Wednesday, July 9, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Summer school for state's college students requires balancing classes, jobs, social life
For college students, enrolling in summer classes equals longer days for studying and shorter nights for partying. A majority of college students juggle various tasks during the grueling summer months, usually with a specific goal in mind -- early or timely graduation -- but with only a short amount of time to complete it. Professionals recommend that students take advantage of the counseling services provided at their university or college. "If a student is feeling overwhelmed, whether it's due to part-time work, transitional stress, or anything else, that student should seek support services at the student counseling center," said E. Samuel Winer, assistant professor of psychology at Mississippi State University.
Mississippi State Student Honored for Forest Fire Research
A Mississippi State University undergraduate student and research scholar has won the Harold Weaver Undergraduate Student Excellence Award for his research on the flammability of hardwood forests. Senior forestry major Zach Senneff of Caledonia, received the honor from the Association of Fire Ecology at the Large Wildland Fires Conference in Missoula, Montana. Senneff investigated the flammability of leaf litter from 10 hardwood species common to the eastern U.S. The objective of his research was to determine which leaves encourage fire and which hamper fire. In fire-prone ecosystems, flammable leaf litter kills competing trees.
Farmers persist past rainy weather in the Delta
"Rain, rain go away," was the familiar tune most farmers had on their mind. The persistent rain across the Delta has taken its toll on local agriculture. "The rain put us behind at first," said Craig Hankins, Extension agent at the Bolivar County Extension Office. "Growth wise, we are behind but it will all work out." According to the Mississippi Crop Progress and Condition Report for the week ending of June 29, rain was widespread throughout the state with most locations receiving 1 to 3 inches. In fact, Cleveland had a total of six rain days during that week, according to the Crop Progress Report. Some cities across the state received as many as seven rain days.
Archaeological survey to be done near Tribal land
An archaeological survey will be done to determine if a weather-worn ditch on County Road 147 in the Hope community of Neshoba County near the border with Tribal lands has any historical significance. The issue was discussed during the Monday meeting of the Neshoba County Board of Supervisors. State Aid Engineer Marty Crowder said he had contacted an associate with Mississippi State University to carry out the survey.
State's Transportation Leaders Issue More Warnings About Federal Highway Trust Fund
Mississippi is poised to spend an additional $32 million on roads and bridges thanks to recent growth in the revenue. That's good news, says Mike Pepper with the Mississippi Road Builders Association, but he is still concerned about the federal highway trust fund which could begin to run dry by August. The Mississippi Department of Transportation is putting out dire warnings saying it could be necessary to stop the bidding process on all state funded maintenance projects by the middle of this month. Roughly half of the nearly $1 billion dollar MDOT budget comes from the federal government.
Veterans voice grievances with VA at spirited forum on Coast
Across the street from the front gate of the local Veterans Affairs Medical Center, more than 120 veterans turned out Tuesday morning to voice their grievances concerning the current state of the VA system. The forum, hosted by U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo at VFW Post 2434, was meant to be geared more toward gathering information and connecting veterans with area organizations and military-affiliated staffers of the congressman. Instead, it turned -- almost immediately -- into a spirited town hall-style meeting, with many veterans looking for answers. "There's a culture of corruption within the VA. You have incompetent senior executives who screw up in one VA and instead of being fired they get transferred to another," Palazzo said, to a roar of approval from many of the veterans.
Cochran camp: Ballot irregularities minimal
The campaign for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran said the first two days of the review of election data from the June 24 U.S. Senate Republican runoff did not provide the thousands of voting irregularities that challenger Chris McDaniel's campaign said eventually would be discovered. The McDaniel campaign is in the process of reviewing election returns from the 82 counties with the intent of challenging the June 24 runoff results where Cochran, a six-term incumbent, defeated McDaniel, a second-term state senator from Ellisville, by 7,667 votes. The final tally was 194,932 to 187,265 votes. According to information released by Cochran senior adviser Austin Barbour, the first day of the examination of the election data revealed about 250 questioned votes, though, the process is not complete.
