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NPR visits Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum

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National Public Radio recently made at stop at the Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum housed at the Charles W. Capps, Jr. Archives and Museum at Delta State University.

Melissa Block and Alyssa Nordsworny from NPR received a special tour of the Chinese museum. The two were in the Delta working on programming for NPR focused on Gilroy and Sally Chow of Clarksdale, a culinry duo who have received national attention from the likes of The New York Times, Washington Post, The Smithsonian and more.

They’ve been the epitome of culinary fusion in the Delta for some time,” said Emily Jones, university archivist. “So NPR was in town to interview them yet again, and Gilroy, who is my Mississippi Delta Chinese Heritage Museum board president, recommended that they stop by to see the museum.” 

Against the backdrop of a rapidly disappearing society and culture, the museum promotes local heritage preservation by actively collecting oral histories, memorabilia, photographs and textile materials related to the history and story of the Mississippi Delta Chinese immigration and settlement.

Where Chinese grocery stores once dominated our small towns, today their influence is markedly less notable,” added Jones. “It is because of their physical absence that documenting, preserving and retelling their stories becomes vital.”  

The museum is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at no charge. Weekend or after-hours tours can be set up by calling Jones or Cindi Lofton at 662-846-4780.

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Thacker Mountain Radio Show returning to DMI

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Thacker Mountain Radio Show returns to the Delta Music Institute at Delta State with special guests Susan Puckett and Buddy Greene.

The Delta Music Institute entertainment industry program at Delta State University will host the award-winning Thacker Mountain Radio Show on March 4 at 3 p.m. in DMI Studio A in the Whitfield Building on campus.

This marks the ninth year for the Thacker Mountain Delta Edition event, which celebrates DMI’s innovative program and serves as a fundraising event to support the Duff Dorrough Memorial Scholarship fund.

Susan Puckett, this year’s featured author, is a native of Jackson. She was the food editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for nearly 19 years before leaving in 2008 to pursue independent projects. Her forte throughout her career has been finding and telling food stories with a sense of place. After leaving the paper, she traveled extensively through the Mississippi Delta to explore its unique foodways, and produced a travelogue with recipes called “Eat Drink Delta: A Hungry Traveler’s Journey Through the Soul of the South.” 

Puckett is currently working on a book with chef Eddie Hernandez of the Atlanta-based Taqueria del Sol restaurants (and winner of the 2013 Delta Hot Tamale Festival celebrity chef competition), to be published by Houghton-Mifflin in 2018. Her work has also appeared in Atlanta Magazine, The Local Palate, Better Homes and Gardens, Eating Well, National Geographic Traveler, and many other publications. Puckett lives in downtown Decatur, Georgia, with her journalist husband, Ralph Ellis, and their greyhound, Rita.

Award-winning singer-songwriter Buddy Greene will be this year’s featured musician for the Delta Edition show. A native of Macon, Georgia, Greene graduated to the national stage when he landed a gig playing guitar and harmonica for country entertainer Jerry Reed and serving as his opening act. After four years performing with Reed, Greene took up residence in Nashville, where he developed a reputation as an insightful songwriter, compelling vocalist and musician of considerable skill.

In addition to being in the creative trenches with some of the industry’s unsung heroes, Greene has also worked with the most celebrated names in the music industry, among them Bill and Gloria Gaither, the late Jerry Reed, and Mark Lowry, with whom he wrote the Christmas classic “Mary, Did You Know?” The song has been recorded numerous times, including covers by Kenny Rogers, Wynonna Judd, Natalie Cole, Glen Campbell, Kathy Mattea, CeeLo Green, Clay Aiken and Pentatonix. Greene has performed for more than a quarter of a million people in New York’s Central Park as part of a Billy Graham Crusade, and has been a part of praise gatherings for more than two decades, touring all over the world.

In addition to this year’s featured guests, DMI Director Tricia Walker will offer up a song and DMI’s Ol’ Skool Revue band will perform a few R&B, soul and blues hits. Thacker Mountain Radio is hosted by Jim Dees and features the show’s talented house band, The Yalobushwhackers.

Thacker in the Delta is open to the public at no charge, but donations to the DMI Duff Dorrough Memorial Scholarship fund are encouraged along with signing up for an annual membership with the Friends of DMI. For online giving, visit www.deltastategiving.org and search for Delta Music Institute.

The Delta Music Institute is an independent center of study under the College of Arts and Sciences at Delta State University, offering a bachelor’s degree in entertainment industry studies. The focus of the DMI is to provide students with a broad and thorough education in the technological, creative and business areas of the music and entertainment industry. For information, contact 662- 846-4579 or visit http://dmi.deltastate.edu.

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Beals honored for Excellence in Diversity by IHL

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Dr. George Beals, center, receives the IHL Excellence in Diversity and Inclusive Award from trustee Shane Hooper (left) and Delta State President William N. LaForge.

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning recently held its annual diversity celebration to recognize campus and community leaders for the impact they have made in advancing diversity and encouraging understanding and respect.

Dr. George Beals, assistant professor of counselor education, was selected as the Delta State University nominee for the IHL Excellence in Diversity and Inclusive Award. Beals is also the program coordinator/assessment director for the Division of Counselor Education and Psychology at Delta State.

I am deeply honored and very humbled that my dean and colleagues appreciated my efforts around diversity,” said Beals. “I think what they saw in me was the fact that my lens of diversity, inclusion and social justice is always a primary when focusing on programmatic efforts and teaching my classes. Being a part of DSU has always been a point of pride for me because we can boast that per capita, we are the most diverse campus in the state.”

