Thursday, August 8, 2013  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Mississippi State's Service DAWGS Day volunteers give back
More than 350 Mississippi State volunteers will work on projects throughout the Golden Triangle on the university's annual Service DAWGS Day Tuesday, August 13. Vice President for Student Affairs Bill Kibler will kick off the event with a welcome as participants complete registration and receive team assignments before departing to 30 community work sites. The projects will be complete by 12:30 p.m., after which participants will be treated to lunch at the Junction.
 
Could energy beets offer income, alternative energy to farmers?
Energy beets could be the answer to Mississippi farmers' quest for off-season income and provide an alternative energy source for the nation's expanding biofuels markets. Mississippi State University researchers and Extension agents are examining the growth and profit potential for varieties of energy beets, a nonedible relative of sugarbeets used only in biofuel production. "Because they are traditionally grown in much cooler climates, energy beets will grow best during Mississippi's winter months as cover crops on fields between fall harvests and spring plantings," said Wayne Ebelhar, a researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.
 
Beekeeping workshop set in Corinth
Mississippi State University bee specialist Jeff Harris will conduct a workshop for beekeepers on Aug. 20 in Corinth. The Daily Corinthian reports the session is designed for beginning beekeepers and will be held at the Alcorn County Extension Service office near Crossroads Arena. There is no charge to attend.
 
Scary math: 3x20=200,000 wild hogs, a growing threat for Mississippi farms
Multiplication tables are mind-blowing when it comes to wild hogs: One sow and two six month old piglets have the capability in 20 years of becoming 220,000 crop-eating, land-destroying, water-contaminating, disease-spreading animals. Apply that formula to the thousands of feral hogs now in the Mississippi landscape, and the potential numbers become downright scary, farmers say. Hogs also pose a potential water quality problem because of their contamination of streams, and their extensive rooting causes damage to fields and habitat for desirable wildlife, as well as facilitating the spread of invasive plant species. And, says Bruce Leopold, Sharp Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Mississippi State University, a herd of hogs in the fall can consume up to 400 pounds of acorns per day, depriving squirrels, turkeys, and other wildlife of feed needed to get them through the winter.
 
Starkville aldermen approve $5 million bond notice
Starkville aldermen approved a $5 million bond intent notice to help spur future economic development despite fierce resistance from Ward 6 Alderman Roy A. Perkins and Ward 7 Alderman Henry Vaughn. The notice is contingent upon future board approval, as Tuesday's resolution does not actually move forward with the bond's issuance. Economic developers now have $10 million in combined economic incentives to lure developments to Oktibbeha County. In May, the county board of supervisors approved a similar bond intent notice unanimously. Bond monies could be used to acquire land, update infrastructure, construct facilities or develop planning for future Golden Triangle Development Link-recommended projects.
 
Mixed views from Starkville board of aldermen on bond measure
As the city of Starkville continues to grow, the city finds itself in a tough position on how to best handle that growth. Aldermen voted 4 to 2 this week to clear the way for borrowing millions of dollars for a future industrial economic development project. "This is a carrot to dangle in front of a potential industry that may want to relocate in Starkville, but no money has been released," said Ward Four Alderman Jason Walker. So, city leaders have voted to authorize a $5 million general obligation bond. Supporters of the bond say it gives the city the green light to capitalize quickly.
 
Make it yourself: An area chef demos a special dish and shares his recipe
When the Starkville Community Market opens bright and early on Saturday mornings, Chef Chris Pierce is usually resting up from a busy night in the commercial kitchen of Restaurant Tyler. But when the Market asked him to put on a culinary demonstration Aug. 3, Pierce was pleased to take advantage of the opportunity to get to know his new community a little better. He wanted to bring something special to share -- and he knew that Vardaman sweet potatoes were a good place to start. "I wanted to do sweet potatoes, and I wanted to incorporate local products," said the Hattiesburg area native, who moved to Starkville about six months ago to work alongside his former University of Southern Mississippi classmate, Chef Ty Thames, executive chef at Restaurant Tyler.
 
Transportation panel eyes plan with accountability
Senate Transportation Chair Willie Simmons, D-Cleveland, said he and others wanting to raise taxes for state infrastructure improvement are obligated to ensure that the money will go for stated needs and must provide accountability and transparency. Simmons is chairing a task force of community leaders, transportation experts and governmental officials to look at the possibility of raising revenue for improvements to the transportation system and for other infrastructure needs.
 
