Monday, October 26, 2020   
Starkville developer, former mayor dies
Dan Camp, a community visionary who developed the city's successful Cotton District and served one term as mayor, died Sunday morning. He was 79. Camp died from complications related to COVID-19, according to Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill. A builder and developer, Camp in 1969 began transforming a dilapidated neighborhood of tenant houses near Mississippi State University. He turned it into the Cotton District -- a neighborhood of residential units, many of which are filled by college students and young professionals, within walking distance from restaurants, bars and the MSU campus. "He was clearly a visionary for the city," said Spruill, who served as chief administrative officer for Camp during his four years (2005-09) as mayor. "He was seeing things that no one else saw for the Cotton District, and I think he was under appreciated for several decades before people realized what he had created." In a 1997 interview with the Mississippi Business Journal, Camp said the Cotton District was created to benefit both the city and Mississippi State. "The college is the engine here that drives everything in the neighborhood," he said. Sid Salter, chief communications officer for Mississippi State, praised Camp for his work to unite the city and the university. "As an innovative developer and as mayor, Dan Camp was a transformative figure in the town-and-gown relationship between Mississippi State University and Starkville," Salter wrote Sunday.
Dan Camp, 'Mayor of the Cotton District,' passes at age 79
Dan Camp was a one-term mayor in the city of Starkville, but he will forever be remembered as "Mayor of the Cotton District." Camp, 79, died early Sunday of COVID-19 after a month-long struggle with the virus. He was immediately hailed as a visionary for his role in developing a blighted area of the city once occupied by an old cotton mill into what is known now as the Cotton District, a bustling bohemia of apartments, nightspots and restaurants that united the city and the university's student population like nothing before or since. "You'll hear this a lot, but Dan was a true visionary," said Roy Ruby, the longtime Mississippi State administrator who first met Camp more than 50 years ago when both worked at the university. "His genius as a developer and his artistic approach in terms of designing an area that has notoriety has been a significant contribution, both to Starkville and the university." "There's always some natural tension in these town and gown relationships," Ruby said. "What Dan did in the Cotton District really brought the two together like nothing before." Mississippi State spokesman Sid Salter acknowledged Camp's important role in building that relationship. "As an innovative developer and as mayor, Dan Camp was a transformative figure in the town-and-gown relationship between Mississippi State and Starkville," Salter said in a statement. "The university community is saddened to learn of Mr. Camp's passing."
Students can take 'Winter Express' to academic destination
For the first time in more than a decade, Mississippi State University is offering a winter session to help students advance in their academic journeys and earn credits on an accelerated schedule. With the launch of MSU's comprehensive "Winter Express," students at every level can choose from an updated, expanded selection of more than 200 online courses that begin Dec. 1 and conclude Jan. 4. The condensed, five-week semester allows students to earn up to six hours of course credits. "Winter Express is part of our effort to provide students with options to achieve their educational goals in a virtual learning environment that also prioritizes their health and safety," MSU President Mark E. Keenum said. "We recognize the need to be as flexible and accommodating as possible in our academic schedules, and we believe Winter Express will be a welcomed addition for students who want to continue to concentrate on their degree tracks." By enrolling in Winter Express, students can get a head start on the spring 2021 semester, finish core course requirements, take classes within majors or pick up extra credits to accelerate graduation. They also can explore new subject areas, concentrate on difficult courses, and benefit from smaller classes taught by MSU’s world-class faculty.
Tune in to a Halloween 'feast' with Seneca's Oedipus
During this week of thrills and chills, the Mississippi State University Shackouls Honors College will present a radio drama fit for All Hallows' Eve. The first-of-its-kind project, "A Halloween Feast with Seneca's Oedipus," will be released to listeners beginning Monday and through Oct. 31 on the honors college website, It will also be broadcast on MSU's radio station 91.1 FM at 7 p.m. Thursday and 9 p.m. Saturday, and on East Mississippi Community College's radio station 92.7 at 3 p.m. Thursday. The Honors College traditionally presents an annual "Classical Week" play, plus related events, every September, but COVID-19 sidelined this year's plans. To continue with a classical "theatrical" activity for the fall semester, however, Donna Clevinger, professor and senior faculty fellow at the honors college and play director, decided to produce Roman playwright Seneca's Oedipus as a radio drama, harkening to the age of popular radio dramas of the 20th century. Eighteen honors students serve as cast members and production staff. They represent a cross section of campus majors including Engineering, Business, Animal and Dairy Science, Computer Science and Education.
