Sideline View: No expansion on horizon for college playoffs
Jan 21, 2019 | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By Dale McKee

      Super Bowl LIII is set with the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots facing off on Sunday, February 3, in Atlanta.  Both teams won overtime thrillers as the Patriots won a  thrilling 37-31 contest over the K.C. Chiefs, while the Rams stole one from the New Orleans Saints, 26-23. It is the first time in pro football history that both conference championship games were decided in overtime. 


     The big news in Mississippi this past week was the Sanderson Farms Golf Championship being named a full-fledged PGA Tour event.  The 2019 event will be September 16-22 at the Jackson Country Club. The purse has increased to $6.6 million, up from $4.4 million. The most important aspect of the change is that now the winner of the event will earn an invite to the Masters the following April. 


     A record number of college football players are passing up their remaining year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft. There are 103 underclassmen eligible for the April 25-27 draft in Nashville. Another 32 players have graduated but still have eligibility left. Three Ole Miss players are expected to be high draft choices: tackle Greg Little and wide outs A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf. MSU’s Jeffery Simmons will also be near the top choices. 


     Mississippi State defensive back coach Terrell Buckley and former Ole Miss linebacker Patrick Willis will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Buckley, a Pascagoula native and former Florida State All-American, played 14 years in the NFL. Willis was an All-American at Ole Miss and played eight seasons in the NFL. 


     The Senior Bowl will be played this Saturday in Mobile. Mississippi State has three players in the game with Ole Miss having one player. State players in the game are Jonathan Abram, Montez Sweat and Elgton Jenkins. MSU has had a least one player in the game for 24 of the last 25 years. Petal native Javon Patterson is the lone Rebel in the game. Patterson will be moved to center for the game.   


      The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame will host  “Hot Stove Evening” this Thursday night beginning at 5:30 p.m. There will be a Q&A with former Major League players Paul Maholm, Jay Powell and Roy Oswalt. Also San Diego Padre Hunter Renfroe and Mississippi Braves manager Chris Maloney will also field questions from the audience. 


     College baseball coach Hill Denson has announced that he will retire after 33 years. The Bay Springs native has led the Belhaven Blazers program the last 19 years and was the head coach at USM from 1984-1997. USM's field at Pete Taylor Park is named Hill Denson Field. The former Jones County Junior College player is in six halls of fame including the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame. 


Odds & Ends 

        *Laurel native Bobby Dickerson was named infield coach of the Philadelphia Phillies this past week. He was the third base coach for the Baltimore Orioles for the past six years. 

      *The Mississippi State Lady Bulldogs won their 21st consecutive SEC regular season game last week, 89-74, over South Carolina before over 10,000 fans. 

      *Quarterback Jalen Hurts is moving on after three years at the University of Alabama. He has decided to transfer to Oklahoma. 

      *The State of Mississippi gained revenue of $15 million on sports betting in the state from August-December. 

      *Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum, the chairman of the College Playoff board of managers, said in a statement that the College Football                    *Playoffs are not close to expanding from the present four teams. 

Contact Dale at

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Story Teller: Math, science and the water
Jan 21, 2019 | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print

By Martha McCarty

Once a very foolish school administrator told me that I had been hired to teach math and science and that I needed not bother to teach the Scriptures. I replied that to do so was not possible. Neither of the two subjects can be understood without the Word.

She was sitting with her back to a window, and we both could hear the rain pouring from the roof. I remember telling her that the rain she was hearing behind her was the same water that had floated Noah’s ark, and that it had been circulating through its cycle ever since.

When the floods had subsided, much of the water had become lakes, streams, creeks and rivers, while some had soaked into the earth, where it had traveled through underground streams and rivers to later emerge as springs, which became streams, creeks and rivers. These had gone on into the oceans and then had been absorbed into the atmosphere to later fall again as rain, as it had done time after time since it had first floated Noah’s ark.

I then asked her how she could say that such wasn’t science or that math had no part in either. She had no real answer for either herself or for me. I’ve often wondered if she ever had one for our Father. That, I know, is between the two of them. But as for me, I couldn’t and wouldn’t try to teach any part of His truth without the light of His Word.

Do you remember the story of the little sailboat that got away from the child and ended up way down the creek, and then down the river and finally out to sea? It saw so much along its journey but never could get back to the boy to tell him about all that it had seen.

And then there was the man who sat on the river bank and wondered about all that the waters of that river had floated by his spot. He could only imagine what might have and probably had come by his seat through the years. Many had floated its currents downstream to later paddle against them back up, and many others had never returned.

The waters of our waterways have seen so much through the years and have played major roles in our settling of this land. We’ve used them as highways before and even after we had railroads, and many of them still serve as boundaries of states, counties, personal properties and even our nation. They’ve helped us explore, settle, separate and even protect our homes.

