Wednesday, February 21, 2018  SUBSCRIBE   
IHL approves Mississippi State's College View project
Following approval by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees, a major Mississippi State University project will move forward, with work potentially beginning this week. The IHL Board approved a joint agreement between MSU and the Memphis-based Education Realty Trust (EdR). Following a feasibility study, MSU and EdR will now began development and construction of the College View project, a mixed-use development on campus combining housing for students with retail space and a daycare center for students with young children. Completion is scheduled for fall 2019. "This is a major step forward for MSU in so many ways," said MSU Vice President for Research and Economic Development David Shaw. "It helps us meet critical on-campus housing needs for our students, while at the same time capitalizing on a public-private partnership (P3) to create a quality experience for our students and relying on the financing and expertise of the private sector."
Meridian-area teachers learn the power of storytelling
Laughter, smiles, gestures and other connections sparked during a storytelling program Tuesday will likely result in more of the same. Much of the storytelling came from Wisconsin storyteller, author and musician Stuart Stotts, also a certified teaching artist with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Stotts packed his day in the city with a dedicated group of teachers from the Meridian and Lauderdale County school districts, part of an effort at the Mississippi State University-Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts. Charlotte Tabereaux, the education director at the MSU Riley Center, said storytelling combines with music, dance, visual art, and other types of art to turn students' experience in schools into days packed with imagination, creativity, and learning. "This is part of our mission at the Riley Center," she said.
Stotts: Art of storytelling a teaching tool
Teachers from Meridian and Lauderdale County schools took a lesson in using the art of storytelling. Kennedy Center teaching artist, Stuart Stotts, says storytelling helps children build reading comprehension. He told a group teachers Tuesday that storytelling helps listeners visualize characters, connect to dialogue and become sensitive to details that bring a story to life. In addition to teachers from Meridian and Lauderdale County public schools, the master's level arts integration and drama class from MSU-Meridian also participated in the Any Given Child workshop.
Chrestman named permanent leader for MSU Career Center
Angie Chrestman, who has served as the Mississippi State University Career Center's interim director since last July, now is the permanent director. Chrestman succeeds Scott Maynard, who retired in 2017 after leading the center for nine years. The Career Center provides a wide variety of services and events to help MSU's more than 21,800 students prepare for and find jobs after graduation. The center also runs an internship and co-op program, which Chrestman led before filling the director role.
Bracey of MSU honored by regional business educators
Pamela Scott-Bracey, an assistant professor since 2013 in Mississippi State University's Department of Instructional Systems and Workforce Development, recently was named Collegiate Teacher of the Year by the Southern Business Education Association. A National Business Education Association affiliate, SBEA represents instructional, administrative and research professionals in a dozen states stretching from Virginia to Louisiana. Bracey is director and co-founder of MSU's Global Academic Essentials Teacher Institute, a summer institute designed to equip teachers with strategies and tools necessary for successful integration of Mississippi College- and Career-Ready Standards, 21st Century Skills, and technology.
Aldermen shoot down Starkville Pride parade request
Starkville Aldermen have voted to deny a request from Starkville Pride to host the city's first Pride Parade. Starkville Pride, an LGBT support group, was seeking to hold the parade on March 24. The proposed route would have started on Russell Street, and looped around downtown Starkville on Main and Lampkin streets. Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins motioned to deny the parade. Ward 1 Alderman Ben Carver seconded Perkins' motion. David Little and Henry Vaughn, of wards 3 and 7, respectively, also voted to deny the request. Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk, Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker and Ward 5 Alderman Patrick Miller voted against the motion to deny the request. Mayor Lynn Spruill, who spoke in favor of the parade during the meeting, told The Dispatch she was disappointed with the board's decision.
Oktibbeha County supervisors hold on waste service decision
Oktibbeha County supervisors voted to hold off on making a decision on a new waste service provider after reviewing three bids during a Monday meeting. Supervisors unanimously voted in December to authorize County Administrator Emily Garrard to advertise for bids for new waste services after expressing ire with the current service provided by Golden Triangle Waste Management. The county received bids from three companies -- Arrow Disposal Service Inc., Waste Management and WastePro -- earlier this month. On Monday, supervisors discussed the bids with representatives of the three companies.
