Friday, August 1, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
MetroCast agrees to carry SEC Network
MetroCast has reached an agreement to carry the new SEC Network, it was announced Friday. Mississippi subscribers in more than 70 communities -- including Oxford and Starkville -- will be able to watch the network, which launches Aug. 14 and will be carried on MetroCast Expanded Basic channel 26 (726 HD) and channel 63 (in the Forest/Morton area). MetroCast serves more than 45,000 residential and business-class customers in Mississippi. The network will televise at least 45 SEC football games this season, starting Aug. 28 with Texas A&M playing South Carolina. It will broadcast more than 1,000 live events in its first year.
Volunteers needed for student move-in
The population in the Golden Triangle will boost dramatically in the coming weeks as college students descend on the area. As hundreds of students move into dorm rooms at Mississippi University for Women and Mississippi State University, local volunteers are needed to lend a hand. At MSU, volunteers are needed for the annual Movin' You to MSU move-in day on Aug. 9. Students will check in at Humphrey Coliseum and McCarthy Gym. According to university officials, volunteer duties include helping at check-in, moving boxes from cars to rooms, greeting students and directing traffic.
MSU Fraternities, Sororities Seek to Build Habitat for Humanity Home
Mississippi State's Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life is announcing plans to fund and build a Habitat for Humanity home for a Starkville family. University fraternity and sorority members will begin the fundraising campaign Aug. 20 for the first of what is planned to be an ongoing construction effort. John Michael VanHorn, assistant director for fraternity and sorority life, said his office is planning for the Greek-organization project to become an annual activity. As part of its Maroon Edition first-year reading experience, MSU also has worked for the past five years with Starkville Habitat for Humanity to provide a new home for a family in need.
Mississippi State students to fund Habitat for Humanity home
Fraternities and sororities at Mississippi State University are joining together to build a Habitat for Humanity home for a Starkville family. Starting August 20, fraternity and sorority members will begin a letter-writing fundraising campaign for the Habitat for Humanity home, which typically cost around $82,000 to build. If the funds are collected by November 15, work on the home will begin in January and a dedication of the home will take place in April.
Local leaders convene for strategic planning session
Representatives from the city of Starkville, Oktibbeha County, the Greater Starkville Development Partnership, Starkville School District and Mississippi State University spent Thursday afternoon together in Renasant Bank's community room to continue discussions as they develop and implement strategic plans. City and county government, along with the Partnership, have primarily been working together as they develop their own strategic plan for a number of short- and intermediate-term goals. The groups also welcomed SSD, which completed developing its strategic plan last year, and Mississippi State University, which is in the midst of implementing its strategic plan for 2012-17, to take part in the strategic planning retreat. (Subscriber-only content.)
Mississippi State professor to speak at Hammack Scholarship Banquet
The Murray State University Department of History will host the 13 annual James W. Hammack Jr. Scholarship Banquet at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, at MSU's Curris Center Ballroom. The banquet is held each year to honor the memory of Dr. James W. Hammack, who served on the history department faculty for more than 30 years and spent 10 of those years as chair of the department. Mississippi State University Professor Anne E. Marshall will deliver the banquet's keynote address, "Creating a Confederate Kentucky: The Lost Cause and Civil War Memory in a Border State."
MSU student found dead in off-campus apartment complex
A 21-year-old Mississippi State University student was found dead at an off-campus apartment on Thursday afternoon. According to the Oktibbeha County Sheriff's Office, at around 4:30 pm a maintenance worker at the 21 Apartments reported finding the young man's body in an apartment. Officials say no foul play is suspected and that they believe the young man died as a result of a medical issue.
Crash takes rising Mississippi State freshman before his time
A promising athlete and upcoming college freshman died in a car crash on Monday. Steven Pegram's friends called him "Cross." So it's fitting that his friends went back to where Pegram died and left a cross at his memorial. Pegram died on his way to work about one week before he was set to start his first year at Mississippi State University. Pegram played baseball at Tunica Academy. His friends tell WMC Action News 5 that everyone at school knew him. Investigators are not sure what caused Pegram to lose control of the vehicle.