MSU-Meridian scholarships awarded through Scotts' planned gift
Seven Mississippi State University-Meridian students are 2020-21 scholarship recipients through the Jerry and Ruth Scott Foundation. Established by the Scotts in 2016 and managed by Citizens National Bank's Wealth Management Division in Meridian, the foundation is designed to benefit working adult students completing their degrees at MSU-Meridian who maintain high academic achievement. Over $90,000 in scholarship assistance has been awarded since its inception. Benefactors Jerry and Ruth Scott made their home in Meridian for more than 30 years and were active community members. Jerry Scott served as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist with Anderson Regional Health System. Ruth Scott, a native of Hinesville, Georgia, attended MSU-Meridian from 1989-1993. In addition to the late couple's appreciation for education, they also shared a passion for art, music and travel. "It is an honor to offer scholarships to deserving students on behalf of the Jerry and Ruth Scott Foundation for the fourth consecutive year," said Teresa Thornhill, chief wealth management officer at Citizens National Bank. "The Scotts' perpetual gift not only provides financial resources to help working students achieve their educational dreams in the current term, but the endowment will continue to grow and impact an increasing number of students each year."
Palmer Home hosts tailgating fundraiser at MSU
The Palmer Home for Children held its second annual Tailgate for Palmer fundraiser in front of the Palmeiro Center on Saturday. To raise money, organizers sold coolers and bags filled with everything needed for a tailgate to-go. Due to the coronavirus, Palmer Home switched the event to a drive through, allowing supporters to pick-up their bags while in the safety of their cars. CEO of Palmer Home, Drake Bassett, said his favorite part about this event is the bonds he's able to create. "I think the greatest thing about this event, about tailgate, is by all means it's a fundraiser and you know we need the funds, but the best part of all is that we get to connect with the people who care about the children we care about," said Bassett.
C Spire begins rolling out 5G service
On Friday, C Spire, one of the state's leading technology companies, began rolling out its new 5G service to Mississippi markets. Brookhaven and Columbus, which are on somewhat opposite sides of the state, were strategically chosen as the initial 5G markets in Mississippi. C Spire also announced that it intends for other portions of the state, including the Jackson metro area and the Gulf Coast, will have 5G capability by the end of this calendar year. "We're bringing consumers the benefits of new 5G wireless network technology where they need it the most with fast speeds, better service, and an improved experience," C Spire General Manager Brian Caraway said. "Using a backbone of fiber optic infrastructure, we're rolling out a better 5G network for now and for the future." Caraway also stated that C Spire will continue using improvements and enhancements offered from its current 4G LTE advanced technology to ensure that customers have the best network experience possible.
Trent Kelly, Antonia Eliason compete in 1st congressional House race
When the bulk of Northeast Mississippi voters cast their ballot in a little over a week, they will choose between two congressional candidates, both of whom have different priorities for Northeast Mississippi and starkly different approaches to healthcare policy. Incumbent Republican Trent Kelly and Democratic challenger Antonia Eliason are both competing to represent Mississippi's first congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Eliason, a law professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law, is the Democratic nominee for the race. She moved to Oxford in 2013 to teach at the university after practicing law in London for nearly five years. She has made healthcare policy a key component of her campaign and hopes to sway the region's voters to her vision. Kelly, the incumbent, is a resident of Saltillo and was a district attorney for the state's first judicial district in Northeast Mississippi. Kelly began serving in the U.S. House after winning a special election in 2015 for the 1st congressional seat after the death of former U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee. He subsequently won re-election in 2016 and 2018. In seeking re-election, he continues to tout his focus on agricultural issues and the armed forces.
Analysis: Mississippi US Senate race draws outside attention
Democratic challenger Mike Espy and Republican incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith are both receiving help from out-of-state politicians as they compete for a U.S. Senate seat in Mississippi. Hyde-Smith defeated Espy in a 2018 special election runoff, and now he's trying to reverse that outcome. The previous election was to fill the final two years of a six-year term started by longtime Republican Sen. Thad Cochran. Hyde-Smith was the state agriculture commissioner when she was appointed to serve temporarily when Cochran retired because of health problems in the spring of 2018. This year's election is for a full six-year term, and Republicans are trying to maintain their Senate majority. "Cindy Hyde-Smith is one of President Trump's most ardent supporters in the U.S. Senate. And right now, she is under attack," Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee says in a short video on Hyde-Smith's campaign website. Blackburn -- who grew up in Laurel, Mississippi -- says that two prominent Democratic women, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, are supporting Espy.