Mississippi lawmakers work on early versions of bond bills
Mississippi legislators are working on proposals to finance the construction and renovation of buildings for universities, community colleges and state agencies. The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday passed Senate Bill 3047 , which would authorize the state to issue nearly $82.6 million in bonds for projects at universities, $25 million for community colleges and $36.5 million for agencies. The Finance Committee also passed Senate Bill 3048, which would authorize tens of millions of dollars in bonds to finance a variety of projects, including improvements to water systems. The bills go to the full Senate for more debate. At the midpoint of the legislative session, the House is working on its own bond bills.
$50M in bonds for 'One Lake' project fails to make it through the House
The One Lake flood control and economic development project in metro Jackson appeared to be moving closer to becoming a reality Tuesday after a House committee approved $50 million in state bonds for the proposed project. But hours later, the full House couldn't muster the votes needed. The House voted 57-55 for the bill, alling short of the three-fifths majority needed to pass the revenue bill. Several House members voiced concern about the project. "I, for one, cannot support this bill," said Rep. Ken Morgan, R-Morgantown, who expressed concerned about flooding of the Pearl River downstream. He voted against the bill in committee and on the House floor. The One Lake plan, which can trace its winding roots back to the historic 1979 Easter flood, calls for widening the Pearl River south of the Ross Barnett Reservoir to below Jackson.
Senate passes transportation bill, provides no new revenue
A bill that would generate $1.1 billion for transportation, paid for by issuing $150 million in debt and by taking funds normally earmarked primarily for education, health care and law enforcement, passed the Senate Tuesday by a 36-14 margin. The BRIDGE Act, Building Roads, Improving Development, Growing the Economy, is Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves' proposal to deal with what most agree is a deteriorating infrastructure system on both the state and local levels. Legislators have been grappling with how to provide more funds for transportation since at least 2012. Senate Finance Chairman Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, said roughly 60 percent of the revenue in the bill would go for state needs and 40 percent for city and county government infrastructure problems. In many instances, the legislation requires a local match to draw down the state funds.
Senate advances road spending plan based on diverting money
State senators are moving ahead with a six-year plan to divert future revenue and borrow money to spend on Mississippi's roads and bridges. The Senate voted 36-14 to advance Senate Bill 3046 , backed by Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, sending it to the House for more debate. "The state can repair its infrastructure without raising taxes and by prioritizing spending on actual needs, not administrative costs," Reeves said in a statement. Gov. Phil Bryant had said last week that he wanted to wait for further federal action, but said after Tuesday's vote that he wants the House and Senate to work out a mutually acceptable plan.
Reeves road plan criticized as 'pork,' 'galling'
After years of inaction and shooting down House proposals, Lt. Gov. Reeves and the Senate passed a "$1 billion" road and bridge funding bill lickety split on Tuesday, roughly 24 hours after it was unveiled, over protests from lawmakers who wanted more time to read it. Senate Bill 3046, the BRIDGE Act, passed 36-14, with three Republicans voting no and seven Democrats voting yes after three hours of debate. It heads to the House, where Reeves' fellow Republican Speaker Philip Gunn has withheld comment on the measure. Transportation leaders on Tuesday criticized the plan for taking money from MDOT and stripping the agency of authority over much road spending. Other state leaders, like Gunn, have withheld comment or said they're waiting for more details and further legislative action.
Roads bill passed by Senate will 'cripple' MDOT, commissioner says
A plan meant to spur road and bridge development would be taking money away from the Mississippi Department of Transportation, two of the department's top officials said Tuesday. The Senate on Tuesday approved Senate Bill 3046, also known as the BRIDGE Act, with a vote of 36-14, meeting the bill's three-fifths vote requirement. The bill, which Senate leaders claim will redirect $1 billion in spending over the next five years, would force MDOT to spend 95 percent of state funds on existing roads and bridges and prohibit MDOT from purchasing right-of-way properties on its own. The plan also would take $25 million a year from MDOT's current budget for the next five years and give that money to a board consisting of trade and special-interest groups, led by the governor. Sen. Hob Bryan, D-Amory, said, "This bill is nothing more than a vindictive attempt to silence and punish the highway commission."
AG: Corporations have Mississippi lawmakers 'flat doing their bidding'
Attorney General Jim Hood said Tuesday that proposed legislation would block him from protecting Mississippians who have been hurt or harmed. "Corporations have just flat got our Legislature doing their bidding," he said. He laid out his case to legislative leaders in a Feb. 16 letter, warning that House Bill 1238 would "protect crooks and scam artists by gutting the Consumer Protection Act. They would not only block future cases, but would also be used to slow down or block late-stage pending cases in which we should recover literally over $1 billion." Hood said he anticipates that Entergy will owe at least $1 billion for overcharges. That trial is set for Nov. 8 before U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves. The author of the bill, Rep. Mark Baker, R-Brandon, could not reached Tuesday for comment. HB 1238 has passed the House and been sent to the Senate.
