Monday, July 28, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Officials see economic boon in championships
Starkville officials predict a sharp uptick in hotel and restaurant business this December when Mississippi State University hosts the 2014 Mississippi High School Activities Association's state football championship games. Since MSU travels to Oxford this year, a newly renovated Davis Wade Stadium will host 12 teams battling for their respective division's state title. Hailed by the state's high school athletics association as a move to plug in emerging athletes into a college setting, local tourism officials forecast the games as huge draws that will help bring in new streams of sales and food and beverage tax receipts for the city and the Golden Triangle.
MSU students propose designs for Mississippi Maritime Museum in Pascagoula
When Mississippi Maritime Museum's board of directors began discussing renovation plans for an interim museum and design blueprints for a permanent one, they contacted the Magnolia State's only postsecondary architecture school. When the museum opens in Pascagoula, it will recognize and celebrate Mississippi's 300 years of maritime influence, especially in the field of shipbuilding, said Pat Keene, president of the museum's board. The interim site will be the former Pascagoula High School math and science building, and the new museum will be constructed at River Park on Lowry Island.
MSU Students Propose Designs for Mississippi Maritime Museum
When Mississippi Maritime Museum's board of directors began discussing renovation plans for an interim museum and design blueprints for a permanent one, they contacted the Magnolia State's only postsecondary architecture school. Faculty members and students in Mississippi State's School of Architecture and its Gulf Coast Community Design Studio answered the call. "The school was most fortunate to be able to collaborate on a real project with the Mississippi Maritime Museum Board," said Michael Berk, director of MSU's architecture program. "The students benefited tremendously from this real-world experience. Their design proposals were of exceptional value and will be most instrumental in helping the museum board think about visionary possibilities."
Salter's Fair memories gravitate toward 'great old stump speakers'
The Fair Times, published by the Neshoba Democrat, profiles Sid Salter, Mississippi State University's chief communications officer and director of the Office of Public Affairs: "In 1989, my longtime friend and business partner Gale Denley of Bruce and I had the opportunity to buy the old Bruner Trapp family cabin -- Cabin No. 16 -- on Founder's Square. There were 32 different heirs to the cabin. It was one-story, had a cistern and was actually attached to the side of the George Mars cabin. Gale and I tore the old cabin down board-by-board to keep from damaging the Mars cabin. We had the present two-story cabin built in time for the 1989 centennial Fair. We called it 'Faux Pas' because at that point, it was still considered sort of a breach of etiquette to fully air condition a cabin on the Square."
Meridian's Bonnie Blue Dulaney crowned Miss Hospitality
A senior Mississippi State University biochemistry major from Meridian has been crowned Mississippi's Miss Hospitality for 2014. Bonnie Blue Dulaney, 21, won the Miss Hospitality Pageant in Hattiesburg Saturday night. Abby Posey of Neshoba County, who was Dulaney's roommate during the pageant, was chosen as first runner-up. Dulaney will now spend the next year representing the state as a good will ambassador at events inside and outside of Mississippi. "I'm excited and I can't wait to represent Mississippi," Dulaney said.
Sweep potato crop topic of field day event
Sweet potato growers, crop consultants and other agricultural professionals will learn about current research and market issues during a field day program Aug. 20. Researchers and specialists with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will be featured at the event at the Pontotoc Ridge-Flatwoods Branch Experiment Station in Pontotoc on Mississippi Highway 15 South. A sweet potato soil fumigation rig designed by Mississippi State University engineers will be demonstrated.
Four inducted into Southern PR Hall of Fame
GodwinGroup CEO Philip Shirley and three other Mississippi business and communications leaders were this month into the Southern Public Relations Hall of Fame. The ceremony was held July 18 in Starkville. The other 2014 inductees were: John E. Forde, Ph.D., associate professor and head of the Department of Communication at Mississippi State University; Joseph W. Purka, vice president, Kirby-Smith Associates; and Shelia White, retired director of university communications at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast. The Southern Public Relations Hall of Fame is co-sponsored by the Southern Public Relations Federation and the Mississippi State University Department of Communication.
Starkville aldermen mull economic bond issuance
At least three Starkville aldermen have not yet committed their support to a bond issuance next month that could fund a new industrial park near the Highway 182 and Highway 25 interchange. Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver and Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker confirmed to The Dispatch via text that they're undecided on the issue and will continue to work through the details as August board meetings approach. "We have a research-based university with a lot of those jobs here, but there aren't a lot of jobs above the minimum-wage line. A new park could be a game-changer for Starkville, and I like that aspect; however, if we spend $10 million and the economy turns and nobody comes in, it could be the biggest flop in the world, just like Cornerstone is right now," Carver said.
