Wednesday, November 25, 2020   
 
Multiple viewing options available for MSU's fall commencement ceremonies
Mississippi State University is providing multiple viewing options for Wednesday's [Nov. 25] fall commencement ceremonies at Humphrey Coliseum. All four ceremonies will be streamed online, broadcast live on MSTV and streamed on the MSU Facebook page. MSTV's livestream will be available at https://livestream.com/mstv/live during all ceremonies. MSTV is Mississippi State's high definition television channel. Operated by the University Television Center, the channel is available to MaxxSouth Broadband subscribers in the Golden Triangle and those with C Spire Fiber TV throughout the state on Channel 80. Additionally, the ceremonies can viewed on the MSU Facebook page, www.facebook.com/msstate. For more graduation details, visit www.registrar.msstate.edu/students/graduation. In addition to the ceremonies in Starkville, MSU-Meridian will hold commencement ceremonies Dec. 1.
 
Colleges and Universities Plan for Fall Commencement Amid COVID-19
As the semester winds down, colleges and universities across the country are making plans for fall commencement ceremonies. However, as new COVID-19 cases reach over 200,000 a day in the United States, many institutions are choosing to either cancel their ceremonies or host them remotely. On the other hand, with mandated masks, social distancing protocols and limited guest attendance, institutions such as Mississippi State University-Meridian and Austin Peay State University (APSU) are organizing in-person December ceremonies. At MSU-Meridian, in terms of COVID-19 precautions, there will be no entrance procession during the ceremony, but all graduates will walk across the stage. However, graduates and their guests, which is limited to two, must leave immediately after being honored. "Obviously planning for commencement this year has been much more time intensive than in past years," said Dr. Terry Dale Cruse, associate vice president of MSU-Meridian. "Our Meridian commencement is held in the Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts in which we have held two similar events since August. At both of those events, our staff demonstrated excellence in ensuring compliance with state and CDC guidelines. I do not anticipate any significant differences or challenges with this event."
 
Lamar County youth organization will add mural to MSU Extension building in Purvis
During the course of regular meetings of the Lamar County 4-H Advisory Council, members of that organization -- which engages youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development -- came up with the idea of a mural to spread knowledge and awareness of the program in the area. That idea was given the green light at a recent meeting of the Lamar County Board of Supervisors, where board members voted unanimously to approve the council's request to paint a mural on the side of the Lamar County Mississippi State University Extension building on Shelby Street in Purvis. Lindsey Pansano, extension agent for the Lamar County 4-H program, said in the short time she's been with the club, it's become apparent that some people are unaware that 4-H is even present in the county. The mural, which will take up the entire side of the building, will feature the slogan "4-H Grows Here," along with the organization's signature cloverleaf against a green background.
 
Area residents alter Thanksgiving plans due to COVID-19 concerns
Lisa Long has never cooked a Thanksgiving turkey before, but she will this year. Her family gathers in a group of about 15 most years, usually at her house in Starkville, and everyone brings a dish. She usually makes a side dish or a dessert while someone else handles the turkey, she said, but this year the group is limited to just her household -- her, her husband and their 10-year-old daughter -- due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. She and her daughter plan to drop off some food at her parents' home on Thursday. "(We'll) say a quick hello from far apart outside and won't go in," Long said. "I think my dad is also going to make his typical dish, cranberry salad, and we'll do the handoff." People across the region, state and country plan to forgo their usual Thanksgiving gatherings with friends and family outside their households, in accordance with recommendations from state and national health experts. Keely Jones, of the Bay St. Louis area, loves cooking with her family but will be cooking for Thanksgiving alone this year in Starkville, she said. Jones is a junior at MSU and was recently quarantined due to COVID-19, so she said she will not go home and risk exposing her family to the virus. Jones plans to FaceTime her family.
 
