Friday, October 16, 2020   
Worsening hurricane season threatens billions of chickens
Tom Tabler, an extension professor in the Department of Poultry Science at Mississippi State University, writes for The Conversation: Hurricanes can have devastating consequences for both residents and businesses in their path. And one sector that's particularly exposed is the broiler chicken industry. Virtually all of the breasts or legs you eat at home or in a restaurant come from broilers, the name given to chickens bred and raised for meat production. Sometimes you'll hear chickens called fryers, roasters and Cornish game hens, but generally these all refer to broilers harvested at specific ages and weights. The U.S. produced 9.18 billion broilers in 2019, more than any country in the world. It's also the second-biggest exporter of poultry. Yet over half, or 5.1 billion, are at risk for six months of every year -- from June 1 to Nov. 30 -- of getting wiped out by a hurricane. Six of the top 10 broiler-producing states -- such as Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina -- are also six of the top 10 hurricane states. Working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Southeast Climate Hub, my colleagues at North Carolina State University and I developed a guide for producers to help them plan for these emergencies and mitigate their exposure to hurricanes and other disasters.
Pandemic-safe Halloween events to raise money for charity
With the COVID-19 pandemic, Halloween might look a little different in the Golden Triangle this year. Many of the usual haunted houses and other events that kids and kids-at-heart have become used to attending over the years are canceled, such as Starkville's annual Pumpkinpalooza, due to the difficulty of maintaining social distancing at those events. But that hasn't stopped organizations like the MSU Idea Shop in Starkville from setting up new -- and safer -- events to help raise money to benefit their community. "People are a little worried about being out and doing trick-or-treating and being out within the community around everybody," Idea Shop event coordinator Brooke Lammert said. "We wanted to do something that was safe for people to be able to come and participate and still have some Halloween spirit." The Idea Shop, a Mississippi State University-sponsored makerspace business located in downtown Starkville designed to help would-be entrepreneurs design product prototypes and get their ideas off the ground, will again host the "Talladegourd 500 Race," in which individuals, families or businesses can decorate their own pumpkin and enter it into a race to raise money for charity.
MSU Hosting Inaugural Bulldog Blitz Virtual 5K
Mississippi State University's Alumni Association and Office of Annual Giving are partnering to host the inaugural Bulldog Blitz Virtual 5k on Saturday, Oct. 24. The event will support the university's Student Relief Fund. The event is free and open to the public. Participants can complete the virtual 5k from any location and at any time during the open event date, and are free to do anything from running on a treadmill, walking or biking outdoors, rowing or other forms of activity to take part, a release from MSU says. Registered participants will receive a virtual runner's bib and a certificate of participation, which will be available for downloading or printing. Participants will also be able to make a gift to the Student Relief Fund during the registration process. Contributors will receive a gift in the mail after the event. Participants can also share photos of their Bulldog Blitz experience and their best MSU-themed racing gear for a chance to be featured by the MSU Alumni Association and Office of Annual Giving.
Behold Home consolidates Washington brand, adds capacity
Behold Home, which acquired Washington Furniture Sales two years ago, has consolidated the brands under the Behold Home umbrella. In addition, Behold Home has acquired a 102,000-square-foot facility in Amory that could increase production another 25% by the first quarter of next year. Behold Home CEO Lyle Harris told Furniture Today that capacity had already increased 20% from pre-pandemic levels. Harris also said the additional capacity could mean at least 100 more jobs will be created. "We've begun recruiting as renovation moves along, and we'll move some existing employees to Amory as we begin hiring," Harris told Furniture Today. "We'd like to be manufacturing there by mid-November. That's a lofty goal, but we feel we can transfer some key employees so there's not a lot of head scratching as we bring new employees up to speed." Behold Home, which was founded in 2014 in Smithville, now employs 435 people.
