Monday, July 7, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Medical Program at Mississippi State Builds Future Doctors
Some of Mississippi's future medical professionals demonstrated their dedication by taking college-level classes the summer before their senior year in high school. This year, 23 academically gifted high school students participated in the five-week Rural Medical Scholars program at Mississippi State University. Since the program began in 1998, 317 students have participated, experiencing college life and shadowing doctors and other medical professionals for an on-the-job view of their professional lives. The program's primary purpose is to create more physicians for Mississippi. It houses students in residence halls, enrolls them in two college classes and makes them responsible for time management.
Scientists: Tick bite can cause red meat allergy
Steak lovers beware: Scientists have discovered certain tick bites can cause an allergy to red meat. Jerome Goddard, medical entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the lone star tick species carries a sugar that can be transmitted through its bite. The transmission of the sugar may cause people to become allergic to red meat. Goddard said developing the red meat allergy begins with the human body's natural response to the tick bite. Once bitten, the body produces antibodies, which control the release of histamines. Histamines are responsible for the symptoms associated with allergic reactions.
Singers, songwriters bring tour to MSU Riley Center
With each song they craft, singer-songwriters tell a story. "The Heart Behind the Music" tour also gives fans a rare glimpse into the stories that inspired the songs as the singers discuss the meanings behind their hits. The tour swings through downtown Meridian this year, showcasing the talents of Deana Carter, Billy Dean, Collin Raye and Bryan White at the MSU Riley Center on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Mississippi shrimp season a success
Mississippi shrimpers have had a successful season so far, despite weather and other conditions posing the potential to hold them back. "All of the environmental factors that we normally look towards to sort of do a crystal ball prediction of the shrimp season were against us this year," says Dave Burrage, professor of marine resources with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "We had a cold, cold winter and a very wet springtime. This was responsible for the late opening, but when the season finally did open, there were good shrimp."
Author Q&A with Neely Tucker
Neely Tucker graduated from Starkville Academy, attended Mississippi State, then transferred to and graduated from Ole Miss as a journalism major. Married and the father of three, he is a huge fan of MSU football and the New Orleans Saints. He now works as a staff writer for The Washington Post. His first book, "Love in the Driest Season," was a 2004 memoir about the struggles he and his wife encountered through the process of adopting their daughter Chipo in wartime Zimbabwe. Tucker will sign copies of his first novel, the crime thriller "The Ways of the Dead," in Mississippi this week.
Public hearing Monday for Blackjack TIF package
Oktibbeha County supervisors will hold a public hearing on a $4.78 million-maximum tax increment financing (TIF) plan 9 a.m. Monday at the courthouse that could fund significant Blackjack Road and infrastructure upgrades. The board will hold the hearing immediately after the meeting opens with prayer and could pass the item before the day's public comment section, according to the Monday agenda. If approved, the county could utilize up to $4.78 million in bonds to defray the costs associated with Blackjack Road improvements, from road surfacing, widening and overlay efforts, and general infrastructure items, like water, sewer and electricity.
Wiseman, Perkins differ on excess school tax money
A battle is brewing over how Starkville should use almost $500,000 in over-collected school district taxes after Vice Mayor Roy A. Perkins opined that the city should take legal avenues to keep the money for itself during Tuesday's board of aldermen meeting. A state legal opinion appears to give Starkville the ability to transfer 1986's over-collected, Starkville School District improvements bond balance to the city's general fund and offset next fiscal year's taxes by the same amount. Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman, however, asked for further legal clarity on whether the city can issue the funds to SSD since the 1986 bond referendum raised money for school improvements, not general city expenditures.
KiOR misses scheduled loan payment to state
The Mississippi Development Authority confirmed Thursday that KiOR, an alternative fuel company that in 2011 built a $218 million facility in Columbus, did not make its latest scheduled loan payment to the state. MDA loaned the Texas-based business $75 million in 2010. KiOR made its first three loan payments of $1.8 million to the state. The fourth was due June 30. It never arrived. However, Jeff Rent, public relations manager for MDA, told The Dispatch that the state has negotiated a short-term forbearance agreement with KiOR that allowed the company to pay $250,000 in exchange for the state postponing collection efforts.
Mississippi history, archive director reflects on 42 years
Nearly nine years after Hurricane Katrina left much of south Mississippi in ruin, Hank Holmes looks back at the deadly storm as a test of Mississippi's commitment to historical preservation. Holmes is retiring next year after what will be 42 years at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the last nine as executive director. The Winona native joined the department in 1973. He oversaw the archives and library division from 1988 to 2004. He became agency executive director in 2005. Much has been achieved under Holmes, said Kane Ditto, chairman of the archive agency's Board of Trustees and former Jackson mayor.