PSC's Bentz tapped to head South Mississippi planning group
Southern District Public Service Commissioner Leonard Bentz will be leaving office to become the head of the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District. Bentz, 41, of Woolmarket, was unanimously approved Wednesday afternoon as director of the group at a salary of $150,000 a year. A condition of the selection was that Bentz's father, Leonard Bentz Sr., step down from the board of directors. The elder Bentz didn't participate in the vote Wednesday afternoon that gave his son the job. The new director said those who have questioned the role of his father in the process should be "ashamed of themselves." Bentz, a Biloxi High School graduate, said he doesn't feel the fact he doesn't have a bachelor's degree should have kept him from getting the job.
 
Bentz to resign from Public Service Commission to head planning district
Leonard Bentz is leaving the state Public Service Commission to become executive of the South Mississippi Planning and Development District. The board of the 15-county planning district voted Wednesday to hire the Republican Bentz, paying him $150,000 a year. Bentz, who made $78,000 per year representing the PSC's Southern District, was chosen from among five finalists. He will have to resign his elected post on the three-member utility commission to accept the job. During the search, the district's board altered its qualifications so that it could hire someone without a college degree, which Bentz doesn't have.
 
PSC's Bentz new SMPDD exec director
The Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District has hired Public Service Commissioner Leonard Bentz as its next executive director. The board voted Wednesday to hire Bentz at $150,000 per year. He makes $78,000, a salary set by statute, as one of three elected public service commissioners, serving the Southern District. Bentz, 41, was one of five finalists interviewed for the position. The other four finalists were Bill Crawford, a former assistant director of Mississippi Development Authority; Mike Lipski of Ingalls shipyard; and Allison Beasley and Tee McCovey, both of whom work for SMPDD. Bentz's inclusion in the five finalists caused a controversy among some board members.
 
Wind pool insurance rates going up in Mississippi
Insurance rates for the state wind pool are set to increase Dec. 1 on renewals and new policies. A Mississippi Insurance Department filing shows owners of homes and mobile homes will see hikes of 3.2 percent, and commercial policies will go up 5 percent. This is the first increase since post-Katrina rate hikes in 2006, wind pool Director Joe Shumaker said. The wind pool is wind insurer of last resort for Mississippi's six southernmost counties. Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said, in approving the wind pool increase, he was conscious of the fact that Coast residents already face hikes in flood insurance costs.
 
Republican Party welcomes five newcomers
Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves were among the state and local dignitaries in Brookhaven Tuesday for a Republican welcoming celebration for five area elected officials who made the decision to switch to the Republican Party. U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper announced the new party members to a packed house at the old Presbyterian Church building on South Jackson Street: Sheriff Steve Rushing, Coroner Clay McMorris, Justice Court Judge Joe Portrey, Constable Kelly Porter and Election Commissioner Marsha Britt Warren. Harper offered his support to the inductees on behalf of the party. In his speech, the governor compared the coming in of the new party members to the Biblical story of the prodigal son.
 
Minority PUL members hear from Yokohama consultant
On Wednesday, Systems Consultant Associates project manager Larry Davis of Jackson gave members of the Minority PUL Alliance in Tupelo valuable information about how to seek business from the future Yokohama Tire plant in West Point. Davis' consulting firm, along with the Mississippi Development Authority and others, want to make sure that minority contractors of all races are getting a fair opportunity at business contracts.
 
Watchdog group adjourns without releasing Port of Gulfport review
A legislative watchdog group adjourned its monthly meeting Wednesday without releasing to the public a report on state port expansion. State Rep. Sonya Williams Barnes, D-Gulfport, emailed a letter to the 13 House and Senate members on the Joint Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review before their meeting, urging that they release the report. But PEER was unable to reach a final decision. Williams Barnes and constituents, who live in the area of Gulfport most affected by port development, fear PEER staff findings will be revised or remain secret. They have long questioned the port's claim that a $570 million expansion funded by the federal government will produce the 1,200 jobs required. MDA and port officials say they will meet the job projections.
 
