Wednesday, June 25, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Drones could help Mississippi farm industry
The applications for drones have softened, shifting from machines of war to whirlybirds that can capture incredible aerial photos of any event under the sun. The newest possibility mixes that magic with cost-savings that could prove revolutionary for Mississippi's agricultural industry. Every part of the business can benefit from the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, said David Shaw, Mississippi State University's vice president for research and economic development. "We're right on the frond end of this," said Shaw. Mississippi State has started formulating how to best apply UAVs to its research capabilities, Shaw said. "You can be much more proactive," Shaw said. "And with what we call precision ag, it also allows you to manage a field in a specific location. Some of the research can blow your mind as far as the quality and how small the package is."
MSU Veterinary Professor, Alum Honored by National Organization
Dr. Todd Archer of Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine is being honored by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Foundation. In recognition of his demonstrated commitment to advancing veterinary specialty medicine and "outstanding dedicated volunteer service," the assistant professor recently received the foundation's 2014 Distinguished Service Award. He has served as a member of the foundation's board of directors and Scientific Review Committee, and was a program planner for a foundation specialty forum.
Cotton acreage expected to soar 40% over 2013
The state's cotton producers remain optimistic about a crop that is up significantly in acreage despite frequent planting delays. The state is expected to plant about 400,000 acres of cotton in 2014, about 40 percent more than last year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported on June 15 that cotton was 98 percent planted. USDA rated 65 percent of the crop as "good" or "excellent," but 32 percent was rated "fair." Darrin Dodds, a Mississippi State University Extension cotton specialist, attributed the lower rating to poor growing conditions so far this season.
Starkville wins two Main Street awards
The Mississippi Main Street Association awarded its Best New Signage and Best New Development Project awards to Starkville last week for two visible projects in the downtown area. The city's recently implemented wayfinding signage project earned recognition, while Renasant Bank's transformation of a once-blighted parcel and potential area economic restructuring was honored. Both projects tie into recommendations from a 2011 study that said the city should expand its core business district outward from Main Street and create infrastructure improvements aimed at easily and effectively guiding pedestrians throughout the town.
Cochran wins runoff; McDaniel refuses to concede, plans challenge
Thad Cochran has won the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate for the seventh time, squeaking past challenger Chris McDaniel in a runoff Tuesday, according to unofficial results. But McDaniel didn't concede Tuesday night and in a speech to supporters referenced "dozens of irregularities" in voting Tuesday and indicated he would challenge the results over Democrats voting in the Republican primary. Maur McKie of Madison said Cochran has done a lot for Mississippi, rattling off his work on issues important to the state including agriculture, military bases and infrastructure projects. "Sen. Cochran has done a lot for this state,'' he said. "He can get things done. And he's in position to be chair of appropriations. What's not to like about him?''
Cochran rallies for win; defiant McDaniel hints at challenge
Thad Cochran overcame a lackluster early campaign effort and Tea Party fervor to narrowly capture the Republican nomination Tuesday in his quest to win a seventh term in the U.S. Senate. His challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, was defiant in defeat, blaming his loss on "liberal Democrats" lured by the Cochran campaign to vote in the Republican runoff. He hinted at some sort of challenge to the Cochran victory of about 6,400 votes. Cochran, 76, will now face former U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, the Democratic nominee, in the November general election. If he is re-elected in November, when he will be a heavy favorite against Childers, and if Republicans regain control of the Senate, Cochran will be in line to again chair the Appropriations Committee.
Cochran wins, McDaniel hints at possible recount
Seniority won the day, and a tea party challenge fell short, as Sen. Thad Cochran defeated state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the U.S. Senate Republican primary runoff. As of 11 pm. Tuesday, Cochran's winning margin stood at 7,000 votes. Speaking to his supporters at night's end at Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg, McDaniel refused to throw in the towel, hinting at a possible recount. "We're not done fighting," McDaniel said. "We have to be absolutely certain that the Republican primary was won by Republican voters." McDaniel supporters, who exhibited great confidence for their candidate at the start of the night, expressed their dismay when they learned the race had been called for Cochran.
