New college name boosts DSU’s ‘best kept secret’

Delta State University’s College of Business is flying under a new name: the College of Business and Aviation. The Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning Board recently approved the renaming of the academic college. “I believe changing the name to the College of Business and Aviation helps promote two very important items,” said Dr. Charles McAdams, Delta State’s provost and vice president for academic affairs. “First, the name lets everyone know that we have a (commercial) aviation program. This is significant as we are the only IHL institution with an aviation degree.

Biloxi lowers state and city flags

Biloxi’s mayor has ordered the state flag and the city flag removed from all city facilities, the Sun Herald reports. When Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich took office in May 2015, the state flag was taken down from City Hall. The flag, adopted by the Legislature in 1894, contains the Confederate battle emblem. State public universities and some municipalities have no longer fly the flag. “He thought everyone at all city facilities had followed suit, but much to his surprise, they had not,” city spokesman Vincent Creel was quoted by the Sun Herald on Monday.

‘Billion Dollar Buyer’ shares story of his success at Ole Miss

Tillman Fertitta, CNBC’s Billion Dollar Buyer, headlines an event at The Pavilion on the Ole Miss campus May 5. Most recognizable for his television show, which premiered on the cable network in March 2016, Fertitta is better known in the business world as chairman and CEO of Landry’s Inc.

Landry’s owns and operates more than 500 properties, including more than 40 brands such as Landry’s Seafood, Chart House, Saltgrass Steak House, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Claim Jumper, Morton’s The Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick’s, Mastro’s and the Rainforest Cafe. Five Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino locations are in the mix, as well as numerous other hotel properties and other entertainment destinations. Admission to Fertitta’s appearance is free, with the first 1,000 attendees receiving a free lunch. The event is sponsored by Renasant Bank, Evans Petree, P.C. and White Construction and hosted by the University of Mississippi School of Business, Ole Miss Athletics and the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

Edds named Mississippi Arts Commission chair

Butler Snow attorney Stephen Edds has been named chairman of the Mississippi Arts Commission, the law firm announced in a press release. The Commission, made up of fifteen members appointed by the governor, serves as the official grants-making and service agency for the arts in Mississippi. “Steve’s passion for the arts is well known throughout the firm and the state,” said Donald Clark Jr., Chairman, Butler Snow. “We know that he will serve as an effective and positive leader of the Commission.”

The Mississippi Legislature created the Mississippi Arts Commission in 1968 as a catalyst for private support of the arts. The release noted that the commission fosters networks of local leaders, artists of all disciplines, arts volunteers and patrons; consults on community arts development, performing, visual and literary arts, folk arts, and arts education; provides training in arts management, arts education planning, arts facilities planning and communitywide cultural planning; and promotes broad-based public awareness of the importance of the arts in education and community life.

State closes Old Natchez Trace Lake for dam repairs

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks has closed the Old Natchez Trace Lake at Trace State Park west of Tupelo, the Daily Journal reported. The closure is necessary to drain the lake, which has begun, so that the agency can repair damage to the dam of the 565-acre lake, state Fisheries Bureau director Larry Pugh told the newspaper. The water level of the main lake was lowered in 2016 to begin repairs to the backside of the dam, where sections of dirt had started to slide, the Journal reported. The newspaper reported that winter rains and the development of additional slides on the front side of the dam forced officials to begin draining the lake to prepare for more extensive repairs. Officials said fishing is no longer permitted on the main lake, only on the small pond near the park entrance.

Look, up in the sky … drones

Drones will be demonstrated and evaluated in Mississippi by the Department of Homeland Security starting this fall, the Sun Herald reports. Mississippi State University will lead the project. Research and development of small unmanned aerial systems, known as drones, will be conducted at Camp Shelby, which is the Army National Guard’s national drone-training center; buffer zone areas at Stennis Space Center, which is used for Department of Defense special-operations training; and restricted airspace accessible from the U.S. Coast Guard facilities on Singing River Island in Jackson County. “Mississippi has a number of unique assets that facilitate unmanned aircraft test flights that aren’t found in many other places, and we can fly year-round,” said Dallas Brooks, director of MSU’s Raspet Flight Research Laboratory, who will lead the demonstration-range team. Drones will be evaluated in a variety of simulated scenarios such as border protection; floods, fires and earthquakes; highway and rail accidents and containment of hazardous-materials spills.

