Friday, October 9, 2020   
Delta soybean farmers trying to beat Hurricane Delta to harvest
Soybean growers in the Mississippi Delta are hustling to beat Hurricane Delta. Row crop producers across the state are joining in the scramble to harvest as many of their crops as possible before the storm's expected heavy rains batter their fields. "When you have a hurricane forecasted during harvest season, growers work extra hard to get as much of their crop out as possible before excess rain can cause damage to seed and make field conditions so wet that machine harvest becomes difficult," said Trent Irby, soybean specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. "This time of year, the soil and plants won't dry out as fast as they do in August and September. Some fields could be difficult to get into until next year if we get a major rain event now," he said. China began buying large quantities of soybeans beginning the first part of August, and prices have been going up ever since. The November futures contract has been trading above $10 a bushel since mid-September based on Chinese purchases of U.S. soybeans, said Extension row crop economist Will Maples.
Growers rush to harvest soybeans before Delta visits
Soybean growers in the Mississippi Delta are hustling to beat Hurricane Delta. Row crop producers across the state are joining in the scramble to harvest as many of their crops as possible before the storm's expected heavy rains batter their fields. As of Oct. 4, only 45% of the state's soybean crop had been harvested, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. The five-year harvest average in early October is around 65%. Of the major row crops, soybean markets bore the least direct impact from COVID-19. The U.S. still faces competition in the export market from Brazil, and recent exchange rate movements have reduced the price of Brazilian soybeans, making them more competitive with the U.S. on the international market.
Nights are warming faster than days. Here's what that means for the planet.
Climate change can have profound impacts across ecosystems, but rising average temperatures are just one factor among many driving those repercussions. A new study published in late September in Global Change Biology found that nighttime temperatures are increasing at a faster rate compared to daytime temps in most land areas across the Earth. That shift can influence everything from predator-prey dynamics to plant growth. "Climate change is already messing things up," says Daniel Cox, an ecologist at the University of Exeter and lead author of the study. "But the 24-hour asymmetry is adding an extra dimension of complexity [for species]." The paper is good, timely, and important," says Brandon Barton, an ecologist at Mississippi State University who wasn't involved in the research. "Very few studies have done a good job at having multiple factors [associated with climate change]." Climate change isn't simply evenly warming things up; temperatures are changing at different rates between seasons or times of day. Wind, rainfall, and snow patterns are also changing.
Mexican restaurant prepares for 2021 opening in Cotton District
Jose Garcia, owner and founder of Uno Mas in Oxford and Madison, said he hopes for the Starkville location to open by March. He also said he hopes the Starkville community cheers "uno mas" after each chip, taco and margarita. Taking advantage of a prime vacancy, Uno Mas will open at 106 Maxwell St., the former location of STAGgerIN Sports Bar. "I like college towns. I'm originally from Oxford," Garcia said. "It's going to be a modern taqueria that will hopefully attract the younger crowd." Uno Mas locations opened in Madison in 2015 and Oxford in 2019. The restaurant specializes with fresh "elevated street tacos" and homemade tortillas. If your taste buds are watering and you don't think you can wait until March 2021, Garcia said he's sending a food truck out each home game day weekend to give the Starkville crowd a sneak peek of the Mexican cuisine. "We're definitely excited to go to another college town," Garcia said. "We hope people find the quality in our food and fresh-squeezed margaritas."
Mississippi could see winds of up to 65 mph during storm
Mississippi is not likely to see the very worst of the storm making its way toward the region, as Hurricane Delta is expected to make landfall in Louisiana Friday, charting a similar path to Hurricane Laura in late August. Still, Gov. Tate Reeves urged residents to stay vigilant and prepare for the worst-case scenario. Hurricane Delta is expected to make landfall Friday evening in southwestern Louisiana. The storm is then expected to enter Mississippi in the late morning on Saturday, bringing heavy wind, a few feet of storm surge, moderate rainfall and possibly tornadoes. Reeves said those living in the coastal, southwestern parts of the state and the Mississippi Delta can expect winds between 45 to 65 mph after the storm enters the state. West, central and northern counties could also see around 2 to 4 inches of rain, with the rest of the state seeing 1 to 2 inches. The storm is expected to remain in the state for around 30 hours, departing through Corinth at 2 a.m. Sunday, Reeves said.