New Biloxi resort could bring 2,500 jobs, open in 2023
Backers didn't reveal a lot of new details on Thursday about a massive music-oriented resort coming to Biloxi, but they certainly provided a sense of the ambition behind the project. "It's not a stretch to say that UMusic Broadwater could be to the South what Atlantis is to the Bahamas," said Biloxi Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich, referring to a gargantuan Caribbean resort whose casino, water park restaurant and retail options make it a self-contained destination. "This is a huge, $1.1 billion project," he said. "This is the largest tourism project ever proposed in Mississippi." Gilich went on to say the resort could draw "2 million plus visitors a year." Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said it would create 2,500 permanent jobs "in Phase I alone" as well as more than 1,000 construction jobs. Gilich and Reeves were joined at a Thursday press conference by Robert Lavia, chairman of Dakia U-Ventures. Lavia said plans called for construction to start in 2021 and finish in 2023.
City of Natchez offers remote workers $6K incentives
City of Natchez officials agreed Tuesday to a remote worker incentive program that would pay individuals up to $6,000 plus $2,500 in relocation costs if they purchase a property in Natchez while working from home. "It has been our desire that the City of Natchez to be the first city in Mississippi to actually roll out an exciting and ambitious program for attracting remote workers and getting them to invest and relocate to Natchez," said Dan Gibson, Natchez Mayor in Tuesday's regularly scheduled meeting of the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen. Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ presented the program to the Aldermen in August and left them time to consider it before the board voted unanimously in favor of the program in Tuesday's meeting. Visit Natchez would share in the task and cost of publicizing the incentive program that the City of Natchez, Adams County and Natchez Inc. would collectively fund if the Adams County Board of Supervisors approves doing so, Gibson said. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many large corporations such as Amazon have allowed their employees to work from home, Russ said, adding those workers may no longer have ties to an office in large metropolitan areas like they did before COVID-19 and even after the pandemic.
COVID casualty: International Ballet Competition in Jackson postponed till 2023
The next USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson leaps ahead a year in scheduling, as organizers preserve the rotation of prestigious dance competitions globally, and also make up for time lost to pandemic-related disruptions. Dates for the 12th USA IBC are June 10-24, 2023. The Jackson competition, held every four years, had originally been slated for summer 2022. The move to 2023 puts Jackson in the best position to attract about 100 elite dancers from around the world, to converge on the Thalia Mara Hall stage and compete for medals, cash prizes, scholarships and the eye of ballet company directors with job offers in mind. "USA IBC leaders worked with our sister competitions in three countries to develop new, coordinated schedules and ensure that, despite the pandemic, dancers who had trained for years would still be able to compete and the world would still have the opportunity to come together for these celebrations of art and athleticism, said USA IBC Executive Director Mona Nicholas. The extra year for fundraising (at a standstill in the pandemic) also adds another year of expenses. "I will just have to fundraise extra hard," Nicholas said, "but the economic impact for Jackson is very important, and so we need to have as many people here, as many dancers participate" as possible. "If we wait longer, it will ensure that we have the numbers that we need." The 2018 USA IBC generated a total economic impact of $12.5 million in Mississippi.
Commissioner GipsonĀ AnnouncesĀ Mississippi Agriculture Stabilization Act Application Period
Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson announced that the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce will be accepting applications for the Mississippi Agriculture Stabilization Act Thursday, October 15 through Monday, November 16. MASA went into law on October 9, 2020, through Senate Bills 3058 and 3061, and provides roughly $13 million to assist producers in Mississippi with CARES Act funds. This program is a self-certified application program for assistance due to the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Mississippi agriculture producers, and has three separate funds within it: the Poultry Farmer Stabilization Grant Fund ($3 million), the Sweet Potato Farm Sustainment Grant Program Fund ($500,000), and the Mississippi Supplemental CFAP Grant Program Fund ($9.5 million). "We are excited to be able to accept applications from eligible producers for these funds, and we want to thank the Legislature for their consideration of farmers during this difficult year," said Commissioner Gipson. "We will begin accepting applications for one month starting today, and I encourage producers to apply early."
Mississippi Economic Council kicks new flag campaign into high gear
The state's business community is mounting a campaign in support of the new state flag design. Voters will vote for or against what has been called the "Magnolia Flag" but formally called the "In God We Trust" flag on the ballot on Nov. 3 for the general elections. Scott Waller is the president and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council, which is the state's chamber of commerce. Waller said they have spoken out strongly in support of Mississippi adopting a new flag even before the state legislature retired the old flag with the Confederate battle emblem. "We felt like it was a symbol that divided us as a state. it did not represent all of us, it did not put for the image that we know Mississippi has," Waller said. "This had to be approached just like a campaign would be for if you were running a campaign for office. So we really have. We have been trying to get out information to all of the media channels that exist, television, radio you know, newspaper, social media."
