Monday, February 24, 2020   
Artrageous brings energetic experience to Lyceum Series at Mississippi State
A theater arts troupe will present an interactive evening of art, dance and music Feb. 25 to continue Mississippi State's Lyceum Series. Billed as "part art studio, part rock concert and part creation lab," New Mexico-based group Artrageous will perform at 7 p.m. in Lee Hall's Bettersworth Auditorium. The show features a range of dynamic acts, including live speed painting backed by musical performances in various genres, juggling and even bunraku, traditional Japanese puppet theater. Audience participation is encouraged, and afterward participants are invited to view up close the paintings created throughout the show. Individual tickets are available to the general public at $30 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under, and free for MSU students with a valid MSU ID. Purchases can be made at and at the door if available.
Mississippi State's Michael Nadorff receives nearly $1 million for local addiction and suicide prevention
A Mississippi State faculty member in the Department of Psychology is using nearly $1 million in federal grant funds to prevent alcohol and tobacco addiction in Oktibbeha County and prevent suicide among college students. Michael R. Nadorff, associate professor of psychology and director of the department's clinical Ph.D. program, recently received a five-year $624,385 grant, titled "Drug Free Starkville Collaboration," from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. SAMHSA also is funding a three-year, $305,000 grant for suicide prevention work at MSU. "The two grants are a nice complement to each other due to the notable relation between substance use disorders and suicide behavior," Nadorff said. "The Drug Free Communities funding will be an upstream intervention that will hopefully help us reduce the odds of suicide among adolescents and college students in the future."
Feeding the mind: $900K grant to fund garden project at new Partnership school
The vegetables that Overstreet Elementary School students grow and harvest in their garden become part of their dinners, and they are always excited to tell their teachers about it the next day, science teacher Summer Buntin said. "They'll get one or two okra and they'll (say), 'Oh my gosh, we cooked the okra last night,'" said Buntin, one of the teachers who oversees the garden. Overstreet has had a garden for almost a year, and the current crop of fifth-graders will get even more hands-on gardening experience and nutrition education in the next two years at the Partnership School, the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District's new campus for sixth and seventh graders that will open in August on the Mississippi State University campus. The school will also serve as a training lab for MSU's College of Education, allowing MSU students to observe classroom teaching and university faculty to be a resource for SOCSD teachers and administrators. The garden space can be used for a variety of instructional material, said Devon Brenner, special assistant to the vice president of education initiatives at MSU.
Farming with Drones Beyond the Visual Line of Sight
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have found use in agriculture for decades, with unmanned helicopters spraying pesticides on rice fields in Japan back in the 1980s. Now, to have drones reach their full potential in farming, research is increasingly pushing toward beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations. Drones with hyperspectral, multispectral, thermal and even just very high-resolution regular cameras can help farmers monitor their water, fertilizer, insecticide and herbicide needs more closely than satellites can, more cheaply than manned aircraft do and more regularly than both. The hope is that drones can help farmers quickly and cheaply analyze plant status, added Amelia Fox, an assistant clinical professor of plant and soil sciences at Mississippi State University. "We want the right doses at the right places and right times," said Fox, who teaches agricultural flight technologies and is exploring how color and near-infrared sensors can help farmers analyze plant status. But all this requires coming to grips with flying beyond line of sight.
Ag Outlook Speakers Urge Industry to Brace for Extreme Weather Conditions
Attendees at USDA's annual Agricultural Outlook Forum in Virginia this week are getting an earful about the challenges posed by increasingly volatile weather extremes. Speakers in at least three separate sessions on Thursday wrestled with how major ag players -- regulators, insurers, scientists and farmers -- can try to prepare for increasingly costly weather disasters, particularly flooding and severe storms. The government and private sector will have to adjust the current risk management strategies in the decades ahead, noted Keith Coble, an ag economist from Mississippi State University. "I think we can all agree we will face more severe events with potential significant losses for somebody," Coble said. "One of the real questions I think we face is can government incentivize mitigation rather than disincentivize it?" he said. "That is a real challenge that we face with crop insurance, with disaster programs, with flood insurance programs. Are we simply allowing people to take on more risk, which is going to perpetuate this?"
Experience the 'soul of Ireland' with visiting Irish tenor, scholar at MSU
In the month of St. Patrick's Day, Mississippi State University's Shackouls Honors College will welcome producer, director, scholar, author and singer James W. Flannery to the Golden Triangle. An authority on Irish literature, particularly the works of W.B. Yeats, Flannery will visit the Honors College as artist-in-residence and present a free lecture recital at 7:30 p.m. March 3, free to the public. In "Bridges of the Spirit: The Soul of Ireland in Poetry and Song," the Emory University professor emeritus will perform in the Turner A. Wingo Auditorium at the Old Main Academic Center on campus. He will be joined by MSU Steinway Artist Rosangela Y. Sebba on piano. Flannery's visit to MSU represents a reunion of sorts for Shackouls Honors College Dean Christopher Snyder. "I began my teaching career at Emory, so Jim and I were colleagues there," said Snyder, a former director of the Celtic Heritage Center in Washington, D.C. "Jim's primary scholarly work is in the field of Irish literature; he's one of the world experts on W.B. Yeats, especially his drama."
