Wednesday, January 29, 2020   
Oby's restaurant changes ownership after 43 years of service
It's been serving up Cajun cuisine in Starkville for more than 40 years. Now a long-time favorite eating spot is changing hands. The owner of Oby's closed the sale of his restaurant Tuesday. Every day, owner Don O'Bannon woke up early in the morning and headed out the door ready to serve hundreds of hungry stomachs. But his routine is going to look a little bit different now as he starts retirement. "I opened up the building and started this place, I started from scratch. It's been a wonderful ride, I can't express it. It's been great," said O'Bannon. But now, he said now it's time to pass the torch. "I'm a blessed man to have gotten to this point and I'm ready to hand it off," said O'Bannon. O'Bannon sold his ownership of Oby's to Ayers Spencer. And he's no stranger. He said the two go way back in his younger days. "When you got a 43-year track record of success you're not going to come in here and re-write the book. We're not coming in to change. There may be little things to grow the business, like we plan to focus more on our catering operations and doing more of than out of this location," said Spencer.
Brief Starkville power outage affects 8,500
About 8,500 Starkville residents experienced a 32-minute power outage this morning after a transformer mistakenly detected high temperatures and switched off in self-defense, utilities general manager Terry Kemp said. The incident happened at the primary Starkville Utilities substation near the interchange of Highways 12 and 182. The areas near City Hall, The Mill at MSU and the industrial buildings on the west side of the city were unaffected, Kemp said. Workers restored power at 6:20 a.m., and the problem is not expected to happen again, he said. "The system read a possible high temperature, which triggers other actions to occur up to isolation mode, (but) it did not actually have a high temperature," Kemp said.
Bricklee Miller, Joe Williams push for traffic signal at Old Hwy 25 intersection
A hazardous intersection just outside of Starkville might receive a major safety upgrade if county supervisors can find the funds. The intersection, where Old Highway 25 meets Poor House Road, was the site of several serious accidents in 2019, prompting the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors to request a traffic study be performed by the Mississippi Department of Transportation to see if constructing a traffic signal at the location was warranted. Due to a problem with the data, the initial study had to be performed twice, but upon the second study's completion, traffic engineers determined a traffic signal was not warranted at the intersection. MDOT recommended a four-way stop for the intersection. Currently, drivers moving west on Poorhouse Road and east on Longview Road are required to stop. Despite the recommendation, District 4 Supervisor Bricklee Miller and District 5 Supervisor Joe Williams want to see a traffic signal at the intersection, which is on the border of Districts 4 and 5, for safety purposes and requested a cost analysis for putting one there.
John Grisham's favorite Coast restaurant sends him gumbo. Now he's written about it.
He usually calls to thank Bobby Mahoney for the seafood that arrives each Christmas from Biloxi, but this year celebrity author John Grisham sent him a story. The tradition of sending seafood for Christmas began more than 20 years ago, "Probably since 'The Runaway Jury' was printed," Mahoney said. Grisham released that book in 1996, and every year since Mahoney fills a holiday cooler with Gulf Coast seafood from Mary Mahoney's restaurant in Biloxi. He packs it with shrimp and house specialties like crawfish etouffee and oyster stew, and always with the restaurant's famed gumbo. UPS or Fed Ex delivers it to Grisham in rural Virginia in two days. "It's just something we do," Mahoney said; an enduring "thank you" to Grisham for including Mary Mahoney's in two of his books, "The Runaway Jury" and "Partner," released a year later in 1997. This year Grisham sent Mahoney a Christmas story he wrote and read at his church. With all the autographed Grisham novels on his shelf, Mahoney said, this short story is a personal treasure. College at Mississippi State introduced him to friends from South Mississippi, Grisham said. "We roamed the oyster bars and po-boy shacks along the Gulf Coast, and they rekindled my love for the cuisine," he wrote.
Powerball, Mega Millions tickets go on sale Thursday
People throughout Mississippi can try their luck at massive jackpot games like the Powerball and Mega Millions for the first time Thursday, starting at 3 a.m. That's the time those games go online at about 1,450 retailers throughout the state, including dozens in the Golden Triangle area, allowing state residents 21 and older to buy play slips and enter the multi-state games. In 2018, state lawmakers authorized lottery sales to raise money primarily for infrastructure. Mississippi retailers first began selling scratch-off tickets for in-state games in November 2019. "Scratch-offs make up 58 to 60 ish percent of lottery sales, so they get a lot of foot traffic, but you do tend to see a lot more excitement and a lot more coverage when the draw-style game jackpots get really big," said Meg Annison, director of communications for the Mississippi Lottery Corporation. Annison said she "couldn't even estimate" how many people around the state will play before the first Mega Millions drawing on Friday or the first Powerball drawing Saturday.
