September 21, 2015 Rotogram: 11

Mississippi’s News Scene

Wyatt Emmerich is president of Emmerich Newspapers, and a widely syndicated opinion columnist. He is a fellow Rotarian.

Next Week: Theatre MSU

Following next Saturday’s season opening of Pinocchio, Theatre MSU’s Tim Matheny and Cody Stockstill of the Department of Communications will speak.

Fall Social
Oct. 5. Social hour—5:45. Dinner—6:45

Committee Chair Bobby Crosland promises good fellowship, good steaks, and Bingo or other entertainment. Signup sheets are on your table. There will be no noon meeting that day.

For the Record—September 14

  • Invocation and pledge:               Jim Ormon
  • Attendance:                                           75%
    Present — 114 (39 exempt, 1 honorary)
    Absent — 65 (16 exempt, 11 honorary)
  • Guests: Visiting Rotarians were Steve Rogers with WCBI and Jimmy McCluskey from Waco, Tex. Member guests were Seth Pounds of Frank Chiles, Jim Cooper of John Forde, Shawn Mauldin of Bud Gordon, Ben Carver of Robyn Havard, and Greg Stewart, Raj Shaunak and Jha Ratneshwar of Stuart Vance. Guests of the club were Canery, Keith and Keilei Williams, Benedetta Trentarossi, RYE student, and Connor Guyton, Starkville Daily News.

Meeting Notes

  • A Rotary Minute by Larry Mullins featured the Rotary Foundation. Our club had 100 percent Paul Harris Sustaining Members last year.
  • President Zach announced that the club has reached 41.21 percent “MyRotary” signup.
  • Columbus Rotary has invited any of our members who are interested to a fund-raising trap shoot on Oct. 5.

Proposed Member

Starkville attorney William T. Ashley III has been approved for membership with the classification “Attorney – Civil Law.” He is proposed by Carey Edwards.

Rotary Sweeps Downtown Starkville

Dressed in stylish lavender latex gloves, 19 Rotarians made quick work of cleaning downtown during Get Swept Up! on Sept. 9.

Participants included Grant Arinder, Dave Boles, Greg Bowen, Ned Browning, Peggy Buckley, Trish Cunetto, Denny Daniels, Frank Davis, Jeff Donald, Bud Gordon, Warren Housley, W.C. Johnson, Briar Jones, Eddie Keith, Bricklee Miller, Carrie-Beth Randall, Zach Rowland, Mary Jane Runnels and Allan Tucker.

Compliments for a job well done go to Heath Barrett and Jennifer Gregory of the Greater Starkville Development Partnership for coordinating the city-wide event.

Youth Exchange Student of the Week

Keilei Williams was the Rotary Youth Exchange Student of the Week. A former East Oktibbeha student, she is already active in her first year at Starkville High School. RYE Chair Grant Arinder said, “She’s a demonstration of the success of the schools consolidation.”

Opportunities for Service Above Self

  • Between the Lions reading—contact Christina Lucas.
  • Rotaract mentoring—contact President Zach.
  • Interact sponsorship—contact Ned Browning.
  • Rotary Youth Exchange host—contact Grant Arinder
  • Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign, Dec. 3 and 19 at Walmart.

MSU Takes Lead in Unmanned Aerial Systems Safety

September 14—The Federal Aviation Administration’s selection of Mississippi State University for its Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) is one of the most important recent things to happen for the university and the state of Mississippi. That’s according to Maj. General James Poss (ret), executive director of ASSURE (FAA’s Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research and Excellence).

Poss credited David Shaw, MSU vice president for research, for putting together the team of top aerospace universities and supporting industries to win the center designation over other major competitors. The FAA designation was announced in May and became operational this month.

The MSU center is a coalition of 15 of the nation’s top aerospace institutions and 104 corporate partners, including Aurora Flight Industries and Amazon. Mississippi State will be the only university dealing with the most difficult challenge – research on use of drones in civil air space and how to integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system.

A native Mississippian, Poss directs the ASSURE program from the MSU Stennis Space Center campus. He is considered a leading expert on unmanned aerial systems and cyber warfare and has been directly involved with UAS since Desert Storm (1991)

He said the ASSURE coalition has UAS expertise in a number of areas, including traffic control, human factors, safe low altitude operation, and UAS pilot training and operation. It also works to obtain grants to support research by Center institutions.

“We (ASSURE) keep drones up 24/7 and currently have more (340) than the Air Force and very close to the Department of Defense numbers. We’re very aggressive on the social media (Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, etc). Our top concern continues to be safety,” he said.

The major safety problem with UAS, he explained, is there is no pilot on board to react to and handle emergency situations. However, he believes Center research will result in UAS to be even safer than manned aircraft and lead to millions of dollars in economic development.

The Center is operating under a 5-year $5 million grant which is matched by member institutions and bolstered by industry support. The grant can be renewed for a second 5-year period after which MSU will relinquish the lead to another of the Center’s core institutions.

In response to a question on how UAS will interface with hobbyists, Poss admitted there’s a very thin line between radio-controlled aircraft and anonymous drones. He didn’t have a specific answer but said researchers will use computer simulation to determine danger of unmanned vehicle collisions with commercial airlines.

“I expect that ultimately FAA will require computer-based training and licensing for drone operation,” he said.

What about cyber security? “Unfortunately, there is no such thing. Anything with a chip is vulnerable.” He said the power grid is a major problem – all the system was designed with no concern for security. “We’ve been working on it since 1983, but to be successful, all western nations will have to work together to solve the cyber security problems.”

Stu Vance introduced Gen. Poss, who retired after a 30-year USAF career that included combat experience in four wars, a number of command posts, and serving as the Air Force senior career intelligence officer.



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