Kimley-Horn tapped as project consultant for Highway 182
Starkville aldermen unanimously chose Kimley-Horn on Thursday as the consultant for the implementation of the $12.66 million grant the city received in November to revamp a mile of Highway 182, or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Kimley-Horn and Neel-Schaffer were the two firms the selection committee deemed most qualified out of the four that submitted proposals. The board decided at its regular meeting on Tuesday to take a closer look at both proposals before choosing one. City Engineer Edward Kemp, Mayor Lynn Spruill, Assistant City Engineer Cody Burnett and Starkville Utilities General Manager Terry Kemp made up the consultant selection committee. The entire board had decided by the start of Thursday's meeting that the committee's top choice of Kimley-Horn was the right one. Ward 5 Alderman Hamp Beatty said the firm would bring "more of an outsider's perspective" to the project than Neel-Schaffer would.
Wes Gordon seeks reappointment to SOCSD board
Wesley Gordon has submitted a letter of interest to be reappointed to the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Board of Trustees, he said Thursday. Starkville aldermen appointed Gordon in July 2019 to finish Lee Brand's term, which ends in March, after Brand took a new job in Tennessee. Aldermen voted Tuesday to advertise for the upcoming vacancy on the board. The deadline to submit a letter of interest is Feb. 26 at noon, and the board of aldermen will vote to fill the position at its March 3 meeting. No one else has submitted a letter so far, City Clerk Lesa Hardin said. Gordon is the director of giving at the MSU Foundation and has four children in the school district. During his interview for the trustee position last year, he emphasized his experience working on various boards.
'Mississippi Distilled' exhibition to open at Two Mississippi Museums
An immersive exhibition exploring the state's tumultuous relationship with alcohol from the colonial period to today will mark its debut at the Two Mississippi Museums -- the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. "Mississippi Distilled: Prohibition, Piety, and Politics" will be opened by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History on March 21. "Prohibition in Mississippi was about more than outlawing alcohol," said Pamela D.C. Junior, director of the Two Mississippi Museums. "This amazing exhibit shows how women's rights, alcohol, and religion came together at a critical moment in history and continue to impact Mississippi to this day." The gallery spotlights illegal alcohol at the white-collar resorts of the Gulf Coast and the strip of nightclubs known as the Gold Coast or 'Cross the River in Rankin County, ending with the infamous Jackson Country Club Raid of 1966 and the political changes that led to Prohibition's repeal.
Mississippi Center for Innovation & Technology named in honor of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran
Business leaders, government officials and area residents turned out Friday at the former Mississippi Hardware building to dedicate the building to one of the state's most revered public officials, former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. More than 100 people gathered inside the building for the ceremony dedicating the Mississippi Center for Innovation & Technology, or MCITy, in Cochran's memory. He was influential in helping the development of MCITy. "When you talk about Sen. Thad Cochran, it would take a lot longer than each of us have time today to discuss and tell you the vision, the integrity, the love for this city, the love for this state and his country that he had," U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., said. Hyde-Smith said it took vision to look at the future and be able to capitalize on the then-Mississippi Hardware Building's historic value to work toward its development. Developers involved with the building's renovation unveiled plans in August 2017 for a $19 million project to convert the building into an innovation and tech center.
Analysis: Amid big issues, legislators face many small ones
Mississippi legislators are on track to deal with a few big, complex issues this year, but they will also consider plenty of small ones. Among the toughest topics awaiting work are efforts to improve prisons that are crowded, violent and understaffed. As part of that, legislators could debate whether prisoners could become eligible sooner for parole consideration. Legislators could expand preschool programs in some communities, although they are not pushing for a statewide effort. They are considering another pay raise for teachers after approving one during the election year of 2019. Among the smaller issues are things like regulating low-speed vehicles and deciding which legislators get credit for reducing the cost of a car tag.
Mississippi rep cleared in abuse case won't be expelled
Mississippi House members don't have the power to expel one of their colleagues who was found not guilty in a domestic abuse case last year, the Republican House speaker has told a newspaper. Speaker Philip Gunn, who is an attorney, told the Sun Herald he has talked to a legal team about Republican Rep. Doug McLeod of Lucedale. The House Ethics Committee can only recommend that the full House take action against a representative if that person has violated a House rule, the Mississippi Constitution or a state statute, he said. "Well, he didn't violate the House rules," Gunn said of McLeod. "There is nothing in the constitution he violated, so that only leaves the third option which is a violation of a statute, which is what he was accused of." In August, a George County justice court judge found McLeod not guilty of a misdemeanor domestic violence charge after McLeod's wife testified on his behalf. McLeod was accused of punching his wife in the face because she didn't undress quickly enough when he wanted to have sex.
Secretary of State Michael Watson meets with Lincoln County election officials
Mississippi's new Secretary of State Michael Watson visited the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Government Complex Thursday as part of his tour of all 82 counties. Watson met with Circuit Clerk Dustin Bairfield and several of Lincoln County's election commissioners to hear their concerns about the election process. "We made a commitment to all of our 82 counties with the idea making sure we have the friendships and relationships with our clerks and our commissioners," Watson said. "Everybody doesn't know everything. Having a network of people to call when you see things on the front lines -- what does this look like, how does it impact the county, what can we do better to serve at the secretary of states office?" Bairfield said in the meeting that running smooth local elections is a big part of his role as circuit clerk, and he brought several concerns to the meeting, from the difficulties in finding new poll workers to issues with how long individual counties had to decide whether they would spend state funds, leaving funding discussions to continue until nearly the end of the year.
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith: Money, work moving ahead on backwater pumps project
Money is in place for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin meeting Environmental Protection Agency issues about the Steele Bayou Pump Project, U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith said Friday. "On Feb. 10, the Corps of Engineers rolled out how they planned to spend their 2020 budget," said Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., who was in Vicksburg Friday for ceremonies dedicating the Mississippi Center for Innovation & Technology to the memory of former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. "In that funding, we have money to purchase mitigated land where these pumps will go," she said. "We have money to do all the environmental studies; what it will take to get there, so we are very confident that we will have some very good news that we're in the first phase of getting those pumps. The reason we're doing all the environmental studies is to satisfy all their (the EPA) questions and concerns, and they are being very cooperative." The project took on new life during the 2019 flood when backwater area flooding reached a record level of 98.2 feet.