Mississippi weather: Severe storms possible day before Thanksgiving
Severe weather is possible across the central Mississippi region throughout the day Wednesday -- including the threat of tornadoes. The National Weather Service said isolated severe thunderstorms will be possible Wednesday as a cold front moves through the region. The main risk will be for damaging wind gusts, but the threat of a tornado cannot be ruled out, the NWS said. The front will bring widespread showers and storms to central Mississippi throughout the day, from early morning to the evening hours, according to NWS. Portions of north Mississippi, west Tennessee, east Arkansas and Southeast Missouri are under a wind advisory until noon. The service forecasts wind gusts of up to 35 mph for much of central and north Mississippi. With motorists expected to be on the road the day before Thanksgiving, NWS advises extreme caution when driving.
 
Mississippi counts nearly $90 million in Zeta damages. Will Coast get FEMA funds?
Mississippi has documented tens of millions of dollars in damage from Hurricane Zeta, state Emergency Management Agency Director Greg Michel said Tuesday at Gov. Tate Reeves' press conference. The hurricane came ashore Oct. 28, bringing 100 mph winds and 7-9 feet of storm surge. There has been $10 million in damage to individual homes documented and $79 million in damage to public infrastructure, Michel said. The state is applying to FEMA for both individual and public assistance, as well as business assistance through the Small Business Administration. Individual and SBA assistance is being sought for George, Greene, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson and Stone counties. Public assistance is being sought for those counties plus Perry and Wayne counties. The MEMA director also said it's not too late for other counties to be added. "We will be able to add counties should counties meet the threshold." FEMA recently denied Mississippi assistance for Tropical Storm Cristobal, which had $5,677,515 in damage.
 
Commissioner Mike Chaney: State insurance stable with exception of health insurance
2020 has been one for the record books by many measures, including weather disasters that caused massive damage to business and home owners among others. The record-breaking hurricane season brought wind, rain and flooding from Hurricanes Laura in August and Zeta in November to counties on the Coast and the midsection of the state. There was major flooding along the Pearl River in February and destructive tornadoes to the Pine Belt in the spring. And, maybe to no one's surprise, a couple of earthquakes shook parts of Mississippi, prompting the state Insurance Department in September to post a link on its website explaining earthquake deductibles. Still, longtime Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney described things as fairly stable in the Mississippi insurance market except for uncertainty surrounding health care coverage hinging on the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act. Chaney predicts the Supreme Court will rule that the law is constitutional. There also are some challenges with holding commercial auto insurance rates steady, Chaney said, but most Mississippians should not see their rates rise much, if at all, in the coming year.
 
Mississippi reports 1,092 new COVID-19 cases, 16 deaths
The Mississippi State Department of Health on Wednesday reported 1,092 new cases of COVID-19 and 16 new deaths as of 6 p.m. Nov. 24. MSDH also reported 158 current outbreaks in long-term care facilities. Tishomingo County in Northeast Mississippi reported one new death, and Alcorn reported two. The statewide total number of cases since March 11 is 145,636 and 3,745 deaths. Around 121,637 people are estimated to have recovered from the virus as of Nov. 22. All Northeast Mississippi counties in the Daily Journal coverage area reported new cases. The new cases are Alcorn (24), Benton (3), Calhoun (13), Chickasaw (17), Clay (1), Itawamba (6), Lafayette (25), Lee (34), Marshall (13), Monroe (12), Oktibbeha (16), Pontotoc (14), Prentiss (8), Tippah (15), Tishomingo (4) and Union (30).
 
Governor expands mask mandate to half of Mississippi counties
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced Tuesday that he is expanding his mask mandate to cover half of Mississippi's 82 counties. Reeves had previously placed under the mandate 22 counties with the highest number of new cases of coronavirus in the state. "It's clear we are in the middle of our second surge," Reeves said during a briefing with news media where he announced he was adding 19 counties to that list. The new counties are: Alcorn, Attala, Bolivar, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lowndes, Neshoba, Panola, Perry, Prentiss, Stone, Tippah, Tishomingo and Union. The announcement comes a day after Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor and dean of the University of Mississippi Medical Center's School of Medicine, called on the governor to reinstitute a statewide mask mandate to prevent further spread of the virus. Woodward said last week that no intensive care unit beds were available at the hospital, Mississippi's only level-one trauma center.
 