Students rally at Capitol, lobby lawmakers to reject rewrite of school funding
Students from all seven high schools in the Jackson Public School District converged on the Capitol Tuesday morning to tell lawmakers about their experiences with underfunded schools. They urged legislators to oppose a proposed rewrite of the state's existing public school funding formula. The Jackson Council PTA bused in students to speak out on issues important to them, tour the Capitol and talk with legislators. Jackson Council PTA president Rosaline McCoy said the students were trained on four "target areas" of advocacy: fully funding education, making teaching a profitable profession, making kindergarten mandatory and removing testing requirements prior to graduation.
An Armed Principal Detained a Campus Gunman; But He's Against Arming School Staff
Even before a gunman opened fire at a Florida school last week, killing 17, a national effort had been underway to arm and train teachers and administrators to defend against mass shootings. That effort has gained momentum in recent days. Legislators have moved to permit concealed weapons in schools. Sheriff's offices have offered to train school staff members in armed response. But one assistant high school principal who survived a school shooting -- after loading his Colt .45 pistol, then chasing and detaining the suspect at gunpoint -- says the idea is misguided. "Teachers have to teach and that's what they should be doing," said Joel Myrick, the former assistant principal at a high school in Mississippi. "It doesn't matter what a pistolero you are, or think you are, you don't need to be in school in charge of protecting children." Before Columbine, Sandy Hook or Stoneman Douglas -- indeed, before school shootings became devastatingly routine -- there was Pearl High School, near Jackson, Miss.
Billy Graham, 99, Dies; Pastor Filled Stadiums and Counseled Presidents
The Rev. Billy Graham, a North Carolina farmer's son who preached to millions in stadium events he called crusades, becoming a pastor to presidents and the nation's best-known Christian evangelist for more than 60 years, died on Wednesday at his home. He was 99. His death was confirmed by Jeremy Blume, a spokesman for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Mr. Graham had dealt with a number of illnesses in his last years, including prostate cancer, hydrocephalus (a buildup of fluid in the brain) and symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Mr. Graham spread his influence across the country and around the world through a combination of religious conviction, commanding stage presence and shrewd use of radio, television and advanced communication technologies.
Mother's nightmare at Mexico resort: 'There is more to this deeper, darker story than we know'
While the U.S. State Department, Canada's department of global affairs, members of Congress -- both Republican and Democrat -- as well as travel websites and Mexican authorities vow they are making changes and doing what they can to ensure the safety of travelers, their slow, bureaucratic efforts have yet to prevent the harms. The Journal Sentinel has identified an additional 10 people who reported terrifying --- in some cases near-death --- experiences while visiting Mexico over the Christmas and New Year's holidays alone. Like the more than 140 previously reported incidents, the newest ones include vacationers who blacked out after consuming a few drinks -- sometimes just one. They regained consciousness hours later, many of them to learn they had been robbed, sexually assaulted, bruised, bloodied or otherwise injured.
Oxford University Transit buses served 1.5 million in 2017
Heading into its 10th year of operation, the Oxford University Transit system has grown by more than 100,000 riders for each year the buses have carried passengers around Oxford and the University of Mississippi. OUT carried approximately 1.5 million people in 2017. "I remember the first year after we started the transit system, I think that number was about 130,000," said Mayor Robyn Tannehill. "That doesn't mean 1.5 million different people rode the bus. That means because of the bus service, that was 1.5 million trips that weren't made in cars on our roads." The Oxford Board of Aldermen approved a $6.7 million budget Tuesday for the 2018-2019 fiscal year for the OUT system, which increased from the current budget of $5.3 million. Most of the increase is due to adding six buses and two vans, new routes on the University of Mississippi campus and plans to construct a downtown bus stop.
