Wednesday, May 31, 2017  SUBSCRIBE   
 
Fresh College Graduates See Boom In Job Market
With graduation season wrapping up, the new graduates looking for a job are in luck. Studies show, this year's graduating classes are entering the strongest job market in years. Mississippi State Career Center Director Scott Maynard says new college grads have a reason to be optimistic. "Over the past three years, really, the job market has been experiencing full, steady growth. From a career perspective, there are opportunities. There is a confidence in the economy from business to want to invest in new talent," said Maynard. According to Maynard, it takes approximately seven to nine months for a fresh college grad to find a job. He says that's why the sooner the hunt starts, the better.
 
Clinic focuses on child behavior
Dr. Torri Jones recalls her seven-year experience in a clinical hospital setting -- primarily her time working in the cancer unit at Texas Children's Hospital -- as a turning point for her interest in brief behavioral intervention. Through her experiences working with patients, she realized many of her patients struggled with behavioral issues, especially due to the sheltered nature of the hospital setting, and she set out to do something about it. "These children's lifestyles were very different. They weren't able to attend school with their friends, and they had complicated medical regimens to follow," Jones said. "I noticed that the intervention protocol was proving effective, and the patients were following directions on top of the additional pressures." Jones, Mississippi State University assistant professor and licensed clinical psychologist, used this as motivation to implement the new Brief Behavioral Intervention program offered by the MSU Psychology Clinic.
 
Plot Twist! John Grisham's New Thriller Is Positively Lawyerless
John Grisham's publisher, Doubleday, got a nice surprise last January. Grisham, whose yearly delivery of a legal thriller is as reliable as the sunrise, had written a little something extra on the sly: a lawyerless caper. It had a picturesque Florida setting, a fun-filled story about book lovers of many stripes (from those who write them to those who steal them) and a heroine who spent time in a bikini and sandals. Mr. Courtroom had written a beach book. His first. "Camino Island," his 30th novel, is out June 6. Grisham and his wife, Renee, dreamed up the idea for "Camino Island" on a drive from their home outside Charlottesville, Va., to their beach house in Florida. It was Renee who suggested working literary treasures into the plot, which involves the theft from Princeton University of the original manuscripts of the five novels written by F. Scott Fitzgerald -- or "FITZ-gerald," as the Arkansas-born, longtime Mississippian Grisham pronounces it.
 
Governor coming to Coast to create ocean task force
Gov. Phil Bryant will be on the Coast on Thursday to formally create an ocean task force, but his office isn't saying exactly what it is or what its purpose will be. A release from the Battlefield Airmen Center at the Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport suggests the event also will involve the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command at Stennis Space Center and will include a "technology showcase" by the Stennis-based Mississippi Enterprise for Technology, a private nonprofit formed by the state, NASA and the state Institutions of Higher Learning. The CRTC said a demonstration of "unmanned systems" that begins Wednesday and runs through Friday in the Gulf of Mexico will "provide an opportunity for the U.S. Navy, academia, and industry to demonstrate existing unmanned capabilities, showcase local infrastructure, and explore collaborative opportunities in support of national defense."
 
Margaritaville Resort confirmed for Vicksburg
What was rumored on social media over the Memorial Day weekend was confirmed Tuesday, when it was announced that Margaritaville Resort Vicksburg is expected to open by Spring 2018, on the site of the Portofino Hotel on Mulberry Street. Officials with Vicksburg Hotels LLC confirmed the project Tuesday. Vicksburg Hotels representative Greg Stewart said the company has its permits from the city and work is underway inside the hotel and the building on the west side of Mulberry Street. Information from the company indicates the resort will hire 250 people and will house restaurants, an arcade and a water playground for guests. No date has been given when a ribbon cutting or major event announcing the resort will be held.
 
Choctaw petition regarding future Red Water casino fails
A petition regarding the Choctaw tribe's decision to build a fourth tribal casino in Mississippi has failed. Some members wanted tribal voters to make the decision on whether the Red Water Casino would be built in Leake County. The group turned in the necessary number of signatures for a petition, but after canvassing from the Tribal Election Office, Tribal Election Committee and tribal chief, more than 130 names were rejected. That put the petition below its required 1,612 signatures. A co-sponsor of the petition to require a tribal vote on Red Water Casino says numerous complaints have been received about how some of the canvassing was handled, and he has yet to receive an official rejection letter.
 
Gov. Phil Bryant receives honor in London, hopes to increase U.K.-Mississippi trade
Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower, Morgan Freeman, Jimmy Choo and Gov. Phil Bryant. Bryant on his recent trip to London joined a list of dignitaries and celebrities dating to 1237, recipients of the Freedom of the City of London. Its closest U.S. equivalency would be a key to the city presentation from an American town. Oscar-winning Morgan, who received the honor in 2014, and Bryant are the only two Mississippi recipients, Bryant's office said. "It was a phenomenal trip," Bryant said of the May 14-18 cultural and trade trip he and Mississippi Development Authority officials took to London. Bryant believes there is trade opportunity from Great Britain leaving the European Union. He said Mississippi and the U.K. already have established tourism, military and economic partnerships on which to build. Last year, officials from the U.K. attended Southern Strike military exercises on the Gulf Coast to learn techniques for aerial evacuations.
 
House Bill 1322: Lazy Magnolia's tap room will open July 1
Starting July 1, fans of Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company will get to enjoy their brew in a new tap room called The Porch. It will open to the public at noon July 1 at the brewery, at 7030 Roscoe Turner Road. "This space represents an important addition for the 12-year-old community-supported brewery," the company said in a press release. The tap room comes as a result of the passage of House Bill 1322, which allows microbreweries in Mississippi to serve and sell their beer on the premises starting July 1. "Craft, in beer form or otherwise, is all about the story. It's the freedom to do your own thing," owner Mark Henderson said in the statement. "The passing of House Bill 1322 opens up the opportunities for craft brewers all across the state to fundamentally change the relationship between a brewery and the customers that support the brewery."
 
House Bill 1322: Yalobusha Brewing converting to a brew pub
Andy O'Bryan, the founder of Yalobusha Brewing Co. in Water Valley announced over the weekend that the craft-beer bottler he opened four years ago was changing its business model. YBC is converting to a brewpub, and by doing so, its beer won't be sold anywhere else but in Water Valley. The move was prompted by the passage of HB 1322 in the Mississippi Legislature earlier this year, allowing microbreweries like Yalobusha to sell limited volume directly to consumers, in addition to selling at the retail level. It was a law craft beer makers had been lobbying for for years. In an email that also appeared on the company's website, O'Bryan wrote, "With the changing of the law at hand, we have decided to convert Yalobusha Brewing Company to a brewpub. This will take our product off the shelves throughout the state, and our location in Water Valley will be the exclusive place to purchase our beer."
 
Hinds County DA arrested, again; faces charges of stalking, robbery
Two-year-old claims of stalking, robbery and domestic violence are the latest development in the twisting, turning saga surrounding Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith. He faces two felony charges, aggravated stalking and robbery, after being indicted May 25 by a Rankin County grand jury. He also faces two counts of misdemeanor simple domestic violence. Smith was arrested Tuesday -- for the second time in less than a year -- after he turned himself in at the Rankin County Jail. The attorney general's office will be prosecuting Smith on the charges. The AG's office already planned to re-try Smith on apparently unrelated charges in June after a mistrial in January. "It's really amazing how far people will go," Smith said after being released, apparently referencing the entirety of the attorney general's charges against him.
 
Recipients Fear Cuts to Food Stamps and Disability Aid in Trump Budget
Hoyt Cantrell drove a truck for more than 20 years before seizures -- 23 of them since 2009 -- cost him his livelihood. His two-bedroom house in the heart of this Southern state capital of Jackson, Mississippi, is partially boarded up, with no running water or electricity, but he cannot afford much better. He has tried hard to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance and food stamps. So far, he has failed. While asking people to work might sound like a good idea "in the abstract," Beth Orlansky, advocacy director of the Mississippi Center for Justice, said, a state like Mississippi -- with large pockets of poverty, sprawling rural communities and some of the highest rates of people on disability and food stamps --- does not have enough jobs in the right places. Most people receiving food stamps and disability are doing some sort of work, but they need better skills and education to rise above poverty wages.
 
The Football Rivalry That Could Decide the Alabama Senate Race
At first glance, Alabama Senator Luther Strange has everything going for him headed into the special election for his seat. Strange, who filled the Senate vacancy left by Jeff Sessions' appointment to serve as attorney general, enjoys the full financial support of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He's been endorsed by Richard Shelby, the state's senior senator and former chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. And as a former state attorney general, Strange has positioned himself as a law-and-order candidate at a particularly scandal-rich moment for a state that has seen its share. But there's someone who could make life complicated for Strange, and it's not an actual candidate. Though almost a dozen Republicans filed to run in the Republican primary and nearly that number signed up on the Democratic side, the biggest threat to Strange's bid is a burly man whose love of Auburn football is matched only by his grudge against Strange, who draws support from University of Alabama territory.
 
Robots Wielding Water Knives Are the Future of Farming
Just after dawn in the Salinas Valley south of San Francisco, a raucous robot rolls through a field spitting clouds of vapor. It's cutting lettuce heads with water knives -- super-high-pressure beams --and gobbling up the produce. The heads roll up its mouth and onto a conveyor belt, where workers in hoodies and aprons grab the lettuce and tear off the loose leaves. Here in the Salinas Valley, farmers and tech types are teaming up to turn this into a kind of Silicon Valley for agriculture. And they're not stopping at water-knife-wielding robots. Because it's data that will truly drive this agricultural revolution. It's not just about robots doing jobs humans don't want to do, but AI doing jobs humans can't do. And AI can't go anywhere without data. More and more, agriculture is about automation. Not that automation is anything novel.
 
USM Nursing reacts to improvements required by College Board
The University of Southern Mississippi is reacting to a new mandate from the State College Board to improve its College of Nursing. The College Board said USM must make improvements to its doctoral program, because not all faculty members have clear nursing licenses. Tuesday, administrators acknowledged a problem with an instructor who no longer works at the university. "This condition was related to one adjunct faculty who had taught one online, non-clinical, core course in the nurse practitioner program with an unencumbered RN compact license in a nearby state," said Lachel Story, assistant dean of the College of Nursing. "The RN license covered the adjunct faculty for Mississippi, but the advanced practice license was only active in the instructor's home state. We are not currently employing the aforementioned faculty."
 
JSU alumni sue over 'racially discriminatory practices;' College Board fires back
Jackson State University alumni and supporters filed a broad lawsuit Tuesday against the Institutions of Higher Learning Board of Trustees for racial discrimination in its governance of the historically black colleges and universities and its presidential selection processes. The suit follows IHL's naming of Dr. William B. Bynum, current president at Mississippi Valley State University, as the agency's candidate of preference as JSU president. Almost simultaneously with the news of the lawsuit being filed, C. D. Smith, President of the Board of Trustees and the chair of the JSU president search released an open letter in which he notes: "While we understand that people may have different views as to the best candidate for JSU, we are certain that any attempt to make the selection of its next president a debated political issue is divisive, and therefore, has the potential of being harmful to the university."
 
College Board Faces Resistance Over Choice for JSU President
Some Jackson State University alumni and faculty are fighting William Bynum's nomination to become the president of Mississippi's largest historically black university. Jean Frazier, an alumna and retired Jackson State employee, said she wants the board to reopen the search instead of confirming Bynum, who is now president of Mississippi Valley State University. Frazier is the wife of Democratic state Sen. Hillman Frazier of Jackson. She was one of eight Jackson State representatives who helped the state College Board interview candidates. It may become clear how many others share Frazier's opinion Wednesday, when Bynum meets with faculty, staff, alumni and others at the 10,000-student university.
 
Four Hinds Community College students will intern at Continental Tire's Illinois plant
On a bustling 900-acre site off of I-20 just west of Clinton, site work at the new Continental Tire plant is well under way. Actual construction on the plant will begin in January. But long before the tire producer opens its doors for production at the end of 2019, four Hinds Community College students are getting a bird's-eye view of operations in a large tire manufacturing plant this summer. Beginning June 4, the students will get on-the-job experience from Continental maintenance and engineering experts in electrical, mechanical and hydraulic systems. The students, who are enrolled in the college's industrial maintenance, electrical and electronic technologies programs, were selected to participate in a nine-week, paid summer internship program at the company's Mount Vernon, Ill., tire plant.
 
Will this Auburn professor's discovery explain acupuncture, lead to longer life?
Vitaly Vodyanoy isn't a common name, and it's not an easy name. But it might be a name to remember if the Auburn University professor turns out right about what he has found. Along the way, that discovery could finally show how acupuncture really works. And it could lead to a long human lifespan. Much longer. Vodyanoy has used his own patented microscope system to confirm the existence of a new vascular system in the human body: the primo-vascular system. It's a tiny, translucent system of vessels and nodes, and Vodyanoy has seen and phographed it in a rat's body. The existence of a third vascular system - in addition to the blood and lymphatic systems -- has been the topic of scientific speculation and study since the early 1960s. Vodyanoy acknowledges the theory goes against current Western science, but it could help explain and lend credibility to non-traditional means of care such as acupuncture or osteopathy.
 
Two U. of Florida administrators lose jobs over poor judgment
As the University of Florida's deputy Title IX coordinator, Chris Loschiavo heard complaints of gender discrimination that sometimes included allegations of sexual battery. But it has been learned that using a university-supplied email, he also bought pornographic videos with titles that included erotic torture and rough sex, cyborg sex, threesome sex and more. Loschiavo was fired last year with officials pegging it publicly to a conflict of interest that came to light during the Title IX hearing of UF football player Antonio Callaway. Loschiavo was recently hired as the Title IX coordinator of Florida Polytechnic University. His UF supervisor, Jen Day Shaw, gave him an effusive recommendation. Now, both are out of a job.
 
Planned Texas A&M center would combine senior living, child care
The Texas A&M University System is seeking to make new contributions to addressing the needs of children and seniors in the Bryan-College Station area with what officials call an "intergenerational living facility." System officials began the process of working with developers Tuesday afternoon, holding a pre-proposal conference in Rudder Tower to share their vision for the public-private project. Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Phillip Ray said he and Chancellor John Sharp have been discussing the concept for a few years as a way of addressing both the growing population of seniors and the need for child care among the faculty and staff of Texas A&M University. Ray also said the project is seen as a potential recruiting tool for faculty members, offering special perks to residents, including bus transportation to and from campus, group ticket pools for certain events and more.
 
Mun Choi to address U. of Missouri budget plan on Friday
Members of the University of Missouri community have been invited to attend a budget address by UM System President Mun Choi at 1 p.m. Friday in Stotler Lounge at Memorial Union. Choi will share "key rescissions as well as strategic investments for the short term" at the address, according to an emailed invitation sent Tuesday. He said he will also share plans for streamlining the university's operation to "support teaching, research and outreach." MU is facing approximately $60 million in budget cuts for fiscal year 2018, according to a memo from UM Interim Chancellor Garnett Stokes. Stokes said the university has identified $40.6 million in recurring costs and $18.9 million in one-time costs to be cut. The proposed budget plan calls for 12 percent cuts from each division within the university, according to previous Missourian reporting. The proposed plan would also eliminate around 328 jobs.
 
'I Won't Give Up': How First-Generation Students See College
Getting into college and making it through can be hard no matter what your circumstances. But for first-generation students -- the first in their families to attend college -- the challenges are even greater because they must tackle them largely on their own. Students whose parents have gone to college can draw on that experience, perhaps talking to them about filling out applications or picking a major. Many college-educated parents also help their children financially, or provide a cushion if things go awry. The New York Times asked five first-generation journalism students to interview other first-generation students at their colleges about the challenges they have faced. The following interviews have been edited and condensed.
 
Dual enrollment provides boost to community colleges but may hide extent of enrollment declines
Community colleges are seeing a steady decline in adult students enrolling at their campuses. As the national economy continues to improve, two-year institutions are finding their adult working and returning student populations dwindling. But many of them are turning to a popular source in an effort to boost those overall enrollment numbers or, at the least, keep them stable -- high school students. The growth of dual-enrollment programs at community colleges across the country has given these institutions an additional source of students -- and sometimes tuition dollars. Some experts worry whether these programs, especially as they become more popular among policy makers, are sustainable, however.
 
JSU student leader not happy with president choice
Kendall Bunch, president of Jackson State University's Student Government Association, writes in The Clarion-Ledger: "Just weeks ago I sat at a table which few students before me have had the opportunity to do. With this opportunity came a great responsibility, one in which I was proud to have. I sat at a table with the Institution of Higher Learning Board of Trustees, the Commissioner of the IHL Board, and various delegates selected to give their input on the next leader of Jackson State University. ...As I sat at that table I could not help but to push all previous opinions out the window, due to the fact that hey gave me a seat at the table, a voice to express what my university needed, and assurance that my voice would be heard. ...On May 22, I was extremely disappointed at the selection of the preferred candidate. My disappointment did not arise solely due to fact that he did not make it to the second round of interviews, but because it showed a blatant disregard for those of us on the committee that gave our time and effort to this process."
 
Federal lawsuit takes off where Initiative 42 failed
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal's Bobby Harrison writes: "Will Bardwell of Jackson, a senior attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, is trying to do through an innovative lawsuit what voters narrowly rejected in 2015 -- to amend the state Constitution to strengthen Mississippi's commitment to public education. The lawsuit, filed last week in federal court in the Southern District of Mississippi, is not seeking any money, but is simply asking the courts to restore the commitment to public education that the state made in 1868. ...It should be pointed out that the state's leaders would maintain that education already is their priority. At any rate, the Southern Poverty Law Center lawsuit is a long shot at best. But if Bardwell prevails, he would do in the courts what the Initiative 42 advocates failed to do at the ballot box."


SPORTS
 
Trey Jolly finds a home in Mississippi State bullpen
Trey Jolly wasn't supposed to be pitching at Mississippi State this year. The former North Pontotoc standout double-signed with Arkansas-Little Rock and Northwest Florida State College out of high school but coaching changes at both schools altered the course of his college career. Jolly ended up playing two seasons at Hinds Community College before ultimately landing at his dream school last fall. "This was the main school I wanted to come to," Jolly said. "I went on a few visits to some other schools but this was the place I wanted to be." The 6-foot-2, 192-pound right-hander has been a key contributor in the Bulldogs' bullpen this season. He has made 21 relief appearances with a 3-1 record, one save, an 8.06 ERA, 15 strikeouts and 17 walks in 22 1/3 innings of work.
 
How Cody Brown's versatility has made Mississippi State's lineup deeper
In a move that mostly went under the radar, Cody Brown started at third base in all four of Mississippi State's games last week in the SEC Tournament. Brown typically starts in left field, but has also played second base and first base this season. The reason for plugging him at third base, a position he has now played five times this season, was two-fold. Luke Alexander, MSU's regular third baseman, entered the tournament 2 for his last 25 with 11 strikeouts. Also, corner outfielders Elijah MacNamee and Hunter Vansau had been hitting more consistently and providing quality at-bats. Therein lies Brown's value.
 
Southern Miss set for 'insane' regional with Mississippi State, South Alabama
The stage is set for the Hattiesburg Regional in the NCAA Baseball Tournament, and you better get your tickets ASAP. Southern Miss learned Sunday night it would host a regional. On Monday, the NCAA announced that the Golden Eagles would be the No. 1 seed, Mississippi State would be second, South Alabama third and Illinois-Chicago No. 4. "I like it a lot," said USM junior Daniel Keating, a former Gulfport High School standout. "We're going to get with South (Alabama) and (Mississippi State). I don't know anything about (Illinois-Chicago). Obviously, the Mississippi State-Southern Miss game, if we get to that, is going to be just insane."
 
USM announces Hattiesburg regional is sold out
Southern Miss announced Tuesday the Hattiesburg regional set for Pete Taylor Park this weekend is a sellout. The No. 1 seed Golden Eagles (48-14) open the regional with a 1 p.m. Friday, showdown with No. 4 UIC (39-15), while No. 2 seed Mississippi State (36-24) and No. 3 seed South Alabama (39-19) meet at 6 p.m. There are a limited number of tournament general admission books remaining for Southern Miss students for the regional and they can purchase those beginning at 8 a.m., Wednesday. In addition, Southern Miss may release single session tickets to the general public two hours prior to each game's starting time and they are encouraged to check the Pete Taylor Park Box Office for availability.
 
USM's baseball success an opportunity for South Mississippi
The Sun Herald editorializes: "Southern Miss is bringing South Mississippi to the nation's living rooms. The Golden Eagles landed an NCAA Regional Baseball Tournament right after finishing a record-setting Conference USA Tournament at MGM Park in Biloxi. They drew the biggest crowd to see a game at the park -- 5,216 watched USM come up short against Rice in the C-USA title game. Mississippi will have two teams in the Hattiesburg regional hosted by USM, so expect more big crowds. Starting Friday, USM will play host to Illinois-Chicago, Mississippi State and South Alabama, the first time since 2003 that USM has landed a regional. ...USM has players from all over the state, and Daniel Keating, one of its stars, is from Gulfport. This event is one hot ticket and, in fact, tickets to the regional sold out on Tuesday, though some single session tickets may still be released. ...It should be a packed house and a great way to show off the region to the ESPN-3 crowd."
 
Mississippi State, Southern Miss on collision course at Hattiesburg Regional
The Dispatch's Scott Walters writes: "Many people can recall various road trips from their lives. Bonding with friends, seeing new places, eating fancy meals and barreling down the road looking for a gas station when near empty have all been experienced by each of us. During an eight-year association with the Hattiesburg American, your faithful scribe covered several sporting events involving the University of Southern Mississippi. ...This upcoming weekend, MSU and Southern Miss potentially renew the rivalry in the Hattiesburg Regional. ... MSU will need to beat South Alabama and USM will need to beat Illinois-Chicago Friday to set up a head-to-head matchup on Saturday. It should be an outstanding atmosphere for baseball this weekend."
 
Graduate transfer and early signing expected to dominate SEC spring meetings
Some major Southeastern Conference programs are hoping conversation leads to immediate change during the spring meetings in Destin, Florida this weekend. The school athletics directors and presidents are expected tothe take a long look and have intense discussions regarding current restrictions on accepting players as graduate transfers if a previous graduate transfer fails to meet that school's academic requirements. "This will be the first meaningful conversation that we've had since the proliferation of graduate transfers has happened nationally," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said to the Associated Press last week. "I expect our membership to have a pretty meaningful conversation about the right perspective on graduate transfers entering the SEC from outside and then the topic of inter-conference transfers." Along with the topic of how the league wants to handle the likely upcoming early signing period, the SEC program leaders are expected to act fast on a changing culture of glorified free agency in college football.
 
