look similar in appearance to the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park, which includes trees and sidewalks.
ExxonMobil Donations to Mississippi State Earn $288,000 match
Nearly 40 individual donors tripled their investment in Mississippi State's future through a gift-match program at ExxonMobil. Paula Jean Runge recently came back to campus to present a $288,437.25 check to Jerry A. Gilbert on behalf of the ExxonMobil Foundation. The donation delivered by the 2004 mechanical engineering alumna represents a $3-for-$1 match of financial contributions during the past year by Exxon employees, retirees and surviving spouses who are graduates or have some other affiliation with the university. Gilbert, the land-grant institution's provost and executive vice president, expressed appreciation "to the ExxonMobil Foundation for matching the gifts of their employees to multiply the impact.
MSU Maker Faire celebrates National Day of Making Wednesday
Mississippi State University had a role to play Wednesday in an initiative straight from President Barack Obama. He issued a proclamation declaring June 18 the National Day of Making, calling on communities across the country to hold Maker Faires. First developed in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, Maker Faires are all-ages gatherings of technology enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, artists and other "makers" who show what they have made and what they have learned. Jane Moorhead, an instructor in electrical and computer engineering at MSU, likened Maker Faires to craft fairs for technology.
MSU-Meridian Hosts Business Expo
The MSU-Meridian Division of Business Expo was quite busy Tuesday afternoon. Within minutes of its start, prospective students as well as business leaders came in to explore what the downtown campus has to offer. Dr. William Hill, the Division Head, says, "We have a wonderful business community here that supports our students and offers jobs and internships to our students. A degree from MSU Meridian Division of Business is still a degree from Mississippi State University." Some of the business leaders that came to the expo were looking to form new alliances with the school.
MSU Hires New Researcher at Coastal Plain Station
The Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station welcomed a plant materials specialist on June 16. Brett Rushing is a native of Alabaster, Alabama. He holds a bachelor's degree in biological sciences from Jacksonville State University and a master's and doctoral degrees in agronomy from MSU. Sherry Surrette, head of the Frank T. (Butch) Withers Jr. Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center, said Rushing is an asset to the area. "Dr. Rushing has extensive training in forages, biomass crops and conservation plant species through his previous research and extension work at Mississippi State University," Surrette said.
MSU Alumni Association Names New Student Delegates, Officers
Twenty-eight Mississippi State students are new members of the university alumni association's liaison organization. Founded in 1980, Alumni Delegates serve as key links between the 136-year-old land-grant institution and its more than 127,000 living graduates. Helping improve the student body's understanding of the alumni association's role and purpose is among their major missions. New members are selected each year through a highly competitive interview process.
Mississippi Delta Watershed project showing savings with water
On a day when an SUV was required to navigate the flooded roads to Bern Prewitt's Mississippi Delta farm, officials with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Environmental Quality and the Natural Resources Conservation Service traveled to Shaw, Miss., to get a first-hand look at how producers are recapturing that rainfall. Prewitt's newly installed tailwater recovery system is part of a pilot project by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to reduce nutrient load and improve water quality in the northern catchment area of the Porter Bayou watershed. The project is supported with Clean Water Act, Section 319 funds. Assisting through the collection of data are Mississippi State University and the United States Geological Service.
Starkville approves planning items for chain restaurants
Aldermen unanimously passed planning items Tuesday that will allow national fast food chains Panda Express and Sonic to offer new or more services in Starkville. First, the board approved five landscaping waivers for a Panda Express location at the main Miss. Highway 12 entrance to Walmart. The waivers, which grant exemptions to dimensional landscaping strip provisions set forth by the city's landscaping ordinance, were previously approved by the Starkville Tree Advisory Board in separate May and June meetings. Aldermen also rubber-stamped a previous Starkville Planning and Zoning Commission decision to rezone a 711 Vine Street from multi-family residential (R-3) to a buffer district (B-1), thereby allowing a major expansion project at the adjacent Sonic location.