President Trump vows more farm bailouts amid criticism over China trade deal
President Trump promised in an all-caps tweet Friday to provide additional bailout funding to American farmers if necessary, as questions arise over whether China's purchases of agricultural products will fall short of what it pledged in the recently signed trade deal. Trump said he may expand the nearly $30 billion bailout program until the administration's recently struck trade deals with China, Canada, and Mexico "kick in." On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief economist, Robert Johansson, projected that agricultural exports to China would reach roughly $14 billion in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, far short of what White House officials said would take place based on the "Phase One" trade deal with Chinese leaders. White House officials have said agricultural exports to China would be between $40 billion and $50 billion in each of the next two years. The president's promise to extend the bailout program if necessary are a sharp reversal from what Trump administration officials have been saying for months.
Trump teases more trade bailout money for farmers
President Donald Trump suggested on Twitter that he would give more bailout payments to farmers this year as they wait for trade deals to boost agricultural exports. The Agriculture Department has already paid farmers more than $23 billion to offset their financial losses under Trump's trade war since 2018, on top of other tariff relief measures like commodity purchases and marketing assistance. Secretary Sonny Perdue has repeatedly said farmers should not expect another round of aid for 2020, now that the U.S. and China have reached a deal to boost American farm exports. The department on Thursday projected that farm exports to China would total $14 billion this year, up from $10 billion in fiscal 2019. That estimate was far short of the $40 billion in U.S. farm goods that Beijing agreed to purchase under the phase one trade deal that took effect last week. Perdue said the planned increase in Chinese purchases was not fully factored into USDA's export forecast. The USDA aid program was largely responsible for keeping many farmers afloat in 2019.
Bernie Sanders' 2016 movement now has political machine to push it
By the fall of 2018, when Democrats were promoting a slate of centrist candidates to topple Republicans in Congress, Bernie Sanders was seeing a very different picture. The Vermont senator and avowed democratic socialist was convinced his most fervent supporters were as energized as ever, ready to rally around the political insurgency flag he planted in 2016. He could keep stoking the deep frustration and mistrust of the political system and attract backers who had felt too disillusioned to bother voting in the past -- much like President Donald Trump had on the right. This time, Sanders' movement has a political machine to propel it. "Last time, we really did not know how this would go with our fundraising model," said Jeff Weaver, Sanders' senior adviser. "It ended up being $240 million, but we had no way of knowing that in the spring of 2015, so we were very slow to staff-up in early states. This time, we did things very differently. We knew we were a front-runner." Now everyone else knows it, too.
Bernie Sanders sends Democratic establishment into panic mode
Moderate Democrats watched in horror as Bernie Sanders soared to a landslide victory in Nevada. It wasn't the win that was surprising -- it was the walloping Sanders gave his opponents, his ability to dominate among Latino voters, and the momentum he gained moving into South Carolina and Super Tuesday. The performance sent already worried Democrats into a full-blown panic. "In 30-plus years of politics, I've never seen this level of doom. I've never had a day with so many people texting, emailing, calling me with so much doom and gloom," said Matt Bennett of the center-left group Third Way after Sanders' win in Nevada. Bennett said moderates firmly believe a Sanders primary win would seal Donald Trump's reelection. "It's this incredible sense that we're hurtling to the abyss. I also think we could lose the House. And if we do, there would be absolutely no way to stop [Trump]. Today is the most depressed I've ever been in politics." A renewed sense of urgency washed over establishment Democrats, who fear it's quickly becoming too late to stop Sanders.
Bernie Sanders briefed by U.S. officials that Russia is trying to help his presidential campaign
U.S. officials have told Sen. Bernie Sanders that Russia is attempting to help his presidential campaign as part of an effort to interfere with the Democratic contest, according to people familiar with the matter. President Trump and lawmakers on Capitol Hill also have been informed about the Russian assistance to the Vermont senator, those people said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence. It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken. U.S. prosecutors found a Russian effort in 2016 to use social media to boost Sanders's campaign against Hillary Clinton, part of a broader effort to hurt Clinton, sow dissension in the American electorate and ultimately help elect Donald Trump. The disclosure of Russian assistance to Sanders follows a briefing to lawmakers last week in which a senior intelligence official said that Russia wants to see Trump reelected, viewing his administration as more favorable to the Kremlin's interests, according to people who were briefed on the comments. The prospect of two rival campaigns both receiving help from Moscow appears to reflect what intelligence officials have previously described as Russia's broader interest in sowing division in the United States and uncertainty about the validity of American elections.
Climate change could be a 'catastrophic' national security threat, report warns
Climate change could turn into a "catastrophic" threat to national and global security in the coming decades, warns a new report released Monday. "Even at scenarios of low warming, each region of the world will face severe risks to national and global security in the next three decades," the report states. "Higher levels of warming will pose catastrophic, and likely irreversible, global security risks over the course of the 21st century." The report, titled "A Security Threat Assessment of Global Climate Change: How Likely Warming Scenarios Indicate a Catastrophic Security Future" was released Monday by the Center for Climate and Security, a non-partisan security policy institute. To avoid such dire future impacts, the report recommends "quickly reducing and phasing out greenhouse gas emissions." The report identifies major threats, including heightened social and political instability and risks to U.S. military missions and infrastructure, as well as security institutions across all regions of the world.
