Wednesday, May 29, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Starkville Prepares for Baseball Regional Tournament
After an impressive baseball season, Mississippi State has been chosen to host an NCAA regional. The only people more thrilled than the players, are all the local businesses that will thrive off of the influx of fans. Mississippi State baseball fans are some of the most loyal supporters around. The Bulldogs can easily draw a crowd of 10,000 spectators to the games, and business owners want to have a game plan in place. City Bagel Co-Owner, Mary Tkach, is already bracing for the increased traffic. “We plan for baseball now the same way we plan for football because there’s quite an influx of people coming into town. And it’s really exciting that we got this regional,” says Tkach. Store managers have reported increasing their staff, stocking merchandise, and extending their hours to accommodate everyone.
 
Mississippi is baseball country, at least for now
A Ledger editorial asserts: "With us sitting in the heart of the South, Mississippi is definitely football country. Whether it’s high school football on Friday nights or SEC match-ups on Saturdays, no other sport brings out the fans, the rivalries and the grills quite like football. But baseball ... baseball is no slouch. In fact, the popularity of baseball in Mississippi has been growing for nearly 30 years. Many point to the 1985 Mississippi State team and legendary Bulldogs coach Ron Polk as the genesis of the interest in college baseball in the Magnolia State. Scott Stricklin, athletic director at MSU, called baseball’s popularity surge 'organic,' pointing to how at each school fans have grown in number, consistently increasing and not just spiking here and there when a school has a good run. On Friday, college baseball’s post season begins, and Mississippi State will play host to a regional tournament."
 
Delegates finding niche at Mississippi Boys State
As a student Starkville Academy, Jake Griffin has strong familiarity with the Mississippi State University campus. Now that the campus is hosting American Legion Boys State, he said, the campus feels different. “It doesn’t feel like MSU,” Griffin said. “It has its own atmosphere. It does feel like our own little city. It’s nice.” [Subscriber-only content.]
 
Traffic changes on Mississippi State's campus
If you will be on Mississippi State's campus this summer, there is a new traffic pattern for you to be aware of, if you have to do any driving. Beginning Tuesday, May 28, at 7 a.m., B.S. Hood Drive will be fully closed due to the construction activities on the West side of Davis Wade Stadium. This closure will remain in place until early September of 2013. Access to the Cullis Wade Depot/Barnes & Noble parking lot will be from the north.
 
Foresters expecting another year of healthy recovery
Evidence of a healthy national economy may be found in the strength of the timber industry. Forestry is a billion-dollar industry in Mississippi and the state’s second-largest agricultural commodity. A depressed national economy in recent years had negative impacts on housing construction and furniture manufacturing, which hurt the forestry sector, but industry experts are seeing signs that a recovery is at hand. “2013 is looking better than 2012 and much better than the last several years following the recession,” said James Henderson, assistant Extension professor of forestry at Mississippi State University. “The recovery for Mississippi’s timber markets will take time, but everything is finally heading in the right direction.”
 
Alligator Season Includes Okatibbee Lake
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks is issuing 920 permits across seven hunting zones for the 2013 alligator season. Okatibbee Lake near Meridian is the newest addition to the list. About 35,000 alligators are estimated to inhabit Mississippi, but MSU-Meridian biology instructor, Dr. Jarrod Fogarty, says overpopulation isn't something to be worried about. "Last year was our greatest harvest since 2005," said Fogarty. "And we took about 900. So obviously that's not putting much of a dent in the population. But if you look at other states like Louisiana and Florida, their population is so big, they're able to harvest in the tens of thousands."
 
Time an issue with Ward 4 primary challenge
The clock is ticking on Ward 4 candidate John Gaskin's request for a new election. Gaskin's attorney, Matthew Wilson, formally challenged the May 7 Democratic Primary Friday, but the Starkville Democratic Municipal Election Committee had yet to take action on the request by Monday. Gaskin and Jason Walker finished the May 7 primary tied at 186 votes, but the SDMEC counted 12 of 16 affidavit ballots the next day. Walker picked up eight of those, defeating Gaskin 194-190. Phone calls and text messages to Gaskin went unreturned Friday and Monday.
 
Ethics opinion could affect Medicaid vote
The Mississippi Ethics Commission may issue an opinion in the coming weeks that could affect the outcome of votes to fund and to re-authorize the Division of Medicaid. Ethics Commission Executive Director Tom Hood confirmed Monday that the commission “may be issuing an opinion in the near future about a legislator voting on Medicaid.” The commission’s next regularly scheduled meeting is June 14. The issue is important because legislation to fund and reauthorize the state-federal health care agency for the next fiscal year, starting July 1, was killed in the Mississippi House during the 2013 session.
 