Rent-to-own housing designed to help low-income residents buy homes, rarely works out that way
Rent-to-own housing is marketed as a path to homeownership for low-income individuals and families, who can rent a home for a certain amount of time while a portion of the rent contributes to a down payment for the eventual purchase of the home. "Lease-to-own is really common in Mississippi, and it's because there are so many people who, because of credit issues and low income, can't obtain conventional lending," said Desiree Hensley, director for the Low-Income Housing Clinic at the University of Mississippi School of Law. In her experience as a housing lawyer, Hensley said, she has not seen rent-to-own deals work out as well in practice as they do in theory. Section 42 of the Internal Revenue Tax Code provides tax credits to investors who build affordable housing. Section 42 housing developments are not always rent-to-own, but this is "an allowable use" of the program, Mississippi Home Corporation executive director Scott Spivey said. Lowndes County has five Section 42 developments: Hargrove Estates, Lowndes Properties III, two developments at Providence Place and, most recently, Fountain Square. Oktibbeha County has two of these developments, both part of the Reed Place housing complex.
Universal Music is turning Biloxi's historic Broadwater Hotel into a $1.2B resort
They announced in June a $1.2 billion casino resort would be built on the Broadwater site in Biloxi, and on Friday Universal Music Group said Biloxi will be one of the first three locations that will launch its new UMUSIC Hotels. The first hotels -- in Biloxi, Atlanta and Orlando -- will embody each location's unique spirit and draw inspiration from their local culture, according to a Friday morning press release. Biloxi is the only location where a casino is allowed. The UMUSIC Broadwater Hotel in Biloxi will provide a "stunning" performance venue and a luxury hotel with an immersive architecture style, the company said. In June, the Biloxi council approved a tourism tax incentive for developers who intended to redevelop the 266-acre property with a casino, golf course, hotel, spa and other amenities, according to the city resolution. The resorts will be designed to be "creative hubs in communities around the world -- promoting positive social change, education and innovation through the power of music," the press release said. At $1.2 billion, the resort would be the most expensive ever built in South Mississippi. The estimated cost of the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino was $750 million to $800 million when Steve Wynn opened it in Biloxi in 1999.
World Food Program wins Nobel Peace Prize as hunger surges
The World Food Program won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its efforts to combat hunger in regions facing conflict and hardship and at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has driven millions more people to the brink of starvation. The Rome-based United Nations agency has long specialized in getting assistance to some of the world's most dangerous and precarious places, from air-dropping food in South Sudan and Syria to creating an emergency delivery service that kept aid flowing even as antivirus restrictions grounded commercial flights. It provided assistance to almost 100 million people in 88 countries last year. The head of the organization said his entire team deserved the award. "I know I'm not deserving of an award like this, but all the men and women around the world in the World Food Program and our partners who put their lives on the line every day," David Beasley told The Associated Press by phone from Niger, where he was visiting Friday. The organization has long been headed by an American, and U.S. President Donald Trump nominated the former Republican governor of South Carolina for the post in 2017.
World Food Program, headed by former SC Gov. David Beasley, wins Nobel Peace Prize
Former South Carolina governor David Beasley was in Niger Friday when he learned the United Nations agency he leads -- the World Food Programme -- won the Nobel Peace Prize. Reacting on Twitter, he quickly deflected to the many members of the staff stationed around the globe who move tons of food by ship, plane and truck every day to some of the most inhospitable, war torn places on the planet. "I mean this is the first time in my life I've been speechless," said Beasley, who took over leadership of the program in 2017 on the recommendation of former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley. "This is unbelievable," he continued. "Talk about the most exciting point in time in your life, it's the Nobel Peace Prize. And it's because of the WP family. They're out there in the most difficult, complex places in the world. Whether it's war, conflict, climate extremes, it doesn't matter, they're out there and they deserve this award." The Nobel Committee said that the problem of hunger has again become more acute in recent years, not least because the pandemic has added to the hardship already faced by millions of people around the world.
