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Daily Times Leader E-Edition 12-24-2013

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Check the Community Calendar for upcoming events // Page 2
Calling for peace in the Mississippi Coast’s delegate // Page 4
Daily Times Leader
Serving West Point & Clay County Since 1867 TUESDAY, December 24, 2013
75 cents
Holidays affect city, Clay County services
Garbage collection postponed to Thursday in West Point
BY JUSTIN MINYARD City services (namely garbage collection days) will experience a slight lag as per the upcoming holidays, but Clay County garbage collection will continue as regularly scheduled. West Point Chief Administrative Officer Randy Jones said although the upcoming holidays present a slight delay, it will be “business as usual.” Public works, Jones said, will be out of commission for the duration of both Christmas day and New Years day. Individuals that attempt to phone city hall and its respective branches will be redirected to a 911 call center where dispatchers will page stand-by crews. The only thing out of routine will be sanitation services, according to Jones. Normally, garbage collection crews make their rounds Wednesday, but due to the holidays the collection date has been scheduled (both this week and the next) for Thursday. That’s the extent of the delays, said Jones. “It’s really no different from the weekend stuff,” said Jones. “That’s good news in a way.” However, the West Point Police Department and West Point Fire Department will be on-call for any potential emergency situation. “We hope everybody will take the day off,” said Jones. “ ... Family morale in particular is important. As long as you provide the time for families to share time together in the spirit of the season, it pays rewards back to you as far as morale in the workplace.” It’s a relatively similar jig for the county as well, according to Clay County Chancery Clerk Amy Berry. The county courthouse, along with all county buildings, will be closed for Dec. 24-25 and New Years day. Berry said sanitation services will progress as scheduled, effectively working through the latterly mentioned days. “It’s generally smooth,” said Berry. Ordinarily the suspension in county affairs presents little difficulties for both county employees and the public. However, Berry said considering this is the time of the year when citizens pay their property taxes and purchase their car tags, there may be some level of impairment in those particular endeavors.
Dear Santa ...
— Donna Harris/Daily Times Leader
Bailee Harris, 4, visits with Santa during the West Point Clay County Animal Shelter fundraiser last week at Main Street Market. See what area children asked Santa for this year in Daily Times Leader’s special section “Dear Santa” inside today’s paper.
Here comes Santa Claus ...
We Care group to give supplies for area needy
Event to be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today in West Point
— Donna Summerall/Daily Times Leader
Santa Claus greets Charlotte Barnette with a gift. Family and friends of residents of Dugan Memorial Home enjoyed a Christmas party complete with a visitor from the North Pole Monday afternoon. Santa handed out gifts to the residents that had been donated by the employees of Dugan to make sure every resident had something of their own. Joining the party were the Sigma Beta Club, the little brothers of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, to help move residents and attend to their needs. Susan and Wayne Plunkett, together with Pat May and Jerome Key entertained the crowd with Christmas music. Sigma Beta member Terrance Stafford wheels Addie McComic to meet Santa in the hall.
The spirit of Christmas manifests itself in a more than plentiful variety of ways. In an effort to cherish those in need, the West Point We Care Committee will set up a supply giveaway at its headquarters in the city today. Lasting from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., the organization will be dishing out free goodies at its office building located at 826 Highway 45 Alt. N.. However, it will not be a simple matter of giving supplies away to individuals which have not been thoroughly vetted as actually needing assistance, according to We Care Committee Director Luezarah “Lou” Robinson. Interested persons will be required to fill out a brief application which measures just how crucial the free supplies will be to each person. “When (people come in), we try to take applications and pass them out until they’re all gone,” said Robinson. “We want to give it out to the needy.” Robinson has served those in need since 2004. Since the beginning, the central command hub for the organization has undergone numerous shifts in location. Robinson had humble beginnings with coordinating the drive as she initially conducted the
See WE CARE | Page 2
Mississippi State University’s Wiseman plotting new course
BY PATSY R. BRUMFIELD Associated Press STARKVILLE — Marty Wiseman recalls standing with his father for long periods of time, when he was 4 or 6 years old, waiting to shake the hand of venerated U.S. Sen. John C. Stennis. "I wanted to go play," he remembered of the strained anticipation in the old Mississippi State University Alumni House every homecoming. "My father made me do it." Years later, he says he felt the coincidence of their yearly connections as he became full-time director of the John C. Stennis Institute of Government and Community Development at MSU. Wiseman, 62, officially retires Dec. 31 from the post he's shaped across 22 years. Through those years, he's been a media go-to for political analysis and a reliable source of information and research for the Mississippi Legislature, other governmental agencies and communities across the Magnolia State. "My wife is making these lists," he said as he considers his time away from the book-lined office with documents and years of collectibles scattered across desk tops. Wiseman insists he has no skills around the house, other than mastery of Thanksgiving and Christmas family feasts. Born in Greenwood, Wiseman grew up in Kosciusko, the son of an Extension Service county agent. He graduated from MSU in 1974 with a master's in political science and married Bonnie Parker a month later. That's when he briefly tied his star to a Mississippi legend, Jim Buck Ross, the longtime, colorful agriculture commissioner. Likely with the help of a call from his dad, Wiseman went to work for Ross for $613 a month with his wife, holding an elementary education degree, answering the switchboard at the Country Club of Jackson. "She got free food — she ate like a queen," Wiseman said with a laugh. He suited up for Ross' style — cowboy boots and a cowboy hat — and headed around the state for two years trying to encourage the public to eat more grass-fed beef. The campaign rose from struggling farmers' complaints to Ross that they couldn't afford to feed their calves anything else. He also recalled Ross' propensity to hire farmers who'd called it quits. "It was like a retirement home for old farmers," he said of their Jackson headquarters. After that experience, Wiseman headed back to MSU for an Extension Service job and work on a master's degree in sociology to pursue his interest in rural community development. Not knowing where it would take him, Wiseman focused on studying rural, local government and how policies were influenced by Southern culture, especially religion.
See WISEMAN | Page 5
Vol. 146, Issue No. 288
ON THE iNSiDE 1. The U.S.’ newest coal-fired power plant will, as a result, force more oil out of the ground. 3 2 . Some 15 Mississippi counties report weekend storm damage. 5 3 . MSU tops South Florida in a 71-66 victory Sunday night at the Las Ve7 gas Classic. 4 . Thai protesters attempt to block February 12 election sign ups.
Today’s News ... Tomorrow’s Trends
Business. ...............3 Calendar. .............2 Classifieds........11 Comics..............10 Deaths..................2 Nation. ..................9 Opinion. ...............4 Sports...................7 Weather..............3
© 2013 Daily 75¢
Newsroom: 494-1422
Tuesday, December 24, 2013 | Daily Times Leader
Cathy A. Smith
Elementary class presents Grinch
Cathy A. Smith, 71, passed away Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, at North Mississippi Medical Center-Tupelo. She was born June 21, 1942, in El Dorado, Ark. to the late Myretta Corneilson and Marvin Floyd Wilson. Cathy was a restaurant owner-manager for 40 years. She was a member of Free Praise and Worship Center. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her son, Jimmy Ray Robison, her daughter Teresa Gayle Robison, and sister Keta Kane. Funeral services are today, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013, 10 a.m. at Calvert Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. Jerry Allen officiating, assisted by Bro. Wayne Mathis. Burial will follow in Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church Cemetery in Prairie. Calvert Funeral Home of West Point is in charge of arrangements. Survivors include her husband Douglas “Bubble Gum” Smith of West Point; two daughters, Treva Watts (Roger) ofJefferson City, Mo, Okie Smith of West Point; two sons: John Robison (Marie) of Republic, Mo., and Jon Jon Smith of West Point; 11 grandchildren; 11 great grandchildren; four sisters: Linda Rook of Blue Eye, Mo., Valeria Powell of Independence, Mo., Sharon McClinton of Lampe, Mo., Toni Tunnel of Perry, Okla.; one brother, Bruce Wilson (Margie) of Holts Summitt, Mo. Pallbearers are Jeff Fulgham, Randy Langley, Jason Alsobrooks, Andy Lee, Dwayne Williams and Mike Weeks. Honorary Pallbearers are Chris Reese, Dustin Jennings, David Smith, and Bill Smith, Jr. Friends may leave an online condolence at
All “Church Announcements” are published as a community service on a firstcome, first-served basis and as space allows. Announcements must be 60 words or less, written in complete sentences and submitted in writing at least five days prior to the requested dates of publication. No announcements will be taken over the telephone. Announcements submitted after noon will not be published for the next day’s paper.To submit announcements, email
— Submitted photo
Ms. Carrol’s class at Church Hill Elementary School recently performed its rendition of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” for students and parents at the school. The students are seen above on set.
All “Community Announcements” are published as a community service on a first-come, first-served basis and as space allows. Announcements must be 60 words or less, written in complete sentences and submitted in writing at least five days prior to the requested dates of publication. No announcements will be taken over the telephone. Announcements submitted after noon will not be published for the next day’s paper. To submit announcements, email life@dailytimesleader. com.
u Feed the Hungry — Holy Temple Holiness Church Women’s Ministries deliver meals to Feed the Hungry the second Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. If you or someone you know is elderly or shutin, and could benefit from this free delivery service, call 494-3322 before 8 a.m. the morning of the deliveries. u Town Creek Bible Study — Minister Lester Moore will be holding Bible Study at Town Creek Apartments in the Laundry Room each Tuesday night from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m.The current 13-week less is titled “How to be a Christian.” u Noonday Prayer Service — Strong Hill M.B. Church is having a prayer service from noon – 1:30 p.m. every Wednesday. Inviting everyone seeking the power of prayer. Ministers, evangelists and pastors are welcome. u Computer Classes — Pilgrim Grove M.B. Church is offering free computer classes for senior citizens age 60 and over from 6 – 7 p.m. each Tuesday. Classes will teach basic beginner computer skills. Don’t let technology pass you by.
The City Board of West Point holds its meetings the second Tuesday of each month at City Hall at 5:30 p.m. Work Sessions are held every Thursday prior to the board meeting at City Hall at 5:30 p.m. u American Legion Meeting — American Legion Post 212 will meet every third Sunday of the month at 3 p.m. at their headquarters on Morrow St. All members are urged to attend. u AARP Meeting — The Clay County AARP will meet every third Thursday, at 5:30 p.m. at the Henry Clay Retirement Center. All members and those interested in AARP are urged to attend. For more information call Ella Seay 494-8323 or Dorothy Landon 494-3577. u Lodge Breakfast — West Point Masonic Lodge No. 40, sponsors a breakfast the first Saturday of each month from 5:30 – 8:30 a.m. The public is welcome to attend.
