Wednesday, July 23, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
MSU-Meridian Hosts Transfer Workshop for Students
MSU-Meridian hosted its second transfer workshop of the summer Tuesday evening. The workshop offers a chance for students who may be wanting to attend the university to get information. Faculty and staff answered questions that any type of prospective students might have in regards to taking classes. Students who had already been admitted were able to register for classes at the workshop. One program students could get info on was the new kinesiology program at MSU-Meridian. The next transfer workshop will take place on Aug. 14. Fall classes begin at MSU-Meridian on Aug. 18.
Popular stock seminar to be held once again at MSU-Meridian
A popular seminar about choosing financial stocks will once again be made available by a Mississippi State retired accounting professor. Paul Allen, an MSU-Meridian professor emeritus, will host his seminar, "Choose Stocks Wisely," on July 31 from 4-6 p.m. at MSU's Downtown Campus computer lab. According to an MSU-Meridian press release, Allen's investments made more than $1 million over a 10-year period.
Researchers at Mississippi State Target Corn Planting Times
As early corn comes to market in July, growers are reminded that timing counts for a lot when it comes to planting corn. That's why Mississippi State University scientists are researching the effects of planting date, plant population and hybrid selection on field corn yields. Brien Henry, an associate professor in plant and soil sciences, and his team study the impact of planting higher populations of corn plants earlier in the season. They planted a variety of corn hybrids from March through May at plant populations ranging from 20,000 to 40,000 per acre at Starkville, Brooksville and Verona.
Farmers not likely to be in high cotton this year
Grenada row crops are at least two weeks behind where they should be, because torrential early spring rains prevented farmers from getting in the fields to plant, according to an expert. Cotton is blooming about one-third up the stalk, whereas it should be about two-thirds up the stalk, according to Steve Winters with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "The cotton is starting to fruit real well, but it's stunted," said Winters. "Cotton blooms form from the bottom, and you would expect to see that bloom at least two-thirds up the stalk by now. You can actually watch that bloom move up from the bottom, and we're a little behind right now." (Subscriber-only content.)
New Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge leader brings river-deep expertise
When Sabrina Chandler is on the job, life can be unpredictable -- she could slip into water, dodge barges or fall into beaver holes. Those risks are routine for Chandler, who has worked in wildlife refuges along rivers for more than a decade. In August, Chandler is returning to the rivers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington, D.C., to start her new position as complex manager for the Upper Mississippi River National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota. Chandler fell in love with big rivers while growing up in southern Mississippi along the Pascagoula River. In college, she visited the Mississippi River on a field trip. She was a natural leader early on, said Bruce Leopold, a professor at Mississippi State University.
Oktibbeha supervisors sign off on Communiversity plan
The Golden Triangle Development LINK secured the last local-level funding commitment for a proposed East Mississippi Community College workforce development center Monday as Oktibbeha County supervisors pledged $2.5 million across 15 years for the project. With the commitment, the LINK has secured a combined $13.5 million from Oktibbeha, Lowndes ($10 million) and Clay ($1 million) counties for the estimated $35-40 million facility developers say will position the Golden Triangle for expected industrial development opportunities in the future. An additional $18 million for the project was promised by the state, LINK consultant and former Mississippi State University President Malcolm Portera told supervisors Monday.
Neshoba County Fair starts this Friday
The 125th edition of the Neshoba County Fair that gets under way Friday could be a cool one. Nighttime temperatures are forecast to drop into mid-60s next week with some rain forecast early. Unless Senate business keeps him away, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran will be launching his general election campaign on Thursday, he said, after a heated GOP primary race that drew national attention. Cochran is scheduled to speak at 10:30 a.m. Thursday morning. Former Congressman and Democratic nominee Travis Childers will speak prior to that at 10:20 a.m. Congressman Gregg Harper will not be able to attend because he will be in Congressional session at the time.
Thacker Mountain Radio returns to the Fair on Saturday night
Thacker Mountain Radio, the Oxford-based music and literature program that features author readings and musical performances, returns to the Neshoba County Fair on Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Founder's Square Pavilion. Guests will include bestselling "Sweet Potato Queen" author, Jill Conner Browne, songwriter Charlie Mars, blues pianist Eden Brent and blues guitarist Vasti Jackson. The show is hosted by Jim Dees and house band, the Yalobushwhackers. The one-hour Fair show will not be a live broadcast but will be recorded for future air on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Thacker Mountain Radio can be heard every Saturday at 7 p.m. on MPB radio.
