Wednesday, July 30, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Mississippi State leaders moving in at Lee Hall
In 2010, the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees had Mississippi State University's Lee Hall on its list of the top five buildings on eight IHL campuses most in "desperate need" of immediate attention. Lee Hall dates back to 1909, and Kyle Steward, MSU's executive director of external affairs, said a century of use had left it in need of new heating and air conditioning, sprinkler systems, waterproofing, drainage improvement and more. The result was a $21 million renovation project spread over two years. (Subscriber-only content.)
MSU Education Dean Blackbourn Elected President of MACTE
A senior Mississippi State administrator is beginning a 2-year term as president of the Mississippi Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Richard L. Blackbourn, who has led the university's College of Education since 2005, previously served seven years on MACTE's executive board and two years as its president-elect. Affiliated with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, MACTE seeks to stimulate improvement in programs of teacher education at public and private institutions of higher education throughout the Magnolia State.
MSU Wild Hog Research Needs Foresters, Farmers
Mississippi State University scientists are conducting research to determine the economic impact of wild hog damage to agriculture in Mississippi. Bronson Strickland and Jessica Tegt, Extension wildlife biologists in the university's Forest and Wildlife Research Center, are asking farmers and foresters to participate in the study. Participants will be interviewed on any wild hog impact on their operations. Researchers also hope to conduct field surveys on some farms to determine the physical extent of wild hog damage and to identify surrounding landscape features that may promote or hinder wild hog access to fields.
SOAR Awards Grants to Area Organizations
Weekend meals for students, new theater seats, and CPR mannequins. These are just some of the projects receiving grants from Starkville Oktibbeha Achieving Results. On Tuesday, SOAR presented over $13,000 in awards and grants to several organizations in Oktibbeha County. It also awarded an additional $10,000 grant to Mississippi State University's Rural Schools Initiative for the director of schools position.
AG declines Perkins' request for clarity on school money issue
The Mississippi Attorney General's Office sent a letter to vice mayor Roy A. Perkins on Friday saying it would not provide further comment on a school money issue after aldermen approved the framework for a legal funds transfer in its last regular meeting. Perkins filed his request a day before aldermen approved a motion backed by mayor Parker Wiseman on July 15 asking Starkville School District to return almost $500,000 in over-collections to Starkville so the city could then send the money back to the district in a more-palatable manner.
Southwire named Industry of the Year
The Golden Triangle Development LINK has selected Southwire as its 2014 Industry of the Year. "Southwire exemplifies what a quality industry can do for a community," said Joe Max Higgins, Jr., CEO of the Golden Triangle Development LINK. "They're good to their community, good to their employees and create a high quality product." The plant in Starkville currently employs approximately 300 people.
Severstal-Columbus fined for faulty pollution-control system
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has fined Columbus steel mill Severstal $135,000 because the company's pollution-control monitors didn't function properly after the plant expanded in June 2011. The company agreed to pay the fine May 12. It's the largest environmental fine assessed by Mississippi since it fined Denbury Resources $662,500 last year over a 2011 oil well blowout in Yazoo County.
Making Craft Brew in Mississippi, the Land That Beer Forgot
When Mark and Leslie Henderson opened Lazy Magnolia Brewing in 2004, their hometown of Kiln, Miss., was an unlikely place to make beer. Halfway between New Orleans and Biloxi on I-10, the town of 2,000 was known for being the place where Brett Favre played his high school football and not a whole lot else. While the nation has become obsessed with local brews, Mississippi has resisted the trend. It may be the driest place in the country: The state enacted its own version of Prohibition in 1907, 13 years before the 18th Amendment took effect, and was the last state to rescind its ban on making alcohol -- in 1966. Until recently, Lazy Magnolia was the lone dot on Mississippi's beer map. The Hendersons almost didn't get on the map at all.