So many of us learned to swim in creeks, and more than a few of us have fed ourselves from their banks. Many couples have met and courted while swimming or drowning worms, and some of our best naps have be taken under a shade tree right there when the fish wouldn’t bite.

And, oh, how we love our lakes! Boating, skiing, camping and fishing on them has been such fun for so many, and many more have made good livings on their waters and along their shores! You’ll find these lakes even in the mountains and running between them as they connect to each other and extend for mile after mile below the hills above them. They range in size from our Great Lakes in the North to alligator filled backwater holes tucked into our swamps. I’ll never forget seeing campers along an interstate lined up around what I call ‘mud holes’ where that’s the only water an area has to offer. Some parts of our country don’t have the water play grounds that others offer and enjoy, but their folks still flock to what water is there.

If you’ve never helped to sane a pond, you have no idea what fun you’ve missed or how delicious were those fresh fried fish after such an exhausting day. Children of all ages have slid, rolled and played in the mud while netting that supper.

Tadpoles and crawfish and minnows have mesmerized many a child on the water’s edge, and how many school projects have been enhanced by what was discovered there? Frogs, but no toads, and terrapins, but not tortoises, crawl in and out of their shallows and fascinate both young and old as they so often seem to be each other.

But then I’m reminded of when my grandfather who, in 1920, farmed his land on the Louisiana banks of the Mississippi River. His grandfather had, before the Civil War, drifted on a flatboat barge down that same waterway from Louisville, Kentucky, to New Orleans and had passed right by where grandpa was then plowing. As a boy my grandfather had known his grandpa, but his grandfather had had no idea then that his grandson would later farm the shores he’d passed nearly one hundred years earlier.

It’s a lot we owe our waters, and God knew all along how we’d need to have and use them.  It’s such a good thing that when He separated them from the land, He didn’t take them from us. His sun pulls them from their surfaces and into the air as moisture, and when it gets too heavy with it, He allows it to fall again as rain. It’s what we call a cycle; to Him it was His plan.

Our waters have meant a lot to us through the years, and we’ll need and use them right along, but there’s one thing yet we can learn from them, and we everyone surely should. Every river has a mouth, and some of them are pretty wide, but their tales, what they’ve seen and what they know, they will not tell!

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Frigid air, high winds cause dangerous travel conditions
Jan 21, 2019 | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
By The Associated Press Bitter cold and gusty winds swept across the eastern U.S. Monday with falling temperatures replacing the weekend's falling snow. The National Weather Service had forecast that temperatures would be more than 20 degrees below normal across the Northeast, with wind gusts up to 30 mph and wind chills approaching minus 40 degrees (-4 degrees Celsius) in northern New York and Vermont. Atop the Northeast's highest mountain, the temperature fell to minus 23 degrees Monday morning and was expected to drop even more later in the day, said Adam Gill, a meteorologist with the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire. Though wind gusts of 30 to 40 mph were not particularly high for a location that once held the record for the strongest wind speed ever recorded, it was enough to produce wind chill values of minus 50 to 55 degrees (-10 to -13 degrees Celsius), Gill said. "The big thing is to be prepared: Make sure you have no exposed skin," he said. "Even being covered up, especially with gloves, your fingers get cold fast." The weather contributed to multiple deaths over the long Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. In suburban Chicago, the temperature was about 14 degrees (minus-10 Celsius) Sunday when a 12-year-old girl died after a snow fort collapsed on her. Police in Arlington Heights, Illinois, said Esther Jung had been playing with another girl outside Rothem Church. Their families began looking for them about an hour later and found them under the snow. The younger girl survived. In Connecticut, a utility company subcontractor died Sunday after being struck by a falling tree while working on a power line in Middleton. More than 12,000 homes and businesses in Connecticut remained without power late Monday morning, down from a high of more than 25,000 outages Sunday, as temperatures dropped below zero in some locations. "This is a reminder of the danger these men and women face on our behalf," Gov. Ned Lamont said in a tweet. "While many are still out there working today, please join me in acknowledging them and sending our thoughts to this person's family." In Kansas, a snowplow driver was killed when the plow drove onto the shoulder of a road and rolled over, throwing him under the vehicle. It wasn't clear why the driver had moved to the shoulder from the roadway. And in Wisconsin, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office said a 59-year-old man and a 91-year-old man collapsed and died Sunday in separate incidents after removing snow. While FlightAware reported nearly 350 cancelled flights Monday, that was a fraction of the more than 1,600 that were cancelled the previous day. And after a few weather-related delays Sunday, Amtrak restored all scheduled service on Monday. Another storm system is already developing over the Rockies that could blanket the same region with more snow by the end of the week.
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Bee pollination declining with increased use of pesticide
Jan 21, 2019 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print