'Shadows of the 60s' at MSU Riley Center
The choreography, the clothing, the harmonies, even down to the identical musical arrangements -- veteran entertainer and producer Dave Revel leaves no detail overlooked in "Shadows of the 60s," his tribute to The Temptations, The Supremes and The Four Tops. Fans of Motown will not want to miss this performance as Revel's tour swings through Meridian to the MSU Riley Center Friday at 7:30 p.m.
City contributions to Horse Park, theater on the chopping block
The amount of money Starkville gives outside groups, including the Mississippi Horse Park and Starkville Community Theater, is expected to decrease in the upcoming fiscal year as the city's budget committee slashed a $1.5 million wish list to an amount about $41,000 shy of current contributions. The former incarnation of the budget committee, then comprised by all seven aldermen, cut the Mississippi State University-operated park's funding from $50,000 to $40,000 last year, and the current three-person group -- Ward 5 Alderman and Chairman Scott Maynard, Ward 2 Alderman Lisa Wynn and Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins -- signaled the city's intent to continue yearly $10,000 cuts.
Budget committee split on possible Starkville employee raises
A small pay increase for Starkville employees is in limbo after the city's budget committee recommended to only fully fund increasing insurance expenses in the upcoming fiscal year. Vice Mayor Roy A. Perkins came out against an incremental raise for city employees Thursday, saying the city cannot afford the additional expenses. However, budget committee chairman Scott Maynard and Ward 2 Alderman Lisa Wynn opted to push the discussions to the full board of aldermen at a later date.
Oktibbeha schools again operating with accreditation
Oktibbeha County School District is again an accredited school system almost two years after a state takeover, but Conservator Margie Pulley will continue to run the district until 2015's consolidation. The Mississippi Commission on School Accreditation granted OCSD its new status last week, Mississippi Department of Education spokesperson Jean Cook said, but the district will not form a new school board or seek a new superintendent as its merger with Starkville School District is scheduled in less than a year.
91-year-old Winter makes his 26th speech at Neshoba County Fair
Former Gov. William Winter spoke at the Neshoba County Fair for the 26th time Thursday and a large crowd gave him a standing ovation. The 91-year-old Winter said that in the last 60 years there has been a real difference in the state. "We have come further than any other state, but we still have a ways to go because we were so far back," Winter said. Winter threw his support behind efforts to support a ballot initiative next year to require full funding of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, a formula used to fund public education in the state. Also, Winter, who was governor when the state passed education reforms in 1980s, said he hopes a pilot pre-kindergarten program will lead to a statewide pre-k in Mississippi.
Fair talks focus on Senate race
The Neshoba County Fair hosts an annual bipartisan political speaking and not a political party convention, but on Thursday six-term incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran said he came to the historic event to accept the Republican Party nomination for re-election. "The past seven months have included a hard-fought primary campaign," Cochran said before a boisterous and large crowd underneath and surrounding the tin-roofed Founders Square Pavilion where he spoke just after his Democratic challenger, Travis Childers. "I am honored to be the Republican nominee for the state of Mississippi. I accept your nomination." Minutes after Cochran's speech, the McDaniel campaign sent out a news release saying under Republican National Committee rules Cochran was ineligible to receive the party nomination because he depended on Democratic votes to receive it.
Cochran, Childers stump at Neshoba; McDaniel supporters quiet
Incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran told Neshoba County Fair goers Thursday "I accept your nomination," and asked those who didn't vote for him in either GOP primary to get behind him in November. Tea party supporters of his GOP opponent Chris McDaniel, who still hasn't conceded his June 24 runoff loss to Cochran, didn't interrupt Cochran as many fair goers had feared. But neither did they cheer him on. They cheered louder when Cochran's Democratic challenger, former U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, spoke.
GOP's Cochran seeks voters at 'Giant Houseparty'
Republican Sen. Thad Cochran said Thursday that he's asking for the support of Mississippi voters in November "no matter your skin color, or how much money you have." Cochran and his Democratic challenger, former U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, spoke to thousands of people Thursday at the Neshoba County Fair, an annual gathering known as "Mississippi's Giant Houseparty." It's one of the largest political gatherings in the state and possibly the only time before Election Day the two candidates will appear in the same place at the same time. While interest groups could spend millions on television ads and sophisticated voter-outreach efforts this year, the Neshoba County Fair is proudly old-fashioned and decidedly low-tech.