September revenue report $67.3 million over estimate
Total revenue collections for the month of September FY 2021 are $67,309,401 or 14.60% above the sine die revenue estimate. Fiscal YTD revenue collections through September 2020 are $131,936,646 or 9.43% above the sine die estimate. Fiscal YTD total revenue collections through September 2020 are $246,960,988 or 19.24% above the prior year's collections. The FY 2021 Sine Die Revenue Estimate is $5,690,700,000. September FY 2021 General Fund collections were $11,757,095 or 2.18% below September FY 2020 actual collections. Sales tax collections for the month of September were below the prior year by $17.9M. Individual income tax collections for the month of September were below the prior year by $24.7M. Corporate income tax collections for the month of September were below the prior year by $3.5M.
Future of Hospitality Flag car tags uncertain with new design selected for ballot
The state has no plans to phase out specialty car tags featuring the Hospitality Flag. However, officials say the tag likely could go away, with the banner not in contention to be the next state flag. "It will continue in circulation until people stop buying it, which I imagine they will when a new flag is chosen," said Mississippi Department of Revenue spokesman Jacob Manley. The tag features the design formerly known as the Stennis Flag. The flag was designed by Northsider Laurin Stennis and has long been backed as an alternative to the previous banner, which features the Confederate battle emblem in the upper left corner. Stennis' design had been so popular that Gov. Phil Bryant signed legislation in April 2019, allowing the flag to be featured on a specialty car tag. Specialty tags come with an additional $33 fee, on top of the annual license plate renewal or purchase fees. Twenty-four dollars of every tag sold goes toward the Two Mississippi Museums. Since its inception, 1,735 Hospitality Flag plates have been purchased or renewed, and $57,629 has been distributed to the museums, Manley said.
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith fires guns, focuses on Supreme Court nomination at campaign event
In a rare public campaign appearance on Wednesday, incumbent U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith fired guns at a shooting range and fired up her base with some red meat on law and order, President Donald Trump and a pending U.S. Supreme Court confirmation. "You're not hearing anybody talk about the borders anymore," Hyde-Smith told a crowd of about 150 at a Madison, Hinds and Rankin County Republican Women event held at The Range by Jimmy Primos in Gluckstadt. "We have got to win this election. You talk about an open border, lawlessness, civil unrest, we can see an America that we do not recognize. I just encourage you to stay engaged, continue to ask your friends. We are 27 days out. It has been such an honor to represent you, it truly has and I have a great staff in D.C., I'm seeing so many of them out there. We need a conservative fighter in this seat," Hyde-Smith said. "We need somebody that can stand up for unborn children, somebody that can stand up for the Second Amendment to protect our gun rights. We need somebody that understands Mississippi rural health care and everything that entails."
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, Rep. Trent Kelly visit DeSoto County as election looms
Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Rep. Trent Kelly visited DeSoto County this week for a dinner hosted by the Tate County Republican Club. "To have this many people out here tonight for an event like this -- guys, this doesn't happen all over the state," Hyde-Smith said in her speech. Hyde-Smith focused on the looming battle for the next appointment to the Supreme Court, saying she had talked with Amy Coney Barrett. Barrett is President Donald Trump's choice to take the seat of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "I said, 'You know what I'm looking for?' I said, 'I'm looking for a true constitutionalist,'" Hyde-Smith said. "We have that." Kelly also mentioned the Supreme Court hearings, saying Trump's controversial decision to appoint Barrett so close to the November election was in line with precedent. Kelly also spoke about how unproductive the House of Representatives had been over the last months.