Drone manufacturer waiting on Byram-Clinton corridor
A Florida-based company that manufactures drones wants to expand to Hinds County, but only if the Byram-Clinton corridor is built. Vercell Vance talked to the Hinds County Board of Supervisors at this week's meeting. He owns Alpha-Data Corporation in Fort Walton Beach. The high-tech company designs unmanned aircraft. Vance bought 1,000 acres near the proposed Byram-Clinton corridor in 2005, planning to launch the research and development sector of his company there. He sold 500 acres of the land to the county so they could build the parkway. He's urging supervisors Stokes and Hunter and Board President Robert Graham to stop resisting the project.
 
Random drug testing by schools grows as usage rates drop
A growing number of Mississippi students who play sports, sing in the choir and even drive to school must submit to random drug tests despite a general decline in youth substance use and lingering concerns over privacy. An average of one in seven U.S. schools now screens students for drugs and alcohol, a number that's on the rise, according to the American Journal of Public Health. In Mississippi, dozens of districts have adopted drug-test policies in recent years. Some apply solely to student athletes. Others extend to participants of any extracurricular activity. And a growing number now also randomly test any student with an academic parking permit.
 
Heroin Makes a Comeback, Especially in Small Towns
Heroin use in the U.S. is soaring, especially in rural areas, amid ample supply and a shift away from costlier prescription narcotics that are becoming tougher to acquire. Much of the heroin that reaches smaller towns comes from Mexico, where producers have ramped up production in recent years, drug officials say. The heroin scourge has been driven largely by a law-enforcement crackdown on illicit use of prescription painkillers such as oxycodone and drug-company reformulations that make the pills harder to crush and snort, drug officials say. That has pushed those who were addicted to the pills to turn to heroin, which is cheaper and more plentiful.
 
Bezos reboots Washington
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has assumed the challenge of rebooting The Washington Post, and might change politics in the process. Bezos instantly became one of the most powerful players in Washington this week when he purchased the 135 year-old media outlet for $250 million. The multi-billionaire Amazon CEO -- who revolutionized the way people buy everything from books to toilet paper online -- is expected to bring a new style to the capital's biggest paper. Although he's gained instant clout in political circles, those who have observed Bezos over the years say his brain is more wired for innovation than influence -- at least for now.
 
'Dream 9' members freed to seek asylum
Lizbeth Mateo won't be late for her first day of law school after all -- despite weeks in a federal detention center after protesting U.S. immigration policy. She and other members of the "Dream 9" were freed Wednesday while they pursue U.S. asylum. Born in Mexico, Mateo, 29, has spent most of her life in Los Angeles. On Monday, she is to begin studies at Santa Clara University School of Law. Now she's even more determined to succeed. Moments earlier, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials had released her and the other members of the Dream 9 from Eloy Detention Center in Arizona, allowing them to return to their American communities until they can argue their case in court. They take their name from the Dream Act, which would provide a path to legalization for immigrants like them who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.
 
USM building completion shows Katrina recovery
The University of Southern Mississippi says the completion of 5 building projects on its Gulf Park campus in Long Beach signifies the return of the beachfront campus from the damage it sustained from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Dr. Frances Lucas is the Southern Miss Gulf Coast vice president and campus executive officer. Lucas says university officials worked hard to "restore the original beauty of this campus" and update classrooms. Elizabeth Hall, which houses the College of Arts and Letters, was the final building to complete renovations after five buildings broke ground in 2011.
 
Oxford might raise fines for game-day parking
Concerned that minimal parking fines will have little impact on thousands of extra drivers in the city on game days, Oxford aldermen will vote Aug. 20 on a proposal to increase fees for downtown parking violations. The proposal would raise first-time ticket fines from the current $10 to $50 on game days only, while raising the penalties for second and third violations to $75 and $100, respectively. The concerns come about as the University of Mississippi starts enforcement against illegal parking. In past years, thousands of football fans parked on sidewalks, an action that could trigger a lawsuit if students, employees or visitors with disabilities are unable to make their way around campus. Remaining on-campus parking has been allocated to students who live in campus housing, to donors and to longtime season-ticket holders.
 