Age is just a number and a spot of tea: Senate speeches headline Neshoba
There was no Tea Party uprising and scant new ground broken as the political speeches at the Neshoba County Fair came to an end Thursday with calls for equality from the Democrats and unity from the Republicans. But clearly the crowd came to see Sen. Thad Cochran and Democratic challenger Travis Childers who face off after Cochran won a contentious GOP runoff June 24. Even some of Cochran's supporters wondered how the 76-year-old would do, especially if an army of McDaniel supporters showed up to heckle. It was a needless worry. Only about a half-dozen people brandished signs that read "Betrayed" or "184,000 voters alienated." One man had tape on his mouth.
Sizing Up Senator Thad Cochran Alongside Tomatoes, Pies and Cows
They came to award ribbons to the fattest tomatoes and prettiest pies, and to admire the beauties at the annual Pretty Cow Contest. They crowned 19-year-old Macy Martin Miss Neshoba County after the Rev. John E. Stephens delivered the invocation. But at this year's Neshoba County Fair, Mississippi voters had also come to size up Senator Thad Cochran, fresh off his bruising Republican primary win against an insurgent Tea Party candidate, Chris McDaniel. In this Republican-dominated state, Mr. Cochran is considered the heavy favorite in the general election, and the fair was rife with his conservative admirers.
Gunn: State's GOP needs to heal after Senate primary battle
The Mississippi Republican Party needs to heal divisions created by a hard-fought U.S. Senate primary that is still being protested by tea party conservatives, House Speaker Philip Gunn said yesterday. "The enemy is not other conservatives. The enemy is not even the Democratic Party," Gunn, R-Clinton, said at the Neshoba County Fair. Gunn spoke to thousands of people in and around the fairgrounds' large pavilion, and to audiences of radio and TV stations that provided live coverage of speeches at one of the state's largest annual political events. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant spoke moments later and did not mention the GOP rift.
Governor defends his development record
Gov. Phil Bryant told Neshoba County fairgoers Thursday the state's economy is improving despite Mississippi having the nation's highest June unemployment rate at 7.9 percent. The first-term Republican governor said sometimes when the economy is improving, as it is in Mississippi, more people who had left the workforce might opt to seek employment, driving up the unemployment rate. Still, Bryant told a large and Republican-friendly crowd that more work needs to be done to improve the state's economy.
Hosemann tops Hose-fans with 'Gilbert?' shirts
How do you top a Hose-fan? With a "Gilbert" T-shirt. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann made waves at the Neshoba County fair years back when he handed out hand fans emblazoned with a photo of him to help fair goers combat the sweltering heat. This year, Hosemann supporters were wearing red T-shirts that said "Gilbert?" -- a play on his name, which he's used as a campaign theme in commercials for years. Those commercials, with a little old lady calling him Philbert, Gilbert ...anything but Delbert, have won national advertising awards.
What the Neshoba County Fair says about Southern politics
Chris McDaniel might still be wandering about Mississippi in his bus, looking for mislaid votes, but Sen. Thad Cochran and his Democratic opponent already have moved on to the more advanced stage of searching for votes in the state -- in the general election. Although many Mississippians love the Neshoba County Fair for the food and the memories, nationally the fair is remembered mostly for its contributions to political history. And even when you narrow the fair's scope to that, there's a lot of ground to cover. In 1980, when Reagan came to Neshoba County, Mississippi political columnist Sid Salter says, "we were four years from Mississippi supporting Jimmy Carter. The state was still a competitive environment -- or at least had the appearance of being so."
House border bill implodes, and Ted Cruz stands amid wreckage
On Thursday, the House GOP imploded over its border bill to solve the child-migrant crisis, pulling the legislation from the floor for lack of votes. And there, standing among the legislative wreckage, stood the proud senator from Texas, Ted Cruz. Not literally, of course. But the tea party Texan is once again smack in the middle of a House Republican debacle. With a reach as wide as his state, the freshman senator has his arm around conservative House Republicans.