Social justice is a value that is most primary in my interactions with others and with institutions,” added Beals. “I hold the vision that the world can be an amazing place if we all work toward communicating with each other.”

Among his many efforts on campus, Beals serves on both the Diversity Committee and the Winning The Race Conference Committee. He also provides diversity trainings including Safe-Space Training, and has led some diversity experiences for Delta State students as a part of the Diversity Efforts and the Quality Enhancement Program.  

Beals, who has taught at Delta State for eight years, received his doctorate in counselor education from Mississippi State University in 2007, and received his master’s in community counseling, also from MSU, in 1995. Additionally, he is a member and current chapter advisor for Delta State’s chapter of Chi Sigma Iota, the international honor society for students, professional counselors and counselor educators. He is also the recipient of the 2016 Janie G. Rugg Career Contributor by the Mississippi Counseling Association.

His academic interests include: personal growth and wellness of counselor trainees, experiential therapies across diverse populations, somatization of oppression, systems theories and interventions with community applications, and counseling theories and neurosciences.

The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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BPAC announces 2017 Spring Movie Series

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Returning for the fifth year, the Bologna Performing Arts Center at Delta State University will host the Spring Movie Series featuring new releases of major motion pictures on its big screen in the Delta & Pine Land Theatre.

All tickets are $5 for general admission seating. Popcorn and candy concessions are available for purchase (cash only) to enhance the movie experience.

First up in the series is Illumination’s hit animated film, “Sing,” on March 5 at 3 p.m. From the same creators of “Despicable Me,” the film is rated PG and features the voice talents of Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Seth MacFarlane, among others, in this story of a singing competition.

Next, the Star Wars epic saga continues in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” on April 9 at 3 p.m. Rated PG-13, the Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Studios film is the first installment of the Star Wars Anthology series, and is set immediately before the events of “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.”

The final screening of “The LEGO Batman Movie” will take place April 30 at 3 p.m. In the irreverent spirit of fun that made “The LEGO Movie” a worldwide phenomenon, LEGO Batman, aka Bruce Wayne, stars in his own big-screen adventure in which he must work with others to save Gotham City. This film is rated PG.

For more information, to see film trailers, and buy tickets, visit www.bolognapac.com, or call the ticket office at 662-846-4626.

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Ribbon cut at Dave Heflin Outdoor Recreation Education Laboratory

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Dave Heflin (center, with scissors) cuts the ribbon for the opening of the new Dave Heflin Outdoor Recreation Education Laboratory on Feb. 11.

The division of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at Delta State University held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Dave Heflin Outdoor Recreation Education Laboratory on Feb. 11.

The event featured an opportunity for the community to view the lab, honor Helfin, and participate in a social and lunch.2017 Heflin Lab Outdoor Recreation-41

This space is an exciting new addition to campus that will further expand curriculum available to HPER students and enhance recreational opportunities for the campus as a whole.

The lab is named for Dave Heflin, assistant professor emeritus HPER at Delta State, and the founder of the Outback and Kayak Club. Heflin’s contributions to the field of educational recreation at Delta State are legendary among the generations of students whose lives he influenced.

Heflin and his family have provided funding and support to enable the program to continue in that tradition, making it possible for future generations of students to experience a range of outdoor education experiences that lead to lifelong recreational habits.

“The new space will provide this program with an enhanced identity and place of pride for students as they engage in activities and educational experiences in the outdoor recreation program,” said Dr. Charles McAdams, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “The program has a great history and many alumni recall with great fondness the experiences they have had in this program. Dave Heflin was able to build a program with a great reputation, and Todd Davis has grown the program and clearly taken the program to the next level. The future is indeed bright for this program, especially with this newly renovated lab.”

The lab allows for new classroom space, an HD projector and screen for lectures and presentations, a rock climbing wall, maps and guidebooks, equipment storage space, kitchen and laundry facilities, and adequate space to function as an operating training facility for outdoor recreation.

Dr. Leslie Griffin, dean of the College of Education and Human Science, is thrilled with the new facility.2017 Heflin Lab Outdoor Recreation-7

“The Dave Heflin Outdoor Recreation Lab is testimony to the inherent power in shared vision and what it can produce,” said Griffin. “With Todd Davis at the helm, the opening of the lab is our next step along the way to engage students in the program early and in authentic ways.”

In recent years, the Outdoor Recreation Education Program has expanded to include a viable HPER concentration in Recreation Leadership and an array of outdoor recreation courses that expose students to a variety of experiences. The rigor of trip courses has increased through curriculum development, and enrollment trends are positive. A total of 637 students have enrolled in outdoor recreation trip courses during the past 12 years.

Todd Davis, program director for Outdoor Education, is excited to begin programming in the new space.

“I’m excited for our students,” said Davis. “I’m excited that they will have a professional space to learn and develop their skills in a beautiful setting with photos that illustrate the legacy of the program. I’m excited for the possible growth of this program.

“I hope students are able to realize what an enormous benefit this program is to campus life and to the overall education of a student,” added Davis. “It provides opportunities for students to grow, understand and be active in their world. This lab is a magnificent addition to the College of Education and Human Sciences, the Dave Heflin Professorship, and the Division for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. We are very proud of the fact that we re-purposed an unused space and stayed under budget, while exceeding expectations.”

For more information, visit http://www.deltastate.edu/college-of-education/health-physical-education-and-recreation/orep.