Mike Espy outraises Cindy Hyde-Smith 45-to-1 in Senate home stretch
Democratic U.S. Senate challenger Mike Espy raised nearly $3.9 million in campaign cash over the first two weeks in October, compared to less than $85,000 raised by incumbent Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith. The campaigns filed their last major finance reports on Thursday, ahead of the Nov. 3 general election. Espy, buoyed by a nationwide flood of cash to Democratic congressional candidates, had raised nearly $9.3 million total for the race as of Oct. 14. Hyde-Smith had raised just under $3 million. Espy reported having nearly $3.7 million cash on hand for the critical final stretch of the race. Hyde-Smith reported having $777,000 cash on hand. Hyde-Smith has done comparatively little campaigning and less advertising than Espy. Most national political prognosticators still consider Mississippi "safely Republican" for the Senate and presidential election, but Espy's campaign has received some recent national attention as a potential Democratic upset as the national parties battle for control of the Senate.
Rep. Bennie Thompson predicts Mike Espy Senate victory, 'tremendous' Black voter turnout
U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson, who has for nearly three decades been the lone representative of African Americans in the Blackest state in America, predicted that Democrat Mike Espy will win the U.S. Senate race on Nov. 3 after Black Mississippians turn out to vote in "tremendous" numbers. Thompson, who made the remarks during an hour-long podcast conversation with Mississippi Today about race in politics, said he believes that Black Mississippi voters, galvanized by President Donald Trump's "negative attitude toward people who don't look like him," will turn out in record or near-record numbers next week. Espy, who is seeking to become Mississippi's first Black U.S. senator elected by popular vote, faces incumbent Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith on Nov. 3. "I think Trump has demonstrated who he is, and people want to get him out," Thompson said. "I think Mike Espy will be the beneficiary of the anti-Trump Black vote in Mississippi. Now the other thing is I think there are some other groups that Trump has alienated. A lot of suburban, college-educated women. He has continuously marginalized their level of intelligence by what he says. They're absolutely embarrassed."
Black Senate Candidates in South Tell Democrats to 'Meet the Moment'
Mike Espy and Jaime Harrison, two of the five Black Senate candidates in the South this year, may belong to different political generations, but they both came up in a Democratic Party where African-American politicians didn't talk directly about race in campaigns against white opponents. But there was Mr. Harrison this month, speaking before more than 250 cars at a drive-in rally in South Carolina's Lowcountry, explicitly urging a mix of white and Black supporters to right the wrongs of the state's past."The very first state to secede from the union," Mr. Harrison said to a cacophony of blaring horns, "because we will be the very first state in this great country of ours that has two African-American senators serving at the very same time -- and you will make that happen." A day later, speaking to an equally diverse audience in northern Mississippi, Mr. Espy called his Republican opponent, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, "an anachronism." While it has been overshadowed by the presidential race, a political shift is underway in the South that could have a lasting impact well past this election. Democrats have nominated several Black Senate candidates in a region where they've often preferred to elevate moderate whites, these contenders are running competitively in conservative states, and they're doing so by talking explicitly about race.
In Senate rematch, Democrats hope for an Mike Espy upset but remain realistic about Mississippi politics
The event for Senate candidate Mike Espy had the familiar trappings of Mississippi politics -- Christian music on the loudspeakers, plates piled high with food, and stickers supporting the candidate on every collar. Standing under a pavilion in this small town, Espy spoke of progress and unity before working the crowd as dozens lined up for grilled hamburgers. But there was something unusual in the air in this Republican state: hope that a Democrat could win. But Democrats have had little success in the state where Republicans hold a supermajority in both chambers of the statehouse and occupy every elected statewide office, and where a Democratic presidential candidate hasn't won in 44 years. Independent, nonpartisan analysts list the Senate race as solidly Republican. "I do sit back and daydream on what the national commentators would say" if Espy won, said Marty Wiseman, a longtime Mississippi political commentator and former board member of the state Democratic Party. "Then I slap my face and wake up." While Democrats have gained voters in several states across the South in recent years, Mississippi remains ruby red and deeply conservative, outside of a few blue pockets.
Senate cuts off debate on Amy Coney Barrett nomination, moves to final vote on Monday
A sharply divided Senate dispensed with a key procedural hurdle Sunday on the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, as Republicans raced to a final confirmation vote Monday that will solidify the high court's conservative tilt. In a rare weekend floor vote mostly along party lines, 51-48, Republicans backed President Donald Trump's pick of the reliably conservative federal appeals court judge to fill the vacancy left by the death last month of the liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The only Republicans voting against the cloture motion were Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. On Saturday, Murkowski said she would vote Sunday against cutting off debate on the motion, but would vote to confirm Barrett on Monday. At the same time, Democratic senators decried a plan to have Vice President Mike Pence preside over Monday night's vote for the Supreme Court nominee from his state, even though his chief of staff and other staffers in his office tested positive for COVID-19. The compressed timeline Republicans set for the confirmation process means that Barrett, a longtime legal academic at Notre Dame law school and an appellate judge on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals since 2017, will arrive on the court in time to decide cases on contentious political and social issues.