Mississippi reports highest daily virus cases in 2 months
Mississippi reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases Thursday for the first time since mid-August, after Gov. Tate Reeves instituted a statewide mask mandate. The day of high case numbers comes just two weeks after the Republican governor repealed that same statewide mask mandate, citing declining numbers of virus cases. For most of the last two months, Mississippi has seen lower infection numbers, ranging between around 200 to 800 cases a day. In mid-to-late July, the state was regularly reporting between 1,000 and 1,500 cases a day on average. The count has slowly been rising again. The state health department reported more than 1,300 new cases Thursday. Mississippi has reported a total of more than 108,000 virus cases and at least 3,152 virus-related deaths. COVID-19 hospitalizations were also rising slightly, with 500 people reported to be hospitalized in the state on Tuesday, compared to 393 on Oct. 3. Mississippi's state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, said Monday that six hospitals have no beds available in their intensive care units.
Amid rising COVID-19 numbers, Gov. Tate Reeves urges caution
Even though he recently allowed Mississippi to become the first state to relinquish its mask mandate, Governor Tate Reeves has a message for Mississippians: "Important to remember that COVID-19 is not gone! We've seen numbers increase over the past few weeks. Please stay watchful and protect yourself. We want to be cautious and limited in using executive action---we're counting on the people of Mississippi to be wise and careful!" The Twitter post comes after Thursday's COVID-19 case report from the Mississippi State Department of Health, which was the largest one-day rise since August 19th. Just this past Monday, two weeks since the expiration of the statewide mask mandate, State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs warned that we may be heading into a second phase of the pandemic. As he has throughout the course of the pandemic, Dobbs also continued to encourage people to take the precautionary actions necessary, such as social distancing and wearing a mask when in public -- with or without executive direction.
Could Mississippi end its electoral vote on statewide races in November?
When Mississippi voters head to the polls on Nov. 3, they could put the power to choose state leaders purely back in their hands through Measure 2. The measure, if passed, eliminates the electoral vote for Mississippi's statewide races. Elections ending without a majority vote or with a tie would go to a run-off. Should the measure pass in November, it will be the first time those offices have been chosen only by the people in over 100 years. Under current law, any statewide office is voted on by the public, but then is decided by the Mississippi House if no candidate gets a majority. To win in Mississippi, a candidate has to have more than 50% of both the popular vote and the subsequent electoral vote in the state's House. If no candidate manages that, the House picks a winner from among the top two vote-getters. With Measure 2, if no candidate gets a majority of the vote, or in the event of a tie, the state would have a run-off election between the top two candidates to determine the winner. If voters approve the amendment, it will first go into effect for the 2023 gubernatorial election.
Mike Espy uses massive cash advantage over Cindy Hyde-Smith for ad blitz in final days of Senate race
Reports filed Thursday show Democratic challenger Mike Espy outraised incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith more than 4-to-1 between July and September. Espy raised more than $4 million for the quarter, bringing his total for the race to $5.3 million. Hyde-Smith raised less than $815,000 for the quarter, and $2.85 million total. Espy's report showed he had $3.17 million cash on hand at the end of September. Hyde-Smith's showed she had nearly $1.5 million. Espy appears to be using his more than 2-to-1 cash advantage by vastly out-advertising Hyde-Smith so far in the critical home stretch before the Nov. 3 election, flooding the airwaves across Mississippi with his messaging. Espy this week is spending $1.01 million on television and radio ads, according to FCC reports, compared to Hyde-Smith spending just $147,000. Hyde-Smith's campaign did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday. Austin Barbour, a state and national GOP strategist and fundraiser, said Espy's record fundraising hauls will be a boon to his campaign, but questioned whether it would be enough to overcome Hyde-Smith's lead in a very red state.