Gov. Tate Reeves looking for someone 'tenacious" as next MDA director
A nationwide search to find someone to lead the Mississippi Development Authority is well underway, and Gov. Tate Reeves has an ideal candidate in mind. "I'm looking for someone who's tenacious, someone who's going to focus virtually every minute on bringing better and higher paying jobs to our state," he said. Reeves didn't offer a timeline, but said he and his staff were hard at work in landing the right candidate. "We're in the process of doing interviews and having conversations surrounding that," he said. "We've got a very capable team in place now and my team at the governor's office and myself have been spending a bit of time working on that as well." Reeves also said he was looking into restructuring the MDA staff to make it more efficient. Reeves announced Tuesday that Innocor in Baldwyn was investing $4.1 million and adding 90 jobs. It was his first big economic development announcement as governor.
Former Rep. Steve Holland chronicled as champion for Northeast Mississippi at retirement event
Steve Holland, a legendary state lawmaker, says he's ending his career just like Frank Sinatra -- his own way. Hundreds of Tupelo residents and elected officials from all over the state turned out on Tuesday at the Tupelo Furniture Market to celebrate nearly four decades of Holland's career in the Mississippi House of Representatives. After representing Lee and Monroe Counties for nine consecutive terms in the Legislature, Holland lost his bid for re-election this past November. Despite this, Holland says he feels "free," now that he's out office but still happy about his longtime career in state politics. "The work's not done but my contribution had to come to end at some point in this venue. And it did, and I'm OK with that," Holland, a Democrat, said. "Thirty-six years is a long, long life in politics." Mike Armour, the state director for the Appalachian Regional Commission, said Holland was a champion of economic development in the region. Armour said he and Holland go all the way back to college, where they were fraternity brothers and have been friends since.
Area lawmaker introduces bill to curtail e-cigarette use among minors
A Northeast Mississippi lawmaker wants to crack down on people who provide electronic cigarettes or other vaping devices to minors. State Rep. Nick Bain, a Republican from Corinth, recently filed House Bill 49 in the Mississippi House of Representatives. The bill proposes penalties for people who are caught and convicted of providing electronic cigarettes to people under 21. Bain told the Daily Journal he decided to introduce the bill after a local public school administrator came to his office with a bag of e-cigarette products. Bain said the administrator of the school collected them in the hallways of the public school. "That's what opened my eyes up," Bain said. Bain's proposed legislation comes after the Food and Drug Administration in December raised the minimum age to purchase tobacco and nicotine products to 21.
House Ethics Committee to look into domestic violence allegations against Rep. Doug McLeod
The chairman of the Mississippi House Ethics Committee said he expects the panel to look into domestic violence allegations against Rep. Doug McLeod. A justice court judge found McLeod, a Republican from Lucedale, not guilty of misdemeanor domestic abuse at a trial in August. McLeod had been accused of drunkenly punching his wife in May after she did not undress quickly enough for sex. Shortly after the not guilty verdict, Speaker Philip Gunn issued a statement saying he would refer the matter to the House Ethics Committee in the next legislative session. "This whole situation is still very concerning, not only to me, but to many other members of the House of Representatives," Gunn said. "The court may have found Representative McLeod not guilty, but as a member of the Mississippi Legislature to find yourself in this situation -- it is still an issue." When the Clarion Ledger asked McLeod for comment Tuesday about the committee looking into the domestic abuse allegations, McLeod said, "I don't know what you're talking about."
