Tuesday, July 29, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Stock Seminar Set for Thursday at MSU-Meridian
A seminar offering advice about choosing financial stocks will be offered in Meridian by a retired MSU-Meridian accounting professor whose investments made more than $1 million over a 10-year period. Professor emeritus Paul Allen will host the seminar, "Choose Stocks Wisely," on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at MSU's Downtown Campus computer lab. Allen hosted his first seminar in December for those interested in learning how to use the investing strategy he outlines in his recently published book "Choose Stocks Wisely: A Formula That Produced Amazing Returns."
County millage value expected to improve slightly
The amount of money one single ad valorem tax mill brings into Oktibbeha County is projected to increase slightly for the upcoming fiscal year, but the additional value isn't expected to significantly impact tax rates or county coffers. Improving the county's tax leveraging power is a long-term goal for supervisors -- the more money a single mill brings into the county's coffers theoretically means administrators can fund more services for lower tax rates. In fiscal year 2014-2015, which starts Sept. 1, a single tax mill is predicted to bring in $319,481 for the county, an increase of about $12,000 compared to its current rate, Oktibbeha County Administrator Emily Garrard said Friday.
No-jangles: Starkville Bojangles closes
There are no Bojangles Famous Chicken and Biscuits left in the Golden Triangle. The Starkville location -- which was the first in Mississippi -- closed its doors Friday. Bill Cunningham, who opened the restaurant in August 2010, confirmed this morning that he recently sold the restaurant. Cunningham, a Starkville resident, said the decision to sell was for personal reasons. He declined to reveal who the buyer was, but said a "national chain restaurant" has plans to open at the site.
Neshoba stump speeches start Wednesday
The Neshoba County Fair, "Mississippi's Giant Houseparty," runs through Friday in Philadelphia, with the traditional stump speaking by state politicians set for Wednesday and Thursday. The fair, in its 125th year, began as an agricultural and church-camp meeting. By the late 1890s, cabins began to replace tents and wagons. Today, there are more than 600 cabins, with families gathering every summer for fellowship, food and fun. The political stump speaking at the fair dates to Gov. Anselm Joseph McLaurin in 1896, and the fair has since provided a political forum for state and national politicians, including President Ronald Reagan and candidates Jack Kemp and John Glenn.
Musgrove seeks support for school funding lawsuit
A group of lawyers including former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove is traveling around Mississippi trying to get school districts to sign up for lawsuits against the state seeking payment of the $1.5 billion that the state had underfunded its K-12 school formula since fiscal 2010. Backers of a separate effort to write a full-funding requirement into the state Constitution are pushing against the proposed suits, saying they could blow a hole in the state's budget, anger lawmakers and give lawyers too much of the money if they won. They argue a constitutional guarantee of future adequate funding is better.
Reeves wants to reward what works in state government
Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said he always has expected the taxpayers of Mississippi to hold him accountable for how their money is being spent. Reeves said he is hoping that a new legislative approach in assessing allocations throughout the various echelons of state government eventually will not only exact that same sort of accountability but reward successful programs and policies. The "Building a Better Mississippi" initiative, spearheaded by Rep. Toby Barker, R-Hattiesburg, and Sen. Terry Burton, R-Newton, was rolled out last week by Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn. Reeves, a former two-term state treasurer, traveled to the Pine Belt to pay a visit to Camp Shelby and stopped by the Hattiesburg American for a discussion.
1st District candidate Dickey's credibility issues continue to mount
Credibility issues continued to grow for the 1st Congressional District's Democratic nominee after the university where the candidate claimed to have graduated wouldn't confirm his academic credentials. The latest issue comes just days after Flemron "Ron" Earl Dickey of Horn Lake clarified that his military service never included the elite Green Beret special forces. Dickey claims to have graduated in 2012 from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor of science degree in emergency management. Nick Knudson, GCU alumni events and promotions manager, confirmed Dickey's attendance at the university. However, the university's records showed no one with Dickey's name with a diploma from the institution. In November, voters will decide whether to support Dickey's bid to unseat incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee.
Dickey issues apology, Special Forces vets not satisfied
Democratic congressional candidate Ron Dickey issued an apology on his Facebook page late last week, explaining again that he did not complete the qualification course to be a Green Beret as he had previously claimed, and members of the Special Forces community are asking that he withdraw from the race for Mississippi's 1st Congressional District. The Special Forces community is still not satisfied with the apology, though, saying that it was not a misunderstanding as Dickey has claimed. They say Dickey should clarify that he was a cook with a Special Forces unit, and that he did not serve in Desert Storm or in the Persian Gulf. He was stationed in Korea during the Gulf War.
