Thursday, January 9, 2020   
Mississippi State fights food insecurity among students with new food pantry
College students have a lot on their plates. They have to keep their grades up, hold down a job, and often-times navigate a strict budget. While their figurative plates may be full, their dinner plates can sometimes be empty. Food insecurity is a growing concern for college students everywhere. Recent research from Temple University shows that almost 36% of college students don't have enough to eat. Folks at Mississippi State University are working to lower that number. Bully's Closet and Pantry is a new program on MSU's campus. Its purpose -- to provide students with a healthy and balanced meal. Students can visit the pantry once a week to load up on groceries, hygiene items, and even professional clothing. "For example, a student could come on Friday so they would have enough food to get through the weekend, and then they could come back on Monday or Tuesday so they would have food for the next week," said Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Regina Hyatt.
Starkville businesses prepare for possible severe weather
Business owners and managers in Starkville are prepared to take action if severe weather hits this Saturday. Bar Manager at the Stagger In, Sarah Banes, said she remembered when the April tornado and storms rolled through Oktibbeha County last year. "I feel like we handled everything pretty well from last year with what happened with all the tornadoes and I think we'd pretty much keep it the same." She said if the restaurant is open in the midst of severe weather, it will stay open. Banes said their plan is to move all the customers and workers away from the windows. Everyone will go to the restrooms or kitchen until the threat is over. In the meantime, she said managers will stay up to date with the severe weather watches or warnings on television or on weather apps.
Severe storms possible across central Mississippi this weekend
The National Weather Service has issued an Enhanced Risk of severe weather in central Mississippi this weekend. According to the latest report, a system that could possibly bring thunderstorms, damaging winds and hail will move into the region late Friday night and into Saturday. Tornadoes are still possible with this system, the report states. Timing and impacts are still under review. The past several weeks have brought an abundance of weather events to central Mississippi, including at least 21 tornadoes.
District Attorney Scott Colom speaks to SHS students
Students in Heather Fair's law and public safety class got to learn more about the criminal justice system by hearing from the region's district attorney. Mississippi District 16 District Attorney Scott Colom addressed the students, talking them through the judicial process from arrest, through the court system and into prison. He has spoken to Fair's class annually for the past three years. Oktibbeha County Circuit Clerk Tony Rook also participated in the discussion with Fair's students. Fair said it was important for the students interested in legal and law enforcement careers to hear from professionals in the field. "They actually get to see up close and personal, what it's like and talk to the individuals that actually do the job," Fair said.
Strange Brew offers new menu at Midtown location
After 18 months of intensive design and construction, Strange Brew Coffee House's new location at Starkville's Midtown development on University Drive opened Monday. Inspired by a 1920s New Orleans aesthetic, Caitlyn Reed, wife of owner Shane Reed, said they took their time combining those signature design elements with their iconic Strange Brew style. "It was a long time, but we wanted to do something fun with it and put special touches on the finishes with custom products," Reed said. "It took a little bit longer, but I think it is worth it." The new location offers new features unique to the Midtown storefront, including an extended menu. "It still has a coffee heart like our other location, but this one is giving us some opportunities to do more pastries than in the other store," Reed said. "We will also have a light breakfast, lunch and dinner menu and a couple of more surprises we haven't announced yet."
Mississippi set to inaugurate 7 of 8 statewide officials
Mississippi is inaugurating seven of its eight statewide elected officials during a ceremony Thursday at the state Capitol. The new governor, Tate Reeves, will be sworn in Tuesday. The statewide officials were elected in November, and all are Republican. Some are changing offices. Delbert Hosemann has been secretary of state for three terms, and he is succeeding Reeves as lieutenant governor. Lynn Fitch has been treasurer for two terms, and she is becoming attorney general. She will be the first woman to serve as Mississippi's top legal officer. She will also be the first Republican in that job as she succeeds four-term Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat who ran unsuccessfully for governor last year.
Gov. Bryant: 'It's the most difficult job you'll ever have, but if you work hard you can do great things'
As a young man, Governor Phil Bryant said he never imagined himself ever running for an office. His heart was in law enforcement and that's where he planned to be. "I just wanted to be a deputy sheriff," said Bryant in an interview. "I grew up admiring law enforcement. I wanted to be the guy out there fighting the bad guys and protecting the innocent." At the beginning of his adult life, Bryant had the opportunity to achieve that goal as a deputy sheriff in Hinds County. During his time there in the 1980's, he was selected to participate in a group called the Jaycees which allowed him a chance encounter with then President Ronald Reagan at the White House. For Bryant, that was when his goals began to change. "Meeting President Reagan just changed everything for me. I admired the man so much," Bryant said. "He talked about what America should be, that shining city on a hill. I came back and said you know, I need to make a difference."