By KENNETH HEARD, The Jonesboro Sun

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — Bobby Coy and his son, Richard Coy, owners of Crooked Creek Bee Co., in Jonesboro, began noticing a decline in bee pollination after nearby farmers began using the pesticide dicamba on nearby crops during the past three years.
It's gotten bad enough to force the Coys to move their operations to southern Mississippi to escape the effects of the dicamba spray, The Jonesboro Sun reported .
The herbicide has been used by farmers who plant soybean and cotton crops that have been genetically modified to be tolerant of the chemical because it is effective in killing pigweed.
But dicamba does damage to other soybean crops, along with watermelons, pecans, peaches, tomatoes and other vegetables and other plants essential for bee-pollination and for migrating butterflies.
The Coys also own Coy's Honey Farm, the state's largest honey producer. Both have been hit hard by the chemical, he said. Healthy bee hives produced 100 pounds of honey a year, which Coy bottled and sold.
"There's not enough here for bees to eat," Bobby Coy said.
He said they will move to Wiggins, Mississippi, some 30 miles north of Gulfport.
"It began showing up in 2016," he said, referring to the damage to redvine, a flowering plant essential to pollination. "It 2017, we saw more and in 2018 it was even worse."
The Coys have operated their bee farm near Jonesboro since 1981.
Farmers began using dicamba on Arkansas soybean and cotton crops in 2016.
Leroy Baumgarner, owner of Baumgarner Farms in Jackson County, said he stopped growing tomatoes in anticipation of problems associated with dicamba. He now grows watermelons.
He's not had problems with drift from the herbicide, but the only farmers who use dicamba are at least 10 miles from him.
"I know if it got onto my crops, it would wipe me out," Baumgarner said. "People grow soybeans around me, but they aren't using dicamba. Yet.
"I hope they do away with it," he said.
The chemical has drawn enough criticism over the last few years that the Arkansas Plant Board has stepped in to help regulate it. Board members passed a motion to restrict spraying of dicamba between May 21 and Oct. 31. They also recommended imposing a one-mile buffer zone for applications around research stations, organic crops, specialty crops, non-tolerant dicamba crops and other sensitive crops.
The broad spectrum weed-killer has been in limited use since the 1940s and first registered in 1967.
Dicamba producers modified the chemical and made it more volatile. Farmers who use the herbicide must plant dicamba-resistant seeds that have been genetically modified to withstand application.
The state plant board received more than 1,000 complaints about the herbicide in the past two years.
The Arkansas Agriculture Department is accepting comments during a 30-day period about the chemical and its use in the state. A hearing will be held at 9 a.m. Feb. 20 at the Embassy Suites, 11301 Financial Centre Parkway, in Little Rock.
Bob Midles, a spokesman for the agriculture department, said the department doesn't do research on environmental impacts of dicamba and instead relies on the Environmental Protection Agency's findings and any warnings on dicamba container labels.
"If somebody brings (complaints) to the plant board, they need to include research and data," Midles said. "That's part of the process to go through for tighter regulations."
He said private firms, agencies and universities are more apt to conduct research about dicamba.
The National Pesticide Information Center, a team of scientists who study pesticides, toxicology and risk, said dicamba is considered a "moderate" toxin. The application is easily airborne and if inhaled, people may experience dizziness, coughing, vomiting, stomach cramps, muscle spasms and central nervous system disorders. The symptoms are short-lived, the center said, and last only for a few days.
The Center for Biological Diversity, a non-profit organization that advocates for endangered species, reported that by the end of this summer, more than 60 million acres of monarch butterfly migratory habitat in the southern and midwestern U.S. will be destroyed by dicamba applications. The center reported that the monarch butterfly population has declined by 80 percent since farmers began using the herbicide.
The center also noted declines in populations of crickets, grasshoppers and bees.
Leon Swihart, owner of Swihart Orchards in Leachville, said his pecan crop didn't bloom for the first time in more than a decade last season, but he is not yet ready to blame dicamba for the loss.
"I can't say," Swihart said. "Pecans won't bloom every 10 to 20 years. I don't know if it was because of dicamba this time."
Coy said he also has a bee farm in Missouri.
"We're moving to the coast of Mississippi," he said. "There's a lot of timber there. There won't be dicamba."

Information from: The Jonesboro Sun,

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Bill aims to help minors who are sex trafficking victims
Jan 21, 2019 | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Republican leader of the Mississippi House is pushing a bill that he says could protect children who are victims of sex trafficking. House Bill 571 would prevent charges from being filed against trafficking victims who are younger than 18. The minor would be taken into protective custody and counseling would be provided. Foster parents would be trained to help trafficking victims. House Speaker Philip Gunn, a Republican from Clinton, tells the Clarion Ledger that human trafficking is happening in Mississippi, including "in the shadow of our Capitol." One supporter of the bill is Sandy Middleton, who is executive director of the Center for Violence Prevention in Pearl. The center has a program that fights human trafficking. Middleton says it received 31 crisis calls and 85 referrals in 2018. ___ Information from: The Clarion Ledger,
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