Bryant looks for alternatives to Medicaid expansion
Gov. Phil Bryant has met with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ staff about Medicaid and talked to her via phone, according to a spokesman. “Gov. Bryant also met with Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. Gov. Bryant has also visited numerous nursing homes and other health care facilities to look for solutions that do not involve expanding Medicaid,” Bryant’s spokesman Mick Bullock said. Bryant said Tuesday during an appearance on a radio talk show that he is looking at alternatives to ensure more people get health care coverage but without expanding Medicaid. State Rep. Cecil Brown, D-Jackson, said Tuesday Democrats are still working on a plan that will lead to more Medicaid-eligible individuals being covered under the federal Affordable Care Act. “I hope the governor will call a special session,” Brown said. “We will have a proposal ready.”
 
Pickering: Nissan has met obligations to state
State auditor Stacey Pickering disputed Tuesday a union-funded study that said Nissan had not met its obligations to Mississippi. Washington, D.C.-based Good Jobs First recently released the results of a study, paid for by the United Auto Workers, that said Nissan had violated the terms attached to its state incentives by denying workers the right to decide to unionize and by hiring large numbers of temporary workers. The study also claimed that Nissan’s incentives surpassed $1.3 billion, more than three times the reported figure when the plant opened in 2003. Nissan and the Mississippi Development Authority disputed the study’s findings. Pickering, in a column published Sunday in the Clarion-Ledger, said the state auditor’s office has verified Nissan’s job-count figures since the Canton plant opened, and found that they met and in most cases exceeded the threshold attached to the incentives.
 
Confidence in economy rises to 5-year high
Americans are more confident in the U.S. economy than at any point in the past five years, thanks to surging home values, a brighter job market and record-setting stock prices. Stock averages on Tuesday extended the year’s explosive rally. Further gains in consumer confidence could help the economy withstand the effects of higher taxes and federal spending cuts that kicked in this year. Spending by consumers drives about 70 percent of economic growth. Consumer confidence jumped in May to 76.2, the Conference Board, a private research group, said Tuesday. That was up from a reading of 69 in April and is the highest level of confidence since February 2008, two months after the Great Recession officially began.
 
Mississippi casino revenues fall 6 percent in April
Mississippi casino revenue kept falling in April, with gamblers losing less than in any other April since 1998. State Department of Revenue figures show statewide casino revenue fell 6 percent to $176.3 million. Year-over-year casino revenue has fallen in every month since July 2012. The state's casinos, over the last 12 months, have collected only about 75 percent of the money they collected in 2007, the peak year for gambling revenues. The continued downdraft is hurting not only state and local tax receipts but employment.
 
Judges, legislators contest courthouse carry
For nearly two years now, Mississippi firearms permit holders who take approved training can legally carry concealed weapons in several places previously off limits, including college campuses, houses of worship and city halls. Under 2011’s House Bill 506, permittees with the extra endorsement also don’t have to disarm when they go into a courthouse to buy a car tag, look up land records or attend a meeting but must disarm before they go into an active courtroom. Judges in several counties of Northeast Mississippi as well as other parts of the state, however, issued orders countering that provision.
 
Willis takes House 95 race in South Mississippi
Unofficial results show Patricia Willis won the state House of Representatives District 95 special election Tuesday with 52.4 percent of the vote. Willis, 60, an attorney and Waveland city prosecutor from Diamondhead, got 1,011 of the 1,928 ballots cast in the special election for the district, which covers Diamondhead and parts of Harrison and Hancock counties. She bested Grant Bower, Tommy Ballard and Sherri Carr Bevis. "I'm delighted and I can't wait to get to work," Willis told the Sun Herald. "I couldn't have done it without all the people behind me who got me to where I am." Willis avoided a runoff in the election by getting more than 50 percent of the total vote in the two counties. Willis replaces the late Rep. Jessica Upshaw. Upshaw was found dead March 24 at the Mendenhall home of her boyfriend, former State Rep. Clint Rotenberry. Law enforcement officials said she died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
 
Stillborn manslaughter charge raising fears
Mississippi women who suffer miscarriages and stillbirths could face prison depending on the outcome of a state Supreme Court case drawing national attention. Justices are set to decide whether 33-year-old Nina Buckhalter should stand trial in Lamar County for manslaughter in the loss of her fetus, which prosecutors claim was caused by her illegal drug use. If it’s allowed to go to trial, opponents fear the case will set a precedent holding women criminally liable for any miscarriage or stillbirth they suffer. “If you allow this sort of thing, you really open the door to the prosecution of many women who are pregnant who do things that allegedly lead to unintentional miscarriage — drinking, smoking, being overweight,” said Robert McDuff, a Jackson-based civil rights attorney defending Buckhalter.
 