The W hosts 70th Mississippi Collegiate Art Competition
Celebrating its 70th anniversary, the Mississippi Collegiate Art Competition, the most prestigious art contest in the state of Mississippi, is currently on display on the campus of Mississippi University for Women. The exhibition is available for viewing at MUW Galleries in Summer Hall until through March 13. The MCAC is open to all art students at four-year colleges and universities in Mississippi. The annual event recognizes the artistic achievements of these students. "This is the second time The W has hosted the exhibition and it is a great honor. Due to our large exhibition space, we can show a much larger and more inclusive exhibition. This increases the number of students who get to be a part of the exhibition," said Alex Stelioes-Wills, associate professor of art. Universities and colleges represented by accepted works are Delta State University, Millsaps College, Mississippi College, Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for Women, University of Mississippi, University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University.
50 Years Ago, the College Tried to Silence Them. Now Black Protesters Are Returning to Campus to Be Heard.
Linnie Willis remembers the day federal troops came to town in 1962. She was attending an all-black school in Oxford, Miss., when James Meredith won a legal battle to become the first black student at the University of Mississippi, prompting a white mob to riot. Five years later, when Willis enrolled at the university, she knew it would not be easy. She was just three months from graduating in 1970 when she was expelled, along with seven others, for participating in a peaceful protest against discrimination. Though she's from the college town and has visited often, Willis has never returned to campus. That will change next week, when she takes part in an event commemorating 50 years since the demonstration that changed the course of her life. She'll attend for the same reason she protested to begin with: "Collectively we need to be able to say something to Ole Miss about our feelings," she said. "I'm willing and ready to be a part of that conversation." In a statement, the University of Mississippi's provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, Noel Wilkin, said the events of 1970 are "not indicative of who we are today."
Central Park Five member Yusef Salaam to speak at Ole Miss
Yusef Salaam, a member of the Central Park Five, whose exoneration after nearly seven years of incarceration based on false accusations was depicted in the Emmy Award-winning Netflix miniseries "When They See Us," is the keynote speaker for Black History Month observances at the University of Mississippi. Salaam's address begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25 in the Ole Miss Student Union Ballroom. Admission is free, but tickets must be obtained from the Ole Miss Box Office in the Ford Center for the Performing Arts. "When the university selected 'Just Mercy' as its Common Read, the book sparked deep and honest discussions about equity and justice," said Norris "EJ" Edney III, director of the UM Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement. "I think that the 'exonerated five's' story, Dr. Salaam's story, is similarly layered with complex lessons about the realities of our justice system."
Funeral arrangements set for slain Alcorn State student
The funeral for an Alcorn State University student who was shot and killed this week will be held Monday in his home state of Pennsylvania, according to a university press release. Tahir "Tahzzy" Fitzhugh, 19, was a junior agricultural business major from Brookhaven, Pennsylvania, the release said. Fitzhugh and another Alcorn student -- 22-year-old James Carr of Itta Bena -- were fatally shot at an off-campus bonfire late Monday night, authorities said, and a suspect has since been arrested. The funeral for Fitzhugh will be noon Monday at the Masjid As Sabiqun, 1105 Concord Road in Chester, Pennsylvania, according to the release. "Tahzzy was a great guy," classmate Dahkeem Williams told the university. "He always had a smile on his face, and he brightened the days of others on campus."
Southern Miss holds Public Health Symposium
The University of Southern Mississippi's School of Health Professions hosted a Public Health Symposium on Friday. The theme for the event was "Mississippi, The State of Public Health." Guest speakers lectured on a variety of topics including concussion and sports injuries along with infectious diseases commonly seen today. Gina Fiorentini-Wright, an instructor at Southern Miss and event organizer, says these are timely subjects and the students were eager to attend the event. "I'm very proud of our young people and every semester that I teach, I'm astounded by many, many of them, how bright they are, how much they want to do for others," said Fiorentinit-Wright. "We have a great future to look forward to in our young people and you don't always get to hear about that, so I see very good students and wonderful things coming out of our classes."
Two ERDC researchers earn Black Engineer of the Year awards
At the office, LaKenya Walker spends her time using high-performance computing to help the military better understand its weapon systems. Cameron Thomas works just a few buildings away as an expert in explosive weapons effects. Though their jobs are a bit different, the two U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center employees now have something very special in common -- they are both winners of the 2020 Black Engineer of the Year Award for Modern Day Technology Leaders. Walker got her start with ERDC in 2014 as a student intern, before being hired full-time after her graduation from Alcorn State University with a degree in computer science. Thomas, a graduate of Jackson State University and Mississippi State University, works in the Impact and Explosion Effects branch. His research is used to mitigate the effects of attacks on people, vehicles and installations through methods and tools that help detect threats.
First black student at Auburn University will get master's degree -- 51 years late
The first black student in Auburn University history will finally receive his long-awaited master's degree from the school in May. On Jan. 4, 1964, Harold Franklin walked onto the Auburn University campus as the first black student in school history, pursuing a master's degree that he never received after his thesis was repeatedly rejected, as late as 1969. On Sunday afternoon, May 3, at Auburn's spring commencement for the College for Liberal Arts, Franklin, now 86, will finally receive the master's degree he earned. Franklin defended his master's thesis successfully on Wednesday, Feb. 19, said Keith Hebert, associate professor of history at Auburn, the chair of the thesis committee. Hebert said the current administration at the university learned about Franklin's rejected master's thesis after did an interview with Franklin on Aug. 30 regarding Gov. Kay Ivey's blackface incident. Ivey and Franklin were students at Auburn at the same time.