Tea party supporters plan to 'confront' Sen. Cochran at the Fair
As incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran uses the Neshoba County Fair to launch his general election campaign, Mississippi tea party supporters say they will show up in full force to "confront" him and others over widespread voter fraud they say cost challenger Chris McDaniel the GOP run-off. Cochran won the GOP run-off by more than 7,000 votes, but McDaniel has yet to concede and says he may challenge the election, although the party certified Cochran. Tea party supporters say they hope to thwart a "giant harmonious love-fest by all state Republican leaders and Thad" during political speaking on Founders Square Thursday. The South Mississippi Tea Party issued a statement inviting members to the Neshoba County Fair to "confront" Gov. Phil Bryant and Sen. Cochran, among others.
Politicking Starts Wednesday at Neshoba County Fair
It has become a tradition for local, state and national politicians to campaign at the Neshoba County Fair. Over the next two days, politicians from around the state are scheduled to speak to the public in Founder's Square, and Snooky Williams of Cabin 14 says the expectations this year are high. "Political Day here is just a big day," Williams said. "I mean this is my 78th year. I've seen all of them from Ronald Reagan, (Theodore) Bilbo, and on, to speak. John Glenn, all the candidates for Governor. I was here when Fordice and Molpus got into a little argument. It's a very good platform for political debate. It's the only one in this state where you can have candidates debate or meet the public like they do here."
Neshoba features lots of officeholders and a former governor
One of the speakers this week at the annual Neshoba County Fair will be unique in that he has no interest in being elected to political office. Former Gov. William Winter is scheduled to speak at 9:50 a.m. Thursday at the annual event that draws the statewide media and other political observers. "I am going to talk about what I believe are some important issues in Mississippi, like education, like racial reconciliation, like some of the divisive issues...," said the 91-year-old Winter, who served as governor from 1980-84. The self-deprecating Winter said, "It's not something you have not heard from me 100 times before." He then added, "I am not going to talk about the U.S. Senate."
GOP attorney: No Mississippi law prohibits crossover voting
An attorney for the Mississippi Republican Party says state law does not prohibit people from crossing over to vote in party's primary and another's primary runoff, an issue in Chris McDaniel's presumed challenge to his GOP runoff loss to Sen. Thad Cochran. "You heard me right," said Michael Wallace, attorney for the state Republican Party. "There is an attorney general's opinion on the subject, but that is all. The attorney general may be right. I wasn't telling the judge that the attorney general wasn't right. I was telling her that the issue has never gone to court. An attorney for McDaniel on Tuesday did not respond to a request for comment.
Federal court rules Mississippi abortion law unconstitutional
Mississippi's effort to close its last abortion clinic was overturned in federal appellate court on Tuesday. Advocates for the law said women with unwanted pregnancies could always travel to other states, but the judges said every state must guarantee constitutional rights, including abortion. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to block Mississippi's 2012 law requiring abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The ruling from the conservative 5th Circuit was narrowly crafted to address the situation in Mississippi, but it could have implications for other states with similar laws and dwindling access to abortion.
Musgrove pitches funding lawsuit to Lee County district
Former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove made his pitch to the Lee County School Board on Tuesday, asking them to join a proposed lawsuit against the state. The board did not take action on Tuesday, saying it needs more time to research the proposal. The suit would seek payment of the $1.5 billion that the state has underfunded kindergarten to 12th-grade education since 2010. Musgrove's presentation was made in closed session because it involved prospective litigation. "We told him we would look into it," Board President Sherry Mask said. "We are not far enough into it to have an opinion."
Mississippi political figure Thurston Little dies
Marvin Thurston Little, a colorful political figure in Mississippi and a Corinth businessman who got caught up in an insurance scam run by Martin Frankel, has died in a nursing home in Booneville. He was 81. Little was a prominent real estate developer and businessman in north Mississippi's Alcorn County and had close ties to the late U.S. Sen. James O. Eastland. The large Little family of Alcorn County long has been prominent in Mississippi politics, particularly aligned Eastland, who held political sway in Mississippi for 40 years, and with governors dating back to Paul B. Johnson Sr. in the 1940s.