New sculptures change face of garden, Delta State campus
A large crane arrived at the Hazel and Jimmy Sanders Sculpture Garden bright and early to install new sculptures Tuesday morning. The garden was created in the memory of former Delta State University first lady Pam Matthews in 2004 by Hazel and Mike Sanders' families. Each year a committee sends out a prospectus in the spring inviting submissions to be sent in by May. Ron Koehler, art department chair of Delta State University, then creates a three-man jury in order to choose 10 pieces that will be on display in the garden for 18 months. As new pieces are purchased, the sculptures are moved, not only around the garden, but into the main part of Delta State's campus as well.
 
Cubans in U. of Alabama play still in U.S.
Four Cuban performers touring with a University of Alabama theatrical production did not return to Cuba in July, and UA and federal officials say they are unsure of the four's whereabouts. The performers were part of a group of actors and dancers from UA and the Cuban El Instituto Superior de Arte. The performers were touring in a UA production of the play "Alcestis Ascending," written by UA associate theatre professor Seth Panitch. The play was part of UA's College of Arts and Sciences Alabama-Cuba Initiative, established in 2002 to foster exchanges between the university and its Cuban counterparts. Panitch referred questions about the four performers to UA Media Relations, which said it did not have their identities to release at this time. The performers did not return to Cuba on July 22 flights from New York, according to a statement from UA.
 
Find out which Alabama colleges are the choosiest about the students they'll enroll
Few states are as competitive as Alabama when it comes to in-state college rivalries, and that competition doesn't end on the football field. In addition to athletics, students and alumni often debate which colleges and universities are most selective and have superior academics. One way to determine that is to look at the ACT scores of the students enrolled at each school and how many applicants are turned away.
 
Single mother barrels through obstacles to graduate with honors at U. of Florida
As Matletha Fuller grew up in South Bay, a small rural community of about 4,500 surrounded by cane fields at the southern edge of Lake Okeechobee, her parents drove into her the importance of getting a college education. "Education was second nature to me," said the 21-year old University of Florida senior, who graduates Saturday with degrees in English and political science. "If my teacher didn't give me homework, my mom gave me work to do. She was determined to give me an education." One of six children of parents who worked in the cane fields and also followed other crops to Georgia and elsewhere, Fuller is the first in her family to graduate from college.
 
New UGA faculty hears the importance of job creation
To hammer home the importance of economic development, the University of Georgia is carting 45 of its new faculty members across the state to see how the pieces of industrial recruitment fit together. The tour will take them to industrial and agricultural centers as well as the distribution and transportation hubs like the Savannah port that move the goods to buyers. They'll even visit one of the South's largest construction projects, the installation of two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle. On Tuesday, the professors from various academic disciplines heard from state officials, such as Secretary of State Brian Kemp, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. Most highlighted the state's assets, such as the world's busiest passenger airport, the nation's fastest-growing port, the third-highest concentration of Fortune 500 headquarters and top-notch research universities.
 
U. of Georgia students charged after drug task force raid
Two University of Georgia students were recently arrested in connection with a drug task force raid last month at a home on Prince Avenue, Athens-Clarke police said. During the July 31 raid, members of the Northeast Georgia Regional Drug Task Force seized cocaine, marijuana, prescription medication, hash oil, more than $6,300 cash, drug-packaging material and a revolver. Drug agents seized various documents during the raid, including a UGA ID card. Both suspects are listed as students on the UGA website.
 
Ringleaders, 13 others surrender in alleged UGA fake ID ring
The purported ringleaders of an alleged fake ID manufacturing ring that spread numerous fraudulent driver's licenses across the University of Georgia and other college campuses surrendered to authorities Tuesday. Their surrender occurred a week after they and 18 other students were indicted by a Clarke County grand jury. UGA Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said the investigation spanned several states, and students from Northwestern University, the University of Alabama and the University of Mississippi were among those indicted.
 
Texas A&M University System Board of Regents eye 2014 fiscal budget
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents got its first look at the system's $3.8 billion budget, with the vast majority of the nine state agencies and 11 universities in the system touting growth, outsourcing and merit raises. Texas A&M University projects $1.3 billion in 2014 expenditures and $1.4 billion in revenue, a 6 percent and a 4 percent increase, respectively. A&M projects its ending net assets to be $81.5 million, an increase of 9 percent over the previous year. The largest increase in revenue will come in part from the largest freshman class in A&M history, along with the law school students, contributing to a $28 million, or 6 percent, growth in tuition and fees. A&M faculty salaries are cumulatively set to grow by $15.6 million and non-faculty salaries by $9.5 million.
 
