Wednesday, 24 July 2024


WASHINGTON, D.C. On Wednesday, Congressman Mike Thompson, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Human Intelligence, Analysis and Counterintelligence, embarked on a five-day intelligence oversight trip to the United Kingdom and Sweden.

The purpose of his trip is to examine the growth of religious extremism in Europe and the threat that this trend poses to the U.S. and our allies.

In addition, Thompson will meet with local officials to discuss how the U.S. and European countries can better coordinate counterterrorism measures and the sharing of intelligence.

"Strong intelligence is our best weapon for fighting terrorism," said Thompson. "And close collaboration with our allies and partners is critical given that many of these extremist groups operate in multiple countries. We need to share information with our allies and learn from each others' experiences if we are to counter the threats posed by these dangerous groups."

Thompson, a Vietnam combat veteran, will also spend a day with wounded soldiers at the Army's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

This is his second visit to the hospital since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began.


LAKE COUNTY – The California Highway Patrol had a busy weekend, making several arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

The CHP held a sobriety checkpoint from 6 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday. The checkpoint was located along Highway 53, north of Highway 29, according to CHP's Ukiah dispatch.

Officer Josh Dye of the CHP's Clear Lake office reported that officers stopped 507 vehicles, administered 14 field sobriety tests, made four DUI arrests, impounded two vehicles for 30 days each, and cited four people for driving while unlicensed.

“All in all it was a pretty good checkpoint,” Dye said in an e-mail statement.

In addition to the checkpoint, Dye reported there were eight other DUI arrests from Friday through Monday.

Two of those arrests were for individuals involved in two separate crashes – one on Friday and one on Monday.

Two other crashes during the holiday weekend – both on Saturday – were not DUI-related, according to statistics Dye provided.

The CHP also made one arrest for public intoxication and another for a warrant during the weekend, Dye reported.

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The United Veterans Council Military Funeral Honors Team served in Monday's commemorations. Photo by Ginny Craven.


LAKE COUNTY – Commemorations were held around Lake County Monday in honor of veterans who served in the country's war.


The Vietnam Veterans of America, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the United Veterans Council Military Funeral Honors Team took part in events at Lower Lake, Upper Lake and Hartley cemeteries throughout the day.


They honored fallen soldiers, and those who served and have since passed. The vets groups also visited elderly veterans in care homes this weekend, to thank them for their service.


The Avenue of Flags flew at the three cemeteries as well, with small flags marking the graves of countless local veterans who served in wars during the past century.


To see our growing photo gallery of Memorial Day events, with photos by Ginny Craven and members of the United Veterans Council Military Funeral Honors Team, go to our Gallery page.


To understand the enormity of the numbers of people who have served and died in this country's wars, consider the following numbers from the Veterans Administration:


– American Revolutionary War: 217,000 served; 4,435 battle deaths; 6,188 wounded.


– War of 1812: 286,730 served; 2,260 died in battle; 4,505 wounded.


– Mexican War: 78,718 served; 1,733 died in battle; 11,550 died of other causes (accidents or disease); 4,152 were wounded.


– Civil War: 3,867,500 served on both the Confederate and Union sides; 184,595 combat deaths; 373,458 deaths due to other causes; 412,175 were wounded. (Statistics from the US Civil War Center.)


– Spanish-American War: 306,760 served; 385 killed in battle; 2,061 died of other causes; 1,662 wounded.


– World War I: 4,734,991 served; 53,402 killed in battle; 63,114 died of other causes; 204,002 wounded.


– World War II: 16,112,566 served; 291,557 killed in battle; 113,842 died of other causes; 671,846 wounded.


– Korean War: 5,720,000 served; 33,741 killed in battle; 20,505 died of other causes; 103,284 wounded.


– Vietnam War: 3,402,000 served; 47,424 killed in battle; 10,785 died of other causes; 153,303 wounded.


– Persian Gulf War: 694,550 served; 147 killed in battle; 1,825 died of other causes; 467 wounded.