Mississippi working to cover full cost of teacher pay raise
Mississippi lawmakers are working on funding the final portion of a pay raise that teachers started receiving this school year. The $1,500 raise was approved during the 2019 legislative session, but officials later discovered a bureaucratic error. Because of the way some school districts keep records about certain categories of teachers, too few teachers were counted in the total cost of the raise. The result was that too little money was included in the original budget for the year that started July 1. The House Appropriations Committee voted Wednesday to spend more than $18.4 million. That should be enough to cover the rest of the cost of the raise during the current state budget year, which ends June 30.
House committee passes fix for 10,000 public school teachers omitted from 2019 pay raise
The House took steps Wednesday to correct a bureaucratic error to ensure there is enough money available to give all Mississippi teachers their $1,500 pay raise that was signed into law last year. In the 2019 legislative session, lawmakers passed a $1,500 pay raise for public school teachers and assistant teachers and set aside $58 million to cover the expense. Before the bill was passed, the Legislature asked the Mississippi Department of Education for a count of teachers to be included in the raise and how much that would cost. Department officials used an incorrect code in an information system used to track teachers, and as a result only included state-funded teaching positions. The bill authorizes $18.4 million from the state's general fund to ensure there is enough to pay for the raises of all 40,991 certified teachers and assistant teachers. The bill now moves on to the full House for consideration.
State Sen. Jenifer Branning has goals for session
State Sen. Jenifer Branning is looking for the state Legislature to make progress this year on such key issues as infrastructure, healthcare and education. Branning, who is entering her second term as District 18 senator, said things may run a little different in the state Senate during the upcoming 2020 Legislative session with a new lieutenant governor and new members coming into office. It appears lawmakers may have more money to work with in 2020. "Our joint Legislative Budget Committee has met and looked at the fiscal state of the state compared to the estimates that we had to go on the previous year," Branning said. "We are up $135 million more than what we projected last year. We can thank fiscal conservative policies over the last eight years for getting us here." She added that she is in step with state Rep. Scott Bounds in getting local needs funded.
Rep. Becky Currie, R-Brookhaven, named to special committee to hear election challenge
Rep. Becky Currie, R-Brookhaven, was named Wednesday to a legislative committee that will hear the election challenge of former Rep. Ashley Henley of Southaven, according to media reports. Henley, a Republican, was defeated by Democrat Hester Jackson-McCray in the Nov. 5 general election by 14 votes. Henley is asking the Republican controlled House to overturn the results of the election. In her petition, Henley writes that several findings of her ballot box examination show a failure "to adhere to proper election procedures to insure a fair and legitimate election" under state law, according to Mississippi Today. The committee that will hear the petition is made up of four Republicans and one Democrat.
MDOT names Tom King as new Chairman
After former Chairman Dick Hall chose not to seek re-election, MDOT has named Southern District Transportation District Commissioner Tom King as Chairman. King was the lone incumbent among the three MDOT Commissioners to run for re-election last November. "I am so honored to be elected as chairman; it is a responsibility I will take pride in" said King. "As chairman, my goal is to ensure the commission continues to focus on sustaining a transportation infrastructure that promotes economic growth throughout the state, as well as the needs of the public when it comes to safety." King is entering his third term as Southern District Transportation Commissioner. He is joined on the board by first-time commissioners Willie Simmons, Central Transportation District, and John Caldwell, Northern Transportation District. The three Commissioners were sworn in on Tuesday. King previously served in the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1993-1999 and in the Senate from 2000-2012.
Mississippi Board of Health expresses 'strong opposition' to medical marijuana ballot initiative
The Mississippi Board of Health has come out against a ballot initiative that would make medical marijuana available to sick Mississippians. In a special meeting in December of 2019, the board explored the pros and cons surrounding medical marijuana. This as the Medical Marijuana 2020 campaign garnered enough votes to propose a constitutional amendment which would make medical marijuana available to Mississippians suffering from what they call "debilitating medical conditions." Medical Marijuana 2020 attended this December meeting as well as the Mississippi State Medical Association and the University of Mississippi Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences. While the board noted the potential medical benefits of marijuana, cannabidoil and THC, they also said there were numerous known harms of using cannabis products, including: addiction, mental illness, increased accidents, and smoking related harms.
