Tuesday, July 8, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Shrimpers enjoyed great harvest through week one of season
Mississippi shrimpers had an excellent opening day, a fact that had them pleasantly surprised. Based on reports from just two of Biloxi's three shrimp dealers as of July 1, fishermen landed 790,000 pounds of shrimp in the first week. Last year, all three Biloxi shrimp dealers reported total first-week landings of 541,000 pounds of shrimp. Dave Burrage, professor of marine resources with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said most of the shrimp being landed in Mississippi to date have been in the "36/40" and "41/50" size classes, which are larger than the majority caught last year. For example, 36/40 means there are 36 to 40 shrimp per pound. Another bright spot this year is that prices average at least $1 a pound higher than prices a year ago.
Toyota to build water garden, community park for Blue Springs
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi is donating about $100,000 in material and labor to build the Toyota-Blue Springs Water Garden and Education Park. Located across from the post office on Highway 9, the nearly 3⁄4-acre site will feature a pavilion, play structure and playground, community garden, butterfly garden and a pergola. "We thank the community of Blue Springs for the warm welcome shown to our team members and are pleased to give the town something in return," said TMMMS Vice President of Administration Sean Suggs. Cory Gallo, a professor at Mississippi State University's Landscape Architecture program, designed the water park, incorporating many ideas based on the community's input.
New Starkville High principal focusing on graduation rate, community involvement
Starkville High School Principal David Baggett officially began his tenure this month by tinkering with the school's master class schedules last week, one of many subtle changes the former Ocean Springs educator hopes will improve student and teacher efficiency. Concise, ground-up reformations like maximizing students' and teachers' time are needed if Starkville School District is to improve its graduation rates. Baggett's hire was announced in April at an important time for the school district. Next year, state-mandated consolidation means it will absorb Oktibbeha County School District students and teachers. While county elementary students will remain at campuses outside Starkville, the city's high school will serve all county-wide students.
BCI acquires rural cable system in Mississippi
Block Communications Inc. announced on Monday an agreement to acquire MetroCast Mississippi, a rural cable system that provides cable television, telephone and Internet services to more than 45,000 residential and business customers in 16 Mississippi counties. It marks the second major acquisition this month by Block Communications, which also owns the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. MetroCast Mississippi serves customers throughout a 200-mile territory, including two academic jewels of the state -- the cities of Oxford, home to the University of Mississippi, and Starkville, home to Mississippi State University.
Smith's 'The Hands of Strangers' to release on ebook Tuesday
On Tuesday, Michael Farris Smith's gripping 2011 novella, "The Hands of Strangers," will experience its second release -- this time by Simon & Schuster, in ebook form. The respected publisher recently obtained the rights to Smith's earlier work, following the publishing house's release in 2013 of the award-winning Columbus writer's first full-length novel, "Rivers, to enthusiastic response. Michael Kardos, author of "The Three Day Affair," an Esquire Best Book of the Year, said, "The only sensible response to reading 'The Hands of Strangers' is to become a Michael Farris Smith fan for life. It's a stunning novella. Smith gets straight to the essence of what tears us apart, and he does it with absolute humanity."
Lowndes County man looking to put literature on airwaves
The words of James Joyce going into West Point homes over the airwaves. The poems of Samuel Taylor Coleridge crackling through the speakers of a car in Columbus. The tall tales of Mark Twain heard at night across the prairie. That is the vision of one Lowndes County man. Chris Howard, a 52-year-old with an appreciation of the written word, wants to create a Golden Triangle radio station called "Classic Book Radio" that only broadcasts prerecorded readings of classic literature. "Literacy is the goal," Howard says. In January he received a license from the Federal Communications Commission that allows him to operate a low-power FM radio station. What he needs now is sponsors.
BorgWarner expanding operations in Water Valley
Officials from global powertrain supplier BorgWarner announced Monday the company is expanding operations in Water Valley to accommodate an increased demand for the company's advanced transmission solutions. The project is the company's fourth expansion in Water Valley. It represents a company investment of $43 million and will create 158 new jobs. "BorgWarner serves as an excellent example to companies around the world that great things are happening in Mississippi. MDA is proud to have provided assistance for each of the company's expansions during the past five years," said Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Brent Christensen. MDA provided assistance in support of the project for building construction and workforce training.
