Monday, June 2, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Heavy Industry in the Mississippi 'Prairie': Why Are These Factories Here?
This is the story of a man, and a region, and of the tradeoffs that go into the modern movement of industries. What did it take to bring an advanced-tech steel mill, a helicopter factory, a drone plant, and a major new tire works to a corner of the country where the unemployment rate is very high and many educational and sociological indicators are very low? And how much better off is the region for the arrival of these new enterprises? What did it give up, and what did it gain? The region in question is part of the so-called "Black Prairie" of Mississippi and Alabama. That name refers to its soil type, as shown by the sweep of this map from the Mississippi Entomological Museum at Mississippi State University (which is in the region).
 
Barker Says Boys State delegates Can Make Impact
Beginning with the decisions made today, delegates to Mississippi American Legion Boys State can make significant changes to their communities and high schools. State Rep. Toby Barker of Hattiesburg also told the 384 Boys State participants that, after a week-long of leadership activities at Mississippi State, they should leave the university May 31 with a plan for the future. "This week is absolutely relevant to you," he told the audience members. "What the world doesn't need is another cliché politician; what the world really needs is people who want to make a difference in their community."
 
South Mississippi residents elected as Boys State officers
More than 380 high school seniors from across the state gathered this week at Mississippi State University to learn about state and local government and the electoral process at Mississippi's American Legion Boys State. Among Boys State participants, candidates are chosen and elected during the week. Once in office, they craft legislative bills, develop economic projects and perform other government functions. Former Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, vice president of campus services at MSU, swore in the "Big 8" elected officials Wednesday.
 
Gautier's Adam McMahon elected Insurance Commissioner at Boys State
Mississippi's best and the brightest young men selected eight peers to act as the top government officials at Mississippi American Legion Boys State. Among Boys State participants, candidates are chosen and elected during the week. Once in office, they create legislative bills, develop economic projects and perform other government functions. In addition to the "Big 8" officials, Boys State delegates also elect mayors of individual, fictitious Boys State cities made up of approximately 35 young men. Two party chairmen also are named.
 
Starkville's Restaurant Week pushes 2 percent taxes into record territory
Starkville set a new March record for 2 percent food and beverage tax receipts as it reported about $8,300 more this year than it did last year, an improvement tourism officials say was driven by the success of the city's second annual Restaurant Week. In addition to increased exposure, the event gained more participants this year due to large crowds that flocked to Starkville for Mississippi State University's baseball series against Vanderbilt University. In the three-day series, MSU announced a combined attendance of almost 26,500 fans.
 
Proposed expansion would make Starkville Kroger third-largest in state
A proposed $16.5 million project could make Starkville's Kroger location the company's third-largest store in the state, create 60 additional jobs and expand the grocery store's whole foods, deli and pharmacy capabilities, a company spokesperson confirmed Friday. Joe Bell, Kroger's manager of marketing and public affairs for the company's Delta division, said the proposal would increase the Miss. Highway 12 facility from 51,000 square feet to almost 100,000 square feet and significantly transform the store's parking area with the addition of almost 80 canopy trees. "Grocery stores are a big part of quality of life, and the planned expansion and upgrade to Kroger will be significant for the Starkville community," said Greater Starkville Development Partnership CEO Jennifer Gregory.
 
AP analysis: Mississippi's municipal courts may be less transparent
Watching a state or federal court hearing or getting court records is usually a simple procedure in Mississippi. Just show up at the courtroom at the appointed time or ask the clerk to see the court pleadings. But it's not always so simple in some Mississippi municipal courts. Twice in recent weeks, reporters seeking access to hearings or records have gotten the runaround, raising questions about the level of openness in courts that handle thousands of low-level offenses, as well as initial proceedings for more serious crimes. Will Bardwell, president of the Mississippi Center for Freedom of Information, said court files should be accessible without advance screening, and that governments should keep out confidential information to facilitate access.
 
Delta Council holds its 79th annual meeting
Catfish and seersucker suits are two elements closely associated with Delta Council annual meetings. On Friday, Delta Council hosted its 79th annual meeting. Individuals came from throughout the United States to take part in this joyous occasion, which keynote speaker Deputy Secretary for the United States Department of Agriculture Krysta Harden said was a tribute to farmers. She also spoke about the 2014 farm bill. "This bill is so valuable and important to all of us. I would like to thank Senator Thad Cochran for all that he has done to support us with this bill. He fought very hard for it. Even when he and I are on different sides and we do not see eye to eye, we are still friends after it all," said Harden.
 