The Basic Skills class will prepare you to take the WorkKeys test and receive a Career Readiness Cer tificate . WorkKeys® is a job skills assessment that helps employers select, hire, train, develop, and retain a high-performance workforce. These classes are sponsored by EMCC Workforce Services. Please call Mitzi Thompson at 243-2647, to register for free classes. u Lodge Meeting — West Point Masonic Lodge No. 40, will have its regularly stated communication the third Monday of each month. All Master Masons are urged to attend. u Welding and Carpentry Classes — EMCC Workforce Services is offering Welding and Carpentry classes two nights a week from 5 – 9 p.m. Please contact Mitzi Thompson at 243-2647. u Grief Support Group — Christ United Methodist Church is providing support for grieving families with a Grief Support Group who will meet Mondays at 6:30 p.m. u GED Classes — EMCC West Point Center, if offering free GED classes at EMCC West Point Center, Monday thru Thursday, from 8 am –
1:30 p.m. These classes are sponsored by the Adult Basic Education department of East MS Community College. Please contact Cynthia McCrary or Jessica Flynt at 492-8857 for additional information.
u Civitan meetings — The West Point Civitan Club meets on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at noon in the Training Room of NMMC-West Point. All interested persons are cordially invited to attend.
u Christmas service — Mt. Hermon M.B. Church will conduct its annual Christmas morning worship service at 8 a.m. Pastor Tim Brinkley will bring the message. The public is invited to attend.
u C2C Info — Need work skills to get a job? EMCC Workforce offers the Counseling 2 Career program to assist in gaining work experience. C2C classes are available for residents of Clay, Lowndes, and Noxubee counties, Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. If you are 18-21, please contact Sha’Carla Petty at 662-243-1930 or Chrystal Newman at 662-243-1941 for more information.
u Watch Night Service — Shady Grove Abbott M.B. Church wishes to invite everyone to their Watch Night service at 10:30 p.m. Guest speaker is the Rev. James Culpepper of Big Jerusalem M.B. Church of Weir.
Here we come a caroling
u West Point Alumni Chapter Meetings — The West Point Alumni Chapter Meets on the second Saturday ONGoiNG of each month at the Northside School building on Fifth St. at u Basic Skills Class — Free noon. All members and interested persons are invited to Basic Skills class at the EMCC West Point Center, Hwy. 45 attend. North, Monday thru Thursday u City Board Meetings — each week, 11:30-1:30 p.m.
u Animal shelter help — The West Point Clay County Animal shelter needs foster families for several puppies who have been selected to go on the next Homeward Bound rescue. You would need to keep the pup for two weeks, until the day of transport. If you are interested, please call the shelter at 524-4430. u Ladies Auxiliary — The American Legion Post 212 Ladies Auxiliary meet the second Thursday of each month at 6 p.m.
From page 1
giveaway from her home in Sturgis. The idea picked up steam and led her to an office in Sturgis in 2005. With four rooms in the office, it was certainly an upgrade from dealing with an influx of people shifting in and out of her home. But she wanted more. “We wanted to get to a better location, so we went ahead and moved to Starkville,” said Robinson. From there, the We Care Committee conducted business for upward of five years, but as the story progressed a new office in West Point was in her sights. The theme remained steady, though. Robinson’s only mission is assisting those without sufficient means to hold a consistent and fulfilling living condition. “I was buying (supplies) and I had a couple minsters’ (help),” said Robinson. “We started saving and buying stuff — getting clothes together (and the likes) — so when the holidays came we took individuals in and fed them ... it was a blessing.” To Robinson, committing to this affair is not something she only wants to endure, but something she said she is supposed to endure. “It’s what God wants us to do,” said Robinson. “I want to be a part of helping people in times of need. That’s what each of us are supposed to share with — we’re supposed to be a part of it. Some people don’t think like that. The Bible says to give and love one another. ... Sometimes it’s hard work, but I love it. I enjoy what we’re doing.” With that in mind, Robinson said she wants to make sure there’s an air of fairness about the atmosphere. “I try to be fair,” said
— Submitted photo
For the third straight year, friends gathered at the home of Scott Reed with plans to spread holiday cheer. An energetic group of children, ages 4 to 12, surprised residents of East Main Street by singing carols and leaving behind a candy cane with a note reminding neighbors that Jesus is the true reason for the season.The night ended with chili and snacks, and a visit from Saint Nick himself. Pictured are (from left) Anna Grace Reed, Bailey Harris, Stanley Carson Taylor, Camille Jester, Lily Reed, Jack Carter Taylor. Julia Rae East, Collin Hood, Michael Ann East, homeowner Melissa Vest, Kara Reed and Ava East.
8pc mixed 12pc mixed 16pc mixed 2pc Dark, fries, roll 2pc White, fries, roll $7.99 $11.99 $15.99 $2.49 $2.99
Holiday Garbage Collection for Christmas Holiday
Wednesday Garbage pick-up will run on Thursday, December 26th Thursday Garbage pick-up will run on Friday, December 27th.
City of West Point Public Works Department Joey Wright
539 East Main Street • West Point
Robinson. “ ... We try to do what we can for everybody. We try to stick that — I want to help the needy people, not the people just passing by.” Volunteers have been an element of difficulty for the organization, too. Robinson said volunteers in the recent past have become “scarce.” The purpose of volunteering is to lend a helping hand without the expectation of compensation. Robinson said most people are simply “looking for pay” for donating their “time and effort” to a worthy, humanitarian cause. “We get some good volunteers and we get some bad volunteers,” said Robinson. Individuals that are interested in filling out the application or sacrificing a day’s time can contact Robinson at 364-7120. Robinson said she is always looking for volunteers and any body interested in doing so can stop by the office and pledge their assistance.
Daily Times Leader | Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Today's Weather
Local 5-Day Forecast
Sunny skies. High 44F. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph.
Plenty of sun. Highs in the low 50s and lows in the upper 20s. Sunrise: 6:57 AM Sunset: 4:54 PM
Sunshine. Highs in the low 50s and lows in the mid 20s.
Sunny. Highs in the mid 50s and lows in the upper 20s.
Mainly sunny. Highs in the upper 50s and lows in the low 30s. Sunrise: 6:58 AM Sunset: 4:56 PM
Sunrise: 6:57 AM Sunset: 4:53 PM
Sunrise: 6:58 AM Sunset: 4:55 PM
Sunrise: 6:58 AM Sunset: 4:55 PM
Mississippi At A Glance
— Associated Press
Work continues at Denbury Resources Inc.’s, Tinsley Facility on Oct. 22 in Tinsley. Denbury Resources hopes to bring new life to old oil fields by pumping in carbon dioxide to force additional oil to the surface. Denbury Resources hopes to bring new life to old oil fields by pumping in carbon dioxide to force additional oil to the surface.
Tupelo 40/24
Obama pushes more oil production
BY DINA CAPPIELLO Associated Press DE KALB — America's newest and cleanest coal-fired power plant comes with a catch: The heat-trapping carbon dioxide removed from its smokestack pollution will help force more oil out of the ground. Some environmentalists complain that it ends up releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than is stored underground as waste. It's another example of the Obama administration promoting new, cleaner technologies and allowing companies to do things it otherwise would oppose as harmful to the environment. At first, the idea behind "carbon-capture" technology was to make coal plants cleaner by burying the carbon dioxide deep underground that they typically pump out of smokestacks. But that green vision proved too expensive and complicated, so the administration accepted a trade-off. To help the environment, the government allows power companies to sell the carbon dioxide to oil companies, which pump it into old oil fields to force more crude to the surface. A side benefit is that the carbon gets permanently stuck underground. The program shows the ingenuity of the oil industry, which is using government green-energy money to subsidize oil production. But it also showcases the environmental trade-offs Obama is willing to make, but rarely talks about, in his fight against global warming. Companies have been injecting carbon dioxide into old oil fields for decades. But the tactic hasn't been seen as a pollutioncontrol strategy until recently. Obama has spent more than $1 billion on carbon-capture projects tied to oil fields and has pledged billions more for clean coal. Recently, the administration said it wanted to require all new coal-fired power plants to capture carbon dioxide. Four power plants in the U.S. and Canada planning to do so intend to sell their carbon waste for oil recovery. Just last week, former Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced he was joining the board of a company developing carbon capture technology. The unlikely marriage of coal burners and oil producers hits a political sweet spot. It silences critics who say the administration is killing coal and discouraging oil production. It appeases environmentalists who want Obama to get tougher on coal, the largest source of carbon dioxide. It also allows Obama to make headway on a secondterm push to tackle climate change, even though energy analysts predict that few new coal plants will be built in the face of low natural gas prices and Environmental Protection Agency rules that require no controls on carbon for new natural gas plants. "By using captured manmade carbon dioxide, we can increase domestic oil production, promote economic development, create jobs, reduce carbon emissions and drive innovation," Judi Greenwald told Congress in July, months before she was hired as deputy director of the Energy Department's climate, environment and energy efficiency office. Before joining the Energy Department, Greenwald headed the National Enhanced Oil Recovery Initiative, a consortium of coal producers, power companies and state and environmental officials promoting the process. But the environmental benefits of this so-called enhanced oil recovery aren't as certain as the administration advertises. "Enhanced oil recovery just undermines the entire logic of it," said Kyle Ash of Greenpeace, one of the few environmental groups critical of the process. "They can't have it both ways, but they want to really, really bad." That has become a theme in some of the Obama's greenenergy policies. For wind power, the government has shielded companies from prosecution for killing protected birds with giant turbines. For corn-based ethanol, the administration underestimated the environmental effects of millions of new acres of corn farming. The government even failed to conduct required air and water quality studies to document its toll on the environment. The administration wants to make similar concessions to make carbon-capture technology a success. The EPA last week exempted carbon dioxide injection from strict hazardous waste laws. It has classified the wells used to inject the gas underground for oil production in a category that offers less protection for drinking water. Oil companies using carbon to get oil also aren't subject now to the tougher reporting and monitoring requirements that experts say are necessary to ensure the carbon stays underground. In addition, they're fighting an EPA proposal that would require them to be if the carbon comes from power plants covered by the new federal rules. "It amounts to looking the other way," said George Peridas, a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which supports using carbon for oil extraction. The group believes it replaces dirtier oil or oil produced in more environmentally sensitive places and reduces carbon in the atmosphere. The administration also did not evaluate the global warming emissions associated with the oil production when it proposed requiring power plants to capture carbon. A 2009 peer-reviewed paper found that for every ton of carbon dioxide injected underground into an oil field, four times more carbon dioxide is released when the oil produced is burned. Administration officials counter by saying the oil was going to be extracted anyway, so the policy should only be seen as reducing carbon dioxide from coal plants. The administration also touts the benefits for energy security. Every barrel of oil produced here will mean one less produced abroad. "We are taking carbon dioxide that would have gone to the atmosphere in coal plants, storing it and displacing imported oil with domestic oil," said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, asking a question posed by The Associated Press on C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" in September.
