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Friday, Nov. 20, 2009

NOTE: The college will be closed for Thanksgiving break Nov. 25-27. There will be no Blue & White on Nov. 27 because of the holiday week.

» Kuttler receives more awards

» Employee insurance claims nearing $1-million per month

» Important pay date notices

» MIRA studio grand opening

» Debit card makes saving money with your FSA simple: Enrollment deadline Dec. 4

» Use your FSA money by March 15

» Holiday bargains fund scholarships

» Vote for Dollars for Scholars Thrift Store on WEDU's Be More Awards

» Focus on Training: Office 2007

» Birthdays/anniversaries - Nov. | Dec.
» Visual Calendar - Nov. | Dec.


» Cultural Corner
Art, music and theater listings for SPC and our cultural partners

» Locker Room
Volleyball player named to all-state team

» Wellness at SPC
1 - Giving Thanks to your belly
2 - Wellness Challenge photo contest winner announced
3 - Tour de Pants with Jared Fogel comes to Clearwater Campus

» Sustainable SPC
How to recognize greenwashing

Presidential Search

Visit the Presidential Search News for udpates that include:

  • Kuttler announces he will leave Dec. 31
  • Presidential Search Advisory Committee members named
  • Interim president will be selected at a special BOT meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 1

What do you think?

As 2009 comes to a close, we want to take time to reflect on the past and look forward to 2010.

Tell us what you think by taking our online employee survey that asks:

  • What is SPC's greatest accomplishment during the 31-year presidency of Carl M. Kuttler Jr.?
  • What are your hopes for 2010?

Selections from this survey will be posted in this year's final edition of the Blue & White on Friday, Dec. 18. The survey will close on Monday, Dec. 7.

» Dec. 1 - Board to select interim president

» Dec. 10 - Search Advisory Committee meets

» Dec. 15 - Regular board meeting

» Notice of proposed board rules

Kuttler receives more awards

SPC President Carl M. Kuttler Jr. has received two prestigious awards in the past few weeks including:

» James L. Wattenbarger Award
» Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and Arts Award

James L. Wattenbarger Award

Carl M. Kuttler Jr. received this award Nov. 18 at the 60th annual Florida Association of Community Colleges (FACC) Convention in Orlando.

Established by the FACC in 2001, the award is named for James L. Wattenbarger, considered the father of Florida’s community college system, a system that began with the founding of St. Petersburg Junior College in 1927. It is given annually to the person who best exemplifies Wattenbarger’s love of the state’s community college system.

A University of Florida professor from 1968-1972, Wattenbarger was named Division Director of the new state Division of Community Colleges in 1957, where he served until 1967.

Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and Arts Award

Dr. Kuttler received this award Nov. 5 at the Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and Arts Awards Gala at the Florida Aquairum.

One of nine individual nominees, Kuttler's knack for facilitating collaborative partnerships between art, education, business, philanthropy and government earned him the prestigious award.

The mission of the Tampa Bay Business for Culture and the Arts is to help build a stronger arts and cultural community with the support of area businesses.

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SPC Wellness Barometer

Employee insurance claims exceeding $1-million per month

Health/Dental Insurance Claims Totals

Wellness lifestyle can curb the cost

First in a monthly series reporting to the college family on ongoing insurance expenses.

Health insurance. It's one of the most important benefits an employer can provide and, of course, one of the most expensive.

In recent years, SPC has done its best to cushion employees from the rising costs by limiting monthly premiums and reducing many co-pays. This does not mean costs weren't increasing.

Employee health insurance claims (the costs to the college of each medical/dental visit, procedure or prescription drug) have been steadily and significantly rising. Because SPC is self-insured, these costs are directly borne by the college.

"SPC is not immune to the market forces driving up health care costs nationwide," said Patty Jones, vice president of Human Resources and Public Affairs.

One way to help curb these rising costs is to address some of their causes, choices people make that affect their health. Poor eating habits, excess weight and little exercise can be a lethal combination, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

"Those are things that many of us can control," Jones said. "At the same time, SPC understands there are some health-related issues that are unavoidable and devastating. That's why we are so committed to doing whatever we can to contain costs."