Cochran camp says it 'screwed up' cash accounting
Facing allegations of vote buying and a challenge to a GOP primary runoff win, the Thad Cochran campaign on Tuesday said it made a mistake with its accounting of nearly $53,000 in get-out-the-vote cash and will have to amend its reporting to the Federal Election Commission. A spokesman for six-term incumbent Cochran called the filing "a screw up," and the campaign has denied vote buying and other allegations. Cochran campaign adviser Austin Barbour says the filings were a mistake by the campaign's treasurer. He said they should be listed as cash payments to "dozens" of people who helped knock on doors and with other GOTV work.
Untamed Cruz refuses to play nice with GOP campaign arm
GOP hopes of corralling Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) during the 2014 primary season are officially dead. The defiant Republican's brutal criticism of Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-Miss.) reelection campaign on Tuesday -- and the involvement of a group he is technically a vice chairman of, the National Republican Senatorial Committee -- is just the latest example of the Tea Party hero refusing to play nice. That brazen approach has exacerbated already fragile relations with establishment Republicans, who believe the freshman senator is intentionally undercutting them for no reason other than furthering his own political career.
Cruz backs runoff investigation; tea party group calls Cochran 'scum'
In a fresh sign of Republican turmoil, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, tea party groups and losing challenger Chris McDaniel all backed an investigation yesterday into the June 24 Senate primary runoff in Mississippi, without offering evidence of alleged voter fraud they cited in the bitterly fought race. One day after Sen. Thad Cochran was certified the primary winner by the state Republican Party, the denunciations of the 76-year-old lawmaker were particularly vituperative. The Tea Party Leadership Fund, which claims a membership of 25,000, referred to him as "scum." An appeal sent by the Madison Project under the name of former Kansas Republican Rep. Jim Ryun labeled the six-term veteran corrupt.
Mitch McConnell: It's Clear Thad Cochran Won Mississippi Runoff
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky dismissed allegations from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, of impropriety in the Mississippi Republican primary -- but noted it's an issue for state officials to decide. "I assume the people in Mississippi will look at what ever complaints are filed," McConnell told reporters Tuesday when asked to comment on Cruz's call for an investigation in to voter fraud. "I think it's pretty clear who won. Sen. [Thad Cochran, R-Miss.,] ran a very successful runoff campaign and got the most votes," McConnell added. "But anybody is entitled to contest the outcome and that well may happen in Mississippi." Cochran defeated state Sen. Chris McDaniel by more than 7,000 votes in the GOP runoff on June 24.
Hometown Editorial: McDaniel Isn't A Racist Because He Played Basketball
A newspaper editorial in Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel's (R) home county argued that McDaniel couldn't possibly be a racist since he played basketball in college. The editorial by the Laurel Leader-Call of Jones County, Mississippi, the newspaper from the town where McDaniel was born, echoed arguments from his supporters that Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) engaged in race-baiting against McDaniel to get African-Americans to vote for Cochran in the runoff election for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. Cochran won the runoff and McDaniel campaign has since been gathering evidence to fight the results. Mark Thornton, the editor of the Leader-Call who wrote the editorial, told TPM on Tuesday that the argument behind the editorial was really based on the friendships McDaniel had with his teammates.
Obama's $3.7-billion border request reflects deepening concern
President Obama asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funding Tuesday to help confront what he called an "urgent humanitarian situation": the unprecedented influx of children and teens arriving without parents on the Southwestern border. The figure was nearly double what the administration had signaled might be necessary, and it showed the deepening concern at the White House about the more than 52,000 unaccompanied minors, mostly from Central America, who have flocked across the border since October. About 5,000 unaccompanied youths from Central America normally enter the U.S. each year. For reasons still unclear, that figure skyrocketed last fall.