History-maker Cochran avoids a historic defeat
Having made history in victory long ago, Thad Cochran rallied to avoid making it in defeat on Tuesday. The 76-year-old six-term U.S. senator, who was the first Mississippi Republican elected statewide in the modern era, survived a challenge that had insurgent Tea Party-backed candidate Chris McDaniel on the verge of a historic upset -- what would have been the first defeat of an incumbent senator in the state in 72 years. It also would have represented a marked departure from Mississippi's historic practice of sending men to Washington and keeping them there for decades to build influence and make deals on the state's behalf, as Cochran has done for 35 years in the Senate.
Inside the Thad Cochran comeback
Thad Cochran's political resurrection began with a campaign shakeup and ended with a Hail Mary television ad. Just three weeks ago, in the dead of night on June 3, the Mississippi senator's staff sat shaken and dejected, crestfallen at the results of a primary that deprived the six-term incumbent of an electoral majority. With Cochran forced into a runoff fight against an aggressive and energetic challenger, a dark mood shadowed his backers in Washington and Mississippi. Yet almost immediately, the Cochran coalition began bouncing back.
How Thad Cochran won
Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran's stunning runoff victory over conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel on Tuesday night broke almost every rule of politics. After trailing the lesser known McDaniel in the June 3 primary, Cochran, in three weeks time, managed to: a) grow the electorate in his favor by, among other things, recruiting African Americans to his cause b) run successfully on a message of keeping his seniority in Washington and c) win despite, quite clearly, being the less naturally skilled candidate on the stump. Doing one of those things in three weeks time would be astounding. Doing all three is like watching someone pitch a political perfect game; you'll not see a victory like this one any time soon.
Black voters key in Cochran's win
Democratic state Rep. Credell Calhoun of Jackson said today that black voters absolutely helped U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran to defeat challenger Chris McDaniel in Tuesday's runoff election. "He did what he had to do to win," Calhoun said today of Cochran's camp seeking traditional Democratic voters to help him win. "He put together a coalition. If the other side could have done it, they would have. In politics, the key is winning." Calhoun drove around on election day in a vehicle with "Thad" signs attached and music blaring from a microphone saying "Let's go vote." "Many in the black community perceive the tea party as being anti-black," Calhoun said.
A Senator Wins a Race He Mulled Not Running
The question seemed to tug at Senator Thad Cochran throughout his bumpy re-election campaign in Mississippi: Why, after a long, distinguished career -- 42 years in Congress, including six terms in the Senate -- was he seeking a seventh term? "Well, that's a good question," Mr. Cochran acknowledged last week after a campaign stop at a general store in Philadelphia, Miss., when asked why he had not retired. Mr. Cochran, who was first elected to Congress in 1972 on the coattails of President Richard M. Nixon, paused and then added wryly, "Well, they'd do fine without me, but I'm running again." And run he did.
Cochran topples Tea Party
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) orchestrated a stunning comeback over primary challenger Chris McDaniel on Tuesday night thanks to an unusual combination of African-American support and GOP establishment might. McDaniel's loss is a major repudiation of the Tea Party at a pivotal moment for the movement. Cochran's success will likely take the wind out of the Tea Party's sails and send it back to the drawing board in search of a new kind of message and a new kind of candidate. Addressing supporters at his victory party Tuesday night, Cochran was incredibly brief, speaking only for a few minutes. "This is your victory. It's been a real pleasure working so closely with so many of you," said the genial senator.
Cochran wins, tea party loses in Mississippi
Sen. Thad Cochran won the Mississippi Republican Senate nomination Tuesday, edging upstart challenger Chris McDaniel and the tea party movement. The runoff election victory by the savvy Washington insider was a rebuff to the tea party and like-minded conservative groups that passionately rallied around McDaniel. His defeat was a bitter blow to a conservative insurgency that began 2014 with enormous ambitions but found itself losing almost weekly.
