Thursday, January 9, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Mississippi State signs agreement with UN organization while in Rome
During meetings this week in Rome, Mississippi State University officials formally broadened a 2010 agreement to work together with the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization on initiatives to address world hunger and poverty. MSU president Mark E. Keenum and FAO deputy director general Daniel Gustafson signed a memorandum of understanding that expands the 2010 foundation for collaborations focusing most immediately on aquatic animal health, disease prevention and emergency diagnostics, and FAO recognition of MSU as a Center for Knowledge for Aquatic Health.
 
Mississippi State bolsters UN hunger relief ties
Mississippi State University has signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization that will expand MSU's capacity to research solutions to global poverty and hunger. This week, MSU President Mark Keenum led a delegation of university leaders that traveled to Rome, Italy, where Keenum and FAO Deputy Director General Daniel Gustafson signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday that recognizes MSU as a Center for Knowledge for Aquatic Health and makes MSU a member of the Global Aquaculture Advancement Partnership. Through the memorandum, FAO will also expand its Emergency Prevention System, using MSU's expertise in aquatic animal diseases to help EMPRES promote effective containment and management of food safety threats, epidemic pests and diseases. (Subscriber-only content.)
 
OUR OPINION: Mississippi State deepens role in UN food research
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal editorializes: "Mississippi State University enhanced its already-high profile as an agricultural research institution this week in formalizing its links to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization, a key food production and sustainability agency with worldwide ties. Mississippi State's executive leadership, headed by President Mark Keenum, traveled to Rome this week for meetings of the FAO and signed an extension and expansion of previous agreements related to MSU's role. ...Mississippi State's standing among its research peers is one of Mississippi's strongest international economic assets. ...Mississippi State's high-visibility presence in Mississippi is just a tip of a deep and complex network of alliances, collaboratives, partnerships and participation in places and through groups too numerous to cite. Its intellectual capacity is one of our state's major exports to create mutual benefit and prosperity."
 
Mississippi State weather damage to residence halls assessed
It was an all-nighter for scores of MSU officials, maintenance employees and contractors late Tuesday and early Wednesday. All buildings had to be checked for water leaks caused by the recent cold snap. "We knew we had three buildings, and we knew we had problems and water leaks and damage in all three of them," MSU Vice President for Student Affairs Bill Kibler said. The assessment revealed the origin of the water leaks was a state-of-the-art fire sprinkler system found in all those residence halls. The outlook is much brighter than previously thought. Originally, it was thought more than 400 students would be affected. Now that number is 120.
 
Mississippi State residence hall damage not as extensive as feared
One day after frozen pipes caused by record cold temperatures produced substantial water damage to at least three Mississippi State University residence halls, university officials said the damage was less extensive than originally feared. "After a more extensive assessment of the damage, it appears that approximately 120 students will be impacted," said MSU Vice President for Student Affairs Bill Kibler. "Now, our focus is on providing personal assistance to those students who need alternate housing options, securing their possessions from the damaged rooms and in helping them navigate this unexpected transition." Kibler said the university began contacting individual students on Tuesday afternoon to advise them of the weather-related damage and to inform them of available options.
 
Water damage affects dorms at Mississippi State
Three Mississippi State University residence halls sustained water damage stemming from ruptured sprinkler systems that had frozen during the recent cold snap that slammed the state. Originally, MSU officials believed the damage to be more significant and estimated some 450 students could be displaced, but after further investigation, the projections were downgraded. Aubrey Pohl of Bay St. Louis learned he was one of the displaced students on Wednesday afternoon. Even with the bad news, Pohl said he felt well-informed about the situation. "They called me three days before move-in day, so they gave me time and let me know," he said. "They were really sincere. They didn't let me come in blind on move-in day to a dorm I couldn't live in."
 
Mississippi State architecture students work to transform school into naval museum
The Mississippi Maritime Museum Group is getting some help transforming the old Pascagoula High School into a naval history museum. The old building may not look like a museum now, but that will soon change. Mississippi State University architecture professors and students have teamed up with Mississippi Maritime Museum Group to breathe new life into the place. MSU student John Schaffhauser said creating an action plan should be easy because there is potential in every room of the structure. "It has some really good bones and when I walked in, I was immediately amazed how well lit it is. The natural light pouring in, it is feels how school should feel. The walls are thick and they're honest. Yes, it really has some great potential," Schaffhauser said.
 