Why you pay so much for auto insurance
One in three Mississippians drives without insurance -- in violation of state law -- forcing motorists who do have insurance to pay much higher rates. "We need to either enforce the law or change the law and do something different," said Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney. Mississippi leads the nation in uninsured drivers with 28 percent, according to the Insurance Research Council, but Chaney believes the real number in Mississippi is as high as 35 percent. As a result of uninsured drivers, those who do buy car insurance in the U.S. pay more than $11 billion extra a year, according to national data analyzed by Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.
Meridian in midst of political change
Just weeks ago, the eyes of the nation once again were on the cities of Philadelphia and Meridian, cities marred by Klan violence. Today, Meridian has its first black mayor and is struggling with that shift of power. For the last four months, the political climate in Meridian has been on a downward spiral with first-term Mayor Percy Bland at the core of the storm. Some have attributed the problems to rookie moves by a mayor who's a novice in city government. Others see race as a factor. Outside observers say both are true.
Analysis: Group maps Legislature's partisan splits
If you doubt Chris McDaniel's conservative credentials, the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation can back them up. McDaniel, according to an analysis that compares his votes to those of others in the Mississippi's Senate, is the third-most conservative of the 52-member chamber. To the Ellisville Republican's right, by a slight measure, are only Republican Sens. Michael Watson of Pascagoula and Angela Hill of Picayune. They and McDaniel are members of the state Senate's Conservative Coalition, which sometimes opposes legislation pushed by other Republicans as not sufficiently conservative. His relative position is just one aspect of the Sunlight Foundation's analysis, a take on Mississippi's 174 lawmakers, how they've voted and how successful they've been in getting bills passed three years into the current four-year term.
What Politicos Are Reading This Summer
Summer vacation is underway, and many of us are off to sunnier climes. We asked dozens of political types to tell us what kind of brain food they'll be taking along for the ride -- and what they recommend to the rest of us. "Just finished Ken Adelman's great new book, Reagan at Reykjavik, which examines the 1986 Reagan-Gorbachev summit with the advantage of access to more than 10 hours of actual transcripts of the two leaders that have recently been made available. Adelman and I are among those who believe this superpower weekend had an enormous impact on the ending of the Cold War," said Haley Barbour, founding partner of BGR group and former governor of Mississippi. "Next I will be reading David Von Drehle's Lincoln biography, Rise to Greatness. I always enjoyed reading David's political reporting, and I expect I'll enjoy his look at Lincoln during the depths of the War Between the States, as we say where I come from."
Politics aplenty at Jacinto Fourth of July Festival
The sun was out, shade plentiful and politicians in excess on the lawn of the Jacinto Courthouse on Friday, with most political speakers and attendees noting how nice and unseasonably cool the weather was. Friday's Jacinto Fourth of July Festival featured speeches from local, state and federal public office candidates, traditional Native American dances performed by Choctaws, food, games and even a petting zoo. Travis Childers, D-Booneville, former U.S. Congressman and Democratic nominee in the upcoming U.S. Senate race, spoke out against the "slash and burn" politics he's seen in the Republican primary for incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran's U.S. Senate seat.
McDaniel delivers challenge notice to Cochran's son
The Republican who lost a primary runoff election to Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran is taking the first step to challenge the outcome. Chris McDaniel's campaign said it believes it has found about 4,900 examples of improper voting in the June 24 runoff. Most were by people who apparently voted in the June 3 Democratic primary and the Republican runoff, the campaign said. Mississippi does not register voters by party, but state law bans a person from voting in one party's primary and another party's runoff in the same cycle. The McDaniel campaign did not release documents supporting its claim.
Chris McDaniel supporters rally at state capitol as challenge to runoff election looms
State Sen. Chris McDaniel and his supporters are urging continued defiance as McDaniel prepares to challenge his Republican primary runoff loss to incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. Tea party supporters gathered Saturday at the Mississippi state capitol for a rally where supporters were asked to donate money and volunteer time for McDaniel's effort. The Ellisville Republican took the stage briefly, telling about 100 supporters that he was continuing his efforts to expose "lies" and "distortions" that the Cochran campaign used to drive black voters to the polls to vote for Cochran.
Black Democrats look to Cochran on voting rights
After black voters helped Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran survive an intense Republican primary runoff against an insurgent conservative challenger, some civil rights leaders in the South want him to repay the favor. Their request? Cochran should lead the charge in the Senate to renew a key section of the Voting Rights Act struck down last year by the Supreme Court's conservative majority. "But for the Voting Rights Act, those African-Americans who turned out to the polls ... to support his re-election would not have had the opportunity to do so," said Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson.
In NSA-intercepted data, those not targeted far outnumber the foreigners who are
Ordinary Internet users, American and non-American alike, far outnumber legally targeted foreigners in the communications intercepted by the National Security Agency from U.S. digital networks, according to a four-month investigation by The Washington Post. Nine of 10 account holders found in a large cache of intercepted conversations, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden provided in full to The Post, were not the intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else. Many of them were Americans.