Protesters in Atlanta speak out against drones
About two dozen protesters gathered in Atlanta on Tuesday to speak out against the use of drones by the U.S. government for spying, surveillance and carrying out lethal attacks. The demonstration was held outside a hotel where representatives from academia, industry and government were meeting for a technical conference on unmanned aircraft systems. Protesters stood along the busy street in front of the hotel holding signs protesting drone use as commuters drove by. Organizers of the 2013 International Conference on Unmanned Aircraft Systems said they were surprised to hear about a protest outside the hotel where they were holding workshops and tutorials Tuesday. The conference is largely academic and looks primarily at civilian applications of the technology, said Matthew Rutherford, a conference organizer who is a computer science professor at the University of Denver.
 
Mississippi unveils marker for 1963 civil rights sit-in
Mississippi on Tuesday unveiled a historical marker commemorating the sit-in exactly 50 years earlier at a whites-only lunch counter in downtown Jackson, a pivotal event in breaking down state-sanctioned segregation. The Woolworth's store has been gone for decades, and the site is now a grassy space between a parking garage and a high-rise office building. But, social changes prompted by the civil rights movement are very much in evidence in a state with a large number of black elected officials. A racially mixed group, led by students and faculty members from historically black Tougaloo College in north Jackson, participated in the sit-in on May 28, 1963.
 
James Carville on Michele Bachmann retirement: ‘Sad day’
Veteran Democratic strategist James Carville predicted on Wednesday that Republicans throughout the country would be “relieved” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has decided to retire. “Sad day,” Carville quipped on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when host Joe Scarborough mentioned Bachmann’s retirement. Bachmann, a tea party star who delivered a response to the State of the Union and won the Ames Straw Poll in 2011, was a prolific fundraiser — both for her own campaigns and for Democrats, who made her inflammatory comments the star of fundraising pitches. The Minnesotan had become the target of several investigations into her campaign finances.
 
Minnesota a health haven for seniors, reports says; Mississippi not so much
Minnesota tops the nation as the healthiest state for seniors, while Mississippi is the unhealthiest and faces an uphill battle to improve its low ranking, according to a report Wednesday by the United Health Foundation, a non-profit arm of insurer UnitedHealth Group. The inaugural “America’s Health Rankings Senior Report: A Call to Action,” uses 34 measurements of health data to grade each state’s performance in providing a healthy environment for men and women ages 65 and over – one of the nation’s fastest-growing age groups. Mississippi, one of the poorest states in the nation, ranked in the bottom five states on 14 of the 34 health measures and last among all states for low rates of annual dental visits by seniors, as well as for seniors living in poverty, battling hunger and experiencing high rates of premature death.
 
More U.S. women than ever are breadwinners, Pew study finds
Mothers are breadwinners for a record share of American families, as more women bring up children on their own and more married mothers outearn their husbands, an analysis of census data shows. The new reality is a dramatic shift from decades ago, the Pew Research Center found in a study released Wednesday. Two years ago, more than 40% of American households with children relied on a mother as their biggest or only source of income — a massive jump from 11% of families in 1960. Two things drove the change: Single mothers now make up a quarter of all U.S. households with children, the Pew analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data found. On top of that, a growing share of married mothers make more money than their husbands, as more women earn degrees and enter the workforce. Wives earn more in nearly 1 out of 4 married couples, Pew found.
 
Solar Industry Anxious Over Defective Panels
Worldwide, testing labs, developers, financiers and insurers are reporting problems and say the $77 billion solar industry is facing a quality crisis just as solar panels are on the verge of widespread adoption. No one is sure how pervasive the problem is. There are no industrywide figures about defective solar panels. And when defects are discovered, confidentiality agreements often keep the manufacturer’s identity secret, making accountability in the industry all the more difficult. The quality concerns have emerged just after a surge in solar construction. Most of the concerns over quality center on China, home to the majority of the world’s solar panel manufacturing capacity. After incurring billions of dollars in debt to accelerate production that has sent solar panel prices plunging since 2009, Chinese solar companies are under extreme pressure to cut costs.
 