GOP bigwigs, Mississippi Democrats pull off win for Thad Cochran
In an improbable ending to a wild race, six-term Sen. Thad Cochran (R) of Mississippi defeated tea party challenger Chris McDaniel in a primary runoff vote -- and did so with a critical assist from Democratic voters, many of them African-American. Cochran's upset victory Tuesday dealt a major blow to the national tea party movement. McDaniel was defiant in defeat, declining to concede the race Tuesday night. It appears that McDaniel has limited options -- though in his speech Tuesday night, he suggested he might challenge the outcome, citing "dozens of irregularities." The optics of McDaniel contesting the votes of black Mississippians could be unseemly in a state with a fraught racial history.
Defiant Chris McDaniel declines to concede in speech to supporters
A defiant Chris McDaniel walked up to the podium at his election night headquarters here after the Republican runoff was called for his opponent Sen. Thad Cochran -- and then he didn't concede. he more than 200 supporters gathered in the Hattiesburg Lake Terrace Convention Center were just as angry as McDaniel about the loss to Cochran, which virtually assures the 76-year-old an easy win toward a seventh term in the general election. They cheered his defiance and chanted "Write Chris In!" as he took the stage and calling out "It's not over Chris" and "We're not going with Thad." It's a major loss for national tea party groups.
Moran leads panel on fully funding education during MML conference
Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran moderated a panel discussion Monday on the need for the Mississippi Legislature to fully fund education in the state. The panel was held during the annual Mississippi Municipal League conference being hosted in Biloxi this week at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum convention center. At the heart of the discussion was the state's shortfall in fully funding the Mississippi Adequate Education Program. In her opening remarks, Moran noted the legislature has not fully funded MAEP since 2008. In the time since, schools statewide were shorted some $1.5 billion in funding which could have provided an additional 5,423 classroom teachers, according to the Mississippi Association of Educators.
Organizers: View fully funded education as a right
If Mississippi is going to move past its troubled history, it will take a renewed focus on education -- and better funding of its public schools, advocates said Tuesday. Volunteers, parents and youth who gathered in a small, cool chapel at Tougaloo College emphasized the importance of better funding as part of a Freedom Summer 50th anniversary conference. Throughout the week, the conference will host multiple discussions about civil rights, education and other social issues to commemorate the summer of 1964, when civil rights workers from around the country flocked to the state to help register black voters and set up Freedom Schools.
Trent Lott, John Breaux plot Squire Patton Boggs comeback
Squire Patton Boggs is counting on Trent Lott and John Breaux to pull off a third act. The former Senate power players turned K Street power brokers are now at the center of the firm's quest to recapture its position as the No. 1 lobbying shop in Washington. Patton Boggs faced a barrage of bad publicity in the weeks and months leading up to the merger, with rumors of bankruptcy swirling up and down K Street. Now, the combined firm must bolster its political cachet and reputation. The question is whether the two 70-somethings, who launched an enormously successful boutique lobbying practice before merging with Patton Boggs in 2008, can pull off another success and rebuild this firm's lobbying brand.
Report: Climate change a huge economic risk
Climate change poses profound risks to the U.S. economy and needs to be addressed immediately, says a bipartisan report Tuesday by a coalition of financial leaders that includes three former Treasury secretaries. Two of the most severe impacts -- sea level rise and extreme heat -- will likely cost billions of dollars in annual property loss, threaten human health. lower labor productivity and endanger the nation's electricity grids, says the report by the Risky Business Project. "The risks are more perverse and cruel than we saw with the financial crisis, because they accumulate over time," Henry Paulson Jr., the Treasury secretary for President George W. Bush, told reporters Tuesday, noting heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions linger in the atmosphere a long time.
Student found dead in MUW dorm
The assistant band director for Columbus High School was found dead in a Mississippi University for Women dorm room Monday. Leshawn "Sean" Dewayne Orr, 32, was found dead in a dormitory room at Columbus Hall on the MUW campus early Monday evening, according to Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant. Orr, who had been sick for several days prior to his death, died of natural causes, Merchant said. Merchant said an autopsy would not be conducted. He declined to elaborate on the cause of death. Orr started classes at MUW in January and was pursuing an undergraduate degree in English, according to MUW officials.
