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2009 January 28 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Former Miss. College Worker Indicted for Embezzlement

BOONEVILLE, Miss. (AP) — A former employee of Northeast Mississippi Community College is charged with illegally taking more than $50,000 from the school.

State Auditor Stacey Pickering said Seleta Howell, a former accounts receivable specialist with the college, has been indicted on five counts of embezzlement.

The auditor said the 42-year-old Howell worked in the college’s business office from November 2001 through September 2006. She is charged with embezzling a total of $52,754 from August 2004 through September 2006.

  • North Dakota Elementary Ed Program Fills Wyoming Gap

VALLEY CITY, N.D. (AP)—Valley City State University is offering an elementary education program to students at a Wyoming community college as it searches outside the state’s borders for prospective students.

Seven students at Northwest Community College in Powell, Wyo., are enrolled in the program, said Gary Thompson, Valley City State’s dean of education. The students take classes online, and Valley City State professors will travel to Wyoming this summer to offer further instruction. 

Valley City stepped into the void because the University of Wyoming couldn’t offer the program, Thompson said. “I think this is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

Philip Parnell, director of articulation and transfer for North Dakota’s university system, says state colleges can take advantage of education gaps in other states.

As North Dakota’s number of high school graduates drops, it is necessary for schools to prospect for students elsewhere to maintain their enrollments, Parnell said.

  • Economy Will Block Plan for Free Tuition, Governor Says

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue is dialing down some expectations for her first year in office, including plans to offer free community college tuition.

Before taking office earlier this month, Perdue said she knew the state’s bad fiscal picture means her campaign support for free community college tuition will not be possible this year. She said she hopes there will be money to expand former Gov. Mike Easley’s college affordability program for students in low-income families.

Perdue also said she may never get all she wants from the General Assembly when it comes to a government efficiency panel she plans to name. The governor has said she wants to require lawmakers to vote yes or no on the panel’s recommendations.

  • Poor Economy  Has Wisconsin Rethinking Plan For Dairy Farm

MARSHFIELD, Wis. (AP) — The poor economy has organizers scaling back plans for a dairy school in Marathon County in central Wisconsin.

The Dairyland State Academy Board and Northcentral Technical College are partnering on the project.

DSA Board president Dale Heise says the anemic economy has made investors hesitant about the $6 million project, particularly since a site has not been chosen.

The school would have a dairy farm where students could get hands-on experience in farming and management.

But organizers are discussing scaling back and having fewer cows and less land and equipment. They also may buy an existing farm instead of building a new one.

Marathon County officials have not yet decided whether they will commit $1 million to the project as requested.

  • Immigrants Get Retraining In Health Field At Wash. College

DES MOINES, Wash. (AP) — A program at Highline Community College helps immigrants trained as health professionals in their home countries obtain credentials to continue their careers.

The Puget Sound Welcome Back Center at the Des Moines college helps them find training and language classes.

The Seattle Times reported that health professionals or other skilled workers from outside the United States often end up in low-skill jobs.

The center director, Kris Mason, says the program is not a shortcut to the health profession. Immigrants need to pass the same tests as those trained in this country.

  • Bill To Offer At-Risk High School Students College Credits

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP)—Wyoming lawmakers are looking at new ways to discourage high school students from dropping out of school.

A bill prepared for the new legislative session would encourage at-risk students to take college credit classes. The pilot programs would be overseen by the Wyoming Community College Commission.

A sponsor of the bill, Rep. Debbie Hammons (D-Worland), said many students who think about dropping out are very bright and bored with everyday school.

“If they could take advanced courses in high school that gave them college credit, maybe they wouldn’t drop out,” said Hammons, a former teacher.

Wyoming’s seven community colleges, she said, have areas of expertise enabling them to work with at-risk high school students. The bill would appropriate $160,000 from the school foundation fund to the Wyoming Community College Commission.

Programs eligible for grant funding would include dual enrollment programs that would encourage gifted and talented students to take college credit classes.

The goal of the Wyoming Department of Education is to see 80 percent of high school students graduate.

“With our lack of workers in this state, I’m very alarmed that we’re willing to accept 20 percent of our kids not completing high school,” Hammons said. 

  • Laramie Gets Turbine for Its  Program in Wind Tech Training

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP)—Wyoming’s Laramie Community College has acquired an 18,000-pound wind turbine to help students prepare for work in the wind-power industry.

Duke Energy and Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power donated a turbine damaged during a June storm that struck the Happy Jack Wind Farm. The turbine has a 143-foot blade.

Laramie Community College offers instruction that can prepare students to become certified as wind technicians.

  • Schools in ND, Manitoba Plan Joint Program In Wind Tech 

DEVILS LAKE, N.D. (AP) — Officials from Lake Region State College in Devils Lake and Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, Manitoba, want to collaborate on a wind turbine technician training program.

Doug Darling, Lake Region’s vice president for academic affairs, says the joint effort is aimed at attracting industry support.

The program would qualify a trained technician to work on a wind farm in either North Dakota or Manitoba.

  • Graduation at Pierpont Marks School’s New Independent ID

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) — Pierpont Community & Technical College is celebrating its new role as an independent school.

Formerly part of Fairmont State University, Pierpont recently held its first independent graduation ceremony.

Pierpont Board of Governors Chairman Jim Griffin told the graduates that the ceremony marked the beginning of a new identity for the college.

About a quarter of Pierpont’s 150 students who graduated in December attended the ceremony.

Pierpont became a free-standing institution on July 1 under legislation that separated it from Fairmont State. Pierpont graduates formerly participated in Fairmont’s graduation ceremony. 

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