'The last thing I'm worried about': Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith walks back willingness to debate Mike Espy
Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who less than a week ago said she "wouldn't mind" debating Democratic challenger Mike Espy, said on Wednesday evening a debate is "the last thing I'm worried about." Espy has accepted two debate invitations and has publicly chided Hyde-Smith for not doing the same. "There is just such stark differences," Hyde-Smith told WJTV on Wednesday. "So why would such stark differences, so much emphasis being put on a debate -- if it was, if we were so close and people really wanted to hear, Mike Espy would be the most liberal candidate we've ever had in Mississippi. I'm a proven conservative, so, you know, I don't think a lot of minds would be changed." Mississippi politicos have surmised that Hyde-Smith -- prone to gaffes on the public campaign trail -- believes she has a substantial lead in the race, can ride President Donald Trump's coattails with voters, and is otherwise laying low and trying not to give Espy's campaign any platform.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says coronavirus relief package 'unlikely' before election
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested Friday that Congress is "unlikely" to reach an agreement on a coronavirus rescue package before the Nov. 3 election, amid confusion and weeks of stalled negotiations. During remarks at an event in Kentucky, McConnell reiterated that the upcoming election will only make it more difficult for Democrats, Republicans and the White House to find common ground on a package, even as millions of Americans remain unemployed and more than 210,000 people have died from the coronavirus. "The situation is kind of murky and I think the murkiness is a result of the proximity to the election and everybody kind of trying to elbow for political advantage," McConnell said. "I'd like to see us rise above that like we did back in March and April but I think that's unlikely in the next three weeks." McConnell's remarks come after President Donald Trump has sent mixed signals about whether he wants Congress to pass a coronavirus relief package.
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue endorsed President Trump in official speech, violating the law
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was ordered to reimburse the government for a trip to North Carolina after his speech included comments backing President Donald Trump's re-election. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a government watchdog organization, filed a complaint after that Aug. 24 speech and accused Perdue of violating the Hatch Act. This federal law prevents government officials from using their office to endorse candidates or engage in political activity. Perdue, Georgia's former governor, had traveled to Mills River, N.C., with Trump to give a speech about the Farmers to Families Food Box. This $4 billion coronavirus assistance program distributed fresh produce, meat and dairy products from American producers to needy families. In his remarks, Perdue said the program was indicative of the president's benevolence and a reason why he was supporting his re-election campaign. Asked by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel to explain his comments, Perdue said he was describing the president's past behavior and speculating on what he would do in the future if re-elected. Perdue said he had not encouraged anyone to vote a certain way. The Special Counsel's office determined that the remarks still ran afoul of the Hatch Act and directed him to reimburse the U.S. Treasury for the cost of the trip.
Supreme Court Refuses To Block Lower Court Order On Abortion Pills
The U.S. Supreme Court has refused, for now, to reimpose FDA regulations that require women seeking medication abortion to pick up the prescribed pills in person at a clinic instead of by mail. The court's decision came Thursday night on a 6-to-2 vote that rejected an emergency appeal from the Trump administration. The challenge to the FDA regulation was brought by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists after the agency relaxed similar regulations for other drugs -- including opioids -- in order to limit patients' exposure to Covid-19 during the pandemic, but refused to relax the same rule for those with prescriptions for abortions with pills in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. On Thursday night, the Supreme Court turned down the Trump administration's attempt to block the lower court order. But the decision was more of a punt, than a long-lasting decree. The language of the one-paragraph order seemed to suggest that the court was simply unwilling to make any decision in an abortion case two weeks after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, and just days before the U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as Ginsburg's replacement.
Gretchen Whitmer kidnap plot: Why Michigan is hotbed for armed groups
The Wolverine Watchmen, the Michigan group accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and others, is one of an estimated two to three dozen armed Michigan groups that some fear could pose a growing threat. Michigan has had a long history of groups of armed men and women, which are active in every state, according to Amy Cooter, a senior lecturer at Vanderbilt University, who has studied them for more than a dozen years. Modern armed groups, she said, date to the early 1990s as a response to perceived fears of tyrannical government. The state "has always been a hotbed for militia activity," with a strong presence ever since the early 1990s, Cooter said. "The militias in Michigan have always been the kind to which other states' militias look up to." Thursday, law enforcement arrested 13 people, including seven members of the Wolverine Watchmen, which sparked a national conversation about domestic terrorism and the purpose of these private, loosely organized and armed organizations. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel took aim at the Wolverine Watchmen, saying there has been a "disturbing increase in anti-government rhetoric" and she condemned the reemergence of groups that embrace "extremist ideologies" and seek to seize on civil unrest to promote armed resistance.