USM's Southern Hall to get new roof tiles this week
An iconic building at Southern Miss which was heavily damaged in last year's tornado is finally getting a new roof. The historic, century-old Southern Hall will be getting its custom-made clay roofing tiles beginning Wednesday, according to school officials. Workers have spent the last few days preparing the roof for the new tiles, which arrived on campus Tuesday. Southern Hall received extensive damage when it was struck by the Feb. 10, 2013 twister. "It's really been somewhere between an eight to a 10-week lead time on having the tiles produced and made for us and between that time and getting it delivered," said Chris Crenshaw, assistant vice-president for facilities, planning and management at USM.
Wendy Scott new dean at Mississippi College Law School
Wendy Scott will soon make history as the first African-American to serve as dean at the Mississippi College School of Law. This summer, the accomplished lawyer, legal scholar and administrator also becomes the second women to lead Baptist-affiliated MC Law. On August 11, Scott succeeds Dean Jim Rosenblatt, who helped build the law school's regional and national reputation during his 11-year tenure, MC leaders announced Monday. Rosenblatt will become a full-time professor at the private law school in downtown Jackson.
UGA offers yearlong certificate program in comparative medical illustration
The University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine has launched a yearlong certificate program designed to teach medical illustrators the fine art of veterinary illustration. The college's Certificate of Comparative Medical Illustration will provide further instruction for students who have previously obtained a master's degree from one of the four accredited medical illustration programs in the U.S. Will McAbee, the first student accepted into the program, earned his master's degree in medical illustration from Georgia Regents University in 2013. He began his training at the College of Veterinary Medicine this month.
U. of Arkansas Researcher Awarded Federal Grant for Biomaterial
The National Institutes of Health has awarded a three-year grant to a University of Arkansas biomedical engineering researcher and his research team. The $437,248 grant announced Tuesday to Jeffrey Wolchock and his team is to be used to help design and test a biomaterial that can regenerate damaged skeletal muscle. Wolchock says living cells produce proteins and gels called extracellular matrix that support cell survival and tissue strength. In severe injuries the extracellular matrix doesn't function properly and can't initiate the healing process.
Construction companies cited for safety violation in death of worker at U. of Kentucky dorm
State officials have cited two private construction companies for a "serious" violation of safety laws in the February death of a worker at their University of Kentucky construction site. Messer Construction Co. spokeswoman Jessie Folmar said company officials would meet with state representatives in an informal conference before deciding whether to appeal the citation and proposed penalties against Messer and its subcontractor, Joseph W. Bates Construction. Isaias Cabrera Ramos, 24, of North Carolina was killed Feb. 19 when a piece of plywood blew off the roof of Haggin Hall on Huguelet Drive in 30 mph winds and fell 60 feet, striking Ramos in the head.
Texas A&M AgriLife researchers unveil new breed of clover
Texas A&M AgriLife Research has created a new breed of clover that's especially lucky for farmers' wallets. A new breed of white clover, named "Neches" after the Texas river, should be available for sale this fall. The clover, used as food for cattle, differs from other variants in how it flowers. White clovers typically need to be seeded annually in Texas and other parts of the South because of heat and drought. However, the Neches clover flowers earlier than its counterparts, which makes it a perennial plant. The Neches took A&M AgriLife plant breeder Gerald Smith about 10 years to create. He said the new variant was bred using clovers from Israel, Uruguay, East Texas and others.
U. of Missouri to oversee campus sexual assault, violence center
Starting next week, the University of Missouri's Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center will have new oversight on the MU campus. For years, the RSVP Center has been an auxiliary operation of the Missouri Students Association, using student fees and grant money provided from the Department of Justice, said Cathy Scroggs, vice chancellor for student affairs. Now, it will operate under Student Life, with continued funding from student fees.