U. of South Carolina board of trustees names top diversity officer
The University of South Carolina has selected a new chief diversity officer. Julian Williams was unanimously named to the top position during a Friday board of trustees meeting. Williams currently serves as vice president of inclusion and diversity at George Mason University, a school of more than 37,000 students in Fairfax, Virginia. There, a plan he implemented increased the number of full-time faculty of color by 7%, according to his online USC bio. Williams will be paid $250,000 per year and will start on June 15, USC President Robert Caslen said. Until then, interim provost Tayloe Harding will appoint an interim chief diversity officer, Caslen said. Chief diversity officer is a relatively new position. Before the vote, USC had had only one person, John Dozier, serve in this position. Dozier was a finalist to keep his position at USC, but earlier this month was poached by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Board approves merit-based raises for U. of South Carolina faculty, the first in 13 years
For the first time in 13 years, the University of South Carolina is giving raises to its top professors, the board of trustees voted Friday. The $7.4 million in raises will be broken into to two, main categories. The first half of that money will be used to boost pay for tenured and tenure-track faculty. The second half of that money will be considered "merit-based" and given to faculty by their department based on exceptional performance, President Robert Caslen said at a Friday meeting. In recent years, USC has given "compression" raises, which increase the pay of lower-level employees but do not raise the pay for top professors, USC spokesman Jeff Stensland said. As a result, some new assistant professors were making roughly the same as associate professors who have been around for longer, Caslen said. Faculty Senate Chair Mark Cooper said the "faculty very much appreciates the leadership of the president" in bringing forth the raises.
U. of Florida installing new signs on campus
Some University of Florida signs could take a new direction. Four new signs have been installed on UF's campus. Two of them are located on Southwest 13th Street and point out the locations of UF's hospitals, Innovation District and administration, while the other two signs are in front of Tigert Hall. UF spokesperson Steve Orlando said the signs are mock-ups and part of a plan to help map out the university and bring clarity to these UF properties. The temporary signs vary, and a final design will be decided on. Creating the four mock-ups cost $21,000 for the design, creation and shipping, Orlando said. The project began in November 2018, and the signs were installed in January by UF Facilities Services. The design plan for these signs should be finished by May, and these are the only signs planned, he said. The project is managed by UF's Planning, Design and Construction Division and is overseen by Charlie Lane, UF's senior vice president and chief operating officer, said Linda Dixon, the division's director of planning.
U. of Missouri College of Engineering hosts celebration of black women in engineering
Lack of representation among faculty and the importance of support and unity were some of the topics discussed Friday at the cultural immersion lunch to celebrate black women in engineering. The event was hosted by the University of Missouri College of Engineering's Office of Diversity and Outreach Initiatives and the MU chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. The lunch was the last event of the Women in Engineering Week the office hosts each semester. It was also among the events the society hosts to celebrate Black History Month. This event was different from other cultural immersion lunches because it didn't include a presentation but instead focused on interactions among the community, organizers said. Hilary Mueller, the director of diversity and outreach initiatives at the MU College of Engineering, said cultural immersion lunches create a welcoming and warm environment, which is helpful when discussing issues that could push people out of their comfort zones. "All our events work to include diversity and inclusivity," Mueller said. "We're always looking at ways to empower students and create dialogue about the lack of representation within the field."
Ad Council campaign from White House task force will tout alternatives to bachelor's degree
The Ad Council, which was behind the Smokey Bear and "Just Say No" campaigns for the U.S. government, is set to launch a national advertising promotion for postsecondary education and training alternatives to the four-year college degree. The "groundbreaking" national campaign will be led by the nonprofit Ad Council in "close association" with IBM, Apple and the White House, the council said. The ads "will shine a light on how young and working adults can develop the skills in demand for today's job market," a council spokeswoman said in a written statement, while also seeking to "raise awareness of the wide variety of educational options available, such as coding bootcamps, on-the-job apprenticeships, certifications, associate's degrees and more." The CEOs of Apple and IBM are helping to steer the campaign as part of their role with the White House-convened American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. A large amount of research shows that earning a four-year degree remains the best postsecondary training option for people to make it into the middle class, even amid worries about underemployment and stagnating wage gains for recent graduates of four-year colleges.
Purdue looks to adopt civics knowledge as undergraduate requirement
File it under "possible ways to save the republic"? Purdue University may soon require that all undergraduates, from art historians to wildlife biologists, take and pass a civics test to obtain their degrees. A number of other institutions have some kind of civics requirement. Purdue's proposed "Test+" model is unique, however, in that it would mandate that all students pass a test and demonstrate their knowledge of U.S. history, laws and institutions in some other way. Possible options for completing the second part of the requirement are taking an approved course, completing a specially designed learning module from the campus's 250,000-plus-hour C-SPAN archives and participating in or attending relevant events or experiences (the university's current speaker series on Democracy, Civility and Freedom of Expression might qualify, for example). A working group of the University Senate took up after the idea last year after Purdue president Mitch Daniels asked the body to consider it.
40 years later, landmark Emory gift remains call to public service
Jim Laney was thinking big when he became Emory University's president in 1977. The former dean of Emory's theology school made a list of goals -- more student scholarships, new buildings, additional professors -- and estimated it would cost $165 million. Laney found a somewhat surprising benefactor: Robert W. Woodruff, a middling Emory student who dropped out decades earlier, but still carved out a pretty successful 62-year career, first as president, and later chairman, of Coca-Cola. In November 1979, Woodruff and his younger brother, George, announced what's now called "The Gift." They donated 3 million shares of Coca-Cola stock, then valued at $105 million, to Emory. At that time, it was the largest contribution to a school in American history. Laney comfortably made his fundraising goal. The Coca-Cola shares transfer was completed 40 years ago this month, and Emory has scheduled a program Tuesday to celebrate. The donation changed college philanthropy nationally. Woodruff's goal with the gift was largely to increase the capabilities of Emory, and Atlanta, to address major societal and health care issues. Things changed quickly at Emory.