A cornerstone of SPC's cost-containment efforts: A strong wellness program, led by Wellness Coordinator Steve Malla.

Visit SPC Wellness for tips and information on making healthy choices. If you have wellness ideas or wellness successes you'd like to share, contact Malla at malla.steven@spcollege.edu or Ext. 3083.

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Important pay date notices

Please note the following changes regarding pay checks during the upcoming holidays:

Early Web Time deadlines Thanksgiving week
Employees - please have all time entry done by Tuesday morning, Nov. 24.
Supervisors - please approve all leave and time entry by the end of Tuesday, Nov. 24.

Early Web Time deadlines before winter break
Employees - please have al time entry done by Thursday, Dec. 17
Supervisors - please approve all leave and time entry by the end of Friday, Dec. 18.

Jan. 1 pay issued Dec. 31
Because pay day falls on New Year’s Day, that week’s pay will be issued on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2009. This means you will have an extra pay day in the calendar year – 27 rather than 26 and you will still have 26 pay days in 2010. (This occurs every 10-11 years.)

The Dec. 31 pay day is the third of the month and therefore won’t have any deductions. So what does this mean?

  • Your gross wages for 2009 will be more than last year since we have one more pay day in the 2009 calendar year.
  • For those who have direct deposit, you will see your money in your account Dec. 31.
  • If you receive a paper check, it will be available at your site Monday, Jan. 4.

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MIRA studio grand opening









The new Music Industry/Recording Arts (MIRA) program officially opened its recording studio on the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus with a ceremony Nov. 5. Students from the music production program performed outside the studio, the former site of Word Processing. The MIRA program began about a year ago and now has 120 students as declared MIRA majors, on their way to earning Associate in Science degrees.

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Debit card makes saving money with your FSA simple: Enrollment deadline Dec. 4

Sign up and save money with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) in 2010. FSA enrollment ends Dec. 4.

All budgeted employees qualify to establish accounts, whether you are enrolled in the college’s Aetna health insurance or not.  With an FSA, you can set aside – little by little – money to help you pay for a variety of things, including:

  • covered medical expenses such as doctor visits and prescription co-pays
  • over-the-counter medications such as aspirin and antiseptic cream
  • child care or adult care expenses (with restrictions)
  • adoption expenses

How does it work?

You set aside money in 24 of your 26 yearly paychecks. Your annual contribution can total up to $5,000 per household ($2,500 if filing taxes separately). Because the money is set aside before taxes, you reduce your taxable income. The medical expenses and child/adult care expenses can be set up as separate accounts.

New debit card option

New this year, all employees with FSAs have the option of using a debit card rather than having to track purchases and submit recepits (though receipts always should be kept).

The total amount you plan to set aside during a year would be placed on your debit card up front. Then when you have a covered expense, pay the expense with the card and your FSA account will be debited. (In some cases, supporting documentation will be required.)

Visit the EzFlexPlan Web site for an FSA overview.

How to sign up

If you already have an FSA in 2009, you will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access your information online and enroll for 2010.  All online enrollments must be completed by Friday, Dec. 4, at 11 p.m.

If you do not have an FSA, download the FSA enrollment form, print it out and send it to:

Anh Nunag
Human Resources
EpiCenter Services Building

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Use your FSA money by March 15

By redirecting a portion of your salary to your FSA, you bank your money in a tax-free account from which you can get reimbursed throughout the year.

The reimbursement form can be found on the Human Resources Web site under “Benefits;” click on “Flexible Spending Account,” then “Claim Form.” Refunds are typically received in about two weeks.

You have until March 15, 2010, to use money in your 2009 funds. All reimbursement requests for the 2009 FSA must be postmarked by April 30, 2010.

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Holiday bargains fund SPC scholarships

In need of some holiday decorations or inexpensive gifts? The Dollars for Scholars of St. Petersburg thrift next to HEC has some holiday bargains worth checking out.

Thrift store

Clockwise, from left: Rebecca Strongbow, SPC Communications Instructor at SP/Gibbs Campus; Andrea Vargas, SPC student and thrift store volunteer; and Leja Apple, thrift store business manager, show off the store’s collection of angels to customer Kitty Workman. Apple is an SPC student earning a bachelor’s degree in Management and Organizational Leadership.

