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OXFORD – U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., will be the featured speaker at the University of Mississippi School of Law graduation on May 10 in the Grove.
Lewis will speak at the law school’s individual ceremony, which begins at 11 a.m., following the main university Commencement.
“Congressman Lewis is a hero of the civili rights movement,” said Richard Gershon, law school dean. “He is a great speaker, and I know our graduates will benefit from him being here.”
Lewis is a nationally recognized leader and was one of the main players in the March on Washington in 1963.
JACKSON – New Albany High School teacher Mary King is one of four finalists for the Mississippi Teacher of the Year award, which will be presented Wednesday by the Mississippi Department of Education and the Mississippi Teacher Center.
The Mississippi Administrator of the Year also will be announced at an annual luncheon, which begins at 11 a.m. at the Marriott Downtown.
King will represent Mississippi’s First Congressional District. The winner receives a one-time $5,000 salary supplement from the Mississippi Department of Education and represents the state in the national competition. The Administrator of the Year also nets a $5,000 stipend.
The company announced the $1.6 million investment Tuesday. The state of Mississippi will give ACCO $150,000 to modify a building and the Tennessee Valley Authority will also assist.
The company, based in Lake Zurich, Ill., makes office supplies under various brands including Mead, Swingline, Five Star and Day Runner. It has more than 500 full-time employees in Booneville.
ACCO spent $55 million to renovate and expand its distribution center in Booneville in 2008, getting at least $3.3 million in state and federal aid and adding 300 jobs at the time.
The company makes dry erase boards, ring binders and specialty binders in Booneville. The distribution center is one of three nationwide for ACCO.
By Steve Megargee
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee is counting on Southern Mississippi’s Donnie Tyndall to make the same solid transition from the mid-major ranks as the Volunteers’ last two basketball coaches.
Tennessee announced Tuesday it will introduce Tyndall at an afternoon news conference.
Tyndall replaces Cuonzo Martin, who went 63-41 in three seasons at Tennessee before California hired him on April 15. Martin led Tennessee to a 23-14 record and an NCAA regional semifinal appearance this season.
The 43-year-old Tyndall has gone 56-17 with a pair of NIT appearances in two seasons at Southern Mississippi. The Golden Eagles went 29-7, tied a school record for victories in a season and reached the NIT quarterfinals this year.
Tennessee has plucked its last two coaches from mid-major programs. Martin came to Tennessee in 2011 after three seasons at Missouri State. Martin was preceded by Bruce Pearl, who arrived at Tennessee from Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Pearl and Martin helped Tennessee reach regional semifinals in four of the last eight years.
During a news conference announcing Martin’s departure on April 15, Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said he was looking for a coach with a proven track record but didn’t rule out the possibility of hiring a “rising star.” Tyndall could fit the profile of a “rising star” because of his lack of major-conference head coaching experience, but he also has a history of NCAA tournament success.
Before coaching at Southern Mississippi, Tyndall went 114-85 with two NCAA tournament appearances in six seasons at Morehead State. His career highlight came in 2011 when he guided Morehead State to an NCAA tournament upset of Louisville.
Tyndall’s best Morehead State teams featured Kenneth Faried, a first-round draft pick who plays for the NBA’s Denver Nuggets.
Tyndall faces some immediate challenges in his new job
Tennessee loses four of its top five scorers from this year’s team. Josh Richardson, who will be a senior guard, is the only returning player who made over 10 starts this season.
Tyndall also must unite a fan base that was divided for much of this season between Martin supporters and Pearl backers. Although Martin averaged 21 wins a season at Tennessee, some fans started an online petition to bring back Pearl.
Pearl led the Vols to NCAA tournament appearances in each of his six seasons before getting fired in 2011 amid an NCAA investigation. Pearl was hired at Auburn last month.
Tyndall’s teams have won at least 24 games four of the last five seasons. He had agreed to terms on a new four-year contract with Southern Mississippi in January.
Tyndall also had plenty of success at Morehead State, which had gone 4-23 the year before he took over the program.
While Tyndall was at Morehead State, the program was placed on probation for two years in August 2010 because of violations related to booster activity. The school’s self-imposed penalties included the loss of one scholarship and other recruiting restrictions.
Tyndall has experience and in the Southeastern Conference and coaching in the state of Tennessee. He was an assistant at LSU from 1997-2001 and at Middle Tennessee from 2002-06.
Tyndall was born in Grand Rapids, Mich. He played at Iowa Central Community College from 1989-90 and at Morehead State from 1990-93.
Southern Miss will now be searching for its third basketball coach in four seasons.
Tyndall’s up-tempo coaching style and engaging personality made him a fan favorite in Hattiesburg, and attendance improved at Reed Green Coliseum.