Shaifer House vandalized in Port Gibson


The Mississippi Department of Archives and History has temporarily closed the historic Shaifer House on the Port Gibson battlefield in Claiborne County. Thieves removed four wooden support beams and damaged interior flooring and walls in the nearly two-hundred-year-old landmark, the department said in a press release on Thursday. The theft was discovered on April 1, and Archives officials believe the vandalism occurred earlier that week, according to the release. The press release said that staff from the Department of Archives and History, which administers the site, have made an initial stabilization of the site to prevent further damage. Because permanent repairs have not yet been made, the site has been closed to the public, the department said.

Judge cuts Cecil McCrory’s fine from $150,000 to $20,000 in prison bribery case

The monetary fine to be paid by Cecil McCrory, a Brandon businessman who admitted he bribed former Mississippi prisons chief Christopher Epps and helped him launder money, has been reduced from $150,000 to $20,000. U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate lowered the amount Wednesday after McCrory testified Wednesday that his debts outweigh his assets and he doesn’t have enough money to pay the higher amount, the Associated Press reports. Wingate ruled that McCrory should start making fine payments while he is in prison, and be required to pay at least $150 a month once he is released. McCrory, a former state lawmaker, was sentenced in February to serve 8½ years. McCrory was supposed to report to prison April 4, but he remains free on bail so he can testify in lawsuits brought by Attorney General Jim Hood that seek to recover money paid to prison contractors in cases where bribes changed hands, AP says.

‘Blue Yodel’ by Jimmie Rodgers

Jimmie Rodgers is known to many as “The Father of Country Music.” The Meridian native recorded a series of 13 Blue Yodel songs, based on the 12-bar blues format and featuring Rodgers’ trademark yodel refrains, from 1927 until his death in May 1933. The original Blue Yodel No. 1 (“T” for Texas) sold more than half a million copies. The term “blue yodel” sometimes is used to differentiate earlier Austrian yodeling from the American form introduced by Rodgers.

‘Down in Mississippi’ by Mavis Staples

Down in Mississippi is the opening track for We’ll Never Turn Back, the 11th studio album by gospel and soul singer Mavis Staples. The album was named one of the best albums of 2007 by several music writers and publications, including Rolling Stone, which placed it among the Top 50 Albums of 2007. Down in Mississippi is one of several songs on the concept album that contain lyrical themes relating to the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Though Staples was born in Chicago, she has deep Mississippi roots as a member of the family gospel group The Staple Singers, led by her father and Mississippi native “Pops” Staples.

‘Black Water’ by The Doobie Brothers

Black Water was recorded by The Doobie Brothers in 1974 for the album What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits. The song became a No. 1 hit single in spring 1975. Patrick Simmons, a guitarist and original band member, wrote the song while in New Orleans and took inspiration from his lifelong love of Delta blues and his childhood imaginings of the South and the Mississippi River from reading Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. “Catfish are jumpin’, that paddle wheel thumpin’,
Black water keeps rollin’ on past just the same.”

‘Come Monday’ by Jimmy Buffett

Come Monday, written and recorded by Jimmy Buffett, was first released on his 1974 album Living & Dying in ¾ Time and was his first Top 40 hit single. Buffett, a native of Pascagoula and graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, wrote the song to his wife while he was on tour. Although it may not be as synonymous with island escapism as Margaritaville, Come Monday is one of the performer’s more popular songs and is part of “The Big 8” that plays for his Parrotheads at almost all of his concerts.

Inclusion ‘Starts with (Me)ek’ at Ole Miss

It Starts with (Me)ek, a conference designed to encourage inclusion and respect while rejecting stereotypes, begins April 19 on the University of Mississippi campus. It is hosted by the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. The five-day conference, open to all students, faculty, staff and community members, will feature panelists and guest speakers discussing race, gender, sexual orientation, disability and religion. Shepard Smith, chief news anchor and managing editor for Fox News Network’s Breaking News Division, and Otis Sanford, author of From Boss Crump to King Willie: How Race Changed Memphis and Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism at the University of Memphis, are among the keynote speakers. “This campaign is particularly important to our Meek School students because as professional journalists, public relations specialists or integrated marketing communications specialists, students will be dealing with and working with many different kinds of people,” said Robin Street, senior lecturer in public relations.