Gangs, Riots, Killings: 'Undeniable Crisis' in Mississippi Prisons
Betty Turner dreaded what her son would face in the state penitentiary in Parchman, the Mississippi Delta prison that has, over the course of more than a century, earned a dark and near-mythic reputation for cruelty and institutional racism. Her fears were realized when he described meals of just a slice of bologna with a packet of mustard, sightings of rats and mold, and nights spent on a mat on a cold, damp floor. But over the last week, such worries have come to feel almost trifling, as Mississippi's state prisons have exploded with gang warfare, riots, disorder and killing. The recent burst of violence almost ensures that the longstanding problems in the state's prison system will take center stage as the Republican-dominated legislature begins a new session this month and as the state's governor-elect, Tate Reeves, prepares for his Jan. 14 inauguration.
Mississippi moving inmates to privately owned Tallahatchie County prison
The Mississippi Department of Corrections is moving state inmates to a privately operated prison in Tallahatchie County following recent outbursts of deadly violence in multiple Mississippi prisons. Sources in the law enforcement community confirmed the transfers to the Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility to Mississippi Today. The number of prisoners who have been moved and when the transfers began are unclear. Officials with the corrections department and Gov. Phil Bryant's office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday morning. Nashville-based CoreCivic currently owns and operates the prison, located in the town of Tutwiler. A spokeswoman for CoreCivic referred questions about the matter to the state department of corrections.
Anti-gang legislation expected to be filed again in Mississippi Legislature
A controversial bill will come back up at the State Capitol this session. It's been called an "anti-gang" bill. Some lawmakers are raising their hand to say they've tried to crackdown on the gang problem with legislation in the past. "It shows you what we've been saying three years ago and that was that these were an issue," explained Sen. Brice Wiggins-R. "And by all accounts, the gangs are the problems that's created this latest incident in MDOC." Sen. Brice Wiggins plans to file an anti-gang bill again this session. Previous versions of the bill from the Senate and House would've set penalties for luring people into gangs. Another would've increased prison time for those tied to gang activities and one House version would've eliminated the possibility of early release for prisoners who are convicted of gang-related crimes. Wiggins says this year's version is in the works. "I'm not saying that that bill will be the panacea to solve it all but it's part of a whole package we need to be looking at, including funding by the way to bring the salaries up for our DOC officers," added Wiggins.
Modern day debtors prison? Mississippi is only state to still jail people for unpaid debt
Mississippi appears to be the only state where judges lock people up for an indefinite time while they work to earn money to pay off court-ordered debts. While there is no comprehensive data, legal experts who study fines, fees and restitution say Mississippi is unusual at the very least. "We don't know of any other states that have a program quite like Mississippi's," said Sharon Brett, a senior staff attorney with Harvard's Criminal Justice Policy Program. A handful of states experimented with restitution programs starting in the 1970s, but abandoned them as expensive and ineffective. Not Mississippi. Judges have sentenced hundreds of people a year to four restitution centers around the state, almost always ordering the inmates to stay until they pay off court fees, fines and restitution to victims, according to four years of government records analyzed by Mississippi Today and The Marshall Project.
Biloxi councilman challenging US Rep. Steven Palazzo in GOP primary
A Republican city official says he will try to unseat one of Mississippi's Republican members of Congress. Biloxi City Councilman Robert Deming is filing papers Thursday to challenge U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo in south Mississippi's 4th Congressional District. Palazzo filed qualifying papers Wednesday. Friday is the deadline for candidates to file qualifying papers to run for one U.S. Senate seat and four U.S. House seats in Mississippi. Party primaries are March 10. Deming, 43, is an attorney. He was first elected to the Biloxi council in 2013. Palazzo had nearly $257,000 in his campaign fund at the end of September, according to his most recent finance report filed with the Federal Election Committee. Deming said he is putting $50,000 into his own campaign.
Mississippi leaders in Washington discuss tension between U.S. and Iran
Tensions are high between the U.S. and Iran as Iranian missiles struck two Iraqi bases used by U.S. forces Tuesday in retaliation for the death of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani who was killed by a U.S. drone strike. However, Mississippi senator Roger Wicker said Tuesday's Iranian attack could be a sign that Iran is willing to back down. "There are more severe things the Iranian regime could have done so I think we may be in a period of dialing back the severity of this, I think that was the tone of the president's remarks today," said Wicker. President Trump introduced new sanctions in response to Iran's behavior. No one died in Tuesday's missile strike, one reason Mississippi representative Steve Palazzo says Americans shouldn't be worried. "I think Americans and American service members are safe," said Palazzo. "I think Iran would be foolish to do anything to escalate this war because whatever they do, we're going to do 100 times worse to them."
