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Names & Notes

Marshalltown educator wins state award

Pam Blake, recently retired education coordinator for the Marshall County Landfill, was honored earlier this month with the Iowa Recycling Association’s Recycler of the Year award. Blake accepted the award during a ceremony in Dubuque at the annual Iowa Recycling and Solid Waste Management Conference.

During her 23-year career as a solid waste educator in Marshall County, Blake was known for her enthusiasm, warmth and eagerness to engage with the community as well as her tireless commitment to education.

Hired by the Marshall County Landfill Commission and Iowa Valley Community College in 1996, Blake immediately began to increase awareness of local recycling programs.

“It doesn’t matter how good your recycling programs are if people aren’t aware of them,” Joe Robertson, then director of Recycling and Solid Waste in Marshall County, said. “The first time I met her, I was impressed by her genuine interest in the issues we were facing. When she told me her first idea was to host a picnic at the landfill, you should have seen the look on my face!”

Two decades later, Blake’s legacy includes multiple local and state partnerships that continue to provide recycling and environmental education programming for K-12 and college students as well as community members in Marshall County and beyond. In 2005, Blake and her team garnered statewide recognition for a bi-lingual education program aimed at Marshalltown’s Spanish-speaking residents. Blake received Best Education Program award from the Iowa Society of Solid Waste Operations for this ground-breaking work.

“She was so inclusive of all groups,” Robertson said. “The relationships she established in the community are integral to accomplishing increased waste diversion. She is all about exposure and supported collaboration at every level.”

Blake was nominated for the 2019 Iowa Recycling Association award, by the Iowa Solid Waste Educators.

Other awards presented in Dubuque were given to Kum & Go Convenience Stores, Southeast Polk Community School District and the City of Iowa City. Winners were selected by a committee of industry professionals. IRA President Alan Schumacher noted the winners’ commitment to recycling and waste management.

“Our excellence award winners are invested in the future of recycling and waste management,” Schumacher said. “Their commitment provides great examples for others in the industry.”

More information about Blake’s work in Marshall County is at www.iowarecycles.org/awards.

ECC/MCC Practical Nursing programs ranked #2 in Iowa

Iowa Valley Community College District has been notified that its Practical Nursing programs offered at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls and Marshalltown Community College have been ranked #2 in Iowa by PracticalNursing.org.

According to PracticalNursing.org, the college rankings are based on licensure exam (NCLEX) passage rates, accreditation status, cost, class sizes and the quality of hands-on learning experiences.

“Most Iowa community colleges and several four-year colleges in the Midwest offer nursing programs because the demand for nurses has been and will remain strong for decades to come,” Dr. Kristie Fisher, IVCCD Chancellor, said. “Because the programs often look similar on college websites, it can be a tough decision for students trying to decide where to attend for their training. I think students appreciate when organizations like PracticalNursing.org do some of that comparison homework for them.”

The Practical Nursing programs at ECC and MCC offer the same curriculum, but with different faculty and facilities at each of the two campuses.

“I would put our nursing faculty and facilities up against any others in Iowa,” Beth Johanns, IVCCD associate dean of health occupations, said. “Both colleges have invested heavily in upgrading our nursing facilities in recent years and the quality of our teaching speaks for itself as evidenced by our students’ NCLEX exam passage rates, which are currently an impressive 93 percent.”

The PracticalNursing.org website also considers whether a college offers online classes and where the program is located. Prospective students then take the next step and visit college campuses to determine where they feel most comfortable and find the best personal fit with faculty and other students.

“The answers to these questions will help students decide which LPN program to attend,” PracticalNursing.org said. “If a highly-regarded program isn’t available in your area, it may be worthwhile to move closer to one that has the best NCLEX-PN pass rates and reputation. The more you learn about nursing while completing your nursing classes, the better prepared you’ll be for your examination and your future career as a licensed practical nurse.”

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