Coming soon: A campaign run entirely by super PACs
Three-quarters of the money spent on behalf of Chris McDaniel's failed bid for the Republican nomination for Senate in Mississippi came from outside political action committees (PACs). That money, from groups like the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks, accounted for 36 percent of the funds spent by both sides combined. We're obviously a few miles down the road from the days when candidates for elected office stood on wooden platforms. But we are perhaps further than you might think. In fact, there is nothing in federal law that would prevent a super PAC or group of PACs from picking out a candidate and taking care of his or her entire campaign. And we're starting to get a glimpse of what such a campaign might look like.
Sojourner faces loss of Senate pay over late report
State Sen. Melanie Sojourner has been assessed a $500 fine for failing to file a campaign finance report that was due Jan. 31, and has been warned her state lawmaker's salary will be cut off until she files it. The state Department of Finance and Administration in a letter has notified Sojourner that by law, "we will withhold any payments to you for salary or other remunerations until which time you have filed all required delinquent reports..." Sojourner, R-Natchez, is in her first term serving District 37, which includes parts of Adams, Amite, Franklin and Pike counties. She has also served as campaign manager for state Sen. Chris McDaniel in his bid for U.S. Senate.
In Kansas, Conservatives Suffer From Mississippi Hangover
As conservatives reel from a bruising loss in Mississippi, they are looking to the primary in Kansas to knock off an incumbent and salve their wounds. But on Aug. 5, when GOP Sen. Pat Roberts faces Milton Wolf in a primary, they will likely realize they are not in Mississippi anymore. Roberts has been in office for several decades -- much like Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, who survived a runoff with state Sen. Chris McDaniel last month by a narrow margin but galvanized conservatives to make it a close contest. The Kansan has been criticized for spending more time in Washington than in his home state -- another accusation McDaniel leveled at Cochran. But unlike McDaniel, Wolf's bark might be stronger than his bite.
Cochran photo case won't go to grand jury this week
The case of the remaining people charged in photographing U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's bedridden wife in her nursing home won't go to the grand jury this week. Kevin Camp, defense attorney for Clayton Thomas Kelly who was charged in the case, said he's not expecting the case to go to a grand jury before the next term. On April 20, Easter Sunday, Kelly, 27, of Pearl allegedly took photos of Cochran's wife in the Alzheimer's unit at St. Catherine's Village nursing home in Madison. The photos were to use in a political video against Cochran in the Republican Senate primary against state Sen. Chris McDaniel.
Palazzo: Mississippi should send troops to Texas border
U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo told constituents Monday night that Gov. Phil Bryant should send National Guard troops to Texas to help with the border crisis. The fourth district congressman said sending Mississippi National Guard troops to the Lone Star State would help Texas Gov. Rick Perry secure the border. The Republican congressman made the comments during a telephone town hall meeting in response to his thoughts on the border situation.
Ebola's Escape From Africa Unlikely Though Not Impossible
Ebola, the killer of more than 670 people in four West African countries since February, has spread beyond Africa only once. That doesn't mean it can't happen now, infectious disease experts warn. The symptoms appear from two days to three weeks after infection, meaning it's possible for an infected person who doesn't feel ill to board a plane, said Ben Neuman, a virologist at the University of Reading in the U.K. Since Ebola in its earliest stages can resemble nothing more than flu, no one else would know either, he said. The State Department is closely tracking the Ebola situation and is aware of reports about the two U.S. citizens who have been infected, said Jennifer Psaki, a department spokeswoman. The State Department is updating travel warnings as information comes available, she said.
Y'all come: ORNL bows to Southern pride, cancels class to curb accents
It's OK to talk Southern and work at a national lab -- after all. Oak Ridge National Laboratory has canceled plans for a "Southern Accent Reduction" class because of objections from lab staff members, some of whom said they were offended by the training opportunity. ORNL's human resources department early last week distributed a registration notice for the six-week course to be taught by Lisa Scott, "a nationally certified speech pathologist and accent reduction trainer." Carolyn Ward of ORNL's Learning and Development Services said the lab simply offered the class in response to an employee request. "We try to provide whatever requests we have," she said. ORNL spokesman David Keim said managers quickly cancelled the class after staff members complained.