Trent Lott: Happiest Man Alive Over Return of Senate Seersucker Day
Ex-Sen. Trent Lott's dog days are over. The man who created Seersucker Day back in the late 1990s has been on a bit of a tear ever since the Senate ditched the tradition two years ago. But thanks to his pal, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and his successor, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Senate Seersucker Day is back on Thursday. And it comes just in the nick of time, in the final week of the summer session. "Seersucker is great!" he said in a Monday phone interview with CQ Roll Call. "When it gets above 80 degrees, you need be thinking seersucker." Lott was pleased when Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., reignited Seersucker Day on the House side back in June, but the former Senate majority leader reiterated his unhappiness with his former Senate colleagues for refusing to take part, going so far as saying that the "Senate doesn't like to have any fun anymore." But all is right in the world now.
Chris Christie plans Biloxi trip as part of swing through the South
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will swing through the south, including a stop in Biloxi, as part of another jam-packed month of travel boosting Republican candidates. Christie is planning visits to more than half a dozen states in August, including Mississippi and Alabama. He has been traveling the country in his role as chair of the Republican Governors Association. On Aug. 13, he meets with Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant in Biloxi.
Mississippians keep an eye on Israel and Hamas conflict in Gaza
With continued warring in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, Mississippians are keeping an eye on the Middle East. "I'm brokenhearted about what's going on there right now," said Beth Israel Temple Rabbi Ted Riter. "I'm brokenhearted that Israelis so many years out continue to live with direct attacks from their Arab neighbors after offering peace multiple, multiple times. I'm heartbroken that children are living lives in bomb shelters. Heartbroken that Palestinian children are being used as shields, and schools and hospitals are being used to protect their missiles." Gov. Phil Bryant offered thoughts on the ongoing conflict, faulting the response of American and global leaders.
Economy grows at robust pace in second quarter
The U.S. economy rebounded strongly in the spring, according to government data released on Wednesday, helping ease concerns about the significant contraction during the first three months of the year. The Commerce Department said gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annual rate of 4 percent during the second quarter, far surpassing expectations. Analysts were projecting 3.1 percent growth in the government's first estimate of economic growth for the second quarter, according to a Bloomberg consensus. Wednesday's news comes on the heels of dismal performance in the first quarter, when the economy shrank by 2.1 percent, according to the government's latest revision.
Karen Coats named dean of Southern Miss graduate school
Dr. Karen S. Coats, a decorated scholar with nearly 25 years as an educator and administrator, has been named the new dean of the Graduate School at The University of Southern Mississippi. She will begin work in Hattiesburg on Aug. 1, pending IHL Board approval. Coats, a native of Springfield, La., comes to Southern Miss from Mississippi State University in Starkville where she has spent the past three years as associate dean of the Graduate School. A professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, she has served as a member of the university's faculty since 1990.
Auburn University debuts new black-box theater, dance studio
Auburn University is now home to one of only four "experimental" black box theaters in the state, making it the only university in Alabama to have one. The new theater and a 1,500-square foot dance studio comprise the recently completed, $3.9 million addition to the Telfair B. Peet Theatre. Robin Jaffe, production manager and faculty technical director for the Department of Theatre in the College of Liberal Arts, said the new space will enhance the experience in Telfair Peet for audiences and performers. Jaffe described the black box theater as an experimental space. "Everybody talks about building new laboratories -- the chemistry lab, the biology lab -- this is our lab," Jaffe said.
Lt. Gen. Burgess will speak at Auburn graduation ceremonies
Auburn University will award 1,150 academic degrees Saturday in Auburn Arena during two summer graduation ceremonies featuring addresses by retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ron Burgess, Auburn University's senior counsel for national security programs, cyber programs and military affairs. Burgess, a 1974 Auburn graduate, joined the university in 2012 to lead its security and cyber initiatives. He is a 38-year U.S. Army veteran who spent much of his career in the upper levels of military intelligence and security, including service as director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency from 2009 to 2012.
UGA names new director of education abroad
Yana Cornish recently was named the new director of education abroad for the University of Georgia's Office of International Education. Her appointment is effective Aug. 18. Prior to accepting her position at UGA, Cornish served as the director of study abroad programs at the University of Northern Iowa. During her more than 10 years at UNI, student participation in study abroad nearly quadrupled.