Mark Twain grand opening at U. of Missouri showcases renovated residence hall
Sunlight streamed through a wall of windows in Mark Twain Residence Hall on Wednesday, showing off a bright new lobby with fresh paint and modern furniture. Mark Twain Hall, which opened in 1964, is one of the University of Missouri's older residence halls, but it doesn't look old now. The 49-year-old building has been renovated inside and out, a job that took almost two years and cost $21.7 million. The project is part of the fourth phase of a five-phase master plan to renovate or replace all of the residence halls at MU. Mark Twain was the eighth residence hall to be renovated as part of the plan.
 
College Fund Raisers Are Bullish on Giving
Even as the economy continues a plodding recovery, college fund raisers have higher expectations for their hauls this year and next, according to the results of a new survey released on Wednesday. Fund raisers responding to the Council for Advancement and Support of Education's Fundraising Index estimated they would see 7.1-percent growth in giving for the 2013 fiscal year, beating the 5.9-percent growth predicted in the same survey last year and surpassing the 20-year average growth rate of 5.8 percent. "We are returning not only to pre-recession levels of giving, but also pre-recession rates of growth in giving," John Lippincott, president of CASE, wrote in an e-mail.
 
Researchers wait to see if students want transfer credits for MOOCs
Whether massive open online courses will help traditional college students significantly cut costs remains to be seen, but a smattering of institutional trials may soon help tell. More than a half-dozen institutions have made clear they will grant transfer credits to students who successfully complete certain MOOCs from low-cost online providers, mainly Coursera and Udacity. An untold number of other colleges may be quietly wrestling with the issue of transfer credits for MOOCs, perhaps at the request of students themselves. What is not yet clear is how many students have or will take advantage of these offers and whether those students will fare as well in college as traditional students. But now, for the first time, the idea of saving money through a MOOC isn't theoretical, as some colleges have started to announce policies on awarding credit and charging tuition.
 
Science Rap B.A.T.T.L.E.S. Bring Hip-Hop Into The Classroom
"Modern day rappers -- all they talk about is money and all these unnecessary and irrelevant topics," says Victoria Richardson, a freshman at Bronx Compass High School. Richardson's rhymes tackle a much less-popular subject: DNA. Richardson and her teammates were finalists at the Science Genius B.A.T.T.L.E.S. (Bring Attention to Transforming Teaching, Learning and Engagement in Science) competition, where she faced off against other science rappers from nine different New York public schools. "Science Genius is about harvesting the power of urban youth culture," says , a professor of education at Columbia University's who created the program. "Once they are able to incorporate the arts and their culture into the science content, they take it and they run with [it]."
 
OUR VIEW: Education and the need for a three-legged stool
The Dispatch editorializes: "The best schools are three-legged stools with students, teachers and parents, working together make the stool something a student can stand on with confidence. Remove one leg, and the stool is unstable, useless. ... When one leg is missing, everybody falls. The students and the much-maligned teachers will be there. Will the parents?"
 
WYATT EMMERICH: Time for Southern Company, not taxpayers, to pay Kemper's bill
Mississippi newspaper publisher and columnist Wyatt Emmerich writes: "With southeast Mississippians paying 66 percent more for electricity and Southern Company writing off a billion dollars in losses, it's reasonable to conclude the Kemper lignite plant is not working out well. The only question now is who should pay for it -- the 350,000 Mississippi electricity customers or the 500,000 Southern Company shareholders. If Kemper had been a success, the Southern Company shareholders would have reaped the benefit with patent rights to a new technology. Now that Kemper is failing, the same shareholders who would have benefited from its success should pay for its failure. That is the free enterprise system."


SPORTS
 
Mullen stressing communication to newcomers
Mississippi State University football coach Dan Mullen is stressing the importance of communication to his freshmen in practice. During the Bulldogs' split sessions last week, MSU grouped the younger players together to give Mullen and his assistant coaches time to assess, to teach, and to get to know the newcomers. "A lot of the one-on-one time we spend with freshman is getting them to understand yes, we're talking to them," Mullen said. "As crazy as this sounds, in a big-group setting they sometimes are confused during practice and saying to themselves, 'Is coach talking to me or talking to the group?' " Mullen said. "In a split-squad deal, they know we're talking to them specifically about their technique or maturity or just supporting them when they're frustrated."
 