Construction wraps up on Century Park South on USM campus
The finishing touches are being made on two new residence halls in Century Park South on the University of Southern Mississippi's Hattiesburg campus. The two new halls, Lucky Day Citizenship Hall and Vann Hall, will house 511 students. They are located between Century Park North and the Thad Cochran Center, placing them conveniently near the dining facilities on campus. The residence halls will provide predominantly freshmen housing. "Something new with these buildings is the centrally-located student kitchen lounges," said Scott Blackwell, director of USM's Department of Residence Life.
McNair Center finds a Columbia home at U. of South Carolina
Aerospace took a step forward Monday as an industrial frontier in the minds of many in South Carolina when USC announced its long-awaited home for a new research center. The McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research will be located in the SCRA/USC Innovation Center at Catawba and Assembly streets, across from the University of South Carolina's College of Engineering. The McNair Center's offices already were housed in the SCRA/USC facility, but it was able to lease additional space to include the planned $4.5 million Advanced Composite Materials Research Center. "In the past, business and the state's research universities, including ours, have not always been in sync like they needed to be," said USC President Harris Pastides, who joined roughly 100 community and business leaders for the opening of the space. "But today, USC becomes a catalyst in the ongoing economic development of (aeronautics safety)."
Grants to help UGA researchers understand stress and disease connection
University of Georgia researchers will use a pair of grants from the National Institutes of Health to better understand how stress in the early years of a person's life contributes to lifelong health problems -- and to develop prevention programs that can reduce those problems. Part of the $7 million grant package will fund a continuation of research that the UGA Center for Family Research has been conducting for years with African-American children and adolescents in Georgia. Gene Brody, founder and co-director of the center, has been tracking the health and life situations of a group of nearly 500 young rural Georgia African-Americans since they were 11 years old.
Broken gas line repaired at U. of Kentucky after part of campus evacuated
The William T. Young Library and several adjacent buildings on the University of Kentucky campus were evacuated for several hours Monday after a construction machine hit a gas line, causing a leak. The broken line was repaired shortly before 5 p.m., according to Lisa Smith, a spokeswoman for Columbia Gas of Kentucky. The leaking gas was shut off earlier in the afternoon. UK sent text alerts about 2:15 p.m. advising the campus that the "emergency condition had passed" and normal activities could resume. A relatively small number of people were on campus Monday because the university is between semesters.
College Radio Changes Frequency
Georgia State University's radio station, WRAS Album 88, is known for helping propel Radiohead and R.E.M. to stardom. It was the first radio station to play Outkast, and The Boomtown Rats wrote the song "I Don't Like Mondays" in its offices. Some students say the radio station is the reason they applied to GSU. Since June, however, the station has undergone an overhaul: Instead of cutting-edge music, it now airs local- and national-news programs 14 hours a day. The news programs are managed by Georgia Public Broadcasting, an affiliate of PBS and NPR, which paid GSU $150,000 to take over the frequency for that chunk of the day beginning June 29. WRAS isn't the only college station to be transformed. Cash-strapped universities are discovering that their student stations are lucrative assets. They are finding eager partners in public-radio stations and religious broadcasters.
A Focus on Specific Dropouts Can Help Colleges Raise Completion Rates
College dropouts who came close to graduating but didn't quite finish could be a key target for higher-education institutions that are under the gun to improve their completion rates, according to a report released on Tuesday by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Instead of focusing only on helping new students succeed, colleges should also be reeling in some of the four million who intended to earn degrees and finished at least two years of study before falling off track, it says. Those "potential completers" make up a small fraction of the 31 million people the clearinghouse estimates have left college without earning a degree or certificate over the past 20 years.
How the Government Exaggerates the Cost of College
The government's official statistic for college-tuition inflation has become somewhat infamous. It appears frequently in the news media, and policy makers lament what it shows. No wonder: College tuition and fees have risen an astounding 107 percent since 1992, even after adjusting for economywide inflation, according to the measure. No other major household budget item has increased in price nearly as much. But it turns out the government's measure is deeply misleading. For years, that measure was based on the list prices that colleges published in their brochures, rather than the actual amount students and their families paid.
Push on Counseling from White House
The White House's higher education summit in January, as some critics described it, was all about appealing to the cameras. The event, to be sure, drew mainstream headlines as President Obama exercised his "convening authority" to summon to the White House dozens of college presidents -- many of whom seemed pretty excited to come to Washington and snap photos of the president and first lady. But the administration's first public event following up on that summit, hosted in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Monday, was decidedly less publicity-focused. It was about digging into the trenches on school counseling: best practices in college counseling, how to better-train counselors, and how to harness new technology to help students.