Company to bring 300 new jobs to Pine Belt
Green Bay Converting, converter of sanitary towels and tissue products, will be opening a facility in Hattiesburg, bringing 300 new jobs to the area, officials announced Tuesday. Mississippi Development Authority provided assistance in bringing the company to the Pine Belt, along with Area Development Partnership, the City of Hattiesburg, Forrest County and the Industrial Park Commission. "This is a great day for economic development in Hattiesburg and the state of Mississippi as Green Bay Converting announces its plans to locate its tissue converting operations here," said MDA Executive Director Brent Christensen.
MDA to provide $3M for health education complex at Tradition
The Mississippi Development Agency has approved $3 million in funding for a new health education complex in Biloxi's Tradition community. The Health and Wellness Commons is a masterplan to create healthcare education facilities and clinics on 100 acres. It will be part of the Mississippi Health Care Industry Zone Act, which MDA administers. The act provides incentives to healthcare projects in the state, as part of Gov. Phil Bryant's Blueprint Mississippi, which has a goal of 4,000 new nurses by 2016. Under the act, Tradition will be responsible for creating a minimum of $70 million in investments in capital improvements over the next five to 10 years. Five acres of the commons will be dedicated to a new facility for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College's nursing program.
Reeves names small business owner to Jackson Sales Tax Commission
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves on Monday named small business owner and local architect Michael Boerner to the 1-percent sales tax commission charged with overseeing expenditures from a recent sales tax increase in the city of Jackson. Boerner, AIA, LEED AP, is the principal of Wier+Boerner Architecture in Jackson. He has a bachelor of architecture degree from Mississippi State University and a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Millsaps College.
Tea party challenger wants a redo of Republican runoff in Mississippi
Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi returned to the Senate on Monday for the first time since last month's wild-ride election, but the Republican primary runoff he appears to have narrowly won remains far from over. Tea party challenger Chris McDaniel is poised to launch an unprecedented legal challenge after refusing to concede the June 24 election. Mississippi has a long history of voter suppression culminating in the civil rights battles of the 1960s, but rarely, if ever, in modern politics has a statewide legal challenge been posed on this scale, observers said. "This is a unique sort of challenge, and it's not one I have encountered on a statewide level of 35 years of covering politics," said Sid Salter, a longtime journalist in the state who is now the director of public affairs at Mississippi State University.
McDaniel campaign confident in challenge
The Chris McDaniel campaign, as it began the process Monday of studying all the election data from the 82 counties, expressed confidence it would find enough irregularities to challenge the results of the June 24 Republican runoff for U.S. Senate. "We do not want to see any election decided by irregular voters," Mitch Tyner of Jackson, McDaniel's lead attorney for the expected challenge, said at a news conference outside the Hinds County Courthouse. In a statement, Jordan Russell, a spokesman for Cochran, said the Cochran campaign also had observers in the circuit clerk's offices on Monday and has been "pleased with the results. ...As the process moves forward, the conversation is shifting from wild, baseless accusations to hard facts. As we have said from the beginning, the runoff results are clear. The majority of Mississippians voted for Sen. Thad Cochran."
Thad Cochran's certified margin of victory 7,667 votes over Chris McDaniel in Republican runoff
U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran won the state's Republican primary runoff over challenger Chris McDaniel by 7,667 votes, according to a certification made by the state Republican Party and submitted to the Secretary of State on Monday, the legal deadline. The result was wider than the 6,800-vote win counted by The Associated Press after the June election. Tallies usually change as county parties examine provisional ballots and finalize results. McDaniel, a state senator from Ellisville, has said he intends to challenge his loss. In an interview with WLOX-TV on Monday, McDaniel remarked that "there's no timetable for justice."
Mississippi challenger wants runoff rerun
State Sen. Chris McDaniel's (R) campaign is continuing to fight their loss in the Mississippi Senate runoff two weeks ago, raising the idea of a new election to settle alleged inaccuracies. Mitch Tyner, a lawyer for McDaniel's campaign, told reporters at a press conference Monday afternoon they have been "surprised at the amount of evidence that continues to come forward that shows there has indeed been election fraud in this case" and are moving forward with legal challenges to the victory for Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). "The correct remedy is a new election," Tyner said.