McCarthy hired as CFO of Mississippi Development Authority
Mississippi's lead economic development agency has hired a new chief financial officer. The Mississippi Development Authority said Jay McCarthy will begin work on Aug. 1. McCarthy comes to his new post with nearly 30 years of experience in finance, banking and economic development.
Mississippi pushes Aerospace Corridor
NASA Stennis Space Center's rocket testing facility in Hancock County and the Northrop Grumman unmanned aerial vehicle manufacturing facility in Jackson County put South Mississippi as a strong participant in the economic space race. The Mississippi Gulf Coast Alliance for Economic Development coins the area along Interstate 10 the Mississippi Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor. Four specialties have developed along the Mississippi Gulf Coast: fixed-wing and rotary unmanned aerial vehicles, composites, propulsion and geospatial, which includes satellites and remote sensing applications.
Bryant: Obama to blame for drop in state's insured
Gov. Phil Bryant placed the blame squarely on President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act for Mississippi's status as the only state where the number of people without health insurance has increased. Legislative Democrats countered that if the governor and others had led the effort to take advantage of the benefits and options offered by the ACA that the state, like the rest of the nation, would have seen a drop in the number of uninsured. Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville, said, "It is sad how many out there need health care who are not getting it. I hear from them every day. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves for not taking the federal money to expand Medicaid." Bryant contends the Medicaid expansion would put an additional burden on the state's budget. Other studies have suggested a positive economic impact to Medicaid that could reduce that burden.
Rubio speech to Mississippi GOP avoids elephants in room
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida was in Jackson on Friday, speaking to hundreds of Republicans and elected officials about the American dream. The luncheon at the Jackson Convention Complex was a fundraiser for Republicans in the Mississippi House of Representatives. Before being elected to the Senate, Rubio served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2000-08. Rubio took the stage to a standing ovation. Throughout his speech, the senator wove his personal story into the greater American story and the pursuit of the American dream. The recent Senate primary between incumbent Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel was not mentioned during Friday's event.
Nosef urges McDaniel to speed election challenge
Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef said Friday that Chris McDaniel should hurry up and challenge the June 24 runoff results if McDaniel intends to do so. "Since some have said they believe this election was stolen, every day that goes by without either a challenge or concession is bad for everyone involved, no matter which side of this primary someone happened to be on," Nosef said in a statement. McDaniel spokesman Noel Fritsch said in a statement: "Instead of parroting a Cochran staffer's stale talking points, Mr. Nosef should show true leadership and advocate for election integrity by asking all circuit clerks to comply with the McDaniel campaign's requests for access to election records, as most already have."
McDaniel's main man: Michael Watson key in campaign, legal fight
The June sun is blazing on the parking lot at Gander Mountain in Hattiesburg and Chris McDaniel is chilling out inside the sporting goods store, waiting to hit the stage before hundreds of adoring fans. But not state Sen. Michael Watson of Pascagoula. McDaniel's best friend and Conservative Coalition cohort in the state Senate is already on stage, winding up the crowd in a bitter campaign for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. It's a race that has divided the party and put both their careers on the line. Watson, on stage just three days before that primary, tells the story of how in 2007 he was urged to run for state Senate, then urged to look up an up-and-comer from Ellisville named McDaniel when he got to Jackson.
Republican women resign over nasty Senate race
Four of the five board members of the Madison County Republican Women have resigned, including Robin Mayfield, wife of GOP and tea party leader Mark Mayfield, who committed suicide in June amid the GOP primary photo scandal. The resignations are apparently over the nasty U.S. Senate primary between incumbent Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Diane Hawks, serving in her first year as president of MCRW and who also worked as a paid staffer on Cochran's campaign, said she received resignation letters from three board members last week and has since talked with a fourth who is resigning. Hawks said, "They didn't give reasons."
Chris McDaniel's last hopes hinge on nine more votes -- in a courtroom
The quixotic and seemingly eternal crusade from Chris McDaniel, second-place finisher in Mississippi's Republican Senate primary, actually does have an end game in mind. Once the campaign's collection of evidence is complete -- the date of which was pushed out again on Friday -- his supporters expect the case to go before a jury in Mississippi circuit court. Then, all it takes is the votes of nine Mississippians, and the state will have itself a third election to decide who will represent it in the Senate. Reached by phone on Thursday, the campaign's colorful spokesman, Noel Fritsch, explained that the campaign had a "massive endeavor" in front of it with the legal challenge.As has been the case for weeks, Fritsch declined to describe that evidence in any detail or share any of it.
