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2013 August 5 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Residents Move Off College Land

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (AP) — After months of contention, the residents of a former mobile home park have left land owned by Garden City Community College.

The college bought the land in December but some tenants refused to leave. They claimed they should be compensated for the mobile homes, which were too old to move under a city ordinance that allows only mobile homes built in 1986 or later to be moved in the city and mobile homes built between 1975 and 1985 to be moved within the county.

Most of the tenants moved in May when the college served legal notice that they had to leave. The college then sued seven owners or tenants whose mobile homes remained on the property on May 22, said college attorney Randy Grisell.

Grisell said only five of the seven could be located. Four of them chose not to contest the action during a court hearing in June and vacated the property soon thereafter. All the mobile homes were empty when Grisell and sheriff’s deputies visited the park after the court hearing, he said. If the tenant who did not show up for the court hearing doesn’t respond by Aug. 13, a judgment will be entered for the college.

College President Herbert Swender said the college intends to remove all the trailers after the legal process is complete. The college has not announced any plans for the land, which is across the street from the campus.

  • Linn State Getting New Name in ‘14

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s only state-funded, two-year technical college is getting a new name.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation that will change the name of Linn State Technical College to the State Technical College of Missouri.

The name change for the central Missouri school will take effect July 1, 2014.

The college offers certificates and associate degrees with an emphasis on industrial and technology programs.

  • Pa. Man Pleads Guilty in Student Kidnapping

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A convicted sex offender will spend the next 25 to 50 years in state prison for kidnapping and sexually assaulting a Harrisburg Area Community College student less than a week after his release from prison for similar crimes.

Investigators said 53-year-old Clarence Shaffer abducted an 18-year-old woman at gunpoint from the school parking lot in December and took her to a wooded area, where he kicked, choked and sexually assaulted her. She escaped after he lowered his gun.

Shaffer pleaded guilty to charges including kidnapping, involuntary deviate sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault and terroristic threats.

He was released from prison four days before the December abduction, after serving his maximum 14-year sentence for the kidnapping and attempted sexual assault of a college student in the 1990s.

  • Missouri College Breaks Ground For Safe Room

WEBB CITY, Mo. (AP) — Crowder College in southwest Missouri has broken ground on an expansion at its Webb City campus that will include a large room intended to provide the community safety during tornadoes.

The college’s new building in Webb City will add a total of 22,000 square feet to the campus and is scheduled to open in fall 2014.

The new building will include a 9,000-square-foot safe room able to withstand an EF-5 tornado, which can pack winds of 200 mph. The safe room, which will also be available for classroom space, will be open to the community during tornadoes.

The $6 million cost of the project will be covered by a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as with money from the college’s building fund. Webb City businessman Jim Dawson also is leading a fundraising effort to raise $1.5 million in donations for the project

Officials with Crowder College, a two-year community college with about 5,400 students, have said the full project also will include improvements to parking lots and roads.

Webb City is a few miles north of Joplin, which was struck by an EF-5 tornado in 2011. That tornado killed 161 people and destroyed a broad swath of Joplin.

  • New Degrees Focus on the Great Outdoors

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Gillette College is starting a pilot program for an associate degree in outdoor leadership. The program will offer classes for a range of fields including agriculture and environmental science.

It’s designed for students who want to transfer to four-year colleges as well as people seeking work as soon as they get the degree.

The pilot program will also be offered at Sheridan College through the Northern Wyoming Community College District. If the program attracts sufficient students, the Wyoming College Commission could make it permanent.

Courses will begin in the fall.

  • New Endowment To Fund Tenn. Scholarships

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennesseans looking to attend a two-year public community college are getting some assistance.

Gov. Bill Haslam held a ceremonial bill signing at Chattanooga State Community College for a measure that establishes an endowment of at least $35 million through the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation for need-based students.

The bill was part of the governor’s legislative agenda this year. It is a component of his “Drive to 55” initiative to increase the number of Tennesseans with at least a two-year college degree or certificate.

Currently, 32 percent of Tennesseans have a two-year degree or higher, and Haslam’s goal is to raise that number to 55 percent by 2025.

Haslam officially signed the bill in April.

  • Peralta Colleges Removed from Warning List

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Peralta Community College District’s four schools in the San Francisco Bay area have cleared up their accounting, budgeting and governance problems and were removed from their accreditor’s watch list.

Peralta Chancellor Jose M. Ortiz tells the Oakland Tribune the district has “righted the ship.”

The newspaper reported that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges removed Peralta’s schools from warning status. The district had been under scrutiny since 2010.

Ortiz says the schools — Berkeley City College, the College of Alameda, Merritt College and Laney College — fixed problems such as not accounting for long-term employee health benefits.

  • SUNY Seeks Job Training Money To Fill Openings

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Sen. Charles Schumer says he expects the State University of New York will win a $23 million grant to expand and create courses at community colleges to match current job openings.

Schumer says the federal funding could train 6,000 New Yorkers to bridge a “skills gap.”

He says the gap is between New Yorkers seeking jobs and employers looking to fill positions with workers trained in specific areas.

The grant would allow 29 community colleges to train people as nurses, laboratory technicians and for other health care jobs.

Schumer says Monroe Community College in Rochester, for example, could use the grant to expand its programs to provide 42 more students with associate degrees who would likely have with jobs waiting for them upon graduation.

  • Miss. Schools Offer Dual Credit Classes

FULTON, Miss. (AP) — Itawamba Community College has signed a dual credit class agreement with the Itawamba County school system.

Itawamba County Superintendent of Education Michael Nanney said the program offers an inexpensive way for the county’s high school students to get started on their college work.

High school students can be simultaneously enrolled in both high school and community college. Participants may earn up to 30 credit hours.

At least 20 students must enroll for classes.

For the fall 2013 semester, Itawamba schools will be offering a government course as part of the dual enrollment program; in the spring, students can choose from psychology and/or college algebra.

Students who complete these classes will be given both high school and college credit.

  • Stolen Statue of Texas College Leader Returned

TYLER, Texas (AP) — A statue of a former East Texas college president swiped in 1995 is back on campus after a man who found the artwork noticed media reports of the theft.

Tyler Junior College President Mike Metke unveiled the statue of Harry Jenkins. Jenkins led the school from 1946 to 1980. He died in 1983. The life-size bronze statue was erected four years later.

Berny Trevino received a $5,000 reward for return of the statue he says he found abandoned at an Austin apartment complex in 2001. Trevino for a couple of years searched online for the owner without success.

Metke in 2011 announced criminal justice students would review the theft.

Trevino recently searched online and found stories about the renewed search.

The thief remains unknown.

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