– Global War on Terror (including Operation Enduring Freedom operations in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom): Total numbers of those who have served is unclear, although last year the Veterans Administration estimated 165,000. Total battle deaths, 3,015; deaths from other causes, 805; total wounded, 26,799. (Numbers from Department of Defense.)


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United Veterans Council Military Funeral Honors Team member Harry Graves salutes fallen comrades. Photo by Ginny Craven.


More memorial day art:,com_wrapper/Itemid,37/



LAKE COUNTY – With last week's passage of an emergency supplemental bill through Congress, there's good news for rural schools.

The bill, HR 2206, included $120 billion for the war in Iraq, but also included a one-year extension of the county payments law, known officially as the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act.

The county payments law distributes funds to rural counties based on historic timber receipts for those areas. Supporters of the program say that it has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to rural areas, with most of the money going to schools and county road programs.

HR 2206 included $425 million for county payments law funding through the end of this year. The bill

was passed by both the House and Senate May 24. President George W. Bush signed the bill into law the following day, according to the White House press office.

As Lake County News previously reported, Lake County's most recent payment payment from the law was roughly $1 million, which was split between the county's road department and local schools.

Half of the schools funding – nearly $250,000 – went to Upper Lake schools, based on the amount of Forest Service land in the district's boundaries and the number of students in the district who are the children of Forest Service employees, as Lake County News has reported.

The funding had been included in a previous war supplemental, which the president vetoed.

Congressman Mike Thompson said he voted to add the funding to HR 2206, but ultimately voted against the bill as a whole, because he said it lacked a timeline for bringing US troops homes from Iraq.

The original Secure Rural Schools bill became law in 2000 and expired late last year. Efforts are under way to get the funding renewed on a multi-year basis.

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SACRAMENTO – On Tuesday, the state Senate voted 35-1 to approve urgency legislation to create a light brown apple moth advisory task force.

The bill, SB 556, was introduced by Sen. Patricia Wiggins.

SB 556 would create a task force to advise Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura on the apple moth and the environmental and economic impact of its spread across the state.

Kawamura would choose the task force members, who would then be responsible for submitting a report to him on the apple moth issue by Sept. 1.

The moth, native to Australia, was discovered in the Bay Area in February, and has since spread to nine counties – Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and San Mateo.

The latest situation report from the Department of Food and Agriculture and the US Department of Agriculture shows that trapping is going on in 45 counties – including Lake – with 23,048 traps out and 3,348 moths confirmed.

As a result of the pest's spread, both the Department of Food & Agriculture and the USDA have instituted quarantines and special inspection requirements on plant materials originating from the counties where the moths have been found.

The moth has an estimated 250 host plants, including pears, grapes, citrus, ornamentals and stone fruits.

Wiggins said the apple moth “poses a significant threat” to the state's agriculture industry. Key to protecting that industry, she said, is understanding the potential impacts of the moth's presence and aggressively controlling its spread.

Now that it has been approved by the full Senate, the Wiggins bill eads to the Assembly for consideration. Because it is considered urgency legislation, SB 556 would take effect immediately upon signing by the governor.

SB 556 is supported by the Family Winemakers of California, California Association of Nurseries and Garden Centers, California Association of Pest Control Advisors, California Association of Winegrape Growers, California Citrus Mutual, Nisei Farmers League and the Wine Institute, Wiggins' office reported.

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A Cal Fire helicopter drops water on a fire near Sulphur Bank Road on Monday. Photo by Kristin Dugan.


CLEARLAKE – A small fire Monday afternoon was quickly contained by firefighters before it could cause any damage.

Cal Fire reported assisting the Lake County Fire Protection District on the fire, which witnesses reported seeing around 3:30 p.m. around the area of Sulphur Bank and 16th Street in northwest Clearlake.

The fire was only a few acres, according to Cal Fire's incident command center, with no homes threatened and no actual damage occurring.

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LUCERNE – A controlled burn that took place above Lucerne Wednesday is scheduled to continue Thursday.

The fire, which the Northshore Fire District's Lucerne office reported was taking place on the Jones Ranch, was noticeable along the Northshore. But officials said there is nothing to worry about.

Late in the day, a Cal Fire helicopter and plane were dispatched over the area to look for what was believed to be a wildland fire.