Governor places 7 new Northeast Mississippi counties under mask mandates
Gov. Tate Reeves has placed seven additional Northeast Mississippi counties under mask mandates and has continued mask mandates for five other Northeast Mississippi counties. The latest order will now require residents in Alcorn, Chickasaw, Lafayette, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo and Union counties to wear masks during public gatherings or while inside businesses or public buildings. Previous orders placed residents in Lee, Itawamba, Pontotoc, Marshall and Benton counties under more stringent health restrictions. Those orders will remain in place, bringing 12 total Northeast Mississippi counties under tighter safety restrictions. The order also requires people in the 12 counties to restrict indoor gatherings to groups of no more than 10 people. Outdoor gatherings are limited to groups of 50 people or fewer. Reeves warned Mississippians at the Tuesday press conference the virus is still a severe threat to people and that it "is not just going to disappear" soon. "It's clear that we are in the middle of our second surge," Reeves said.
 
CDC Likely To Recommend Shortening Coronavirus Quarantine Period
Federal health officials are likely to shorten their recommendation for how long people should quarantine to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus from the current 14 days to as few as seven. Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations call for two weeks of isolation from the last contact with a person known to have COVID-19. However, Adm. Brett Giroir, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said Tuesday that health officials were rethinking that recommendation, citing "a preponderance of evidence that a shorter quarantine complemented by a test might be able to shorten that quarantine period." "We are actively working on that type of guidance right now, reviewing the evidence, but we want to make absolutely sure," he said, adding that "these kind of recommendations aren't willy-nilly." The exact language of the new guidelines and when they might be announced remains unclear, but according to a federal official who asked not to be named because they weren't authorized to speak publicly about the issue, the recommended quarantine time is likely to be just seven to 10 days for people who then test negative for the virus.
 
Longtime judge, mayor, political matriarch Sadie Holland dies
Lee County has lost a mother, civic leader, and community servant. Longtime Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Monts Holland died at approximately 6 p.m. Tuesday night. Her son, Steve Holland, announced her death via social media. She was 87 years old. Judge Holland was undergoing heart surgery on Monday when she had a heart attack. Doctors stabilized her and finished the surgery. Later that day, she had another heart attack and a stroke. "She was feeling good and joking about it Sunday, saying you know I have this little procedure in the morning," said Steve Holland. "'I'll be good either way' was the last thing she said to me." Holland served the public for more than 50 years, ending when she retired as Lee County Justice Court Judge in November 2019. "She was the greatest person I have ever met," said fellow justice court judge Chuck Hopkins. "My wife and I thought so much for her that we chose her over a preacher to conduct our wedding. We have that much respect for her." Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley has known the Holland family all his life. He called Holland a mix of "a pioneer woman and Renaissance woman."
 
Joseph 'Bubba' Tubb wins Mississippi House District 87 seat in Tuesday's runoff election
Joseph "Bubba" Tubb, a Lamar County businessman, was named the new representative for House District 87 after a runoff election Tuesday between Tubb and schoolteacher Matthew Conoly. Tubb, 57, of Lamar County, is a Republican. He has no prior political experience. Tubb, a father of two, works in commercial real estate with Cook Commercial Properties. He earned a bachelor's degree in business with a minor in marketing from Mississippi College. Tubb and Conoly received the most votes in a special election for the District 87 seat, which represents parts of Forrest and Lamar counties. The seat was vacated in March by Republican Billy Andrews of Purvis, who defeated Tubb in 2019, but resigned nearly three months after taking office. Andrews, a former judge in Lamar County, said he could not continue to serve in the Legislature since his PERS benefits were suspended and "the House of Representatives has refused to pay me less than normal salary and benefits."
 