McConnell can't resist the call of the kids
Two years ago, Dr. Germain McConnell was enjoying life with his family in Oxford, his ambition focused on a deanship at the University of Mississippi, where he had served as assistant dean since 2003. He was polite but direct when he received the phone call from Dr. Charles Brown, executive director of Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science. He wasn't sure he was interested in leaving Ole Miss to take a position as the new director of academic affairs at MSMS. Brown had an equally polite but direct request: Just come to campus for a visit. "I knew once I got him to this campus that he would fall in love with my kids," Brown said Friday. His hunch was correct. McConnell took the job, and now, as Brown prepares to retire, McConnell is preparing to take his place at the school's helm.
 
USM brings in Douglas Vinzant
Longtime higher education administrator Dr. Douglas Vinzant has been named the new vice president for finance and administration at the University of Southern Mississippi. His appointment was pending before the State Institutions of Higher Learning board at press time. Vinzant comes to Southern Miss after serving as vice president for finance and administration at St. Cloud University in Minnesota. Vinzant, a Raymond native, received his undergraduate degree in political science at Mississippi College. He earned his master of public administration and doctor of public administration degrees from the University of Southern California.
 
JSU officially opens Madison campus
Jackson State University ushers in a new era with expansion of classes into Madison. A ribbon cutting and grand opening was held Tuesday at the Galleria Parkway. Crowds toured the first floor educational facility of the new campus. It is designed to accommodate working professionals, returning students or collegiate new comers. JSU President Dr. Carolyn Meyers thanked all the government agencies and organizations who supported the move from elected officials to the Institutions of Higher Learning to the school's leadership team.
 
Ole Miss' Morgan, Quinn receive accolades for tracking Hurricane Isaac
A trip to the Gulf Coast to cover Hurricane Isaac has paid off for two University of Mississippi student journalists who won a national award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Margaret Ann Morgan and Stephen Quinn, journalism majors who were actively involved in the S. Gale Denley Student Media Center for several years, won first place for TV Breaking News for “Live from Biloxi: Tracking Isaac.” “This has been an extraordinary year for awards for student media,” said Patricia Thompson, director of student media and assistant professor of journalism.
 
UM's Marc Slatterly presents at United Nations event
Marc Slattery, professor of pharmacognosy at the University of Mississippi, recently presented a seminar at the United Nations Intersessional Workshop on Marine Genetic Resources in New York. The seminar, “Marine Genetic Resources: Benefit Sharing and Obstacles,” outlined issues associated with researching marine resources in foreign waters. In his seminar, Slattery proposed that investigating countries should offer reasonable incentives, such as education and outreach, to encourage collaboration among nations.
 
LSU to appeal public records ruling
LSU’s Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to appeal 19th Judicial District Judge Janice Clark’s ruling that the university illegally denied The Advocate and other news outlets the names and other information related to LSU’s search for a new president. LSU general counsel Shelby McKenzie told the board the university followed all applicable public records laws and would be willing to take its case to the Louisiana State Supreme Court, if necessary. Clark, of Baton Rouge, issued a one-paragraph ruling April 25, saying the documents requested by The Advocate and the Times-Picayune should have been surrendered by LSU.
 
LSU board approves privatization for four more charity hospitals
The LSU Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved the private takeover of four more LSU hospitals with key financial and other details missing from the agreements. The action prompted a Louisiana House attempt to insert the Legislature in the final approval process given the LSU board’s sign-off on what state Rep. Katrina Jackson called “incomplete contracts.” Jackson failed in a try to amend legislation dealing with “transparency” for Jindal administration health care programs to include the requirements of the contract. The LSU board action involved LSU hospitals in Houma, Lake Charles, Shreveport and Monroe. Shreveport is home base to one of LSU’s two medical schools.
 
President of Panama, A U. of Arkansas Graduate, Creates Scholarship There
The president of Panama has established a scholarship for Sigma Nu fraternity members at the University of Arkansas. Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli graduated in 1973 from the University of Arkansas, where he studied business. University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart calls Martinelli "an exceptional friend and alumnus" of the university. The president gave $100,000 to establish the new scholarship for Sigma Nu members. He previously created the Ricardo A. Martinelli Endowed Scholarship to benefit students from Panama who wish to attend college at the University of Arkansas.
 