Mississippi State Online Numbers Growing
As the campus undergraduate population at Mississippi State continues growing, so too are the numbers of students pursuing online bachelor's degrees. Off-campus undergraduate students increased by 5 percent between 2012 and 2013, according to the university's Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness. Michael Busby, manager of the MSU Center for Distance Education, predicted the trend -- like the national increase in online students and coursework -- will continue in coming semesters. Members of the distance education office staff are working to inform prospective students about the available online study opportunities, he added.
 
Starkville-MSU Area Rapid Transit soft launch seeing mixed results
Buses for the Starkville-MSU Area Rapid Transit (SMART) system began making their rounds Monday in what Mississippi State University officials are categorizing as a soft launch, with several key features remaining to be implemented. The soft launch brings to fruition an idea leaders from Starkville, MSU, Oktibbeha County and the Greater Starkville Development Partnership have been developing since 2011. Its funding comes from about $2.3 million in grant money the Mississippi Department of Transportation awarded to this coalition in October 2012. (Subscriber-only content.)
 
Mississippi State focuses on furniture manufacturing
As U.S. furniture manufacturers revamp domestic production after more than a decade of offshoring, they need help implementing state-of-the-art assembly lines. Many of those companies are seeking assistance from the Franklin Furniture Institute at Mississippi State University. (Registration required for article access.)
 
Growers learn at field days
Fruit, vegetable and flower growers can learn ways to improve their skills and productivity during a year-long series of monthly field days beginning Jan. 17. Experts from the Mississippi State University Extension Service, the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station and several partner organizations will discuss various topics each month at the Alliance for Sustainable Agricultural Production Farm near Goodman.
 
Adams takes over as Starkville chief administrative officer
Taylor Adams, Starkville's city clerk and finance director, became the city's second chief administrative officer Tuesday after aldermen unanimously approved the hire. "I am flattered that the board chose me and am appreciative of its vote of confidence," Adams said after the meeting. "I am looking forward to the challenges that this new role has in store." Board members commended Adams for his work ethic and ability to implement the will of aldermen. "He is someone I believe the community will embrace," Ward 2 Alderman Lisa Wynn said.
 
Industry, chamber leaders emphasize technical skills, education
Education -- preparing Mississippi's workforce for modern, technical jobs -- was the top topic for the state's business leaders who met with lawmakers Wednesday. Irwin Edenzon, president of Mississippi's largest employer, Ingalls Shipbuilding, announced the creation of the Mississippi Tech Master Scholars program, which will recognize, and help employ, high school graduates who meet standards set by business leaders. Leaders of MEC, the state's chamber of commerce, also reiterated support for implementation of Common Core education standards in Mississippi public schools. About 1,400 business leaders attended MEC's annual Capitol Day in Jackson on Wednesday. They heard from state leaders including Gov. Phil Bryant, who was out of town on an economic development trip and addressed the group by video.
 
Mississippi business leaders to recognize tech graduates in new program
Mississippi business leaders will start honoring graduating high school students choosing technical careers. The Mississippi Economic Council announced Wednesday that it would sponsor a new "tech master" program that would recognize graduating high school seniors who meet certain standards in a technical curriculum. The program will run in parallel with the existing Mississippi Scholars program, in which MEC recognizes high school seniors who hit certain standards in a college preparatory curriculum.
 
Local option sales tax a top priority for Mississippi Municipal League
The Mississippi Municipal League is taking another swing at getting a local option sales tax bill moved through the Capitol. The Citizens for Economic Development Act would allow local officials to place on the ballot a referendum that would raise a particular city's sales tax by no more than 1 percent to fund capital projects, such as infrastructure repairs and upgrades. Approval would require a 60 percent super-majority, and the project would have to be specified on the ballot. The tax increase would expire upon the project's completion.
 
House panel passes concussion protocol measure
Legislation to establish procedures to protect students from participating in school-sponsored events with a concussion was passed Wednesday by the House Public Health Committee. The bill was the first to be taken up during the 2014 session, which started Tuesday. House Public Health Chair Sam Mims, R-McComb, said the legislation follows the protocol already in place by the Mississippi High School Activities Association. It would require a participant to be OK'd by a health care provider, preferably one with expertise in concussion-related injuries, before participating in the event again.
 