GOP Sen. Mike Lee: Iran briefing from Trump administration was 'insulting and demeaning'
GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah emerged from the classified briefing with White House administration officials about the airstrike that killed top Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani breaking ranks from many of his Republican colleagues about the meeting, calling it "insulting and demeaning." Flanked by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who has been critical since the beginning of the actions towards Iran last week, Lee called the 75-minute closed-door meeting "the worst briefing I've seen, at least on a military issue." "I find this insulting and demeaning to the office that each of the 100 senators in this building happens to hold. I find it insulting and demeaning to the Constitution of the United States," Lee said indignantly. The briefing comes on the same day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D Calif., announced that the House will also vote Thursday on a similar measure that would limit Trump's ability to wage war with Iran.
Partisan clashes in states prompt push for civility
Across the country, state legislators who win low-profile elections to low-paying jobs in state capitals say their jobs are becoming more difficult, as the partisanship that has ground Washington to a halt begins to filter down to the state level. Where they were once free to work with any fellow legislator on an issue of common interest, more now feel the pressure to stick to their partisan labels, and more feel personally attacked by members of the other party in a way that was unthinkable just a few years ago. The pressure, and the partisanship, has increased in recent years as the stakes have grown. With Washington plagued by stalemate, lobbying firms and political operatives are turning their attention to state legislatures, where they can pass meaningful legislation or tip the partisan balance with an investment far smaller than one needed to move the needle at the federal level. Legislative leaders who have been in office for years bemoan the shift toward an increasingly partisan culture.
Local professor comments on current conflict with Iran
President Donald Trump announced he will take action against Iran by imposing new sanctions. This comes after Iran fired missiles at an air base in Iraq that housed U.S. troops. Dr. Glen Antizzo, an associate professor of political science at Mississippi College, said the president's response to the attacks is appropriate. He explained the sanctions are designed to make a statement without biting back too hard. "The idea is to try to place pressure on the economy and on the government, in order to get them to peacefully see their way around becoming more moderate on their positions," said Antizzo. According to Antizzo, past presidential administrations were not aggressive enough against Iran. "I think over the last 16-20 years they've gotten this feeling that they could pretty much get away with anything and that the United States wouldn't confront them. Now with the Trump Administration, they're gonna have to re-calibrate their expectations for what they can and cannot get away with."
Itawamba Community College receives $500K in grants
Itawamba Community College has received $500,000 from two grant sources to enhance its Industrial Maintenance associate degree program as well as to implement Robotics and Automation Control Technology at the Belden Center. The grants of $250,000 each were from the Appalachian Regional Commission/Three Rivers Planning and Development District and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act - Governor's Reserve Funds. According to Barry Emison, dean of career and technical education, the funds will be used to purchase five Yaskawa robotic trainers and two automated manufacturing simulation trainers. "This will afford ICC students the opportunity to learn the advanced skill sets found in today's automated manufacturing and distribution facilities." Emison said that the new program, which is scheduled to begin in August, is expected to increase the number of high-skilled technicians for high-demand jobs in ICC's five-county service area as well as for the entire state.
Northeast Mississippi Community College Designated An 'Apple Distinguished School'
Instructors at Northeast Mississippi Community College not only teach students using iPads, but they also spend time in the classroom learning about the latest innovations. Several years ago, NEMCC began the "One Northeast" initiative. Under that program, each student gets an iPad and many faculty have dropped traditional textbooks and have created their own textbooks, which students can access on those devices. Saving students money on textbooks and improving academic success rates are all important. But administrators say one of the biggest advantages with the emphasis on technology inside and outside of the classroom, is that it better prepares students for the workforce in 2020 and beyond. "At the end of the day our students must be able to function in a global society and a global economy and that's our job as an institution of higher learning to make sure they're able to do that," said Dr. Ricky Ford, president of Northeast Mississippi Community College.
For profit or students? International education shakes up Alabama campuses
When Sherrie Alexander needed books for her anthropology thesis, she couldn't turn to the shelves at UAB's Mervyn Sterne Library -- the three-story building that houses its humanities collection. The books had been moved to make way for classrooms and offices created in partnership with a for-profit company that inked a confidential deal with UAB in 2015. To get what she needed, Alexander made an electronic request for the volumes, which arrived a few days later. Instead of books and study space, much of Sterne's second floor now houses classrooms, offices, a language lab and lounge built in collaboration with United Kingdom-based INTO University Partnerships -- a $17 million business that specializes in international student recruitment. The changes at Sterne are part of a UAB strategic plan that placed more emphasis on international students, who pay twice as much to attend as Alabama residents. It comes at a time when public universities in Alabama increasingly rely on tuition revenue to bolster budgets.