Greenville 42/27
Starkville 44/22 Meridian 49/22
Jackson 49/24
Area Cities
Biloxi 54/29
Lo Cond. 28 sunny 29 sunny 24 sunny 26 sunny 27 sunny 21 sunny 21 sunny 27 sunny 23 sunny 29 sunny 25 sunny 24 sunny 23 sunny 27 sunny 25 sunny City Hi Memphis, TN 36 Meridian 49 Mobile, AL 53 Montgomery, AL 52 Natchez 52 New Albany 40 New Orleans, LA 54 Oxford 38 Philadelphia 47 Senatobia 36 Starkville 44 Tunica 37 Tupelo 40 Vicksburg 38 Yazoo City 45 Lo Cond. 25 sunny 22 sunny 29 sunny 27 sunny 27 sunny 23 sunny 35 sunny 23 sunny 22 sunny 24 sunny 22 sunny 27 sunny 24 sunny 26 sunny 26 sunny
City Hi Baton Rouge, LA 54 Biloxi 54 Birmingham, AL 42 Brookhavem 51 Cleveland 41 Columbus 44 Corinth 37 Greenville 42 Grenada 43 Gulfport 55 Hattiesburg 53 Jackson 49 Laurel 50 Little Rock, AR 40 Mc Comb 52
National Cities
City Atlanta Boston Chicago Dallas Denver Houston Los Angeles Miami Hi 43 34 16 52 49 58 77 81
Lo Cond. 25 sunny 15 pt sunny 13 pt sunny 33 sunny 23 pt sunny 36 sunny 52 sunny 66 rain
City Minneapolis New York Phoenix San Francisco Seattle St. Louis Washington, DC
Hi 13 40 68 67 44 24 45
Lo Cond. 10 sn shower 23 pt sunny 43 sunny 45 sunny 33 mst sunny 19 mst sunny 28 mst sunny
Moon Phases
Dec 17
Dec 25
UV Index
3 Moderate
3 Moderate
3 Moderate
3 Moderate
3 Moderate
The UV Index is measured on a 0 - 11 number scale, with a higher UV Index showing the need for greater skin protection. ©2010 American Profile Hometown Content Service
Our bakery specialist can help you select the perfect size and flavor cake. We’ll add your message or make it extra special with a theme kit!
To Order Just Call 494-5246
539 East Main Street • West Point
Tuesday, December 24, 2013 | Daily Times Leader
Bryant education order eases core fight
BY JEFF AMY Associated Press JACKSON — When Gov. Phil Bryant issued his executive order inveighing against a possible federal takeover of education in Mississippi, he may have been doing supporters of the Common Core standards a favor. The order doesn't block the rollout of the standards in the state's schools. And it could take pressure off fence-sitting lawmakers, blocking progress on legislation that would reverse or stall Mississippi's implementation of the standards. The Common Core math and English standards, which Mississippi's public schools are implementing, are meant to encourage more analytical thinking and make students better at solving problems. The state's education leaders, starting with new Superintendent Carey Wright, have been unwavering in their belief that the new standards are higher than what the state had previously. They're also firm in saying that Mississippi remains in control of its own schools. Legislative leaders are well aware of the flak that's out there relating to the standards. For example, Common Core opponents were frequent features of the town hall meetings that House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, held around the state in the fall. Protesters say Common Core is a cave-in to the federal government, that data collection will violate children's privacy, and that the curriculum is a threat to Christianity. The state Senate's ultraconservative faction, led by Republican Chris McDaniel of Ellisville, has been actively promoting opposition, appearing at local school board meetings and in other forums. They argue that Common Core standards are not truly rigorous and that they are a "one-sizefits-all national testing experiment" that's wrong for Mississippi. Still, despite unease mainly among Republican voters, legislative leaders have remained cool to any full-scale attack on Common Core. Both House Education Committee Chairman John Moore and Senate Education Committee Chairman Gray Tollison have said they don't intend to move any broad proposals to scrap or scale back the standards in Mississippi. In the Senate, that decision not to act is overlaid with a political dimension. McDaniel and his allies — including fellow Republican Sens. Michael Watson of Pascagoula, Angela Hill of Picayune and Tony Smith of Picayune — are promoting themselves as a purer conservative alternative to the leadership of Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves. It seems unlikely that Reeves would want McDaniel and friends to have a moment in the sun, especially because Reeves quickly stepped out to endorse incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran as soon as Cochran said he'd seek another term. Cochran is being challenged by McDaniel in the Republican primary. In the Republican-controlled House, though, Moore has indicated he could consider a bill that would put Bryant's executive order into law. That could be a way to give lawmakers a "safe" vote against Common Core while not actually stopping implementation. There are always risks with such an approach, because opponents in the raucously populist lower chamber could try to amend the bill to actually do something now, as opposed to pledging action against some future federal takeover. But unless the Democrats make mischief, the leadership probably could contain a challenge from anti-Core Republicans. There will still be chances for opponents to go after Common Core, though, even if no specific bill makes it to the floor. Look for them to try to strip out or bar funding for Mississippi's participation in a multi-state network that's developing tests for Common Core. This strategy has shown some success in Georgia and Florida, with arguments over how much the test will cost. Opponents would still be left with the question of how Mississippi should test under the new standards, since current tests evaluate learning under the old standards.
Peace on Earth? I’d settle for peace in coast’s delegation
BY PAUL HAMPTON Sun Herald It's the most optimistic time of the year. Everyone's getting a pony … or a Thighmaster … or a Duck Dynasty Bobble Head Target Set. The Cubs are still mathematically in the 2014 pennant race. And there's unity in the Coast legislative delegation. While there is reason to be skeptical of the latest touchyfeeliness among our politicians, there is a glimmer of hope.First of all, many of them are fairly new to Jackson. And I know what spending too much time "up there" can do. The unity that was so evident at last week's Economic Vibe has in the past vibrated to pieces once the legislative session starts. Secondly, the idea seems to have some momentum on the Coast -- or at least a spiffy One Coast logo. Hey, it's a start. Hope I see it everywhere. Yes, next year could be the year. And in this season of giving, I'm willing to give them a chance. Voters should give them an ultimatum: Play nice back there or I'll have to pull this gravy train over. Now before we leave Fantasy Island, I'd like to give Santa, be he red or green, my wish list for the upcoming session. n Someone will convince Gov. Phil Bryant to expand Medicaid. Turning your back on billions of health care dollars doesn't make sense if the governor is serious about using health care as an economic engine. Optimists say the Medicaid expansion would create thousands of jobs. I'd be satisfied if it kept the uninsured out of the emergency room where people like you and me end up picking up the tab anyway. n Someone will convince lawmakers to fully fund public education. Adequate? Is that the best we can do? Is that how you want to pitch the state to business prospects? How's your education system? Oh, it's adequate. And I'm tired of Texas and other states chirping, "At least we're not Mississippi."Imagine
how many opportunities pass us by because of the stigma of being last, or near the bottom, in education. It's no secret that we have some fine schools on the Coast. But we may not get the chance to show them off if business and industry pass us by because they don't expect to find great schools in a bottom-dweller. Expensive? Sure. So are the alternatives. Poverty and prisons come to mind. I understand there are many problems and too few dollars. But these would pay for themselves in the long run.
Paul Hampton is politics editor at the Sun Herald. Reach him at 896-2330 or jphampton@
Where prison costs are down
With America’s rising prison population putting a strain on many state budgets, there’s some curious news from Sweden: Over there, they have too many prisons and not enough convicts to fill them. Because of that, the country recently announced it will close four prisons. What’s most interesting about this is the fact that Sweden’s crime rate has increased a little bit. But the country, along with many others in Europe, are trying new things to rehabilitate criminals instead of locking them up for long periods of time. A recent editorial in The New York Times noted that the average European prisoner is behind bars for less than a year, while it’s three years in America. Also, many prisons in Europe give inmates more privacy and freedom, working to help them re-enter the world without breaking the law. The Times editorial said some European prisoners are allowed to wear their own clothes and fix their own food. Prison staffers are not only trained in security but also in “educational theory and conflict management.” Just as important, there are fewer barriers in Europe for released prisoners. Many do not face voting bans or restrictions on employment, housing or public assistance. The argument is that this gentler post-prison handling makes it less likely for released convicts to misbehave. What’s perhaps the most surprising about this trend is that it’s not just happening in Europe. The Austin AmericanStatesman reports that the prison population in Texas just posted its lowest inmate count in five years. Texas historically has had one of the nation’s highest per capita incarceration rates, but has dropped from second place to fourth over the past two years. In the past few years, Texas (along with many other American states and Europe) has pushed back against rising prison costs by investing in alternative programs that are far less expensive while still doing a good job of rehabilitating people convicted of crimes. The Austin newspaper said conservative Republicans are driving this reform movement as a way to save money, whereas in the past they were among
Protesters say Common Core is a cave-in to the federal government, that data collection will violate children’s privacy, and that the curriculum is a threat to Christianity.
Daily Times Leader
The Times Herald, 1867 • Clay County Leader, 1882 Consolidated 1928 Published Tuesday - Friday and Sunday Mornings 221 East Main Street • P.O. Box 1176 West Point, MS 39773 Phone (662) 494-1422 • Fax (662) 494-1414
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those who wanted to be tough on crime. Mississippi already is having this discussion. The truth-in-sentencing laws of the 1990s were great for public safety, but at too high a cost to taxpayers. The state recently received a recommendation to scale back those laws in an effort to keep more non-violent offenders out of prison. The counter-argument, and it is a good one, is that somebody has to really break the law to go to prison. With the exception of those convicted of homicides, sexual assaults and other serious crimes, there are plenty of opportunities through probation programs for people to shape up. You have to be a serious repeat offender for a judge to put you in prison. Even so, the fact that prison expenses continue to increase in Mississippi shows that something’s not working. Ideas are needed. The first place for the Legislature to look is drug court. It mandated statewide expansion of the program without giving it enough money to operate properly. That needs to be fixed in 2014.
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15 counties report storm damage; 2 deaths
Clarke, Adams and Lafayette counties also reported damage.
Daily Times Leader | Tuesday, December 24, 2013
PEARL — The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency says 15 counties have reported damage from Saturday’s storms. The death toll remains at two, one each in Coahoma and Jasper counties, with several injuries reported statewide. MEMA said Sunday that Marshall County reported one injury, six homes, a business and a public facility damaged. Homes or mobile homes also were damaged in Bolivar, Coahoma, DeSoto, Panola, Perry, Quitman,Tate,Tunica, and Union counties. Businesses were damaged in Tate and Tishomingo counties, and a church in Tunica County.
Man arrested in Friday fatal shooting
COLUMBUS — A Crawford man has been charged with murder in a fatal shooting in Columbus on Friday. Police Chief Selvain McQueen says 20-year-old Randall Carl Cooper surrendered to police Friday after a warrant was issued for his arrest. McQueen says 23-year-old Virgil Harris was shot multiple times while getting out a car at a city intersection. Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant says Harris was transported to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle where he was pronounced
dead at 2:27 a.m. Friday. Cooper is being held in the Lowndes County Jail without bond pending an initial court appearance.
Man pleads guilty in cocaine case
JACKSON — A man has pleaded guilty in central Mississippi to conspiring to possess and distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. Don Dewayne Williams pleaded Friday in U.S. District Court in Jackson. The indictment says he and several others conspired to deal in the drug beginning in 2011. Sentencing is scheduled for March 31.