Rep. Steven Palazzo ethics investigation: Is the congressman's campaign account a slush fund?
As a congressional ethics office investigates U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo's campaign spending, a deeper look at his campaign finances raises questions of whether he uses his account as a second personal income. Palazzo spends thousands of dollars a year from his campaign account on meals, from the swankiest restaurants and clubs in Washington, D.C., and Mississippi, to Hooters, Newk's, pizza and fast food chains, and live music and barbecue joints. In all, Palazzo has spent more than $115,600 on meals since he took office in 2010 -- an average of $11,560 a year -- not counting the nearly $188,000 he spent catering events and booking venues for his campaign. By comparison, his colleague Rep. Michael Guest since he took office has spent less than $1,300 a year listed as meals separate from larger catered campaign events. The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating Palazzo's campaign spending after the Campaign Legal Center watchdog group in March filed a complaint. That complaint centered on whether Palazzo used campaign funds to pay himself and his erstwhile wife nearly $200,000 through companies they own. Palazzo, through a campaign spokesman, said the complaint and questions about his campaign spending are "politically motivated," and that Palazzo is cooperating with the OCE investigation and will be exonerated.
 
Lawmakers a step closer to averting Dec. 11 government shutdown
Top appropriators reached bipartisan agreement Tuesday on a framework for an omnibus spending package that would avoid a partial government shutdown next month. The compromise forged between the leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations committees sets spending allocations for the dozen bills that fund federal agencies for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. A deal on those allocations will allow lawmakers to draft omnibus legislation that is needed by Dec. 11, when current stopgap funding is set to run dry. The agreement, which was confirmed by aides familiar with the talks, resolves a partisan impasse over how to divvy up about $1.4 trillion in discretionary spending for fiscal 2021 that is allowed under a two-year budget deal. Details of the actual compromise spending allocations, which are typically kept confidential until legislation is released, weren't immediately available. Even with an allocations deal in place, however, there is no guarantee that a bipartisan omnibus package can be written and passed in less than the three weeks remaining before current funding expires.
 
As transition to Biden presidency officially begins, Mississippi congressional delegation remains silent
With Monday's decision by the General Services Administration to move forward with the transition process for President-Elect Joe Biden comes little reaction from members of Mississippi's congressional delegation despite many of those same leaders siding with President Donald Trump's election fraud claims days earlier. The GSA recognized Biden as the apparent winner of the November 3 election Monday. 3 On Your Side reached out to Mississippi Republican Party Chair Frank Bordeaux and Mississippi Democratic Party Chair Tyree Irving to ask what a Biden presidency would look like for Mississippians, but neither responded to our requests. Hinds County Republican Party Chairman Pete Perry said the transition means residents in the state will not be better off under a Democratic presidency. "I don't know that we're particularly worse off. I mean, the last four years, our governor has been, each of our governors has been very close to the President. And that's always helpful. I mean, you got your ear so that you can make phone calls heard." Perry believes Mississippi Republicans will lean heavily on the state's congressional delegation more for balance because most of them are Republican, too. Thus far, not one of them has voiced concerns publicly about the transition nor posted comments on social media about Monday evening's development. 3 On Your Side contacted staff for Sen. Roger Wicker, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, Rep. Steven Palazzo and Rep. Bennie Thompson for comment. Hyde-Smith's communications director, Chris Gallegos, said the senator would not be available. The rest of our requests went unanswered.
 
Unemployment claims are up again as pandemic worsens
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week to 778,000, evidence that the U.S. economy and job market remain under strain as coronavirus cases surge and colder weather heighten the risks. The Labor Department's report Wednesday said jobless claims climbed from 748,000 the week before. Before the virus struck hard in mid-March, weekly claims typically amounted to roughly 225,000. They shot up to 6.9 million during one week in March before dropping yet remain historically high more than eight months later, with many businesses unable to fully reopen. The number of people who are continuing to receive traditional unemployment benefits is now 6.1 million, up from fewer than 1.7 million a year ago. Still, that figure had been declining for months. It shows that more Americans are finding jobs and no longer receiving unemployment aid. But it also indicates that many jobless people have used up their state unemployment aid -- which typically expires after six months -- and have transitioned to a federal extended benefits program that lasts 13 more weeks.
 