The W to host Volunteer Mississippi info session
Mississippi University for Women will be one of six entities to host Volunteer Mississippi information sessions to discuss the availability of monies to support local national service programs and opportunities to access national service resources. Those agencies include AmeriCorps State, VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) and Senior Service Corps programs. Educational institutions, volunteer centers, state and local government agencies, nonprofit, community and faith-based organizations are eligible to apply for national service funding.
Northgate dorm underway on Ole Miss campus
The latest in a series of new student residences at the University of Mississippi is underway near the Northgate entrance to the campus. The yet-to-be-named facility will accommodate 304 students and is scheduled for substantial completion in July 2015, with the official opening in August 2015. "This is just basically one building similar to the three buildings in The Ridges," Associate University Architect Chad Hunter said, referring to dormitories on Rebel Drive that opened in 2012. "We had a little lull between The Ridges and this project." The Northgate-area residence isn't the only one in the pipeline.
Camp at Delta State University offers LEGO building
For the first time, Delta State University will partner with All About Learning to offer LEGO Camps this summer for children to explore their interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM. "The company we have partnered with to offer LEGO Camp also holds partnerships with many universities, community colleges and other organizations throughout the United States," said Elizabeth Joel, coordinator for the Continuing Education Program at Delta State. "Mississippi State University and University of Louisiana at Monroe are just two close by that are also partnering with All About Learning to hold LEGO Camps for their community throughout the summer."
LeBrun named e-Learning dean at East Central Community College
Krista M. LeBrun of Meridian has been selected dean of e-Learning at East Central Community College in Decatur. She was director of e-Learning at Meridian Community College and distance learning coordinator. LeBrun earned an associate's degree from Meridian Community College and a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Mississippi State University-Meridian. She earned a doctorate in instructional leadership with emphasis in instructional technology from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 2012.
Gear Up Kentucky summer program gives high school students a taste of college life
Jared Casebolt has learned a lot at his summer program at the University of Kentucky, but the biggest surprise? The walking. "It's so far between everything," said the 15-year-old sophomore from Bellevue High School in Northern Kentucky. Casebolt is one of about 70 students from across the state who are in Lexington for three weeks to get a taste of college life, including the fact that it's hard to get from one end of campus to the other in just 10 minutes. He's also getting some other new experiences: dorm life, really long lectures, foreign films, acting class and writing skills.
U. of Kentucky scholar hopes to uncover new clues about origin of 8th-century Gospels
William Endres is one of the few people in the world who has seen and touched the St. Chad Gospels in all of its medieval glory. The 8th-century illuminated manuscript sits cloistered at Lichfield Cathedral in central England, its illustrations and meticulous, handwritten text protected from further erosion. Endres -- a digital humanities scholar at the University of Kentucky -- has made it his mission to make the St. Chad Gospels available to scholars all over the world through constantly changing technology.
Taking to the trees to learn about teamwork, sustainability at U. of Florida
Neon ropes hung down like strangler fig vines from an old oak tree named Charlotte. Students strapped onto each line and pulled themselves up toward the canopy. Some paused to flip upside down, letting their hair fall beneath their inverted heads. The group of about 40 students met with Canopy Climbers at Gum Root Park Sunday as part of the University of Florida Young Entrepreneurs for Leadership and Sustainability summer program, a five-week intensive seminar for high school students.
Texas A&M researchers share in discovery among the stars
Astronomers have discovered a new Earth-like planet that calls into question a theory predicting planets could not form between two stars. The frozen planet orbits one star in a two-star system and is twice the mass of Earth, according to research led by Ohio State University professor Andrew Gould and published in the July 4 edition of Science. Its star, however, is 400 times dimmer than the sun, keeping the planet at a crisp -352 degrees Fahrenheit. Called OGLE-2013-BLG-0341LBb, the planet is in the Milky Way Galaxy but 3,000 light-years away. "This is a difficult thing to imagine," said Texas A&M University astronomer Darren DePoy.
Texas A&M-created tuberculosis tests promise results within 30 minutes
A team of Texas A&M researchers can tell you in less than 30 minutes if you're going to die from tuberculosis, one of the world's most common and fatal infectious diseases -- and it will only cost about $20. The data from a recent human clinical trial published this month in a European journal suggests that this low-cost testing device is accurate enough to cut the mortality rates significantly in developing countries. "Since it's so simple, the TB REaD system could be more of a do-it-at-home-yourself test," said Dr. Jeffrey Cirillo, a researcher with the Texas A&M Health Science Center.