President Trump Pressed on Coronavirus Response in Town Hall, Joe Biden Asked to Outline Alternative Plan
President Trump was pressed on his handling of the pandemic amid rising coronavirus cases during a contentious town hall on Thursday, while Democratic nominee Joe Biden was asked what he would do differently. The candidates were given dueling opportunities to make their case directly to American voters live from two swing states with less than three weeks until the November election and only one remaining presidential debate. Polls show Mr. Biden leading Mr. Trump nationally and in several battleground states. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll of registered voters found Mr. Biden leading Mr. Trump by 11 points nationally. According to the survey, voters appeared to be motivated more by concerns about the direction of the country than their own economic gains. Mr. Trump returned to the campaign trail this week with rallies in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Iowa, while Mr. Biden traveled to Ohio and Florida. The final sprint comes as millions of Americans have already cast their ballots in early voting.
Americans' trust in government data depends on their politics
Partisanship and perspective seem to go hand in hand, based on the latest Marketplace-Edison Research Poll, especially when it comes to federal economic data. Our poll asked respondents how much they "trust the data about the economy that is reported by the federal government," and 40% said they either somewhat distrust it or did not trust it at all. That reveals greater confidence in government data than just before the 2016 election, when 44%, held that perspective, but there has been a drastic shift since then in terms of just who believes and distrusts government data. Back in 2016, almost half of the supporters of then-candidate Donald Trump distrusted federal numbers about jobs and the broader economy, prompted by Trump himself, who often referred to the data as "phony." After the election, the Trump administration quickly shifted language, saying the jobs numbers were real, and now, in this month's poll, just 16% of Trump supporters somewhat or completely distrust federal economic data. But when it came to his opponent's supporters, in 2016, just 13% of those backing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in our poll didn't trust Washington's numbers about the economy. Now, 46% of those supporting former Vice President Joe Biden say they completely or somewhat distrust the data.
UMMC vice chancellor discusses recent spike in COVID-19 cases
Doctors are reacting to the surge in COVID-19 cases in Mississippi as the daily total topped 1,000 for the first time since August 2020. Health officials said there is an upward trend in cases and hospitalizations in the state. Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, said she's concerned about the increase in the case numbers. She said there could be an increased number of patients that need to be hospitalized in another week or so. "It is very concerning that today and this last week, that our numbers have each day been higher and higher. And that today, we went over 1,000, over 1,300, because it does concern us that we are getting into the trends that we were seeing back late June, and we don't want to have a repeat," she explained. Dr. Woodward said while Governor Tate Reeves' decision to end the statewide mask mandate may be a contributing factor to the surge, it's ultimately up to individuals to wear face masks and practice social distancing.
Associated Student Body focuses on 'repair' for the minority communities at UM
Associated Student Body leaders acknowledged the lack of minority representation in student government at the University of Mississippi in a diversity, equity and inclusion town hall on Wednesday night. "Coming in as a Black president, as an African-American president, I was keenly aware that ASB, in the past, has not always been the most accessible and equitable organization," ASB president Joshua Mannery said. "I think that acting like that wasn't the case and trying to brush all of that under the rug would be a huge disservice to the groups we might have hurt or didn't support." Mannery and Swetha Manivannan, the ASB principal of inclusion and cross-cultural engagement, agreed that the focus for this year is on repairing the student government's relationship with marginalized and minority groups on campus. Specifically, Mannery said he has begun close conversations with the Black Student Union, the Vietnamese American Student Association and the UM Pride Network. Manivannan is also working with other members of the ASB on the process of reapportioning the ASB Senate seats to better represent the perspectives of the student body.
UM Landscaping Crew Adapts to a Changing Campus
COVID-19 has not put a stop to the hard work of the landscaping crew of The University of Mississippi. The new everyday life of the campus has made landscaping and cleanup a unique experience for the working crew at the university. Starting at the beginning of quarantine in April, the workers of the crew were divided into three groups of workers in order to make sure the school grounds were still maintained. "With over a thousand acres of campus to work on, there is always work to do even with less people on campus," said Nathan Lazinsky, assistant superintendent of grounds. The crews have had an easier time keeping up with their work with fewer students walking on campus, which normally slows down their progress as they are forced to pause as they allow students to pass by. However, there are still certain disadvantages that COVID-19 brings to the crew. "Although our dumpsters have been less full lately, the trash cans of the Grove and around campus have been excessively full," Lazinksy said. "The Grove really has become a park this year, so the cans are constantly being filled up."