House and Senate Offer Different Visions for Renewal of Higher Education Act
House Republicans and Senate Democrats unveiled dueling visions of higher-education reform on Tuesday, with both groups arguing that their approach would make college more affordable, help students reach more-informed decisions, and hold institutions accountable to students and taxpayers. In the Senate, Democrats released a summary of legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act that they plan to introduce on Wednesday. As reported last week in The Chronicle, the bill would create several new grant programs aimed at reducing college costs, crack down on for-profit colleges, and take steps to reduce student-loan defaults. Not to be outdone, Republicans in the House of Representatives issued a white paper outlining their priorities for reauthorizing the Higher Education Act, and promised legislation to that end later this week.
Economists at Federal Reserve Bank of N.Y. Say College Is Worth the Cost
Two economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a study on Tuesday concluding that, despite colleges' growing costs and students' lower earnings after graduation, attending college is still worth it, for the most part. The study is the latest entry in the debate surrounding the value of a college education, a conversation that has been spurred by soaring levels of student debt. Despite falling earnings in the wake of the economic downturn, college remains worthwhile largely because earnings have also fallen for people without college degrees.
Non-Decline of Liberal Arts Colleges
Could it be that the demise of liberal arts colleges, like the death of Mark Twain, has been exaggerated? That's the contention of an analysis published in Harvard Educational Review -- which seeks to challenge the "declension narrative" about liberal arts colleges. Bruce A. Kimball, the author and a professor of educational studies at Ohio State University, argues that the numbers commonly given to illustrate the decline of liberal arts institutions aren't the best way to judge the health of the sector. Further, he argues that these figures exclude a growing form of liberal arts college: the honors college at the public university.
CURTIS WILKIE (OPINION) The Last Southern Gentleman: Thad Cochran and the lost art of being nice
Curtis Wilkie, fellow at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at University of Mississippi, writes for Politico: "When Thad Cochran agreed last fall to speak to my politics class at the University of Mississippi, I introduced the senator as a 'moderate Republican.' He stopped me. 'I'm not a moderate,' he said, in his usual soft-spoken manner. 'I'm a conservative.' No modifier need be applied. He recognized it could now be used against him. Thad might disagree today, but 'moderate' is a word that many other Mississippians would use -- admiringly -- to describe his 36-year career in the Senate, which is under threat, perhaps permanently, from a movement that considers compromise the equivalent of surrender."
BRIAN PERRY (OPINION): McCain, home in Mississippi
Consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "John McCain is sometimes called Mississippi's third U.S. Senator. Monday he was on stage at the War Memorial in Jackson with Mississippi's current Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker at a Cochran campaign rally. McCain and Cochran have had a rocky relationship at times, particularly on trade policy and earmark issues. In 2008, Cochran supported Mitt Romney over McCain in the Republican Primary. But now, Cochran campaign spokesman Jordan Russell said, 'I guess they buried the hatchet.' McCain and Cochran demonstrate the Reagan adage that 'an 80 percent friend is not a 20 percent enemy.' They work together on military funding and have much in common: naval veterans, years of service in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, and both sons of Mississippi. McCain's Mississippi's roots run deep. He has said, being in an itinerant military family it is hard to have roots anywhere, but he has them in Mississippi."

Expectations remain high for Mississippi State baseball
Mississippi State's 2014 season took the program to a different level. It's the year expectations changed. The Bulldogs' faithful remembers 2013 ending in the championship of the College World Series. Some miss the effect it had on the 2014 squad. Last fall began with welcoming to Starkville the No. 2 recruiting class in the country. As fall ball transitioned into winter warm-ups, the talk of a national seed accompanied the top-5 preseason ranking. When the season began a return trip to Omaha, Nebraska felt like where the bar was set. A season-opening loss instead set the tone for a frustrating season.
Schaefer adds Lovato to Mississippi State staff
Elena Lovato won two national titles and lost only eight games in four seasons a junior college head coach in Texas. Now Lovato will test her abilities in the Southeastern Conference after being hired as an assistant coach on Vic Schaefer's staff at Mississippi State. "I couldn't be more thrilled to be joining the Mississippi State family," Lovoto said in a release.