U. of Missouri System will change its mass alert provider
Students and employees on the four campuses that make up the University of Missouri System will begin receiving emergency alert notifications from a new provider this fall. Terry Robb, director of information technology at MU, said the university will switch to using the mass notification service Blackboard Connect as an alert provider. The services will cost, for all four UM campuses, $77,000 per year for a one-year contract, with the option of two renewals. The university began looking for a new provider because its three-year contract with previous system Cooper Notifications will end Aug. 27. Users already signed up for alerts through the university will not have to sign up again -- their data will be transferred automatically.
 
Too much information: 'Audit' at community college finds officials were over-communicating with students
When Monroe Community College, in Rochester, N.Y., set out in September to find out why more students weren’t taking advantage of early registration, officials found an unexpected source for the problem: communication is good, but students had too much of a good thing. The enrollment management problem led to a “communications audit”: the college gathered every piece of information each department sent to students about signing up for classes. The total was overwhelming, said Kimberley Collins, assistant vice president for academic services.
 
Cost shouldn’t guide Medicaid debate
Longtime Mississippi journalist Charlie Mitchell writes: "Dr. David Dzielak, appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant to direct the Mississippi Division of Medicaid, made a comment last week worth pondering. Specifically, he said there’s no reason to believe increasing Medicaid spending will result in better health, overall, of Mississippians. That should -- but won’t -- give politicians pause."
 
Evening the payout with Medicaid expansion | Bobby Harrison (Opinion)
The Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "By refusing to expand Medicaid, perhaps, Mississippi and other so-called red states -- or Republican-leaning states -- can kind of even the playing field. Currently, numerous studies show that the most federal spending goes to red states like Mississippi where the political leadership is opposed to expanding Medicaid to cover those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level as is allowed under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Roughly half of the states currently are expanding or leaning toward expanding Medicaid to provide coverage to an individual earning up to $15,000 per year. Generally speaking, the other half -- the states rejecting expansion -- are states where Republicans win national elections and have control of the statehouse."


SPORTS
 
Regional baseball tournaments are family affairs at Mississippi State
Hosting regionals at Dudy Noble Field is not only expected by the Mississippi State University fan base but it's a makeshift family affair. Just ask MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin, who will be attending his first NCAA baseball regional in Starkville Friday in 21 years, a few months after he received his bachelors degree from MSU. "I think I was exposed to baseball regionals just like any other young Mississippi State fan as I listened to Jim Ellis call the games on the radio," Stricklin said. "When I attended Mississippi State, I was exposed to the great experience and atmosphere of Dudy Noble Field for a regional. There's nothing like it." Top-seeded MSU (43-17) will take the field in the second game Friday night at 7 p.m. against the University of Central Arkansas (39-20).
 
Bullpen could be difference for Bulldogs
As John Cohen ponders his pitching options this weekend for the Starkville Regional, he’s not concerned so much with the starting rotation as who he’ll bring out of the bullpen. No. 14 Mississippi State (43-17) is hosting South Alabama, Mercer and Central Arkansas starting Friday. The Bulldogs open the double-elimination affair with UCA, and each team presents a different challenge for Cohen’s pitching staff. MSU has had starting pitching issues all season. The starters are 15-13 with a 3.96 ERA, while the relievers are a combined 28-4 with a 1.64 ERA.
 
Late-season adjustment has helped Mississippi State's Graveman regain form
Kendall Graveman walked off the mound at Swayze Field at the low point of his season. With one out in the fifth, six Ole Miss baserunners had crossed the plate, the most runs the senior right-hander allowed all season and the most earned runs of his career. Just a month earlier, Graveman was on top of his game. A 9-3 win over Texas A&M in College Station on April 13 marked his third straight complete-game victory. But as he arrived in the dugout in Oxford on May 11, that stretch felt like a different season to Graveman. “The Ole Miss game was probably the lowest I’ve felt in a while,” Graveman said. “Me and Coach (Butch) Thompson said we’re going to clear it, start over like a new slate.”
 
Regional Notebook: Shortstop Frazier overlooked by league coaches
Mississippi State University baseball coach John Cohen simply shook his head last year with his starting sophomore shortstop not getting an all-conference honor. In 2013, Cohen expressed his displeasure with the same decision being made Tuesday when the Southeastern Conference released its league baseball honors. MSU junior shortstop Adam Frazier was not named to either the first or second team All-SEC teams despite three total shortstops being named to those squads. "I really felt like Frazier deserved to be an All-SEC shortstop," Cohen said. "I know there are a lot of considerations and know there are three clubs in our league that didn't see him play."
 