Police seeking burglary suspect
Starkville police are searching for a suspect in a reported Wednesday afternoon residential burglary. An SPD press release issued late Wednesday says officers responded to the residence at about 12:25 p.m., but the release did not disclose the home's address. Police believe the homeowner interrupted the reported burglary and suffered minor injuries during the incident. The suspect is described as a black male wearing a white t-shirt, khaki cargo shorts and white tennis shoes. The release said police are investigating the possibility others were involved in the incident.
Starkville Community Artist Dies at 72
A fixture of the Starkville community has passed away. According to Oktibbeha County Coroner Michael Hunt, Carole McReynolds Davis died of natural causes Wednesday afternoon at the age of 72. Davis was best known for her work as an artist.
Starkville police chief graduates from FBI academy
Starkville police Chief Frank Nichols was among 220 law enforcement agents to graduate Friday from the FBI National Academy Program in Quantico, Va. While at the academy, Nichols earned 17 graduate hours from the University of Virginia, completed the 6.1-mile Yellow Brick Road obstacle course and won first place in the annual bench press contest. Nichols, a 22-year veteran of Starkville Police Department, was named police chief in February.
KiOR begins layoffs, more expected
KiOR laid off approximately 18 employees at its Columbus facility Tuesday and that is likely only the beginning. The Texas-based alternative fuel maker built a $218 million facility on The Island in 2011. The plant converts wood chips to fuel, but has not operated in more than six months as the company has struggled to perfect its first-of-its-kind process. Fred Cannon, the company's CEO, said KiOR would spend the first three months of 2014 focusing on research and development and technical improvements at the plant. The company, though, is running out of money. "Given the company's limited cash flow, we do anticipate additional layoffs," the company said in a statement to The Dispatch on Tuesday. "This will occur as required over the next one to two months."
Mississippi Power CEO proud of Kemper plant, frustrated by cost overruns
The president and CEO of Mississippi Power said he's very proud of the Kemper County plant because of what it will mean for the future of energy, but he's not proud of the fact that it has turned out to be more expensive and is taking longer to build than originally thought. "But I believe we will look back and be proud of what we've done in the state of Mississippi," Ed Holland told the Pascagoula Rotary Club on Wednesday afternoon. Holland talked about how the goal of the plant is to turn lignite, which is abundant in Mississippi, into energy. "We're standing behind this project. We're proud of what we're doing."
Still Learning From The 'Pearl Harbor' Of The Civil Rights Movement
This weekend marks 50 years since three young civil rights workers went missing in Philadelphia, Miss., drawing the nation's attention to the brutal resistance to equal rights in the South at the time. Justice came slowly, but the murders did help spur change. Today, young people are still learning about the activists' legacy, hoping to inspire further action. Ten years ago, a local interracial group -- the Philadelphia Coalition -- called for justice and pressured authorities to prosecute the murderers who were still living in the area. The town had to acknowledge its place in history, says Jim Prince, co-chairman of the coalition and editor and publisher of The Neshoba Democrat newspaper. "This was the Pearl Harbor of the civil rights movement," Prince says.
Charter school law needs amending, Reeves says
Mississippi's lieutenant governor would like to amend the state's new charter school law. Tate Reeves was among the primary forces behind the 2013 state law that allowed Mississippi's first charter schools. For it to truly have an impact, he said on Wednesday, it must be changed to allow students to cross district lines to attend those schools, which are publicly funded but given the flexibility from many of the rules that govern traditional schools. During his meeting with the Daily Journal's editorial board, Reeves spoke at length about education and school reform measures.
State treasurer touts financial literacy for teens
Teaching Mississippi children to become financially literate is the goal of a new program spearheaded by state Treasurer Lynn Fitch. TEAM, or Treasurer's Education About Money, will be rolled out at public, private and parochial high schools statewide this fall, said Fitch during a meeting with the Hattiesburg American's editorial board on Wednesday. "Ultimately kids go to school and become part of the workforce. This program will be empowering for kids," she said. "...It will teach children the basics of how to manage their money."