— Associated Press
From page 1
Recycling doesn’t need to be difficult, expensive
BY BECKY GILLETTE Associated Press JACKSON — Some cities say recycling is just too expensive and difficult, particularly to get a large enough percentage of households to participate to make the program cost effective. The City of Ridgeland, which for the second time in three years has been given the Local Government Recycler of the Year Award by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), has proven that doesn't have to be true. Ridgeland partners with Recycle Bank in order to provide an incentive program for residents to recycle. "They provide reward points each time the container is picked up," said Ridgeland Public Works director Mike McCollum. "These points are redeemed on the Recycle Bank website in the form of gift cards and discounts on everyday home items. The city charges $70.20 per year to each curbside customer. The average point value per year is $160.00. That more than covers the cost to customers for recycling. "We are also considering reducing our solid waste pickup from twice to one time per week, therefore reducing the cost for that service." McCollum recommends starting small with recycling drop off points, and then moving to a curbside program with incentives to reduce cost. Cities that are just starting out can benefit from a good advertisement campaign to ensure participation. Ridgeland has 40 percent participation in its residential curbside recycling program. If the city decides to reduce the solid waste pickup to once per week, they expect that number to increase. Businesses recycle at two drop off points strategically located in the city. McCollum recommends working with the MDEQ for assistance in capital cost and education. Also, find recycling champions in your community and assist them in fostering their passion for the program. Recycling is a major commitment to building a more sustainable community, said Anne Marie Kornelis, recycling coordinator for the City of Greenwood. "In Greenwood we have taken the steps to build a successful recycling program with long-range goals," Kornelis said. "In terms of being a financially sustainable recycling program, one must consider not only the money the program makes from selling recyclables, but you also have to factor in the money saved by diverting recyclable materials away from the landfill." That point is hammered home by Mayor Eddie Fulton of Quitman, a small town south of Meridian that has the state's longest running municipal recycling program. The mayor takes time each year to visit with children from the elementary school about recycling. He plays a money game
"I had the idea that rural folks didn't necessarily know the difference between their culture and the laws on the books," he said. He wound up surveying hundreds of county groups to see what people thought. Wiseman said he continues to be mindful, and sometimes amazed, at the strong public reactions to "sin issues," like where to locate restaurants with bars. "Often the nuances of local government have nothing to do with an issue," he said. "It's how much are you going to demonstrate religious practices. It can get kind of confusing." One good example, he said, is a well-known strip club just off Interstate 55 in Carroll County, one of the state's most conservative locales. "But, out in rural counties, there are no land-use codes," he said. "People don't want government telling them what to do, even if it's to stop the opening of a strip club." In 1991, with the departure of the Stennis Center's director, Charles Washington, Wiseman got his shot as the lone employee and interim director. He said the future turned bright when a graduate student named Jim Borsig asked for a Ph.D. project, and they began building program relationships with state agencies and local governments. Wiseman said as they searched for funding, he and Borsig convinced Lt. Gov. Eddie Briggs to go into a $50,000 line item in the budget for use by the executive director of the state Institutions of Higher Learning, for whom they worked as MSU staffers. "Briggs called and told him he had to let us have the money," Wiseman said. "Frankly, that was a firing offense." Borsig, now president of Mississippi University for Women, termed their action "audacious." "I couldn't have made it past the first year without Jim," Wiseman said. As time passed and experience came their way, he said the Stennis Institute became dexterous at research and training requested by governmental entities. "We fell into a role that nobody else was taking," Wiseman adds. He describes that role as a "translator" to understand public problems, to present them to policy makers and then to translate how new policy can be implemented. "We contributed by understanding both sides and by our ability to talk to both," he said. Through his years, Wiseman also has surveyed and analyzed many a Mississippi political campaign. He said he "called" a Haley Barbour win as governor long before any of his campus lunch crowd even knew who Barbour was. "He changed the ball game as far as campaigns are run," he said of the Republican politician. "You discover your base, you turn it out and don't waste any time or money on anybody else." As for Democrats, Wiseman said its leadership "waited too long" to respond to the GOP surge of the 1990s. He predicts that Democrats can make some comebacks in state politics, when they field candidates that lots of voters can be comfortable with. "It will be modern populism that connects with people," he said. "We will reach a point where folks tire of the constant antigovernment, anti-education, anti-health care" attitudes and look for something new they can benefit from. "Heck, we're the poorest state in the union. We gain from the federal government. Cussing the Washington Beltway isn't helpful." As for his own immediate future, Wiseman said he will continue to teach at MSU. But now, without his previous restraints, he looks forward to being as partisan a Democrat as he wants to. He also looks forward to spending more time with his son, Parker, Starkville's mayor, and his daughter, Kelly, a special education teacher in Tennessee, plus his six granddaughters and a grandson on the way. On the way out of his executive career, Wiseman reflects on those encounters as a small child with a U.S. senator who seemed about 12 feet tall. "I was looking up, always looking up at him," said Wiseman of John Stennis. He said the little-known Stennis, then a circuit judge, had the imagination in 1947 to turn his special-election campaign focus to voters with ties to Mississippi State, where he'd once been a cheerleader. "It was daddy's proudest moment, when Stennis won that election," he said. "Stennis was always a hero."
—Photo courtesy of Metro Creative Connection
where he gives $2 in change to a nonrecycling student and $2 to a recycling student. The student representing a recycler gets paid for the garbage she recycles while the student who throws it away has to pay. The recycler ends up with more money, and the non-recycler with less. "The kids love the game, and it gets the point across," Fulton said. "The kids are the key to it. They go home and tell their parents they have to recycle." Fulton tells the students that worms enjoy cardboard, but don't like plastic, which is made with oil. Plastic in the landfill doesn't degrade for hundreds of years. "It is just a shame to see people throwing things away that could be recycled," he said. "And it costs more money. Obviously there is a lot more benefit to selling cardboard for $150 a ton rather than putting it in the ground for $34 a ton. Sixty percent of the garbage we throw away could be recycled. It breaks my heart that people don't take the time. "The MDEQ has been a strong supporter of ours. Each household gets a bin, which has made it a lot easier for them
to recycle. Our county has a lot of good fishing and hunting. We have the pristine Chickasawhay River, and the 454-acre Lake Archusa in town. It is a shame to not recycle when you have these kind of natural assets." Quitman's program started in the early 1990s, and really took off in the late 1990s with every manufacturer in town recycling their cardboard. Cardboard currently brings in about $150 per ton. In 2010 when the town's largest employer, Dart Containers, which makes foam cups for fast food, decided to recycle their cardboard themselves, it cost the city's recycling program about $10,000 in income, reducing them from $30,000 to $20,000 per year. But Fulton said increasing participation means they are now headed back up to $30,000 in revenue. After paying expenses, Quitman doesn't make money on the program. But it has been enough in the black to purchase a new garbage truck. Fulton said if he could get a 70 percent participation rate, the program would pay for itself completely. He also favors drop off locations for rural people to recycle.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013 | Daily Times Leader
Cleveland district fights dropout rates
BY PAISLEY BOSTON Associated Press CLEVELAND — Cleveland School District officials have been working to prevent students from dropping out of school. Superintendent Jacquelyn Thigpen said the district tries to improve student graduation rates as early as pre-kindergarten. "I think that the road to graduation starts at the pre-K level. Right now we have six pre-K classes within the district and we work in collaboration with Bolivar County Community Action Agency Head Start Centers," said Thigpen. "The state has published early learning standards for three and four year olds and we are trying to make sure that children are working on those early learning standards," she said. The Mississippi Pre-Kindergarten Curriculum Guidelines provide optional resources intended to help early childhood educators and caregivers define and implement a comprehensive curriculum that will enable young children to make connections to the world in which they live. "Although we are required by the state to implement a dropout prevention plan, I truly feel that dropout prevention should be a community effort as well. There are so many factors that can contribute to a child's education," said Thigpen. Cleveland School District's Drop Out Prevention Plan includes a host of measures that are taken by the district to promote and encourage graduation. "We have personnel and programs in place to encourage and monitor our students on their journey to graduation. We assess them often to make sure that they are learning," she said. Thigpen said school counselors are highly important in the graduation process. "Each eighth-grader gets what is called an ICAP plan which is an individual career action plan done for them by their school counselor. The plan is revised every year by the counselor to ensure that the students are on target and to make sure that their needs are being met academically. "We also have a checklist that is placed inside a student's cumulative folder when they are in the ninth grade to monitor the student's academic credits," she said. The district has an alternative school for students that are at least two grades behind and 16 years of age. "We are not just focusing on the traditional graduates — it is important to go back and pick up those students who may or may not have the ability to function in a regular setting," said Thigpen. According to the Mississippi Department of Education, the Office of Dropout Prevention works with the community and organizations to help school districts retain more students through graduation. The office administers Mississippi's statewide dropout prevention program and any regulations or policies that may be adopted by the State Board of Education that relate to dropout prevention. The Office of Dropout Prevention includes the Office of Compulsory School Attendance, School Counseling and Alternative Education. The goal of the office is to raise the graduation rate in Mississippi to at least 85 percent by the 2018-2019 school year. Although Drop Out Prevention Plans have been put in place by the state and the Cleveland School District, this does not eliminate a problem that students across the state have been having with subject area tests. What happens when a student is all set for graduation but has trouble passing subject area tests? According to Thigpen, the district is also working to make sure that subject area tests become less of a stumbling block for their students. "The state has determined that subject area tests pose a huge problem to our children. They have proposed but not yet approved, an alternative assessment option to subject area tests," said Thigpen. According to the Mississippi Department of Education, the Commission on School Accreditation approved proposed assessment options for graduation and the establishment of State Board Policy 3804, which outlines the graduation requirements for end-of-course subject area tests in Algebra I, Biology I, English II and United States History. In an effort to provide flexibility to students, State Board Policy 3804 provides approved options for students to meet these high school end-of-course assessment requirements through alternate measures. Some of the measures include obtaining a score of 16 or higher in specific subject areas, earning a "C'' or higher in an entry-level dual enrollment /college credit course and earning an approved Industry Certification as specified in the Career Pathway's Assessment Blueprint.
— Associated Press
This boat sits poised in Gulfport. Seafood prices are at an all-time high due to a shortage of crab and shrimp this holiday season.