Cochran gains strong support at Delta Council; Bryant calls him 'best for Mississippi'
Thad Cochran's visit here Friday for the close of the Delta Council's 79th annual meeting netted him several standing ovations from an auditorium of invited guests and a declaration of support from Gov. Phil Bryant as "best for Mississippi." The enthusiasm for Cochran ran counter to an electronic poll taken among the guests gathered inside Delta State University's Bologna Center. Conducted by political analyst Stu Rothenberg through hand-held devices distributed at the door, the polling of the 1,000-plus guests showed 90 percent disapproval of the job Congress is doing.
 
McDaniel: No joining hands across the aisle
Chris McDaniel grew up in the small city of Ellisville, in the southeastern part of the state, as an only child with a passion for baseball and basketball. "Just a normal boy," Charlotte McDaniel of Ellisville said of her son, a two-term state senator who is challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in Tuesday's GOP primary. McDaniel vows to bring change and to fight if elected to the U.S. Senate. He makes no bones that he's not interested in bipartisan negotiations or compromise or in bringing home the bacon to Mississippi. "Senators (Ted) Cruz and (Mike) Lee, they're not going up there to join hands across the aisle," McDaniel said. "... Every state in the union is to a certain extent addicted to federal spending. And that means every state is going to have to make sacrifices to save this union."
 
Cochran's style has become campaign issue
In the 36 years since Thad Cochran arrived in the Senate, the chamber has experienced dramatic changes. Intense partisan debates -- even name-calling -- have become more routine. Compromise and collegiality are less evident. But Cochran himself hasn't changed. The Mississippi Republican still doesn't compete for center stage at news conferences or demonize Democratic colleagues on talk shows. He's still open to negotiating behind the scenes with Democrats on major issues, such as farm programs and defense spending legislation. And he still looks for ways to use "old-school" politicking to help his state. Cochran is still known as a Southern gentleman in a Senate where such traits seem almost out of style. Senate rules remain tailored for someone with Cochran's respect for compromise, said Richard Forgette, a political scientist at the University of Mississippi.
 
Bruising Senate battle nears finish
What Chris McDaniel is trying to do Tuesday -- defeat an incumbent U.S. senator from Mississippi -- would be almost unheard of in the state's history. If McDaniel prevails against long-serving Sen. Thad Cochran in Tuesday's Republican primary, it would mark the first time since 1942 an incumbent from Mississippi lost a U.S. Senate race. That year Jim Eastland defeated incumbent Wall Doxey, who had won a special election in 1941 after the death of Sen. Pat Harrison.
 
Democrats have low-key House, Senate races
Northeast Mississippi Democrats will have two races to decide in Tuesday's primary election. While the clash in the Republican primary between incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville is receiving the bulk of attention, former 1st District U.S. Rep. Travis Childers of Booneville is vying for the Senate seat on the Democratic side and will be on the ballot Tuesday against three opponents. Childers is also the former chancery clerk of Prentiss County and is in the real estate business as well as other businesses in his hometown. He faces William "Bill" Marcy of Vicksburg, Jonathan Rawl of Oxford and William Bond Compton Jr. of Meridian.
 
Mississippi voters ready for end to Senate primary
With only a few days until the GOP Senate primary here, Chrissy Culliname still hadn't decided who she will vote for Tuesday. It isn't because of a lack of information. Culliname has paid attention to the blizzard of ads on the airwaves and news accounts of bizarre twists in the Senate race. But like other Mississippi voters, Culliname of Hattiesburg said she can't wait for the contentious primary to be over. "It's everywhere. It's all over the news. It's ugly. It's so personal," complained Culliname, 32, who works in the health care industry. "It hasn't been about issues." "I think it's pretty plain --- that it's the most odd Senate race that Mississippi has had in a while," said Jackson native Sam Adcock, a 33-year-old graduate student of political science at the University of Southern Mississippi.
 