Mississippi lawmakers push youth concussion law
Senate and House leaders are pushing for a youth concussion law, with Mississippi the last state in the country without such a measure. Sen. Brice Wiggins, R-Pascagoula, has introduced a bill that would require any public or private schools that have youth athletic programs adopt a "concussion management and return to play policy." House Public Health Chairman Sam Mims, R-McComb, has mirror legislation in that chamber. The lawmakers worked with the state Medical Association, the NFL and other groups in drafting the measures, Wiggins said. Similar legislation has died in the Legislature for the last two years.
 
Hiring policies make job hunt tough for ex-inmates
Mississippi lawmakers say they want to reduce the number of former inmates who return to prison after serving time. However, one state representative said ex-felons could have trouble finding jobs because of workers' compensation insurance policies that companies carry. Many workers' comp policies ban employers from hiring former prisoners, said Democratic Rep. Willie Bailey of Greenville, who's an attorney. If some ex-inmates can't find work, they might turn back to crime just to put food on the table, Bailey said. He mentioned the problem Wednesday as two House committees met to examine proposals from a group of judges, prosecutors and other elected officials who spent several months in 2013 studying the state's criminal justice system.
 
Prison reforms could save $200M, task force says
The state will save $200 million over 10 years if sweeping prison reforms proposed by a state criminal justice task force are approved, legislators were told Wednesday. The House Corrections Committee and Judiciary B Committee met jointly to provide members an overview of the task force report. House Corrections Chairman Thomas Taylor and Judiciary B Chairman Andy Gipson were members of the 21-member bipartisan task force. Gipson said he doesn't agree with all the sweeping reforms, but as a whole, he said, it's a good package. "We won't be the salvation of the prison system, but we will help recidivism and cost," Taylor said.
 
Common Core, pay raises talk of session
Protesters rallied at the State Capitol on Tuesday, the opening day of the 2014 session of the Mississippi Legislative session, against implementation of the Common Core curriculum in the state's school systems. However, State Rep. Wanda Jennings, R-Southaven, a member of the House Education Committee, said districts still have a say-so in how they implement Common Core, which is aimed at making sure students achieve higher educational standards. "It's all about the increased standards," Jennings said from the State Capitol. "We need to get the standards higher. Every district can decide for themselves how they want to implement this core curriculum. DeSoto County did this two years ago." Jennings said a committee comprised of educators, classroom teachers and administrators convened to decide how to best implement the new standards.
 
Mississippi's Largest Business Group Affirms Support For Common Core
Mississippi's largest business group is calling for higher education standards and a greater focus on kids heading into technical careers. The Mississippi Economic Council used its annual Capitol Day to highlight the importance of education and urge lawmakers not to stop the advancement of new common core standards in Mississippi schools. MEC president Blake Wilson says Mississippi needs to continue to implement the standards because businesses are now using that benchmark when deciding in which states to invest.
 
Petal superintendent on Common Core: 'If you're not happy teaching, see me'
A local superintendent is under fire by a state senator for his comments regarding Common Core State Standards. Senator Michael Watson (R- District 51) posted a status to his Facebook page Monday that said a friend informed him that Petal Superintendent Dr. John Buchanan threatened faculty with their jobs if they disagreed with Common Core. From WDAM's coverage of Monday's meeting where rumors surfaced, Buchanan never told the audience they would be fired if they disagreed with Common Core. "The simple fact is the standards that we are tasked to teach our students are Common Core State Standards," explained Buchanan, whose district has been teaching under Common Core since the state's 2010 adoption. "For whatever reason, it appears as though it has become a political issue. I'm not a political guy, I'm a school guy."
 
Mississippi schools get lowest achievement ranking in U.S.
Despite strong state standards, Mississippi students are not catching up to the rest of the nation, ranking last in a school performance evaluation released Thursday. Education Week's Quality Counts report puts Mississippi 51st among the states and Washington, D.C., in K-12 student achievement. That is actually down a notch from last year. Only Mississippi and D.C. were graded "F" in student achievement. Massachusetts and Maryland, the two top states, each earned a "B" grade from the education newspaper. Mississippi also ranked among the lowest 10 states in providing young people a chance for success in life, financing schools and improving teaching. The state ranked somewhat higher on how well K-12 connects to preschool, college and kindergarten, and ranked 10th for standards.
 
State education system gets low marks
Mississippi ranked at or near the bottom of the country on a recent survey of the nation's education systems. The state ranked in the bottom six in the three categories measured in Education Week's 18th annual Quality Counts rankings, which were released this morning. Mississippi received an F in the "K-12 achievement" category and ranked 51st in the country, including the District of Columbia. It took a D-plus in "chance for success" and ranked 49th and got a D in "school finance" (46th). "I view the results as motivation to stay the course in improving education in this state," State Superintendent Carey Wright said in a statement.
 