Cleveland is GOP panel's choice for 2016 convention
Cleveland is the choice of the Republican Party's site selection committee to host the 2016 convention. The Republican National committee will now begin negotiating with city officials, and the full RNC will meet in early August to consider the decision. Cleveland was picked over Dallas, the other finalist. Kansas City, Phoenix, Columbus, Ohio and Las Vegas had also been in the running.
Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor Turns His Bible Into A Political Tool
Tere are two rules of American politics: Never let an opponent's attacks go unanswered, and if you're running in the South and have a good reason to be pictured holding a Bible, go for it. The first is a long-standing rule. The second is hard to argue with. That explains why Arkansas Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor has a new ad in which, while holding a Bible and looking earnestly into the camera, he says: "I'm not ashamed to say that I believe in God and I believe in his word. The Bible teaches us that no one has all the answers, only God does." The ad is the second of Pryor's responses to his Republican challenger, Rep. Tom Cotton, who said of President Obama and the senator: "Barack Obama and Mark Pryor think that faith is something that only happens at 11 o'clock on Sunday mornings."
Parking services plans for positive changes at U. of Mississippi
University of Mississippi Parking Services continues to develop plans for the upcoming school year to improve campus parking. Director of Parking and Transportation Services George Michael Harris said his department is looking to improve students' and faculty's experience with various outlets. Harris said numbers and statistics from the past were taken into consideration in order to better plan for the upcoming semester. "We are going to limit those commuter tags," Harris said. Harris said based on last year's numbers there will be a 10 percent decrease of people parking on campus, leaving a significant number of spaces open for drivers compared to last year. "This will take a strain off of the central campus," Harris said.
U. of Alabama students win at Campus MovieFest
A team of University of Alabama students won best film at the international Campus MovieFest. The team's short film "Wieder 'Zam" offers a vignette of an elderly World War II veteran as his memory drifts to his experiences to the waning days of the war. The annual student film competition, workshop and other related events were from June 19-22 at Universal Studios in Hollywood, Calif., and included nearly 1,000 student filmmakers, family and friends from 60 participating college campuses.
Next U. of Florida president must live in new mansion
The next president of the University of Florida will likely earn $1 million and be required to live in a new $5 million mansion being built across from the Levin College of Law. The UF Board of Trustees on Tuesday unanimously approved a compensation package range of roughly $1 million to $1.25 million -- reflecting current market conditions based on a report from the Mercer consulting group. The board also gave its chairman, Steven Scott, the authority to negotiate within that range the various components of the package: base salary, incentive bonus, deferred compensation and retirement benefits. Only $200,000 of the president's salary can be funded with tax dollars under state law. The rest must come from private donations.
U. of Tennessee plans a VolShop at University Commons development
It doesn't have the reach of Walmart or Publix, but an institution with a big local footprint may set up shop in a new retail center on Cumberland Avenue. On Thursday, a state panel is set to consider a proposed lease agreement between the developers of University Commons and the University of Tennessee. An agenda said UT wants to lease space for a VolShop -- the official campus store, selling everything from textbooks to T-shirts -- at the west end of campus. The 10-year lease would commence this summer and be valued at more than $3.8 million. It's not the only project underway on the UT campus, though. Anyone who's walked by the corner of Cumberland and 17th Street recently has seen that a former store on the corner was stripped to its steel bones over the last few weeks, with a significant rebuilding now underway.
Curt Rom Named Interim Dean of U. of Arkansas Honors College
The University of Arkansas has named Curt Rom, a university professor of horticulture, as its interim dean of the Honors College. Bob McMath, the college's current dean, is set to retire at the end of the month. Rom will assume the duties effective July 28, and serve while a national search finds a permanent replacement. Javier Reyes, vice provost for distance education, is head of the selection committee, which includes faculty, students and administrators. Rom came to the university in 1989. Since 2005, he has been a professor of horticulture, crop production systems, sustainable and organic horticulture.