UM Chancellor Glenn Boyce and deans speak at freshman convocation
Traditionally, a guest is invited to impart outside wisdom unto the entering class of students at the University of Mississippi during Freshman Convocation, but this year, incoming students were invited to listen to various university deans and Chancellor Glenn Boyce. Dean of Students Brent Marsh hosted Freshman Convocation via YouTube and Facebook Live video on Tuesday, Oct. 6. However, the video was prerecorded. Marsh began by riding in on a skateboard and donning a grey face mask. "I am impressed by your resilience thus far and would encourage you to keep pressing on," Marsh said. In his section of the video, Boyce described how important the university is to him and how he hopes that all students will feel the same way while attending. Boyce also discussed the freshman class's common reading book, "What the Eyes Don't See" by Mona Hanna-Attisha, which explores the lack of clean water in Flint, Mich. Boyce related the content of the book to the coronavirus, noting that the essential message is that everyone has responsibility to value and protect public health.
U. of Southern Mississippi unveils bronze sculpture of Oseola McCarty
The life and legacy of Oseola McCarty is being honored with a new a bronze sculpture unveiled at the University of Southern Mississippi Thursday. In 1995, McCarty designated USM as the beneficiary of a $150,000 planned gift. As an 87-year-old laundress who lived frugally, this gift represented not only the majority of her life savings, but also her generosity. Located on Weathersby Lawn, the new life-size bronze sculpture, marking the 25th anniversary of McCarty's gift, is the work of local artist Ben Watts of Columbia, Miss. It was commissioned by the USM Foundation Board of Directors as a gift to the university. An empty chair was designed and placed next to her. Visitors are invited to take a seat with her like many friends did over the years at her home on Miller Street in Hattiesburg. Though she never set foot on USM's Hattiesburg campus before 1995, McCarty knew the importance of an education and wanted to help students in her community. When asked by her attorney and banker who she desired to leave her assets to after her lifetime, she confidently said her church, three relatives and the University of Southern Mississippi.
USM upgrading message board at corner of Hardy St., Highway 49
The University of Southern Mississippi's electronic message board at the corner of Hardy Street and Highway 49 is getting a makeover. USM's Physical Plant says work began Monday to install new LED video boards, replace the brick exterior and add a new copper roof. The work is expected to be finished in April 2021. The sign was built in in 1998. The estimated cost of construction is $225,000.
Meridian Community College's Honors College yields challenges, offers opportunities
From accounting to sound engineering and all things in between, members of the Phil Hardin Foundation Honors College at Meridian Community College have chosen a wide range of potential careers. One common thread with this year's group of 70 students: they're high achievers. "The Phil Hardin Foundation Honors College is an integral part of Meridian Community College. It is crucial to offer our higher-performing students an avenue to explore their intellectual abilities," said Morgan Boothe, co-director of MCC's Honors College, and English instructor. Candace Rainer, math instructor and math division chair, also serves as co-director. Designed to complement the University Transfer Program through enriched courses, the Honors College develops students' leadership skills and offers more individualized academic support. Additionally, students gain the opportunity for growth through volunteering and meeting with leaders and stewards of the community. Travel is also a component of the program.
Federal grant will fund storm shelter on U. of Alabama campus
A federal grant will fund an 833-person storm shelter on the University of Alabama campus. The 6,700-square-foot shelter will be constructed on UA's Services Campus, which is on the east side of campus along Helen Keller Boulevard, and will be available to students, faculty and staff, university officials said. With a $2 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, this shelter will feature a natural gas-powered generator and will be able to withstand winds of up to 250 mph. "The storm shelter that will be built with funds from this FEMA grant will help make the University Services Campus safer for all occupants," said Ralph Clayton, associate vice president for public safety, in announcing the grant award. "UA Public Safety is pleased the university received this FEMA award because it further supports safety on campus."
Auburn University says 'most classes' will be offered in-person this spring
Auburn University is planning to offer most of its classes during the spring 2021 semester I person, according to an email sent to students from Provost Bill Hardgrave. "Given the success of the fall semester, thanks to you and the entire campus community, we are confident that with your continued adherence to safety protocols that Auburn can safely hold a spring 2021 semester that supports in-person teaching as our primary instructional delivery method," Hardgrave said. In an email obtained by The Plainsman which was sent to faculty last month, Hardgrave said that any faculty members wishing to offer their classes remotely will have to receive approval from the dean of their college. "Any exceptions to in-person instruction (specifically courses where less than half of the contact hours are delivered in-person) must be approved by the dean of your college," Hardgrave said. Reporting by The Plainsman earlier this semester found that many students and faculty members have chosen to limit their time on campus this semester for a variety of reasons. Registration for the spring semester will begin next month, and Hardgrave said in his email to students that the delivery method of the class will be indicated.