Scandal threatens GOP prospects in Mississippi
A scandal sideshow could threaten the GOP's hold on Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-Miss.) Senate seat no matter who makes it through Tuesday's hard-fought Republican primary. Both the longtime incumbent and his primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, are boasting they have the momentum heading into Election Day, and multiple polls out this month have shown a tight race. "We've had nasty and personal primaries before, but we haven't had incidents like we had in this apparent conspiracy," said Mississippi Republican Party Executive Director Joe Nosef. "To be honest, I think party unity's gonna be just as much a concern either way the election comes out, for sure." Neither of the candidates themselves will talk about the scandal to the press, but everyone else in Mississippi is.
 
Mississippi Primary Fight Is One of Geography as Well as Ideology
For all of the Tea Party's struggles this year, it has a real chance to unseat an incumbent Republican in the Mississippi Republican primary Tuesday. Thad Cochran, the first Republican senator from Mississippi since Reconstruction, is facing a strong challenge from Chris McDaniel, a Tea Party-backed state senator. The most recent -- if imperfect -- polls show a tight race, even though Mr. McDaniel's campaign has been dogged by an unusual scandal. A statewide Tea Party-versus-establishment fight might seem new in Mississippi, but it is only the most recent duel in an ancient struggle between the Southern establishment and populist, anti-establishment voters.
 
Can a Democrat win in Mississippi?
Former Rep. Travis Childers voted against the Affordable Care Act, opposes new restrictions on gun sales, believes marriage is between a man and a woman, and describes himself as "disenchanted" in many ways with the national Democratic Party. And Tuesday, he could suddenly become one of the party's vitally important Senate candidates for 2014 -- and a rare Democratic nominee who clashes sharply with his national backers on multiple important issues. With the Cochran-McDaniel race headed for a photo finish this week, Childers outlined his general election campaign message in a phone interview Friday. He all but acknowledged the conventional wisdom on the race.
 
Gene Taylor, Travis Childers Pursue Comeback Bids in Mississippi
In the wake of the 2010 GOP wave, it didn't look like either of the state's losing Democratic congressmen would be coming back any time soon. But with last-minute candidate filings three months ago, both Gene Taylor, who is taking on GOP Rep. Steven Palazzo in the 4th District as a Republican, and Travis Childers, who represented the 1st District for three years and is now running for Senate, are giving it a shot. On Tuesday, both could learn the fates of their unlikely bids as Taylor battles in a Republican primary and Childers watches the consequential GOP Senate primary.
 
Palin on stump for McDaniel: 'Status quo has got to go'
Former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin gave a short but fiery stump speech for GOP U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel on Friday, in what McDaniel described as the biggest event of his campaign so far. "Chris is running with a servant's heart," Palin shouted to a crowd about 800 gathered in an auditorium at Jones County Junior College in McDaniel's hometown. The Cochran campaign fired back that he has the support of Mississippi leaders, not out-of-state surrogates, as Cochran campaigned Friday in the Delta and DeSoto County. Gov. Phil Bryant helped Cochran campaign in the Delta on Friday, telling the Delta Council, "I believe Thad Cochran is best for Mississippi."
 
Haley Barbour to tea party: 'Reagan compromised on everything'
Former Mississippi governor and national GOP chairman Haley Barbour on Friday delivered an impassioned defense of Republican pragmatism -- even as the tea party attempts to take out his longtime home-state ally, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). Barbour didn't mention Cochran or his opponent, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, in his speech at the Republican Leadership Conference, but the primary this coming Tuesday was clearly on his mind. "In a two-party system, purity is the enemy of victory," Barbour said, repeating a construct he has used before.
 
Joy about Bergdahl release gives way to questions
Joy about the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl yielded Sunday to questions about Obama administration decision-making in the deal for the American prisoner of war, which included the release of five high-ranking Afghan Taliban detainees. Congressional Republicans and others focused on a series of concerns that are likely to reverberate in coming days: whether the deal breached U.S. policy forbidding negotiations with terrorists, whether sufficient safeguards were in place to ensure that the released Taliban prisoners do no further harm to the United States and whether Congress was informed about the prisoner trade, as required by law. Separately, some inside the military raised questions about the cost associated with rescuing Bergdahl, who drifted away from his unit five years ago under curious circumstances.
 