State Rep. Ramona Blackledge resigning over pay
Less than a month into her term, freshman State Rep. Ramona Blackledge (R-HD 88) is resigning from the Mississippi House of Representatives. Her resignation, she says, is a result of Speaker Philip Gunn's stance on members not receiving their legislative pay in addition to also receiving state retirement from PERS. Blackledge defeated four term former state representative Gary Staples in the 2019 primary. As previously reported by Y'all Politics, Speaker Gunn has said he has no intention of changing the statute in question regarding PERS since it would be a conflict of interest for lawmakers to have the ability to create laws that would directly benefit them in regard to drawing retirement. Three other freshmen legislators are in a similar situation as Blackledge. They are Rep. Dale Goodin of Perry County, Rep. Billy Andrews of Lamar County, and Rep. Jerry Darnell of DeSoto County. A special election will be necessary to fill the unexpired term for HD 88.
Advocates Lobby Lawmakers to Renew Education Scholarships
More than 800 children from Mississippi charter, public and private schools rallied at the capitol for National School Choice Week. Advocates here are also urging lawmakers to renew the Education Scholarship Account program, which ends this year. It provides about $6,500 to special needs students to help pay for tuition or services at private schools. Grant Callen is with the non-profit Empower Mississippi. "It has been a life changing program for many of them who have access now to schools they wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise. Many students are at St. Richards, or New Summit or Magnolia Speech School," said Callen. According to the state Department of Education 532 students receive the funds. In 2018, a state oversight committee found more accountability is needed. House Republican Richard Bennett of Long Beach chairs the Education Committee. "I think that the voucher program that we have now has a lot of problems. I think that we need to evaluate that before we extend it," said Bennett.
'We are not anti-public school people, but we are pro-choice,' supporters say at annual rally
The Mississippi State Capitol was awash with bright yellow scarves Tuesday as hundreds of students, parents and educators traveled here to celebrate "school choice," the notion that parents should be able to choose where their children receive their education. The event was part of an annual celebration of "National School Choice Day," which takes place in states across the country. In recent years, the Mississippi Legislature has passed several laws that expand "school choice" access in the state. "We are not anti-public school people, but we are pro-choice for these children getting what they need in the environment that is best suited for them," said Cena Holifield, executive director of the 3-D School in Petal and Ocean Springs.
Mike Bloomberg throws support behind Dem in contested Mississippi state house race
Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg has waded into a contested Mississippi state House of Representatives race, throwing his support to the Democratic candidate who narrowly unseated a Republican incumbent one day before a committee will hear the defeated incumbent's legislative challenge. The former New York City mayor issued a statement Tuesday supporting Rep. Hester Jackson-McCray, who won the race for Mississippi House District 40 -- which includes Southaven and Horn Lake -- unseating Ashley Henley by 14 votes. Henley filed a petition with the Mississippi House of Representatives in December, alleging failures "to adhere to proper election procedures to insure a fair and legitimate election." Bloomberg said the voters in the district had spoken. "Winning by 14 votes is still winning, and overturning this election would be undoing the will of the people," Bloomberg said. "We must all stand together to protect voting rights, and I am one of many who will be paying attention to what happens."
Rep. Hester Jackson-McCray (D-Horn Lake) gets Bloomberg support
The issue of who should be the state Representative from Mississippi House District 40 has apparently received some attention from a current candidate for President. Democrat Mike Bloomberg of New York weighed in with his support for state Rep. Hester Jackson-McCray (D-Horn Lake), who won the November general election over former state Rep. Ashley Henley of Southaven by 14 votes. Henley has challenged the outcome with a petition to the state House to have the results vacated and return Henley to the House floor. Jackson-McCray, through her attorney, countered with three separate motions to dismiss the petition. The latest news comes as the House Special Election Contest Committee scheduled its first public hearing on the issue on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at about 2:30 p.m. in Jackson. Jackson-McCray has been subpoenaed to appear before the committee at that time and the committee could vote on the issue at Wednesday's meeting. The committee, made up of four Republicans and one Democrat, is chaired by state Rep. Rob Roberson (R-Starkville).
Senate Appropriations chairman skeptical of nascent House discussions on earmarks
Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby said it's unlikely Republicans in his chamber will bring back spending bill earmarks, regardless of what the House decides. "The Republican Caucus is on record against that, so that's not going to go anywhere right now," the Alabama Republican said Tuesday. Himself a prolific earmarker before the practice stopped in 2011, Shelby declined to discuss his personal views on the topic at this point. "I'm part of the [GOP] caucus and the caucus is not going to support that. So unless the caucus is involved it won't happen," he said. Nonetheless, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer hinted Tuesday that he's already talking with Republicans in both chambers about bringing back special home-state projects, known as earmarks, in some form as lawmakers prepare for the next appropriations cycle. Members of both parties have pushed to bring back earmarks since House Republicans wrote a ban into their conference rules in 2011.