Kemper County plant an 'economic Katrina,' opponents say
A group says Mississippi Power's Kemper County power plant project would be a business bust for the southern part of the state, calling it an "economic Katrina." Ashby Foote spoke at the Pascagoula Rotary Club meeting Wednesday on behalf of the Bigger Pie Forum, an organization that has been researching the economic effects of the project. Pascagoula native Stan Flint, also working with Bigger Pie Forum, said this project is going to have negative effects on the economic future of South Mississippi. "This is going to be an economic Katrina," he said. "This is a disaster. The Wall Street Journal referred to it as a calamity."
 
MDA says Katrina projects ready South Mississippi for growth
Hurricane Katrina recovery projects in South Mississippi should be wrapped up within the next 18 months, allowing the state to sell businesses on investing in the Coast, representatives of the Mississippi Development Authority told the Sun Herald this week. "I think there's tremendous opportunity here," said Brent Christensen, MDA's executive director. MDA Chief Administrative Officer Manning McPhillips has been overseeing Katrina projects funded with $5.4 billion in Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. MDA's chief marketing officer, Marlo Dorsey, said MDA's economic development efforts on the Coast will intensify once Katrina work is completed. Efforts will be focused on aerospace, energy and advanced manufacturing, she said.
 
Dairy fight could hold up $1T farm, food stamp bill
A fight over dairy provisions is threatening to hold up completion of the farm bill this week. Negotiators late Wednesday were still aiming to hold a formal meeting of the 2014 farm bill conference committee on Thursday to wrap up the long-delayed $1 trillion subsidy and food stamp measure. But a battle over dairy, pitting Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) against Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), the top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, was complicating matters.
 
Jobless Benefits, Farm Bill Hit Snags
The most obvious place to find the money to offset extended jobless benefits, a demand of the GOP, may be in the bill that provides food stamps, but that plan will first require a to-be-determined deal on the farm bill. House Agriculture Chairman Frank D. Lucas didn't mince words on the topic after a Wednesday meeting of the top four farm negotiators on the Senate side of Capitol Hill. "I want this over with more than you can possibly imagine," the Oklahoma Republican said. Lucas said no one from leadership had approached him about using the expected savings from a farm agreement to offset the cost of extended unemployment benefits -- or anything else.
 
Farm bill talks nearing conclusion with about $9 billion in food stamp cuts
Negotiations are almost complete on a long-overdue farm bill that will set new spending levels for the federal food stamp program and add yet another wrinkle to the national debate over income inequality as Congress mulls how to help unemployed and low-wage workers. Leaders of the House and Senate agriculture committees had planned to announce a deal on a new multiyear farm bill this week, but aides familiar with the talks said any such announcement might be pushed into next week because of differences about price controls on the nation's dairy industry. The farm bill affects roughly 16 million agricultural sector jobs nationwide, but most of the measure's costs are tied to food stamps to help poor families. Plans call for eliminating about $9 billion in funding for food stamps over the next decade, according to several aides.
 
Symposium to give forecast for the economy in 2014
What does the economy hold for 2014? An event in South Mississippi will look to answer that question. The Hattiesburg campus of the University of Southern Mississippi will present the Economic Outlook 2014 symposium Jan. 23 at the Thad Cochran Center. Hosted by the Southern Miss College of Business and the Trent Lott National Center, the event will run from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The event is free but seating will be limited. "This event is the university's opportunity to bring together business professionals, elected officials and local concerned citizens to discuss the economic outlook for our nation, state and local region," said Shannon Campbell, executive director of the Trent Lott Center.
 
U. of Florida to spend $4.7 million more on pre-eminence goals
The University of Florida has announced a second round of spending to hire researchers and faculty to bolster programs identified as critical to the university's push toward pre-eminence. UF will spend $4.7 million hiring as many as 30 researchers and professors in 10 disciplinary areas administrators have said will help burnish its stature as a top 10 university. Those areas include the Online Learning Institute, social network analysis, renewable energy and storage, creative writing, and African studies. The latest round of spending follows an announcement by UF President Bernie Machen and approval by the Florida Board of Governors to spend $13.3 million in 16 strategic areas to build on UF's current strengths and expertise. Those include the McKnight Brain Institute, "Big Data," cybersecurity, life sciences and food security.
 