Loftin requests $3.8 million back from U. of Missouri divisions to make up for funding shortfalls, restrictions
University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin is requesting department chairs and other divisions and auxiliaries give back a portion of their budgets to offset state revenue shortfalls for fiscal year 2014. MU is reallocating $3.8 million to make up for the state funding shortfall. Gov. Jay Nixon announced in May that because of declining lottery and casino revenues earmarked for education, $10.5 million worth of higher education budget restrictions were necessary. Because of additional cuts made in April, the total loss for Missouri colleges was about $17 million, according to Associated Press reports.
U. of Missouri to use system designed to avert academic failure
The University of Missouri is rolling out a new early alert system this fall on all four campuses after a successful pilot program at part of the Columbia campus during the past year. The system -- referred to as MU Connect at the Columbia campus -- gives faculty, advisors and other key staff in each student's college life the chance to give them praise and raise flags when there are concerns with their studies. The goal is to bring awareness as early as possible to potential issues that could hinder the student's success. Jim Spain, vice provost for undergraduate studies at MU, said developing some version of an early alert system on campus has been a priority for administrators for years.
In 'July 4 Coup' at U. of Texas, Flagship's Chief Is Asked to Resign
Tensions at the University of Texas are boiling after reports that the system's chancellor has told the president of the flagship campus, William C. Powers Jr., to resign or risk being fired this week. Faculty members are planning an emergency meeting for Wednesday, the day before the system's Board of Regents is scheduled to meet and could vote on Mr. Powers's dismissal. Students, employees, and alumni took to social media over the weekend to rally support for the president, and a legislative panel that is pursuing impeachment proceedings against one of his fiercest critics reiterated warnings to the regents not to fire him.
College Students Claim Voter ID Laws Discriminate Based on Age
Civil rights groups have spent a decade fighting requirements that voters show photo identification, arguing that this discriminates against African-Americans, Hispanics and the poor. This week in a North Carolina courtroom, another group will make its case that such laws are discriminatory: college students. Joining a challenge to a state law alongside the N.A.A.C.P., the American Civil Liberties Union and the Justice Department, lawyers for seven college students and three voter-registration advocates are making the novel constitutional argument that the law violates the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18 from 21. The amendment also declares that the right to vote "shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of age." There has never been a case like it, and if the students succeed, it will open another front in what has become a highly partisan battle over voting rights.
PAUL HAMPTON (OPINION): I don't want to look but I can't turn away from McDaniel
The Sun Herald's Paul Hampton writes: "Chris McDaniel is barefoot skiing toward that dorsal fin slicing through the water ahead. This, I tell myself, will not end well, and yet I can't stop rubbernecking. McDaniel and his supporters insist they are well on their way to gathering convincing evidence that the results of the runoff should be overturned. Just who they are trying to convince has never been clear. He said Friday he'll file a challenge. Great. Same circus, different venue."
SAM R. HALL (OPINION): McDaniel campaign in financial straits
The Clarion-Ledger's Sam R. Hall writes: "Chris McDaniel has been increasing his fundraising profile in the last week as he prepares for an expected challenge to the Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate; however, the more he asks for money, the more questions are being raised about the fiscal health of his campaign. While McDaniel and his campaign repeatedly have said they owe no debt, his campaign finance reports show something different. Furthermore, even though he has been making fundraising requests for specific projects, those contributions can be used for any legal campaign expenditure -- including debt payments. It's time to follow the money and see how things are adding up."
GEOFF PENDER (OPINION): Now is the time to end this nasty primary
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "To use Chris McDaniel's campaign catch phrase, 'Now is the time.' Indeed. Now is the time to put an end to 'the nastiest race in America,' the state GOP primary for U.S. Senate between McDaniel and incumbent Thad Cochran. It's been a long, sorry, tragic affair if ever there was one. The commonwealth needs resolution and closure to this epic goat rodeo. It doesn't need weeks or months more of mudslinging or being a national laughingstock."
SID SALTER (OPINION): State law clear in election certification procedures
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "If one bases their perception of what happens next in the political circus that the Mississippi Republican Senate Primary election has become on what is being shoved out on social media, it would seem that the ultimate resolution of this conflict will come as a result of which group can shout the loudest. However, social media caterwauling has virtually nothing to do with the process. As was the case in the Florida recount in the 2000 presidential election, what will determine the outcome is existing state and federal law, existing state election certification procedures, and the courts."

Weight work paying off for Mississippi State women
Three years ago, weightlifting was a foreign concept to Martha Alwal. At 6-foot-4, Alwal relied on her height and her length to affect shots in the post and didn't have the strength to use her body to carve out space in the paint because she hadn't trained in the weight room. "My teammates would ask me, 'What days do you lift?' " Alwal said. "I was like, 'What is lifting?' I was so anti-lifting. I didn't want to be a man, I didn't want to be big, I didn't want to do all of that staff, so I was against it." Head coach Vic Schaefer credits MSU assistant strength and conditioning coach Richard Akins for working with the staff to implement some of the strength and conditioning practices he used at previous schools.

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