Sketch Artist Captures 'Something Unusual' At Senate Trial
The public's view of President Trump's impeachment trial is limited. In an era of ubiquitous cameras, no photographs are allowed in the Senate chamber. The only video comes from a set of cameras operated by government employees that's used by the television networks. There aren't many camera angles. To give the public a closer view, news outlets are employing a low-tech solution. Art Lien has been giving readers of The New York Times a different view of each day's events. From the gallery above the Senate floor, the courtroom sketch artist takes his pencil to 9-by-12-inch sheets of paper and looks for the tiny details that the cameras can miss. Details such as fidget spinners. On Thursday, Lien drew Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., with one of the contraptions on his desk. Burr reportedly gave them out to his Republican colleagues. "I'm looking for color," Lien says. "You know, something unusual, something that says something or tells some kind of story."
Trump allies are handing out cash to black voters
Allies of Donald Trump have begun holding events in black communities where organizers lavish praise on the president as they hand out tens of thousands of dollars to lucky attendees. The first giveaway took place last month in Cleveland, where recipients whose winning tickets were drawn from a bin landed cash gifts in increments of several hundred dollars, stuffed into envelopes. A second giveaway scheduled for this month in Virginia has been postponed, and more are said to be in the works. The tour comes as Trump's campaign has been investing its own money to make inroads with black voters and erode Democrats' overwhelming advantage with them. But the cash giveaways are organized under the auspices of an outside charity, the Urban Revitalization Coalition, permitting donors to remain anonymous and make tax-deductible contributions. While black voters are expected to overwhelmingly support the Democratic nominee again this year, if Trump is able to win over a small percentage of black voters in key states, or persuade some of them to sit out the election rather than vote against him, it could make a difference in closely contested races.
Doug Collins announces US Senate bid, setting up GOP divide in Georgia
Congressman Doug Collins launched a bid Wednesday for U.S. Senate on Fox News, saying he'd center his campaign on support for President Donald Trump as he dismissed concerns about opening a bitter Republican rift in Georgia. "We're in for the Georgia Senate race. I've still got a lot of work left to do to help this president," he said. "We're getting ready for a good time down here to keep defending this president and working for the people of Georgia." The decision by the four-term congressman sets up a battle with U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler, a wealthy Republican executive tapped by Gov. Brian Kemp in December. The Rev. Raphael Warnock is poised to join the November race, along with other Democrats. Loeffler, a political newcomer, has also aggressively tried to win over the president by slamming the "impeachment circus," promising to support Trump's agenda and stocking her campaign with his allies.
Warren Buffett said newspapers were going to disappear. Now he's disappearing from the industry.
Warren Buffett is getting out of the newspaper business. Berkshire Hathaway announced Wednesday that it is selling the entirety of its newspaper operations to publisher Lee Enterprises for $140 million, bringing the company's stable from 50 to 81 papers. Lee had already been operating the papers since July 2018, the company said in a news release, among them the Omaha World-Herald in Nebraska, the Tulsa World in Oklahoma and the Buffalo News, which Berkshire owned separately from the BH Media Group. "We had zero interest in selling the group to anyone else for one simple reason: We believe that Lee is best positioned to manage through the industry's challenges," Buffett said in a news release. "No organization is more committed to serving the vital role of high-quality local news, however delivered, as Lee." The deal brings more consolidation in newspapers, at a time when consolidation is already rampant. A lifelong fan of newspapers, Buffett has soured on the industry, which has been in steady decline for more than a decade.
Exclusive: Nissan takes the axe to the house Ghosn built
Nissan is planning aggressive cost cuts to deal with an unexpected slump in sales as the expansionist strategy it inherited from fugitive former Chairman Carlos Ghosn flounders, four people familiar with the plans said. Japan's second biggest carmaker is set to eliminate at least 4,300 white-collar jobs and shut two manufacturing sites as part of broader plans to add at least 480 billion yen ($4.4 billion) to its bottom line by 2023, two of the people told Reuters. The moves come on top of a turnaround plan unveiled in July and are likely to include cutting Nissan's range of cars and the array of product options and trims in each line, slashing jobs mostly at head offices in the United States and Europe, and reducing advertising and marketing budgets, they said. "The situation is dire. It's do or die," a person close to Nissan's senior management and the company's board told Reuters.