Seafood prices at high point; blue crab proves especially hard to find
BY LAUREN WALCK Associated Press GULFPORT — Forget ham and turkey. For Mississippi Gulf Coast residents, seafood is the highlight of a holiday table. Oyster dressing, marinated crab claws, boiled shrimp, crab cakes, oysters on the half shell, stuffed shrimp, fried everything. "The Christmas season is the busiest time of the year because everyone likes to make their own special seafood gumbo and their momma's favorite oyster dressing," said Andrew Gunkel, general manager of Quality Poultry and Seafood in Biloxi. This year, though, prices may be at an all-time high for local bounty. "They're the highest they've been since we opened up the Half Shell in 2009," said Bob Taylor, president of Gulf Coast Restaurant Group. Gunkel said a shortage of shrimp and crab are driving up prices significantly, and oysters are only slightly more expensive than last year. One reason for rising shrimp prices on the Coast, and across the country, is a shortage of imported shrimp. A new strain of a common bacterium has been wiping out populations in southeast Asia since 2009, where most of the world's shrimp is raised on farms, according to a United Nations press release in May. It started in China then spread to Vietnam and now Thailand, the world's largest shrimp exporter. Quantities of shrimp from Thailand have dropped 37 percent from last year, according to numbers by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Called Early Mortality Syndrome, the disease can take out an entire pond in a few days, but is not harmful to humans. Sean Desporte, co-owner of Desporte & Sons seafood market in Biloxi, said most U.S. suppliers stock up on shrimp for the winter, but stocks are running low. "There's not a lot of stock this year," he said. "Everybody's running out of shrimp because everybody used domestic instead of import, so it made the price increase." Blue crab, though, may be seeing its worst year in decades. "This has been the worst season of domestic blue crab since we've been in business the past eight years," said Rob Heffner, who oversees purchasing for GCRG. "It's forced a lot of companies to have to source to pasteurized, imported crab meat because there literally is no availability of blue crab, or it's 50 to 70 percent increase in normal prices." Gunkel, who likes making marinated crab claws during the holidays, said he has heard the same thing. A fisherman in his 70s who frequents his business told him recently it's the worst year he's ever seen as far as being able to find blue crabs in the Sound. Last year, the total poundage of blue crabs caught — known as landings — was 800,000, according to the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. This year, preliminary numbers through August show under 200,000 pounds. "Landings are very far down this year," said Traci Floyd, head of DMR's Shrimp and Crab Bureau. Desporte said he hasn't noticed an unusual increase in crab prices, but has been stockpiling early to beat the Christmas rush. Harriet Perry, a senior research scientist and expert on blue crabs at USM's Gulf
Coast Research Lab, said blue crab has been in a sharp decline since the mid-1990s for a number of reasons, including a drought climate, an abundance of predators and habitat loss. "One of the major concerns to me is the loss of habitat," Floyd said. "We've lost— within the Mississippi Sound — almost 25 percent of our wetlands, and that's primary habitat for blue crabs." Oyster season is at its peak across the Gulf Coast, and prices have not changed significantly over last year. Desporte says prices have been a little high lately, but are starting to come down. The Sound has been under a federally declared fisheries failure for oysters since 2012, after the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway in 2011. The large amount of freshwater affected salinity, which oysters are sensitive to. A limited oyster season opened Nov. 5 in state waters, but all waters are currently closed because of water sample results, according to the Department of Marine Resources. Scott Gordon, head of the MDMR's Shellfish Program, said the agency hopes to open more areas this month. Taylor said his business tries to get as much local product as possible, but that he thinks MDMR may err too much on the side of caution when it comes to closing the oyster beds. He said the GCRG is looking into creating its own oyster-farming operation. "We would like to become our own source for oysters," he said. "It's just a lot easier not only logistically but for the sake of supply." Gordon said the oyster population is still recovering, but that he has seen good signs for the coming years.
Audit reveals lax oversight in seafood marketing campaign funded by BP
BY MICHAEL KUNZELMAN Associated Press NEW ORLEANS — An audit released Monday identifies a host of weaknesses in a state board's oversight of a BP-funded seafood marketing campaign after the company's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A report issued by state Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera's office says the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board's former executive director approved transactions without adequate board oversight. Ewell Smith resigned as executive director in August after lawmakers placed Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne in charge of overseeing the program. The audit also concluded that the board's staff did not keep adequate records for the use of tickets and other merchandise associated with a $650,000 advertising agreement with the New Orleans Saints. In the aftermath of the April 2010 well blowout that led to the nation's worst offshore oil spill, BP agreed to pay $30 million to fund the marketing program through the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation. The board and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries contracted with Gregory C.
Rigamer & Associates Inc. to manage the program. The contract allowed the firm to hire subcontractors, including The Food Group, the Graham Group Inc. and Newsroom Ink LLC. The audit says the firm increased "task order budgets" without board approval and failed to adequately monitor its subcontractors to ensure that their reimbursement requests adhered to contract provisions. In response to the audit, the firm said its contract didn't specify a method for managing its subcontractors' activities. The firm also said it made "transparency and coordination a primary objective of the campaign activities from the start." Dardenne's office terminated the firm's contract on Nov. 2. The audit also found that Smith approved sponsorship payments above board-set limits. For instance, he approved a total of more than $419,000 in expenses for a Super Bowl sponsorship that the board had approved for only $200,000, according to the report. In a letter responding to the audit, Smith defended his oversight of the program and said his small staff worked "under the most extreme crisis circumstances" after BP's spill.
Daily Times Leader | Tuesday, December 24, 2013
MSU tops South Florida, 71-66
BY ADAM SOBOLESKI Associated Press LAS VEGAS — The Mississippi State bench came through against South Florida on Sunday night. Fred Thomas helped the most. Thomas scored 14 points and had a steal with seven seconds left to seal Mississippi State's 71-66 win over South Florida in the third round of the Las Vegas Classic Sunday night. Gavin Ware had 10 points and 15 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season for the winners, whose bench outscored the Bulls, 26-9. Also for the Bulldogs (9-2), which hit three free throws in the final 24 seconds to seal it, Colin Borchert had 11 points. Roquez Johnson and Craig Sword each had 10 for Mississippi State, which plays the winner of Santa Clara-UNLV in Monday's championship game. "It was a stunt and steal," Thomas said. "I stunted (Shemiye McLendon) and I stole it. The game was pretty secure. I've been feeling motivated by our coaches. It made me want to play even harder. That's why I've been hitting shots the last two games." The Bulldogs made their average of 10 steals a game on Sunday and are eighth in the nation. "That was a huge steal," Mississippi State coach Rick Ray said. "They had a chance to cut into our lead even further. You always want to get stops down the stretch, but when you can get a steal and turn it into offense, that's an added bonus." Victor Rudd led South Florida (8-3) with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Rudd was playing with a dislocated left index finger, which he injured in Saturday's practice. Corey Allen Jr. had 16 points, converting all eight free throws, while Chris Perry had 14 points and nine rebounds. "Tough, tough game. We could have won this game," South
— Associated Press
Mercer’s Langston Hall (second from left) is mobbed by teammates following his three-point basket against Mississippi at the end of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday in Oxford. Mercer won 79-76.
Mercer storms past Ole Miss
BY CHRIS BURROWS Associated Press OXFORD — Mercer point guard Langston Hall had a clean shot at the basket, but it was beyond the 3-point line at the top of the circle and a pair of Mississippi defenders were scrambling frantically to make it an even more difficult shot. Mercer coach Bob Hoffman was not concerned. "Langston Hall has amazing poise personally and as a team leader," Hoffman said. "I felt great about it when he went up to shoot." Hall's game-winning 3-point shot popped the bottom of the net with 0.6 seconds remaining, giving the Bears a 79-76 win over Mississippi. Hall finished with 17 points, six assists, four rebounds and was 4 of 8 from 3-point range. "The way we won it, this may be the best win we've had on the road in the six years that I've been here," Hoffman said. "We were in control, got hit with a big blow from a great club and regained control to win it. That can happen at home sometimes, but rarely on the road." The Bears (8-4) prevailed in a contest that was filled with multiple momentum swings that carried to Hall's game-winning shot. Mercer dominated the opening 23 minutes, building a 16-point lead. Ole Miss (8-3) answered with a brilliant 11-minute, 31-8 run that gave the Rebels a 67-60 lead with six minutes remaining. Mercer's leading scorer Ike Nwamu, who finished with 24 points, then scored 11 straight points to ignite a rally that gave the Bears a 74-73 lead. Hall hit a pair of free throws to give Mercer a 7673 edge with 16 seconds left, setting up a frantic finish. Ole Miss sharpshooter Marshall Henderson, with 15 of his 18 points in the second half, buried a deep 3-point shot with 10 seconds left to tie the game. Mercer raced the ball to mid court before Hall shot off the dribble from the top of the key, clearly behind the 3-point line. "Mercer is a really good basketball team and this was a game where the team that made the most plays was going to win," Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy said. "Mercer made the most plays. Hall made a tough shot and Nwamu had an incredible game." Lawrence Brown and Jakob Gollon added 10 points apiece for Mercer, which led 41-29 at halftime. The Bears finished 26 of 60 from the field, 43.3 percent, including a 9-of-16 performance
See MSU | Page 8
— Associated Press
Mississippi State guard Craig Sword (32) scored 17 points against Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday night.
from Nwamu. The Bears were 6 of 20, 30 percent, from 3-point range and outrebounded the Rebels 39-35. Ole Miss was led by Jarvis Summers with 21 points, Henderson with 18 and Aaron Jones added 10. Ole Miss was 27 of 61 from the field, 44.3 percent, with Summers hitting 8 of 11. Mercer had the edge at the free throw line, connecting on 21 of 26, while Ole Miss managed only 15 of 23. "Nwamu played great and is an outstanding athlete. We're trying to get him to be more consistent," Hoffman said. "As far as Langston Hall is concerned, I'm just excited to see him enjoy the fruit of his labors for all his hard work." The win enhanced Mercer's successful reputation against major conference competition. The Bears defeated Seton Hall of the Big East Conference in November and have earned wins in previous seasons against SEC foes Alabama and Auburn and ACC opponents Georgia Tech and Florida State. "But, this one is very gratifying because of how it happened," Hoffman said. "You're talking on the road against an SEC Tournament Champion, an NCAA Tournament team. They are a team that's going to keep doing big things."
South Carolina tops Saint Mary’s, 78-71 Auburn’s Gus Malzahn
Associated Press HONOLULU — South Carolina's shooting got hotter and hotter as the game went on, and the Gamecocks knocked off unbeaten St. Mary's on Sunday. Tyrone Johnson scored 16 points to lead four players in double figures as South Carolina handed St. Mary's its first loss of the season with a 78-71 win in Sunday's first round of the Diamond Head Classic. Sindarius Thornwell scored 13 points, Laimonas Chatkevicius scored 12, and Duane Notice added 11 for the Gamecocks (3-5). After shooting 55 percent from the field in the first half, South Carolina shot 62 percent in the second half. The Gamecocks finished 28 of 48 from the field and nine of 10 players scored in the game. "Once we made a few shots, once we went inside and came back out, once I knew that the team needed me to make a shot, coach needed me to make a shot, tonight was a night that I delivered," Johnson said. "I was really patient tonight, I didn't try to jack up shots, I didn't try to play one-on-five. I did what coach asked us to do, which is our concepts, I was able to make some shots with my teammates' help." Brad Waldow scored 20 points to lead the Gaels (9-1). Beau Levesque scored 15, Stephen Holt 14 and, James Walker had 13 in the loss. South Carolina's young team — its lone senior didn't play — didn't wallow in its mistakes like previous games this season. Instead, it maintained its defensive intensity and shooting over the course of the game. "In the games we've lost this year, we've played hard, we've played OK, but we've had a three- or four-minute segment in each game that we hung our heads because of mistakes and the other team just takes advantage of it," South Carolina coach Frank Martin said. "We never hung our heads today. We made BY JOHN ZENOR Associated Press
named AP coach of year
—Associated Press
South Carolina guard Brenton Williams (1) attempts to steal the inbound pass for St. Mary’s guard Kerry Carter, right but loses control of the basketball in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at the Diamond Head Classic Sunday in Honolulu. mistakes but we didn't let a bad play become two bad plays." The Gaels, who trailed by six at halftime, rallied to tie the game three times early in the second half but could not take the lead. The Gamecocks countered every time the Gaels scored thanks to accurate shooting and production from almost everyone. "We just had to be a little more patient in the second half, but that wasn't the problem," said Gaels coach Randy Bennett. "The problem wasn't on offense — it was a little in the first half — but the problem was defensively. They shot 58 percent (from the field) and 57 percent from 3. That's just terrible and you're not going to win doing that." South Carolina scored six straight to extend its lead to 68-60 with five minutes remaining. The Gaels cut the deficit to 7068 after Levesque's basket with 2:57 left, but Johnson responded with a 3-pointer for a 73-68 lead with 2:11 left. The Gaels got no closer than four points the rest of the game. Down 75-71, Walker rushed a 3-point attempt and missed with 28 seconds remaining. After Thornwell hit two free throws, Notice intercepted a pass. "Coming down the stretch, we buckled down defensively and came up with a couple stops when we had to have them and we had a couple chances and we executed," Martin said. "The guys who had shots made them."