Virtuoso trombonist Wycliffe Gordon to join Southern Miss brass faculty for free concert
The brass faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi will be joined by internationally renowned virtuoso trombonist Wycliffe Gordon in a livestreaming event set for 1 p.m. on Oct. 29. The panel discussion will be streamed free of charge at Anyone viewing the stream will be able to comment. "Having this sort of access to discuss various topics from music, to jazz, to life experiences, is an amazing opportunity," said Ben McIlwain, associate professor of trombone and event organizer. "It has been a goal of mine to have him on the Southern Miss campus ever since I arrived in Hattiesburg, and I am glad that we are able to have him on our virtual campus this fall. Wycliffe is an amazing musician and advocate for goodness and joy in all he does." Gordon is a former veteran member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and has been a featured guest artist on Billy Taylor's "Jazz at the Kennedy Center" Series.
LSU student groups want to start holding events again. Could mandatory coronavirus tests help?
LSU student leaders are calling for mandatory coronavirus testing among students in a push to allow for student organizations to safely hold events and gatherings. The heads of more than 40 student body organizations signed a letter Wednesday proposing how the school could scale back restrictions by making tests a requirement for students wanting to attend events. When Gov. John Bel Edwards loosened restrictions last month and moved Louisiana into Phase 3 of reopening, LSU made few changes to how it has been operating since students returned in mid-August. That includes limits on gatherings of 50 people or more on campus. Student body leaders touched on the importance of letting organizations resume some activities and events, saying in their letter that the groups are "the heart and soul of LSU." School leaders have long mulled mandating testing for students, but balancing such a requirement with people's health privacy is a hurdle that would need to be overcome, LSU Interim President Tom Galligan said in an interview Thursday.
U. of Arkansas, Fayetteville chief lays out pandemic challenges
A new "balance" between face-to-face instruction and remote learning is needed for the spring at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville as students are missing out by not attending in-person classes, Chancellor Joe Steinmetz said Thursday. "Collectively we need to find a balance between remote instruction and what we do best, which is face-to-face instruction," Steinmetz said in his annual all-campus address. He called face-to-face classes "an important part of the energy and the atmosphere of campus." "I do want to encourage our faculty to offer as many face-to-face classes as possible this spring. And I want to tell our students to actually show up in person for these courses," Steinmetz said. "To this point, we've shown that attending face-to-face classes can be done safely, as evidenced by the extremely low rates of infection of our faculty, staff and graduate students." Steinmetz remarked on how covid-19 has affected the university's finances, estimating that the university "spent or lost" about $22 million in its response to the pandemic.
Two finalists remain in the search for UF's College of Journalism and Communications dean
The University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications' search for its next dean has come down to two finalists. For its faculty of communicators -- already grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, protests over racial injustice and a potentially contested presidential election -- it's another thing added to the list. "It's kind of a perfect storm," said Kim Walsh-Childers, a journalism professor with no relation to the search committee. "All of that coming at the same time and all of it having impact on how faculty and staff are able to do their jobs." The two finalists are Battinto Batts, director of journalism strategies for the Scripps Howard Foundation, and Hubert Brown, an associate dean at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications. However, faculty members were frustrated by the timetable of the search. Walsh-Childers said she heard from a number of colleagues who felt the search was ill-timed due to the chaotic nature of 2020 and a lack of openness from the search committee. Diane McFarlin, the CJC's current dean, announced her retirement in March for the end of 2020.