Louisiana colleges lagging in online degree programs
Louisiana didn't have a good showing in U.S. News and World Report's 2013 ranking of online degree programs released Wednesday, with only four universities ranked in the top 200. However, the state's poor representation on the list doesn't necessarily mean Louisiana programs are lacking in quality, college administrators said. Instead, they offered a number of reasons why Louisiana schools might be lagging behind counterparts in other states. The most likely reason, they said, is that Louisiana's programs are newer and haven't had time to establish themselves. LSU, for example, has had a smattering of online programs in the past, but didn't really make a strong push into the online marketplace until March.
 
Regents poised to ban tobacco at UGA, other Georgia colleges
Tobacco use on the University of Georgia campus may soon fade away like smoke on the wind. A committee of the state Board of Regents on Wednesday discussed a proposed policy that would bar tobacco use from UGA and other public college universities in the state. The regents set policy for UGA and other University System of Georgia colleges and universities. UGA adopted a partial ban in 2011, prohibiting smoking within 35 feet of a building entrance. Smoking inside UGA facilities and other publicly owned buildings was banned years ago. Smoking is also banned in Sanford Stadium and other UGA athletic facilities.
 
UGA economists study Internet pricing, and where Internet is headed
A pair of University of Georgia economists will study how much residential consumers will pay for their Internet use. But the question isn't so simple as it might appear at first, according to John Turner and Jonathan Williams, faculty in the department of economics in UGA's Terry College of Business. With Aviv Nevo, a Northwestern University economist who is the chief economist at the federal Department of Justice, they plan to analyze data from more than a million Internet users to find out what consumers do when they face issues such as overage prices or the hassles of slow speed when there's network congestion.
 
UGA researchers seek new shade of fat
Not all fat cells perform the same function in the body. White cells store globs of fat and make bellies jiggle. Brown cells burn fat and keep mice slim. In between is a type of fat called "beige," which may be a key to battling the bulge. This prospect is so trendy that a beige-fat expert was featured in November during the nation's largest meeting of obesity experts and bariatric surgeons. And though "beiging" is not widely studied as yet, it has caught the attention of researchers at the University of Georgia.
 
Texas A&M System vice chancellor Terry Fossum resigns
The Texas A&M University System's vice chancellor for Global and Corporate Partnerships retired Monday, a few months after the high-ranking position was created. Terry Fossum has worked for Texas A&M since 1987. She was named Texas A&M's interim vice president for research in 2012 and in May became vice chancellor -- a position in which she earned $370,000 annually and reported directly to System Chancellor John Sharp. The regents unanimously created the position to foster the creation of public-private partnerships for the system and its universities. A system spokesman said Tuesday that there are no plans to fill the position.
 
Blog aims to 'normalize' kindness in academe
Word association game time. First word: Academic. Chances are, "kindness" wasn't the first thing that came to mind. (Indeed, much has been said and written about the abundance of just the opposite in academe: pettiness, to put it nicely.) But a new blog aims to change that. The Academic Kindness Tumblr is a place for students and professors to post random and not-so-random acts of kindness they've witnessed during their studies or work, to remind themselves and others that colleges and universities may not be so inhospitable after all.
 
BOBBY HARRISON: Bryant's 'Nixon to China' moment on criminal justice | Bobby Harrison (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "In 1972, President Richard Nixon became the first American president to visit the communist-led People's Republic of China. The result of the landmark visit, the thawing of relations, led to the coinage of a political phrase 'Nixon to China,' which has come to mean a politician with steadfast credentials on an issue taking a position seemingly contrary to the stance that led to those unassailable credentials. ...Gov. Phil Bryant might have an opportunity for 'a Nixon to China' moment during the just-opened 2014 session of the Mississippi Legislature. No, this is not about the first-term Republican governor going to China. But it is about his backing of proposed changes to the state's criminal justice system."


SPORTS
 
Second-half collapse dooms Bulldogs on the road
Mississippi State threw the first blows Wednesday evening when it jumped out to a 12-2 lead on the road at No. 14 Kentucky. The Bulldogs even went into halftime with a three-point advantage. But the second half was a completely different story. The Wildcats worked the ball inside for several rim-rattling alley oops, outscoring MSU by 25 in the final 20 minutes for a 85-63 victory in the conference opener for each.
 