Treasurer Lynn Fitch sees financial good times ahead for Mississippi
Mississippi's bond debt amounts to $1,746 for every man, woman and child, but state Treasurer Lynn Fitch said that will only go down in the future. Fitch talked to the Sun Herald on Wednesday about things her office is doing to ensure the state is a good steward of taxpayer money. She said officials just met with financial ratings agencies this month to make a case for a good bond rating. She said she expects it to stay at AA, though the goal is to someday get to AAA. But even a AA rating will help in the fall when the state sells bonds to finance projects, she said. She also said a new phase of the Mississippi Prepaid Affordable College Tuition Plan will begin in the fall.
Despite some 2014 successes, tea party is fading as a brand
He's just the kind of candidate the tea party likes: deeply conservative, an outsider, and a challenge to the Washington establishment. Yet Chris McDaniel rarely utters the words "tea party" as he campaigns against Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., for a primary runoff next Tuesday for the Republican Senate nomination. Indeed, just five years after it burst onto the national political scene as a grass-roots force, the tea party is fading as a useful brand. During three days of McDaniel appearances last week, the only time the words "tea party" were apparent was outside Newk's Eatery in Starkville, where college student William Mancer stood outside a McDaniel rally with a sign that said "Tea Party Wacko." He was protesting the movement.
Cochran: 'More the merrier' on runoff voting
Gov. Phil Bryant and other local Republican leaders helped incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran stump for votes on Wednesday. But Cochran also fielded media questions about his campaign and surrogates courting Democrats for next week's GOP primary runoff. "Thirty years ago, and longer, when the Republican Party was struggling in Mississippi, Sen. Thad Cochran stepped forward," Bryant told a crowd of workers at Southern States Utility Trailers in Richland. He touted Cochran's support from the National Rifle Association, pro-life record and strong record of supporting the military and defense industry and "blue collar workers." "Now we're being asked to forget what this man has done for us," Bryant said. "I don't forget those things."
PACs for state's largest universities endorse Cochran
The campaign for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran released a joint statement from PACs representing the three largest universities in Mississippi: "Thad Cochran's record of supporting our universities speaks for itself. Thad has fought for research and development that places Mississippi on the cutting-edge of innovative industries like automobile manufacturing, alternative energy production, biofuels and other agribusiness concerns, and missile technology. ...We urge our fellow Rebels, Bulldogs and Golden Eagles to stand with the candidate that stands with us -- vote for Thad Cochran on June 24, 2014."
Neshoba Democrat spotlights McDaniel's bush league Senate record
The weekly Neshoba Democrat has put forth some strong reporting in compiling information on why state Sen. Chris McDaniel is an inferior choice for the U.S. Senate. In short, the Democrat says, McDaniel's Senate work over his six years in the body is that of a lightweight whose legislative efforts consisted mainly of trying in vain to get specialty car license tags passed. This is the kind of digging into the legislative record of the candidate the state's daily newspapers should have been doing. But since they didn't, we are grateful for the hard work put forth by the weekly Neshoba Democrat.
Reeves: Repeats of primary unlikely
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said he doesn't think the possible success of insurgent Chris McDaniel in challenging six-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran will result in state Republican officeholders facing more opponents in next year's elections. Reeves, the first-term lieutenant governor who is likely to run for re-election in 2015, said Wednesday that Mississippi's Republican leadership has been successful in fiscal budget restraint and passing socially conservative legislation. Reeves, speaking to the Daily Journal editorial board for more than an hour on a host of issues, said those are the results all Republicans want -- whether Tea Party members supporting McDaniel in the U.S. Senate campaign or traditional Republicans supporting Cochran.
Cochran steps up area campaign in Brookhaven
In the back of Poppa's restaurant in Brookhaven, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran spoke to a group of excited supporters Tuesday. He was invited as a guest speaker for the joint meeting of the Lions and Servitium clubs. Prominent state and city officials were in attendance, including Brookhaven Mayor Joe Cox, Mississippi Sen. Sally Doty and Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Cindy Hyde-Smith, all showing support for the incumbent Republican. Cochran spent much of his day in the Lincoln County area Tuesday.