Ted Cruz slams 'D.C. machine' over Mississippi runoff, wants voter-fraud investigation
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) on Monday sharply criticized allies of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) for courting Democrats in last month's Republican runoff election and called for a thorough investigation into allegations of voter fraud, marking his most direct comments yet on the outcome of one of the most contentious and divisive campaigns in recent memory. "What happened in Mississippi was appalling," Cruz said on the Mark Levin Show. "Primaries are always rough and tumble. But the conduct of the Washington D.C. machine in the Mississippi runoff was incredibly disappointing." Cochran defeated McDaniel by some 6,700 votes in the June 24 runoff election. The senator and his allies courted Democratic voters, including many African Americans, a strategy that apparently worked.
In Mississippi, The GOP's Not-So-Civil War Continues
It's been 13 days since Sen. Thad Cochran, by most accounts, won Mississippi's Republican primary over Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel, with African-American Democrats largely providing the 6,800-vote margin of victory out of some 375,000 votes cast. But as of Monday, McDaniel still hadn't conceded, and your guess is as good as anyone's as to when -- or even if -- he ever will. So far, it wasn't looking good for McDaniel. In Lauderdale County, for instance, where more than 11,000 votes were cast, only seven were so-called crossover voters. In Pontotoc County, with 3,000 ballots cast, three were crossovers. These sorts of numbers fueled confidence within the Cochran campaign.
Chris McDaniel Campaign Wants Runoff Redo with Thad Cochran
State Sen. Chris McDaniel's attorney confirmed Monday the campaign's plans to challenge the results of last month's Senate runoff, arguing the only solution is to hold a new election for the GOP nomination. McDaniel lost to Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., in the June 24 GOP runoff by about 6,700 votes. Since then, McDaniel's allies have contested the results and his team offered a cash prize for anyone who can provide evidence of voter fraud. The review process is focused on absentee ballots, McDaniel spokesman Noel Fritsch said in a statement earlier Monday. "They are not reviewing the ballots," Fritsch said. "They're examining the absentee application and the absentee envelopes to determine whether voters who participated in the June 24 primary runoff election were eligible to participate."
Chris McDaniel's lawyer says a new Mississippi election could be 'automatic.' Is he right?
Mitch Tyner is the lead counsel for failed Mississippi Republican Senate primary candidate Chris McDaniel's effort to have the results of the state's runoff election overturned. In a brief press conference on Monday, Tyner responded to a question about the margin between McDaniel and incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran -- which was at about 6,700 at last count -- with assurance. So done deal, right? No. We spoke with Matt Steffey, professor of law at the Mississippi College School of Law, to see if he agreed with Tyner's assessment of what will happen next and, in case we didn't already give it away, he didn't. "He uses the word automatically, and I think that's a very optimistic and self-serving reading of the law," Steffey told us by phone.
McDaniel Campaign Manager Won't Endorse Cochran
The establishment and tea-party wings of the GOP won't be coming together anytime soon in Mississippi. Chris McDaniel, the state senator who challenged six-term senator Thad Cochran in a bitter primary fight, is still disputing the results of the June 24 runoff. Now, his campaign manager, state senator Melanie Sojourner, is saying she won't endorse Cochran in the general election against former Democratic representative Travis Childers, under any circumstances. McDaniel hasn't yet conceded to Cochran, but if and when he does, this is a foretaste of the vituperation that Cochran can expect to be heaped upon him from some Mississippi Republicans.
Mills orders True the Vote to show why its case should not be moved
U.S. District Judge Michael Mills has ordered a group called True the Vote to show cause by July 18 why its case alleging election law violations related to the Republican senatorial primary should not be transferred to the Southern District Federal Court in Jackson. Mills, in an order issued Monday, said the lawsuit against Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and the Mississippi Republican Party has all the elements necessary to handle the case in the Southern District. However, Mills' order gives lawyers for True the Vote until July 18 to file an answer, after which he will make a decision.