UM Chancellor Glenn Boyce speaks with community, ignores protesters
The Lyceum was a maze of administrators on Tuesday night. What was intended to be an open event where members of the university community could meet senior leadership shifted -- at least in some parts of the event -- to another demonstration by student group Abolish IHL protesting the appointment of Chancellor Glenn Boyce. In one room, campus recreation workers set up corn hole and a prize wheel. In another, a representative from Starship controlled one of the food delivery robots with a PlayStation 4 controller and handed out coupons for free delivery. In Boyce's office, more than a dozen protesters lined the walls -- all with strips of red duct tape covering their mouths. Boyce left his office for a few minutes shortly after the protesters arrived and then returned with a staff escort. When asked to share some of the thoughts he heard from other students, Boyce declined to comment. However, before the protesters arrived, he said he was glad to be meeting students and giving them the chance to meet administration.
USM researcher monitoring outbreak of coronavirus
A top researcher at the University of Southern Mississippi is monitoring the outbreak of the coronavirus. China reported 25 more deaths due to the virus, raising the total deaths to 106, according to the Associated Press. More than 4,500 cases have been confirmed, with the virus spreading to other nations, including the United States. USM researcher Fengwei Bai has studied the Zika and West Nile viruses and says this new virus is related to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which caused a pandemic in 2003 and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, which was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. He said so far, the death rate is low for this coronavirus and most people who get it will survive. "Compared to SARS, this death rate is low. For SARS, about 9% death rate, so far for this we have the data, about 3% death rate," said Bai, who is an associate professor in cell and molecular biology at USM.
Reba McEntire to headline Mississippi College's Spring 2020 scholarship dinner
Country music luminary Reba McEntire is one of the most successful female recording artists in history. A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Kennedy Center Honors recipient, Reba will be celebrated as the first American entertainer to headline Mississippi College's Spring 2020 Scholarship Dinner on April 21. The dinner at Anderson Hall begins at 6 p.m. "Booking an entertainment icon like Reba McEntire as our Scholarship Dinner's keynote speaker is getting a wonderful response from the Mississippi College family," President Blake Thompson said. Established in 2008, MC's Spring Scholarship dinner has raised more than $4 million to assist students. Reba joins an all-star lineup of MC scholarship speakers over the years -- from Drew Brees to former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas launched the series at MC in 2008.
Auburn students discuss race in America
Guy Mount, an assistant professor at Auburn University, posed a question to a room full of students Thursday. Has life for African Americans gotten better, worse or stayed the same over the last decade? He posed the question separately to the Caucasians in the room and the African Americans. Although both groups had a majority in favor of "stayed the same," exponentially more African Americans in the room chose "worse" than Caucasians. Auburn University held its second lunch and learn this week, "Race in America: A Reflection of the Last Decade," in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Week led by Mount. Some students attended as part of their classes, while others simply wanted to learn or listen to the conversation.
U. of Florida implements two-factor authentication to combat cybercrime
University of Florida students will soon have to undergo extra steps to access school accounts. Starting at the end of Spring semester, UF staff, students and faculty must enroll in two-factor authentication to protect their Gatorlink accounts from cybercrime, according to an email sent to students Jan. 21. Two-factor authentication prevents users who might know a student's Gatorlink username and password from getting into the account without access to their smartphone as well, according to the email. The two-step authentication process will use the application Duo, which allows students to choose between three methods of validating each login attempt. Students who enroll can receive a passcode, a phone call or an authentication request through the app. UF spokesman Steve Orlando said two-factor authentication is becoming more common as cyber threats increase. A study from the University of Maryland found that hackers attack computers every 39 seconds on average.
Dual enrollment bill clears Georgia Senate
A bill restricting student dual enrollment in high school and college classes in Georgia cleared the Senate floor Tuesday. Sponsored by state Rep. Bert Reeves, R-Marietta, House Bill 444 would limit dual enrollment to 30 hours per eligible student for college or technical college courses the state-run student-finance agency funds. Beyond that, students would pay for classes out of their own pockets. The bill has backing from Gov. Brian Kemp as he seeks to trim hundreds of millions of dollars from the state budget. Supporters say the growing number of participating students could prompt the program to run out of money. "We see how much this program has grown with no guardrails in place, with no end in sight," said Sen. Brian Strickland, R-McDonough, one of Kemp's floor leaders in the Senate. But opponents argued the changes would be too restrictive, causing students to start college with fewer class credits and more debt. "The bottom line is students who are seeking higher education are going to end up with more debt," said Sen. Nan Orrock, D-Atlanta.