DeSoto key for Cochran-McDaniel runoff on Tuesday
Turnout in Tuesday's Republican primary runoff election could very well change Mississippi's future, for better or worse and for generations to come. "I do think that DeSoto County is key in the election," Kevin Blackwell, DeSoto County Republican Party Chairman, said Wednesday. Blackwell said voter turnout in a primary is "historically low," but he anticipates surpassing the turnout in the June 3 primary. "We are prepared for a larger turnout," Blackwell said. The stakes for Mississippi's economic future couldn't be higher. An in-depth analysis shows the complexity of the race and its implications for the future.
In Mississippi, Largess Helped a Senator, Until It Hurt Him
Senator Thad Cochran's critics may disparage him as the "King of Pork." But to the local politicians in the booming suburbs here in northwest Mississippi, just south of Memphis, it is good to be in the realm of the king. Yet Mr. Cochran is currently fighting for his political life. The result is a race that is raising a question at the heart of American politics, and especially the politics of the South: Do voters hate spending even when it is spending that comes home to them? Marty Wiseman, a political science professor and the former director of the John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development at Mississippi State University, said he was astonished that so many voters were choosing Mr. McDaniel in a state with the nation's highest poverty rate and lowest median household income and, according to the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit Washington think tank, one that receives the highest level of federal aid as a percentage of state revenue.
Brett Favre tries a Hail Mary for Cochran
Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre is hoping he can help Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) pull out an overtime win in his runoff battle with primary challenger Chris McDaniel. The championship quarterback offers his support to Cochran in a new ad out from the Chamber of Commerce in which he touts Cochran as Mississippi's "strong voice in Washington." "I've learned through football that strong leadership can mean the difference between winning and losing," he says in the ad. "Trust me, Mississippi can win," he goes on, with Cochran in office. The three-time MVP started his career as a quarterback for the University of Southern Mississippi, and is still well-known and liked in the state.
Could Democrats decide Mississippi's GOP Senate runoff?
Could Democrats wind up deciding the Mississippi Senate Republican runoff election? It's possible, since Democrats can vote in Tuesday's election. But not all Democrats. Here's the analysis from Chism Strategies' Brad Chism. The firm has Democratic ties: "Mississippi law allows anyone who didn't vote in the June 3rd Democratic Primary to vote in the GOP Primary runoff. However, the Cochran plan to expand the electorate with Democrats is a hard lift -- the most likely Democratic voters are ineligible to participate in the runoff." Chism's latest survey, taken Friday, showed Cochran ahead by 1 over challenger Chris McDaniel.
Just 56% of Mississippi Women Finishing Community College
Just 56 percent of Mississippi women who enter community college are earning a degree or certificate within six years. That's according to a new survey by the Women's Foundation of Mississippi. The foundation is looking for ways to get more women college degrees to improve their economic fortunes. According to the survey of 500 Mississippi students, the biggest barriers keeping Mississippi women from graduating are financial concerns or raising children.
Auburn faculty, alumni remember golden eagle Tiger
An icon of one of Auburn University's best-known traditions passed away Wednesday. Tiger the golden eagle, also known as "War Eagle VI," was the first eagle to fly free over Jordan-Hare Stadium, beginning what would become one of the most iconic pre-game traditions in the nation. Tiger passed away early Wednesday after successfully coming out of surgery the night before. Dr. Jamie Bellah, director of the Southeastern Raptor Center, said Tiger underwent cataract surgery Tuesday. The procedure went well, Bellah said, but she took a turn for the worst after coming out of anesthesia.
