Lafayette County Body Found: Frierson Declared Homicide Victim

•March 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Missing West Springhill resident, McKenzie Darrell Frierson, has been found after a two month search.

Frierson’s body was found west of FNC Park in a unidentified creek in a North Lafayette County neighborhood. After a coroner’s autopsy, Frierson was declared a homicide victim.

The Lafayette County Sheriff’s office is leading the investigation. This is the first homicide Lafayette County has seen since 2010. We contacted the sheriff’s department, but no one there would comment for NewsWatch.

If you have any leads or tips, call Crime Stoppers at (662) 234-TIPS (8477).


Not Your Average Ole Miss Baseball Fans

•March 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment


By: Alexa Bafalis and Mary Houston Matthews

Usually the Ole Miss students section at Swayze Field dominates the Ole Miss fan base. Today the fans were a little different. Oxford elementary, middle and other surrounding county schools took over the responsibility as committed Rebel fans.

The young students took a day off from their school work to enjoy the sunshine and Ole Miss baseball taking on Southeastern Louisiana.

School officials used the game as an incentive for students.

“Its a reward for the students to get out of class for a day and get to do something fun,” says Oxford Middle School Choir Director Jordan Caviezel.

Not only was the field trip fun for the students but also a learning experience.

“We’ve brought out the kindergartners from Lafayette and we’ve been talking about shapes, so we’re going to incorporate some of the things we’ve seen out here at the baseball game with our shapes,” says Connie McCluskey, Lafayette Elementary kindergarten teacher.

The youngsters were not shy about showing their spirit for the Rebels — their Hotty Toddy cheer may pose some competition for fellow Ole Miss student fans.

Ole Miss won 6-2.

Oxford Students Learn Geography with Giant Map

•March 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

GTMEurope1-dl_jpg_610x343_crop_upscale_q85 Area schools can interact with geography on a much larger scale at Ole Miss, March 4-7.

Every state of the union is visiting the university’s Jackson Avenue Center in the form of a 35-foot traveling map of North America.

When asked about their favorite part of the basketball court-sized map, Lafayette Elementary School second graders shouted out, “Fun!”

The Mississippi Geography Alliance donated funding to rent the giant map for four weeks through a grant from the National Geographic Education Foundation.

Schools registered online with the Rebel Social Studies Program are allowed to bring up to 45 students between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to visit the map each day.  The map opens to the general public from 4 to 7 p.m. on March 6.

“The map is a wonderful, free and interactive way for the students to have fun and learn in a much different way than on a cell phone or paper map,” says UM social studies professor Ellen Foster. “The students get to feel scale, a concept often lost when teaching geography.

Students were able to dive feet-first into geography at the Museum of Natural Science in Jackson and Mississippi State University before the map made its way to Oxford during its trip across the state.

Prayer Returning to Ole Miss Student Government?

•April 17, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Attend any meeting of the Ole Miss Associated Student Body Senate (ASB), and you may notice the opening moment of silence.

Two years ago, the senate began its meetings with prayer, but that didn’t sit well with two of its members

Asma Al-Sherri and Dan Blazo were two ASB senators who, because they did not hold Christian beliefs, brought the issue to the attention of the university’s judicial council.

Melinda Pullen Carlson, Associate Dean of Students

Melinda Pullen Carlson, Associate Dean of Students

According to Associate Dean of Students Melinda Pullen Carlson, these students felt excluded.

“I don’t believe that it’s the act of praying that necessarily is inflammatory,” she said. “It’s when that prayer becomes a part of the business operations or the day to day operations for the organization that it becomes exclusionary, and that’s where the problem begins.”

The Ole Miss M Book is a short list of regulations, and it requires student organizations to know, and comply with, university policies. This policy  is a blanket regulation that states that the university receives federal money and, therefore, cannot discriminate. Student organizations are in violation of this policy if they require members to participate in religious activities, such as prayer, unless the organization was founded specifically to include members of a certain faith.

University policy aside, there are arguments for having prayer in ASB senate meetings.

“We already say the Pledge of Allegiance, and that contains God. There’s not really an argument against that,” said Richard Wilkins, former ASB senator.

Richard Wilkins, former ASB Senator

Richard Wilkins, former ASB Senator

“On top of that, our United States Congress has a prayer to open every session. I believe that if the governing body of our nation deems it okay to open every legislative session with a prayer, then I believe the governing body of the University of Mississippi should open every session with prayer.”

Since the students who opposed the practice have now graduated, the senate has tried unsuccessfully to reinstate prayer. This year, senate committee members began talks to write legislation to reinstate prayer, but decided against the legislation after being reminded of the judicial council’s decision in the past.

Finding a balance in this issue is not easy. While not commenting specifically on this case, Ole Miss law professor Lisa Roy spoke in general about religion and the U.S. Constitution.

“It is precisely because there are asserted constitutional freedoms on both sides (i.e., the freedom to be free from the imposition of religion v. the freedom to practice religion publicly) that neither side wants to give in,” Roy said.

This does not mean, though, that if all students in an organization happen to practice the same faith, that they cannot engage in religious observance.

