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Briefly in the News: September

Socket Ribbon Cutting

Socket Announces Expansion of Residential Fiber Optic Internet Network in Boone County 

Socket, a longtime internet provider headquartered in Columbia, is expanding its fiber optic internet service to residential homes across western Boone County. Socket announced the expansion in July at a ribbon-cutting and media event at its Columbia headquarters.

The expansion is possible due to funds Socket received as part of an ARPA Broadband Infrastructure Grant. The focus of the grant program is to provide resources to help providers, communities, counties, and regions invest in building broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas of the state. 

“Socket is committed to our investment in constructing critical internet infrastructure in Boone County,” said Socket President and COO Carson Coffman. “Our fiber network will allow customers to enjoy reliable and fast internet so they can successfully work, go to school, and even visit with doctors via telemedicine appointments.”

Socket started providing fiber connections to customers in 2011 and currently provides fiber connections to more than 20,000 customer locations.

Columbia College Launches More Than 20 New Academic Programs 

Columbia College will launch more than 20 new academic programs online this fall as part of its commitment to preparing students to meet the needs of tomorrow’s workforce. From Global Studies to Supply Chain Management and Logistics, the new programs, which are open for enrollment now, include two master’s degrees, five bachelor’s degrees, one associate degree, and 12 certificates, many of which are stackable.

Four existing bachelor’s degrees offered in-seat will also be added to the college’s online offerings, and three new emphasis areas will enhance its Master of Business Administration program.

“The creation of these programs is  responsive to what students need to succeed in their future endeavors,” says Dr. Piyusha Singh, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs. “We believe these offerings reflect what employers are looking for when hiring the next generation of leaders.”

The programs will be housed within CC’s three recently reorganized schools starting in the 2023-24 academic year: School of Public Service, Dr. Sandra Hamar, dean; School of Arts & Sciences, Dr. Jennifer Jewell, dean; Robert W. Plaster School of Business, Jonathon Moberly, J.D., dean.

Boone County Historical Society Honors Hometown Heroes in Gallery Exhibit  

The Boone County Historical Society, a nonprofit organization, owns and operates the Boone County History & Culture Center which is currently showcasing its “Heroes Among Us” exhibit through April 2024. The exhibit shares the stories of people in the community who have served in the armed forces overseas along with first responders who served on the frontlines.

Founded in 1924, the Boone County Historical Society collects, preserves, and exhibits historic artifacts, records, and artwork of Boone County residents. Its “Heroes Among Us” exhibit is a way to celebrate not only military abroad but also friends and neighbors who worked every day to keep the community safe. The display presents artifacts tracing the evolution of local fire and police protection along with artifacts from the Spanish American War, Vietnam War, and more.

The exhibit also includes a room called “On My Honor.” This display shows how volunteers are leading the next generation of heroes by highlighting the stories of dedicated scouts and exploring the different ways kids can get involved and learn new leadership skills.

U.S. News & World Report Names Boone Health Among Best Hospitals for 2023-2024  

Boone Health has been named the No. 1 hospital in mid-Missouri and the No. 7 hospital in the state of Missouri by U.S. News & World Report in the publication’s 2023-2024 Best Hospitals report.

Boone has held the top spot in mid-Missouri since 2015. U.S. News evaluated more than 4,500 hospitals across 15 specialties and 21 procedures and conditions; only 12 percent of evaluated hospitals earned a Best Hospitals ranking. Hospitals awarded a “Best” designation excelled at factors such as clinical outcomes, level of nursing care, and patient experience.

Hospitals are ranked from 1 to 50 in each specialty, with only 10 percent of all rated hospitals receiving a designation of “high performing.” Boone Health ranked “high performing” in abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, aortic valve surgery, back surgery, colon cancer surgery, heart attack, heart bypass surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement, leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, prostate cancer surgery, and stroke.

Columbia Public Schools Foundation Announces New Educator Grants 

The Columbia Public Schools Foundation (CPSF) announced New Educator Grants for educators new to the Columbia Public Schools, surprising each with a $100 gift card at the CPS New Educator Breakfast held in August.

Each new educator received a $100 gift card to use as they need to help establish their classroom. In total, the Foundation is expected to give out about 300 gift cards to new educators, or about $30,000. The Foundation’s board members were on hand at the breakfast to distribute the gift cards to the new educators.

“The Foundation’s board is so excited to support this new program,” said Katie Harris, executive director of CPSF. “It’s the first year in our more than 25-year history that we’ve done something like this. We wanted to show new teachers that we know how much they end up spending out of their own pockets, and we support and appreciate them as they’re setting up their classrooms and starting their teaching careers with the best school district in the state.”

Thanks to the Foundation’s partnership with Central Bank of Boone County, the gift cards have zero fees. The new educators will receive the full $100 amount on their cards.

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