'60 Minutes' airs President Trump's contentious Lesley Stahl interview
President Donald Trump released 38 minutes of his contentious "60 Minutes" interview with Lesley Stahl on his Facebook page Thursday, calling it "fake and biased." The news program aired its interview Sunday night, delving into the question of why Trump abruptly cut off the White House interview. Stahl seemed surprised when the visibly vexed Trump did not return for a planned second portion of the sit-down interview, a "60 Minutes" tradition with major party presidential and vice presidential candidates, prior to the Nov. 3 election. Instead, Vice President Mike Pence came alone to sit with Stahl for the remainder of the discussion in the White House Roosevelt Room and explain the president's absence. "What just happened with the president?" Stahl asked Pence. Stahl led off the Sunday evening broadcast promising to answer, "What happened when the president left the room," in "what has become an all-too-public dust-up." She added that she had hoped the interview would be "more productive." "It began politely. It ended regrettably, contentiously," said Stahl.
China Trade War Didn't Boost U.S. Manufacturing Might
President Trump's trade war against China didn't achieve the central objective of reversing a U.S. decline in manufacturing, economic data show, despite tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods to discourage imports. The tariffs did succeed in reducing the trade deficit with China in 2019, but the overall U.S. trade imbalance was bigger than ever that year and has continued climbing, soaring to a record $84 billion in August as U.S. importers shifted to cheaper sources of goods from Vietnam, Mexico and other countries. The trade deficit with China also has risen amid the pandemic, and is back to where it was at the start of the Trump administration. Another goal -- reshoring of U.S. factory production -- hasn't happened either. Job growth in manufacturing started to slow in July 2018, and manufacturing production peaked in December 2018. Mr. Trump's trade advisers nonetheless say the tariffs succeeded in forcing China to agree to a phase one trade deal in January, in which Beijing agreed to buy more U.S. goods, enforce intellectual property protections, remove regulatory barriers to agricultural trade and financial services and to not manipulate its currency.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Covid relief deal could still happen before Election Day
With only nine days until Election Day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she's still "optimistic" about Congress passing a coronavirus relief package before Nov. 3. "I never give up hope. I'm optimistic. We put pen to paper and had been writing the bill based on what we hope will be the outcome, what they said they would get back to us on," Pelosi said on CNN's "State of the Union." Relief talks among Pelosi, the Trump administration and Republican congressional leaders have been stalled for months, but the House speaker said Tuesday she and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were "on a path" to a massive deal. On Friday, Pelosi told CNN she sent Mnuchin a list of concerns "that we still had about 'what is the answer?'" "My understanding is he will be reviewing that over the weekend, and we will have some answers on Monday," she said Sunday. Pelosi said she'll not hold out to see whether Democrats win the White House and the Senate and keep the House after in the Nov. 3 elections to pursue a bill more to Democrats' liking. Instead, she said she'll continue working to get a relief bill passed "as soon as possible."
Smaller pandemic Thanksgivings call for smaller turkeys
John Peterson's family has been in the turkey business for 80 years in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. And getting ready for Thanksgiving -- the turkey industry equivalent of the Super Bowl -- is usually pretty routine. Not this year. Thanksgiving is typically all about big. It's the biggest travel week of the year, there are big family gatherings, there is the big family meal, and at its center is often a big bird. But this year, people are expected to gather in smaller groups and have smaller dinners. So grocery stores have been pressing suppliers for smaller turkey and more of them. The problem is turkey farming is a science. The birds are engineered to reach Thanksgiving size at Thanksgiving. For Peterson, who sells his turkey under the name Ferndale Market, that sweet spot is about 18 pounds. And he can't just flip a switch and change that. It's why the industry is on a mission to keep the demand for big turkeys alive by marketing the idea that cooks will be blessed -- not stuck -- with leftovers.
First ever 'UNITY' project to be held at The W
Mississippi University for Women's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council invites The W campus community to participate in its first ever W UNITY Project Tuesday, Oct. 27 through Thursday, Oct. 29. W President Nora Miller said, "The W UNITY Project is the first campus project promoted by the newly appointed Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council. I commend their work in developing an opportunity for faculty, staff and students to come together and be unified as a campus. Our identities are who make us who we are, and this is an opportunity to celebrate individuality while also recognizing that together 'We are The W.'" The interactive public art project, known as UNITY, is based on the work of Nancy Belmont. Belmont's project was selected for its potential to draw attention, encourage engagement and give representation to every member of The W community. Thirty-two posts will stand in a circle near Bryan Green Gazebo, all but one representing a different social role or identity, personal trait or worldview. The 32nd pole will be a blank slate, and participants will be able to write in an additional identifier they feel is important to their sense of self.
