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2011 August 22 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • SC College Offers New Energy Courses

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) — The Technical College of the Lowcountry in Beaufort is offering courses on the installation of alternative energy geothermal heating and cooling systems.

School spokesman Leigh Copeland told The Island Packet of Hilton Head the college begins training this month for accredited installers, designers, architects and building contractors.

Geothermal systems use the earth’s relatively constant temperature to provide heating, cooling and hot water for homes and commercial buildings. The systems can generate substantial savings in energy use and cost.

They circulate water or antifreeze solutions through pipes buried underground, carrying heat to a building in the winter and away from it in the summer.

A $25,000 grant from the South Carolina Energy Office and contributions from local businesses paid for training an instructor and purchasing equipment.

  • Ark. College To Buy Land for Satellite Campus

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The University of Arkansas Community College at Hope has been given approval to buy land in Texarkana, Ark., for a satellite campus.

The University of Arkansas Board of Trustees voted to allow the college to buy 8.7 acres near Interstate 30 for about $80,000 and an adjacent 15½ acres for about $31,000.

Establishing the campus will allow the college to reach students who don’t want to make the 40 minute drive from Texarkana to Hope, school officials said. The two colleges currently in Texarkana, Texarkana College and Texas A&M University at Texarkana, are both on the Texas side of the city.

“Miller County is extremely important to southwest Arkansas,” said Chris Thomason, chancellor of the community college. “We see this as an opportunity for us to totally engage the power of higher education in a regional approach to economic development,” he told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Texarkana Mayor Wayne Smith told the Texarkana Gazette that having the campus will help keep the city’s high school graduates in Texarkana.

“We’ve got an opportunity to put a stop to the brain drain that’s been occurring here,” he said.

The process is in its beginning stages, Thomason said when asked about the number of buildings planned or the number of students expected to attend the satellite campus.

He said he hopes to see the campus open by the fall of 2012.

  • Mid-Plains Opens New Campus in Central Neb.

BROKEN BOW, Neb. (AP) — Mid-Plains Community College has officially opened its new extended campus in Broken Bow.

Gov. Dave Heineman was on hand for the grand-opening celebration. He says the campus will bring jobs to the area and improve education in central Nebraska.

Mid-Plains has been offering classes in Broken Bow since 2001. The new campus will help Mid-Plains expand the offerings there.

The project cost $1.3 million. Mid-Plains contributed $200,000, with the rest coming through donations.

  • Six Colleges Picked for Green Energy Program

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Six colleges in the Tennessee Valley Authority region have been picked for a Green Campus Network that will pay student interns to help develop the pilot energy efficiency program.

The campuses in the Tennessee Valley Authority-Alliance to Save Energy partnership are the University of Memphis; Sewanee: The University of the South; Western Kentucky University; Calhoun Community College at Decatur, Ala.; the University of Alabama in Huntsville; and the University of Mississippi.

The Green Campus Network will involve students, faculty, administrators and support staff in cutting energy use on college campuses. It also encourages students to pursue careers in sustainability and increases energy efficiency awareness.

TVA funding will cover the program startup and wages for student interns.

The alliance has had a green campus program in California.

  • NM College Gets Funds for Energy Job Training

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Clean energy job training and other environmental workforce programs at Santa Fe Community College will get a boost thanks to funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall says the college will receive $300,000 that can be used to teach job skills to unemployed veterans and Native Americans in fields with an environmental benefit.

The New Mexico Democrat calls it a “worthy investment” in New Mexico’s economy.

The college will use the grant funding to train participants in solid waste management, energy efficiency technologies and renewable energy preparation and installation.

It will also offer training in hazardous waste operations, emergency response training, underground storage tank leak prevention and renewable energy technologies awareness.

After 180 hours of training, the recruits will be placed in jobs in the area.

  • Maine College Starts Work on New Campus

BRUNSWICK, Maine (AP) — Southern Maine Community College is marking the start of renovation work at its new Midcoast Campus, at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station.

The South Portland college held a ceremony Tuesday to mark the transfer of deeds for two former Navy buildings that will become part of SMCC’s satellite campus in Brunswick. In all, the college will take over five buildings on the site.

SMCC President James Ortiz swung a sledgehammer signifying the start of renovations to one of the buildings, which will be turned into the Maine Advanced Technology & Engineering Center.

The first classes at the campus will be offered in one of the buildings this fall. The entire campus is slated to open in the fall of 2012.

  • IG Report Says Delgado Wrongly Paid Instructor

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A Delgado Community College instructor was paid for classes she did not teach, one of several instances in which employees were paid hourly wages while also being improperly compensated through teaching contracts, according to an inspector general’s report.

Inspector General Stephen Street’s review covered his office’s investigation of the college’s School of Allied Health in New Orleans and its fitness centers.

Street said instructor Gay Dawson received $6,000 in 2009 and 2010 to teach six classes she didn’t teach, with the knowledge of a supervisor who devised the contracts.

The report says Dawson acknowledged the fraudulent contracts but said the compensation covered extra work in semesters for which she was not paid, including leading a fitness class and writing a fitness manual. But Street’s report says if Dawson did extra work, she should have been paid at her normal hourly rate — not through a teaching contract.

Street said investigators found several employees of the Delgado fitness centers being paid hourly like Dawson while also getting money through teaching contracts.

After investigators began looking into the payments, “Delgado management halted this practice and instituted a new policy to prevent its occurrence,” the report says.

In a written response, Delgado’s acting chancellor, Deborah Lea, says that Delgado administrators told supervisors that contracts must accurately represent the duties to be performed and the hours worked and that the university was considering disciplinary actions against Dawson and her supervisor.

  • SC Students Offered $966M In Scholarships

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Education Department says the class of 2011 was offered a record $966 million in college scholarships.

That tops the amount offered to last year’s public high school seniors by $49 million.

Education Department officials said the total brings the amount offered over the past five years to more than $4 billion.

The total includes scholarships not accepted by students. It represents all scholarships offered to students as they considered which two- or four-year college to attend.

  • Ken. Colleges Receive $1M Completion Grant

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky has received one of 10 $1 million grants to increase college completion.

Gov. Steve Beshear’s office says the state will use the funds to improve developmental education opportunities for adults in the Learn on Demand online program offered through the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

A total of 33 states applied for the grants in a competition established by Complete College America, a national nonprofit organization.

  • 4,300 Apply For 60 Jobs At Tenn. Solar Plant

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A new solar plant in southeastern Tennessee received more than 4,300 applications for its first 60 jobs.

Wacker Chemical Corp. spokesman Bill Toth said that applicants who were not picked for the first jobs will be considered as hiring continues. The $1.5 billion plant to be finished in 2013 in Bradley County will make polysilicon for the solar-panel industry.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that a Wacker executive said at the first day of orientation for the new hires that up to 700 jobs may be created.

The trainees for lead chemical operator jobs will spend six months training at Chattanooga State Community College and another six in Germany. 

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