Consultants rake in millions from GOP civil war
The highest-profile Republican insurgents of 2014 have had a few things in common: They've all run against longtime incumbents whom they accused of going native in D.C. They've all relied on super PACs to buoy their campaigns. And in three of the biggest primaries of the year, hard-right candidates have hired the same general consulting firm: Cold Spark Media, a small, Pittsburgh-based company led by former advisers to Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey. Not that long ago, consultants say, it might have been a professional death sentence to sign up with even one candidate targeting a veteran incumbent like Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran. These days, Cold Spark is only one of a limited but growing number of Republican firms that operate heavily in the black market of anti-incumbent campaigns.
Congressional candidate mum on felony record
First Congressional District candidate Flemron "Ron" Earl Dickey remains tight-lipped about a 2012 felony bad check arrest, two days after making public statements about an ongoing bankruptcy case and misrepresentations of his military record. The Horn Lake Democrat said Saturday he wouldn't discuss his Jan. 4, 2012, arrest by the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department or the few-hour jail stint. "You didn't ask me any questions when I first announced I was running because my life or campaign wasn't interesting enough for you," Dickey said. "You're not going to treat me like a little boy on a street corner wanting to ask me anything." Dickey said he didn't appreciate a reporter contacting him on the weekend about his criminal record.
MUW partners with Co-Lin Community College for new bachelor's degree
Mississippi University for Women is partnering with a community college to offer a bachelor's degree to culinary students. The university on Thursday announced Two Plus Two, a culinary arts program that partners with Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson. MUW President Dr. Jim Borsig and Co-Lin President Dr. Ronnie Nettles signed a memorandum agreement Thursday. "This agreement will provide additional opportunities for students at Copiah-Lincoln who wish to pursue four-year studies in culinary arts at The W," Dr. Borsig said in a release.
Co-Lin, MUW partnering to offer four-year culinary arts degree
Copiah-Lincoln Community College has teamed up with Mississippi University for Women to offer Co-Lin students a way to earn a four-year degree in culinary arts at MUW. Scott Tollison, dean of the College of Business and Professional Studies at MUW, said that these programs are a vital cog in developing a better work force. He explained that when Mississippi has a talented work force, the state attracts more business and industry. "We want to work with community colleges to give stacked credentials that will create pathways for students," said Tollison.
MUW adds graduation ceremony to meet demands
Mississippi University for Women will host its first August graduation on Aug. 2. In a press release, the university cited space constraints as the reason for the additional ceremony. Traditionally, The W has had two graduation ceremonies: one in May and one in December. "A third ceremony was added in August due to space constraints so graduates could share their accomplishments with family and friends," the release said. Approximately 150 students are expected to walk in the Aug. 2 ceremony. According to the release, 422 students will receive their degrees.
William Carey offers new specialist in education degree
A new degree offered by William Carey University's School of Education this fall already has attracted a student from as far away as China. The completely online degree is geared toward busy administrators and teachers who want to help other teachers with their classroom instruction. The school is offering the Specialist in Education degree with an instructional leadership concentration. The program is intended for students interested in careers on one of two tracks -- instructional leadership or instructional assessment. "This program is 100 percent online," said Liesa Weaver, chairwoman of the educational leadership department.
Kelly chairman of state education board
John R. Kelly has begun a two-year term as chairman of the state Board of Education. Since 2007, Kelly has served as Gulfport's chief administrative officer. He was appointed to the board by Gov. Haley Barbour in 2011. Kelly has a bachelor's degree from Alcorn State University, a master's degree from Wayne State University in Detroit and a doctorate from Southern Miss.
LSU Chancellor F. King Alexander reflects on his first year
If there's one central theme to F. King Alexander's first year as LSU president and chancellor, it has been unification. He's moving to reunite a fragmented LSU system. He's working with leaders of other systems to develop legislative strategy. The Board of Supervisors has supported him, as has Gov. Bobby Jindal. He's also winning over some of his toughest critics and gaining timid appreciation from normally suspicious faculty. Alexander has made dozens of trips to campuses around the state for fundraisers and other events, drawing praise from alumni. He also has been more visible in Washington, D.C., talking about issues that range from college affordability to research. Overall, many agree the first year has been a success -- or at least not as bad as some had feared.
