Plea entered:

A plea agreement has been reached in the capital murder case against Ryan Champion, an Oak Grove man accused of conspiring in a murder-for-hire scheme that resulted in the deaths of his mother, father and sister in Oct. 2014, and killing his accomplice. Champion pleaded guilty to three counts of complicity to murder, one count of murder and one count of kidnapping. For more details see Friday's edition of The Sun

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Paducah college to compete for $1 million prize

Staff report

West Kentucky Community & Technical College was named today as one of the nation's top 150 community colleges - out of a pool of more than 1,000 - by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program.

The school will compete for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million in prize money.

The distinction, which is awarded every two years, recognizes institutions in four areas - student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and the level of access and success for minority and low-income students, according to Janett Blythe, WKCTC director of marketing and public relations.

The Aspen Institute identified the top community colleges through an assessment of institutional performance, improvement and equity, according to student retention and completion measures. The formula developed by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems and the Aspen Institute focuses on student retention and completion.

WKCTC will now submit an application containing detailed data on degree and certificate completion, labor market, and student-learning outcomes and explain how the college delivers quality student results and uses data to inform decisions and improve processes.

Ten finalists will be named this fall. Following site visits and additional data collection from the National Student Clearinghouse, a jury will select the finalists with distinction and a grand prize winner in early 2015.

WKCTC was named one of the top 10 community colleges for two consecutive years and a top five finalist in 2011 by the Aspen Institute. A full list of the 150 community colleges is available at www.AspenPrize.org.

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