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Community colleges push for mid-level funding

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Surrounded by students wearing "Vote Mississippi Values" shirts, Meridian Community College President Scott Elliott, center, chairman of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges, explains why mid-level funding is important.
Surrounded by students wearing “Vote Mississippi Values” shirts, Meridian Community College President Scott Elliott, center, chairman of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges, explains why mid-level funding is important.
02/18/11 – With dozens of students wearing black “Vote Mississippi Values” T-shirts as a backdrop, supporters of the 15 Mississippi community colleges asked lawmakers to follow through on their 2007 commitment to mid-level funding. Mid-level mandates per-student funding for community colleges that is midway between per-student funding for K-12 students and regional public university students. The colleges need $134 million to completely achieve mid-level funding, which is a gap of $2,288 per student. “The best medicine I think we can spoon feed our economy is the Mississippi community college system,” said Dr. Scott Elliott, president of Meridian Community College and chairman of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges. “Whatever investment Mississippians make in this great system is going to be returned many fold. I would ask our legislators to help us help Mississippi.” The annual community college Capitol Day on Feb. 17, hosted by the 900-member statewide faculty association, spotlighted underfunding at the colleges. Credit enrollment at Mississippi’s 15 community colleges has increased 31 percent over the past three years, but state funding has continued to decline since 2007, when the legislators approved mid-level funding. “The community college system has seen tremendous growth over the past 10 years while providing record graduates into our workforce. But at the same time they have shouldered deep financial cuts in state funding,” said Dale Purvis, a member of the Pearl River Community College Board of Trustees and a local business owner. “From a business owners’ standing, the community college system is of great value to me and other business owners.” Tameka Wilson, a nontraditional Honors student at Hinds Community College, said she is achieving her dream of attending college and plans to continue it by attending law school. “My community college is helping me to achieve that goal,” she said. “I am pleased I made the decision to come back to school to pursue my degree and that I chose a community college before transferring to a four-year university. The personal attention, encouragement and value I’ve received have helped me to become the person you see today.” Current year state appropriations funding decreased 10.3 percent over the previous year to below 2008 levels, which leaves the colleges struggling to meet the needs of more students with fewer state dollars. During the past 10 years community college enrollment has grown 54 percent while state support has declined by 26 percent. “The mid-level funding law recognized our community college system as the best educational buy and recognized that funding has not kept pace with that of IHL and K-12. However, with recent budget cuts we have fallen behind,” said Kyle Hill, president of the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges Faculty Association. “Today finds our community colleges teaching 74 percent of all freshmen enrolled in higher education in Mississippi; 58 percent of all undergraduates in Mississippi universities were enrolled at a community college,” said Hill, director of bands at Pearl River Community College. Rep. Kelvin Buck, D-Holly Springs, chairman of the Universities and Colleges Committee, said mid-level funding must be addressed before proposed new performance standards are imposed on community colleges. “There is room for improvement on our end … and that is to make sure you have the resources to do what you need to do,” Buck said. Hinds Community College alumnus Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant noted the students’ “Vote Mississippi Values” shirts. “I understand what Mississippi Values are,” he said. “A part of them is a good education, working hard and supporting your family. Community colleges help young people and now nontraditional students do just that. … That’s why we love and work hard in community colleges.” Sen. Perry Lee, R-Mendenhall, said he knows the Simpson County branch of Copiah-Lincoln Community College has benefited students. “I can tell you for a fact that if it was not for the community college system there that a lot of young men and women in my county would not have gotten an education,” he said. “I appreciate what the community college does in our state.”
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Saturday morning fire on Clay Street

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(photo by Thomas Parker)

At 9:26 a.m. Saturday, Vicksburg firefighters were dispatched to 2839 Clay St. for a reported structure fire in a commercial building.

The building houses the Donna Halford State Farm agency.

Initial reports indicated flames were showing from the area of the breaker box. Vicksburg police officer Matt Barnes confirmed that flames were approaching the roof on the east side of the building.

The situation was quickly brought under control and no one was injured. Entergy responded to the scene and disconnected service to the business. The remaining part of the building is vacant.

Engine 6, Ladder 3, Platform 1, Battalion 1 (Henry Williams), Rescue, Fire Medic 10 along with Fire Chief Craig Danczyk responded to the alarm.

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Last day for in-person absentee voting in Mississippi

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Today is the last day for in-person absentee voting in Mississippi. Circuit clerk’s offices will be open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. to accommodate voters.

Voters can mail in their absentee ballots until Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3. Ballots must be postmarked on or before Nov. 3 to be counted.

Across the country, more than 80 million Americans had already cast their ballots through absentee and early voting by Thursday, according to Reuters, more than 58% of the 2016 turnout of 139 million. In Texas, early voting has exceeded the total number of ballots cast in the 2016 election.

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Actor Sean Connery dead at 90

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(photo by Stuart Crawford, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5989582)

Sean Connery, the original James Bond, has died at the age of 90.

Connery will forever be connected to the urbane and witty spy, and was highly regarded as the best of the franchise. “Bond… James Bond,” rocketed him to stardom in the 1960s.

He went on to become a sought-after leading man in numerous dramatic roles in iconic films such as “The Wind and the Lion,” “The Man Who Would Be King” and “A Bridge Too Far.”

He won an Oscar for his supporting role in “The Untouchables” in 1987 and a BAFTA for “The Name of the Rose” in ’88. He continued his prolific film career until 2003 with “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” released 49 years after his first, uncredited movie role in 1954.

In all that time, Connery never lost his sex appeal. Instead, his allure grew stronger as he aged. In 1999 he was People magazine’s Sexiest Man of the Century. That year, he starred in “Entrapment” opposite the much-younger Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Connery, born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1930, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000. He died in his sleep in the Bahamas Oct. 31, 2020.

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