China Hacking Is Deep and Diverse, Experts Say
China's Internet espionage capabilities are deeper and more widely dispersed than the U.S. indictment of five army officers last week suggests, former top government officials say, extending to a sprawling hacking-industrial complex that shields the Chinese government but also sometimes backfires on Beijing. Some of the most sophisticated intruders observed by U.S. officials and private-sector security firms work as hackers for hire and at makeshift defense contractors, not the government, and aren't among those named in the indictment. This diffusion of China's hacking activities underscores the challenge the U.S. faces in addressing what Washington considers economic espionage.
 
New EPA rule would seek to cut carbon emissions 30% by 2030
The Obama administration will seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants 30% from 2005 levels by 2030, potentially one of the biggest steps any country has taken to confront climate change, people familiar with the plan said Sunday. Seen as the linchpin of President Obama's climate campaign and a key part of his domestic policy legacy, the proposed power plant rule would set state-specific targets for carbon dioxide reductions and let local officials decide how best to meet the goals. The proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is intended to limit air pollution by carbon dioxide, a gas that traps heat in the atmosphere and drives global warming.
 
Delta State police issue request
After a helium filled balloon caused a transformer to blow at the recent countywide Head Start graduation at the Water Sillers Coliseum, Delta State University police has issued a request. "Delta State congratulates seniors of local high schools that will be graduating at commencement ceremonies in Walter Sillers Coliseum on Monday and Tuesday next week. The University Police Department would like to advise parents, family members, friends and supporters of graduates to refrain from bringing helium-filled balloons to the ceremony." As attendees were filing out of the countywide Head Start graduation earlier this month, a transformer blew at the back of the coliseum. According to DSU Police Chief Lynn Buford, this was caused by a helium balloon floating up into the transformer.
 
Belhaven's executive in residence program gets high mark
When Belhaven University in Jackson began planning its new Executive in Residence program, officials were hoping that not only would their students get a real-world lesson in what it takes to make it in business and help improve the university's School of Business curriculum, but also give top-level executives a chance to see what exactly Belhaven has to offer in terms of business education. For its first semester, the new program seems to have gotten an "A." "After talking with these highly successful business executives, the students were more excited about pursuing careers in business," said Dr. Chip Mason, dean of the School of Business
 
Boys convene at U. of Alabama to hone leadership skills
About 550 boys from across the state filled Morgan Auditorium on the University of Alabama campus Sunday for the first day of the annual American Legion Alabama Boys State Convention. As part of the convention, the upcoming high school seniors will learn about politics and community service this week. The students will participate in mock party conventions and elections while learning about local, state and federal government with some community service projects mixed in.
 
Academic leadership high among first batch of U. of Florida president nominees
The first nominations for president of the University of Florida are in -- and there is nary a Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell or Steve Spurrier among them. But the list of eight nominees does include the names of at least three other people who were nominated in 2012 when the Board of Trustees last went searching for a successor to Bernie Machen, the 11th president of UF who is retiring at the end of the year. "The individuals on this list have been nominated for the position of president, but that nomination does not mean the person is interested in the position or qualified for it," said Janine Sikes, assistant vice president for media relations at UF.
 
Equine sports complex at U. of Florida a new resource for horse owners
The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine has added a new equine sports performance complex to examine horses with subtle injuries. Located behind the Large Animal Hospital on Southwest 16th Avenue in Gainesville, the arena will be used as a learning tool for students as well as a resource for horse owners who are seeking medical attention for their animals. The construction broke ground at the end of last year and finished officially about a month ago. Dana Zimmel, UF veterinary hospitals chief of staff, said it cost $600,000 to build the arena and was paid for with hospital and foundation money.
 
Arkansas Scholarship Lottery Fights Falling Sales
While the state's two gambling venues are predicting green pastures and growth, the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery is resigned to a second consecutive decline in annual revenue. The lottery is predicting it will end fiscal 2014 on June 30 with sales of $417 million, down 5 percent from fiscal 2013 and off 12 percent from the $474 million recorded in fiscal 2012. Lottery Director Bishop Woosley said the commission's plan is to hire a new marketing agency to refresh the program's image.
 