U. of Alabama grad Todd Carpenter named CEO of Boone Newspapers Inc.
Tuscaloosa native Todd H. Carpenter has been named chief executive officer of Boone Newspapers Inc. of Tuscaloosa-Northport. He succeeds James B. Boone Jr. of Tuscaloosa. who will continue as BNI's full-time chairman. Carpenter also continues as president and director of BNI and will work from Natchez, Miss., where BNI owns and operates The Natchez Democrat. Carpenter is a graduate of the University of Alabama's College of Commerce and Business Administration. He serves as a member of the UA's President's Cabinet and on the boards of visitors for UA's business college and communications school.
Graduate assistants union, U. of Florida try to avoid impasse on fees, health premiums
Frustration has been mounting over contract negotiations between the graduate assistants union and University of Florida officials, bringing them to the edge of declaring an impasse. They'll meet this afternoon at the UF Human Resources Building on West University Avenue to see where they stand, and if they can make any headway on student activity fees and health care premiums --- the two most important issues identified by Graduate Assistants United. They ended last week's bargaining session saying they were not going to deal with any other issues until they resolved fees and insurance premiums, said Luis Caraballo-Burgos, chief negotiator for the union. "I don't see the point of discussing anything else," he said.
Vanderbilt playing key role in the Internet of Things
The Internet of things, or "Industrial Internet," as General Electric named it, allows every ordinary object to be connected to a complete network of objects that can interact with one another by exchanging data. There are several roadblocks to this new Internet becoming a reality, according to Janos Sztipanovits, director of the Institute for Software Integrated Systems at Vanderbilt University, which leads the nation in research on cyber-physical systems -- systems like the Internet of things.
Only one state has hiked tuition more than Georgia
Only one state has jacked up tuition and fee costs for college students more than Georgia did in the five-year period from 2008 to 2013, according to a recent study conducted by the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. Net tuition and fees for students in Georgia's public colleges and universities nearly doubled in that time, noted the "State Higher Education Finance" report issued by the nationwide nonprofit association of higher education chief executive officers. Only in New Mexico, where net tuition and fees rose a remarkable 188 percent, did state officials shift the cost of college from government to students more than legislators in Georgia.
U. of Kentucky project aimed at reducing flooding where two women died
Nearly eight years after two women were sucked into a storm drain and drowned at the intersection of Nicholasville Road and Alumni Drive, the University of Kentucky is building a water detention system to alleviate flooding in the area. The $12 million project began in early April and is expected to be completed in April 2015, said project manager Keith Ingram. As part of the project, UK is removing a parking lot at the entrance to the Greg Page Apartment Complex and replacing it with a new lot that will be built on top of a water detention basin now under construction on Alumni Drive. Nearly $9 million for the project is coming from a Federal Emergency Management Agency hazard mitigation grant.
Gender Gap on Campus Safety
Female students are considerably more concerned about campus violence than their male peers and are less likely to think their colleges are doing enough to protect them, according to a new survey conducted by Chegg, the textbook rental company. Non-lethal assaults -- including sexual assault -- remain a serious safety concern for female students on college campuses, according to the survey. The top safety concern for male students, and by a large margin, was property crime. Female students also had less faith in their universities' efforts to prevent gun violence on campus. Almost half of female students said their college could do more, while 36 percent of male students felt that way.
BILL MINOR (OPINION): McDaniel linked to neo-Confederate, secessionist rally
Longtime political columnist Bill Minor writes: "Funding public education wouldn't normally become an issue in a race for a U.S. Senate seat, but it has become one in the nationally watched Republican senatorial runoff. Reelection of veteran Sen. Thad Cochran is in jeopardy from 42-year-old State Sen. Chris McDaniel of Jones County. McDaniel, allied with the far-right Tea Party wing of the GOP, opposes federal educational subsidies. McDaniel has been able to mask from voters how far to the right he really is. Investigative magazine Mother Jones in 2013 had reported that McDaniel was the featured speaker for a neo-confederate, pro-secessionist conference in Jones County at which many attendees wore Confederate uniforms."