UGA agriculture dean Sam Pardue to resign
The dean of the University of Georgia's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences recently announced his resignation. Sam Pardue will stop down as dean of the agriculture school on June 30, the end of the current fiscal year. Pardue became the college's dean in March 2016, succeeding Scott Angle. The agricultural college is one of UGA's larger academic units with enrollment last fall of more than 2,000 students, including nearly 1,500 undergraduates. The college's nearly 3,000 employees in nine departments and nine centers and institutes include 260 tenure-track faculty; 400 public service faculty, most of them county extension agents; and, 911 temporary employees, according to the college's website. Pardue said he is stepping down "for a lot of personal reasons." Recent family and personal developments such as the deaths of friends have prompted him to begin thinking about retirement.
King Alexander: Louisiana needs to do a better job funding higher ed
With the start of the new year, a search for the next president of LSU is expected to get under way soon and already names are flying for a possible successor to replace F. King Alexander, who announced in mid-December he will be taking over as president of Oregon State University later this year. As he looks back on his six-year tenure, Alexander, who was the first to serve as joint president and chancellor, says whoever is tapped for the position will take over a system that is in better shape, both financially and in terms of its outcomes and performance, than the one he inherited in 2014. As just one example, Alexander points to the efficiencies created by merging the chancellor and president's offices, which has saved LSU some $14 million a year. "We basically doubled up," he says. "I took two jobs. Dan (Lazyell, CFO), took two jobs. The provost took two jobs, and we saved administrative money and went from being about two percent below our peers in overhead spending to being nearly twenty percent below our peers in overhead." Still, he predicts it won't be easy for the new president. Funding challenges at the state level continue to hamper LSU's ability to compete with peer institutions.
South Carolina trustees chastised at hearing over remaking college board: 'Process isn't working'
House lawmakers considering changes to the size of the University of South Carolina's governing board delivered a rebuke to its chairman Wednesday, telling him the move should be considered a vote of no confidence. "This is a very strong statement about the way the university has been run," state Rep. Kirkman Finlay, R-Columbia, told board members at a Statehouse hearing. "We're not saying, 'Everything is wonderful,' " he added. "The process isn't working in my opinion. I do not see the university thriving." Bills pending in both chambers of the General Assembly would cut USC's 20-member board of trustees -- among the largest in South Carolina -- in half to make it the state's smallest. Current members would be ousted in both proposals. USC board Chairman John von Lehe, a Charleston attorney, said reducing the number of seats would impact "diversity of thought" and erode rural representation. Trustees are elected by lawmakers based on judicial circuits. The bill would elect board members based on larger congressional districts.
New director of LGBTQ+ Affairs starts at U. of Florida
The University of Florida Multicultural and Diversity Affairs department welcomed a new director of LGBTQ+ Affairs on Monday. Tiffany Richards is a UF alumna who has spent most of her career advocating for equality for the LGBTQ+ community, people of color and women. She was chosen from a pool of more than 100 applicants to fill the position after it had been vacated by Billy Huff, who now works in the communications department at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, said William Atkins, the associate dean of students and the senior director of MCDA. Atkins said Richards was selected for the position because of her phenomenal performance during the interview and her ability to effectively engage with students and faculty. Richards joins recent hires Bianca Quinones, the director of Hispanic-Latinx Affairs who was hired last July and Associate Director Patricia Jordan, who is expected to start Monday.
Jamaican prime minister to visit U. of Missouri for Black History Month
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness is visiting the University of Missouri in February for Black History Month. Two talks will be available, one for students and the other for the Columbia public at large, to hear insights from the two-term leader of the oldest constitutional democracy in the English-speaking Caribbean. Holness will lead a student forum on "Democracy, Youth Leadership, and the Future of Our World," open to all MU and CPS students, from noon to 2 p.m. Feb. 5 in the Monsanto Auditorium of the Bond Life Sciences Building. The prime minister will also give a lecture at 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, in the Bush Auditorium of Cornell Hall. The event, "Democracy in Jamaica and the Caribbean," is free, but requires tickets for entry, which may be found on the MU Black Studies Website. Daive Dunkley, assistant professor for MU's Black Studies Department, arranged the visit with Holness as part of the university's Black History Month theme, "Black Vote. Black Liberation."