Louisiana Senate agrees to compromise on higher ed commissioner hiring
The state Senate agreed Sunday to remove a layer of bureaucracy in the hiring of the state's higher education commissioner. At issue in Senate Bill 108 was whether to strip Senate confirmation of the hire as well as salary approval by the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget for the leader of the state's public colleges and universities. In a compromise, the Senate voted 36-0 in favor of stripping the salary approval while retaining Senate confirmation. The Louisiana House also must agree to the compromise.
 
Texas A&M adopts automated call handling system
Thank you for calling Texas A&M University. Who would you like to reach? " That's the new automated greeting for the state's largest university, which has opted for an automated system to replace humans at its main telephone line. Massachusetts-based Parlance Corporation, a company that has developed speech recognition software for nearly two decades, announced a three-year outsourcing contract for call handling at A&M. Spokesman Mark Bedard said Parlance serves more than 50 higher education customers. The automated system was quietly rolled out about two months ago, said Mark Herro, A&M's IT manager for telecommunications, and successfully processes about 80 percent of callers. People who can't use the system to reach their destination are routed to the help desk, he said.
 
Expansions to U. of Missouri vet school are underway
Expansion is in the works at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. Dean Neil Olson has worked on the plans for a major expansion of the college's academic facilities since his second week on the job in 2007. As his 10-year goal for the expansion approaches, Olson and his staff continue working to overcome their biggest obstacle: funding. Plans call for about 140,000 gross square feet of new space, Olson said, with a price tag of $65 million including costs for fixed equipment. Olson said computer labs, space for students to study, a small cafeteria, lecture halls and administrative offices will take up most of the space. New, up-to-date research facilities would occupy the rest.
 
House Passes NSF Funding Bill But Takes Slap at Social Sciences
The U.S. House of Representatives early Friday morning approved an increase in overall funding for research at the National Science Foundation but also endorsed an effort to pare social science studies that the agency funds. By a 321 to 87 vote, lawmakers passed legislation that would fund the National Science Foundation at $7.4 billion for the fiscal year that begins this October. That represents a 3.2 percent increase from the current year, a larger increase than the 1.1 percent increase that the Obama administration had proposed in its budget. Although research advocates praised the increase in overall funding, for the NSF and other science agencies that would be financed by the appropriations bill, supporters of the social sciences criticized an effort by Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas to cut the agency's funding for the social sciences.
 
EDITORIAL (OPINION): Bennett should clarify status of USM on Coast
The Sun Herald editorializes: "University of Southern Mississippi President Rodney Bennett has called the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach his "secret weapon" in moving the university forward and making sure it remains a 'major player in higher education across the country.' Has that 'secret weapon' turned out to be a dud? We ask because of the abrupt departure last week of Frances Lucas as vice president of USM's operations on the Coast. ...A university official said Bennett was out of town last week and could not be reached for comment. When he is available for comment, we hope he will quickly clarify the status of USM's operations on the Coast."
 
SAM R. HALL (OPINION): Senate race too close to call
The Clarion-Ledger's Sam R. Hall writes: "Here's how I see it: Incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran has the slightest lead over GOP primary challenger Chris McDaniel, but the state senator from Ellisville has momentum that could send Mississippi's senior senator into retirement. Two independent polls released Friday show similar findings..."
 
GEOFF PENDER (OPINION): Under campaign mud, both fine fellows
The Clarion-Ledger's Geoff Pender writes: "The Sturm und Drang of the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in Mississippi is increasingly loud and nasty as the race enters its final days, and if you're listening, you might conclude both of the top candidates are egg-sucking dogs. ...But I know both of these men reasonably well, incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel. And since you may not hear it over the din as the final mud is slung through Tuesday, let me just say, they're both fine fellows, despite what anybody says."
 
SID SALTER (OPINION): Senate race comes down to GOTV success in 15 key counties
Syndicated columnist Sid Salter writes: "The headlines around the country have coalesced from punch and counterpunch on the Rose Cochran photo scandal to a simple statement of fact; the Mississippi Republican Senate primary represents the last chance for the deep-pocketed, tea party-affiliated national super political action committees to unseat an incumbent Republican U.S. senator. ...But the reality of Republican primaries in Mississippi is that they represent a ground game get-out-the-vote war for turnout in the state's top 15 Republican counties: Rankin, DeSoto, Harrison, Jackson, Hinds, Madison, Lauderdale, Lamar, Pearl River, Forrest, Lee, Lowndes, Jones, Simpson and Warren counties. In a race this contentious, every vote in every county counts and will be contested."