The secret George W. Bush book project
George W. Bush worked on the book in secret for two years, without a book deal, without dribbling a word out to Bush alums or other Republicans who would have leaked it in a second. As far as the outside world knew, he was just spending all of that time working on his paintings. Only his family and friends knew about the secret book project. And, of course, he told the star of the book: his father. On Thursday, Bush stunned the political world with the news that his next book will be about his father, George H.W. Bush. One president writing about another -- 43 writing about 41. And, on a more personal level, a son writing about a father with whom he was supposed to have a tense rivalry -- from everything else we've read about them.
Emory University Hospital to treat Ebola patient
Emory University Hospital is expected to receive a patient infected with the deadly Ebola virus within the next several days, the university announced Thursday. It's unclear when exactly the patient will arrive, according to a statement from Emory. The Clifton Road hospital has a specially built isolation unit to treat patients exposed to certain serious infectious diseases. Set up in collaboration with the Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the unit is physically separate from other patient areas and is one of only four such facilities in the country.
NIH director loses sleep as researchers grovel for cash
The National Institutes of Health is being strangled. Every day, NIH Director Francis Collins finds out about another lifesaving discovery by a U.S. scientist. Then he remembers that for many the discovery came too late thanks to budget cuts. "We could be doing so much better. We should be going so much faster," Collins said, to a dinner audience. "Why can't we turn this around, why can't this be a real national priority?" "The consequences of that for losses in terms of human health advances, loss to our economy and damage to our generation of young scientists is so hard to look at," Collins said. Privately, Collins said both political parties agree on the importance of research but blame the other side for the situation.
MUW receives grant to help strengthen local business
The Mississippi University for Women was one of 10 rural microenterprises across the nation to receive a $30,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to provide support for job growth and business development in the community. The funds, given through the Department's Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, are used by the chosen organizations to invest in local, small businesses that need help to obtain the credit they need to grow and thrive.
USM Foundation sees second-highest fundraising total in history
Generating $15,560,117 during fiscal year 2013-14, the University of Southern Mississippi Foundation reports its second-highest fundraising total in gifts and pledges received during a single fiscal year. This represents an 82 percent increase over the amount raised last year. During the recently concluded fiscal year, which ran from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, gifts to the Foundation helped increase the organization's total net assets to more than $115 million, provided approximately $3.3 million in support to the University and awarded more than 2,000 scholarships to Southern Miss students.
Delta State University plans College of Business expansion
Delta State University's College of Business is looking to expand opportunities available to students with the planning of two new degrees. These two new degrees are a Bachelor of Business Administration in Health Care degree and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Applied Business degree. "The College of Business has received authority from our governing board, Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning to plan the two degree programs," said Dr. Billy C. Moore, dean of the College of Business. "We are in the process of completing the proposals for the new degrees. This process involves among other items, detailing the admission requirements and curriculums of the new programs."
Meridian Community College to graduate 138 today
Some 138 students will receive their Associate Degrees and certificates this afternoon when Meridian Community College holds its annual summer commencement ceremonies at the Temple Theatre. The program will begin at 1 p.m. "This is a goodly number for a summer commencement," said Dr. Scott Elliott, MCC president. "We are always proud to see students finish what they started in earning a degree."
UGA prof arrested on drug charges ordered into pretrial intervention program
A retired University of Georgia professor arrested earlier this year on drug charges was accepted Wednesday into a pretrial intervention program. If Charles Eugene Lance successfully completes the program, the misdemeanor charges will be dismissed. UGA police said Lance, a psychology teacher, was arrested in March after he allegedly asked a student to purchase prescription drugs for him while she was on spring break in Mexico. Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said Lance reportedly described the medication to his students as the "happy, horny, get skinny" drug.
Forbes ranks Tulane top Louisiana college
Tulane is again the highest ranked private or public university in Louisiana, according to Forbes' annual rating of the nation's top colleges. The Forbes list, released Wednesday, placed Tulane at 147 in its ranking of the 650 best undergraduate colleges in the country. LSU was the next-best Louisiana school at 190. Other Louisiana colleges to make the top 650 were Louisiana Tech, Centenary College, Loyola, University of New Orleans, University of Louisiana-Lafayette and Southeastern Louisiana University.
