Same Doorbusters, Less Chaos

Screen Shot 2017-11-10 at 5.26.49 PM.pngBy: Alexandra Morris

Black Friday is right around the corner and stores, as well as shoppers, are already preparing. However, shoppers in Oxford, MS do not necessarily have to prepare for the chaos that a big city mall brings.

The Square is the popular shopping area in the small city of Oxford. The stores around here will have the same doorbusters as big name department stores, but shoppers can expect shorter lines and will not have to fight over the last sweater or pair of boots.

This is because as of 2016, the population of Oxford, MS was just over 23,000 and the population of Ole Miss, which is located in Oxford, was just over 21,000. So, a large majority of those students will be heading home for Thanksgiving break, leaving the stores open to a smaller crowd of shoppers.

Stores on The Square still prepare weeks in advance because of the increase in foot traffic.

“Black Friday in Oxford is not going to be like a big city, but it’s still pretty busy,” Trés Belle’s Manager Jonlyn Reeves said. “We’ll open earlier than normal, we’ve been ordering more merchandise, we plan on staying open later and we’ll also have more staff than usual just to be able to prepare for all the customers coming in.”

Shoppers in Oxford still plan ahead since stores compete to grab their attention by changing deals throughout the day and putting out more merchandise.

“Me and my parents actually have a tradition that we go to sleep right after Thanksgiving lunch and then we wake up at 12 am and then start going to the stores,” Ole Miss Junior Cole Hughes said.

Come November 24th, shoppers in Oxford will have to keep an eye out for changes in stores’ hours and sales.

 

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Ole Miss Hosts Their Fourth Annual Data Day

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Whole Foods and Amazon’s Competitive Intelligence Manager Erica Huerta spoke to Ole Miss students at the fourth annual Data Day.

The Meek School of Journalism and New Media host Data Day every year to allow students to hear from experts in the field about data-driven decision-making and storytelling.

This year one of the presenters was Erica Huerta, the competitive intelligence manager for Whole Foods and Amazon. She spoke about the relevancy of data and how important it is to understand it, build experience with it, and have fun with it.

“Data can be very simple, it can be very complex,” Huerta said. “Be patient with it even as you progress in your career and the more experience you have with data. Learn to have fun with it too though. Data can be very boring if you let it be boring, it can be very fun if you let it be fun.”

Huerta said that in an article she read written by The Economist, they stated that data is “the oil of the digital era.” Huerta explained the relevance and that data is what drives a company and pushes them to succeed especially when it comes to understanding and meeting the needs of customers.

Huerta then persuaded the students to look into programming and experimenting with data.

“They don’t have to be a genius…I hire people based on their initiative to try new things even if they do not completely understand it,” Huerta said.

Many Journalism and Integrated Marketing and Communication majors were present at the event and Senior Carina Marino, who has attended Data Day before, said she attends because “there is always someone helpful that’s speaking.”

“Though I am not pursuing a career in data, I do think learning about data is important” Marino said. “The data programming here at Ole miss with the IMC program is very helpful and I think students find it to be more marketable when they go into an interview or are applying for a job.”

The next Data Day will not be until next November however, Data Day was broadcasted live and the videos can be found on the Meek School of Journalism and New Media’s Facebook page.

Local Rotary Club is Looking to Expand Membership to Millennials

FullSizeRenderThe Oxford-Ole Miss Rotary Club is facing a decline in membership and the district governor is visiting all 40 clubs in the 6800 district to encourage members to bring awareness to Rotary.

District Governor Bethany Huffman explained that in a recent focus group they found that there are two groups of people they are trying to attract, the newly retired and millennials.

However, Huffman told the Oxford-Ole Miss Rotary Club that some of the rules in Rotary were detrimental so Legislation, who only meets every three years to change rules, decided it was time to make Rotary more flexible in order to attract these groups, especially millennials.

“Anyone can show up for a meeting every week and yes they may be present, but it is all about attentiveness and engagement,” Huffman said. “One of the initiatives for Rotary this year is expanding our public images so we need members who are active and willing to spreading the word about our accomplishments and networking ability.”

Rotary is a global network of over 1.2 million leaders who come together to make positive, long lasting change in their communities, at home, and abroad. Rotary works closely will the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to eradicate Polio. They also help improve humanitarian service, youth programs, as well as increase collaboration and connection with many other organizations.

The club is even updating their website as well as their social media accounts. Rotary has also invested in a new public relations campaign and their new tagline is; “Rotary, People of Action.”