Cal Fire's incident command center said that fire turned out to be another controlled burn near Paradise Cove.

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A Helms truck sustained minor damage in Tuesday's crash at Kit's Corner. Photo by John Jensen.


KELSEYVILLE – A collision between a big rig and a car resulted in major injuries for occupants of the car and traffic delays along Highway 29 Tuesday afternoon.

The accident, which took place on Highway 29 at the Highway 281/Kit's Corner intersection, was reported to the California Highway Patrol at 3:41 p.m., according to CHP incident logs.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing a Nissan Sentra pull out from Highway 281/Soda Bay Road in front of a Helms fuel truck.

Witnesses believed as many as five people were inside the Sentra. Three people were trapped inside the car, CHP logs reported.

Two air ambulances were called, transporting two crash victims to Santa Rosa Memorial, eyewitnesses at the scene reported. Incident logs reported one of the people transported was Lacie Espinoza, the Sentra driver.

The roadway was reopened at just after 5 p.m., the CHP reported. At that point, fuel was still being unloaded from the big rig.

No further information on the collision was available from the CHP.

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For generations, they've waited. Unclaimed, forgotten, silently occupying the shelves of mortuaries and state hospitals across the United States.

The cremated remains of veterans, many indigent, many more forgotten through loss of family and friends wait for someone to remember them.

Their stories have begun to emerge from the shadows of society's forgetfulness, thanks to a group of veterans and dedicated civilians who want to see them honored and given a final resting place.

Today, the Missing in America Project – called MIAP for short – is seeking out what the group believes will be tens of thousands of unburied veterans who served in wars throughout the past century.

Lots of ground to cover

The movement's founder is Vietnam vet Fred Salanti of Grants Pass, Ore., who served as a major in the U.S. Army's I-Corps in northern Vietnam from March 1968 to December 1969.

Salanti also is a member of the Patriot Guard Riders. That group formed in 2005 to protect the families of fallen Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers from religious zealots who were disrupting the soldier's funerals.

While working as a regional facilitator for the Patriot Guard Riders, Salanti became involved with conducting monthly services at regional and state cemeteries for veterans with no family and no money.

It was then that he stumbled across the unrecognized need to bury indigent and forgotten veterans, an issue that he said “has just been ignored.”

He took the cause back to the Patriot Guard, who supported starting the MIAP, which has since become a separate organization.

The MIAP's guidelines call for assisting funeral homes with researching all cremains in their possession to find veterans, submitting the cremain's records to the Veterans Administration Cemetery System for screening for eligibility for burial and notifying funeral homes of cremains eligible for burial.

The funeral homes must then follow requirements for submitting the cremains to a VA cemetery. From there, MIAP will coordinate a full military service with the cemetery involved.

The massive, ongoing effort is open to everyone who wants to help, said Salanti. “We've got a lot of ground to cover.”

The group officially got started on Nov. 9, 2006, when the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery held its first ceremony, complete with full military honors, to inter the cremains of forgotten veterans.

Since then, the effort has rapidly gained steam, said Salanti.

On Feb. 12, MIAP officially incorporated, he said. A week later, on Feb. 19, the cremains of 21 veterans and veterans' family members – for whom MIAP also provides burials necessary – were interred at the Northern California Veterans Cemetery in Igo.

An overwhelming need

The finds of cremains have started happening at a rapid pace, said Salanti.

In a piece that won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing, The Oregonian told the story of 3,500 cremains, many of people who had been patients in the state hospital, which were put in copper, quart-sized cans and stacked on shelves in a basement storage room.

One thousand of those forgotten souls are expected to be veterans, said Salanti. The findings span the years from 1890 to 1971, an era that begins with the Spanish American War and ends with Vietnam. Salanti said he expects even to find the cremains of Civil War veterans as well.

While Oregon is the most glaring case, the discoveries are taking place around the country, said Salanti.

In Michigan, they're working to identify 350 sets of cremains recently discovered, he said. In Reno, 34 unburied vets recently were discovered. Idaho alone has found and interred 91 vets.