Former Golden State Warrior donates $60K to JSU's Sonic Boom of the South
The Sonic Boom of the South received a $60,000 donation from Monta Ellis, a former NBA shooting guard nicknamed the "Mississippi Bullet." The Jackson native spent 12 seasons in the NBA, which included playing for the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers. "I am always overjoyed and humbled when anyone donates to our students and program. This particular donation is unique because Monta Ellis and I grew up together in the same neighborhood," said Dr. Roderick Little, director of bands. Together, the young men attended Lanier High School in Jackson. There, Ellis was named a McDonald's All-American and first-team Parade All-American. Little was on his way to becoming one of the youngest band directors in JSU history. In 2005, Ellis was selected 40th overall NBA draft pick by the Golden State Warriors. "Anybody from Jackson can tell you what the Sonic Boom means to our city. Growing up, kids either want to be a J-5 drum major or J-Sette. I believe in what Dr. Little is doing with the Boom, and I want to do whatever I can to keep making it stronger and give more students a chance to be part of that legacy and earn an education," said Ellis, according to Sonic Boom media.
Family and friends celebrate life of Shirley Middleton Blakely, founder of Prancing J-Settes at JSU
On Saturday, dozens gathered to celebrate the life of a woman many consider to be larger than life. Shirley Middleton Blakely lost her battle with Alzheimer's at the age of 74. "She's an icon here," said Gloria Tatum, one of the original J-Settes. "She's a person that you'd want to replicate yourself from." Those who know Blakely best said she was a visionary who had passion for dancing and music. She was a majorette during her time at Jackson State University, but she wanted to add a new dimension to their performance on the field. Blakely wanted to create something exciting for the crowd to enjoy. "Her vision was for young ladies who were originally majorettes to become dancers," said Tatum. Out of that vision came what is known as the Prancing J-Settes, a nationally recognized dance-line known for their mesmerizing moves and sensational performances. "She approached the president of the university at that time, John A. Peoples, and he loved the idea and embraced it," Tatum recalled. "Shirley was the type of woman that was hard to say no to."
Belhaven students give back to community with day of service
Students from Belhaven University are coming together to beautify their campus and impact the community around the university. Dozens of Belhaven students came out Saturday morning to lend a hand in service events around campus. Student Event Coordinator Taijah Lamar said the event hits home for her, and she is glad she can help those outside the campus. "Belhaven is such a special place and community, and we wanted to be able to share it with the people around us since we never have a chance to connect with them," Lamar said. "We have football and basketball players, dance and math majors all coming together to work together and spread our love for the community." Many of the students wore masks while volunteering and worked in groups distant from each other. Belhaven Director of Athletics Scott Little said he was proud of the discipline the students showed. "They bought in, and they are holding each other accountable," Little said.
LSU schedule changes: no in-person fall graduation; shortened Spring Break, Mardi Gras
LSU on Friday announced changes to its academic calendar for the fall and spring, including making its fall graduation ceremony strictly virtual in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The announcement was made jointly by Tom Galligan, LSU's interim president, and Stacia Haynie, LSU's executive vice president & provost. They say the shift to a virtual-only commencement is based on the advice of public health experts seeking to limit post-Thanksgiving spread of the virus. Students are already planning to take classes remotely during that period. Having a virtual fall commencement, they say, would "avoid bringing students back to campus after they have gone home and/or traveled to other areas." "Therefore, we have made the difficult decision that the Dec. 18 commencement ceremony will be virtual," Galligan and Haynie write. Another notable change: Mardi Gras and spring break have been reduced from multi-day holidays to just one day apiece, plus an added day off in March, so that the spring semester can end a week earlier.
As LSU's first Black undergraduate, he was forced off campus. Now he helps those who came after him.
When Alexander "A.P." Tureaud Jr. stepped onto LSU's campus nearly seven decades ago, he was met with hostility as the university's first and only Black undergraduate student at that time. At 17 years old, he had to sue for his right to be there. Professors questioned whether they could touch his papers and the only social interactions he had were with the few Black graduate students and cafeteria workers on campus. Within 55 days of starting classes, the lawsuit challenging the school's segregation rules ended in a mistrial and the isolation and prejudices he endured were enough to drive him back to his hometown of New Orleans to attend Xavier University. "I didn't leave until I had to leave," he said in a recent interview. "I realized I made a mistake, but I realized I represented a step forward." Despite vowing to never return to LSU, Tureaud years later became heavily involved with the A.P Tureaud Sr. Black Alumni Association. The group is named after his father, a prominent Civil Rights lawyer who fought for Black students' right to attend schools and universities, including his own son.