Southern Miss athletic director Bill McGillis thanked Tyndall for “two amazing years.” He says he expects the program to build on that success.
McGillis says he had a meeting with the players and has started the search for Tyndall’s successor. He hopes to have a new coach within two weeks.
CORINTH – Alcorn County’s expense for liability and property insurance will see a reduction for the benefit year that begins May 1.
Ricky James, who handles the county’s insurance contracts, said the quote for coverage with current carrier Zurich Insurance will decrease 7 percent from $208,178 to $191,902. James recommended the county accept the quote from Zurich, which has been the county’s carrier for several years.
The board voted unanimously to accept James’ recommendation.
Imagine what the impact would be if 25 percent of the money coming into Mississippi’s public schools suddenly disappeared.
Schools have enough problems dealing with chronic state underfunding, with the Legislature having met the legal requirement for support of the Mississippi Adequate Education Program only twice in this century.
But U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel doesn’t believe the federal government should spend any money at all on education. He’s said on the campaign trail recently that the U.S. Department of Education is unconstitutional and he’d vote to abolish it.
The second-term state senator from Jones County, in doing away with federal education funding, would cut out about $800 million of the $3.3 billion spent on Mississippi’s K-12 public schools in the last year. That’s nearly a quarter of the total.
The consequences would be devastating, of course. McDaniel shrugs off the implications, saying that if Mississippi was “allowed to keep more of its tax revenue, (it) could offset those losses.”
That’s wishful thinking, to put it mildly. How could Mississippi possibly make up $800 million annually when it doesn’t even do what the law requires with state funding as it is?
This doesn’t even speak to the federal funds for education that come to Mississippi’s community colleges and universities. McDaniel has been critical of the man he is challenging in the June 3 Republican primary, Sen. Thad Cochran, for channeling federal funds to Mississippi State University, the University of Mississippi and other institutions in the state. The programs those congressionally directed appropriations – earmarks, in the Capitol nomenclature – have been significant in keeping Mississippi’s higher education system competitive.
Mississippi historically has been the state that receives, per capita, the greatest infusion of federal funds compared to taxes paid. The connection between Mississippi’s status as the nation’s poorest state and its need for those federal dollars is obvious.
To breezily suggest that Mississippi could get along fine without those appropriations – zeroing them out in education – is grossly misleading.
Mississippi’s goal should be to become less dependent on federal funds, but those funds are a vital necessity in shoring up the state’s best hope for that change to occur. A better-educated population with improved job skills is our only conceivable way off the economic bottom. Cutting one-fourth of the money spent on schools in Mississippi would be a disastrous course to pursue.
Walking ahead of two young people when one asked the other, “What are you doing this summer?”
It has been a wicked winter in Mississippi. Day after day of gray skies, rain, wind. As soon as the temperature would rise above freezing for 10 minutes, another north wind would send the mercury into retreat again.
This is a state where jonquils are not uncommon soon after New Year’s Day. This year, the bulbs stayed buried until late March.
But at last people can think about summer, even believe there will be one.
Anyway, the other young person responded, “Nothing.” And her response was in a rather sad voice.
That was perturbing.
There’s nothing wrong with nothing. People – especially young people – are far too busy these days.
Those with cells usually have three or four conversations underway at one time, on their way to the next activity, the next event. It’s as if their lives will end if there’s a tweet they “need” to see and two minutes pass before they see it.
It’s phenomenal how they check in with each other every few seconds. No reason. Just checking in.
Smartphones are making us dumb.
Now I don’t throw in with those who love to loathe “digital natives,” as those who don’t remember life-before-texting have been dubbed. News stories about high schoolers struggling to complete a class assignment that requires them to stay offline for 24 hours are silly. The proportion of young people who are bright, engaged, caring, savvy folks is as great or greater than it ever was.
It’s just that technology makes too great a claim on their time and attention. One thing they have not been afforded is innocence.
If you are over 35 or 40, did it ever once cross your mind that your day at school might include getting shot?
Did you receive training – extensive training – in how to tell the difference between acceptable touches from an adult and touches that were unacceptable and should be reported? That there were good secrets and bad secrets?
Was there constant monitoring of what you were watching on television, whether news, entertainment or commercials? Was every movie promo about shootouts, explosions or zombies?
Or did you grow up during a time when your parents figured that if you showed up for meals, everything was OK?
Today’s 20-somethings were in grade school during the horrors of Sept. 11. You’d better believe they saw those images – time and again. Think about the effect it would have had on your worldview today if you were 6 or 7 when those planes hit the buildings.
Maybe this explains the constant “checking in.”