U. of Missouri surpasses previous fundraising record
The University of Missouri hit a new record in fundraising during fiscal year 2014. Administrators announced this morning that the Office of Advancement brought in a record $164.5 million during the past year, surpassing the previous record of $160.5 million raised in 2008. This year's total surpasses the university's goal of $150 million. The total also surpasses the fiscal year 2013 gifts and pledges total of $137 million by about 20 percent. Tom Hiles, vice chancellor for advancement, deemed the year a success.
BRIAN PERRY (OPINION): Constitutional hunting on ballot in Mississippi in November
Consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "The Constitution is on the ballot in November. Well, sort of. And this isn't campaign hyperbole. Mississippians will vote on an amendment to the Mississippi Constitution when they go to the polls on Nov. 4. In recent years, we've been familiar with constitutional amendments through the initiative process. ...But constitutional amendments can also be advanced by the state legislature and put on the statewide ballot. In 2012, Rep. Lester 'Bubba' Carpenter (R-Burnsville) introduced a resolution to amend the Mississippi Constitution to add a section stating, 'The people have the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife, including by the use of traditional methods, subject only to laws and regulations that promote wildlife conservation and management and that preserve the future of hunting and fishing, as the Legislature may prescribe by general law.' ...The measure passed the House of Representatives 104-14 and was unanimously approved by the Senate. It will be on the ballot this fall."
DANA MILBANK (OPINION): The tea party's embrace of martyrdom
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank writes: "Hiroo Onoda, the last imperial Japanese soldier to surrender after World War II, hid out in a jungle in the Philippines for 29 years, refusing to believe that the war was over. He finally turned himself in, wearing his sword, cap and patched uniform, in 1974. Onoda died this year at age 91, but his passion for lost causes lives on -- in the person of Chris McDaniel, a failed Senate candidate in Mississippi. ...One pictures McDaniel emerging from Mississippi's Black Creek Wilderness 29 years from now, his suit muddy and his Don't-Tread-on-Me flag shredded by alligators, finally conceding to Cochran, who will then be 105 years old and preparing to run for his 12th six-year term."
STUART STEVENS (OPINION): Chris McDaniel Confirms the Worst GOP Stereotypes
Consultant Stuart Stevens writes for The Daily Beast: "There is an odd sort of political bubble emanating from my home state of Mississippi. And like most bubbles, it has more to do with wish fulfillment than reality. ...we have the absurd notion that the failure of an obscure Mississippi state senator to win a Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate is a blow to the conservative cause. It's a downright silly idea that, like all wrong-headed thoughts, doesn't improve when it's shouted. Chanting nonsense might induce a state of euphoria in Hare Krishna devotees, but it doesn't help win many arguments. ...Chris McDaniel is now saying the 'election was stolen' without providing a shred of evidence. It's an extraordinarily irresponsible statement by an elected official."
BOBBY HARRISON (OPINION): Wicker's 2008 Senate race also had sharp ads
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "In the midst of what was thought to be a close election for the U.S. Senate in 2008, Republican Roger Wicker ran radio ads courting the votes of black Mississippians because his opponent, Ronnie Musgrove, was perceived by some as being lukewarm in support of fellow Democrat Barack Obama for president. ...The same campaign, Wicker or at least his supporters, ran ads criticizing Musgrove for 'trying to change our flag.' ...I make these points not to cast any judgment on the Roger Wicker campaign of 2008, but to point out that it is not unusual for candidates to target voters. And, it shouldn't be a surprise that candidates run ads that in the eyes of their opponents tell only half the story -- at best."
SID SALTER (OPINION): Worried about partisan purity in elections? Try the straight ticket
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "The never-ending story that Mississippi's Republican U.S. Senate primary has become has raised the issue of the desirability of partisan purity in elections in Mississippi. The argument is that Republicans should vote in Republican primaries and Democrats in Democratic primaries. ...One thing is clear at this juncture - the Mississippi Legislature will have an opportunity to turn a microscope on Mississippi election law in the 2015 session as they approach the state's next courthouse-to-statehouse elections. And in all likelihood, at the end of that opportunity, Mississippi's elections laws will remain substantially unchanged."