Texas A&M announces $5 million commitment for veterinary outreach program
Texas A&M System officials announced Tuesday a $5 million commitment for the veterinary outreach program at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, just south of Amarillo. A Tuesday press release indicated that the funding will go to the Veterinary Education, Research & Outreach program through the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, which focuses on large animals' needs in rural communities. The additional funding from the A&M System will be used to increase faculty members from 5 to 23 for the VERO program, according to the release. "We are pleased to expand our veterinary medicine and biomedical sciences program to the campus of West Texas A&M University," Texas A&M President Michael K. Young said in a statement. Approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents and the Council of Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association to finalize the program is pending.
Coronavirus brings worries to Chinese students at U. of Missouri
With the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus from China to the U.S., some Chinese international students and scholars at the University of Missouri are deeply worried -- not so much about their own health as about the well-being of friends and family back home. According to a report from MU's International Center, China is the top country of origin of international students and scholars at the university, with a population larger than 1,500. China is also among the top destinations of MU study abroad programs. Some Chinese students and scholars went back to China for winter break from December to January, and that's when the novel coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, in the center of the country. What is more pressing to Soomin Kang, president of the Missouri International Student Council, is the stress the situation is putting on students from China. She said MU should reach out to them. Kang is also concerned about insensitive posts she has seen on social media regarding the virus.
Colleges restrict university travel to China in response to coronavirus
American universities and colleges have announced new restrictions on travel to China in response to upgraded travel advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of State related to the continued spread of coronavirus. The restrictions were announced this week and Tuesday by Arizona State, Duke, Northwestern and Texas A&M Universities and the University of Michigan, among others, due to growing concerns about the outbreak of the respiratory illness caused by the novel virus first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan. As the virus has spread, U.S. colleges have been grappling with how to prepare for its possible arrival on their home campuses and measures their health centers can take. But the rapid spread of the virus also has implications for U.S. colleges' operations in China. China is the leading country of origin for international students in the U.S. and the seventh-leading destination for Americans studying abroad.
Acclaimed Harvard Scientist Is Arrested, Accused Of Lying About Ties To China
Charles Lieber, the chair of Harvard University's Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, has been arrested and criminally charged with making "false, fictitious and fraudulent statements" to the U.S. Defense Department about his ties to a Chinese government program to recruit foreign scientists and researchers. The Justice Department says Lieber, 60, lied about his contact with the Chinese program known as the Thousand Talents Plan, which the U.S. has previously flagged as a serious intelligence concern. He also is accused of lying about a lucrative contract he signed with China's Wuhan University of Technology. In an affidavit unsealed Tuesday, FBI Special Agent Robert Plumb said Lieber, who led a Harvard research group focusing on nanoscience, had established a research lab at the Wuhan university -- apparently unbeknownst to Harvard.
Trustees growing increasingly worried about future of higher education in U.S., polling shows
Trustees have grown significantly more concerned about the future of higher education in the last year, according to new polling released today that points to financial sustainability and the prices students pay as top sources of anxiety. And trustees aren't just worried about the sector as a whole. A majority are also concerned about the future financial sustainability of their own institutions or systems. The data also seem to indicate college and university trustees will need to raise their level of performance, according to experts at the membership organization that released the survey, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. They lamented stark differences in the number of hours board members report working on corporate boards versus college and university boards. Asked what concerned them most about the future of higher education in the U.S., trustees were most likely to cite institutions' financial sustainability and higher education's price for students and families.