And they haven't even scratched the surface, he believes. So far, the larger urban areas of the Bay Area and Southern California haven't been addressed. Thousands of funeral homes across the country that have yet to be approached could contain thousands more.

“Everybody that looks at what we're doing estimates we're going to have 10,000 to 15,000 veterans that we find on the shelves,” said Salanti.

He believes that number is low, and adds the number of vets that could be found “is pretty limitless.”

Salanti said MIAP is establishing a nationwide network of individuals who will help conduct research and complete the voluminous paperwork needed to gain the cremains' release for burial.

They're getting support from groups such as the American Legion, and hes advocating with the California Department of Veterans Affairs, the Oregon State Hospital Board and Oregon Veterans Affairs for support.

Approaching the funeral homes

Many of the difficulties MIAP faces aren't so much about finding the veterans but cutting through voluminous red tape.

“Sometimes the easy part is getting in to find the cremains and writing the names down,” Salanti said.

The cremains are often found in funeral homes. Sometimes the family abandons them at a funeral home, said Salanti, or there is no family left to see to final arrangements.

Those unclaimed or abandoned cremains are then stored, said Salanti. “It's easy to put them on a shelf. They're out of sight, out of mind.”

But Salanti emphasizes that MIAP isn't out to point fingers at anyone, from funeral homes to families. “Our project isn't out to say one word of accusation.”

Once legal time limits for holding the cremains pass, said Salanti, it's up to the funeral home to decide what to do.

In California, there is a $30 fee to transfer the bodies from the funeral homes for burial. Of that, $10 goes to the county and $20 to the state, Salanti explained. Efforts are under way to get the state to waive those fees.

But Salanti believes that it isn't the issue of money that keeps the cremains in storage, but rather the hope that family will come forward and take the responsibility.

Because of concerns for liability, “Nobody wants to act too fast,” said Salanti.

MIAP is working to build credibility, said Salanti, which is essential to getting funeral homes to open their doors to the group.

While focused on the vets, Salanti's voice breaks when he talks about the difficulty of leaving behind the thousands of other unburied and unclaimed people, for whom no one is advocating.

Needed: Dedicated volunteers

One of MIAP's greatest needs is dedicated volunteers, said Salanti.

“We need help and people from throughout the country who are just concerned that this is a problem,” said Salanti. Through the efforts of such people, he said, MIAP “eventually will cover the whole nation.”

“It takes volunteers like Slick,” said Salanti.

Slick is Earl “Slick” Hultquist of Scotts Valley.

If you didn't know any better, you'd swear Hultquist was a career military man. At 68, he's trim, he wears his hair short and he has an air of precision. The home he shares with wife Sandy is complete with a white picket fence and American flag waving from the porch.

Hultquist, who retired after 35 years with Pacific Bell, did a five-year stint in the Army Reserves. He's never fought in a war himself, but his older brother is a World War II vet. In addition, one of his uncles died in World War II, and he lost relatives in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. One of his two grown sons just retired after 20 years in the Air Force.

As such, the needs of veterans strike a chord with Hultquist, a motorcycle enthusiast who joined the Patriot Guard and helped escort the body of a fallen Ukiah soldier to his funeral last year.

Working with the Patriot Guard led Hultquist to the MIAP. Both groups' efforts on behalf of vets “is all about respect,” said Hultquist.

Hultquist is now being trained in the intricate research and paperwork necessary to help handle cremains, look for family members and train new volunteers. “My head is practically spinning from all the information.”

He'll work with the 11 mortuaries in Lake and Mendocino counties – such as Chapel of the Lakes Mortuary in Lakeport, one of the first he contacted – to look for unclaimed vets.

Talking of the nationwide effort to recover vets, Hultquist said, “The more we get into this, the deeper it gets.”

He added, “We open our arms” to volunteer help.

So far, the MIAP has 95 volunteers like Hultquist nationwide, but they need more, Salanti said. Their plans includes formulating their own database of names and genealogy research.

Locally, indigent vets have a place prepared for their final rest. Called Veterans Circle, the United Veterans Council Military Funeral Honors Team created the space at Hartley Cemetery last year.