UGA announces December graduation ceremonies will be virtual, citing COVID risk after break
Fearing students might bring back COVID-19 from their Thanksgiving break, University of Georgia officials are moving the school's fall commencement ceremonies online. The university had earlier announced that UGA classes would move online after Thanksgiving, but had scheduled in-person graduate and undergraduate exercises for Dec. 18 in the school's 10,523-seat Stegeman Coliseum. The Dec. 18 date remains the same. According to a university news release, the UGA administration made the decision to go virtual after hearing from the educational affairs committee of the University Council, public health officials and others on a UGA Preventative Measures Advisory Board. "Many of those with whom we consulted pointed to the risk of viral spread if students and their families traveled back to Athens in the midst of the holiday season, after having been home for Thanksgiving," said UGA Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Jack Hu in the release. "With that in mind, our planners considered several options, but the size of UGA's graduating classes, coupled with social distancing requirements, made it impractical to schedule multiple days of smaller indoor ceremonies in December or at a later date."
Tuition Rises at Historically Low Rate Amid Pandemic
Scrambling to attract and retain students in the middle of a historic health crisis, many colleges across the country froze or lowered tuition and fees for the current 2020-21 academic year. The average sticker price nonetheless increased across public and private, two-year and four-year institutions. But the increases were historically low, according to the College Board's latest Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid report, released today. Average public, four-year, in-state tuition rates, as well as average tuition rates at private, nonprofit four-year institutions, saw their lowest percentage increases in 30 years before adjusting for inflation, said Jennifer Ma, senior policy research scientist at the College Board and co-author of the report. "This year we're seeing a record-high number of schools freezing or reducing tuition," she said. "I've been working on this report since 2007, and I've never seen so many schools freezing tuition."
Why More Colleges Are Testing Off-Campus Students for Covid-19
Like many campuses that welcomed students back this fall, the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse initially limited its Covid-19 testing to students living in dorms. Meanwhile, students who lived off campus frequented bars and stores, mingling with local townspeople. Some who were training for health-care careers honed their skills caring for residents of area nursing homes. So it came as little surprise when an outbreak of Covid-19 last month, concentrated mainly among 18- to 24-year-olds, spilled over into some of the area's most vulnerable residents. The possible links between the reopening of three La Crosse colleges and the deaths of at least nine area nursing-home residents was the subject of a study that has not yet been peer reviewed, but has been touted as a cautionary note on campus reopenings. As the ties between infection rates among students and college towns become clear, campuses like Wisconsin-LaCrosse are extending frequent testing to more students, including those who live off campus. It's a financial and logistical challenge, but one that could be vital to maintaining the community's trust. More testing, of course, means more positive results that add to the perception, accurate or not, that college-age students are the primary drivers of community outbreaks.
Colleges with High Case Counts Show No Signs of Shutting Down
When some colleges announced this summer that they would be reopening in person, there was backlash. Critics said university administrations were being careless, deluding themselves and setting up the conditions for mass outbreaks. Now, a little over halfway through the semester, some of those critics' fears have come to pass, while others have been unfounded. Some colleges have had few to no cases on their campuses. Others have seen unmanageable outbreaks and chosen to close, sending all their students home and continuing education online. But some institutions have been confronted with outbreaks and high case numbers, and they have chosen to continue on. Those institutions have in many cases been reporting alarming numbers, but they show no signs of shutting down. Clemson University, a public institution in South Carolina, appears to be among those at the front of the pack. The university has had 3,770 cases as of Oct. 8, according to a tracker from The New York Times. The university enrolls about 25,000 students, meaning that more than 14 percent of the student body has had COVID-19 this semester. The University of Georgia has similarly been putting up high numbers. Cumulatively, nearly 3,600 students have been infected. If enrollment hasn't changed from last year, that means about 9 percent of students, including graduate and professional students, have been infected since August.
Colleges Turn To Wastewater Testing In An Effort To Flush Out The Coronavirus
Twice a week, mathematics professor Andrea Bruder squats in the sewage tunnels below South Hall, a mostly freshman dorm at Colorado College. She wears head-to-toe protective gear, and holds a plastic ladle in one hand and a to-go coffee cup in the other. Bruder hovers above an opening in a large metal pipe, and patiently waits for a student to flush. That flush will flood the pipes with just enough water to carry human waste down to her ladle, then to her coffee cup and eventually to a lab for processing. According to an analysis by NPR, Bruder's small private college in Colorado Springs is one of more than 65 U.S. colleges testing wastewater in an effort to monitor coronavirus spread. And that number is growing. Wastewater monitoring provides an early opportunity to catch the virus because it can detect an infection days before respiratory symptoms show up, and even if they never show up at all, in the case of asymptomatic individuals.