No charges filed by Mark Mayfield's family yet
No decision reached by Mark Mayfield's family on filing charges against Madison Police Department. Mayfield's relatives, already angered over his arrest in May in the U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran photo scandal, said Madison police were trespassing when they showed up at his home in Ridgeland after he apparently shot and killed himself on June 27. They say Mayfield's arrest was politically motivated by supporters of Cochran and drove him to suicide. The family had said they might file charges early this week. Mayfield's brother-in-law, attorney John Reeves, said today that the family has made no final decision about whether to file charges. He said all options are still on the table.
Why Teenagers Today May Grow Up Conservative
There was a time not so long ago when the young seemed destined to be liberal forever. Americans in their teens and 20s were to the left of their elders on social issues. They worried more about poverty. They voted strongly Democratic. In retrospect, we refer to this period as the 1960s, and it didn't last long, let alone forever. The temporary nature of the 1960s should serve as a reminder that politics change. What seems permanent can become fleeting. And the Democratic Party, for all its strengths among Americans under 40, has some serious vulnerabilities, too. "We're in a period in which the federal government is simply not performing," says Paul Taylor of the Pew Research Center, the author of a recent book on generational politics, "and that can't be good for the Democrats."
Most children illegally crossing the border alone will be deported, White House signals
The White House signaled Monday that it expects to deport most of the unaccompanied minors entering the country illegally across the southern border, employing the strongest rhetoric to date to indicate that an influx of thousands of Central American migrants will not be tolerated. The tougher tone came a day before Obama administration officials were expected to ask Congress to authorize new measures, including more than $2 billion in emergency funds, that would expedite the legal processing of the more than 52,000 children and 39,000 families apprehended this year.
UN Millennium Development goals: World cuts extreme poverty in half
For those who see little reason for optimism about global poverty and social trends, here's something to cheer about: The world has made impressive progress towards meeting a set of development goals set by world leaders in 2000. One stand-out example: The goal of cutting global extreme poverty in half by 2015 has already been met. Want more evidence? Many developing countries have made huge strides in reducing the gap between boys and girls attending primary school. Malaria mortality has plunged by almost half. And the world managed to cut in half the number of people living without improved water sources a half-decade ahead of schedule.
USM group visits information technology firm in Panama
The University of Southern Mississippi Panama Study Abroad Group -- which included students focused on business, logistics and human capital development -- visited the offices of InfosGroup in the City of Knowledge in Panama recently. Infosgroup is an Information Technology business offering the full value chain to integrate people, processes and technology in public and private organizations. Infosgroup is focused on making their customers more competitive. The visit was spearheaded by Dr. Tulio Sulbaran, director of the University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Logistics, Trade and Transportation.
Compensation for next U. of Florida president may top $1 million
To get the interest of the best presidential candidates in today's competitive market, the University of Florida would have to offer a total compensation package of $950,000 to $1.25 million, a consultant told members of a search subcommittee Monday. Members of the compensation subcommittee agreed with the presentation made by Stephen Pollack of the Mercer consulting group during a conference call, and voted unanimously to send the recommendation on to the search committee and board of trustees for approval today. "These are the numbers you need to look at today," Pollack said. "These are tough and complex jobs that need to be compensated at a level they'd want to take over these responsibilities."
UGA to host national political science conference
Political science professors and graduate students from across the U.S. will meet later this month for a conference at the University of Georgia. The political science department at the Athens campus will host the annual meeting of the Society for Political Methodology from July 24 to 26. The conference is expected to draw about 180 professors and grad students. John Maltese, UGA's political science department head, says it's a prestigious conference that will give the university "national exposure" among political scholars.
U. of Missouri campuses to test online course sharing
The University of Missouri System is implementing a new course-sharing program this fall in an effort to expand access for students at each of the four campuses. The effort serves multiple purposes: to create an online alternative for classes that typically have low enrollment, to broaden access to unique classes and to give partnering faculty members time to work on other projects, such as research, because they're ideally alternating semesters of teaching their online courses. Through course-sharing, faculty members from two or more campuses partner up on their ideas for unique courses, said Steve Graham, UM senior associate vice president for academic affairs.
As Fight Over U. of Texas President Comes to a Head, Everyone Wonders, Why Now?