CHARLIE MITCHELL (OPINION): The anger is understandable, the meanness is not
Longtime Mississippi journalist Charlie Mitchell writes: "...The money line is the question [Taylor] Swift sings again and again: 'Why you gotta be so mean?' It's a question some Tea Party types might contemplate. Their anger is understandable. Their meanness is not. Further, as we see over and over again, their vitriol aids liberalism a lot more than it aids the conservatism they espouse. There's so much weirdness in this arena it's hard to know where to start. ...The summary here is short. Congress has very few fans. The president has fewer every day. But for people who think they can do better, the challenge is to sell their ideas. 'Mean' should never work. Not in America."
GARY PETTUS (OPINION): Demanding a recount
Jackson journalist and syndicated columnist Gary Pettus writes: "I demand a recount. Better yet, I demand that the vote be overturned. I insist that I be reinstated --- or, more accurately, instated -- as a member of the eighth-grade basketball team for what is now William M. Colmer Middle School, located in my hometown of beautiful east-southeast Pascagoula. Go, Cougars. ...I'm still not conceding. I will never concede. I don't know the meaning of the word 'concede' -- not to mention the meaning of 'grasp' and 'of' and 'reality.' Also: 'shame.'"

Arrington, Bohanna out for the season, trio of freshmen not on MSU roster
Mississippi State's roster slimmed by five just days before the Bulldogs open camp on Thursday. Safety Dee Arrington and linebacker Ferlando Bohanna will miss the 2014 season. Both would have been seniors this season after missing the majority of last year due to injury. Mississippi State is in the processing of trying to get medical redshirts for both players. Three freshmen are also no longer on MSU's official roster as of late Monday afternoon -- Tight end Ravian Pierce, corner Lashard Durr and offensive lineman Jordan Harris. The trio is working to become eligible for the fall.
Vegas labels USM a heavy underdog vs. Mississippi State
If the boys in Las Vegas are correct, the season opener for the Southern Miss football team will be a long one. According to early lines on the Southern Miss-MSU season opener on Aug. 30, the Golden Eagles will travel to StarkVegas as a 28.5-point underdog. With MSU returning a lot of talent from a 7-6 team and USM just trying to get back on track after two seasons of 1-23 football, it's easy to understand why the Bulldogs would be a heavy favorite.
Baseball stadium for JSU on Farish Street? It's possible
The City of Jackson, Jackson State University and Tim Bennett, owner of Overtime Sports, may begin talks in the next few weeks on the feasibility of building a baseball stadium for JSU in the Historic Farish Street District. "This is just in the observation stages," said Bennett, who was the force behind moving the Mississippi Braves to Pearl 10 years ago and moving the Huntsville Stars to Biloxi for next season. "Jackson State is agreeable to taking a look at this opportunity, but there are no firm commitments in place," he said. The Jackson State baseball program won the SWAC Championship this year and participated in the Division I post-season, which included a victory over highly regarded Louisiana Lafayette.
Auburn's new Wellness Kitchen aims to elevate eating habits of student-athletes
Jay Jacobs wanted Auburn's current student-athletes to have all of the benefits he experienced when he was in their shoes more than a quarter century ago. And now, as he comes up on his 10th year as athletic director at his alma mater, Jacobs is giving the Tigers' student-athletes what they've been missing: a state-of-the-art cafeteria sandwiched less than 100 yards between the athletic dorms and the athletic complex. Jacobs unveiled Auburn's brand new $6.6 million Wellness Kitchen last week. Auburn expects to have the dining hall fully functioning and open to the Auburn football team at the start of fall camp on Aug. 1 and open to the rest of the Auburn student body by the start of fall classes Aug. 18.
N.C.A.A. Settlement Overhauls Head-Injury Policies
The N.C.A.A. has reached a preliminary settlement in a class-action lawsuit brought by former college athletes to institute wide-ranging reforms to its head-injury policies. The settlement is the latest attempt by the N.C.A.A. to address concerns over athletes' rights. It brings a significant change in the care and safety of all current and former college athletes -- male and female, in all sports and across each division -- including a $70 million medical monitoring fund and a new national protocol for head injuries sustained by players during games and practices.
LOGAN LOWERY (OPINION): Bulldogs tackle 3 key issues
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Logan Lowery writes: "Although Mississippi State returns 18 starters, it doesn't mean the Bulldogs do not have some questions that need to be addressed when fall camp begins this week. MSU players report on Wednesday and will begin practicing the following afternoon. Here are three areas I expect to receive a lot of focus during training camp..."

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