STEAM Academy, U. of Kentucky offer summer labs, research experience for high school students
Stephanie Bamfo, a sophomore at STEAM Academy this fall, isn't waiting until college to get a start on her intended career as a clinical pharmacist. Stephanie, 15, is spending the summer studying full-time in a lab at the University of Kentucky, where she hopes to work one day. She is among the students from Fayette County Public Schools' STEAM Academy who have participated this summer in labs and undergraduate research at UK, university spokeswoman Jenny Wells said.
Texas A&M University System, U.N. forge partnership to fight world hunger
The Texas A&M University System and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations have joined forces to fight world hunger. Representatives from both entities signed a memorandum of understanding in Rome, Italy, formalizing a partnership that could have a regional, national and international impact, the university system announced Friday. The two organizations will carry out initiatives to strengthen agricultural production innovations, land and water management practices, and plant and animal health to improve food security. Closer to home, the collaboration between the A&M system and the FAO could provide students with more opportunities to "gain international experience learning from leading experts, doing field work and making an impact on global health," said Melissa Berquist, associate director of the Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases at A&M.
Texas A&M Fish Camp prepares for record freshmen class
With the 60th anniversary of the first Texas A&M Fish Camp around the corner, student leaders are busy preparing for the record 6,500 freshmen registered for this year's orientation program. The four-day camp is hosted each year for incoming freshmen, affectionately known in Aggieland as "fish." Lessons of traditions and university core values are passed on at Fish Camp by the upperclassmen selected as counselors and staff. To keep up with the record number of fish attending, there will be more than 1,200 camp staff on deck, according to a Texas A&M press release.
Incoming U. of Missouri medical school dean faces challenges
It will be different, and probably difficult, for Patrick Delafontaine to step away from his role as a researcher to lead hundreds of faculty, staff and students as the new dean of the University of Missouri School of Medicine. Though he won't be in the laboratory himself as much, Delafontaine is charged with boosting the research done within the medical school. Delafontaine is set to join the MU campus on Dec. 1, days after he leaves his role as chief of cardiology at Tulane University in New Orleans. He said he knows he has a big challenge ahead of him. The announcement of Delafontaine's appointment comes more than two years after the college's former dean, Robert Churchill, resigned as the school faced a federal fraud investigation.
U. of Missouri System curators approve request of more than $240 million for STEM funding
Improvements to the University of Missouri System's STEM facilities -- those related to science, technology, engineering and math -- topped the list of capital state funding requested by the university for the 2016 fiscal year. The UM System Board of Curators unanimously approved the request at a meeting Friday. The board also approved the system's request for operating funding for 2016 -- a total of $521.4 million among the system's four campuses, $24.9 million of which would also go toward STEM initiatives.
Professors object to FAA restrictions on drone use
University and college professors are complaining that government restrictions on the use of small drones are likely to stifle academic research. In a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration on Friday, 30 professors said a clarification the agency issued last month on what rules model aircraft hobbyists must follow would eliminate the ability of researchers to use small, unmanned aircraft on low-altitude flights over private property. The FAA has a process for academic researchers to obtain special authorization to use drones, but only if they are affiliated with public colleges or universities.
Does Your Admissions Office Have 'Cultural Intelligence'?
The modern admissions office doesn't need a good student-recruitment plan -- it needs many of them. After all, what resonates with one applicant might not matter to another. At the ACT's Enrollment Planners Conference in Chicago on Friday, two admissions officials described how class and culture affect students' college choices. The discussion was based on Inside the College Gates: How Class and Culture Matter in Higher Education, a recent book by Jenny M. Stuber. Generally, upper-middle-class applicants look for different things than working-class students do.
Student Debt on the Campaign Trail
Student debt attracted unprecedented levels of attention during the 2012 presidential election. As the nation's collective student loan bill for the first time surpassed the $1 trillion threshold and a Congressional deadline on interest rates loomed, student debt captured the attention of both presidential candidates. Two years later, student debt remains a hot topic in Washington. And even without the drama of a presidential contest, the issue is cropping up on the 2014 campaign trail in some of the most contentious Senate races.
GEOFF PENDER (OPINION): Cochran must deliver with Neshoba speech
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "Sen. Thad Cochran on Thursday has to give one of the most important speeches of his 42-year political career. All eyes will be on him as he takes the podium in Founders Square at the 125th Neshoba County Fair. His campaign plans to have masses cheering him. The tea party plans to have masses jeering him. It could get ugly. But Cochran has to be there, and he can't flub it. ...And as with everything else with the 2014 Mississippi U.S. Senate race, the Neshoba Fair this year should be one for the history books."