U. of Missouri Faculty Council censures Mun Choi
The University of Missouri Faculty Council on Thursday approved a resolution censuring MU Chancellor and University of Missouri System President Mun Choi for not following procedures for promotion and tenure of faculty members. The vote was 12 in favor, seven against and three abstaining, though many more in the Zoom meeting didn't vote. The measure has no practical effect, except to acknowledge that Choi has been censured by the faculty council, said Dennis Crouch, the council's parliamentarian and associate professor of law. "There is no particular impact of this statement," Crouch said. "It's just a statement that you did something wrong." Specifically, the resolution charges that Choi failed to read the recommendations of the Campus Promotion and Tenure Advisory Committee before making decisions on promotion and tenure, contrary to the UM System Collected Rules and Regulations. "Shared governance is not shared if faculty advice on such important matters is ignored out of hand," the resolution reads. It seeks an apology from Choi.
U. of Missouri to resume in-person classes after Thanksgiving break
The University of Missouri announced Thursday that it would resume in-person classes after Thanksgiving break. This decision was based on several factors, including the campus community's progress in managing the pandemic, lack of internet access for students living in rural areas or low-income households and the need for students with part-time jobs on and off campus to remain in Columbia, according to an MU news release. "We've been very pleased with how our students, faculty and staff have responded to the new campus requirements," MU Chancellor Mun Choi said in the release. "We have demonstrated that we can have in-person classes at Mizzou and do so safely." MU spokesperson Christian Basi said students are being encouraged to stay in Columbia for the week. "We want students to be mindful of their plans for Thanksgiving," Basi said. "We would encourage students to do the least amount of traveling possible, and that means we are encouraging them to stay in Columbia." He said residence halls will stay open based on student need.
Christian College Faculty Aren't Lining Up for President Trump
On Sunday evening, President Donald Trump took a break from tweeting to talk to a key segment of his supporters, people of faith, to tell them God will help the nation survive the coronavirus pandemic. "We know that God hears our prayer," Trump said in a broadcast on his campaign's Facebook page. "We have no doubt about it. He's always with us and he'll help us overcome this challenge." He then switched to his re-election. "This is the most important election of our lives, and whether it's evangelical, whether it's Christian evangelical -- call it whatever you want -- people of religion -- this is the most important election of our lives and we have to get out and we have to vote." As he spoke, another aspect of his pitch to religious voters, Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, was poised to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Opponents of abortion are excited that she will lead the court toward striking down Roe v. Wade. And Monday morning, Trump's campaign manager, Bill Stepien, told reporters in a call that Barrett's confirmation hearings couldn't be coming at a better time to mobilize religious voters. "This happening is a well-timed grassroots opportunity," he said. But while recent polls show Trump continues to hold a wide lead over Democrat Joe Biden among religious voters, a bad sign for the president is that some of his support is slipping, including among white evangelicals who, like the faculty at Christian colleges, have a college education.
College Reaction poll: More college students would protest Trump win
Six in 10 college students say they'll shame friends who can vote but don't --- and four in 10 plan to engage in protests if President Trump wins reelection, a new College Reaction survey for Axios finds. These measures of intensity bolster findings from several recent surveys that suggest the election may draw higher than normal turnout from young voters, boosting Joe Biden's prospects -- and fueling mass demonstrations if Trump prevails. "Political expression is etched into this generation's DNA," College Reaction founder Cyrus Beschloss told Axios. "Vote-hooky won't just draw side-eye, it could bruise a student's reputation in some social circles. Civic engagement is cool now." Millennials and Generation Z voters make up more than one third of the U.S. electorate. They're racially and ethnically diverse and overwhelmingly progressive. The coronavirus has triggered a surge in early voting. Older people are voting early at higher rates than young people, but more than 229,000 first-time voters under 30 have already cast ballots, up from 87,000 at this point in 2016.
A Biden presidency could have a 'remarkable' impact on science policy -- but also face hurdles
If former Vice President Joe Biden wins the presidential election, he will face high expectations from the U.S. scientific community. Its members will be counting on him to bring science and leadership to the fight against COVID-19 while reversing a host of moves by President Donald Trump that many researchers regard as disastrous. A President Biden will have vast authority to move quickly to undo many Trump policies. But he could be hampered by forces beyond his control, including which party controls the Senate, the ideological complexion of the courts, and -- when it comes to fighting COVID-19 -- the progress of science itself. Here's a look at some science-related actions Biden will likely pursue, and how quickly he might be able to accomplish them.