Mississippi State's Johnson, Day on national watch lists
For the third-straight year, Mississippi State seniors Malcolm Johnson and Dillon Day were placed on official preseason watch lists. Johnson earned a spot on the preseason list for the John Mackey Award, presented annually to college football's most outstanding tight end. Day was placed on the list for the Rimington Trophy, presented annually to college football's most outstanding center. Johnson, Day and the Bulldogs open the 2014 campaign Aug. 30 against Southern Miss in the newly renovated and expanded Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field.
Meridian Kids Learn Life Lessons from Former Mississippi State Basketball Player
A former Mississippi State basketball player came to Meridian to talk to kids in Meridian's city summer basketball league about high character. Tyson Cunningham recently graduated from MSU and now works for the university's Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He talked to the kids about staying on the right path in life. "Knowing what it takes to be successful, and like I said, separating from negativity, and knowing what you want to do in life, knowing what you want to be in life, and knowing what it takes to get to those points," said Cunningham.
Mississippi State transfer Jalen Steele won't play at Middle Tennessee
Eight new players took the court for Middle Tennessee men's basketball Tuesday afternoon, but Mississippi State transfer Jalen Steele and junior college transfer Shaheed Davis were not among them. Neither will play for the Blue Raiders. Steele, a 6-foot-3 guard and former Fulton star, did not graduate in time at Mississippi State to use his final year of eligibility at MTSU. If he would have graduated by now, Steele could have played for the Blue Raiders this season. "All I can say is that Jalen had to graduate from Mississippi State in order to be eligible to play here, and he did not meet those requirements to date," MTSU coach Kermit Davis said.
MHSAA delays executive committee meeting
A Mississippi High School Activities Association executive committee meeting that may have formalized the moving of the state football championships has been postponed. The championships have been played at Jackson's Veterans Memorial Stadium since 1992. Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Southern Miss will likely participate in a new three-campus rotation. The Daily Journal reported Monday that the move had been approved and the announcement was likely to come at the meeting. But a source told the Journal on Tuesday evening that the meeting will be rescheduled. The source also said that college officials have been more than open to the new format.
U. of Kentucky football's 'guarantee games' come with steep price tag
Finding three opponents willing to come to Commonwealth Stadium and play against Kentucky has become more costly as of late. The Cats' three non-conference home games against Tennessee-Martin, Louisiana-Monroe and Ohio University will cost more than $2 million this season, according to the contracts obtained by the Herald-Leader. The highest price tag game for Kentucky this season is the $1 million payout to Louisiana-Monroe. The Warkhawks take on UK on Oct. 11.
An Arms Race That Could Have Unintended Consequences
As the much-awaited trial of an antitrust lawsuit challenging National College Athletic Association policies limiting players' rights to be compensated for their likeness came to an end on June 27, Indiana University announced that it had created a "student-athlete bill of rights." The judge in the antitrust lawsuit is not expected to make a decision until August, but universities like Indiana, and the conferences they're members of, have already begun addressing some of the very concerns raised during the trial. The result is an escalating competition of athletes' rights that some critics worry could have unintended consequences, including increasing inequity between men's and women's sports. "This is now an arms race," Kristine Newhall, a sports management lecturer at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said.
RICK CLEVELAND (OPINION): Meet the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2014
Mississippi syndicated sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes: "Fifty-three years ago, organizers inducted the first class into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. Goat Hale, Bruiser Kinard, Dudy Noble and Stanley Robinson formed the inaugural class, and the original plaques hang in the Hall of Fame and Museum today. We will have right at 300 inductees when six more are inducted the night of July 25 in ceremonies at the Jackson Hilton. One aspect hasn't changed in that half of a century, plus three: Mississippi continues to spawn some of the most remarkable sports talent on the planet."

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