Survey ranks U. of Florida high, among 'best schools for the money'
The University of Florida is among the 50 best public and private colleges in the nation for the money, according to a report published by Money magazine. Money joined the long list of publications ranking colleges and universities Monday, releasing a ranking based on which colleges and universities it said offer the highest quality education for the money. UF was ranked 28th overall and seventh among public institutions -- behind such peer universities as UC-Berkeley, the University of Michigan, the University of Virginia and Texas A&M University.
Texas A&M police seeking national accreditation
Texas A&M police could soon join a short list of Texas university police departments as a nationally accredited law enforcement agency. The department is seeking accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, a credentialing authority since 1979. Bryan and College Station police are also credentialed through CALEA, as are 30 other law enforcement agencies across the state, including eight university police departments -- the University of Texas among them.
AAU ranking kept private most everywhere, except for U. of Missouri
Former University of Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton started a trend at MU that sets the university aside from its peers. Several years ago, Deaton began openly discussing the university's ranking within the Association of American Universities, a prestigious organization that includes only 34 public institutions, of which MU ranks 32nd. Deaton, University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe and now MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin all speak openly about a goal, too. MU wants to be ranked No. 28 out of the 34 public schools by 2018. Publicly discussing the rank is unusual among AAU schools, let alone discussing publicly the need for improvement.
Water, water everywhere: UCLA cleans up from main break
Authorities were assessing the damage Wednesday after a 93-year-old water main broke near the campus of the University of California-Los Angeles, sending a torrent raging through parking structures and athletic facilities. The 30-inch pipe's rupture spewed water 30-feet into the air late Tuesday, sending an estimated 8 million of gallons roaring onto roads and campus in the midst of one a historic droughts. No injuries were reported from the flooding at UCLA, and many students used the occasion to go wading down steps that became waterfalls. Some broke out floats and were pulled through the accumulated water.
The Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Stress, and Sales?
Welcome to the admissions profession, the career you just fall into. Please make eye contact with each prospective student when describing this great campus, but remember, this isn't marketing, OK? Learn everything about data. Technology, too. As for those nerves: Sooner or later, you just get used to all the administrators, trustees, and professors watching our office like half-starved hawks. That portrait of the admissions field was inspired by a new report, released on Wednesday by the National Association for College Admission Counseling, known as NACAC. Based on a survey of nearly 1,500 admissions officials, "Career Paths for Admission Officers: A Survey Report" reveals a host of concerns about the fast-changing profession.
BRIAN PERRY (OPINION): The Neshoba speeches
Consultant and columnist Brian Perry writes: "Political speaking at the Neshoba County Fair closes out on Thursday (July 31) when Gov. Phil Bryant takes the stage around 10:40 a.m. The fewer than two hours of speaking from local to statewide officials dominates press coverage at the Fair, but often receives scant attention from many Fairgoers despite the time and money invested by various campaigns for their candidate's ten minute opportunity. ...Across the history of political speeches at Neshoba, Fairgoers have heard from fire breathing populists, corn shucking segregationists, tent revival styled orators working the audience into a political frenzy."

Mullen's 2014 squad has homegrown flavor
Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen has been true to his word. From the moment he accepted the Mississippi State job nearly six years ago, Mullen has stressed the importance of building a championship program with in-state talent. He has reinforced that plan at Signing Day press conferences, during his annual turn at the Southeastern Conference's Media Days, at fan events, and at visits to alumni chapters throughout the region. Simply put, Mullen believes the talent in the state of Mississippi is good enough to compete for championships in the SEC. "One of the big things for us and our staff is we have to get the best players in Mississippi to come play for us," said Mullen at his introductory press conference in 2008. "If we do that, we're going to have a chance to be a consistent championship team." Mullen's plan could be coming to fruition.
Bulldogs open preseason camp Thursday
Mississippi State reports back to campus Wednesday to begin preparations for the 2014 football season. The Bulldogs will hold their initial fall practice Thursday at 4:45 p.m., with all practices being closed to the public. Media will only be permitted at the Aug. 2 practice. MSU returns 57 letterwinners and 18 starters from last year's 7-6 squad that won the Liberty Bowl.

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