Winter Could Bring More Infections to College Campuses
Public health experts have predicted that the COVID-19 pandemic, however bad it may be right now, is going to get worse. As cold weather arrives in much of the country, people may find themselves less likely to conduct their socializing or hobbies outdoors, where the virus has a harder time spreading, and may find themselves back inside. Though evidence is inconclusive, there is some research to support that the virus spreads easier in cold weather rather than warm. And winter also means flu season, which experts predict may strain the public health system further. At this time, it appears the encroaching season may usher in a period of decreased quality of life and increased disease spread. None of that is likely to bypass American colleges and universities. "COVID-19 spreads in enclosed spaces where ventilation is limited and social distancing is a challenge to maintain. As the weather cools and indications are that there is already an uptick in COVID-19 cases, colleges and universities planning to conduct in-person classes will have challenges maintaining a controlled environment," said David Vlahov, an epidemiologist and professor at Yale University School of Nursing.
Montessori learning emphasizes life skills, independence
Angela Farmer, an assistant clinical professor in the Shackouls Honors College at Mississippi State University, writes: While the world is working to return to some semblance of normalcy, parents of school aged children recognize that things are still not "back to normal." Many may find comfort and insight by reflecting and emulating some of strategies developed by Italian physician, Maria Montessori over 100 years ago. According to "Montessori at Home: A How-to Guide for Parents," ideal environments for children are created when there is focus on the full complement of students' growth, physical, cognitive, emotional, and social. Whether one's children are actively attending school outside of the home or engaged in full-time homeschooling, Montessori principles are proven methods designed to enhance children's curiosity, facilitating their initiative to learn for the rest of their lives.

'A war of culture': A history of Mike Leach's longstanding success over Texas A&M
Mike Leach is no stranger to Texas A&M. In Leach's 10 years as the head coach at Texas Tech, the Aggies accounted for one half of the Red Raiders' bitter in-state rivals alongside Texas. With Tech playing little brother for the bulk of his decade in Lubbock, there was always added juice when Leach's squads made the trek from West Texas to College Station or welcomed the corps of cadets to Jones AT&T Stadium. "Great, exciting matchups," Leach said Monday of what he remembered about past contests against Texas A&M. "Our stadium, of course, was loaded and fired up." Saturday, he will face off with Texas A&M once more. Having traded his black and red for maroon and white, Leach and Mississippi State head into the contest off a pair of anemic offensive displays against Arkansas and Kentucky. A chance to right previously egregious offensive transgressions, the contest is also an opportunity for Leach to improve on his 7-3 career ledger against the Aggies. "Back then in the Big 12, Texas Tech, we kind of hated Texas and A&M," former Texas Tech receiver and longtime Leach assistant Dave Nichol said Wednesday. "I've had a bunch of texts this week from some old Red Raiders that are pretty fired up," he continued.
How Tucker Day helped brother through America's Got Talent appearance, COVID-19 diagnosis
Tucker Day raced home from Mississippi State's football facility after an offseason workout in June. A few of his friends were already sitting around the living room TV waiting in anxious anticipation. Some of the junior punter's teammates followed Day from the practice fields to his house as well. Sophomore quarterback Garrett Shrader and junior kickoff specialist Scott Goodman were among the Bulldogs who didn't want to miss what everyone was about to watch. Day's younger brother, Thomas, was set to appear in a previously-taped audition for NBC's hit show "America's Got Talent." "I was super nervous," Tucker Day said. "Even my friends were nervous. They know him and they're friends with him and they've been following his career to this point. He was about to be in front of millions of people up there as a 17 year old kid." Feelings of restlessness quickly turned into rambunctious rapture. Thomas Day performed "Break My Heart Again" by FINNEAS. The Los Angeles crowd erupted after the early-March audition. Most of the judges joined in the fans' jubilation.