The active members of Rotary have already been searching for ways to attract more members and former Rotary President Larry Brookhart thinks it is a great idea.

“If we can get the younger people from the high school level to the college level, I think it will definitely expand Rotary’s membership,” said Brookhart. “First, I think we need to let those who don’t already know about Rotary, what Rotary is and then explain the recent changes in flexibility and leniency.”

The Oxford-Ole Miss Rotary Club meets at 7:30 a.m. every Wednesday at the Oxford University Club on The Square. For more information on upcoming events and how to get involved check out rotary.org.

Oxford-Ole Miss Suicide Prevention Walk Sets Record

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Participants pose for a picture in The Grove before beginning the walk.

Six hundred people registered to walk in second annual Out of the Darkness Walk for Oxford, Mississippi. Organized by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Sunday’s event raised more than $24,000 compared to the $10,000 last year.

The priest at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Father Joe Tonos, told the crowd that God is merciful and will welcome anyone home, even those who want to go home early.

“I think the walk is sort of a metaphor for the people who just couldn’t finish their walk in life,” Tonos said.

A Junior at the University of Mississippi and Walk Chairman, Maddy Gumbko, brought this event to Oxford last year after her close friend committed suicide.

“My friend Brooke and I started this event to bring awareness to this cause and to help those who are struggling and to let them know that they are not alone and that they have a support group,” Gumbko said.

AFSP Board Member of the Mississippi Chapter, Pam Smith, joined the team after she lost her only son to suicide two-and-a-half years ago.

“I decided instead of suffering, that I was going to become a board member and save lives and believe it or not it’s counseling myself,” Smith said.

According to the AFSP, in America over 44,000 people commit suicide per year. It is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 18 and 24. In Mississippi more people die by suicide annually than by homicide, costing the state over $456 million of combined lifetime medical and work loss.

Smith said that she will do everything she can to lessen the numbers of suicides. She has already helped get advising programs on campus and a firearm awareness program. She is already working on her next goal, which is to have a suicide healing group by the first of next year.

Counseling is available to students at the Ole Miss Student Health Center and the Counseling Center.

“It is a daily occurrence that we see people with anxiety and depression and it’s a big concern,” Dr. Travis Yates, Director of University Health Services said. “We do have psychiatrist and nurse practitioners that will counsel those students for free, but if we have someone who is suicidal we contact 9-1-1 because thats is always the safer option.”

The next AFSP Out of the Darkness Walk is at 1:30 p.m. at Veteran’s Park (Baseball Pavilion) in Tupelo, MS this Saturday. Anyone can sign up for free online at afsp.donordrive.com or at the event.

 

51 Car Accidents in One Week… Not Surprising

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OPD and OFD respond to a car accident on Jackson Avenue West.

Posted on October 5, 2017 by Alexandra Morris

OXFORD, MS- It’s not a surprise to have over half a dozen car accidents reported per day in this city. In fact, the week of September 25th to October 1st, there were 51 to be exact.

The majority of car accidents are fender benders. Though this type of accident does not cause extreme damage, the prevalence of fender benders is concerning for Oxford residents.

The majority of the 51 car accidents seen last week were reported on or near Jackson Avenue.

“The reason there’s so many on Jackson is because of the high volume of traffic,” Oxford Police Sgt. Ryan Winters said. “Almost every section of campus leads to Jackson. Also, there are a lot of businesses on Jackson Avenue which again adds to the traffic.”

“I got into a fender bender last week on Jackson Avenue near Chipotle,” Ole Miss student Mattie Sullivan said. “I don’t know what’s up with Jackson, but everyone’s always getting into accidents and it’s causing so much traffic.” 

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The leading cause of car accidents are texting distractions  or aggressive driving, such as following too closely.

“Being more aware and paying more attention are prevention efforts people need to make, as well as staying off your phone and being courteous when people are trying to get over instead of speeding up in front of them,” Winters said. 

Sullivan was driving a Ford Fusion and the driver who hit her was driving a Chevrolet Tahoe. Sullivan said that the driver who hit her was not paying attention and claimed to have not seen her. Sullivan took her car into the shop last week and was given a rental car. The man’s insurance was able to cover the damage, but the damaged caused Sullivan’s premiums to go up.

“It is just really frustrating getting in a car accident because it’s a hassle, a lot of paperwork and not to mention money. I mean, college students are on a tight budget,” Sullivan said.