In VA reform bill, Congress provides student vets with in-state tuition
In passing a compromise piece of legislation aimed at reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Senate on Thursday also approved a new benefit for student veterans and their families. The proposal, passed on a 91-3 vote, would require public universities that want to continue receiving GI Bill benefits to offer recent veterans in-state tuition. Veterans' spouses and dependents would also be eligible for the benefit. The in-state tuition provision is only one part of broader legislation that is aimed at reforming veterans' access to health care in the wake of the Veterans Affairs scandal that erupted earlier this year.

Bulldogs' initial workout pleases Mullen
If Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen feels any added excitement or pressure due to heightened expectations entering his sixth season at MSU, he didn't show it on Thursday night. Calm and composed in the moments following MSU's first practice of the fall, Mullen took stock of one of three MSU practices before the Bulldogs can work out in pads for the first time on Monday. "I'm pleased," said Mullen, who heads into the 2014 season with a 36-28 career record through five seasons. "It's good to get back to football. You look at the players, the energy, the excitement they hit the field with, it's great to be back."
Mullen pleased after first day
Three words Mississippi State fans have been longing for: football has returned. The Bulldogs held their first practice of the fall Thursday afternoon in helmets and shorts. Coach Dan Mullen left the field enthusiastic about being back to work. "We're getting back to some football action," Mullen said. "The guys came out today with some great energy and excitement and are ready to go play. I'm pleased. They don't let us put pads on, so you're careful and want to keep everybody safe."
MSU coach Dan Mullen pleased with first day of practice
Mississippi State held its first practice on Thursday. MSU coach Dan Mullen was pleased with the energy and enthusiasm displayed from the Bulldogs. "It's great to back out on the field," Mullen said. "I know I'm fired up to be back out there, and I think our players -- you see the excitement and energy they have -- they're excited to be out there. This is why we work, to go play. Everybody is excited to be on the field and getting back to football action." The Bulldogs ran several drills and walk-throughs without pads for the first day. Mullen liked the veteran leadership and newcomers' effort on day one.
MSU limits fall camp access to fans, media
One of Mississippi State's favorite slogans is "We don't have fans, we have family." But fall practice isn't a family affair. Every football practice leading up to the 2014 football season opener (Aug. 30) is closed to the public, including the first on Thursday. All but one is closed to the media. It's an adjustment from last year, when the Bulldogs opened six practices to the public and media. "We've done it before with both," MSU coach Dan Mullen said. "Our philosophy right now is, I want our guys focused on our goals to become a championship program this year."
Mississippi State women gearing up for overseas trip
"The summer is over." Those words came from Mississippi State women's basketball coach Vic Schaefer shortly after he and associate head coach Johnnie Harris received a round of hugs from their players upon their return to Starkville on Tuesday night from a recruiting trip. Even though there is more than a month to go before summer officially ends, Schaefer's point wasn't lost on the Bulldogs: It was time to get to work. With that, the players scattered inside the Mize Pavilion at Humphrey Coliseum to begin their first workout of the 2014-15 season. The workout was the first of six Schaefer has planned to help prepare his team for a trip to France and Belgium next week.
Ole Miss celebrates groundbreaking of new basketball arena
The backdrop for the day was a hole large enough to fit much of the city's famed square. That in itself made clear that Thursday's "ground breaking" for the new basketball arena and multi-purpose facility at Ole Miss was a soft term. It was still important to mark that day, and that's what university officials and special guests did under a tent adjacent the northwest corner of the football facility, Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. "It's ceremonial, but it shows it's a reality. We've seen the construction fence, the dirt going out, the parking garage going up, but you've got to really celebrate a milestone like this," athletics director Ross Bjork said.
Paul Finebaum describes prison meeting with Harvey Updyke in new book
Last year, as Paul Finebaum sat in a jail next to the man who poisoned Toomer's Oaks in Auburn, a thought occurred to him: nothing had changed for Harvey Updyke. "You hope that someone that goes to jail and apologizes would learn from the experience, but he had not," the ESPN radio host said. "Instead, he seemed to be as delusional that day on his final day in jail as he had been at any time." In Finebaum's book, "My Conference Can Beat Your Conference: Why the SEC Still Rules College Football," several pages are dedicated to Updyke as well as the meeting Finebaum had with him the day before he was released from prison.

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