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2014 March 3 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Conn. Gov. Directing More Money to Colleges

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget proposal includes more than $134 million in new funding for Connecticut’s state college and university system to help launch a multi-year strategic improvement plan.

The governor said the investment will help “move our state university and community college system into the 21st century and help graduate as many students as possible.”

The Connecticut Colleges and Universities’ 2020 plan is supposed to unite the four state universities, 12 community colleges and the online Charter Oak State College into a single system that better serves students and prepares them to work in the state’s strongest industry growth sectors.

The funding, which needs legislative approval, will pay for numerous initiatives. The list includes high-tech classrooms, expanded manufacturing programs, deferred maintenance, teacher training and system-wide credit transfers.

  • Librarian Spreads Wealth after Death

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A Maine reference librarian who died last summer at 89 is still showing his generosity.

The man who spent much of his life reading, volunteering at a hospital and bicycling around Portland has left hundreds of thousands of dollars to a variety of organizations.

Franklin Talbot’s gifts became public when Southern Maine Community College announced it had received $253,000 for scholarships.

He also gave $50,000 to the Portland Public Library, $50,000 to the Pine Tree Society, $50,000 to the Portland Parks and Recreation Department and up to $50,000 for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Portland.

The Rev. Jeanette Good of the State Street Church described him as “a person of profound empathy and compassion.”

  • IRS Affirms Reduced Hours For Va. Adjuncts

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Thousands of part-time college instructors in Virginia will continue to work fewer hours because of the federal health care law.

The state last year limited adjunct teachers’ hours because the Affordable Care Act says employees working at least 30 hours a week must receive health care benefits. Some of those instructors were teaching more than 15 credit hours. Officials say about one-quarter of Virginia community college adjuncts had to reduce their teaching loads.

Virginia sought guidance from the Internal Revenue Service on whether it was properly calculating adjunct instructors’ actual work time. The Virginian-Pilot reports (http://bit.ly/MiH1Ow ) that the guidance came last month. Under a formula provided by the IRS, an instructor teaching 15 credit hours is well over the 30-hour limit. That means Virginia’s restrictions will remain for now.

  • CCSF Loses Round in Certification Bid

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — One of California’s largest community colleges has lost its initial bid to hold onto its accreditation and stay open, but the certification fight is far from over for City College of San Francisco.

The president of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges notified the college that it is unwilling to reverse its decision from last year to strip the school of its accreditation in July 2014 because of what it said were intractable financial and governance problems.

The decision paves the way for San Francisco City College to submit a formal appeal.

Chancellor Art Tyler has a Plan B: persuading the commission that the college’s mission, leadership and programs have changed so substantially that it merits a reevaluation.

  • New Packaging Program Will Launch in 2015

WEYERS CAVE, Va. (AP) — Blue Ridge Community College is creating a training program to address a shortage of skilled workers in the packaging industry.

The program will provide specialized training in gluing and die-cutting. It’s expected to start either in the fall or in the spring of 2015.

Carded Graphics president and CEO Murry Pitts said he will help fund the program. Pitts says jobs are available around the country. But companies are struggling to find skilled workers.

Paperboard Packaging Council president Ben Markens says he’s not aware of any other specialized training programs for gluing and die-cutting. He says companies likely would be interested in sending their workers to Blue Ridge for additional training.

  • 2 Sentenced in Federal Student Loan Fraud Case

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Two Northern California residents have been sentenced to federal prison in separate student loan fraud cases.

Brent W. Wilder, from the Sacramento suburb of Antelope, was sentenced to two years and nine months. Michelle Wright, 32, of Stockton was sentenced to three years in prison and one year of home confinement.

Federal prosecutors say they separately recruited students to sign up for community college classes and apply for financial aid.

Wilder, who is 44, used more than 50 students to gain more than $200,000 in federal student aid. Most soon dropped out or flunked out of the Sacramento-area colleges.

Wright also was convicted of aggravated identity theft. Prosecutors say she used students’ personal information to commit fraud.

Six others also were convicted in the schemes.

  • La. Colleges Eye New Campus Locations

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Although funding for construction of $250 million in structures won’t be available for almost 18 months, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System is taking preliminary steps to be ready when the money can be used.

The legislature in 2013 approved an act, which supplies money to build new campuses in Alexandria, Ruston and Jennings and a total of 29 structures across much of the state. Those structures include a $17 million allied health and science building at South Louisiana Community College in Lafayette.

Joe May, president of the LCTCS system, says it will take about a year to determine locations and facilities.

The state is paying 80 percent of the cost of the facilities and local industries and businesses are to contribute 20 percent.

  • Moraine Valley CC Recognized For Vets Work

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago-area community college is getting recognition for its work with veterans.

The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs is awarding Moraine Valley Community College the governor’s award for veteran education excellence. The award is for the fall 2013 semester.

Veteran Affairs Director Erica Borggren says Moraine Valley consistently supports veterans returning to higher education.

The community college is recognized for ensuring veterans receive credits from their military service. Veterans also get priority registration so they can finish school before their benefits eligibility ends.

The department also recognizes the school’s Veteran Resource Center. The center addresses the needs of veterans and their families through staff support.

Moraine Valley President Sylvia Jenkins says she’s proud to have school’s efforts recognized statewide.

  • Murphy Wants Conn. Colleges To Ditch Tobacco

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy is urging college presidents across Connecticut to adopt tobacco-free policies at their campuses.

The Democrat sent a letter suggesting they join the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Tobacco-Free College Initiative, which promotes tobacco-free policies at higher learning institutions across the country.

Gateway Community College in New Haven recently announced it would become a smoke-free campus.

In his letter, Murphy said the HHS initiative, launched in September 2012, has resources for colleges and universities on ways to implement a smoke-free or tobacco-free campus. Citing statistics from the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, Murphy said nationally there are nearly 1,200 smoke-free campuses, of which 811 were tobacco-free.

Murphy said colleges can help reduce smoking since approximately one-third of young adults between ages 18 to 24 smoke.

  • Ohio Man Admits To Campus Assault, Robbery

CINCINNATI (AP) — An Ohio college student who admitted to beating and robbing a delivery man in a campus bathroom — then tried to have the man killed so he couldn’t testify — is facing 30 years in prison.

Twenty-one year-old Kendall Flucas pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, felonious assault and conspiracy to commit murder in the September beating of the delivery man in a bathroom at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.

The Cincinnati Enquirer (http://cin.ci/Mrh6nH ) reports that Flucas beat the man with a rock and his fists and stole his money. Prosecutors said Flucas later tried to hire someone to kill the victim. Sentencing is March 5.

  • Ex-Lawmaker Named to Maricopa Board

PHOENIX (AP) — A former Arizona legislator has been picked to serve on the board for Maricopa Community Colleges.

Alfredo Gutierrez succeeds Ben Miranda, who died in November as a result of heart disease.

Gutierrez will serve on the board until Dec. 31.

A Nov. 4 election will be held to pick a person to serve the remaining two years of Miranda’s term, which expires at the end of 2016.

Gutierrez served in the Arizona Senate from 1973 to 1986, including three terms as majority leader.

  • Iowa College Expanding Workforce Training

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Des Moines Area Community College is expanding a workforce training program.

The school says it is hiring new trainers, adding sessions and expanding classroom space for its Workforce Training Academy. It says a surge in participation has led to the decision.

The program offers unemployed and underemployed people short-term training for high-demand careers.

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