Deere Expects More Machinery Sales as Crop Prices Rise
Deere & Co. raised expectations for profits next year, anticipating that higher crop prices will lead to improving demand from U.S. farmers for its tractors and harvesting combines. Dry weather in the U.S. this summer contributed to a less robust harvest than anticipated, as demand for wheat, soybeans and corn rose due to higher consumption of dinners and baked goods at home during the coronavirus pandemic. That helped to shrink grain stockpiles and pushed up crop prices, which have also benefited this year from rising exports including to China. For Deere, the result is a better outlook for demand from farmers for its green-and-yellow machinery. Deere said Wednesday that it expects net income next year in a range of $3.6 billion to $4 billion. It earned $2.75 billion in fiscal 2020, which ended Nov. 1. Analysts were expecting the company to forecast income of $3.36 billion for 2021. Shares rose 1.7% at $266.50 in pre-market trading.
 
USM leaders: Enrollment high due, in part, to retention goals
The University of Southern Mississippi's fall 2020 enrollment reached a six-year high, and university leaders are attributing much of that growth to retention initiatives, including those programs housed within the Center for Student Success on the university's Hattiesburg campus. CSS has a variety of programs that assist students from freshmen to seniors. These programs, which target first-year students, sophomores and transfer students, are designed to develop skills necessary for academic success and build community among students. In addition, the center offers support for parents and family members of Southern Miss students through the Parent and Family Association because they feel that parents and family members are their partners in student success. "We are so appreciative of the community approach to student success," explained Amy Chasteen, executive vice provost.
 
USM electronic sports teams join conference
The University of Southern Mississippi Eagle eSports program has expanded its opportunities for competition and exposure by joining with other schools from across the country in the National eSports Collegiate Conference. NECC members include the University of Alabama, Boise State University, Sacramento State University, Mount St. Mary's University, the University of Montana, Valparaiso University, Randolph-Macon College, Colorado College and Illinois Wesleyan University, among others. "We're excited to be affiliated with the NECC. Between this and our other affiliations, our teams will be going up against everyone from established teams to rising stars," said USM Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Denny Bubrig. USM eSports was founded approximately one year ago and is currently composed of five teams, including Rainbow 6 Siege, Call of Duty, League of Legends, Rocket League and Overwatch. More than 50 students from both the Hattiesburg and Gulf Park campuses are participating in the program.
 
Mississippi to participate in CyberStart America program
Mississippi students will soon have the opportunity to take part in a national cybersecurity initiative. Beginning at the end of February 2021, high school students will be able to register for the CyberStart America program -- an online cybersecurity talent search and competition. The program allows high school students to complete online challenges acting as a cyber protection agent while learning code-breaking, programming, networking, and digital forensics skills. Participants in the program can win prizes, recognition for their schools, and scholarships for themselves. Governor Tate Reeves announced Mississippi's participation in the program on Tuesday. Participating students and their teachers do not need knowledge or experience in information technology or cybersecurity to take part. Everything they need can be learned in the game. The program is free for schools and students, and all Mississippi students in grades 9-12 are invited to participate. "This program supports computer science education and its growing importance in our schools and our economy," State Superintendent Dr. Carey Wright said.
 
Gov. Tate Reeves capped federal education grants at $1 million. This Utah-based group received nearly twice that amount.
Despite initially capping the award amount at $1 million for a 16-week program serving a minimum of 10,000 Mississippi children, Gov. Tate Reeves gave nearly twice that in federal funds to a Utah-based organization serving only a fraction of the number of kids. Waterford.org requested and received $1.9 million to provide a virtual, 20-minute-a-day computer program to 2,500 4-year-olds in Mississippi -- more than twice the amount received by other schools, child care centers and education organizations that also received grants from the Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund. These are federal relief funds for education distributed to the state through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Reeves has full discretion over the spending of that money. The organization, in its application for the funds, obtained by Mississippi Today through a public records request, acknowledged its request exceeded the guidelines. Waterford.org "identified the need for more than the $1 million maximum award and explained the increased costs were a result of more households being served and providing internet service and devices to each participating family," said Bailey Martin, press secretary for Reeves' office, which is administering the $34.6 million of GEER funds. "Upon review, our office determined these costs to be justified and to the benefit of the children and families in the state of Mississippi."
 