Townsend wants to use pro experience as coach at Mississippi State
Deshea Townsend has no idea who will start in the Mississippi State University defensive backfield this season. That's how the Bulldogs' first-year coach wants it. "The way I was brought up playing football, nobody has a job," Townsend said. "Every day you have to go out and prove yourself. It's a what-have-you-done-for-me-now business, and that's the mind-set you have to have to be a good player." Townsend, 37, joined MSU's staff in January after spending two years as an assistant defensive backs coach with the NFL's Arizona Cardinals. A 13-year NFL veteran with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts, Townsend won two Super Bowls as a player with the Steelers in 2006 and 2009.
 
Mississippi State's O-line getting deep
Mississippi State might finally have the deep offensive line rotation John Hevesy has been wanting. With MSU now a week into preseason camp, Hevesy is seeing a deep group come together, and that depth is borne of extensive experience. The five projected starters have a combined 95 career starts, and the backups have seen action, too. "The ones (first-string) are playing, they're coming together as a group," Hevesy, the fifth-year offensive line coach, said Wednesday.
 
Up front, experience matters for tight-knit Bulldogs
Mississippi State's offensive line boasts 94 career starts. The five men have more experience than any returning position on the team. At that position, you need it. "There's no big formula to it. You've got to get five guys to play as one. I feel like that's why we're a tight group. We try to make sure that the chemistry is there to play on that one accord," former MSU lineman and current grad assistant Floyd "Porkchop" Womack said. "I could almost think like the guy across the way. I couldn't even see him but I can be like, 'OK, I have this, so he has to be thinking like this over there.'"
 
Hevesy wants to see MSU offensive linemen compete every day for play
Offensive line positions for the Mississippi State Bulldogs are still up for grabs according to offensive line coach John Hevesy, but there are a number of players that could seeing playing time in 2013. There are several players who are going to get definite playing time this year starting with senior left guard Gabe Jackson. The preseason All-American is the most veteran player on the group, but that doesn't mean much to Hevesy. "If they don't compete every day, then we're not getting any better," Hevesy said. "The minute we sit back is the minute we get taken advantage of and that's why every day they have to compete to try to push the guy in front of them. That's going to make the guy in front of them better and that's going to make yourself better."
 
Bulldog linemen develop chemistry
When Justin Malone arrived at Mississippi State, the offensive line's time together ended when the pads were taken off. The sophomore right guard has seen things turn around for the Bulldog offensive line. They have jelled on and off the field. "When I first got here, I really didn't hang out with much of them," Malone said. "I hung out with them a few times, but I really didn't do it that much."
 
Grimes wants to lead Mississippi State's transformation
True to her nature as a team leader, Morganne Grimes naturally deflects praise to her teammates. When asked if there has been a secret to her durability in her first three seasons with the Mississippi State University women's soccer team, Grimes said her teammates are the motivation that keeps her going. "I see Elisabeth (Sullivan) doing amazing and see her working so hard for the team that it makes me want to work hard for her," Grimes said. "It is just such a selfless thing to work hard, especially in a team atmosphere. I want to do it for them, and I think it goes both ways." This season, she hopes her willingness to talk and to be vocal will set the standard for a young team that is transitioning to a new style of play.
 
Bulldogs, Huddleston begin preparation for soccer season
On Wednesday morning, former Starkville Academy athlete Tiffany Huddleston had her first official workout with the Mississippi State soccer team. She knew it would be different than practicing with the Lady Volunteers at the Starkville Sportsplex and was ready for anything. "It's very intense and I knew it would be," Huddleston said. "I knew it would be a higher pace with more players and faster players. I didn't know what to expect, but I knew it would be a lot quicker and faster. I can do better, but it's something I can improve on every day."
 
Mississippi State golfer McDonald wins at Women's Am
Mississippi State's Ally McDonald reached the round of 32 at the U.S. Women's Amateur on Wednesday, beating Wisconsin's Allyssa Ferrell 2 and 1. The golfers were all square after 11 holes but McDonald then won three in a row to take command. McDonald, from Fulton, plays Mexico's Maria Fassi today at 8:40 a.m. The round of 16 will be held this afternoon.
 