AUBURN, Ala. — Gus Malzahn inherited a demoralized Auburn team that had just suffered through the program's worst season in decades with a stagnant offense and bullied defense. Like usual, the coach known for fast-paced offensive play quickly went to work. He led the second-ranked Tigers' transformation into Southeastern Conference champions and has them in the national championship game Jan. 6 against No. 1 Florida State. Malzahn's quick work made him The Associated Press national coach of the year. "It's very humbling," he said Monday. "Any time you get awards like this, it's a team thing, as far as our staff and our players. It's been fun to be a part of this year." Malzahn received 33 votes from AP Top 25 college football poll voters to beat out Duke's David Cutcliffe. Cutcliffe received 17 votes after leading Duke (10-3) to its first 10-win season. Florida State's Jimbo Fisher and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio each received three votes. Malzahn is the second Auburn coach to win the award since it began in 1998, joining Tommy Tuberville (2004), and the second coach to win it in his first season with a new team. Maryland Ralph Friedgen was AP coach of the year in 2001, his first season with the Terrapins. It's the fifth time an SEC coach has won AP coach of the year. Auburn icon Bo Jackson likened Malzahn's task to starting with an empty lot upon his hiring in December 2012. "He's got to rebuild that house," said Jackson, the 1985 Heisman Trophy winner. The foundation was set with confidence and attitude, reinforced with a message that it was "a new day" for Auburn (12-1) after a 3-9 season in 2012 that was the Tigers' worst since 1952. Even more jarring, they had failed to win an SEC game. It didn't take the team long to adopt a goal of forging the greatest turnaround in college football. The result was one of the biggest ever. Only Hawaii's 8.5game turnaround from 1999-2000 matches Auburn's one-year improvement. "It's a real tribute to our players that they've bonded together," Malzahn said. "They've done everything our coaches have asked, and I think the No. 1 thing is we developed good relationships with our players. We trust our players, the players trust our coaches and we've got each others' backs." Malzahn's hurry-up, no-huddle offense has thrived with junior college transfer Nick Marshall at quarterback and tailback Tre Mason, a Heisman Trophy finalist, behind a sturdy offensive line.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013 | Daily Times Leader
No. 2 Duke beats No. 5 Kentucky
BY KEITH TAYLOR Associated Press
—Associated Press
Alabama guard Retin Obasohan (32) gets inside the Xavier defense during their NCAA college basketball game at Coleman Coliseum, Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Xavier wins at Alabama, 77-74
BY DONALD F. STAFFO Associated Press TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Xavier defeated Alabama 7774 on Saturday night to improve its record against SEC teams to 11-4 going back to 2008, including a split of two games with Tennessee this season. After trailing by as many as 12 points early in the second half, the Musketeers staged a second-half rally to win their fourth straight game. Isaiah Philmore had 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead Xavier to the come-frombehind victory. Matt Stainbrook also had 17 points, Dee Davis 12 and Myles Davis 10 for the Musketeers. Retin Obasohan nailed a 3-point shot to pull the Crimson Tide to within 75-74 with 4 seconds remaining but Dee Davis made two free throws with 2 seconds left to ice the contest. "That's something we practice every day," Dee Davis said about making the clutch foul shots. "I just stepped up to the line and shot them like everybody else." Trevor Releford led Alabama (5-6) with 17 points. Shannon Hale, coming off the bench, had a career-high 14 points and Levi Randolph 13. Rodney Cooper had eight rebounds. Behind 44-32 at the 16:25 mark, Xavier (9-3) fought back and outscored Alabama 29-17 to tie the game at 61 on a field goal and free throw by Stainbrook with 5 minutes left and then take the lead 6361 on a layup by Dee Davis with 4:40 to go. The Musketeers maintained the lead the rest of the way. "I thought we were a much different team on the offensive end in the second half," Xavier coach Chris Mack said. "I don't feel like our guys ever felt that we were out of it. You could see us coming together." With the score tied at 10 at the 13:31 mark of the first half, Alabama went on a 14-5 run to jump in front 24-15 when Nick Jacobs made a field goal at 5:32. Myles Davis made a 3-point shot to pull the Musketeers back to within 26-22 at 3:49, but with 1:50 left a 3-pointer by Randolph pushed the Crimson Tide's lead back to 31-22, matching its largest lead of the first half. Alabama led at halftime 33-26. "In the second half they completely changed the complexion of the game. From about the 12-minute mark on we could not get stops and had a tough time getting any continuity," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "I give them credit. They did a great job of getting on the offensive glass, getting to the free-throw line, making plays they had to make to win the game. They scored on nine of their last 10 possessions. Our defense tonight wasn't good enough to beat a team as talented as they were." Xavier shot 33.3 percent from the floor in the first half but 45.5 percent in the second half, made only 1 of 8 3-point attempts in the first half but 4 of 7 in the second half, and made 17 free throws in the second half compared to five in the first half. Xavier also had a 17-8 advantage in offensive rebounds that resulted in a significant 19-9 advantage in second-chance points. Alabama's Randolph said that the difference in the second half was that the Musketeers "were able to get shots off rebounds and cutbacks. We got in foul trouble, and they started getting to the line."
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky is undefeated no more. The fifth-ranked Wildcats had tied a record with 11 straight victories to open the season, but their streak ended with a 6961 loss to No. 2 Duke on Sunday. Kentucky made history and broke a school attendance record with 23,706 in its lone game of the season at Rupp Arena. But its nonconference winning streak was halted at 44 games. Wildcats coach Matthew Mitchell was pleased with the crowd, but obviously disappointed with the outcome. "It was remarkable," he said about the crowd that got loud as the Wildcats mounted a second-half rally that got them to 59-55 with 6:07 remaining and 67-61 with 54 seconds left. "If you've been around here as long as I have and been in the league as long as I have, you've got some good perspective on what today meant. I don't want to beat ourselves up too much, because we lost to a good team. They're an excellent basketball team, but gosh, I sure wanted to reward that great crowd with a victory." Tricia Liston scored a season-high 28 points for the Blue Devils (12-1), who frequently flexed their size advantage against the Wildcats. The 6-foot-1 Liston thrived on mismatches to shoot 10 of 19 from the field, including two 3-pointers, falling a point short of her career best. Duke's 6-3 center, Elizabeth Williams, was 6 of 10 to chip in 17 points and had eight rebounds. The Blue Devils stifled Kentucky around the basket, limiting the Wildcats to 25-of-75 shooting (33 percent) and 3 of 15 from long range. Poor free throw shooting also doomed Kentucky, which made just 8 of 19 from the line. "They outworked us today and I think that's what happens in games with two really good teams going at it," Mitchell said. "They were just a team that worked harder. Not that our team didn't work hard, I just think Duke worked harder. You give them credit. They did a nice job." Janee Thompson's 12 points led Kentucky, which played its third game without injured 6-3 forward DeNesha Stallworth, out three to four weeks after having knee surgery. The Wildcats started 0 for 5 from the field and fell behind 7-1 in the first 3 minutes before a 12-2 run turned it into a 13-9 lead with 12 minutes remaining in the first half. Duke answered with a 20-6 run to regain the lead at 29-19 with 4 minutes left in the first half as the Wildcats went more than 4 minutes without a field goal. Kentucky's 10-of-35 shooting in the first half set the tone for a frustrating offensive day — not that getting beat to the basket on the other end was any better. Samarie Walker said Kentucky's slow start was the difference in the outcome. "We definitely need to come out with more energy from the start and just let it fuel us throughout the game," she said. "I think we started to wear down after we got down (early). We didn't get back up (on defense) and nobody was there to pick us up. One person was trying and everybody else was in a lull." The Wildcats used four overtimes to defeat No. 9 Baylor 133-130 on Dec. 6 at Cowboys Stadium and had defeated its first two ranked opponents. Kentucky trailed 36-27 at halftime against No. 7 Louisville on Dec. 1, but rallied for a 6964 win.
—Associated Press
Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell questions a call during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Duke Sunday in Lexington, Ky. Duke won 69-61.
Portis leads Arkansas to victory past South Alabama, 72-60
Associated Press NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Bobby Portis scored 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting as Arkansas held on for a 72-60 win over South Alabama on Saturday night in North Little Rock's Verizon Arena. Portis, a central Arkansas native, was particularly effective in the first half as the Razorbacks (9-2) used a 22-5 run to take a 32-18 lead before settling for a 36-27 lead at halftime. The game was the sixth straight the freshman, a McDonald's All-American last year in high school, finished in double figures. Ky Madden finished with 12 points, while Michael Qualls had 11 — including a pair of thundering second-half dunks for Arkansas. Alandise Harris added 10 points for the Razorbacks, who were 25 of 52 (48.1 percent) from the field. "We had a great crowd here tonight, great enthusiasm and passion," Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. "When we needed them, they were there." Antoine Allen led the Jaguars (6-6) with 21 points, while Mychal Ammons added 14. South Alabama committed 20 turnovers and was 20 of 57 (35.1 percent) from the field, including a 7-of-17 shooting effort from Allen. "I felt that Arkansas' ability to switch a lot of balls screens and switch and their length would really stretch us and challenge us," South Alabama coach Matthew Graves said. "Obviously, looking at the turnovers and shooting percentage, it did that." After leading for much of the first half, Arkansas extended its lead to 44-32 early in the second after an inside basket by Madden. However, South Alabama answered with an 11-2 run to cut Razorbacks lead to 46-43 after a pair of free throws by Augustine Rubit with 9:03 re-
maining. Rubit finished with eight points and 10 rebounds. Mardracus Wade, who has seen limited action recently for Arkansas, snapped the run for Arkansas with a pair of free throws. The senior, who led the Southeastern Conference in 3-point shooting two years ago, added 3-pointer moments later to put the Razorbacks up 52-43. "Wade hasn't been playing much, but he was there when it mattered," Anderson said.