Texas A&M shortens 2021 spring break to single day
Texas A&M University has shortened its 2021 spring break from one full week to one day on March 19, A&M Provost Carol A. Fierke announced in an email to faculty, staff and students Thursday morning. Fierke said the decision was made to minimize extensive travel and allow the semester to conclude earlier for additional commencements. With spring break shortened, A&M has added a holiday on March 2 for Texas Independence Day. A&M's spring semester will now end April 29, with the last finals taking place May 7. An additional day has been added to the finals schedule because of increased asynchronous remote delivery. Additional days also have been added to the planned spring in-person commencement schedule. A&M will have its spring graduations over a two-week period from May 8-21 to allow for safety. This announcement comes a day after A&M said it will hold 15 in-person commencement ceremonies in December for students graduating this fall.
Female academics saw their own experiences with #manterrupting in this week's vice presidential debate
Yes, there was a fly on Vice President Mike Pence's head during this week's vice presidential debate. But before the insect stole the show, social media was already abuzz with comments about Pence's multiple interruptions of his opponent, Senator Kamala Harris, and his refusal to stop talking when moderator Susan Page called time. Page signaled to Harris to stop talking 13 times. She had to signal Pence 45 times. In a bonus round of what's been called "manterrupting," former politician Rick Santorum interrupted commentator Gloria Borger while she was talking about Pence's interruptions on CNN following the debate. These scenes resonated with many of the female academics watching. Manterrupting, sometimes followed by "mansplaining" or "manologues," doesn't just feel real -- it is real, across sectors. Studies have documented the phenomenon, including one that found 66 percent of all interruptions during oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court were directed at the three women on the bench as of 2015. Analyses of earlier arguments showed that the share of interruptions directed at women grew as their numbers grew.
55 Higher Education Organizations Condemn President Trump's Executive Order on Diversity Training
On Thursday, the American Council on Education and 54 other higher education associations signed a letter condemning President Donald J. Trump's Sept. 22 executive order prohibiting diversity training for all federal contractors and grant recipients, including colleges and universities. Signers of the letter include the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Common App, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Phi Beta Kappa Society and others. The executive order seeks to ban training materials "rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors." The letter accuses the president of causing "concern, confusion, and uncertainty for federal contractors and grant recipients across the country" because of the executive order's "timing, content, and discordant tone." It also argues that the prohibition goes against Trump's anti-regulatory stance and curtails campus free speech.
Pandemic threatens food security for many college students
When university presidents were surveyed in spring of 2020 about what they felt were the most pressing concerns of COVID-19, college students going hungry didn't rank very high. Just 14% of the presidents listed food or housing insecurity among their top five concerns. Granted, these academic leaders had plenty of other things to worry about. Some 86% said they were worried about fall enrollment -- a concern that has shown itself to be a legitimate one, especially in light of the fact that low-income students have been dropping out of college at what one headline described as "alarming rates." As researchers who specialize in the study of food insecurity, we see the dropout rate as being related to a host of underlying issues. And not having enough to eat is one of them. Data support this view. The signs of this growing problem -- known as food insecurity -- began to emerge when the COVID-19 epidemic was beginning to take its toll. When students don't really know if they'll be able to get enough to eat, it can lead to a series of problems that make it harder to stay in school.