So far, no vets have been laid to rest there, according to Rich Feiro, the honors team's firing party commander.

Getting the government's attention

Salanti wants to see laws created to address veterans' burials.

That effort already is under way, with Idaho Sen. Larry Craig introducing S 1266 in the wake of his state finding and finally interring the cremains of 91 veterans.

Craig's legislation would increase the VA burial plot allowance from $300 to $400. The plot allowances, according to Craig's legislation, were created in 1973 to keep veterans from ending up in paupers' graves.

S 1266 also would change current law, which says state cemeteries may be reimbursed for interring eligible veterans by plot allowance revenue only if the internment takes place within two years of cremation.

“Just as our system of benefits does not abandon or give up on veterans who are homeless or chronically ill, so too should our burial benefits system be designed not to abandon or give up on veterans whose remains are unclaimed,” Craig told Congress.

One of the MIAP's most significant hurdles is convincing the Veterans Administration to formally acknowledge the issue of unburied veterans, Salanti said. The VA published a 2003 study that addressed the issue, so they know the problem exists, he added.

MIAP also is advocating to get the Veterans Administration to give them access to a database of military personnel so they can double-check names of veterans and their spouses and children. In some cases, where records are so old they haven't been computerized, it may take giving volunteers access to actual file boxes at the VA headquarters.

Checking those military records, said Salanti, is the bottleneck in the process.

Respect and honor is due

Salanti said it's important to remember that, despite their best efforts, MIAP likely won't be able to recover some veterans, who in some cases may already have been interred in unmarked graves.

Those they can find, however, have honor and respect due to them, he said.

“Now that we know that they're there, let's go get them,” he said.

How you can help

If you would like to become involved with the local MIAP effort, contact Slick Hultquist at 263-8105. In addition, Salanti can be contacted via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Monetary donations are also requested, as Salanti said MIAP will need donations to pay for fees in states where burial and transfer fees aren't waived. MIAP is a nonprofit, so donations are tax-deductible.

For more information about MIAP and Patriot Guard, visit them online at, or

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COW MOUNTAIN – An early morning collision between a dirt bike and a four-wheeler sent three people to area hospitals and resulted in one arrest for driving under the influence.

The accident was reported to the California Highway Patrol at 6:36 a.m. on the Lake County side of Cow Mountain, according to CHP incident logs.

A report from CHP Officer T.R. Hester explained that Blake Allen Edwards, 20, of Redding was riding a Kawasaki KX4500 dirt bike northbound on a dirt trail in the area of the Red Mountain campground when the accident occurred.

Coming downhill on the trail from the other direction was Colt Samuel Vincent Ross, 21, of Ukiah, who was riding a Yamaha Raptor four-wheel motorcycle at “a high rate of speed,” Hester reported. Melinda Diane Hicks, 20, of Redding was a passenger on Ross' four-wheeler.

As Edwards was traveling through a curve, he saw Ross fishtailing towards him, Hester reported.

Both vehicles collided head on, according to Hester's report. The collision ejected both men from their motorcycles.

Hicks was airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial with major injuries, CHP reported. When contacted by Lake County News, the Ukiah CHP office refused to state the extent of Hicks' injuries.

Edwards and Ross both sustained minor injuries. Edwards was taken to Ukiah Valley Medical Center where he was treated and released.

Ross sustained minor head injuries and was taken to Sutter Lakeside. The hospital released him later in the morning.

Hester said Ross failed a field sobriety test at the collision scene. Ross was arrested after his release from the hospital for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs causing injury, in this case to Edwards and Hicks.


Ross was booked into the Lake County Jail on $10,000 bond. He bailed out of jail later on Wednesday. 

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MIDDLETOWN – Sheriff's deputies arrested a Middletown man on Friday for possession of machine guns and a silencer.

A report released Tuesday by Lake County Sheriff's Lt. Cecil Brown said Dale Robert Runnings, 45, was arrested May 25.

Brown reported that sheriff's detectives Brian Kenner and Steve Brooks, Sgts. Dave Perry and Corey Paulich, and Deputy Gary Frace served a search warrant on Runnings' Middletown home.