Joe Biden Would Increase Science Funding
Increasing federal spending on research and science, including at universities, will be a top priority of his administration, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden told a left-of-center podcast. Biden told Pod Save America, run by former Obama administration aides, that if he is elected, combating the coronavirus pandemic would be at the top of his agenda, followed by increasing investments to generate economic growth. "The first thing we're going to have to do is to, in order to compete internationally, is we're going to have to compete," he said. "We're going to invest in science and technology. We're going to make sure that we can compete with the rest of the world and lead the rest of the world. We have the greatest institutes. We have more great research universities in the United States of America than every other research university in the entire rest of the world combined." Barbara R. Snyder, who recently became president of the Association of American Universities, said in an interview the group had written both Biden and President Donald Trump's campaigns, urging them to increase investment in research. The group has said federal investment in research and development had dropped since 1976 from 1.2 percent of GDP to about 0.7 percent.
Historically Black Colleges Become Focus of Biden, Trump Outreach
In the final stretch of the campaign, both President Trump and Joe Biden are highlighting relationships with historically Black colleges and universities, as the former vice president seeks to shore up support among a key Democratic constituency and Mr. Trump tries to make inroads. The nation's roughly 100 HBCUs represent about 3% of all U.S. colleges and universities, but they produce roughly 20% of all Black graduates, according to the United Negro College Fund, a Washington-based national group that supports HBCUs. Both parties see touting connections to the schools as a way to reach a significant slice of the Black electorate through their sprawling alumni networks, hundreds of thousands of current students and family members. Mr. Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, has ramped up his outreach to HBCU students in the closing days of the race in hopes of energizing a segment of what is perhaps his party's most important voting bloc. Mr. Trump, meanwhile, has highlighted that HBCUs secured increased federal funding during his presidency.
Medical marijuana Initiative 65 all about money, not medicine
Syndicated columnist Bill Crawford writes: Will Mississippians fall for the medical marijuana scam to be voted on next week? "Section 2 of Initiative 65 specifically gives out-of-state marijuana companies and any of its officers, owners, operators, employees, contractors, and agents immunity from any criminal or civil sanctions from anything to do with their marijuana businesses in Mississippi," explained State Board of Health member Jim Perry. Many argue marijuana is harmless and should be legalized. But that's not the issue here. Medical marijuana is to be used to treat serious illness and chronic pain. According to Perry, the FDA has approved four marijuana based drugs "that went through blind clinical trials and substantial testing to make sure their promised benefits were real and that their risks are known." But the general usage proposed by Initiative 65 has not been tested, so, BIG MARIJUANA wants blanket immunity to protect its bank accounts. No doubt this is why Gov. Bryant said, "they are a predatory industry." Wow. How often do you hear pro-business conservatives like Bryant attack big industry? There must be something really wrong for him and other state leaders to say this?
Mike Espy hasn't changed his strategy of reaching voters. It's just nuanced.
Bobby Harrison writes for Mississippi Today: When former President Barack Obama recently endorsed Mike Espy's Senate bid, the Espy campaign didn't just welcome it --- they blasted it on their social media channels and vowed to air it on African American radio stations across the state. The response illustrates just how different a campaign Espy is running this year than past statewide Democratic candidates. "I am honored to have the endorsement of the 44th president of the United States of America," Espy said in a statement soon after the endorsement. "President Barack Obama governed with dignity and effectiveness. He is remembered and will continue to be remembered as a very good president." ... Whether Espy's embrace of the national Democratic Party in his contest with Republican incumbent Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is a winning recipe remains to be seen. Hyde-Smith is still the clear favorite. But Espy has something no other statewide Democrat has had in recent elections: a 3-to-1 cash advantage. Still, many believe there is no way Hyde-Smith can lose because people who come to the polls to vote for President Donald Trump, who is still popular in the state, will not vote for Espy.
Mississippians must stay vigilant, prepare to vote
Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson writes: The elections landscaping is steadily changing, and often, with change comes confusion. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted several changes to state election laws and voting procedures, leaving many voters unsure about how, when, and where to cast their ballot for the 2020 General Election. While presidential elections are a national conversation, it is important to remember elections are administered at the local level with different laws in place for each state. Mississippians must stay vigilant when it comes to election information and prepare accordingly before hitting the polls. Everyone expects the polling place environment to be a bit different on November 3rd. While this year's changes will not greatly affect many people, I would like to walk you through a few of the adjustments, so you can know what to expect. ... The voting process will undoubtedly look and feel different for each of us this year, but all of us can prepare accordingly and do our part to contribute toward a safe and fair general election.