For a nickel each, you’ll find ornaments to deck your tree. If it’s the tree you’re after, you’ll find great deals on the artificial kind at the store’s tent sale Saturday, Dec. 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 8300 Ulmerton Road, Unit 102. This location is a newly opened outlet of the thrift store featuring furniture and clothing, and is available for group shopping by appointment only.

“I have so many artificial Christmas trees, I can’t fit them in the store,” said Michelle Piccione, the driving force behind the thrift store. To schedule a visit to the Ulmerton Road store, call Piccione at 727-341-3620.

Open since June, the store is raising money for scholarships, thanks to Piccione and numerous volunteers. The store is a chapter affiliate of Scholarship America, a nationally recognized non-profit student aid service organization.

“We’ve had an unbelievable amount of donations and people coming into the store,” said Piccione, a member of the SPC Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. “It has been a great community effort and the college staff has done a great job setting us up.”

If someone on your list adores angels, you will find a bevy of them in a display case near the front of the store. From ceramic to cloth, the angels vary in size and price, but all are less than $5.

“People have a real affection for angels, so I figured Christmas was the best time to bring out this special collection,” Piccione said. Nestled next to them in the display case is a set of pre-WWII china in white and blue.

Other gift ideas in the store include bowling balls, motorcycle helmets, hats and plenty of ties.

Kitty Workman, a “regular” at the store, came away with a tambourine for her 2-year-old grandson and a Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas necktie to add to her collection of animated character ties.

“That’s what I come to thrift stores for: the ties,” said Workman, who estimates she has close to 250 in her collection.

Among other holiday necessities at the thrift store are wrapping paper, holiday candles and figurines, mugs, stockings, towels, nativity scenes, snow globes, metal trees, wreaths, ribbons, holiday music on CD and cassette, table settings and serving dishes.

Dollars for Scholars Thrift Store
10 a.m.  to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday
SPC Caruth Health Education Center
7028 66th St. N, Pinellas Park

Donations can be dropped off during normal business hours. You also can arrange to have your donations picked up by calling the store at 727-341-3620.

For holiday shopping, the store will stay open on Fridays until 7 p.m. starting Nov. 27.

All donations to Dollars for Scholars, a 501(C)(3) non-profit charitable institution, are tax deductible.

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Vote for Dollars for Scholars Thrift Store on WEDU's Be More Awards

WEDU's Be More People's Choice Poll is open. Described as the Emmy Awards of the non-profit world, this online poll gives you the opportunity to help us spread the word about the Dollars for Scholars of St. Petersburg thrift store.

The new thrift store has raised more than $30,000 for student scholarships from the sale of donated items since it opened in June. In January, $25,000 will be awarded to needy students at St. Petersburg College.

Get the details of how to cast your votes at WEDU.org and vote until Dec. 18 for Dollars for Scholars for the People's Choice Award, and Michelle Piccione for the Volunteer Award. Invite your friends and family to cast their vote too.

For more information about the Dollars for Scholars Thrift Store, read the recent article in the St. Petersburg Times:

Thrift shop at SPC generates jobs, scholarships
St. Petersburg Times, tampabay.com, Oct. 11

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Focus on Training

SPC’s Staff and Professional Development has expanded the available training opportunities for college employees. Each month, the Blue & White will feature a different training opportunity.

Microsoft Office 2007

You may recently have made the change or will be making the change to using Microsoft 2007, instead of Microsoft 2003. There is a new look and feel, expanded capability and new user options.

Some of the new features of Microsoft Office 2007 include:

  • The ribbon
  • The office button
  • The status bar

How can you improve your use of the Microsoft Office 2007 products? Consider any of these online video modules available from the Video Streaming Library:

  • Word 2007
  • Excel 2007
  • Outlook 2007
  • PowerPoint
  • Access 2007

Interested in enrolling? First, make sure it relates to your work and that you have your supervisor’s approval. Then, fill out the Video Streaming Library Application and indicate which course(s) you would like to enroll in. Wait for an e-mail response and then you are on your way. It’s that simple.

For more information, contact Matthew Stewart in Staff and Professional Development (Human Resources) at Ext. 3116.

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