The warrant, said Brown, ordered the officers to search the property for machine guns and silencers, the possession of which are felonies under California law.

During the search, Runnings directed the officers to two machine guns – an M11-A1 .380 caliber sub-machine gun and a Sten MkII 9 millimeter sub-machine gun. Brown said officers also found a silencer which could be attached to the barrel of the M11-A1.

In addition, high capacity magazines for both weapons were seized, along with illegal fireworks, Brown reported.

Officers arrested Runnings, a construction worker, on felony counts of possessing the machine guns and the silencer, according to Brown's report.

Runnings, who was booked on $20,000, was still in the Lake County Jail Tuesday night, jail records showed.

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Don Woodson of UCOP shares UC Berkeley materials with Clear Lake Students. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY – This month saw an unprecedented in event in Lake County, with 19 institutions of higher education coming together to visit students at local schools.

Higher Education Week events that took place May 14-15 were sponsored by the Lake County College Going Initiative.

The initiative – a partnership between the Lake County Office of Education, University of California Office of the President, and University of California San Francisco – describes an effort to promote a college-going culture in Lake County.

The three-year strong partnership continues to gain momentum as more colleges and programs combine efforts to support Lake County students.

The 19 schools involved in this year’s Higher Education Week were: Mendocino College, Yuba College, CSU East Bay, Chico State, Humboldt State, Sonoma State, DeVry University, Pacific Union College, St. Mary’s College, University of the Pacific and Dominican University.

Eight of the 10 UC institutions also were present: Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, Santa Cruz, San Diego and San Francisco.

Ruben Lubers of UC Davis stated in his presentation that “everyone who wants to attend college has the opportunity to do so. Financial aide and scholarships are available to all students.”

Lubers, once homeless, shared his inspirational story of becoming a college graduate, and encouraged Lake County students to follow their dreams no matter what obstacle crosses their path.

UCOP offered a tremendous amount of support in the organization of the event. Angel Max Guerrero, coordinator of Regional Academic Collaboratives at UCOP, was pleased that the number of participating colleges has more than doubled in size since the first Lake County Higher Ed Week in 2006.

Blas Guerrero, UCOP Director of Regional Academic Collaboratives, stated: “Higher Ed Week highlights a collaborative approach to student and family outreach by UC, CSU, community colleges, and private schools. It is an effort to increase the number of students that pursue higher education. I would like to personally thank the high school counselors and administrators, Dave Geck (LCOE Superintendent), and Jamey Gill (LCOE Coordinator for the College Going Initiative), for their support in the implementation of this event.”

AVID students at Clear Lake High school welcomed the traveling team of college reps with posters. Students at Oak Hill Middle School made a point of thanking the college reps, stating that, “they had never had a presentation like this before.”

Daniel Gildea, a junior at Clear Lake High School, has had his eye on attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, with the goal of becoming a civil engineer.

After talking to UC Berkeley, Chico State and University of the Pacific representatives during the week, he said, “It is good to discover how many options I have.” He said he's excited now about investigating a program at University of the Pacific that will allow him to get hands-on experience working in the field with a civil engineer while attending college.

Higher Education Week is only one of the many activities offered to Lake County students by the partners of the Lake County College Going Initiative.

Many of the students attending this event have also participated in the UC Summer Algebra Academies, and many have attended a variety of student and parent workshops focused on college readiness skills and financial aide.

Last month, 57 of the 109 Lake County seniors accepted to four-year colleges attended the University Admit Reception.

“The hard work of all the partners, especially the high school counselors and administrators, has contributed to the success of this initiative,” said Dave Geck, superintendent of Lake County Schools. “Making a vision of helping all students gain access to higher education a reality requires the willingness to try new approaches and new strategies. ‘New’ means ‘change’, and ‘change’ means ‘hard work’. So I commend our high school counselors and administrators for their commitment to the future of our students.”

For more information please contact Jamey Gill, Curriculum Specialist and Coordinator for the Lake County College Going Initiative at the Lake County Office of Education, by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone, 928-5969.


Students wait for the events to begin. Courtesy photo.


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