Southland Body Shop Manager Ronnie Harwell explained that fender benders are the most common accident in Oxford and though the damage is mainly just bumpers, fenders, and headlight, the cost will average from $750 to $1000. He also said that the higher end cars cost $1500 to $2000 dollars in damage.

“There is definitely an issue here because we are always a week or two behind work because so many cars are brought into the shop,” Harwell said.

To avoid paying over $2000 in car damage, do not be a careless or reckless driver. The National Safety Council recommends putting phones away, driving the speed limit, focusing on the road, and making the right choices such as calling a cab instead of driving under the influence.

For updates on accidents and traffic in the Oxford area, follow Oxford Police Department’s Twitter account.

STDs Swamp The South

By: Alexandra Morris

The most recent study for STD/HIV show that the South has the highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases among Americans.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), most STD cases reported come from people between the ages of 15-24 years, so, sexually active college students need to be more aware of the facts and more cautious when it comes to sex.

“People in the South often experience poorer health outcomes than the rest of the nation, due to multiple factors including income inequality, poverty, and high numbers of people without health insurance,” said Elizabeth Davenport, News Media Team Member for NCHHSTP Office of Program Planning and Policy Coordination Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These Three STDs Spread Like Gossip

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, since 2013 Mississippi continues to face a steady rise in syphilis rates. The cases of syphilis recorded have almost tripled in the past three years.  However, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are still the most common STDs in the south.

“Americans ages 15 to 24 years old accounted for nearly two-thirds of chlamydia diagnoses and half of gonorrhea diagnoses,” said Davenport.

In Mississippi, for every 100,000 women roughly 4,300 between the ages of 15-24 contract Chlamydia, compared to the 1,500 men for every 100,000 of the same demographic.

According to the CDC, “Men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for the majority of new gonorrhea and primary and secondary syphilis cases (82 percent of male cases with known gender of sex partner).”

Davenport stated that the most shocking statistic the CDC has recently recorded is that women’s rate of syphilis diagnoses increased by more than 27 percent from 2014 to 2015.

“Honestly, I had no idea that contracting syphilis was still a thing,” said an Ole Miss student who contracted Syphilis and prefers to remain anonymous. “Luckily, I had a screening with my gynecologist not long after I contracted it and was able to get on antibiotics immediately. Yes, it was embarrassing, but it’s not the end of the world. I really just recommend people be more cautious about who they sleep with because people lie.”

The reason women are more prone to contracting STDs than men is because of their anatomy. The lining of their sexual organ is “thinner and more delicate” than the skin on a male’s sexual organ, making it easier for bacteria to be penetrated.

Everyone wants to know why these STDs are on the rise, especially the number of syphilis cases. The reasons are unknown according to the CDC, because they are only given “a snapshot of what’s happening with chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in the US; however, it doesn’t tell us why certain trends are occurring.”

The increase in Syphilis is stumping researchers, especially since penicillin has been the treatment since the 1900s. However, since all three major STDs (Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis) are all rising, researchers are starting to think technology has an effect on the outbreaks.

“I think people are getting on these dating apps because they know they can have a one night stand and not contact the person ever again,” said Ole Miss student Emily Smith. “I think that these apps have a direct correlation with the rise of STDs because people with STDs get on these apps for a quick hook-up.”

The US AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Rhode Island Department of Health conducted studies that specifically blamed dating apps like Tinder and Grindr, which simplify the act of casual sex between strangers. Unfortunately, their findings have not been proven to be completely true since the apps are relatively new and the outbreak of Syphilis has been occurring since 2002.

“While we have not found any direct correlations between dating apps and the rise of the three major STDs, some studies like the Rhode Island one provide theoretical reason to believe this assumption,” said NCHHSTP’s director Dr. Jonathan Mermin.

According the The Atlantic, CDC epidemiologist Sarah Kidd believes that dating apps pose a threat to the growing STD problem and that “it’s easier to meet partners and not necessarily have identifying information and not be able to track them down later.”

Davenport agrees and said that this is why “it’s imperative that people who use dating apps talk openly about STDs, get regularly tested and treated if needed, and reduce risk by using condoms.”

Dating apps like Tinder do not have a section where STD checks are to be submitted, however according to a news report from CNSNews, some dating apps have added a link that directs the user to a locator for free STD testing due to the assumptions that such apps are responsible for the rise in STDs.

As of 2015, the CDC has found that immigration, the rise in gay or bisexual men and women, and the increase of sexually active youth who are not screened or tested all might have a direct effect on the rise of STDs.

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Picture curtesy of MSDH.ms.gov. 

