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Archive for July, 2009

Community college challenges as enrollments increase

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

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A college degree may help you get a stable job in our area these days. That is why students are coming out in droves to register early for classes at area community colleges. That is creating some challenges.

The numbers tell it all. Programs are filling up left and right and it’s not even official registration time. Students are trying to make lemonade out of lemons – and in this case, the lemon is the economy.

Students like Phyllis Gore are heading back to school, in hopes of enhancing their job opportunities. “It is the only way you can survive,” Gore said. “Get some training, start back to school, and try to go on in these tough times.”

Gore is not the only one with this idea. Community colleges in our area are seeing much higher registration numbers over last year.

Cape Fear has already registered 5,000 students – a 25 percent increase from 2008. Brunswick has registered more than a thousand – up nine percent from last year. Southeastern is not far from reaching its cap of 2,000 students.

Cape Fear and Southeastern both have caps, so the bad news is, once the classes fill up, there’s no more room. Brunswick does not cap their registration – instead they just try and accommodate all their students into classes, although they may take place at odd hours.

Southeastern Community College’s Theresa Triplett said, “There are jobs available for which you only need short term training, nursing assistant is one of those examples.”

Some students we spoke with said their employers actually encouraged them to go back to school, if only to make themselves more marketable in the job force.

Administrators also said when unemployment numbers go up, community college enrollment follows suit.

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videoA college degree may help you get a stable job in our area these days. That is why students are coming out in droves to register early for classes at area community colleges. That is creating some challenges.

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Associated poll

More: continued here

Back Then – Readers share memories of Faircloth’s seafood restaurant

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Readers share memories of Faircloth’s seafood restaurantAfter mentioning the old Faircloth’s seafood restaurant in a previous Back Then, several readers shared their memories of the eatery, which stood like a sentry at the Wrightsville Beach draw bridge for many years.

More: continued here

Dogs test positive for distemper at local animal shelter

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

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The Brunswick County Animal Shelter is on lock down after two dogs tested positive for a virus. Two dogs adopted last week tested positive for distemper, a highly contagious respiratory disease.

No dogs will be adopted from the Brunswick County Animal Shelter. The shelter will decide in two weeks when all dogs in the shelter have been tested whether to start allowing dog adoptions again.

This is the second time this year the shelter has had cases of distemper, which comes in from the outside. “The dogs that we pick up in the wild are exposed to the distemper and since we are a public shelter, that’s why we have the dogs that are more at risk,” explained Fred Michael of the Brunswick County Health Department.

All services for cats, including adoption, will still be available.

If you have questions about distemper, call Brunswick County Animal Services at 910-755-6434.

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The Brunswick County Animal Shelter is on lock down after two dogs tested positive for a virus. Two dogs adopted last week tested positive for distemper, a highly contagious respiratory disease.

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Associated poll

More: continued here

Inspectors find cracked girders on second Oak Island bridge

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

By Gareth McGrathGareth.McGrath@StarNewsOnline.Com

Inspectors with the N.C. Department of Transportation discovered the hairline fractures last week and immediately halted work on the project until all the girders could be tested.

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Breaking down the education lottery money

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

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There’s still no state budget in Raleigh as lawmakers try to figure out how to pay for North Carolina’s spending.

One of the biggest issues has been education funding, and many are wondering where the billion dollars for education from the lottery has gone.

According to state law, at least 50-percent of the money the lottery brings in goes to pay out prizes. No more than seven percent pays commissions to retailers who sell the tickets; no more than eight percent goes to lottery commission expenses.

That leaves, by law, at least 35-percent for the state’s Education Lottery Fund.

Well… kinda.

See, according to the State Lottery Commission, in the lottery’s first full year, the payouts were pretty much on target. Thanks to a little rounding off, the numbers add up to 101-percent, but let’s not get bogged down by the small stuff.

Because of bigger prize payouts in year two, only 32-percent of lottery money went to education.

So what about that mandate education get at least 35-percent?

A lottery spokesperson points a loophole.

The law says the payouts are made “to the extent practicable” meaning the education funds are the last chunk doled out.

Based on numbers from the State Lottery Commission, including preliminary numbers for the fiscal year that just ended, the lottery has transferred more than $1 billion to educational programs since it started three years ago, or about one-third of its gross tickets sales.

So a billion should pay for a lot, right?

Well, state law mandates how it can be spent.

Each year five percent goes into a reserve fund in case the lottery does not make as much money as expected, the same reserve fund Governor Perdue raided for $50 million earlier this year to help close the budget gap.

From what’s left over, 40-percent is devoted to the public school building capital fund, 10-percent is for college scholarships, and the other 50 percent is to limit class sizes in early grades and fund the More at Four program.

So how much, if any of that money may be able to fill in cuts school districts are making, like staff and transportation?

We’ll find out tomorrow.

North Carolina’s lottery appears to be more efficient than the Palmetto State.

In its first two full years, the South Carolina lottery has transferred just 30-percent of the money its made to educational programs.

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videoThere’s still no state budget in Raleigh as lawmakers try to figure out how to pay for North Carolina’s spending.

One of the biggest issues has been education funding, and many are wondering where the billion dollars for education from the lottery has gone.

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lottery150.jpg

Associated poll

More: continued here

 

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