Alcorn State band to headline Saturday parade in downtown Tupelo
Downtown Tupelo will be filled with the sounds of dynamite Saturday afternoon, but it won't be from demolitions. It's because the high-energy, high-stepping marching band from Alcorn State University will be anchoring a parade Feb. 24. "The band is known for putting on a show. They call themselves 'The Sounds of Dyn-O-Mite.' That's their rallying cry," said John Jones ASU alumni member and event coordinator. The parade is in conjunction with the ASU alumni mid-winter convention being held this week at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo. The ASU band will be at the end of the parade. Instead of marching straight through, the band will stop and perform for the crowd several times along the way. The grand marshal of the parade will be the Rev. Gloria McKinney, a 1973 ASU graduate who is also the president of the Northeast Mississippi ASU alumni chapter. The local chapter is hosting the convention.
More than a hashtag: 'Me Too' founder Tarana Burke speaks at U. of Missouri
Tarana Burke, the founder of the Me Too movement, has a message for survivors of sexual abuse: "Don't think you have to put up a hashtag. It's your story to own." An audience of over 200 students, faculty, staff and Columbia locals packed a room in Tate Hall to hear Burke, the keynote speaker for the University of Missouri's Black History Month events, speak about how the Me Too movement started and to learn how they can take action against sexual violence on campus and in their communities. Burke said there is value in the hashtag based on the movement she started. #MeToo is "the start of a journey. It's permission to start your healing journey," said Burke, who is a survivor of sexual violence and now serves as the senior director of the nonprofit Girls for Gender Equity.
Public universities band together on completion rates and achievement gaps
A group of 100 public universities will work with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities to produce hundreds of thousands of additional degrees while also reducing achievement gaps for underrepresented student groups. The college completion project, which APLU announced today, is the latest sign of greater urgency among public universities about graduation rates and student success, aided in part by performance-based funding formulas that are on the books in 35 states. Even a few years ago, some presidents of land-grant universities would struggle to recall the student retention and graduation rates of their institutions, said Peter McPherson, APLU's president. "They know them now," he said. "It's clear that this is an important issue for universities and the country."
Trump administration seeks comment on student loan bankruptcy standards
The Department of Education signaled Monday that it is interested in tweaking the standards used for determining whether student loan debt can be discharged in bankruptcy. That could point to an opening for potential bipartisan cooperation between the department and Democrats like Senator Elizabeth Warren, who have long sought to loosen bankruptcy law so student borrowers can discharge their debt. However, what steps the department might take in that regard, including issuing new guidance or working with Congress to change the law, are unclear. In a Federal Register notice, it requested public comments on the process for evaluating claims of "undue hardship" -- the standard student borrowers must clear to be able to discharge their loans through bankruptcy.
Scalia knew the difference between individual gun rights, public safety rights
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "The Parkland, Florida school shootings brought the nation's sharpest and most painful political debate back to the forefront -- pro-gun versus anti-gun. For most engaged in that debate, there is no middle ground. ...The stalemate makes me miss one U.S. Supreme Court justice that it was my privilege to meet and converse with who seemed to understand America's gun debate better than most of his colleagues on the nation's highest court. Conservatives loved the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia just about as much as liberals despised the jurist. ...Scalia's judicial epiphany that individual gun rights under the Second Amendment could peacefully coexist with public safety rights -- public spaces versus non-public spaces -- made sense in 2008 and in light of the most recent schools shootings, make even more sense today."

Mississippi State men stun Texas A&M in College Station
Quinndary Weatherspoon got down to the basics of why Mississippi State overwhelmed Texas A&M on Tuesday night. "We were just quicker than them, and we used that to our advantage on the defensive end," Weatherspoon said. MSU's quickness came in handy on the offensive end, too, in its stunning 93-81 road victory. Abdul Ado led the way with 19 points and five Bulldogs scored in double figures. The Bulldogs (20-8, 8-7 Southeastern) improved to 2-6 in SEC road games, while the Aggies (17-11, 6-9) fell to 5-3 at home against league competition. "We did a really nice job of managing the game down the stretch," MSU coach Ben Howland said.
Aggie men's basketball team loses third straight
Mississippi State men's basketball coach Ben Howland wasn't sure whether Texas A&M led the Southeastern Conference in rebounding or not. He did know the Aggies' RPI ranking and what it would mean to his team's NCAA tournament chances to beat a team so highly considered. With that carrot dangling in front of them, the Bulldogs outplayed the Aggies in every phase of the game for a 93-81 victory at Reed Arena on Tuesday. "I'm just really proud of our players because this is huge win for us to come on the road and get a win over a No. 21 RPI team," Howland said. "So this really helps us toward our goal of getting to the NCAA tournament." Meanwhile, the Aggies (17-11, 6-9) had a major dent put in their NCAA tournament chances as they lost to a team with a 1-7 road record before Tuesday.