SAM R. HALL (OPINION): Many issues from Senate primary left unresolved
The Clarion-Ledger's Sam R. Hall writes: "When rumors started that Hollywood was thinking about remaking The NeverEnding Story, most people of my generation were incredulous that they would attempt to redo such a childhood favorite. Of course, now we fear a new version won't be about a magical fairytale where a young boy goes on an adventure filled with unbelievable events but instead about the Republican primary for U.S. Senate -- itself an adventure filled with unbelievable events. But as we wait for our own version of The NeverEnding Story to progress to the next chapter -- i.e. will Chris McDaniel ever file a challenge to the election or instead just continue his perpetual post-campaign campaign -- there's actually quite a few storylines that have yet to be wrapped up."
SID SALTER (OPINION): Black voter history ignored in GOP Senate race
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "Reaction to the fact that black voters were either invited or influenced to take part in a Mississippi Republican second primary vote has run the gamut from histrionics to humor, but the fact is that the history of electoral entanglement between blacks and the Mississippi GOP is in great measure coming full circle. The 2014 Mississippi Republican Senate second primary is far from the first time that black voters have been involved in Republican politics in Mississippi. The historical record on that involvement is documented and fairly rich in detail. ...The 'big tent' Republicanism preached by in Mississippi by Ronald Reagan and later by one of his staffers, Haley Barbour, certainly wasn't a novelty in the 2014 GOP Senate second primary. Neither was the hardball politics that many find distasteful."

Unheralded, undaunted: McKinney leads experienced Mississippi State defense
Flying under the radar is nothing new to Benardrick McKinney. A two-star recruit from Rosa Fort High School in Tunica, McKinney had the size, speed, and athletic ability to play at any Division I school. But when only one came calling, McKinney took it in stride. As McKinney enters his junior season at Mississippi State three years later, it's less than surprising he lets the lack of recognition slide without much worry. That's what he did last week at the Southeastern Conference Media Days after he was named a second-team performer on the media's preseason All-SEC team.
Mixed reaction to decision to move MHSAA football title games to college campuses
The MHSAA announced Tuesday a four-year commitment to move the state's six football state championship games to Mississippi State (2014 and 2016) and Ole Miss (2015 and 2017). Officials at Southern Mississippi also have said they will play host to the 2018 championship games. However, the MHSAA staff confirmed only the first four years Tuesday. Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville will play host to this year's state championship weekend Dec. 5-6. "You have turf at Ole Miss and you have one of the best surfaces in the (Southeastern Conference) at MSU," said Starkville High coach Jamie Mitchell. "You are looking at two places with full-time staff members working around the clock on the fields. The playing surface in Jackson had a lot to be desired, especially as you went deeper into the weekend."
U. of Alabama, Tuscaloosa focus on thwarting football ticket counterfeiters
With the college football season less than a month away, University of Alabama officials have their eye on ticket counterfeiters, while the Tuscaloosa City Council has taken steps to ensure that all people involved in the reselling of tickets are licensed by the city. The University of Alabama Ticket Office will continue to verify the authenticity of tickets to football games this season before and on game days. The process will be the same as in years past, according to Chris Besanceney, assistant athletic director for tickets and Tide Pride, the donor program that administrates ticket sales.
Season-long parking permits available for UGA home games
With the University of Georgia's home opener about a month away, UGA Parking Services is preparing for football traffic by selling season-long parking permits. The season-long parking permit will cover all seven home games. Parking spaces are guaranteed for fans that arrive before kickoff. Available lots are the Carlton Street parking deck and Performing Arts Center parking deck. Passes are $140 plus shipping and handling and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
Vandy athletes no longer have Magic to fill appetites
The Vanderbilt training table gained national fame over the years thanks to Commodores food coach Majid "Magic" Noori. But Noori will not be a part of the program when the season kicks off in a few weeks. He's cooked his last mouth-watering T-bone steak for the black and gold. The popular chef, recognized by Sports Illustrated as the "No. 1 food coach in America," was fired in the spring and his departure has not been pretty. Noori, 60, was a staple in Vanderbilt's athletics program for almost 25 years. Players loved him and coaches used his fame as a recruiting tool. He was prominently featured in the Commodores media guides and the school liked to tout that he was also called on to prepare meals for other high-profile athletes, such as former Titan Eddie George.

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