Impeachment drama was different for state's U.S. senators during Watergate
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: In what has to date been an almost exclusively partisan enterprise, the Democratic U.S. House majority impeached President Donald Trump last month and walked those allegations across the Capitol to the Republican U.S. Senate, where the trial continues amid tension and high drama. As that drama plays out on Capitol Hill, there's not a great deal of mystery surrounding the eventual votes on the two articles of impeaching brought to the floor of the U.S. Senate by the House Managers -- at least not by Mississippi's senators. ... Back in 1999, Mississippi was represented in the U.S. Senate by Republicans Thad Cochran and Trent Lott when the GOP-controlled House brought articles of impeachment against Democratic President Bill Clinton and the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate ultimately acquitted Clinton. Both Cochran and Lott voted to convict Clinton on both articles. Mississippians played a significant role in the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s -- and unlike the Trump and Clinton impeachment dramas, Mississippi's U.S. senators were not burdened with partisan concerns over the looming impeachment of Republican President Richard Nixon.

Reggie Perry scores career-high 27, Mississippi State tops Florida 78-71
Reggie Perry's mother and sister were on hand for his game at Florida, about a two-hour drive from his hometown. Perry treated them to one of his best collegiate performances. Perry scored a career-high 27 points, Robert Woodard added 16 and Mississippi State beat Florida 78-71 on Tuesday night for its fourth straight victory in Southeastern Conference play. Tyson Carter chipped in 12 points, including seven straight in the second half to turn the game. The Bulldogs (13-7, 4-3) rallied from 16 points down to notch their first road victory of 2020. Perry grew up in Thomasville, Georgia, about 140 miles from Gainesville. It's safe to say he treated this like a homecoming. "I was in a whole different zone tonight. I ain't even going to lie," Perry said.
What Mississippi State win over Florida means for NCAA Tournament hopes
Mississippi State finally has one. It took 20 games, but the Bulldogs secured their first Quadrant 1 (Q1) road win of the season in a 78-71 victory over the Florida Gators in Gainesville on Tuesday night. Mississippi State's win over Arkansas last week at Humphrey Coliseum now stands as a Q1 victory as well, for the moment. That means the Bulldogs have two Q1 wins with an opportunity to secure another on the horizon against Kentucky next week. Wait. What the heck is a quadrant, and how does it relate to college basketball? The quadrant classifications heavily influence a team's NCAA Tournament fate. On the NCAA's website under "selection criteria," there is an entire section devoted to "Team Sheets." Team Sheets are used to compare team performance, strength of schedule and quality of wins.
Florida blows 16-point lead to fall to Mississippi State, 78-71
The enigma that has been Florida's basketball season reared its ugly head again Tuesday night, as the Gators couldn't handle the prosperity of a big first-half lead. Instead, the Gators frittered away that lead, never found an answer for Reggie Perry and went stumbling out of the O'Connell Center 78-71 losers against Mississippi State. Perry scored 27 points on a variety of dunks and 3-point shots for the Bulldogs (13-7, 4-3 in the SEC). Robert Woodard and Nick Weatherspoon, each added 13 for MSU. Florida, now 12-8, 4-3 and loser of three straight games, was led by Scottie Lewis, who had 17 points. Kerry Blackshear had 13, but was 3-for-10 shooting. Mississippi State shot a blazing 60.9 percent in the second half. Florida, on the other hand, shot 30.8 percent. The Gators failed to make a 3-point shot in the second half. The Gators struggled to contain MSU center Reggie Perry, who had 17 first-half points including a pair of 3-pointers.
Mississippi State's Aliyah Matharu named SEC Freshman of the Week
Behind a pair of double-digit scoring efforts, Mississippi State's Aliyah Matharu was named the SEC Freshman of the Week, as announced by the league office on Tuesday. The freshman guard helped the ninth-ranked Bulldogs go 2-0 on the week with wins at Vanderbilt and against in-state rival Ole Miss, averaging 12.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game while coming off the bench. After suffering its first loss in SEC play, State found itself on the road at Vanderbilt just three days later and facing a two-possession deficit entering the fourth quarter. Playing all 10 minutes of the final frame, Matharu scored 11 of MSU's 22 points to fuel the offense and recorded three steals to spearhead a zone defense by State that held the Commodores to just two points in the period. She finished with 14 points, four rebounds and a career-high four steals.
Mississippi State's Aliyah Matharu named SEC Freshman of the Week
Mississippi State's Aliyah Matharu was selected as the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week. Matharu had 14 points in 15 minutes off the bench against Vanderbilt and 11 points in 14 minutes against Ole Miss last week, both Bulldog victories. The 5-foot-7 guard from Washington, D.C. also had five rebounds and five steals. Matharu is averaging seven points in 9.1 minutes per game this season. She is the second MSU player to be named SEC Freshman of the Week this year along with Rickea Jackson. They are the first Bulldog duo to both earn the honor in the same season since Morgan William and Victoria Vivians in 2014-15.