Mississippi State women receive No. 2 seed in NCAA Reveal
Connecticut, Mississippi State, Louisville, and Notre Dame are the top seeds in the final NCAA women's basketball reveal announced Monday night. The Huskies would be the top seed in the Albany Region while the Bulldogs would be No. 1 in Kansas City. Louisville wouldn't have far to travel, headlining the Lexington Region, and Notre Dame would be the top team in Spokane, traveling the furthest of all the No. 1 seeds. The four No. 1 seeds were in the same order in the previous reveal on Feb. 1. MSU will play host to Auburn at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Chad Harrison proud of Victoria Vivians, Bulldogs
The Dispatch's Adam Minichino writes: "Chad Harrison is an honest man. The former Scott Central High School girls basketball coach heard a lot of sales pitches in his day. He listened as college coaches told him about their plans and dreams for his players. Vic Schaefer piqued his curiosity. Hired in March 2012 to take over the Mississippi State women's basketball program, Schaefer talked about things being in place in Starkville to win championships. Like a lot of people, Harrison wasn't sure, but he gave Schaefer the benefit of the doubt as he made Scott Central High standout Victoria Vivians one of his priorities. After signing a strong initial recruiting class, Schaefer knew it was crucial for him to keep Vivians at home in his second class. He believed convincing Vivians to choose MSU would bolster his chances of transforming the program and ultimately result in titles. Harrison wasn't convinced -- at least not initially."
Bell answered in Mississippi State softball victory
Answering the bell in a close game is something the Mississippi State Bulldogs want to be known for in softball this season. On Tuesday night, Morgan Bell did the honors. Bell delivered a one-out single in the eighth inning to score Kat Moore from third base with the winning run as MSU defeated Southeastern Louisiana 3-2 at Nusz Park. After seeing the visiting Lions come back to tie the game 2-2 in the sixth inning, the Bulldogs found a way to get the job done in the extra frame. "We don't go away and we live by that on our team, so that was all I was thinking," Bell said about her last at-bat. "These are late innings and these are our innings. We were going to come through and there was no doubt in my mind. I was glad to get the opportunity." MSU improved to 9-1 and now travel to Palm Springs, California, for the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. The Bulldogs start the event with a doubleheader against Arizona State and Nebraska on Thursday.
Citing 'poor decisions,' Andy Cannizaro resigns as Mississippi State baseball coach
Andy Cannizaro has resigned as Mississippi State's baseball coach, effective immediately. Cannizaro said Tuesday in a university release that "unfortunately, I made some poor decisions." Cannizaro added, "I hope Mississippi State University and all of the fans and people affected will one day forgive me." Athletic director John Cohen said Gary Henderson would serve as interim head coach. Henderson had been a pitching coach on Cannizaro's staff. He was Kentucky's head coach from 2009-16 and had a 258-199 record.
Alcohol beverage license at Plainsman Park approved by Auburn City Council
An alcohol beverage license request for Plainsman Park was approved Tuesday during the Auburn City Council meeting. The move will allow alcohol to be sold by B&B Bartending at Plainsman Park during baseball games in February and March. The request was unanimously approved by the council. The license will allow only premium ticket holders the option to purchase alcohol in a contained environment, which will be located down the right field line. "I think it's important for people to know that we're not going to have people going up and down the aisles at Plainsman Park and giving out ice cold beer," said council member Ron Anders. "This will be a very controlled environment on the right field line that you have to enter. If you want something to drink, you have to drink it in this controlled area. You cannot carry it out into the stadium."
Louisville appeal denied by NCAA, 2013 title among wins that must be vacated
An NCAA appeals committee announced Tuesday that it has rejected the appeal of sanctions against the University of Louisville men's basketball program and the school must vacate wins during the 2011-12 through 2014-15 seasons, including its 2013 NCAA Tournament title. The ruling -- a product of a sex scandal at U of L -- marks the first time in NCAA history that a men's basketball national championship has been banished from the record books. "I cannot say this strongly enough. We believe the NCAA is simply wrong to have made this decision," Louisville interim president Gregory Postel said during a press conference shortly after the ruling was announced. The university argued in its appeal last year that the punishment prescribed for the admitted infractions was excessive.

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