U. of Florida surpasses 5,000 total COVID-19 cases, among highest reported in country
The University of Florida is rising in ranks, but not in the way it intends. UF surpassed 5,000 total COVID-19 cases Wednesday and now has the second highest case total of the country's universities. The No. 6 U.S. News and World Reports public university is No. 2 on the The New York Times university COVID-19 dashboard. Clemson University reports the most, with 5,187 cases since June 5, according to its dashboard's last update on Nov. 19. UF's dashboard reports cases since March 18. UF has had 5,185 COVID-19 cases, according to its dashboard as of Tuesday morning. UF reports a 2% positivity rate within the last week, while Clemson reports a 1.3% positivity rate; this statistic gives a clearer indication of current case trends. Comparing universities based on case totals isn't fully accurate because schools have different methods of testing and reporting cases. For example, Clemson expanded its testing capabilities in early October to provide weekly mandatory testing for students, while UF's testing has been voluntary this semester. UF announced biweekly mandatory testing for the Spring for students in in-person classes, Greek life and those living on campus.
 
U. of Memphis hosting graduation at Liberty Bowl Saturday for spring, summer, fall graduates
University of Memphis graduates of spring, summer and current fall semesters can walk in-person at an outdoor ceremony at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium this Saturday, the school announced. Masks and social distancing are required of graduates and attendees. The ceremony is ticketed, and each graduate will receive six tickets for guests upon receiving their caps and gowns Tuesday. Graduates and attendees are asked to arrive an hour before the ceremony start time, and if bringing belongings, must follow the stadium's policy on clear bags. Heavy rain or other inclement weather on Saturday will postpone the ceremonies to Sunday. If bad weather persists, the in-person ceremonies will be canceled. Due to the stadium schedule, there will not be an option for rescheduling, U of M said. Fall graduates will also be recognized in a virtual graduation ceremony on Dec. 13.
 
DeVos Education Department estimates large student loan losses, but figures aren't guaranteed to influence debate
It is an eye-popping number: $435 billion. That is the amount of money the federal government can expect to lose on its $1.37 trillion student loan portfolio, according to an analysis consultants performed for the Department of Education. That analysis anticipates borrowers paying back $935 billion in principal and interest on their student loans, leaving $435 billion for taxpayers to absorb. So what, exactly, does $435 billion represent? The Wall Street Journal, which recently uncovered and reported on the student loan analysis, compared it to the $535 billion private lenders lost on subprime mortgages in the 2008 financial crisis. Count the $435 billion in other ways, though, and it comes to represent many, many different things about the patchwork way this country pays for students to attend colleges and universities -- and the debate unfolding about whether that patchwork is going to change substantially in the near future.
 
Is the Pandemic Pushing a Wave of Presidents Out? Not Yet
The coronavirus pandemic has created a set of historic challenges for leaders in higher education. They've had to respond to threats to college finances and enrollment; cut faculty, staff, programs, and sports teams; orchestrate the logistical burdens of testing for the virus; and house those infected -- all while navigating the uncertainty of when and how this strange, often remote, era will end. That might seem like enough to persuade an unusual number of college presidents to consider retiring. But overall, the number of campus and system presidents stepping down appears to be within the normal range. In fact, fewer presidents have announced their retirements in 2020 than in each of the previous two years, according to Chronicle data, and no retirements were announced between March 10 and May 1, according to the data. So anyone planning to step down may have put those plans on hold. While the pandemic might not have been the stated reason for many of those who did decide to step aside this year, it has had an impact on campus leadership. "If I'd seen it coming I might have retired a year earlier," joked Michael K. Young, president of Texas A&M, who will be leaving his post at the end of December, despite an earlier plan to finish the academic year.
 
