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2011 May 2 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • NC Governor Vetoes Student Loan Opt-Out

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Gov. Beverly Perdue has vetoed two bills, including one that that allowed community college campuses to opt out of participating in a federal student loan program. She said the bill would have denied students the opportunity to get an education.

Perdue also vetoed a measure that would have required monthly premiums for all active North Carolina state workers and teachers for health insurance.

Perdue spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson said the health insurance proposal would have closed a more than $500 million shortfall for the State Health Plan for the next two years. Perdue said Republican leaders left out retired workers and teachers’ groups from the discussion of the bill.

Perdue has now vetoed four bills in 2011 — the most ever by a North Carolina governor in a year.

  • Former College Cashier Gets Prison Term

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A federal judge sentenced a former Bevill State Community College cashier and business office manager to three months in prison for embezzling $20,000 from the school.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn sentenced 56-year-old Janet Adams Bobo for embezzling and misapplying money from the school between May 2007 and May 2008.The judge ordered Bobo to serve two years supervised release after completing her prison term.

Bobo pleaded guilty to the embezzlement in November. In her plea agreement, Bobo acknowledged she began taking money from a cash drawer several years before 2007.

  • Maine Program To Help Students Finish College

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Three Maine community colleges are offering a new program to help students complete their associate degrees.

Accelerate ME is designed to help students earn degrees within a year and reduce the number of Mainers who have started college but haven’t graduated.

To be eligible, students must be 21 or older, have at least 30 credits toward a 60-credit degree program and have been enrolled in classes within the last five years.

Maine Community College System spokeswoman Helen Pelletier tells the Portland Press Herald the program is to help people who have been challenged by time or money.

The program is being offered at York County Community College, Southern Maine Community College and Central Maine Community College

  • Miss. College Opens Doors of Nursing Facility

SENATOBIA, Miss. (AP) — Northwest Mississippi Community College opened the doors to its new nursing facility on the college’s main Senatobia campus.

The nursing facility is part of a major renovation at the growing community college.

College officials say the new facility will allow for the eventual expansion of the nursing program. More than 150 students who meet qualifications have been unable to enter the program each semester because of a lack of physical space.

  • Students Help Rebuild W. Va. Racetrack

MINERAL WELLS, W.Va. (AP) — Students studying to become heavy equipment operators at Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College are getting real-world experience rebuilding the West Virginia Motor Speedway in Mineral Wells.

Students are reconfiguring the track to a 3/8-mile oval. They’re also widening turns to make passing easier and replacing guardrails with run-off areas to reduce car damage, said Brian Ferrell, spokesman for track operator Mountain State Motorsports Promotions. The shorter track layout is designed to keep drivers closer.

“Fans want to see side-by-side racing, not a freight-train race,” Ferrell told the Charleston Gazette. The track reopened last season after being closed for several years.

The students are working four weeks at a time running earth moving equipment and trucks.

Kanawha Valley heavy equipment instructor Martin Dodson said they’ll learn the basics.

“They won’t be highly skilled heavy-equipment operators by the end of a four-week class,” Dotson said.

“But they will learn the basics of how to run these machines. They’ll also learn the basics of how to estimate production and how to use a transit to determine range and grade.”

  • Report: Grad Rates Lag for Conn. Minorities

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A new state report says almost a third of Connecticut public college and university students are from minority groups and that their graduation rates are lagging.

More than 31,600 students identifying themselves as black, Hispanic or belonging to another minority group were enrolled as of fall 2010.

But the report says only 20 percent of students receiving bachelor’s and associate degrees last year were from those minority groups, and that more work is necessary to retain them. It also says Hispanic and black students are overrepresented at two-year community colleges and underrepresented at four-year universities.

  • Tenn. Colleges Agree on Dual Admission Plan

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Chattanooga State Community College students will find it easier to pursue a bachelor’s degree at Middle Tennessee State University under an agreement reached this week.

The presidents of MTSU and Chattanooga State committed to a shared curriculum plan for students seeking an associate degree in Chattanooga who also wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Murfreesboro.

Under the agreement, Chattanooga students who meet specific eligibility requirements will qualify for dual admission at the community college and MTSU.

  • W. Va. College Eyes Vacant Buildings

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Northern Community College is hoping to take over some vacant buildings in downtown Wheeling.

School officials say they’d like to use the former Honda and Hyundai dealership buildings.

WTOV of Steubenville, Ohio, says school officials want to use one floor to set up a business incubator for startup companies and expand training in information technologies.

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