Lumber company announces Philadelphia expansion
Weyerhaeuser Co. is investing $57 million to modernize over the next three years at its softwood lumber mill in Philadelphia. Weyerhaeuser said in Monday's announcement the work will be done in phases. Plans are to install two continuous direct fired kilns and a new planer mill. Weyerhaeuser's Philadelphia sawmill is one of the company's longest-running manufacturing facilities. The mill was purchased from DeWeese Lumber Company in 1967 and employs approximately 188 people.
Court ruling would up premiums for 60,000 in state
Insurance premiums could skyrocket as much as 95 percent for about 60,000 Mississippians if a court ruling striking down a key provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act stands. "It would be devastating for Mississippi working families," said Roy Mitchell, executive director of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program of a ruling released Tuesday by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. By a 2-1 margin, the Washington, D.C., court found that the Affordable Care Act was written in such a manner that people who sign up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, could not receive federal subsidies to help pay for their insurance if their state did not create its own health insurance exchange.
Federal appeals courts issue contradictory rulings on health-law subsidies
A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit struck down a major part of the federal health-care law Tuesday, ruling that the insurance subsidies that help millions of Americans pay for coverage are illegal in three dozen states. Less than two hours later, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, based in Richmond, handed down a contradictory ruling on the issue in a separate case, raising the possibility of yet another high-stakes battle over the law playing out before the Supreme Court. The conflicting rulings give traction to the most serious current threat to the Affordable Care Act, which has been battered by a series of legal challenges since it was enacted four years ago.
Revamping of welfare drug testing law urged
Questions were raised Tuesday about who will pay for the estimated $16,000 monthly cost for drug treatment under Mississippi's controversial new welfare drug testing law. A recipient, civil liberties advocates and several Democratic lawmakers criticized the law Tuesday during a public hearing, asking that its implementation be delayed or slowed down so that it may be reworked by the Legislature. The Mississippi Department of Human Services conducted the public hearing at the request of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi and the Mississippi Center for Justice.
Bryant appears in GOP governors' promo video
Gov. Phil Bryant says in a new video that some in Washington have compared Mississippi to an old jalopy but he intends to drive full throttle toward economic recovery. The Republican Governors Association says Tuesday that Bryant's new three-minute video is part of its "American Comeback" series to promote the role of GOP leaders.
McDaniel visits Hub City to ask supporters to push election challenge
State senator Chris McDaniel made a stop in Hattiesburg Tuesday to ask supporters for their help in his potential election challenge. McDaniel, who still has not conceded the June 24 runoff, spoke to a crowd of around 100 to explain the process to them. "If we get into this and see that there's not a logical or a rational court challenge, we won't go forward, but we believe, based on everything we've seen, that there will be a rational or logical court challenge," said McDaniel. "I feel strong about that because of all the irregularities and proprieties we've seen throughout the state."
Federal hearing set for runoff; McDaniel wants new ruling
A federal judge has scheduled a Thursday hearing for arguments in Texas-based True The Vote's lawsuit over voter records from the June 24 GOP primary runoff. Meanwhile Chris McDaniel continues to gather information for a challenge of his loss to incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in the runoff. McDaniel has asked the state Supreme Court to reconsider its rejection of his request for access to poll books without voters' birthdates blacked out, in part to avoid the expense of paying to have the records redacted.
No earmarks, but still plenty for lawmakers to take credit for
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) strongly defended his earmarking record while facing a far right primary challenger who attacked him as a big government spender. Now that he's pretty much safe for another six years, Cochran remains just as unapologetic. Of course there are no actual earmarks anymore and haven't been since 2011. But if you're the type of lawmaker who heralds sending federal dollars home, there's still plenty of opportunity to boast. When the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved its $549.3 billion defense appropriations bill late last week Cochran's office put out a press release bragging about what in it would directly benefit Mississippi. There's $800 million for a new warship to be built in the state.
Study: Record-low turnouts seen in some primaries, but...
More than half the states to hold primary elections so far have seen record-low turnouts, according to a nonpartisan survey of voter rolls released Monday. That perhaps is a sign of widespread apathy within both political parties ahead of November's midterm elections. Of almost 123 million voters who were eligible to cast ballots in primaries, 18 million have done so, and states with same-day voter registration actually saw their turnout rates drop, according to the Center for the Study of the American Electorate. The numbers suggest the campaigns, party committees and independent super PACs are spending potentially record sums to reach fewer voters. Intraparty fighting among Republicans, however, produced a record high for GOP turnout in specific primaries. In Mississippi, where tea party favorite Chris McDaniel attempted to deny six-term Sen. Thad Cochran another term, turnout reached 17 percent for the runoff.