On the Front Lines of Stopping Covid-19 on College Campuses: Resident Advisers
n the dormitories at Arizona State University this fall, enforcing mask wearing and limiting guests in residence rooms is part of the job of fellow students. The more than 300 community assistants are mostly upperclassmen who, before Covid-19, spent their time solving roommate troubles and patrolling for underage alcohol. This year, many say, they also get a lot of questions about navigating the university health system. In Manzanita Hall, a coed freshman dormitory, community assistant Janae Stevenson, 20 years old, talked to two of her residents on FaceTime the second week of classes after the residents found out they had tested positive for Covid-19. "I started getting really shaky and emotional because I was overwhelmed," Ms. Stevenson said. "This is the first time I've been directly associated with anyone who has the coronavirus." ASU, one of the largest public universities in the nation, with 127,500 enrolled students systemwide this semester, is offering three types of classes this fall: in-person, a combination of in-person and online called ASU Sync, and fully online courses. About 9,700 students moved into the Tempe dorms this semester, compared with about 12,735 students in fall 2019.
2020 Has Been a Hard Year for Higher Ed. Could 2021 Be Worse?
Colleges are now starting to calculate the full costs of the coronavirus, including the fallout from declining enrollments and rising operating costs. Barbara K. Mistick, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, said that the extra spending required to keep colleges open will lead to more layoffs in the spring if Congress fails to pass another stimulus bill that aids higher education. Many public institutions will be making more budget cuts as states offset steep declines in tax revenues. The Urban Institute estimates that state revenues will fall by as much as $200 billion by end of the 2021 fiscal year. Early figures on college enrollment show a slight decline overall -- less than 3 percent for undergraduate students, according to figures from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. But institutions vary widely.

The 'blueprint': How a Mississippi State football player gives back to his hometown
Jeff Akins searched for strength in his players' eyes. His 12-year-old Starkville Cowboys needed a stop and a score to advance in the 2010 playoffs. With the game on the line, Akins probed for power by scanning the sideline. "We can tell if you really want it or not by looking in your eyes," Akins said. "It was that critical moment in the game when you ask them, 'Are you ready? Do you want this?'" Yes and yes. The Cowboys made the defensive stand they needed to have a chance to win the game. The player who made the tackle, all 5-foot-11 of him, ran up to the 5-foot-5 Akins and told him something he'll never forget. "When we got the stop, he ran off the field and came up to me and said, 'Coach, I want it. I need it,'" Akins said. "He had that look in his eyes. If we had 11 guys like that, we wouldn't have needed a stop that bad in the first place. But we had one of him, and that was enough." That guy was Kobe Jones. A decade later, Jones' team is still in good hands whenever he's between the white lines. The senior defensive end is one of the most instrumental players on a Mississippi State team that ranks No. 2 in the SEC and No. 6 in the country in total defense.
Fight club: The inside story of Mike Leach, Hal Mumme and Guy Morriss' boxing offensive linemen and the 1997 Kentucky Wildcats
Dr. George Ginter has spent a lifetime knocking people out. A 1983 graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Ginter has been practicing anesthesiology in the Lexington area for more than three decades. His desk teems family photos, medical journals and other varying reminders of his long medical career. But mixed into the array is a snapshot on the back of his door that feels out of place. Donning a gray Washington State hoodie, Ginter is flanked in the image by Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach on his left and Leach's wife Sharon to the right. "Give my regards to Mike and Sharon," he requests. "They're really good friends." A Golden Glove boxer in his youth, Ginter's pugilism began before a packed house at the Tyndall Armory in Indianapolis in 1974. Five professional bouts followed. So too did a job moonlighting as the club boxing coach at Kentucky. From featherweights to heavyweights, he's coached fighters of all shapes, sizes and abilities. But of all the boxers he's guided through the years, one contingent triggers the most vivid memories: the 1997 Kentucky offensive line and its mercurial coaches: Leach, Hal Mumme and Guy Morriss.
Winless Kentucky seeks breakthrough vs. Mississippi State
Kentucky is still looking for its first win of the season after expecting to contend for the Southeastern Conference. Unlike last fall when the Wildcats started the season 0-2 they have little room for error. They're not playing a 12-game schedule with non-conference opponents and don't time to halt a three-game slide and finish. Kentucky will have to avoid mistakes against Mississippi State (1-1,) to get its first win Saturday night against a tall task against a pass-heavy Air Raid offense that features playmakers who are proving to be dangerous after making the catch. Asked this week if overcoming past adversity can help Kentucky against the Bulldogs, coach Mark Stoops said, "It better. We need it to. ... When you fall to 0-2, you can respond with a reality check of the situation of 'it is what it is,' and you can fold to the pressure. Or, you can rise above it, man up, own it and move on."