APLU Awarded Two-Year Grant to Spur Student-Centered University Transformation
Building on its work to drive student-centered change across higher education, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities today announced the association has been awarded a two-year, $2.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to spur university transformation at member institutions. "Public universities are laser-focused on increasing college access, equity, and the number of degrees they award," said APLU President Peter McPherson. "This funding will be essential to advancing those aims on our member campuses and sharing lessons from their work across the sector. We thank our membership for their unyielding commitment to these issues and the foundation for its deep investment in equity and student success." he funding will support capacity-building services to 14 member institutions selected through a competitive APLU-led process.
Canada's universities and colleges reeling over loss of dozens of students in Iran plane crash
Canada's academic community is reeling from the devastating loss of students and faculty who were among those killed in a plane crash in Iran. Dozens of students and staff from Canadian schools coast to coast were among the victims when a Ukrainian airliner crashed early Wednesday near Tehran, killing all 176 passengers and crew, including 63 Canadians. Universities and colleges expressed their condolences and offered to provide support. While 63 Canadians were aboard the plane, the number who called Canada home is higher -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said 138 passengers were set to take a connecting flight to Toronto. Citing privacy concerns, Global Affairs Canada and the immigration department would not disclose how many victims were international students, migrant workers or visitor-visa holders who would not have been travelling on Canadian passports or been counted as Canadians.
Proposed split of United Methodist Church over LGBT issues is welcomed by Methodist college leaders
Leaders of Methodist colleges welcomed a recent proposal to split the United Methodist Church as a possible resolution to conflict over whether to remain affiliated with the church after it moved last year to strengthen prohibitions on the ordination of LGBT individuals and the performance of same-sex marriages. The proposal to separate the church, announced on Friday, would allow for the spinoff of a "traditionalist Methodist" denomination while enabling a new U.S. regional conference of the UMC to repeal the LGBT-related prohibitions. Methodist colleges and seminaries broadly oppose the restrictions on LGBT clergy and same-sex marriages. Three institutions, Baldwin Wallace University, Randolph College and the University of Mount Union, formally disaffiliated, describing the church's stance on LGBTQ issues as incompatible with their own institutional values of inclusion and nondiscrimination.
New York State Wants to Double Its Beer Tax and Give It to Colleges
Beer and college often go together. But doubling New York's beer tax to benefit higher education is up for debate. A bill that would boost the levy to help the State University of New York system and its New York City counterpart gained ground this week as a Manhattan assembly member who proposed the increase on Dec. 30 was joined by a senate sponsor. Backers will push for support in the new legislative session that began Wednesday, while the burgeoning craft brew industry vows to lobby against the move. The bill seeks to raise more than $50 million annually. It would help to bridge the widening gap between what public universities charge and what middle-income residents can afford, at a time when tax dollars directed to higher education have shrunk. The industry, with almost 500 craft breweries and more than 20,000 workers statewide, said the hike would hurt growth without making much of a dent in the problem of education funding.
Iowa State University policies stifle free speech, lawsuit says
Students and free speech advocates are accusing Iowa State University of stifling speech by banning political messaging on campus less than one month away from the state Democratic caucuses. The university implemented an interim policy on Nov. 11 to limit chalking, a popular practice in which students write political commentary and slogans in chalk on the sidewalks of the campus in Ames, Iowa. Only registered student organizations will be permitted to chalk under the policy, and messages can only advertise upcoming events and consist of the organization's name and the location, time and title of the event -- in no more than seven words. The chalking policy was put in place by the university after neo-Nazi and transphobic messages were found written in chalk on campus sidewalks in October 2019, said Mason Zastrow, a sophomore and representative in the Student Government Senate. The incidents were followed by days of student protests.
Should college funding be tied to how many students graduate?
States are increasingly adopting policies in which colleges get a small portion of their funding based on how many students graduate. A scholar explains why the policy may not achieve its aims. Research has generally shown that despite the good intentions behind it, performance-based funding has not lived up to its promise to improve college completion rates. It has also led four-year colleges to make it harder for low-income and minority students to get into college. This could actually reverse the progress that has been made in making college more accessible.