Ally McDonald celebrates 28th birthday with victory
Fulton's Ally McDonald gave herself a big 28th birthday present Sunday, winning the LPGA Drive On Championship-Lake Reynolds Oconee for her first tour title. The 28-year-old from Mississippi held off Danielle Kang by a stroke on the Great Waters Course, closing with a 3-under 69 for a 16-under 272 total. Kang birdied the par-5 18th for a 68. "I've never doubted my ability, but I've definitely questioned whether I would be able to win out here," said McDonald, the former Mississippi State standout who joined the tour in 2017. "It's really hard to win out here. So, I've just really hung in there and tried to stick to my process since Day 1. That was able to get me in the winner's circle today. I'm really thankful." She won $195,000. McDonald birdied the first three holes on the back nine, dropped a stroke on 14, birdied 16, bogeyed 17 and parred the par-5 18th. Kang birdied Nos. 12. 13 and 14 to pull within a stroke, but bogeyed the 15th. "I'm not going to lie, it shook me up pretty bad," McDonald said. "I had to gather myself and get my heart rate under control after I made bogey on 13 and Danielle went back to back on birdies on 13 and 14. I just told myself to calm down and do what I've been doing every single round, and that is just trying to execute my game plan, control what I can."
Onyi Echegini nets equalizer as Mississippi State soccer fights Missouri to a draw
Onyi Echegini didn't even have to move. As the Mississippi State sophomore forward raced into the penalty box, the cross from freshman KK Pavatt bent expertly toward Echegini. Perfectly placed, it bounced off Echegini's head and into the goal. The beautifully executed play, just over 12 minutes into the second half of Saturday's match against Missouri in Starkville, tied things at 1-1 and energized the Bulldogs after they let up a goal in the final eight minutes of the first period. "From that moment onwards, we kept going," Echegini said. Mississippi State used its newfound momentum to hold off the Tigers (1-2-2) through the final 33 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime, securing a 1-1 draw that sent the Bulldogs to 2-1-3 on the season. "I think either team could have won the game," Mississippi State head coach James Armstrong said. "Both teams had chances. While neither did, Armstrong said he was happy with his team's performance, especially in the two 10-minute sudden-death overtime periods. Though ultimately they couldn't get clear for a goal, the Bulldogs had more chances than the Tigers did in extra time, Armstrong said.
No Domino Effect: How Three Men in Three Conferences Helped Keep the College Football Season Alive
"It was a wobbly triumvirate," Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby says. "Had one of the legs come off the three-legged stool, we would have fallen over." During that stretch of days in August, college football hung by a thread, twisting in the wind, on the very precipice of a complete shutdown. Amid the decisions, many within the industry prepared for the worst: At some point, the dominoes would all topple and college football would come to a screeching halt. But that never happened. Three men, each in charge of one of college football's richest conferences, helped keep alive a 2020 fall college football season. Bowlsby, Swofford and SEC commissioner Greg Sankey were the glue holding one another intact. For nearly a month, starting after that Tuesday night, the three men spoke daily. They leaned on one another, shared information and made a pact, even if it was unofficial in nature or even unsaid. Sankey's "gift" is patience, says Mississippi State athletic director John Cohen. He waits until the most information can be gathered before making a significant decision. At various points in August, as conferences bailed on a fall season, Cohen was reminded of the situation with Apollo 13, he says now with a chuckle. "It was like 'What parts of this ship are useful? What can we still use?'"
W.C. Gorden, legendary JSU coach and a most gentlemanly winner, dies at 90
Mississippi sports columnist Rick Cleveland writes: Today is a football Saturday, a good day to remember the life of W.C. Gorden, the College Football Hall of Fame coach who died Friday at the age of 90 in his adopted hometown of Jackson. First thing's first: W.C., whom I considered a good friend, was a terrific coach and a better person, always seeming on such an even, gentlemanly keel. He was a sports writer's dream, a quote machine. W.C., who knew a thing or two about winning, once told me what "victory" meant to him. "Victory makes your coffee sweeter and your food taste so much better," he said. "It makes your jazz sound smoother, the sun shine brighter. It makes your wife look more beautiful. It even makes you sleep better and dream sweeter. Victory makes all the difference in the world." For most of his coaching life, Gorden's coffee must have tasted mighty sweet and his wife was surely a knockout. Over 15 seasons at Jackson State's head coach, his Tigers won 119 games, lost just 48 and tied 5. In the SWAC, they won 79 and lost 21. Let's put it this way: Deion Sanders would love to be so successful.

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