Political newcomer Perdue takes the GOP Senate runoff in Georgia
David Perdue squeaked to the lead in the Republican Senate runoff Tuesday over Jack Kingston in one of the most closely watched contests in the country. Voters said they were fed up with the situation in Washington and wanted a change. Perdue, a political newcomer convinced them he was better able to bring change than Kingston, a 22-year veteran of Congress. Kingston, an 11-term congressman from Savannah, played up his long allegiance to the Republican Party and his endorsements from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Rifle Association and other groups. If Kingston counted on his political experience, Perdue counted on his position as a Washington outsider.
Long GOP Primary Season Gives Democrats Time To Fill Campaign Coffers
Georgia Republicans picked their Senate nominee Tuesday night. Former corporate CEO David Perdue will face Democrat Michelle Nunn in the November general election. Nunn, the daughter of a popular former senator, is among several Democratic female candidates who are showing strength as the party tries to preserve its Senate majority. She's also considered a real contender to turn the Georgia seat Democratic. Nunn has taken advantage of the Republicans' late runoff date, which gave her time to raise money for November, says Justin Barasky, press secretary for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in Washington. But Brian Walsh, consultant to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, predicts that by autumn, Democrats will be stretched thin protecting their incumbents.
Intelligence community coping with a 'perfect storm,' DNI head says
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper said Tuesday that the work of the intelligence community has been made more difficult in the last year by a "perfect storm" of events. As a result, the U.S. "is accepting more risk" than it was 10 years ago or even one year ago, Clapper said. Clapper spoke at an event to mark the 10th anniversary of the release of the 9/11 Commission report, which set out a list of reforms the intelligence community should make to prevent another large-scale attack on U.S. soil.
Itawamba Community College-hosted reshoring workshops aim to bring jobs back to state
The Reshoring Opportunities Workshop being held Wednesday and Thursday focuses on creating jobs in Mississippi by bringing jobs back from overseas. The free workshop at the Itawamba Community College Belden Center in Tupelo is geared toward helping companies explore reshoring opportunities with the goal of accelerating the trend of bringing back jobs to the United States, officials said. The Mississippi Make it in America group was awarded one of only 10 nationwide grants last year to establish a program it called "Reshoring Advanced Manufacturing Jobs in Mississippi: Enhancing Skills and Building Competitiveness."
U. of Florida grad assistants to get 3.25 percent raise
After rejecting an initial offer of 1 percent, negotiators won a 3.25 percent raise for the University of Florida's 4,000 graduate assistants, who perform a large portion of teaching and research assistance, union officials announced Tuesday. UF negotiators offered a $3 million package that addresses the need for higher pay but leaves several issues -- such as fees and health insurance premiums -- unsettled for the future, said John Hames, co-president of UF Graduate Assistants United. "At the end of the day, we did finally decide to sign the contract, that it benefited enough of the graduate assistants," Hames said.
UF finance professor to serve as chief economist with (the other) SEC
When Mark Flannery was interviewing for the job of chief economist at the Securities and Exchange Commission, one of the commissioners wanted to talk more about the other SEC. That commissioner, however, was a Georgia Bulldog, and Flannery -- a finance professor at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business Administration since 1989 -- knew better than to go there. Turned out to be a wise decision. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Tuesday that Flannery will be its chief economist and director of its Division of Economic and Risk analysis. Flannery will take an extended leave of absence from UF for the initial one-year appointment. "My dean has been very supportive of that," he said.
U. of Arkansas Gets $1.5M for Cancer Research
Researchers at the University of Arkansas have been awarded $1.5 million from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health to develop new molecules and biopharmaceuticals that improve a patient's immune response against tumors. David Zaharoff, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and the principal investigator for the project, says metastasis -- not a patient's primary tumor -- kills about 90 percent of cancer patients.
U. of Missouri student body president resigns, citing family issues
Mason Schara, president of the Missouri Students Association, announced his resignation Monday afternoon, citing a medical emergency. Schara's resignation is effective at the end of the month, after which he will also leave the university and go back to his home state, Texas. "Schara expresses his sincerest apologies to the whole student body, administrators, all of MSA, specifically, his appointed MSA Executive Cabinet," a MSA news release said.