SID SALTER (OPINION): Federal highway fund depletion looms as threat to Mississippi
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "The Federal Highway Trust Fund faces the same problems that the Mississippi Department of Transportation faces in raising state highways funds from state fuel taxes. Fuel consumption is flat and fuel efficiency continues to improve, so as we drive less and get more miles to the gallon, the federal gas tax -- currently at 18.4 cents per gallon -- doesn't raise enough revenue to sustain the current transportation infrastructure or to expand and improve it. What does that mean? It means that unless Congress acts, most of the federal transportation program will cease in Fiscal Year 2015."

Mississippi State's Ally McDonald ready for U.S. Open
The Mississippi State women's golf team -- care of Ally McDonald -- has taken the best season in program on the road. The last stop on the Bulldogs' wonderful 2013-14 season will begin Thursday when McDonald represents the team at the U.S. Women's Open at the Pinehurst Resort and Country Club (No. 2 Course) in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Last week, Pinehurst Resort and Country Club played host to the PGA's U.S. Open. This week, the 6,649-yard, par-70 course will challenge some of the LPGA's best golfers. ESPN2 will provide live coverage from 3-6 p.m. Thursday and Friday. WTVA will offer live coverage from 2-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
McDonald: Nothing to lose in U.S. Open
Events like the U.S. Women's Open will soon be just another stop on Ally McDonald's tour schedule. But this week the Fulton native and Mississippi State junior will get her first taste of LPGA action at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina. McDonald will tee off today at 12:03 p.m. CT and is paired with professionals Rebecca Lee-Bentham of Canada and Ayaka Watanabe of Japan. "If you go into a tournament and don't think you can win it, then there's no point in playing," McDonald said. "There's no doubt in my mind that if I go out and play to the best of my ability that I might have a shot. It's a different stage and my first LPGA event, and it'll have the pressure of the U.S. Open, but I'm playing as an amateur and have nothing to lose."
Old Waverly to become new home for Mississippi State golf teams
Old Waverly Golf Club, one of the South's premier golf destinations located in nearby West Point, Miss., will become the new home to Mississippi State men's and women's varsity golf programs, the MSU Athletic Department announced Wednesday. The Bulldog Club, the private fundraising arm of the Mississippi State Athletics, has partnered with Old Waverly on the $2.2 million project that includes a driving range, short-game area, putting green, plus a team clubhouse and indoor hitting bays. Over $1.3 million has been raised thus far.
U. of Arkansas Projects $89.2M Athletics Budget
The University of Arkansas athletic department is projecting $89.2 million in revenue for the 2014-15 fiscal year. That is up 9.6 percent from $80.6 million projected last year, and up 15.2 percent from 75.6 million projected in the 2012-13 fiscal year. Among the top revenue projections are $35.4 million from ticket sales, including $27 million from football, $6.4 million in men's basketball and $1.9 million in baseball. Other revenue projections include $25 million from conference and NCAA distribution and $14 million in gifts and donations.
New U. of Missouri softball stadium is on curators' agenda
Thursday, the University of Missouri Board of Curators is scheduled to discuss MU's master plan that includes the proposed site for a new softball complex. The plan calls for the complex to be built east of the Hearnes Center. Documents show that Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin has recommended, with UM System President Tim Wolfe's endorsement, that the master plan be approved by the curators. Athletic Director Mike Alden told reporters last week that the athletic administration's top two facility priorities are the indoor football facility and the softball complex. The master plan also plots three other possible athletic facility projects: expansion to Faurot Field's south end zone seating, an addition to the Devine Pavilion's south end and an addition at the northwest corner of Mizzou Arena.
Lexington mayor suspends Rupp Arena project after losing U. of Kentucky support
Lexington Mayor Jim Gray announced Wednesday that he is scuttling a $351 million renovation of Rupp Arena and attached convention center after the University of Kentucky told city and state officials that it was interested only in a scaled-back Rupp Arena renovation. Gray told the Herald-Leader on Wednesday that the plans for the renovation have been suspended indefinitely until all parties can come together. University officials declined to comment on the city's charges that it had backed out of its original agreement. UK Coach John Calipari also declined to comment. Calipari has remained largely silent on the Rupp project, which has been in the works for three years.

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