SEC warns of fines, bans for coronavirus protocol violations
or the second straight week, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey sent out an internal memo to athletic directors and coaches on the need to follow coronavirus protocols, this time outlining fines and possible suspensions in the event that they do not do so. The memo, which was obtained by ESPN, cited the recent spread of the coronavirus in the White House and the effect of positive tests on the NFL schedule. Bolded and underlined for emphasis, the memo stated, "Do not relax -- and do not let those around you relax -- because of a few weeks of success." The memo states that programs whose coaches, staff or other personnel fail to adhere to the approved task force requirements will be assessed a $100,000 reduction in conference revenue. The amount will increase by $100,000 for each subsequent week of noncompliance. Last week, Sankey sent a memo to coaches and ADs following the league's opening weekend reminding everyone to wear face coverings and saying that "additional action" could be taken if they do not follow protocol.
Southern Miss vs. Florida Atlantic football game postponed due to COVID-19
Southern Miss announced Thursday night that its home football game Saturday won't take place "due to precautionary measures concerning the availability of student-athletes for Florida Atlantic." "We understand this COVID-related decision made by Florida Atlantic to not play our game this weekend and appreciate the consistent communication with our athletic department during the week," Southern Miss athletic director Jeremy McClain said in a press release. "We are disappointed for our student-athletes who will not get a chance to participate." The institutions, along with Conference USA, will work together to reschedule the game for later this season. The biggest concern on the status of the game earlier this week was Hurricane Delta. The halt in the Golden Eagles' schedule comes a week after Southern Miss enjoyed its first win of the season at North Texas. In the 41-31 decision, freshman running back Frank Gore Jr. rushed for 130 yards on 23 carries for a touchdown.
'I Want to Restore HBCU Football': Deion Sanders and Jackson State Take the Plunge
On the outskirts of Mississippi's capital city, customers entering a Dick's Sporting Goods are greeted by a rack of apparel belonging to one of the state's college football programs. The rack is full of blue and white hats and shirts, not red and blue for the Ole Miss Rebels or maroon and white for the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The depiction of a tiger streaks across sweatshirts and three letters crawl across the ball caps: J-S-U. Usually, Jackson State apparel is located toward the back of the store. Not today. "We put it in the front after the announcement," says Josh Eide, a 40-year-old store staff member. The Dick's Sporting Goods is located in a giant shopping center in a suburb of Jackson called Flowood, a mostly affluent, white area outside of a predominantly Black city. Eide says Jackson State merchandise is flying off the racks since the school announced the hire of its new head coach: Deion Sanders. In fact, Eide himself is eagerly awaiting the arrival of Sanders-themed apparel branded with the coach's self-coined moniker: Coach Prime. The ripple effect of Sanders's stunning hire as the new head coach of this historically Black college football program has already made its way across Jackson, the state of Mississippi and the country. The school estimates it has received $12 million in media exposure.
Forbes: Deion Sanders' appointment at JSU an opportunity for student-athletes across all HBCUs
Forbes magazine has declared Deion Sanders' appointment as the next head coach of Jackson State University "an opportunity for the next generation. For student-athletes at Jackson State. For student-athletes across all historically Black colleges and universities. "We're employed by Jackson State and the dream and goal is to build Jackson State, but the overall big picture of things is to build HBCUs in general," Sanders told Forbes. "If we get a five- or four-star kid in another HBCU, I think we won; not 'we' as in Jackson State but we won in general because now we're leveling the playing field," Sanders continued. This is a sentiment he also shared on Good Morning America when he was asked why it was important to coach at an historically Black college, stating, if given the resources, "we're gonna prove that there is a highway that takes you from Jackson State all the way to the NFL in professionalism." Many are also hoping that Sanders' hiring will bring a much needed boost to the Capital City, both in morale and in economic incentives. "When JSU football is really going well and when you have the fans here that means more dollars, more tourism dollars, more dollars for hotels and restaurants," said JSU Acting President Thomas Hudson. "It is just going to have a positive economic impact and social impact on the city."

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