MSU women's basketball working its way through tough stretch
The "monster" has been as scary and as imposing as Vic Schaefer thought it would. The second-year Mississippi State women's basketball coach used the word "monster" to describe the challenge his team would face as it prepared for the 16-game Southeastern Conference regular-season schedule. While the Bulldogs built confidence in their program-best 13-1 start, Schaefer knew bigger, badder, and bolder obstacles awaited them in league play.
 
MSU baseball team members take part in mission trip
Nick Mingione and Ben Bracewell were convinced they knew what it meant to feel fortunate at what they have in this country and at Mississippi State. The Mississippi State baseball coach said he grew up in a lower income situation in Florida but had clearly never seen anything like the situation he encountered during the latest version of the Phase 2 campus ministry trip to the Bahamas. "It's pretty humbling because you realize how much you have here, whether here is in the United States, or being a scholarship athlete at Mississippi State University," Mingione said. "A perfect example is the idea of water conservation because how they got water is from rain."
 
Bratton expects easy transition with Mississippi State sports
There is a good bit of correlation between baseball and softball in Tyler Bratton's mind That's a good thing because the former Mississippi State coordinator of baseball operations was hired as an assistant coach for the Bulldog softball team last December. The transition from baseball to softball will be easy for Bratton. "There's several things that we can hopefully introduce or maybe hash on," Bratton said. "(I'm) looking forward to maybe incorporating some of that stuff with a softball twist." Bratton will work with the infielders and have a hand in the offense for head coach Vann Stuedeman. He will also have some recruiting responsibilities. (Subscriber-only content.)
 
LOGAN LOWERY: Top moments of 2013 for Mississippi State | Logan Lowery (Opinion)
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Logan Lowery writes: "Since I rang in the new year in Memphis at the Liberty Bowl, it wasn't until the last few days that I have had time to reflect back on the past year in Mississippi State sports. I have been fortunate enough to cover a lot of memorable moments and games during past calendar year. I decided to rank the Top 10 moments in Bulldog athletics in 2013."
 
Tyndall agrees to new contract at Southern Miss
Months in the making, Southern Miss announced Wednesday that men's basketball coach Donnie Tyndall agreed to remain under contract for at least the next four years. The new contract will pay Tyndall $500,000 per year, up from $400,000 annually. The deal also includes a $500,000 buyout if Tyndall terminates the contract without cause prior to April 29. If he does so after April 29, the buyout becomes 35 percent of the remaining salary. Tyndall, in his second season as the Golden Eagles' head coach, was in the second year of the initial four-year deal he signed when he was hired.
 
Johnny Manziel declares for NFL draft, but says he'll 'always be an Aggie'
Johnny Manziel is taking his talents to the next level. After rewriting Texas A&M's record book for quarterbacks, winning a Heisman Trophy, helping the Aggies make a successful switch to the Southeastern Conference and becoming the program's biggest name, he opted to declare himself available for the 2014 NFL draft on Wednesday, although the redshirt sophomore had two years of eligibility remaining. Manziel will get ready for pre-draft workouts by training in San Diego with quarterback guru George Whitfield, reported CBSSports.com.
 
Auburn expected to introduce Minnesota deputy AD as chief operations officer
Auburn has found its second man in command inside the athletics department. Auburn recently hired Minnesota deputy athletics director David Benedict to serve under athletics director Jay Jacobs as the chief operations officer. Sources close to the hiring at Auburn told AL.com Benedict will likely be introduced Thursday once paperwork has been cleared. Jacobs announced in July the athletics department was adding a chief operations officer and chief marketing officer to help strengthen internal operations. Benedict is expected to direct the overall planning, implementation, administration, direction and day-to-day operations of the athletics department as Jacobs' second-in-command.
 
Mississippi Blues Marathon features route changes, big music lineup
Runners from around the world are going to see Jackson in a unique way -- a 26.2 mile tour, to be exact. The seventh annual Mississippi Blues Marathon on Saturday is the state's premier event that has attracted runners from all 50 states and more than 15 countries. Event founder John Noblin said the biggest change this year is the relocation of pre- and post-race events to the Mississippi Museum of Art's Art Garden, a better place for start and finish lines. The weekend forecast calls for warmer weather with a chance of rain Friday afternoon, and Saturday is expected to be as wet during the day, according to the National Weather Service in Jackson. Participants and spectators will be in for a treat during the race, of which a portion goes through the Jackson State University campus.



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