Hunter Renfroe headed to Fort Wayne
Hunter Renfroe is moving up quickly. The first-round draft pick out of Mississippi State plays his last game for the Eugene (Ore.) Emeralds of the Northwest League Thursday and will be promoted on Saturday. Renfroe, the 13th overall pick by the San Diego Padres, will be headed to the Fort Wayne (Ind.) TinCaps of the Single-A Midwest League.
 
Former Mississippi State lineman Looney hired to EMCC coaching staff
Head coach Buddy Stephens has completed his 2013 East Mississippi Community College football coaching staff with the addition of former Mississippi State University offensive lineman D.J. Looney as an assistant coach. Following his playing career at Mississippi State, Looney remained at his alma mater to serve as a student assistant and graduate assistant on Dan Mullen's MSU coaching staff. The former three-year letterman worked with the Bulldogs' offensive linemen and quarterbacks in addition to assisting with MSU's special teams.
 
Ole Miss: No evidence of NCAA violation for C.J. Johnson
The NCAA did not find any evidence of violations committed by Ole Miss defensive end C.J. Johnson, the school said today. "We fully participated with the NCAA in exploring the item related to C.J. Johnson, and no wrongdoing was found," athletics director Ross Bjork said in a statement. "The NCAA and our staff are no longer pursuing this matter, and we are unable to discuss the specifics." The investigation concerned a Philadelphia-area furniture store. David Byars, owner of Byars Furniture, told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal that two NCAA investigators interviewed him about a rumor the store had delivered furniture to Johnson's mother. "I told them no," Byars said to the paper. A person answering the phone at Byars Furniture said Byars was out of the store this afternoon, and he has not yet returned a message seeking comment.
 
Tigers taught to tweet responsibly; athletic department cautions players to use their heads before they hit the button
The third day of LSU's preseason camp included the players' annual media training session Wednesday. In addition to the typical preparation for how to handle themselves in interviews, players were educated on what coach Les Miles called "the pitfalls of social media." At first, the primary issue with websites such as Facebook and Twitter was to avoid posting "bulletin-board material" --- trash-talking, boasting or other potentially inflammatory stuff that an opposing team could use as motivation. But the social media world is changing almost as quickly as Oregon's offense runs plays. LSU sports information director Michael Bonnette said Facebook has become "a thing of the past." The social media tools currently in vogue are Twitter, Vine and Instagram, though Bonnette said another flavor of the month is bound to emerge.
 
Security at Gator football games to increase following Boston bombing
On Saturday afternoons in the fall, close to 90,000 fans fill Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for University of Florida football games. The carnival-like atmosphere extends out to adjoining streets. Fans who can't get tickets scatter to various tailgate parties and watering holes close to the Swamp to try to feel part of the action. It's supposed to be a joyous time. But the deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon in April proved that no major sporting event is immune to a possible terrorist attack. Chip Howard, UF associate athletic director of facilities, said the banned items list inside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium will remain the same this season. The heightened security, Howard said, will include additional bag checks at the gates and an increased security presence outside the gates and around the entire stadium.
 
JOHN CLAY: Bilas latest to pull back curtain on NCAA's big lie | John Clay (Opinion)
Columnist John Clay writes in the Lexington Herald-Leader: Analyst Jay Bilas cranked up his computer search engine to show what we already knew, that amateur athletics is little more than a megabudget lie perpetuated for the benefit of a few. The NCAA is just the last to admit it.
 
Adidas Falls Further Behind Nike
Adidas AG lost further ground to pacesetter Nike Inc. in the sprint for sportswear customers, hampered by lackluster demand in Europe and a weakened dollar, which reduced earnings from North America, its No. 2 market. The German sportswear maker has in recent years managed to narrow the once formidable gap between it and Nike through product launches and a swath of acquisitions. But a stronger euro, which reduces the value of sales made in dollars and other currencies, has cut into earnings outside struggling Western Europe, in all regions apart from soccer-mad Latin America. Like Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike, the company's fortunes are closely aligned to global sporting events such as the Olympic Games and international soccer tournaments. Chief Executive Herbert Hainer played down the lower forecasts for this year and said Adidas is already looking ahead to next year's FIFA World Cup in Brazil to boost sales of soccer-related products.



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