Auburn claws back to beat Ole Miss in double overtime
Auburn clawed out of the grave. So it seemed Tuesday night when the Tigers chipped away at a 19-point deficit, made clutch plays to erase a disastrous start, then survived two overtimes to beat Ole Miss 83-82 and cap a big comeback. Auburn trailed by 17 at the half. The Tigers were down by 10 with six minutes left. But J'Von McCormick and Samir Doughty hit big shots in the final two minutes of regulation to help send it to an extra frame, then Auburn came up clutch a few more times in 10 more minutes to complete a colossal resurgence in played Oxford, Miss. and seen on ESPNU. Auburn moved to 18-2 overall and 5-2 in SEC play with the win. Ole Miss fell to 10-10 and 1-6 in the SEC.
Booze might soon go on sale to public at Georgia games
Georgia is considering jumping into alcohol sales for the general public in time for the 2020 football season. Athletic director Greg McGarity expects the sale of beer and wine at athletic events to be a topic at Georgia's spring athletic board meetings, scheduled for June 3-5. "If we weren't interested in perhaps moving forward, we wouldn't even be going through this exercise," McGarity said. "Things are trending that way. We certainly don't want to be behind others, but at the same time, we've heard of problems that our fans experienced in Nashville and Knoxville. "What we don't want to do is just jump in without a lot of thought and with a good plan that doesn't affect our current concessions." Tennessee and Vanderbilt are among SEC schools that sold alcohol in general seating areas last football season. Other SEC schools that took advantage after league presidents and chancellors lifted its ban last spring on alcohol sales to the general public include Arkansas, LSU, Missouri and Texas A&M. South Carolina and Florida joined in this basketball season.
Rick Barnes: Bump from official in Tennessee vs. Texas A&M should not happen
Tennessee coach Rick Barnes' phone rang during his postgame press conference Tuesday night. "That might be the called I wanted," Barnes said. If it wasn't the SEC office, it will be soon. Barnes was bumped into by official Mike Nance with 13 seconds left in Tennessee's 63-58 loss to Texas A&M and he expects the league office to look into the incident. "I really have a lot of confidence in the SEC office that they are going to look at that," Barnes said. "I believe they will look at this game and take it apart. I just think they will do that. That shouldn't happen in any way shape or form. I would like to say what I want to say, but I won't because I trust the SEC office will do the right thing." Barnes was standing in front of the bench when Nance bumped into Barnes. Nance appear to blame Barnes for the contact, which Barnes took exception to quickly.
Ellen surprises U. of Arkansas runner on TV show
A University of Arkansas track and field athlete appeared Monday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and was presented with a ceremonial check for $20,000 aimed at helping him get to the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo this summer. Hunter Woodhall, a sprinter from Syracuse, Utah, signed with Arkansas in 2017. As a double amputee, he runs using prosthetic legs and competes for the Razorbacks alongside runners without disabilities. An Arkansas spokesman said UA officials are checking with the SEC and NCAA to verify that Woodhall can accept the $20,000 and be in compliance with NCAA rules. He is competing for the Razorbacks this season as a junior. On the world stage, Woodhall won silver and bronze medals in the 2016 Paralympics and is hoping to make the 2020 team. The U.S. Paralympic Trials will be held June 25-28 in Minneapolis, with qualifers advancing to compete in Tokyo on Aug. 25-Sept. 6.
Former U. of South Carolina wide receiver running for Congress in SC
Moe Brown, a former University of South Carolina wide receiver who worked for six years at the state's commerce agency, announced on Wednesday he plans to run for the state's 5th Congressional District seat, saying it's time for a new generation to step up in Washington. "I've led teams my entire life," Brown, 31, said in a statement. Describing himself in a statement as a moderate Democrat who pledged to oppose any tax increases on working families, Brown -- should he win the June primary -- would ultimately face Republican U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman. The Rock Hill Republican is a former S.C. House lawmaker, who succeeded then-U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney in a 2017 special election after Mulvaney joined the Trump administration as the director of the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

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