SPORTS
 
Mississippi State's best arm is well-rested for today
Mississippi State's final weapon on the mound is also its most valuable. The Bulldogs tore through its bullpen Sunday night in a 14-8 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette, using four arms who threw 170 pitches. None were Jacob Lindgren. The left-hander won't start, but he'll play a vital role in Mississippi State's chances in advancing to a third Super Regional in four years. ULL's win forces an elimination game at 6 p.m. tonightt. The winner advances to the super regionals.
 
Cajuns blast Bulldogs, force deciding game
Mississippi State had the scenario it wanted with ace Ross Mitchell taking the hill and needing just one more win to advance ahead to a super regional. However, top-ranked Louisiana-Lafayette had other ideas. The Ragin' Cajuns, who had eliminated Jackson State 11-1 already on Sunday, chased Mitchell after just three innings by plating six runs. ULL's bats continued to stay hot the rest of the way, cruising to a 14-8 victory and setting up a decisive Game 7 of the Lafayette Regional at 6 p.m. today.
 
Could Ole Miss, Mississippi State meet for shot at CWS?
Ole Miss and Mississippi State still have a long day ahead of them before they can look ahead to a Super Regional, but the question has been there for a while: Could we see the Rebels and Bulldogs do battle with a trip to the College World Series at stake? The answer: Yes.
 
SEC has nuclear option in autonomy debate
For all the peace and harmony expressed by SEC members regarding proposed NCAA restructuring -- the buzz word is autonomy -- there is a nuclear option. The NCAA board of governors will vote in August on whether the most powerful conferences will be able to have more say in setting policy that would affect all of Division I. If the vote doesn't go the way the big conferences want SEC commissioner Mike Slive suggested Friday at the close of the league's spring business meetings that it's possible the largest schools could form their own division. He called it "Division IV." In theory, the big schools would govern themselves at that point.
 
SEC clarifies cowbell compromise
The Southeastern Conference clarified its wording of the artificial noisemaker rule Friday, specifically known to Mississippi State fans as the "cowbell compromise." The amendment voted on at the league's annual meetings in Destin, Florida, will allow "the use of institutionally controlled, computerized sound systems (including music), institutionally controlled artificial noisemakers, and traditional institutional noisemakers at any time, except from the time the offensive center is over the football until the play is whistled dead." "This proposal will enhance the fan experience and provide institutions with the flexibility to appeal to their fans by the use of musical and institutionally-controlled noise," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said in a written statement.
 
Florida's Machen warns of SEC split from NCAA
The message from the SEC to the NCAA is now perfectly clear. It wants to remain under the NCAA umbrella, but if it does not gain the autonomy it is seeking, it will break away with the four other major conferences and form a separate division. "We don't want to pull out," Florida president Bernie Machen said Friday at the conclusion of the SEC Spring Meetings. "We would love to be part of the NCAA Division I, but we're in a squeeze here. There are now six lawsuits that name our conference in them specifically that have to do with the whole cost of attendance and stuff like that. We would like to make changes, but we can't because the NCAA doesn't allow us to. We're really caught between a rock and a hard place. We desperately would like some flexibility." An NCAA steering committee has proposed a model for a revision of governance that will be voted on in August.
 
Aggie athletes pumped for new weightlifting facility
Texas A&M's athletes are already reaping the benefits of a bigger and better football stadium. The university earlier this month opened a new weight room on west campus for the athletes who were displaced after Netum Steed Laboratory was torn down as part of the $450 million Kyle Field renovation. Football, basketball and baseball players have their own weight rooms, and the new facility houses 400 athletes from 14 teams such as softball, golf and Olympic sports. The facility will ultimately house a full-time nutritionist and there is a food station with energy drinks, smoothies and vitamins that will open into the weight room. "It's going to be a functional training space for our student athletes to improve and get better," said Allen Kinley, A&M director of strength and conditioning for Olympic sports.



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