Turner, Renfroe All-SEC first team
Hunter Renfroe and Stuart Turner are highly thought of by the SEC’s coaches. The Mississippi State outfielder and Ole Miss catcher, respectively, were named to the All-SEC first team, the league announced yesterday. Not only that, both were named to the all-defensive squad. The SEC’s 14 head coaches voted on the team, but they were not allowed to vote for their own players. Bulldogs closer Jonathan Holder also made the first team, marking the first time since 2006 that State has had multiple first-team selections. Second baseman Brett Pirtle made second team, shortstop Adam Frazier was on the all-defensive squad, and infielder Sam Frost was named the scholar-athlete of the year.
 
SEC explores 'primary' men's basketball tournament site for the future
The SEC men's basketball tournament is exploring going to a "primary" site in the future, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said Tuesday. "Currently we've been rotating the tournament," Slive said. "We've been very successful with our permanent football site in Atlanta. We've been very successful with our permanent site in Hoover in terms of baseball. The ADs felt it was time to explore the possibility of a primary site for the men's basketball tournament." What does "primary" exactly mean? Slive wouldn't say, citing future negotiations with cities, which he didn't identify. Nashville, which hosted the tournament this year, is considered a prime candidate to be the primary host.
 
Paul Finebaum Q&A: 'This was what I wanted to do and this was what I felt like I had to do'
Birmingham sports-talk radio lightning rod Paul Finebaum will be packing his bags for Charlotte soon to join ESPN and the forthcoming SEC Network. Finebaum, who has been on the radio in Birmingham since 1985, announced his plans last Tuesday, and he was at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., on Thursday to meet with the staff there and to appear on "SportsCenter" and a few other ESPN radio and TV shows. He and his wife, Linda Hudson, a doctor of internal medicine and chief of medicine at St. Vincent's hospital here in Birmingham, then spent three days in Charlotte touring the city and looking for houses. In his first extensive interview since Tuesday's big announcement, Finebaum spoke with AL.com today about the factors that led to his move, the role his wife played in that decision, where his new show will land in Birmingham, and what listeners can expect to hear when he returns to the air the first week of August.
 
LSU's Mainieri visits Louisiana Legislature
LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri swung through the State Capitol Tuesday to celebrate his team's SEC tournament victory. While in the state Senate, Mainieri asked legislators to remember the importance of keeping LSU as a top tier university as they decide how to spend state money. "Just remember how important this university is," he said. After Mainieri addressed the full Senate, Senate President John Alario offered him some recruits. "If you're looking for switch hitters, you've come to the right place," joked Alario, R-Westwego.
 
Alabama coach Nick Saban takes his strongest stance yet on 9-game conference schedule
For months, Alabama coach Nick Saban has discussed his desire for the SEC to adopt a nine-game conference schedule as college football moves into the playoff era. On Tuesday at the Sandestin Hilton, the Alabama coach made his strongest statement yet on the hottest topic at this year's SEC spring meetings. While a number of coaches danced around the issue during their respective interviews, Saban repeated what he's said at various points dating back to last year's spring meetings, when he first came out in favor of an expanded league schedule.
 
Ol' Colony Golf Complex seeks upgrades; improvements could help U. of Alabama host tournaments
The most recent version of a plan to upgrade Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority facilities includes a $500,000 allocation for the Ol' Colony Golf Complex. The 7,041-yard course, built on 592 acres near Munny Sokol Park at a cost of $7 million, is home to the University of Alabama golf program, which has a practice facility there but does not host matches or tournaments. The Ol' Colony allocation, if approved by the Tuscaloosa City Council and Tuscaloosa County Commission as part of the proposed facilities upgrades, is expected to be combined with a $375,000 contribution from UA. Once the improvements are completed, the course will satisfy requirements of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and could enable the UA men's and women's golf teams to host tournaments, possibly including Southeastern Conference championships, golf officials said.
 
Magazine ranks state in top 10 for trophy whitetail deer
Outdoor Life’s June/July issue names Mississippi as one of its top 10 states to hunt whitetail trophy. After tallying the scores, Mississippi ranked seventh with an abundance of game to hunt, relatively low cost for guided hunts and hunter-friendly laws and regulations. The magazine uses real-world considerations to assess the top ten whitetail trophy states in the U.S. The publication reviewed the last three years of Boone and Crockett Club record-book entries and noted the number of bucks that made the book from each state; considered hunter density per state to determine the competition for trophy bucks; noted the average fee of a fair-chase, fully guided, five-day hunt during the rut in each state, as well as nonresident license fees; and, finally, looked at each state’s hunter friendliness.



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