Could the state be paying 10 percent of cost instead of 100 percent for some mental health patients?
Bobby Harrison writes for Mississippi Today: Medicaid expansion to cover primarily the working poor is not gaining much traction during the 2020 session of the Mississippi Legislature. While Delbert Hosemann indicated during his successful 2019 campaign for lieutenant governor that he would be willing to consider the issue, he has not -- at least publicly -- expended much political capital to place Medicaid expansion on the front burner during the early stages of his tenure as the Senate's presiding officer. That is not surprising since Medicaid expansion does not seem likely to occur at this point with both Gov. Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn expressing opposition. So, there is not much time spent on the issue during the legislative process since the perception is that advocating for Medicaid expansion is almost like tilting at windmills. But the issue came up almost accidentally during a recent meeting of the Senate Public Health Committee where a federal lawsuit that could result in the takeover of the state's mental health system was discussed.

Sports betting could be coming to cellphones
Sports betting at Mississippi casinos is only expected to generate about $5 million annually in tax revenue for the state, but more importantly it has helped to stabilize the gambling industry that had been decreasing in size in recent years. The key, said Allen Godfrey, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, is that sports betting, which began at the state's casinos in August 2018, has increased "the foot traffic" going into casinos. People coming into the casinos to place a wager on a sporting event also are playing other games. While the industry has stabilized, there still are concerns, especially for the casinos on the Mississippi River in the north Delta. At one point, the Tunica region in the North Delta was the state's largest market, but it has struggled in recent years thanks in large part to gaming markets opening in Arkansas, Oklahoma and other locations. Godfrey recently told legislators that actions in other states could further impact the Mississippi casino market, particularly the Tunica market.
Diamond Dogs drop final game to Oregon State
Around the seventh inning on Sunday, thousands of Mississippi State fans shuffled into Dudy Noble Field after watching the ninth-ranked women's basketball team lose at the buzzer to Alabama. When those fans settled into their seats, the 10th-ranked Diamond Dogs were tied 2-2 with Oregon State. But they would soon be treated to a double dose of disappointment. The Beavers scored four runs in the eighth inning and another in the ninth to salvage the final game of the series, 7-2. "I was happy with the first two days and today we got beat," said MSU coach Chris Lemonis. "Oregon State outplayed us in every phase of the game and we got beat. Two out of three is good but when you lose on Sunday, it leaves a bit of a bad taste in your mouth." The homestand will continue with a pair of midweek games beginning with Texas Southern on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Mississippi State baseball suffers first loss as Bulldogs can't finish sweep of Oregon State
Things unraveled quickly for the Mississippi State baseball team in Sunday afternoon's series finale against Oregon State at Dudy Noble Field. The Bulldogs fought back to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth after falling behind the Beavers 2-0, and the two teams battled to a 2-2 draw through seven innings. But with one out in the top of the eighth, Oregon State decided the game had been close for long enough. The Beavers quickly loaded the bases and scored four runs in the inning, added another score in the ninth and finished off a 7-2 win over the Bulldogs on Sunday to stave off a sweep and hand Mississippi State (5-1) its first loss of the season. "The first two days I was happy with, and today we got beat," Mississippi State coach Chris Lemonis said. "Oregon State outplayed us in every phase of the game, and we got beat. Two out of three is good, but when you lose on Sunday, it leaves a little bit of a bad taste in your mouth." After the Bulldogs won 7-2 on Friday and 6-4 on Saturday, it was the Beavers' turn to exact some revenge Sunday.
Mississippi State strikes out 10 times in first loss of the season
Mississippi State entered Sunday looking to remain undefeated with another weekend sweep, but Oregon State had other plans. The Beavers capitalized on Mississippi State pitching for a 7-2 win. "Today we got beat, Oregon State outplayed us in every phase of the game, and we got beat," MSU head coach Chris Lemonis said. Starter Eric Cerantola struck out six batters but also issued five walks and threw three wild pitches. Still, he had only given up two runs when he left the game after five innings. His replacement Riley Self pitched a scoreless sixth inning before handing the ball over to Jared Shemper. Shemper pitched a clean seventh inning then things got away from him in the eighth. With one out, he gave up two hits and issued a walk to load the bases. The next batter hit an RBI single and Shemper was pulled for Jaxen Forrester. An RBI sacrifice fly and a two-run double gave the Beavers (3-4) had all the runs they needed to close out the game. "They put a lot of good at-bats together, that is how you win games," MSU second baseman Justin Foscue said.
Mississippi State's aggressiveness at plate leads to series-clincher over Oregon State
A keen eye was the Bulldogs' greatest offensive weapon as they took the series over Oregon State. In front of a crowd of 12,034 on Saturday, the No. 25 Beavers (2-4) struggled to throw strikes and as good teams do, No. 6 Mississippi State (5-0) took advantage, winning the game 7-4. MSU's patience at the plate was a much-needed improvement after Oregon State struck out 16 Bulldog batters Friday afternoon. On Saturday, Oregon State walked 11 batters and four runs in. Mississippi State piled onto what Oregon State gave them with a Josh Hatcher solo shot into the Left Field Lounge to leadoff the fifth inning. Brandon Pimentel and Logan Tanner each hit RBI singles in the first and sixth innings respectively. MSU head coach Chris Lemonis liked his team's approach from the plate on Saturday compared to Friday. "We did do a better job and competed," Lemonis said. "They accepted the challenge today."
