JUNE 2, 2011

Getting AHEAD project applauds new partnership between Arizona State University, Eastern Arizona College

PHOENIX – The Getting AHEAD project, Arizona’s collaborative effort to increase the number of college degree holders in the state, applauds a new partnership between Arizona State University (ASU) and Eastern Arizona College (EAC) to help students earn bachelor’s degrees in less time at a lower cost.

The two institutions recently launched new pathway programs to provide seamless transfer experiences for EAC students.  The Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) provides students with a cost-effective pathway earning them both the Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC) they need to transfer to the university, plus an associate's degree, along with a guaranteed place in ASU bachelor degree programs such as business, elementary education, or criminal justice.

In addition, the new RN-BSN Pathway Program will allow students completing the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Nursing at EAC to be guaranteed admission in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree at ASU. Students in the RN-BSN Pathway will also have the ability to transfer up to 75 credit hours towards their BSN degree at ASU. And, the 45 BSN credits can be completed entirely online so students can complete their bachelor’s degrees while remaining in the Gila County area with their families and jobs. More than 1,000 students statewide are participating in the RN-BSN Pathway Program.

“Arizona needs more adults with four-year college degrees in order to satisfy the fastest growing career fields, develop a stronger state economy, and improve our quality of life,” said Governor Jan Brewer. “I am thrilled to see university and community college partnerships of this kind increasing in the rural sections of our state, so that more rural students have access to bachelor’s degrees. This furthers my administration’s goal to improve the accessibility and cost-effectiveness of higher education.”

Students participating in either the TAG or RN-BSN Pathway Program will receive a reduced rate of tuition for in-state residents based on the semester they enroll in the pathway program. Pathway students also will benefit from a dual relationship with EAC and ASU, being able to work jointly with academic advisors at both institutions to clearly identify the courses that are most necessary for their chosen degree field. 

According to Tom Anderes, president of the Arizona Board of Regents and co-chair of the Getting AHEAD project, the agreement between EAC and ASU is another sign of expanding collaboration statewide between rural community college districts and public universities. 
“This is a significant partnership between one of our rural community college districts and a public university,” Anderes said. “Partnerships like this are critical in order for working adults, who may find it undesirable to relocate, to access high-quality bachelor degree programs from an accredited, recognized university. It’s another way we are supporting the best educational experience for students at all ages, stages, and locations across our state.”
There are now more than 1,100 bachelor’s degree pathway programs offered across Arizona, which are helping approximately 12,700 students save time and tuition costs toward their degree.

Supporting the goals of the Governor’s P-20 Coordinating Council of Arizona, Getting AHEAD (Access to Higher Education And Degrees) seeks to increase the number of Arizonans with a college degree and includes a focus on making degrees more affordable and accessible through strategic partnerships among community colleges and universities; increased institutional efficiencies; creating a student-centered system that improves advising and career planning, and improved governance and coordination of Arizona’s higher education system. Getting AHEAD is partially funded with a $1.5 million grant from the Lumina Foundation for Education.


GatorVAC! Phoenix Herpetological Society, Southwest Airlines collaborate to fly three alligators from Sky Harbor to Tampa, Florida

How do you crate and ship three 100-pound+ alligators? V-e-r-y carefully!

SCOTTSDALE – Wildlife curators often “network.” When Ms. Helen Wilson (Reddick, Fla.,) became aware that her nearby fellow central Floridian, Kerry Swan (Citra, Fla.), wanted to increase the alligator population at El Lagarto Farm, his alligator rescue and education center just southeast of Gainesville, she knew just whom to call: Curator Dan Marchand at north Scottsdale’s Phoenix Herpetological Society (PHS).  Wilson had recently given PHS three Galapagos tortoises, each weighing over 300 pounds! [More on these wonderful new PHS residents in a future edition of Sonoran News.]

In telephone negotiations with Marchand and PHS President Russ Johnson, Swan agreed to pay the costs of crating and shipping (via Southwest Airlines, non-stop from Sky Harbor to Tampa International Airport) three alligators, “Little Beefer,” “Theodore” and “Simon.” The gators arrived at Tampa International Airport the evening of June 1.  When the cargo bin doors on Southwest Flight #1893 were opened, this writer would’ve paid a pretty penny to have seen the faces (and heard the exclamations from) the cargo handlers when they saw three wooden coffin-sized crates, each spray painted “LIVE ALLIGATOR!’ I’m certain, of course, they had been forewarned. 

The three desert gators will now live in more spacious environs, almost within hearing of  “The Swamp,” where the Florida Gators excite their faithful fans on football Saturdays. And the good folks at PHS?  President Johnson estimates that monthly food costs will be reduced by at least $150. The care and feeding of an alligator ain’t cheap!

“Little Beefer” was an alumna of the DPS bust in 2005 near Casa Grande of an illegal exotic pet dealer who was on the lam from California to Georgia with 32 alligators in his trailer, the lovable (and domesticated) “Tuesday” among them. “Tuesday” has become the favorite “touch-and-feel” animal at PHS school exhibits, and is the official mascot of the University of Florida “Desert Gators” alumni association. “Theodore” and “Simon” came to PHS in 2004 from Arizona Department of Game and Fish confiscations from illegal owners.

With KTVK-3TV Reporter Stacey Delikat and her cameraman positioned bravely close to the three unhappy “transferees,” Johnson, 59, principally assisted by young Nate Deason, a venom expert at PHS, managed to adroitly snare, subdue, carry and place the three reptilian travelers in each of three wooden crates built at PHS for their flight. A cameraman/reporter from Channel 15 was also on hand to film the action.  

Marchand, recovering from recent hernia surgery, then air-drill bolted lids on each of the crates, which were loaded into the bed of President Johnson’s pick-up truck. On to Sky Harbor! Johnson’s appreciative summation on “GatorVAC”? “God bless Southwest Airlines! They treated us super good!”

Readers, treat your children (and yourselves) to a fascinating two-hour tour of the PHS sanctuary by calling Vice President Debbie Gibson at 480-223-3813. In summer, tours (by appointment only) are scheduled at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

JUNE 1, 2011

Sonoran Citizens Improvement Association hosts its first public meeting

When: June 7, 2011 at 7 p.m.
Where: Sunset Ridge Elementary School, Building 500 at 35707 N. 33rd Lane Phoenix,
Why: Meet and hear your new Councilman, Bryan Jeffries speak about the problems and issues surrounding the current plan to construct Sonoran Blvd.
Why: Learn why you should care about changing the current plan to construct Sonoran Blvd.  See: www.sonorancitizens.com
Sonoran Citizens Improvement Association Organizes To Change Sonoran Blvd.
Our New Councilman Bryan Jeffries of District 2 Keynote Speaker
Topic: Problems and issues surrounding the current plan to construct Sonoran Blvd.
We will be discussing, in depth, Why You Should Care About The Road To Nowhere!
And what you can do to change Sonoran Blvd. to insure safety for all!
This is not a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) issue.
This will adversely affect all of us!

You will learn why the current plan to construct Sonoran Blvd will:
• further destroy home values in all of North Phoenix.
• create a public safety hazard.
• NOT connect to Loop 303 or I-17 as originally planned since 1987
• be a Traffic Safety Nightmare!
• prevent and disrupt economic growth and business development of the region

You will learn why the FBI is investigating the misuse of Proposition 400 funds by the City of Phoenix and who SCIA thinks is responsible and why.

Do not miss this very important meeting.  Send an e-mail to sonorancitizens@gmail.com to confirm your attendance.

If you don’t agree with SCIA, we need you to attend.  Let us educate each other and discuss the facts!