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Picture curtesy of MSDH.ms.gov

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Picture curtesy of MSDH.ms.gov

 

Ignorance Is Not Always Bliss

Most college students believe that once they contract an STD they are more prone to STDs, which is untrue. With proper treatment and future protection, such as using condoms and talking to partners about their STD history recurrence can be very avoidable.

A positive STD test is not the end,” said Davenport.

Another misconception is that anal sex prevents the contraction of STDs. Actually, according to the CDC, gay or bisexual men in the US alone “account for 83 percent of primary and secondary syphilis cases.”

Many people think that STDs cannot be treated, only herpes and HIV cannot be cured.

It is important to finish the medication when contracting one of the major three STDs, otherwise they can cause serious health problems, “Many STDs are curable, and all are treatable. It is important to remember If either you or your partner is infected with an STD that can be cured, both of you need to start treatment immediately to avoid getting re-infected,” said Davenport.

Another misconception is that all STDs show symptoms, but Chlamydia is known as the silent killer because many mistake the discharge as normal or confuse it with a yeast infection. This myth is also proven false since people can be asymptomatic.

“One can be asymptomatic, although most have symptoms,” said Ole Miss Student Health Center Director Dr. Travis Yates. “We advise annual screening, and certainly screening after an unprotected exposure of concern.”

Lastly, many students believe that if they get tested at the Student Health Center, their parents will find out, which is not necessarily true if the parents’ insurance is not involved.

“All patient encounters at SHC are confidential; confidentiality is of high priority for us,” said Dr. Yates. “However, there is a risk in the event the charges are filed with insurance.  In that case, the parents may later receive an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from the insurance company delineating charges and payments.  We have no control over insurance companies.  This could be avoided if the student requests that charges not be billed to insurance, in which case the fees would be paid at the time of visit or posted to their bursar account.  Charges posted to bursar accounts are labeled as SHC fees generically, and are not specified as to what the fee was for.”

Let’s Talk About Sex…Safe Sex

Researchers are diving into the rise of STDs in the US, but the best way to end the epidemic is to educate the youth.

“Educate yourself regarding safe sex practices and practice what you learn,” said Dr. Yates.  “Information is available on our website under the services tab.  Sexual health is discussed in EDHE classes, and at many presentations by Health Promotion.  We have patient info brochures in all patient rooms as well as free condoms, male and female.”

Education of STDs and prevention will help stoop the rise, but building the nation’s prevention methods and systems would also help.

“We have reached a decisive moment for the nation,” said Dr. Mermin. “STD rates are rising and many of the country’s system for preventing STDs have eroded. We must mobilize, rebuild, and expand services – or the human and economic burden will continue to grow.”

Because abstinence is the only fully effective way to stop this epidemic from spreading, it is important that high schools have programs to teach teens about abstinence and safe sex. The average age of sexually active teens is decreasing, and many sexually active students are uneducated on the dangers of unprotected sex.

“Young people that are sexually active face unique barriers to accessing prevention services, including confidentiality concerns, limited access to health care (no insurance or transportation), discomfort or embarrassment in discussing risk behaviors, and may have multiple sex partners,” said Davenport. “Parents and providers should aim to offer young people safe, effective ways to access needed information and services. Likewise, sexually active adolescents and young adults should advocate for their own health by seeking out providers they trust, following screening recommendations, practicing safe sex, and openly discussing any health concerns with their partner(s).”

FACTS ABOUT THE MOST COMMON STDS

What Works: Arkansas Executions

Arkansas executes murderers Jack Jones and Marcel Williams

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39695668

By: Alexandra Morris

This story is SEO friendly and is the first story to come up on Google news when I type in the word ‘Arkansas.’ The lead is hard, as this was posted seven hours ago and the executions of two inmates were done yesterday. The nutgraph is the fifth paragraph, where readers learn why the two men were executed so promptly. The sources used for this story include indirect and direct quotes from: The US Supreme Court, Jack Jones (one of the criminals executed), the McKesson Corporation (gives the lethal drugs to the prison), Amnesty International, Cassandra Stubbs, and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. The multimedia sources used include a picture of the eight men on death that are scheduled to be executed this month, a graph of executions across the US from 2006-2016, a video of the widower of Jack Jones’ victim, and a video of Ledell Lee (Arkansas inmate on death row). To add to this story I would have added quotes from the two inmates first trials to show how sorry or not sorry they were, as well as quotes from Human Rights Groups on why this should not happen.