Rockstar Parking on Campus, for a Price
At colleges and universities around the country, parking is heavily subsidized. Parking spaces are surprisingly expensive to build: It costs about $18,000 per space in a typical concrete parking garage, according to Casey Jones, a vice president at Idaho-based SP Plus Corporation, which does consulting and manages about 2 million parking spaces. "It can simply no longer be about just building more parking; you can no longer just build yourself out of the challenges you have today," Jones said. Jones and Stanford's Brian Shaw gave a presentation Monday at the National Association of College and University Business Officers' annual conference in which they talked about the merits of demand-based parking. Under that model, the best spots near the center of campus and high-traffic buildings would cost the most and spots off in the hinterlands would cost less.
SLIM SMITH (OPINION): The man who wouldn't go home
The Dispatch's Slim Smith writes: "It's been 29 days since the Mississippi senatorial runoff election in which six-term incumbent Thad Cochran narrowly defeated tea party challenger Chris McDaniel. ...He has spent weeks leveling accusations, but has yet to provide an evidence to support them. In a word, he is little more than noise now. If Mississippians did not know Chris McDaniel before this race, they certainly know him now. He is the guy at your backyard barbecue who simply will not leave. Long after the other guests have said their goodbyes, there is McDaniel siting out there at the lone table that hasn't been cleared and stored away in the garage."
BOBBY HARRISON (OPINION): Cochran for the first time must deal with negatives
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "For years -- literally decades -- Thad Cochran has been one of Mississippi's most favored, if not favorite, politician. Hardly any Mississippian -- regardless of race, political affiliation, socioeconomic condition, religion or residency -- had anything bad to say about Cochran, who was elected to the U.S. House in 1972 and to the U.S. Senate in 1978. ...Thad Cochran has been and is viewed as a heavy favorite to win re-election to a seventh term in the U.S. Senate. But there is no doubt the bruising and unusual nature of the Republican primary and the attacks that continue from fellow Republicans have created some interesting dynamics."
BRIAN PERRY (OPINION): 'Tater tots' return to the Neshoba County Fair next week
Consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "Next week, politicos and the press make the annual political pilgrimage to the sawdust covered ground of Founders Square at the Neshoba County Fair. The Fair is so much more than politics, but for some people the two are synonymous. That's fine; they won't be disappointed. ...At 10:50, Reeves closes the Wednesday speaking. Last year, Reeves reclaimed the 'Tater Tots' pejorative used by his detractors and took it on the offensive for his conservative agenda. As state revenues increase due to economic recovery, I expect Reeves to address education funding and tax reform which should dominate the news coming out of Wednesday's Neshoba Fair. ...I'll take a look at Thursday's speaking next week, just in time for you to read the column and make it to the Fair to listen and see if I get it at least reasonably right."
SID SALTER (OPINION): Senate primary hangover should cast long shadow over Neshoba speeches
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "The 2014 Neshoba County Fair political speaking lineup presents an interesting opportunity for voters to measure the length of the political shadow of the state's interminable Republican Senate primary. So how much will Mississippi's bitter Republican U.S. Senate primary impact the speeches delivered at Mississippi's premier political stump? ...Expect Republican speeches at Neshoba to be more conservative than usual and expect Democratic speeches at Neshoba this year to goad and pick at the festering political wounds of the GOP Senate Primary. Expect 2015 trial balloons to be held to a minimum, while Democrats are expected to be as aggressive as they've been in many years."

Football recruits applaud move to Mississippi State, Ole Miss
Jamal Peters would be pumped to play in Davis Wade Stadium with Bassfield in the state football championships. After all, it would be a first taste of the place he expects to play at during his college career. "I'm so excited," the Mississippi State commit said of the Mississippi High School Activities Association's decision Monday to move its football championships to Starkville and Oxford. "It made it extra special for me and I want to work harder this season to get to play there." By rotating the games between Mississippi State and Ole Miss through 2017, the impact on recruiting is generally positive, leading to increased exposure for potential student-athletes. "Recruiting won't be any bit different," Bracky Brett, Mississippi State's Senior Associate AD for Compliance, said. "College coaches were able to watch the games when they were in Jackson, and it will be business as usual recruiting-wise when they play up here. Any college coach that wants to come to the state championships is allowed."
Schaefer makes lasting contributions at Starkville
Blair Schaefer feels like she got an ample amount of coaching during her two seasons as point guard for the Starkville High School girls basketball team. On the court, Schaefer was instructed by Starkville High School coach Kristie Williams. At home, Schaefer was encouraged by Vic Schaefer, who just completed his second season as head coach at Mississippi State. Both proved to be effective mentors while Blair Schaefer proved to be an effective leader herself. With an average of 18.7 points and 5.4 assists per game, Starkville High made the rare return to the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A North State playoffs. For this success, Schaefer is being chosen as The Dispatch's Large Schools All-Area Girls Basketball Co-Player of the Year.