Edgar Allen Poe famously called sleep, “little slices of death.” That’s probably accurate. Most people don’t do anything constructive, other than dream, while asleep. It’s a time of “nothing.”
But there’s another kind of doing nothing.
There’s productive nothingness.
An hour or more with a relaxed mind can be a person’s most creative time of day.
No one uses the word “cogitate” anymore, but it’s a fine word. It means to mull things over, to contemplate options, perhaps to come up with an idea or a plan of action.
Ponder. Ruminate. And, yes, if you own a proper yoga outfit, meditate.
Clear the cobwebs.
Pausing to reflect is absent from modern life. We could blame TV. Why not, we blame it for everything else? Reporter asks question; interviewee is expected to fire off some responsive words immediately. Get a text. Reply with lightning speed.
It’s likely that young people’s minds have evolved to be able to think faster than their parents and their parents’ parents, to size up a situation and comment immediately.
Professional interrogators are now taught to ask a question, then pause after the first answer and wait. Soon, the “dead air” will become too oppressive and the person being interrogated will chirp.
But the value of silence, I hope, has not completely vanished from the human experience.
Next time you ask somebody what he or she has planned and the answer is, “Nothing,” I hope you will say, “Good for you.”
Charlie Mitchell is a Mississippi journalist. Write to him at Box 1, University, MS 38677, or email email@example.com.
PLANTERSVILLE – Voters will decide the newest Plantersville alderman today in a runoff between Shelton Shannon and Charlotte Diggs.
The special election runoff follows the resignation of former alderman Ketrick Marion, who left his post after entering a guilty plea in Lee County Circuit Court to aggravated domestic violence.
He was sentenced to 20 years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, all of which is suspended pending good behavior.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today.
Tupelo has been accepted to participate in the Valley Sustainable Communities Program, joining 12 other cities in the two-year-old program.
Sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Authority and managed by Boyette Strategic Advisors, the VSCP was initiated by TVA Economic Development in 2013. The program was designed in response to more corporations indicating interest in locations where there is an ongoing commitment to sustainable practices.
“The goal of the program is to work with communities across the region to help them be ready to compete when economic growth opportunities occur,” said TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley.
In addition, more than 90 percent of corporate real estate executives who responded to a CoreNet Global survey said that sustainability is a consideration in their company location decisions. The typical reasons for this corporate commitment are reduced operating costs for increased profitability and greater employee satisfaction.
Thirteen communities in the TVA’s nine-state service region were designated Valley Sustainable Communities last year. The program recognizes communities at three levels – Silver, Gold and Platinum – based on the sustainability programs in place.
Last year, Oxford/Lafayette County were named to the Gold level.
While a wide variety of sustainable initiatives contribute to a community’s level of recognition, those programs directly related to business and industry support and economic development receive greater emphasis.
“Tupelo has already made a significant commitment to sustainability. This new program provides us with the opportunity to document, further develop and be recognized for our sustainable initiatives, which will help differentiate us in the tough competition for new corporate investment and job creation,” said Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton.
In addition to Tupelo, Starkville this year also has begun the process to be named a Valley Sustainable Community.
BancorpSouth posted quarterly profit Monday of $28.4 million, or 30 cents per share. That’s up from $20.8 million or 22 cents per share in 2013’s first quarter.
Analysts polled by FactSet had estimated 30 cents per share, on average.
“Our financial results continue to benefit from the daily efforts of our people to grow our company and to improve operating performance,” CEO Dan Rollins said in a statement.
BancorpSouth said that total loans rose by $110 million to $9.1 billion. That was slower than loan growth in 2013’s fourth quarter, but still represented the fourth straight quarter of increasing lending.
The bank said insurance revenue set a record at $32 million, nearly half of the bank’s overall revenue from fees and other noninterest sources. BancorpSouth continued to benefit from reduced costs after an employee buyout. It set aside nothing for future bad loans for the second straight quarter, down from $4 million in the same three months of 2013.
BancorpSouth’s return on assets rose to 0.88 percent. That key measure of profitability has risen for three straight quarters at the bank, though it still trails national averages. In 2013’s first quarter, BancorpSouth had return on assets of 0.64 percent.
The amount that the company collected in interest from borrowers, net of what it paid out to savers, was $102 million. That cornerstone of bank profits was above the year-ago level, but down slightly from the last three months of 2013.
The net interest margin, a measure of that spread divided by all loans, rose to 3.54 percent, with BancorpSouth paying out less in interest to savers.
BancorpSouth is in the process of buying Central Community Corp., the parent of Austin-based First State Bank Central Texas for $210 million in stock and cash. It’s also buying Ouachita Bancshares Corp. of Monroe, La., for $115 million in stock and cash.
Based in Tupelo, the $13.1 billion bank has offices in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas.