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2007 November 20 - 12:00 am

News Briefs

Vandalism at Md. College Linked to Smoking Ban

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — Vandals suspected of stealing toilet paper and trashing men’s bathrooms at Frederick Community College have given administrators an ultimatum: lift the campus smoking ban and the vandalism will stop.

Instead, the college is offering a $500 reward to anyone who can provide information leading to arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators.

College spokesman Michael Pritchard says the vandals have struck at least 12 times in the past month. The college banned smoking, except in parking lots, last spring. Pritchard says a message left on the wall of the first bathroom vandalized indicated the attacks would continue until the school lifts the smoking ban.


N.M. College To Pay Legal Fees Of Former President

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (AP) — Luna Community College has agreed to pay the legal bills of its former interim president, who in return will drop any possible claims he may have against the college, said its current interim president, Sigfredo Maestas.

The college’s Board of Trustees voted last month to pay $5,000 in legal costs for Gilbert Sena, who took over the college in October 2006 when the previous president abruptly retired.

Sena was placed on leave in May, but college officials would not say why.

The board also approved a $30,000 contract for Sena to prepare an interim report to the North Central Association, the college’s accreditor.

Sena is an expert in accreditation and has been an evaluator for the North Central Association, Maestas said.

Sena, who had been Luna’s academic dean before being named to the top spot, left the college shortly after being placed on leave. Maestas took his place.

The college is seeking a permanent president, and earlier this month announced it had five finalists for the job.


Joint Flight Training Center Hangar Opens in North Carolina 

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — The University of North Dakota’s flight school and a community college in North Carolina have opened a new hangar in Lumberton, N.C.

Officials from the UND Aerospace Foundation and Robeson Community College in Lumberton, signed a partnership agreement in 2005 for a new flight school training center. A new 8,000-square-foot hangar was dedicated this month, UND flight school spokeswoman Karen Ryba said.

The Aerospace Foundation said it is working with Robeson to provide collegiate flight training to meet growing demand in the aviation industry.

The new facility is located at the Lumberton Regional Airport. The facility includes classrooms, office space and a flight simulator.

Officials said aeronautics education camps for middle school and high school students will be held at the facility. 


N.M. Wind Turbine To Meet College’s Energy Needs

TUCUMCARI, N.M. (AP) — A wind turbine to be installed at Mesalands Community College is expected to offset nearly all of the eastern New Mexico college’s electricity requirements and provide a training center for the next generation of renewable energy technicians.

The 1.5 megawatt wind turbine will be a key part of the North American Wind Research and Training Center, which is being established by the college and other partners to train wind energy technicians and wind farm managers in maintenance and safety issues.

``Installing this new wind turbine at Mesalands is another step in building New Mexico into a clean energy state,” Gov. Bill Richardson said.

Representatives from Mesalands and General Electric Co. signed a contract for the wind turbine. Obtaining the turbine from GE is the first step in establishing the wind center.

Richardson said the U.S. Department of Labor has awarded the project a $2 million grant, $750,000 of which was earmarked for the purchase of the wind turbine.

``We have what we need to get North American Wind Research and Training Center up and running and we will continue working on obtaining the funds we need to make this a first-class facility that will truly serve all of North America,’’ said Mesalands president Phillip Barry.

In addition to providing real-world experience for students, the wind center will help with research by Sandia National Laboratories and New Mexico State University.


Va. Officials Take Issue with College Board Report

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia higher education officials are taking issue with a national report that cites the costs of attending college.

Virginia Community College System officials, along with the State Council for Higher Education of Virginia, cautioned that the nonprofit College Board uses a different method to calculate tuition and fees of the state’s two-year and four-year institutions. The College Board used a weighted enrollment formula instead of the state’s use of a simple average. The College Board also provided a disclaimer saying data of individual states should be interpreted with caution.

The community college system has previously reported that students at state community colleges are paying an average of $2,404 in tuition and fees this academic year, nearly 6 percent higher than last year. The state council has said that tuition and fees at four-year public universities average $7,083 for in-state students, up nearly 7 percent.

Community college officials say tuition at Virginia’s two-year institutions remains below the national average. According to the College Board, the average weighted price of public two-year colleges rose slightly more than 4 percent to $2,361.

Conn. College Enrollment Breaks Record Again

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — For the sixth straight year, enrollment at colleges and universities in Connecticut has set a new record.

Student enrollment at public and private schools reached a high of 178,855 students for this fall and community college enrollment rose 4.2 percent overall, state higher education officials said.

Overall, enrollment at the public colleges grew by 1.6 percent, to 112,495 students this fall. Private colleges grew by 0.9 percent, with 65,397 students registered this fall.

The steady increases are due to a growing pool of high school students reaching college age and a higher percentage of students opting to go to college, many in-state, according to Valerie Lewis, state higher education commissioner.

Lewis said 58 percent of the high school graduating class last year chose to go to college in Connecticut, compared to 48 percent 10 years ago when education officials worried about a brain drain.

``Both public and private colleges have gained in quality and we have seen them all beginning to pay more attention to the state’s needs for business growth, such as engineering,” Lewis said.


Alabama College Moves To Fire Business Manager

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — The business manager at Bishop State Community College has been placed on administrative leave and is in the process of being terminated for various reasons, including failure to effectively manage her office.

Interim president James Lowe informed Barbara Smith about the termination proceedings in an Oct. 24 letter.

Lowe said Smith failed to implement or confirm adequate financial processes and controls since 1993 and did not cooperate with the college’s financial aid office.

He also cited destruction of college property and high turnover, complaints from employees and inadequate organization of records, duties and procedures in business office as reasons Smith was being fired.

Smith’s departure is the latest development at the troubled Mobile college where at least $400,000 in questioned costs have been found. More than 25 employees — including the financial aid director — and their relatives have been charged with theft on suspicion of getting federal aid fraudulently.

Federal financial aid money had been cut off at the college for nearly a year, but funds resumed earlier this month.


Poisoning of Boar Confounds Calif. College Officials

REDDING, Calif. (AP) – Romeo, wherefore art thou killers?

The apparent poisoning death of the 800 pound, prize-winning boar has generated a storm of controversy at Shasta College.

Romeo was found dead two months ago in his pen at a farm operated by the college. It was the second time in two years a boar had died under mysterious circumstances in the agriculture department.

The latest death has saddened and confounded the student body at the Redding college. Passions were further inflamed when the student newspaper, The Lance, recently suggested a culprit and motive – six jealous students who were evicted from the farm’s dormitory.

College officials say there is no evidence the punished students conspired to kill Romeo and say they have no solid leads into the boar’s death.

“There is no evidence one way or another,” college president Gary Lewis told the Record Searchlight newspaper of Redding when asked about a connection between the pig’s passing and the evicted students.

The students – some of whom were studying to become veterinary technicians – performed chores on the farm as part of their living arrangement. They were evicted for breaking college rules on Sept. 12. Two days later, Romeo was found dead in his pen.   

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