USM AD Bill McGillis offers his take on Ole Miss, Mississippi State
Southern Miss, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The competition between the trio encompasses all sports and USM Athletic Director Bill McGillis, offered his view into the rivalry. "We compete with them in a lot of different ways," he said. Financially speaking it isn't close. Those numbers won't matter August 30, as the Golden Eagles and Bulldogs face-off in Starkville for both school's season opener. "What a fabulous way to launch the college football season," said McGillis. "You have so many more people I think talking about the opening game within our state this year because it's between Southern Miss and Mississippi State."
Southern Tradition Tailgating: Company to host outings at Texas, Baylor football games
Brad Vickers said he was enjoying a tailgate party at Mississippi State University in 2008, but he wanted to watch his alma mater, the University of Georgia, take on its rival, the University of South Carolina. He could not find the game on TV anywhere he looked. He came up with the solution in 2009 when he founded Southern Tradition Tailgating, a luxury tailgating service. The idea was to enable people to tailgate while keeping up with other games throughout the country. Southern Tradition Tailgating started out at Mississippi State and the University of Mississippi but has since ventured throughout the South to include the University of Texas, and, starting this fall, Baylor University.
LSU shows off nearly complete south end zone expansion of Tiger Stadium
Joe Alleva glanced over the row of seats, beyond the metal railing, past the two levels of suites and way, way down to the south end zone of Tiger Stadium. "You're right on top of it," Alleva said, wearing dark sunglasses and a protective LSU hardhat. "Thought we would be too far back of the field," LSU's athletic director continued. "We're not." LSU showed off its multimillion dollar makeover to 90-year-old Tiger Stadium on Tuesday, ushering reporters around the 320,000-square-foot addition to the south end zone. Completion of the addition is set for Aug. 22, when crews will deliver food and other materials for the two levels of suites and the above club level. Remaining work includes painting, cleaning and other minor projects, officials said.
LSU breaks ground on gymnastics practice facility
D-D Breaux didn't need one of the fancy gold-painted shovels traditionally used at groundbreaking ceremonies when LSU officials gathered Tuesday to kick off construction of the Tigers' new gymnastics training center. She brought her own. When LSU President F. King Alexander, Athletic Director Joe Alleva and high-ranking Tiger Athletic Foundation officials dug their shovels into a pile of dirt, Breaux used her late father's shovel to symbolically make her mark on the practice facility she's had an eye on for 25 years. The two-story state-of-the-art training center, which will cost between $10 million and $12 million, will go up just north of the basketball practice facility. Construction should take 10 to 12 months, associate athletic director Eddie Nunez said.
Commonwealth Stadium construction won't take a break for upcoming football season at UK
Construction workers at the University of Kentucky's Commonwealth Stadium will continue work through UK's football season with the goal of completing renovations before the 2015 season. UK will kick off its 2014 season at home against Tennessee-Martin on Aug. 30. The $110 million stadium project will continue on non-game days, forcing some changes to the way fans enter Commonwealth Stadium on game days. Construction crews will work until Thursday on game weeks before cleaning up the construction area and setting up temporary fencing by Saturday morning, UK Athletics project manager Russ Pear said.
New Dimension in Scoreboard Watching: Daktronics Plays Outsize Role as Giant Scoreboards Proliferate
The seemingly endless prairie around Brookings, South Dakota, would seem to be an unlikely place for one of the largest makers of sports video displays, Daktronics. Yet in the nearly half-century since its founding, the company has become a global giant in sports entertainment. "We see the living room as our biggest competitor," said Al Kurtenbach, a Daktronics co-founder and its chairman. College stadiums are a growing opportunity, too, particularly at Division I universities whose wealthy donors are willing to pay for a display. One reason Daktronics has thrived in a town of about 22,000 has been its proximity to South Dakota State in Brookings. At any time, about 300 students work at the company as engineers, in marketing and sales, and in graphic arts and other departments.
LOGAN LOWERY (OPINION): Mississippi State's Prescott poised in spotlight
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Logan Lowery writes: "Many times you will hear coaches refer to an athlete having the 'it factor.' I'm not sure how to define 'it' either, but having been around sports all my life I can recognize it when I see it. And Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott has it. People just seem to gravitate towards Prescott. The way he worked the room at SEC Media Days last week wasn't necessarily surprising to see but was impressive nonetheless. Prescott remained calm and also humble as he was peppered with questions from the 1,200-plus media on-hand. Prescott is just a likeable guy. And when you hear his story and found out the obstacles he overcame both on and off the field last season, it allows you appreciate him even more."

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