College Groups Ask Biden to Drop Curbs on Foreign Students
College groups are asking the incoming Biden administration to reverse recent rules they say threaten to dampen the prospects of international enrollment at U.S. colleges. President-elect Joe Biden should withdraw rules proposed by the Trump administration that would limit the length of time international students can stay in the U.S. and that restrict access to H-1B visas, higher education lobby groups say. They also want the incoming administration to maintain Optional Practical Training, a program that allows foreign students to work in the U.S. in their field of study after graduating. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the American Council on Education, the most influential lobby groups in Washington, made the recommendations in separate documents sent to the Biden transition team. The APLU released its policy priorities Monday; ACE sent a list of recommendations late last week. The recommendations run a gamut of issues from international enrollment to sexual misconduct on campus, student loans and oversight of free inquiry on campus.
 
Trump continues a long, unfortunate presidential tradition of self-deceptions, lies
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Polonius advises his son departing for his university schooling: "To thine own self be true." As the animosity between embattled President Donald Trump and the media continues to roil, Trump's Twitter storms and other patently false pronouncements have produced a rather breathless narrative about the scope of Trump's litany of whoppers, falsehoods, half-truths, self-deceptions, and outright lies. Worse still in the days since the Nov. 3 general election that the media (and a growing number of GOP officials) roundly projects the incumbent president to have lost in both the popular and electoral vote is Trump's apparent decision not to engage with the White House press corps at all. The gaggle of reporters there should questions at Trump's turned back – and he keeps walking. That's been the case in recent days whether the topic of the questions is the COVID-19 pandemic, the contested election, or the stalled transition and "peaceful transfer of power." Any rational analysis and the services of a reasonably dedicated fact-checker can quickly decipher that President Trump struggles with the truth. But the hyperbole surrounding public scorn over Trump's fabrications underscores and ignored the history of the U.S. presidency.


SPORTS
 
Pandemic didn't stop annual Egg Bowl Run
The pandemic didn't stop the annual Egg Bowl Run on Tuesday. The event has become a yearly tradition in the days leading up to the Egg Bowl game between arch-rivals Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Mississippi State's ROTC unit ran the game ball from Starkville to Calhoun City and hand-delivered the ball to their counterparts from Ole Miss. Ole Miss' unit then carried the ball back to Oxford where this year's game will be. Calhoun City is the midpoint between the two campuses. The two ROTC units swap roles each year.
 
How Mississippi State football won three Egg Bowls in a row
Something can occur Saturday that has only happened once since World War II ended. No, this has nothing to do with a mind-blowing political phenomenon or anything of that nature. The election is over. Well, maybe it is or maybe it isn't. Depends on who you ask. It doesn't matter who you ask about the college football season, though. More games have been played than have been postponed, and as it stands, some pretty big ones are scheduled to kick off this coming Saturday. Ever heard of the Egg Bowl? On that note, back to the thing that's only happened once in the last 75-plus years. If Mississippi State (2-5) beats Ole Miss (3-4) on Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, it will be only the second time since 1942 the Bulldogs have beaten the Rebels three times in a row. Nobody gave Mississippi State much of a chance in the game that started the streak. The Bulldogs, in their first year under coach Dan Mullen, took a 4-7 record into the game and were 7.5-point home underdogs against an Ole Miss team that boasted an 8-3 record and had just beaten No. 10 LSU the week prior. Led by running back Anthony Dixon and quarterback Chris Relf, who had 133 and 129 rushing yards, respectively, Mississippi State ran by the No. 25 Rebels in a 41-27 triumph. Mitchell finished second on the team in tackles and intercepted the late Jevan Snead twice.
 