As supporters of the University of Texas at Austin's president, William C. Powers Jr., lined up to fight efforts to oust him this week, the best they can hope for is to allow him to leave on his own terms -- at the end of the next academic year, instead of being forced out in October or even earlier. But that hasn't stopped them from mounting a fierce lobby to block the Board of Regents from firing Mr. Powers during a scheduled meeting on Thursday. Mr. Powers refused to submit his resignation to the system's departing chancellor, Francisco G. Cigarroa, according to a timetable the chancellor ordered last week. Late Monday evening, Dr. Cigarroa broke his silence on the reasons for asking the president to resign.
CHARLIE MITCHELL (OPINION): Edge the clowns off the stage
Longtime Mississippi journalist Charlie Mitchell writes: "Objectively, we can't deny that America has a lot of problems. Objectively, we don't see much taking place to bring about solutions. But despair solves nothing. We must keep believing that problems can be solved and they will be. All we need to do is edge the clowns off the stage and invite thoughtfulness and reason back into public discourse."
SAM R. HALL (OPINION): McDaniel attorney still features Cochran on website
The Clarion-Ledger's Sam R. Hall blogs: "Talk about stubbing your toe out of the gate... Attorney Mitch Tyner is representing Chris McDaniel in the run-up to a likely challenge to the Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate from Mississippi. So, it probably would have been a good idea for the former Republican gubernatorial candidate to have taken down that picture of him and Thad Cochran from his website."

Mississippi State's Jameon Lewis, Benardrick McKinney make watch lists
Two of Mississippi State's top returners were recognized Monday by watch list creators. Jameon Lewis was on the Paul Hornung Award watch list, which goes to the most versatile player in college football each season. And Benardrick McKinney was on the Bednarik Award list for best defensive player in the country.
Four Mississippi State women's golfers named All-American scholars
A long list of accolades from the Mississippi State women's golf team's historic season grew longer Monday as Ally McDonald, Blaise Carabello, Ji Eun Baik and Rica Tse earned All-America Scholar honors from the Women's Golf Coaches Association. The four selections tie the 2003 squad for the most in school history, while the number matches Ole Miss for the highest among Southeastern Conference teams. "I couldn't be more proud of Blaise, Ji Eun, Ally and Rica," head coach Ginger Brown-Lemm said. "These girls work very hard on and off the course to demonstrate what our program strives to be, and they will only work harder to accomplish our goals for next season."
MHSAA close to announcing change of state football site
The Mississippi High School Activities Association has approved the move of the football championships out of Jackson's Veterans Memorial Stadium, a source close to the situation told the Daily Journal on Monday night. It's expected that a rotation of sites will include Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Southern Miss. MSU will be the host for this year's games. MHSAA officials told the Daily Journal back in January that the game could be played at MSU and Ole Miss, based on which one didn't host the Egg Bowl.
Jackson State to renew AD Fuller's contract
Jackson State will renew athletic director Vivian Fuller's contract, which expires the end of July. The school's attorney has yet to review the extension, and final terms are not known, but the school has indicated that it will extend JSU's head of athletics. Fuller has been the focus of several lawsuits filed by former Jackson State employees. A total of six lawsuits have been filed against Fuller, the most recent in December. A federal judge tossed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fuller in March.
Texas A&M athletics secures web domain in ongoing bid to control brand
The Texas A&M athletics department has a new home: www.12thMan.com. University officials announced Monday the procurement of the domain from Knoxville, Tennessee, resident R. Eric Arnold. The domain was transferred on June 30 as the new home for aggieathletics.com, the university's original site for all things sports-related. "We are pleased to reach an amicable agreement with Mr. Arnold in which Texas A&M will have full ownership of www.12thMan.com," Shane Hinckley, Texas A&M's interim vice president of marketing and communications, said in a statement.
Playing Catch-Up on Concussions
The National Collegiate Athletic Association on Monday released guidelines it has developed with other organizations to try to protect players from concussions and other health threats related to athletic competition. The guidelines -- which do not carry the force of NCAA rules -- come as the association faces significant pressure to do more to combat concussions and other brain injuries, in particular, among college athletes. The biggest change, and likely to be the most controversial in some quarters, is the proposed limit during football's regular season of two practices a week that involve physical contact.

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