Patience at the plate pays dividends for Diamond Dogs on Saturday
No. 10 Mississippi State made the most of the opportunities presented to it by Oregon State in the early innings on Saturday. Beaver pitchers walked eight batters and hit another during the first three frames which allowed the Bulldogs to plate four runs en route to a 7-4 victory to take the series in front of a February record crowd of 12,034 at Dudy Noble Field. "We did a better job (at the plate) and competed," said MSU coach Chris Lemonis. "They accepted the challenge a little bit. A lot of the strikeouts the day before were due to a really good starting pitcher." After an RBI single by Brandon Pimentel in the first inning, Oregon State (2-4) walked in three more runs in the second. The Beavers also drilled pinch hitter Tanner Allen with the bases loaded in the fourth frame to tack on another run.
Clutch hitting from Brandon Pimentel, Justin Foscue lift Mississippi State in 6-2 win over Oregon State
Mississippi State's bats connected with nothing but air for the majority of Friday's weekend series opener against Oregon State at Dudy Noble Field. Then, everything changed on two at-bats. On two pitches, actually. Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth inning with the bases loaded, MSU second baseman Justin Foscue played hero with a first-pitch two-RBI single down the left field line to tie the contest. On the next pitch, left fielder Brandon Pimentel deposited a souvenir into right field, crushing a ball 372 feet for a three-run bomb that was the go-ahead hit in the Bulldogs' 6-2 victory over the Beavers. It was a "welcome to the show" for OSU freshman reliever Will Frisch, who let in five runs on his first two pitches (but was only charged for two). David Dunlavey picked up the win for MSU in relief, throwing three innings of one-run ball while striking out two batters. Spencer Price closed out the game for MSU in a scoreless ninth inning.
Here's how the Mississippi State baseball team came back against Oregon State
It looked as if Mississippi State's undefeated start to the 2020 season was over on Friday afternoon. Then, the bottom of the eighth inning happened in Starkville. The Bulldogs trailed 2-0 when Jordan Westburg and Rowdey Jordan reached base with no outs. Then, Josh Hatcher walked to load the bases for Justin Foscue. After Oregon State made a pitching change, Foscue delivered a two-run single to tie the game. Brandon Pimental then homered over the right field wall to drive in three more runs and give Mississippi State its first lead of the day. After two outs, the Bulldogs (4-0) scored once more on a wild pitch before the inning was over. Oregon State left-hander Christian Chamberlain had a career-high 12 strikeouts for the Beavers (2-3) in 5 1/3 innings. He was taken out of the game once his pitch count hit 90. Right-hander David Dunlavey got the win for Mississippi State after pitching three innings, giving up two hits and one run. Dunlavey improved to 1-0 on the season. Oregon State reliever Cooper Hjerpe took the loss for the Beavers to go to 0-1 on the year.
Plans underway for Humphrey Coliseum renovations
The home of the Mississippi State University basketball teams will soon get a makeover. The state College Board approved a $50 million budget to renovate the Humphrey Coliseum. Mississippi State University Architect and Director of Designing and Planning Tim Muzzi said fans will see some cosmetic changes like premium seating and a club level on the concourse. Workers will also expand the concourses by adding restrooms, concession stands and redoing the teams' dressing rooms. Muzzi said the project will be split up into 4 phases. Designing, planning and construction for the project will take about 3 to 4 years to complete. Muzzi said work on the renovations could start as early as this fall.
Alabama stuns Mississippi State women on last-second tip-in
The ball hung around the rim as the final seconds ticked down Sunday. Then Alabama's Megan Abrams went airborne in response. Desperate to clean up a missed shot from her teammate to avoid overtime, Abrams connected on a tip-in basket as the final buzzer sounded Sunday at Humphrey Coliseum, leading the Crimson Tide to a massive 66-64 upset over No. 9 Mississippi State (23-5, 11-3 SEC). "We got what we deserved, to be quite honest with you," MSU coach Vic Schaefer said. The moment Abrams' shot fell, elation came over the Alabama (16-11, 6-8) bench, as the entire team rushed the floor. "I'm proud of our kids today," Alabama coach Kristy Curry said. "They never quit and haven't quit all year. We've been in this same situation and come up short, we could easily be sitting at 9-4 (in the league). But we turned the tide a little bit and found a way." On the flipside, disbelief came over Mississippi State.
Mississippi State softball loses to BYU, beats San Diego State at Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic
The Mississippi State softball team rebounded from a loss to BYU with a win over San Diego State late Saturday night in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs, California. The Bulldogs (12-3) beat the Aztecs 10-4 in their final game of the tournament behind a pair of big innings: a four-run second and a five-run fourth. Senior first baseman Fa Leilua led Mississippi State with a 3-for-4 day featuring a two-run home run and an RBI single. Junior designated player Carter Spexarth and junior third baseman Montana Davidson also homered for Mississippi State. Spexarth went deep to left in the second inning to start the scoring, and Davidson hit a two-run shot in the fourth. Mississippi State will host Central Arkansas at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Nusz Park in Starkville.
Five-run second inning propels Mississippi State softball past UC Riverside
A five-run second inning was plenty for the Mississippi State softball team Friday evening in a 6-3 win over UC Riverside in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in Palm Springs, California. The Bulldogs (11-2) touched UC Riverside starter Megan Casper for the five-spot and added a run in the third inning to stretch their lead to 6-1. The Highlanders got two late runs back in the top of the seventh. "The girls really made some good adjustments today," head coach Samantha Ricketts said in a news release from Mississippi State. "Many of our outs were even hard-hit balls. We've been waiting to see the pieces of our lineup all come together at the same time, and we really saw that in the big inning." Freshman second baseman Aquana Brownlee drove in two runs on an error to get the scoring started in the second, senior left fielder Candace Denis followed with a two-run double, and junior designated player Mia Davidson singled Denis home as the Bulldogs struck in quick succession.