'It's OK to embrace this game': How SEC Network's Tom Hart is preparing for his first Egg Bowl
SEC Network play-by-play announcer Tom Hart begins each fall Sunday the same way. Hart flips open his computer and begins the arduous process of filling holes on his spotting board -- a handy spreadsheet-type document that's comprised of information for his weekly broadcasts -- with the two-deep for whatever team's he's slated to cover the following Saturday. This past Sunday, that included Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Hart, who's in his eighth year with ESPN after varying spells in minor league baseball and later in a handful of different roles with the Big Ten Network, Fox Sports Radio and Comcast Sports Southeast, among other jobs, is set to call his first Egg Bowl on Saturday as MSU (2-5) and Ole Miss (3-4) meet in Oxford. "Whatever return to normalcy this rivalry can give the people of Mississippi and college football fans is a win in my book," Hart told The Dispatch. "... Somebody recently mentioned out loud this (the Egg Bowl) was getting toxic, and I know that that's been a storyline in the last few years... but it's OK to return to normal, and it's OK to embrace this game, which means more than maybe any other in the schedule for these respective teams."
 
Mississippi State basketball to face Clemson in season opener, but there's 'a lot of concern' with COVID-19
At long last, it's here. Ben Howland has waited 263 days to coach the Mississippi State men's basketball team in a live game. The Bulldogs haven't played since beating Ole Miss at the end of the 2019-20 regular season. They're back on the court Wednesday night against Clemson in the Space Coast Challenge in Melbourne, Florida. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CT on CBS Sports Network. "It's thrilling after the way the season ended last year," Howland said. "That was so heartbreaking." Every college basketball team across the country shouldn't take any game it gets to play this season for granted. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, programs everywhere are in jeopardy of having games cancelled at any moment. "We talk about it with our team on a daily basis about how COVID is just out of control in our country," Howland said. "How it's at all-time highs in terms of daily people coming down with it. Hospitalizations are at an all-time high. Deaths per day are at an all-time high. So there is definitely a lot of concern."
 
Lady Bulldogs not playing in Hall of Fame Challenge
Mississippi State women's basketball team will not compete in this weekend's 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame Women's Challenge in Uncasville, Connecticut. The event was canceled due to "COVID-related circumstances." The Challenge was scheduled for Nov. 28-29. The Lady Bulldogs were slated to play the University of Maine on Saturday and then face either the University of Connecticut or Quinnipiac University on Sunday. The Lady Bulldogs are scheduled to begin the 2020-21 season on Dec. 2 in Starkville against the University of New Orleans.
 
Drone helping Texas A&M keep athletics facilities free of COVID-19
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas A&M athletics production coordinator Blake Reynolds never could've guessed that playing video games would be a marketable skillset. Now Reynolds finds himself the commander of a COVID-19 killing drone thanks to his aptitude with a controller. The A&M athletics department was an early user of the Lucid Drone Technologies sanitizing drone, which helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Reed Arena as well as in other large gathering spaces around A&M's campus. "That was really the key thing for all of us, just the efficiency," Reynolds said. "Given the size of our facilities and diverse spaces, it just makes sense, especially with everything that has been added on with COVID. Efficiency is a big thing for us." Two electrostatic sprayers attached to the drone distribute two different types of disinfecting chemicals. Because A&M uses the drone indoors, the operator did not have to complete the rigorous training needed to fly outdoors. More veteran administrators looked to the youth of the department to pilot the aircraft and landed on Reynolds.
 
College Football Changes Thanksgiving Traditions Amid Pandemic
At Colorado, the Thanksgiving meal for football players, a ritual since at least the mid-1990s, will not happen. Ohio State's seniors will miss out on a tradition of Thanksgiving practice. At Virginia, any players who attend a large Thanksgiving gathering could have to quarantine. College football players across the country are accustomed to playing and practicing through Thanksgiving. But as with everything else during this season like no other, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing some teams to make changes large and small to their well-honed routines. Public officials are warning this holiday that a potentially lethal combination of widespread travel and large indoor gatherings will rapidly increase the already surging spread of the virus. University administrators are scrambling to offer guidance to students. The New York Times contacted all 65 football programs in the Power 5 conferences -- the Atlantic Coast (which includes Notre Dame this fall), the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Pac-12 and the Southeastern -- to ask how they were handling Thanksgiving this season. Among the 47 that responded, the answers were quite similar: They are mostly treating this week like any other coronavirus-inflected week.



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