From page 7
Florida coach Stan Heath said. "The big play was right there, a loose ball, a layup and we would kind of give it to someone else. Our defense wasn't there in the first half. I told my team one of the keys was getting to the foul line. Whoever won that battle would win that game. They were plus 10 there." Mississippi State converted 16 of 25 from the foul line, while the Bulls were 12 of 15. South Florida will play the loser of Santa Clara-UNLV in the final round Monday. After leading 38-35 at halftime, the Bulldogs could not pull away and the Bulls briefly took a 45-44 lead with 15:36 left. Mississippi State later got the lead to 53-47 before the Bulls put together a small rally to tie it, 58-58, with 5:58 remaining. The Bulldogs then scored the next five and never trailed again as Johnson had six points down the stretch. "They have good ball pressure," said Rudd, who added that his finger popped twice during the game and was icing it in a cup after the game. "They move the ball around. All their perimeter players anticipated well." Mississippi State shot 54 percent from
the field in the first half to take a 38-35 halftime lead. South Florida jumped to a 12-5 lead before the Bulldogs led 31-22 with four minutes left. There were four lead changes in the first half. This is the Bulls' third trip to Las Vegas since 2006. They are 3-2 in Las Vegas since then, all in invitational tournaments. Mississippi State last played in Las Vegas in the 2001 Las Vegas Classic, going 3-1. Sunday's meeting was the first between the teams since 1974. Mississippi State is now 3-0 all-time against South Florida.
Daily Times Leader | Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Mormon-centric Utah epicenter for food storage
BY BRADY McCOMBS Associated Press SALT LAKE CITY — Towering grain silos overlook the main highway in Salt Lake City at the Mormon church's Welfare Square. At grocery stores, there's a whole section with large plastic tubs with labels that read, "Deluxe survivor 700." Radio ads hawk long-term supplies of food with 25-year shelf lives. And houses are equipped with special shelving for cans of beans, rice and wheat. Storing away enough food and water in case of disaster, job loss or something worse is not just part of the fundamental teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it's an idea that is increasingly catching on nationwide. And it's also big business. A large majority of food storage companies that do Internet sales are based in the state. Terms once used only by Mormons, such as 72-hour kit, are mainstream, as is the survivalist "preppers" philosophy that taps into the Mormon church's century-old teachings on the topic. "The wisdom behind preparing is taught heavily in this population," said Paul Fulton, president of Ready Store, based in Draper, Utah, about 20 miles south of Salt Lake City. "They've led the way." The Mormon emphasis on self-reliance dates back to the mid-1800s when food storage began as a pragmatic way to ensure survival as church members trekked across the country to Salt Lake City, said Matthew Bowman, assistant professor of religion at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. Church leaders gave everyone lists of what to bring, and then stockpiled food at storehouses as towns were settled. By the mid-1900s, church leaders worried about nuclear war were using more apocalyptic rhetoric in encouraging food storage. During the Cold War, church members were encouraged to have a twoyear supply, Bowman said. In the last two decades, the focus on food storage has shifted back to practicality. "A lot of times we are thinking in terms of food storage that we are preparing for this major calamity or major disaster or for Armageddon," said Rick Foster, manager of North America Humanitarian Services with the LDS church. "It's not about that. "It's about helping all of us individually to get through these bumps that occur in our lives," he said. If members are prepared, they can help themselves and others in times of need, Foster said. When a water main broke in his neighborhood, Foster's family was able to provide drinking water from their supply to a neighbor who needed water to make formula for her baby. The church has a massive warehouse near the airport in Salt Lake City where shelves are stacked tall with boxes of food it uses to stock 143 grocery store-like storehouses it runs across the Americas to provide food to members in need.
—Associated Press
Heather Griffin, of Buffalo, N.Y., and her dog Sal walk beneath ice-covered trees on Sunday in Buffalo. As Americans and Canadians ushered in the first official day of winter, the weather provided many with a variety of surprises. Snow and ice hit Michigan, Canada, New England and upstate New York. Some other eastern regions were hit with temperatures in the 60s and 70s. Flooding in the South was blamed for at least four deaths while apparent tornadoes caused destruction in Arkansas.
Rain, cold stay for parts of US
BY ALANNA DURKIN Associated Press AUGUSTA, Maine — A steady diet of freezing rain and cold temperatures means parts of the country socked by a wild weekend storm will be covered with ice through Christmas and beyond. After the first full day of winter brought everything from balmy temperatures along the Mid-Atlantic to snow in the Midwest and ice, snow and flooding in the Great Lakes, utilities warned that some people who lost electricity could remain in the dark through Wednesday. "It's certainly not going away," Margaret Curtis, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, said Monday morning of the precipitation and cold. "In fact, we don't have very many areas where we're expecting temperatures to rise above freezing." That means untreated roads and sidewalks from the upper Midwest to northern New England will remain a slippery, dangerous mess as people head out for last-minute shopping or holiday travel. Parts of interior Maine were expected to get another quarter to half-inch of ice Monday. Authorities reduced the speed limit along a 107-mile stretch of the Maine Turnpike from Kittery to Augusta as freezing rain continued to fall Monday morning and temperatures hovered around freezing. Dozens of flights out of Toronto were canceled while other airports in the storm-hit region were faring well despite the weather. In Maine, Judith Martin was heading from her home in South Grafton to Kingston, when she stopped at a rest area along Interstate 95 in West Gardiner. She said roads got worse the farther north she drove. "The trees are loaded with ice so it makes me think the road is loaded with ice," Martin said. By late Sunday, ice and snow had knocked out power to 440,000 homes and businesses in Michigan, upstate New York and northern New England — about half of which had their power back by Monday morning. The storm also left
more than 400,000 customers without electricity in eastern Canada. At least nine deaths in the U.S. were blamed on the storm, including five people killed in flooding in Kentucky and a woman who died after a tornado with winds of 130 mph struck in Arkansas. Five people were killed in Canada in highway accidents related to the storm. Record high temperatures were reached in some Mid-Atlantic states this weekend, but temperatures were expected to drop back to the mid-30s by Monday night. While the cold will continue to harass people, there's no major precipitation on the horizon through the end of the week, Curtis said. "It will give people some time to recover from this," she said. On Sunday, the mercury reached 70 degrees in New York's Central Park, easily eclipsing the previous high of 63 from 1998. Records were also set in Wilmington, Del., (67), Atlantic City, N.J., (68), and Philadelphia (67). Washington tied its 1889 mark at 72.
— Associated Press
Pancho Claus, Rudy Martinez, waves to children as he visits Knowlton Elementary School Friday in San Antonio. Pancho Claus, a Tex-Mex Santa borne from the Chicano civil rights movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s, is now an adored Christmas fixture in many Texas cities.
Pancho Claus: A Tex-Mex Santa from South Pole visits children
BY RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI Associated Press HOUSTON,Texas — He usually has black hair and a black beard, sometimes just a mustache. Like Santa, he wears a hat — though often it's a sombrero. He dons a serape or a poncho and, in one case, a red and black zoot suit. And he makes his grand entrance on lowriders or Harleys or led by a pack of burros instead of eight reindeer. Meet Pancho Claus, the TexMex Santa. Amid all the talk about Santa Claus' race, spawned by a Fox News commentator's remarks that both Santa and Jesus were white, there is, in the Lone Star State, a Hispanic version of Santa in cities from the border to the plains — handing out gifts for low-income and at-risk children. Born from the Chicano civil rights movement, Pancho Claus is a mostly Texas thing, historians say, though there may be one somewhere in California. Lorenzo Cano, a Mexican-American studies scholar at the University of Houston, says Pancho was apparently conceived north of the border as Mexican-Americans looked to "build a place and a space for themselves" in the 1970s. His rise coincided with a growing interest in Mexican art, Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Independence Day and other cultural events. Now, Pancho is an adored Christmas fixture in many Texas cities. "We have kids that we ask, 'Did Santa Claus come to see you?' and they say, 'No he didn't. But Pancho Claus did,'" says Robert Narvaiz, vice commander for Lubbock's American GI Forum and coordinator of that city's Pancho project. Each city's Pancho has a unique local flavor, but all share roots that set Pancho apart from Santa. Here's a look at just a few. Oh, and Feliz Navidad, amigos. In the West Texas plains, Pancho Claus is Pancho Clos, so as not to be confused with that other Mr. C. "Pancho Claus comes from the South Pole, and Santa Claus comes from the North Pole, and every year they get together here in Lubbock," says Narvaiz. "Santa ... was he Anglo? Was he black? Was he Hispanic? I guess everybody is trying to do the same thing: Add a little of their own culture." This city's Pancho dates to 1971, when the local American GI Forum decided to infuse a little Hispanic culture into Santa. They gave him a sombrero and serape, and held a big party at a park, giving out candy and fruit to 3,000 children. Today, Pancho visits schools, churches and supermarkets, but the biggest event — now supported by three different car clubs and dozens of bikers — remains the party at Rogers Park. There, on the Sunday before Christmas, Pancho hands out gifts. "We're just trying to reach those kids that might get left out somewhere along the line," Narvaiz says. Julian Perez, a 71-year-old retired heating and air conditioning repairman, has been Lubbock's Pancho for 30 years and remembers when three men, all of whom have since died, first came up with the idea.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013 | Daily Times Leader
by Jacqueline Bigar
ARIES (March 21-April 19) You will have your hands full, whether you are entertaining or just catching up others’ news. What you are doing won’t feel like fun. Later today, you will experience a real sense of excitement as you see what is heading your way. TAURUS (April 20-May 20) You seem to have no problems solving others’ problems. You know that there is always a solution. A loved one could be overserious, and you might attempt to lighten up the conversation. Friends will drop by, so let spontaneity rule. GEMINI (May 21-June 20) Stay close to home, and you will finish the lion’s share of the work. Your ability to understand what is going on is important. In the next day or two, you will try to explain this situation to someone else. Your creativity emerges later today. CANCER (June 21-July 22) Make calls, especially to those at a distance whom you might not be able to reach later. Your creativity tends to help others relax. They know that you can help them handle whatever comes their way. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) Your instincts will help you grasp a problem and read between the lines. You have a lot to get done. Make a call to a loved one who often feels left out or lonely. A discussion could help lift this person’s spirits. VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) Your spark ignites other’s spirit and energy. You could be surprised by what spontaneously erupts. Reach out to someone who might be depressed or sad. Realize that you can break through this person’s defenses. LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22) You might want to understand what is ailing you. Maybe you need to take a nap or drive around in order to relax. Call or visit with a friend. You will feel inspired and happier because of this person, who is much more into the spirit of the moment. SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21) Make a point to go along with what others want to do. You could be overwhelmed by a last-minute request or phone call. A loved one could appear, which will make you smile from ear to ear. A serious talk should be postponed. Keep the mood light. SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21) You might want to get past a problem. Take a stand and deal with a family member who could be overexcited. Invite a close friend over for eggnog and maybe a game of Scrabble. CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) You are able to express your caring in a manner in which others don’t feel threatened. Focus on a get-together with friends and loved ones. You might not be the host, but you might feel like it, since you probably will know everyone. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18) A partner could come forward with a lot of expectations. Know that you can do only so much. Resist worrying about a friend’s comment. You will hear from this person soon enough, and you’ll see how you might have misunderstood his or her words.