“If they are all in a consensus and everybody’s okay with it, then there is no reason for us to really say ‘you can’t do this,’” said Ole Miss Judicial Chair Courtney Pearson. “But what really is important when we step in is when you start offending someone.”

Locally Produced Foods Important to Lafayette County Mississippi

•April 17, 2012 • Leave a Comment

By Betsy Lynch and Ashley Lance

It’s time to start gathering your spring vegetables and prepare for the summer harvest season.

In Oxford-Lafayette County, Community Supported Agriculture programs are becoming increasingly more popular; however, CSA’s encompass a lot more than your stereotypical farm fresh vegetables.

The Oxford Equine Center is one example of Community Supported Agriculture in which owner Steve Campbell is getting creative with ways to sufficiently provide vegetables and dairy products for himself and the surrounding community.

According to Campbell, “I just got curious of how the old people did stuff. How did a person take a wagon and a cow and drive out to the West somewhere and make it.”

So, how is a CSA different than a backyard garden?

“It’s where the producer is actually growing the product, vegetables or fruit or livestock or dairy, and giving a community the opportunity to purchase that with the understanding of where it came from,” said Margaret Webb of the Miss. State Extension Service.

Along with being in charge of 4-H programs in the county, Webb is actively involved with local farms, the Oxford Community Garden, and the Midtown Farmer’s Market.

According to Webb, Lafayette County has just been issued a $61,000 federal grant to start another Farmer’s Market to serve the surrounding community.

Cambell says that it was from the people at the Midtown Farmer’s Market where he first heard of the need for goats’ milk. He decided that it could be a fun new hobby and potentially a profitable business that would fill a void in the community.

“We realize there is a market for selling goat’s milk,” said Campbell. “So that was our goal to have a small dairy and to sell the goat milk to these specialty people who were interested in goat milk.”

According to Webb, those working within CSA programs are often interested in doing more than providing a fresh local product.

Luke Heiskell, owner of Woodson Ridge Farms, says the food he grows could help people become healthier too.

“There is a big difference in the taste and especially the nutrient value of the food. Plus, it’s just the way it is supposed to be,” Heiskell said

“Not only does it help the community, and there is a market it for it, but it also builds a relationship between the producer and the clientele, ” said Webb.

Exercise Your Way To an “A”

•April 17, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Research conducted by  Sagniaw Valley State University shows a correlation between students who exercise  and an increase in their grades. 266 undergraduate students participated in survey and researchers found that with at least 20 minutes of exercise a day, students could increase their GPA’s by .4 of a point. For students that could be a difference between an A or a B.

With May just around the corner, students are busily preparing for upcoming finals, using the library to their advantage. Although students may not have the time to exercise daily, incorporating exercise in their routine could prove to be beneficial. Hearing how exercise can increase your overall health and grades did not come as a surprise to Ole Miss student Jordan Karien.

” I think so, my parents stressed a lot about that, it just gets  you thinking and settled down,” said Kariean.

With the recent study, health professionals at Ole Miss had their own opinions on the results of the study.

” Any time your exercising you’re going to release some endorphins and its going to increase your productivity,” said Nicole Dabbs, a graduate instructor of exercise science.

Although Dabbs agrees with the data, Harish  Chander  another exercise science staff member, thinks other factors may have went into the research results.

“We got to look at the psychological aspect  of it too. It’s just a state of mind, if I work out I do feel better,” said Chander.

Students at the University of Mississippi are encouraged to use the workout facility the Turner Center on campus. The facility is free to use for students and faculty members.

Ole Miss Men’s Tennis Made of 89% International Students

•March 27, 2012 • Leave a Comment

By: Betsy Lynch and Stephanie Konkle

While the Ole Miss Men’s tennis team is made up of mostly international students, under the leadership of Coach Billy Chadwick, the players find a way to feel at home.

Eighty-nine percent of the present players are from outside of the United States, with only one American on the team.

Chadwick explains that players are internationally ranked and most of the top players come from outside of the United States. This is due to the popularity of tennis outside of the U.S., and a lot of that has to do with the fact that basketball, baseball and football are not top sports in other countries.

The spots in red and the flags below indicate the countries where the Ole Miss players are from. However, with so many origins could there be a difficulty adjusting to a culturally diverse team dynamic?

According to Chadwick, his players have had no difficulty adjusting to life at Ole Miss.

“With tennis players across the board they are usually very good students. They’re used to being on the road and they’re used to being away from home. The adjustment is probably a little bit easier than it would be for a normal student coming from another country here.”

Chadwick goes on to say, “The thing that’s amazing is that they may be from different countries but a lot of the time they know each other before they even get here.”

Part of the success of the no. 14 nationally-ranked Ole Miss tennis team comes with the players’ ability to understand each other on and off the court.

According to England native Joe Rogers all the players are in the same boat.

“I think we understand each other pretty well. Everyone is from Europe apart from one guy. Where we’re from is pretty similar probably and being in America we’re all experiencing the same thing.” 

Though Zach Wilder is the only American, he relates to the other players.

“Our team is so close, they really don’t get homesick that often. We are always busy anyways, so I guess you don’t really have that much time to think about it.”

The Ole Miss tennis team will have three more home matches before playing in the SEC tournament in Starkville next month.