Former Bulldog Renfroe to play in All-Star Futures game
Former Mississippi State baseball All-American Hunter Renfroe has been selected to participate in the 16th annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, Major League Baseball announced Tuesday. The Crystal Springs native will represent the U.S. Team against the World Team live on the MLB Network at 4 p.m. on July 13 from Target Field in Minneapolis. In 74 total games this season, Renfroe has hit .284 with 21 doubles, 17 home runs and 53 RBI. Currently, the outfielder is rated the Padres' fourth-best overall prospect by Baseball America and the 80th top prospect in baseball.
Former Bulldog Bumphis: Just get me on the field
Chad Bumphis was a star for the Tupelo Golden Wave. He quarterbacked Tupelo to a win against Madison Central one season – as a wide receiver who started for an injured Chris Garrett. He immediately began a starring receiver role at Mississippi State. Professional success hasn't been as immediate, but Bumphis is working, not waiting for his turn. Bumphis just finished OTAs and mini-camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he'll go to training camp in the preseason. "Right now I just want to get on the field," Bumphis said. "I just want to find a way, whether it's offense, special teams, it doesn't matter. I just want to find a way to get on the field."
Southern Miss summer parties set
Southern Miss announced details for each of its three annual summer parties on Tuesday. The Southern Miss Alumni Association, along with the Department of Athletics, will host its Jackson All-Star Party on July 17, the Gulf Coast Beach Bash on July 25 and the Hattiesburg Eagle Fanfare on Aug. 9. The 31st Annual Jackson All-Star Party presented by C Spire Wireless, and sponsored by the Central Mississippi Chapter of the Southern Miss Alumni Association, starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Mississippi Trade Mart. Golden Eagle football coach Todd Monken, assistant coaches, players, Seymour and the Southern Miss cheerleaders will all be on hand to meet alumni and friends.
New parking plan to help ease traffic at expanded Texas A&M football game days
Bryan city officials heard a presentation Tuesday on how traffic will be handled during Texas A&M football game days to accommodate about 120,000 fans and workers in the expanded and renovated Kyle Field. Tim Lomax with Texas A&M's Transportation Institute was at Tuesday's Bryan City Council meeting and said a plan has been in the works since the beginning of the year to help traffic flow with the expected 25 to 30 percent increase in crowds on game days. A combination of a smartphone application and traffic and bus routing changes for cars and pedestrians will aim to clear the congestion around Kyle Field in less than two hours after the game. "We're going to be asking Aggies to break some traditions," he said.
U. of Tennessee names Penn State's Beth Alford-Sullivan director of track, cross country
Beth Alford-Sullivan of Penn State has been named director of track and field and cross country at Tennessee, UT announced Tuesday. Alford-Sullivan is a 15-year veteran at Penn State and spent the past eight years as director of a combined men's and women's program. She replaces J.J. Clark, who was fired last month. Alford-Sullivan is a 1989 graduate of Minnesota, where she competed in cross country and track. Her prior coaching stops include Southeast Missouri State, Mankato State and Stanford.
Big Ten Joins Pac-12 in Pressing the N.C.A.A. to Make Changes
For the second time in a month, every university president belonging to an athletic conference has jointly issued a public letter calling for change within the N.C.A.A. All 12 university presidents in the Pacific-12 Conference signed a 10-point reform plan last month, and now the leaders of the Big Ten's 14 universities have done that, releasing a bullet-pointed agenda Tuesday afternoon. The Big Ten's letter comes four days after Jim Delany, the conference's commissioner, took the stand at the Ed O'Bannon trial and called for a greater emphasis on academics in college sports. The letter hews closely to his testimony and echoes the wishes of the Pac-12's presidents, urging a lifetime educational trust so athletes can return to finish their degrees, guaranteeing four-year scholarships, improving medical coverage and increasing the value of a scholarship -- all while maintaining that athletes should not be paid.

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