December 24, 1973
BETHLEHEM, Israeli-Occupied Jordan - Smaller-than-usual crowds mingled in light-filled Manger Square early Christmas Day after attending midnight Mass to celebrate the brith of Jesus Christ nearly 2,000 years ago. In the square, Israeli troops were on patrol to guard against any Arab guerrilla disruption of services in this hilltop town where Christ was born. About 1,000 persons filled the Roman Catholic Church of St. Catherine. Msgr. Giacomo Beltritti, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, led the prayers in Latin from a marble altar set in front of the aisle. A choir sang the traditional Christmas carols. About 3,000 others who came to this ancient Judean town watched the midnight Mass from Manger Square as it was televised on a broad sheet spread in front of the church, which adjoins the Greek Orthodox church of the nativity. More than 10,000 persons had filled the church and the square in past years. The sharp drop in the number of Christian pilgrims and tourists reflected the fact that Christmas this year comes only two months to the day after the end of the October Middle East war. In Pittstown, N.J., a former Air Force captain who had been a prisoner of the North Vietnamese for five years built a gingerbread castle. “It’s been a long wait for this Christmas but I think all the sacrifices are well worth it,” said Joseph E. Milligan, who was shot down over North Vietnam May 20, 1967. In captivity, he said, the prisoners were served turkey every year, “but we didn’t get all the trimmings that went with it. I used to think about the food most of the time... like pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. We’re planning to have all those this Christmas.” Milligan is married to an Air Force nurse he met six months after his release. Across America, the planes were full Sunday, and so were the trains and buses, but highway authorities said the roads were almost empty - most motorists apparently fearful of Sunday’s closed gas stations. And in Bethlehem, pilgrims came to hold Christmas Eve services at the spot where Jesus was born. Soldiers in combat gear guarded all entrances to the ancient town, allowing in only those with special invitations or passes.
1. Each row and column must contain the numbers 1 through 3 without repeating. 2. The numbers within the heavily outlined set of squares, called cages, must combine (in any order) to produce the target number in the top corner of the cage using the mathematical operation indicated. 3. Cages with just one box should be filled in with the target number in the top corner. A number can be repeated within a cage as long as it is not in the same row or column.
Here’s How It Works:
To solve a sudoku, the numbers 1 through 9 must fill each row, column and box. Each number can appear only once in each row, column and box.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20) At the present moment, others seem to want you to join them. Do not stand on ceremony, but understand that you might have to postpone a long-distance call. Stop by a friend’s house and wish this person a special Christmas.
Daily Times Leader | Tuesday, December 24, 2013
12 Tuesday, December 24, 2013 | Daily Times Leader
Thai protesters try to block February election sign-ups
BY JOCELYN GECKER and JINDA WEDEL Associated Press BANGKOK — Anti-government protesters determined to unseat Thailand's prime minister surrounded a Bangkok sports stadium on Monday in an unsuccessful attempt to block political parties from registering for February elections. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who is popular among the rural majority but disliked by the urban middle class and elite, called the Feb. 2 elections to defuse tension after several weeks of sometimes violent demonstrations in the Thai capital. The attempted blockade comes after the main opposition Democrat Party said over the weekend it will boycott the vote, which Yingluck's ruling party would likely win. Officials from her party and eight others managed to sign up for the election by slipping into the stadium in the middle of the night, despite the presence of some protesters who had camped out overnight, the state Election Commission said. "We were aware that protesters would be blocking all entrances, so we went into the stadium at 4 a.m. while they were sleeping," said Prompong Nopparit, spokesman of the ruling Pheu Thai party. "Despite all this, the elections will continue as planned on Feb. 2." With registration continuing for two weeks, the protesters have vowed to continue their blockade. Bluesky Channel, a web and satellite television station that serves as the voice of the
— Associated Press
Syrians inspect the scene after an aircraft pummeled masaken hanano, an opposition neighborhood Sunday in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria. Syrian aircraft pummeled an opposition neighborhood in the northern city of Aleppo on Sunday, killing scores and extending the government’s furious aerial bombardment of the rebel-held half of the divided city to an eighth consecutive day.
Syrian helicopters bomb town
BY DIAA HADID Associated Press BEIRUT — Government forces widened a bombing campaign in rebel-held areas of northern Syria on Monday, striking one of the main border towns near Turkey and killing 15 people, said activists. The attack on Azaz was the latest attack using powerful but inaccurate "barrel bombs" on the northern city of Aleppo and its surrounding towns and villages, said an activist who goes by the name of Abu al-Hassan Marea. He said residents in the town told him that 15 people were killed in the strike. Another activist group, the Local Coordination Committees, gave the same death toll. The Azaz attack suggests the government is expanding its range of targets a week after it began an unusually heavy air offensive against Aleppo on Dec. 15., dropping barrel bombs on rebel-held areas from helicopters. Aleppo, Syria's largest city, is divided into government-and-rebel-ruled areas. Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the air raids on the northern province of Aleppo have killed at least 301 people including 87 children, 30 women and nearly 30 opposition fighters since midDecember. The aid group Doctors Without borders has said the bombs killed at least 189 people and wounded 879 in the first four days alone. The main Western-backed Syrian opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, warned that if the bombing campaign against Aleppo continues it will not take part in U.N.-sponsored peace talks planned for Jan. 22 in Switzerland. A coalition statement quoted the group's Secretary-General Badr Jamous as saying they will boycott the talks in case the air raids do not stop. Barrel bombs are crude devices filled with explosives and fuel that are wildly inaccurate — often landing near schools and market places, causing massive damage on impact. The government has not commented on the use of the crude weapons, nor on the intensified strikes over Aleppo. But the timing suggests that President Bashar Assad could be trying to strengthen his position a month ahead of planned peace talks in Switzerland. Barrel bombs also struck the Aleppo neighborhoods of Qadi Askar and Marjeh on Monday, killing three people, said activist Marea and another activist who identifies as Abu Raed. In the capital Damascus, Assad received an Australian delegation telling them his government is fighting extremists who might strike anywhere in the world, the state media said. SANA said the delegation included academics, researchers and activists. "What is happening in Syria and the region in general affects the whole world," Syria's state news agency SANA quoted Assad as telling the delegation. "The country is facing fanatic takfiri ideology that has no borders. It is an epidemic that could strike anytime and anywhere." The term "takfiri" is usually applied to hard-liners who consider other Muslims to be infidels.
protest movement, showed a protest leader asking followers to guard all the gates to the stadium Monday night as well because representatives of the ruling party had managed to "sneak in" the night before. More than two dozen other parties were able to begin the registration process at a nearby police station, where they filed complaints saying they were unable to access the main venue because of the blockade, the commission said. Hundreds of protesters tried to seal off the police station, too, and then tried to block representatives of several political parties from leaving. The mostly city-dwelling demonstrators say Yingluck's removal is necessary to purge the country of corruption and money politics. They view Yingluck as a puppet of her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup and is living in self-imposed exile overseas after being convicted of corruption. The protesters want an appointed interim government to oversee political and electoral reforms before any new polls are held. But the Shinawatras have the support of Thailand's upwardly mobile rural poor, largely because of Thaksin's policies of bringing virtually free health care, cheap loans and other benefits to the longneglected countryside. Yingluck has spent the past several days in Thailand's north and northeast, her party's political strongholds, surrounded by crowds of enthusiastic supporters.
Putin frees his enemies, seizes news agenda prior to Sochi
BY VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV Associated Press MOSCOW — It came as a shock for both those released and the general public — President Vladimir Putin's move to pardon his foes has allowed him to seize the news agenda in his favor and temper criticism of his rule less than two months before the Sochi Games. Putin is dribbling out a headline day after day in the media and seems to be controlling the message. First, Mikhail Khodorkovsky was released after a decade in prison, then Pussy Riot activists were pardoned and now 30 Greenpeace activists are awaiting their turn. The abrupt move by Putin to release his adversaries mixed the elements of an astute spin effort with a crude KGB-style operation. The pardons could help repair some of the damage to Russia's image before the Winter Olympics, which run Feb. 7-23, but it doesn't ease tensions with the West over Ukraine and other issues, including gay rights, and keeps tight Kremlin control over Russia's political scene unchanged. No one in Russia expected Putin to release Khodorkovsky, his arch-foe and once Russia's richest man, after more than a decade in prison. In fact, most observers felt pretty certain that authorities would file another set of criminal charges against the former oil tycoon to prevent him from walking free after serving his term. One-time Kremlin insider, political consultant Gleb Pavlovsky, saw the gloomy expectations as part of a carefully choreographed performance ending with Khodorkovsky's surprise release and his swift move to Germany. "It's quite obvious that it was timed for Christmas," Pavlovsky said. "Putin has turned it into a big European and global show." Putin announced his decision to pardon Khodorkovsky as he was walking out of a four-hour news conference in response to a question from a Kremlin-friendly news outlet. If he did that at the news conference, it would have diverted attention from other subjects and spoiled the show. Khodorkovsky told the media in Berlin that Putin's statement came as a surprise to him, even though he had submitted a request for a pardon on German advice. A few hours later, he was taken from his bunk in the middle of the night, flown away from prison in a helicopter and put on a Germanybound private jet. Some compared Khodorkovsky's release to the expulsion of dissidents during Cold War times, when Putin served as a KGB officer. One motive behind the secretive effort could be a desire to prevent Khodorkovsky from making a triumphant exit from prison to dozens of TV cameras — something the KGB also tried to do when they quickly and quietly escorted foes of the Soviet regime out of the country. Khodorkovsky's release topped the news for several days. Then, on Monday came the turn of the two members of the Pussy Riot punk band, who were serving two-year terms for an irreverent protest against Putin at Moscow's main cathedral in March 2012. The two women didn't receive the same secretive treatment that Khodorkovsky had and were quickly released. Maria Alekhina was driven to a railway station, but walked away and went to a local nongovernmental organization. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova went to her grandmother's home after being released from prison and briefly speaking to journalists. "They were released at a speed unseen in a clumsy Russian prison system," said Stanislav Belkovsky, a Moscowbased political analyst who had close links with the Kremlin in the past. "There must have been a strict order to do it quickly." Next on the list is the 30-member crew of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, who spent two months in jail for a protest outside Russia's Arctic oil platform. They are waiting for a stamp in their passports to be able to leave Russia, something expected within days. The timing of the amnesty was carefully chosen to prevent Putin from looking as if he caved in to pressure. For many years, the Kremlin has ignored calls at home and abroad for Khodorkovsky's release, and it has likewise stonewalled protests against jailing the Pussy Riot band members from some of the world's leading musicians and renowned public figures. The amnesty came at the moment when few expected it. By pardoning his most visible foes and critics, Putin removes some of the most visible irritants in Russia's relations with the West that threatened to stain the Olympics, his pet project. But other problems continue to mar Russia-West ties. Putin's efforts to block Ukraine's pact with the European Union have caused dismay in both Brussels and Washington. The Kremlin law banning the "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" that activists and Western governments denounced as discriminatory against gays remains and will continue to draw protests in the run-up and during the Olympics. Putin has shown no intention to rescind the legislation that he cast as a necessary part of efforts to shore up Russia's traditional values.
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