Positive mindset needed for learning
Angela Farmer, an assistant clinical professor in Mississippi State University's Shackouls Honors College, writes: With the return to school this month many students come home with a variety of self-prescribed inabilities. Whether it's "I can't, I don't know, It's too hard, or I just don't get it," students clearly can experience frustration when trying to master new concepts and ideas and methods. What's important is not what they don't yet know, but rather how they process that yet to be acquired knowledge. In "25 Alternatives to I Don't Know & I Can't" by Terry Heick, the author details how the focus on learning new material is a growth mindset with the willingness to change. Naturally, just thinking good thoughts won't, by themselves, allow one to acquire new knowledge; however, language and how students frame their thinking with words has a great deal to do with the rate of behavioral changes. Below are some examples of how parents and educators can help students reshape their language to set a positive mindset.

PREVIEW: WBK Hoops at Missouri
Mississippi State is set for its second of back-to-back SEC road games, taking on Missouri at Mizzou Arena on Thursday night at 6 p.m. CT. The Bulldogs (14-2, 2-0 SEC) began the road swing with a victory at Georgia on Sunday. State defeated UGA, 73-66, behind a strong fourth quarter from graduate guard Jordan Danberry, who scored 11 of her 17 total points in the final period. During the last five contests, she has averaged 15.0 points, 4.2 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game and is a big reason for MSU's current six-game win streak. "Missouri is a place where we have always faced some real challenges over the years," said head coach Vic Schaefer. Fans unable to attend can watch on the SEC Network with Tamika Catchings and Eric Frede on the call. The game will also be streamed on MSU Radio Network with Jason Crowder and Charlie Winfield on the call and can be streamed on and the Tune In app.
No. 13 Mississippi State tries to continue road winning streak
No. 13 Mississippi State will try to extend the nation's longest road winning streak to 14 games tonight as its travels to Missouri to take on the only team to beat the Bulldogs during SEC play last year. Tipoff at Mizzou Arena is slated for 6 p.m. and will be televised on SEC Network. Although MSU lost 75-67 to the Tigers in Starkville during the regular season last year, the Bulldogs bounced back with a 71-56 victory at the SEC Tournament and lead 8-2 in the overall series. State (14-2, 2-0 SEC) has won its last six games and is led by Jordan Danberry, Jessika Carter and Rickea Jackson all averaging over 13 points per game. Missouri (4-11, 1-1 SEC) has lost five of its last six contests but did claim a 69-65 home victory over LSU its last time out on Sunday.
Enlivened Mizzou women seek repeat upset over Mississippi State
Missouri women's basketball won its first Southeastern Conference game of the season Sunday against LSU, but its schedule doesn't get any easier. The Tigers (4-11, 1-1 SEC) face No. 13 Mississippi State (14-2, 2-0) at Mizzou Arena at 6 p.m. Thursday night. Ahead of the matchup with the Bulldogs, Hannah Schuchts, Aijha Blackwell, Jordan Roundtree and MU head coach Robin Pingeton met with reporters Wednesday. The following conversation has been edited for clarity and length.
Baseball to Hold Coaches Clinic
Coming off of its second-straight trip to the College World Series, the Mississippi State baseball program and head coach Chris Lemonis will host its annual Coaches Clinic on Friday, January 24, 2020. This information-packed event is free to attend, and participants must RSVP prior to the event. The clinic will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 1:00 p.m. with a Diamond Dawgs practice to follow. More information about the event will be sent closer to the date of the clinic. The staff for the clinic will include Lemonis, along with assistant coaches Kyle Cheesebrough, Scott Foxhall and Jake Gautreau. The quartet owns a combined 29 NCAA postseason appearances and 10 College World Series berths as coaches, while Lemonis and Gautreau also appeared in the College World Series as student-athletes at The Citadel and Tulane, respectively.
Mississippi State defense disappears in loss to Alabama
The bad news continued for the Mississippi State men's basketball team Wednesday. A few days after suffering a 12-point loss in its Southeastern Conference opener to Auburn, the Bulldogs endured their second straight double-digit defeat, dropping a 90-69 contest to Alabama in Tuscaloosa. If there's somewhat of a silver lining for MSU, a good portion of its fanbase has been distracted by any and every football coaching search rumor to even notice the 0-2 start in SEC play. That doesn't make the results count any less, though. A team that started the season with NCAA tournament aspirations is quickly facing dire circumstances with a road matchup against conference heavyweight LSU looming and the Bulldogs' NET and rankings continuing to fall. Nevertheless, junior point guard Nick Weatherspoon preached patience after the blowout loss, referring to the Bulldogs starting 0-2 in SEC play last season, yet putting together an impressive run down the stretch.
