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Magnolia Mornings: June 20, 2024

Magnolia Mornings: June 20, 2024

By: Magnolia Tribune - June 20, 2024

Magnolia morning
  • Important state and national stories, market and business news, sports and entertainment, delivered in quick-hit fashion to start your day informed.

In Mississippi

1. USDA funding Ole Miss professor’s vaccine work

(Photo from the University of Mississippi)

According to the University of Mississippi, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has awarded $500,000 to University of Mississippi pharmacy professor Mo Maniruzzaman, with a recommendation for another $500,000 in 2025, to develop a technology that promises to streamline vaccine production.

The university says Maniruzzaman will work with two doctoral students and two postdoctoral research fellows to develop a method for manufacturing complex vaccines made with special proteins, referred to as recombinant protein vaccines. The team will use bacteria or yeast cells that have been engineered to produce recombinant protein vaccines. These proteins, such as hemagglutinin, can protect against the flu or other illnesses.

“A more streamlined process such as this could, for example, drastically speed up the production of vaccines during flu season or enable the science community to respond more quickly to another pandemic,” the university states.

2. Wicker backs Eller in 2nd Congressional District

Ron Eller

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R) officially endorsed 2nd District Congressman Bennie Thompson’s challenger on Wednesday.

Thompson, the lone Democrat in the state’s federal delegation, is running for re-election against Republican Ron Eller this November.

“Ron Eller is a strong conservative who will work to strengthen our economy, protect our values, and secure our borders,” said Senator Wicker. “America’s future is at stake this November, and every vote in every district matters in restoring Republican control in Washington. I encourage all Mississippians to support Ron in his efforts to strengthen our leadership in the House of Representatives.”

3. First named storm of Hurricane Season douses Mexico, Texas

From the National Hurricane Center / NOAA

The first tropical system of the 2024 hurricane season to be named formed on Wednesday. Tropical Storm Alberto has inundated northeast Mexico and south Texas with heavy rains resulting in flooding conditions throughout the area.

Another system just east of Florida is being watched by the National Hurricane Center for possible development.

National News & Foreign Policy

1. Kennedy can’t clear hurdles to appear on Presidential debate stage

(Photo from the Kennedy Campaign website)

Independent presidential candidate Robert Kennedy was close to meeting the requirements to appear on the debate stage next week with President Joe Biden (D) and former President Donald Trump (R) but it appears he has fallen short in terms of polling and ballot access.

CNN is hosting the first debate on June 27. The requirements to appear on stage were for candidates to have gained ballot access in a sufficient number of states to reach the 270 electoral vote threshold to win the presidency and to poll at least at 15% in four separate national polls that met the outlet’s standards.

Third party candidates Cornel West and Jill Stein also missed the requirements to appear on the debate stage.

2. Biden’s lead with women voters slips

The New York Times reports that President Joe Biden’s current standing among women is the weakest lead a Democrat has had since 2004.

“Mr. Biden’s lead among women has slid to about eight percentage points since the 2020 election, according to an average of more than 30 polls conducted over the last six months and compiled by The New York Times. That’s down from a lead among women of about 13 percentage points four years ago,” NYT reports. “And since the 2020 election, former President Donald J. Trump’s support among men has recovered and is back to the double-digit lead he had in 2016.”

Sports & Entertainment

1. Vivians returning to Miss. State women’s basketball

(Photo from Mississippi State Athletics)

Mississippi State head women’s basketball coach Sam Purcell has announced that he has finalized his staff ahead of the 2024-25 season with the addition of Bulldog great Victoria Vivians in an Assistant Coach/Director of Scouting role.

Currently playing for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, Vivians will join the program in October and her role will span throughout the league’s offseason.

The school says as a part of the winningest class in program history, Vivians helped transform Mississippi State into a national power from 2014-18 and was instrumental in compiling 126 wins and four-straight NCAA Tournament berths, including consecutive NCAA National Championship game appearances in 2017 and 2018. She helped surpass the program record for wins in each of her four seasons, a run that was capped off with a nation-best 37-2 record in 2017-18.

2. Ole Miss DT Nolen named top newcomer in SEC

(Photo from Ole Miss Athletics)

On3 has selected the most valuable incoming transfer in each conference, and according to Ole Miss Athletics that have tabbed Rebel defensive tackle Walter Nolen as the top newcomer in the vaunted SEC.

“The former consensus Top-5 recruit helped spearhead Texas A&M’s worst-to-first run defense turnaround in 2023, and he’ll look to have a similar impact for the Rebels this fall. Nolen is also an electric interior rusher, recording seven sacks with another eight hurries, per PFF,” wrote Jesse Simonton of On3. “Ole Miss shelled out a pretty penny to beat out Oregon for Nolen’s likely final season in college — and he could be the X-factor in the Rebels making a run to the College Football Playoff.”

Nolen was the No. 1 prospect in the nation when he signed with Texas A&M out of high school in 2022. 

Markets & Business

1. Energy bills on the rise

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Energy Information Administration expects the U.S. average monthly residential power bill to rise to $173 in June, July and August, up 3% from last summer.

“The government’s estimates are subject to the weather, of course. But the biggest bumps in electricity expenses will likely occur along the Pacific Ocean and in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania,” WSJ reported. “New Englanders can expect to receive smaller bills than in 2023, according to the EIA. So should residents of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, who nonetheless can anticipate another summer of America’s biggest power bills, the EIA said.”

As WSJ notes, oil companies slowed output earlier this year, as stockpiles rose. However, those stockpiles are now getting lower.

2. Mortgage demand flat

Despite a slight drop in mortgage rates after the recent inflation report, applications only rose less than 1% since last week, according to CNBC.

“The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances ($766,550 or less) decreased to 6.94% from 7.02%, with points decreasing to 0.61 from 0.65 (including the origination fee) for loans with a 20% down payment. That is the lowest level since March,” CNBC reported.

CNBC notes that “refinance demand, which is usually sensitive to weekly rate moves, dropped 0.4% for the week but was 30% higher than the same week one year ago.”

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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.