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What will tourism bill do for Mississippi tourism?

September 14th, 2009 Comments off

 

I seriously wonder what the new legislation passed and co-sponsored by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) will do to help tourism in Mississippi.

The legislation “would revitalize federal efforts to attract more foreign tourists to the United States and counter the steep decline in international travel following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.”

But what would it do for Mississippi?

I am asking the question, only.

This should be looked into more closely, particularly since Blues and Country Music tourism are of high priority to the Mississippi Development Authority.

Ask Billy Johnson of the Highway 61 Blues Museum what tourism means to his operation in Leland as well as the rest of the Mississippi Delta, and even the rest of Mississippi.

I am glad that Sen. Cochran sponsored this bill, but I am more hopeful this will be a tool for us to bring more tourists and more money to all of Mississippi.

 

See story at http://msbusiness.com/blog/2009/09/senate-passes-tourism-bill/

Ole Miss up to No. 5 in AP Poll

September 14th, 2009 Comments off

Despite having not played this past weekend, Ole Miss jumped from sixth to No. 5 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 today.

The Rebels (1-0) clobbered Memphis in Week 1, but had an off week this past weekend before taking on Southeastern Louisiana this weekend.

Ole Miss replaced Oklahoma State at No. 5. The Cowboys (1-1) suffered an upset loss at home to Houston.

The Rebels are ranked sixth in the USA today poll. Penn State is No. 5.

The top four in the AP poll, Florida, Texas, USC and Alabama, remain unchanged.

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Tastes a lot like chickpeas

September 11th, 2009 Comments off

As I waited at Sal and Mookies in Jackson for my pizza to take home to the family, I sat down with a soft drink and reached into bowl of nuts. … Not peanuts, but chickpeas. … It reminded me of the story I read in the most recent edition of “Time” about cotton.

Yes cotton.

While we have been writing off the South’s cash crop for the last decade, it appears scientists have been having other ideas.

According the “Time” article, ‘It’s as true in today’s world as it was in the antebellum South: cotton is king.’

Could it be?

Well, for more than 7,000 cotton has mostly been used for its fiber. Apparently, however, cotton seed is rich in protein. And protein could help feed lots of people, right?

Yup, except cotton has a chemical in it that is toxic. The toxic “gossypol” actually helps repel insects from the plant while it is growing. You remove the gossypol, you remove any chance of having cotton in the first place.

Until now.

Scientists, according to this article, have found a way to remove the toxic chemical, yet preserve the insect-fighting abilities.

So, now you could have a “Cheap and an abundant form of protein for everyone.”

Great for the South, right?

Great for Mississippi right?

More cotton demand, means higher prices, which means better times for farmers, which might even mean better times for the Delta and Southwest Mississippi, right?

My only question is, did we get away from cotton too soon. Do we still have the infrastructure (cotton gins) to take on a heavy demand for cotton again.

I don’t know the answer, but as I sat at Sal and Mookies, I thought about that last paragraph of the story in time, which read, “Genetically modified cottonseeds will need government approval before they hit grocery shelves, and they’re more likely to be used first to supplement fish or animal feed. But with the global population still on the rise and farmland limited, the planet can use free protein. And you might even like it. “It’s not bad,” says (the scientist that made this cotton-seed discovery), who has popped a few seeds. “Tastes like chickpeas.”

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1920290,00.html

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Enrollment increase not unexpected

September 1st, 2009 Comments off

When I read this morning that enrollment was up at Northeast Community College in Booneville, I was not surprised.

The college had 3,707 students enrolled when registration ended for the current semester. This marks a 275 student increase over the previous record set in the fall of 2007 and a 405 student boost over last year’s figure.

NEMCC President Dr. Johnny Allen said it’s impossible to attribute the rise in enrollment to any single factor, but he believes the college’s efforts to recruit more students have played a major role.

I was not surprised on a couple of levels.

First, with the economy still making things hard on Mississippians, 2-year schools in the Magnolia State have a real value to offer families wanting to send their children to college. Plus, the education at the community college level is as good as anyone could expect. Without having all the numbers in front of me, tuition at Mississippi’s community colleges are signifcantly lower than than of their 4-year brothers. That’s a real value under any economic scenario.

Second, however, is the 4-year schools having to increase tuition, specifically, the four small schools — Alcorn State, Delta State, Mississippi University for Women and Mississippi Valley State.

When the Stacy Davidson, Scott Ross and the other members of the Institutions of Higher Learning decided to implement a funding formula that penalized the small schools, a result such as this could be expected. I suspect, when all is said and done, the four small 4-year schools will have decreased enrollment while the community colleges, as a whole, will be up as well as big schools like Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss.

In the end, the community colleges are looking good.