What Works: Isaiah Thomas

By: Alexandra Morris

Isaiah Thomas expected to play Game 2, then return home to family

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/19179733/isaiah-thomas-boston-celtics-expected-play-game-2-vs-chicago-bulls-return-home-family

I clicked on this headline because I follow the NBA and it is playoff time, which is a crucial time for the teams. I saw Isaiah Thomas trending on Twitter and wanted to know the full story, but all the tweets were about condolences and the strength of Thomas. The lead is hard because it tells readers that Thomas is expected to play in the next playoff game, but the importance is unclear. The story then goes narrative, and backtracks to last week. The nutgraph is in the second paragraph, where the readers will learn that Thomas’s sister died in a car accident, just one day before the first playoff game for the Celtics. The sources used in this story include, Thomas’s head coach, Brad Stevens, and teammate, Avery Bradley. The multimedia used in this story include a press conference and statement from Coach Brad Stevens. I think the story was well written, and focused on Thomas’s triumph through such a difficult time. I would not have added much information, I would not have tried to contact any of the Thomas’ because it would be unethical and I could have gotten the story without those particular sources. I would however had added the video of Isaiah Thomas during the first playoff game, where they had a moment of silence for his sister, it was emotional and would have gave this story a little boost.

Rebels Against Sexual Assault Hosts Forum on Recent Spark of Alerts

By: Alexandra Morris

On Tuesday, April 11,  Ole Miss student organization, Rebels Against Sexual Assault (RASA) hosted a forum discussing the recent alerts about sexual assaults sent out by the University’s Police Department (UPD).

The forum was called to discuss how RASA and the UPD can work together to bring awareness to the issues and how to better educate the student body on handling these incidents.

An attendee asked the RASA board of executives and UPD officers why follow-up alerts are not sent out quicker and that they believe providing the university with updates is important.

“The reason the alerts are so vague is because they are under investigation and we can’t share all the information that is happening behind the scenes,” said UPD officer.

Lindsey Bartlett Mosvick, RASA Project Coordinator, stated that in the past the UPD have posted updates on cases on their crime reports page, but that she believes more work can be done to inform and keep the students updated on recent incidents.

“The problem is that the grand jury is the next step, which isn’t until May,” said Mosvick. “So,f or us to announce something like an indictment is hard, because it takes about six months to do.”

An attendee then asked how students can combat the rumors spread around campus about the accusations sent out being later proved to be untrue.

“I do not think there is anything to combat them, but those rumors are the exact reason people don’t come forward when they are assaulted.” said UPD office. “It is sad to see that they don’t want their peers to be upset and that they have this social pressure while also dealing with this other issue of being assaulted.”

The office then stated that it is the UPD’s job to protect the victim’s rights, as well as the suspect’s. He said that they try to keep that balance while also trying to inform the students, which has proven to be difficult because investigations go at the speed the victim wants them to.

“I think it has a lot to do with culture and the most we can do to combat the rumors is use evidence and education,” said RASA executive member Corbin Smith. “Actually only two to nine percent are false accusations… So, I recommend educating people, that is the best way to prevent sexual assault from occurring and limits the stigma.”

Smith later explained that the whole point of RASA is to inform and use “pure education” and the way that their organization brings attention to these types of issues is by frequently visiting honors 101 courses, sociology courses, EDHE courses, and even organizations such as sororities and fraternities.

“We have been told by people on campus that awareness has increased tenfold,” said RASA executive member Elizabeth Romary.

When asked if there is correlation between springtime and sexual assaults, RASA members responded that nationally there are more sexual assaults during the first six months on the fall semester, which is known as the “red zone.”

RASA and the UPD then asked for advice from the audience on what they can do to better awareness and alerts. Multiple attendees recommended adding tips for bystanders because as of now the tips included on the UPD and RASA websites are directed at the victim, which makes it seem like the victim could have prevented the assault and that the fault is on them. These tips include: avoid walking alone, staying with a group of people, and being aware of your surroundings.

“I think adding bystander tips is a great idea so that we make sure people are more safe and more aware of their surrounding,” said Smith.

The forum concluded with UPD office Jeff Kellum educating the crowd on a new app called ‘LiveSafe.’ The app allows students to communicate with a dispatcher when a problem occurs or if they are walking home alone and just want to feel safer. The app also gives people the opportunity to share current locations, report tips immediately to the police station, as well as calling 911 right away.

“It’s like the coolest app you guys, I love it,” said Romary.

RASA next big awareness event is a march tonight called ‘Take Back the Night’ starting at The Grove stage at 6:30pm.