Bulldogs Head to Texas to Take on the No. 9 Aggies on the Pitch
The Mississippi State soccer team will travel to Texas to meet No. 9 Texas A&M on the pitch for a Friday night matchup in Bryan-College Station. The match will start at 6 p.m. on Ellis Field and will be streamed on SEC Network+. MSU (2-0-2) faces their second ranked opponent of the season in No. 9 Texas A&M (2-1-0). The Aggies are averaging just one goal more than the Bulldogs but have played one less game as their match with the Auburn Tigers was postponed in the second week of play. State officially starts the second half of their season with the Aggies as it will be the fifth match of an eight-match season. "We are looking forward to the second of the half of the season starting with the game vs Texas A&M," said head coach James Armstrong. "These ladies have had a good week of practice and are looking forward to the challenge ahead." The Aggies are coming off a 2-1 win against No. 15 Florida. Mississippi State is coming off a win against LSU at home, the first win against the Tigers for the program.
No. 9 Texas A&M soccer team to face Mississippi State at Ellis Field today
Riding high off a win over No. 15 Florida last week, the ninth-ranked Texas A&M soccer team returns to Ellis Field to face Mississippi State at 6 p.m. Friday. The Aggies have a perfect 8-0-0 record over the Bulldogs. A&M comes into the matchup with a 2-1 record, while the Bulldogs are at 2-0-2 for the season. The game will be broadcasted on SEC Network Plus.
With Tough Calls Ahead, Introducing The D1 Selection Committee
It might be the most challenging year ever to be on the Division I Baseball Selection Committee. As a matter of fact, the committee is expected to meet in a matter of weeks to discuss the layout of the 2021 college baseball season and how the NCAA tournament will look. To say there are many factors at play would be quite an understatement. From a committee standpoint, how the postseason field of 64 will come together is the most important question. Currently, our postseason field is derived by a set of factors, namely the RPI formula. However, if several conferences around the country decide to play conference only, applying the RPI formula would be next to impossible, thus the committee comes into play. So, what's the makeup of the new Division I Selection Committee? Of the 10 committee members, four hail from the South, two from both the Midwest and West, and one each from the North and Southwest. The roster includes: John Cohen, Mississippi State (S, Expiration: 2023) -- Southeastern Conference.
Fifty years of Friday night football: Heritage Academy, Starkville Academy ready to mark milestone in rivalry matchup
All time, the Heritage Academy and Starkville Academy football teams have a 26-26 record when playing each other. It feels only right for a rivalry contest that has been played at least once a season every year since 1971, making it the oldest consecutively played rivalry in the Midsouth Association of Independent Schools -- not to mention one of the best. "I've said it every year: It's the most fun rivalry game I've ever coached in," Patriots coach Sean Harrison said. On Friday, the two local schools will celebrate a milestone when they play a pivotal MAIS Class 5A, District 1 game at C.L. Mitchell Field in Columbus. It is the 50th straight year the Patriots and Volunteers have faced off, and there hasn't exactly been a detente between the two over time. The Vols inscribed the score of their regular-season win over the Pats -- 17-14, for the few on Academy Road or Magnolia Lane who don't remember -- on their state championship rings in 2017. Twenty-two miles east on Highway 82, the feeling is mutual: "BEAT STARKVILLE" flashed in all caps on the LED board outside Heritage Academy on Wednesday morning. t shouldn't be hard for either team to focus on Friday's contest given its stakes -- rivalry excepted. Starkville Academy is 4-0 in district play, while Heritage Academy is 3-0, making the game a de facto district title game in the regular season's penultimate week.
Survey: Athletes Feel Obligated to Pursue Social Justice
Nearly all college athletes, coaches and other athletics staff members believe racism is a "concerning issue" in the United States, and a majority of athletes recognize their role in speaking out and organizing for social justice, according to a survey report recently released by RISE, a national organization that educates members of the sports community on racial issues and encourages activism in athletics. Ninety-one percent of the athletes and 95 percent of athletics department staff members surveyed recognized racism as a prevailing issue in the U.S., according to the report, which summarized responses from 6,270 athletes and 1,256 coaches and staff members at 55 colleges during the 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 academic years. Three-fourths of the staff members and 65 percent of athletes said that racism is an issue on their individual campus, the report said. Athletes of color viewed racism as a more serious issue than their white peers, and athletes' level of concern for racism was higher among students who are sophomores, juniors and seniors compared to first-year students, the report said.

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: October 16, 2020Facebook Twitter