SEC commissioner says he made right decision letting Maurice Smith transfer to Georgia
While Maurice Smith's transfer to Georgia still seems to rankle Nick Saban, Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey stands by his decision to grant a waiver. "I think I made the right decision given the circumstances," Sankey said Tuesday at the SEC spring meetings. "How some of it plays out remains to be seen, I guess." The SEC granted Smith two waivers last August to leave Alabama and join former Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart in Athens. In order to transfer and play immediately for the Bulldogs, Sankey had to grant Smith an exemption from two SEC bylaws that detail one has to have two years of eligibility remaining and must be at a conference school for a full academic year before being eligible to play. Smith came up again this week as the SEC debates altering its graduate transfer rules.
 
Nick Saban opposed to SEC relaxing graduate transfer rules
The Southeastern Conference spent last offseason tussling with questions about graduate transfers. University of Alabama coach Nick Saban fielded his fair share of questions about it last summer. A year later, the SEC is back to talk it over again. Saban's talking points haven't changed. "I've never been in favor of free agency in our league," Saban said on Tuesday. "I don't think that's a good thing. I wasn't for it last year. I don't think I'll ever be for it." The graduate transfer issue means something to Saban partly because of Maurice Smith. The defensive back transferred from Alabama to Georgia to play last season with a waiver from the SEC. The issue means something this week because of Florida and quarterback Malik Zaire. The two situations aren't identical, but both could be examples as the SEC reviews its policies on graduate transfers.
 
UGA's Kirby Smart: 'No major benefit' seen by state's athletics open records law
There are a several topics du jour at the SEC spring meetings every year. Then are those that pop up that you may not have expected. Like when a reporter from Texas Tuesday at the Sandestin Beach Hilton asked Georgia football coach Kirby Smart about a subject that was much discussed last offseason. It had to do with the state's athletic open records law in Georgia that took effect last July 1 and changed the number of days required to respond to a request for athletic documents from three business days to 90. Smart was asked if his program has benefited from the law, which doesn't include salaries of non-clerical staff. "I don't think it's had much of an effect," Smart said. "You'd have to ask these guys (beat reporters). They send in FOI (Freedom of Information) requests all the time. They might know, but I don't think there's been any major benefit for us."
 
LSU keeping close watch on 'not so great' weather forecast for regional baseball
The LSU baseball team will be keeping a close eye on weather forecasts this week --- maybe with a few sets of fingers crossed as it does so. "I'm really concerned about the weather," coach Paul Mainieri said. "The forecast is not so great the whole week." As of Tuesday night, the weather.com forecast called for a 90 percent chance of rain with potential thunderstorms Friday in Baton Rouge, with a 60 percent chance of rain through the rest of the weekend. Because of rain in the area Tuesday, the Tigers were forced to practice indoors. Players were instructed not to stray too far from their phones Wednesday; they are on call in case there's a break in the rainy weather. "I told them to be flexible, because I'm going to text you whenever we get a window to get out there and practice," Mainieri said. "We're going to go even if it's 8 o'clock at night."
 
Tennessee Vols football fans can pick parking lot in real time with new system
Ticked off about your parking assignment for Tennessee football? Log on. Donor parking selections for Tennessee athletic events has gone online with an innovative process to become more transparent. Go to tennesseefundparking.org to select the location based on priority giving level, rank and the preferences of others. The Tennessee Fund, the athletic department's chief donor wing, has partnered with a Knoxville firm to clean up what associate athletic director Greg Hulen calls one of the office's biggest challenges. "Donors (in the past) send requests for a lot and ... they may or may not get that lot," Hulen said Tuesday. "It's very hard from a customer service standpoint to manage expectations." Hulen is the department's chief development officer.



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