Mississippi State football: Why Mike Leach retained Tony Hughes
Many things are different at Mississippi State now, but at least one thing remained the same. The Bulldogs are probably better for it, too. Mike Leach enacted an upheaval of nearly the entire coaching staff when he became MSU's new head coach last month. Only one coach from the previous staff was retained, and it's not a coincidence that he was the one to stay. It's long-time Magnolia State coaching stalwart Tony Hughes. Hughes, who has made coaching stops at Ole Miss, Southern Miss and Jackson State in addition to MSU, is Mississippi State's current nickelbacks coach. But his title also says associate head coach. Leach could have given that responsibility to anybody, including one of the seven assistants he brought with him from Washington State. Instead he gave the title to Hughes, an indicator of the respect he has for the man who has over three decades worth of experience coaching high school and college football in the state of Mississippi. "It didn't take me long to learn that Tony Hughes is one of the most respected coaches in Mississippi," Leach said.
East Mississippi Community College hosts 8th Annual Intercollegiate Rodeo
Some of the South's rising, young rodeo stars are competing in Meridian this weekend. Ten colleges and universities from across the region are competing in East Mississippi Community College's 8th Annual Intercollegiate Rodeo at the Lauderdale County Agri-Center. The goal make it to the college national finals rodeo in Casper, Wyoming. This rodeo is the spring opener for the Ozark Region. The event includes bareback riding, tie-down roping, breakaway roping, saddle bronco riding, and bull riding. More than 250 contestants are competing. We talked to one rider who says it's good to have event like this close to home. I like that it's here in Meridian because it's not very far from us. Our coaches do a lot for us and help us to be on our best A-game. When we come here, we're ready to rock and roll," says EMCC rider Morgan Massa.
84-year-old woman wins new car at Ole Miss basketball game with 94-foot putt
There was one bright spot for Ole Miss in the Pavilion on Saturday night. The Ole Miss men's basketball team suffered a 103-78 loss to the University of Alabama during the game, but 84-year-old Mary Ann Wakefield won big during one of the in-game entertainment segments. Wakefield sank a 94-foot putt to win a 2020 Nissan Altima. Wakefield was immediately congratulated with a hug from Tony the Landshark as the in-arena DJ let off multiple air horns to acknowledge the epic moment. Ole Miss students and fans alike gave Wakefield a standing ovation. As of early Sunday afternoon, the shot received over 11,000 retweets and over 73,000 likes from the SportsCenter account that posted it on Twitter. The shot was also posted by the Golf Channel.
New general manager tasked with finding new events for Texas A&M's Reed Arena
Darren Davis is settling into his new position as general manager of Reed Arena at Texas A&M University after one week on the job and said he is excited to try finding unique events to host at the venue. Davis is charged with managing operations such as personnel and budget, while also running athletic events, Aggie Muster, commencement ceremonies and more. Davis reports to the athletic department's Kevin Hurley, senior associate athletic director for facilities, events and construction. Hurley said Davis' position isn't a new one and that the previous person who held the same responsibilities has been reassigned to find special events for other A&M athletic facilities. Hurley said bringing on a second person to seek out events within A&M athletic facilities is due in part to being in the Southeastern Conference, which he said has created a desire to "increase our profile" within the community and the state. He said he hopes Davis will play a key role in bringing more events such as concerts, conventions and conferences to the center.
Auburn student ejected, banned from Auburn Arena after xenophobic remark directed at Vols player
An Auburn student was escorted from The Jungle and banned from Auburn Arena after making a xenophobic remark during the Tigers' home game Saturday against Tennessee. The student, whose identity was not disclosed, was identified and ejected from the arena by Auburn officials after being identified for making a xenophobic comment directed at Tennessee's Santiago Vescovi during the first half of the game. The student's remark was picked up by microphones in the stands and could be heard during the CBS broadcast of the game, which Auburn won 73-66 after erasing a 17-point second-half deficit. Once aware of the remark, Auburn officials were able to quickly identify the student with the help of other fans in the student section behind the announcer's table. According to an Auburn official, the student is not welcome back to Auburn Arena and any further discipline will be handled by the office of student affairs.
An Analysis Of College Football Recruiting Costs
During the 2019 fiscal year, Georgia became the first school to surpass the $3 million mark in college football recruiting expenses, blowing past it after investing $3,676,858 into football recruiting last fiscal year -- more than $1 million more than its nation-leading $2.62M spent in 2018. Thirty-eight of the 52 public Power Five schools spent more on college football recruiting than they did in 2018. On average, public Power Five schools spent $103,478 more on recruiting, per school, than they did during the previous recruiting cycle, continuing an upwards trend in the investment on the recruiting trail across the sport. It's worth noting that while schools track the same types of expenses under the category of recruiting, the way they do their accounting could vary from school to school. That starts with the nation's leading spender in recruiting -- Georgia. "I think those numbers are skewed a bit because we don't have our own airplane or our jet," Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.

The Office of Public Affairs provides the Daily News Digest as a general information resource for Mississippi State University stakeholders.
Web links are subject to change. Submit news, questions or comments to Jim Laird.
Mississippi State University  •  Mississippi State, MS 39762  •  Main Telephone: (662) 325-2323  •   Contact: The Editor  |  The Webmaster  •   Updated: February 24, 2020Facebook Twitter