Bulldogs off to another 0-2 start in SEC play
Two games into SEC play and Mississippi State finds itself in the same 0-2 spot it did a season ago. Last year, the Bulldogs were able to dig their way out of that hole and find a way into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 5 seed. That will be much more difficult to do after falling at Alabama 90-69 on Wednesday night. "We've been here before, last year," said MSU guard Nick Weatherspooon. "We started off the same way. Some of us guys have been here before so we've just got to try to go beat LSU on Saturday and try to get better every day." Weatherspoon, Reggie Perry and Iverson Molinar all fouled out and Abdul Ado was also in foul trouble early, limiting him to only eight minutes in the first half. MSU continues its road trek at LSU on Saturday at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
Alabama basketball rebounds to beat Mississippi State
The Alabama men's basketball team not only beat Mississippi State on Wednesday night, the Crimson Tide beat the Bulldogs at their own game. Alabama rolled to a 90-69 win and did so in large part by outrebounding the taller Bulldogs, one of the NCAA's best rebounding teams, 42-38. "It was huge," Alabama coach Nate Oats said about Alabama's work on the glass. "Alabama was really hard to defend tonight," said Mississippi State coach Ben Howland. "I thought Lewis and Petty were terrific and Lewis was really a problem because he could penetrate and create with his quickness. Then they spread the floor out and they have very good shooters all over the floor." Nick Weatherspoon led all scorers with 20 points for MSU (9-5, 0-2 SEC).
MLB batting champion Tim Anderson to highlight East Central Community College fundraiser
The East Central Community College baseball program is hosting Around the Diamond with Tim Anderson Jan. 17, featuring the former Warrior All-American baseball player and current Major League Baseball batting champion. Anderson, the starting shortstop for the Chicago White Sox, will headline the event scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17, at the Neshoba County Coliseum in Philadelphia. The question-and-answer session will be moderated by Bart Gregory, an assistant athletic director at Mississippi State University, a 20-year broadcasting veteran of the Mississippi State Radio Network, and a play-by-play announcer for the SEC Network. Gregory, a Nanih Waiya native, is a 1997 graduate of ECCC, where he was selected to the college's Student Hall of Fame.
Texas A&M to begin selling beer and wine at Reed Arena | Texas A&M |
Texas A&M University will begin selling beer and wine at select basketball games at Reed Arena, the university announced Wednesday. The sale of alcohol will be available on Saturdays at men's basketball games beginning Jan. 18 and on Thursdays at women's basketball games beginning Jan. 19. Beer and wine will be available at designated concession stands throughout the arena, and spectators at the games will be allowed to take the beverages to their seats. Officials said in the announcement that the effort is part of a trial program in accordance with Southeastern Conference guidelines.
Candid Joe Alleva on Ed Orgeron, stale Les Miles, regretting Will Wade, never hiring Jimbo Fisher
When you look at the big picture of LSU's football success this season, attention immediately turns to a couple of far-from-regular Joes: Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow and Broyles Award-winning passing game coordinator Joe Brady. Rightly so. They are big reasons LSU is in the CFP National Championship Game against Clemson on Monday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and big reasons the program has undergone a huge culture shift that will help it remain in the national conversation going forward. But there is another Joe, now removed from the scene, who deserves recognition as well: Former LSU athletic director Joe Alleva. Alleva officially retired in April amid the fallout from the whole Will Wade recruiting wiretapping saga and suspension (more on Wade later). But plainly, he was pushed out -- Alleva still remains under contract with LSU through June -- to make room for new athletic director Scott Woodward.
Lawsuit seeks damages from UGA, others after father of offensive lineman severs finger
The parents of a Georgia offensive lineman who is transferring are suing the University of Georgia Athletic Association and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia and others after the player's father suffered a severed finger during a recruiting visit more than two years ago. In a lawsuit filed Dec. 5 in the State Court of Clarke County, Kevin and Melinda Mays, parents of Cade Mays, are seeking damages after the father's right pinky finger was partially amputated on the hinge of a folding chair as he attempted to stand up. The lawsuit is seeking $3 million for Kevin Mays to pay for bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and attorney fees. It is seeking another $500,000 for Melinda Mays. Other defendants include corporate furniture retailer DeKalb Office and Mity-Lite. The incident occurred in Sanford Stadium's club level.
MSU Golf Course offering spring membership special
Throughout the month of January, the Mississippi State University Golf Course is offering a spring membership special. Available to MSU students, faculty and staff, the $550 special includes unlimited golf green fees, golf car rentals and practice tee access for the entire spring semester. This special can be purchased in the golf shop until Jan. 31 and is valid through May 15. Contact Head Golf Professional Adam Scott at with any questions.

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