Wednesday, July 27, 2016

[Lake County] Grand jury honors young artists; court presents certificates to outgoing grand jurors

LAKEPORT, Calif. – With its new report now completed and released to the community, the 2015-16 Lake County Grand Jury held a Wednesday morning ceremony to honor young people who contributed their artistic talents to this year's document, while the jurors themselves also were honored by the superior court for their work.
Last week, the grand jury released its 102-page report, which can be seen below.
This latest report explores a number of topics, including the county's Office of Emergency Services and its role in county disaster preparedness; pension plan reviews; the county tax collector's check processing efficiency; a study of the duties and compensation of the Board of Supervisors; the District Attorney's Office Victim-Witness Division; alcohol and drug services available in Lake County; and employee accountability and record keeping.
It also looked at inconsistencies in Lakeport's general plan and zoning services; neighbor objections to expansion plans at Lake County Vector Control; fire safety; law enforcement K9 units; the Mendocino County juvenile facility, which is now under contract to provide services to Lake County juveniles; and nuisance abatement and code enforcement in and around Lake County after the 2015 wildland fires.
The Grand Jury report is distributed to all county departments, the governments of the cities of Clearlake and Lakeport, local libraries and to the state's archives, according to Foreman Jim Baur.
This year, grand jurors took a unique approach to creating the report.
Baur said they decided to hold an art contest, with the goal of featuring the artwork in the final report.
They went out to the community at large and local schools to seek entries from young people ages 6 to 18.
That effort culminated in the Wednesday morning ceremony to honor both the young artists and the outgoing grand jurors in Presiding Lake County Superior Court Judge Andrew Blum's Department 3 courtroom,
Besides donating hundreds of hours of service, Blum explained how the grand jury had wanted to recognize some of the community's young people, so they got together to create the prizes for artistic achievement.
He added that the jurors paid for the contest and prizes for the students out of their own pockets.
Baur said Wednesday that they received more than 30 entries – more than anticipated – and ended up selecting 10, all of which are featured throughout the report, including its front and back covers.
Blum handed out the awards to the following young artists. Their names, ages, schools, contest placement and the page of the report where their artwork is featured is as follows:
– Landy Wade, age 7, Riviera Elementary School, third place (back cover);
– Wyatt Chadwell, 9, Lakeport Elementary School, third place (page 11);
– Madison Witt, 13, Mountain Vista Middle School, third place (page 27);
– Ashton Legg, 16, Carlé High School, third place (page 93);
– Madison Fletcher, 16, Konocti Education Center, third place (ad hoc committee cover page, before page 1);
– Julia Lyon, 16, Clear Lake High School, third place (page 47);
– Ciara Snow, 17, Clear Lake High School, third place (page 63);
– Tasia Jardstrom, 17, Clear Lake High School, third place (page 83);
– Indira Duncan, 13 Upper Lake Middle School, second place (page 37);
– Megan Peterson, 16, Kelseyville High School, first place (front cover).
The young artists also got copies of the reports featuring their artwork.
Blum then presented certificates of appreciation to the 2015-16 grand jurors: Richard Bishop, Kelseyville; Rosemary Dontje, Kelseyville, the recording secretary who will be the foreman for the 2016-17 Grand Jury; Grace Gault, Lucerne; Maggie and Bill Magoolaghan, Kelseyville; Nanette Marschall, Lakeport; Venn Marschall, Lakeport; Bill Helldorfer, Lakeport, foreperson pro-tem; Richard Lewis, Lower Lake; Jan Pankratz, Lakeport, administrative secretary; Xian Yeagan, Upper Lake; Dennis Van Meter, Nice, sergeant-at-arms; and Jim Baur of Kelseyville, the outgoing grand jury foreman.
“They make $15 a day as grand jurors. Basically, that's volunteering,” said Blum as he handed a certificate of appreciation to Gault.
He also noted that jurors spend 15, 20, 30 or even more hours a week to complete their work.
Dontje presented Baur with a gift on behalf of the grand jury, explaining that when he first came on the grand jury two years ago, “He had never been on a grand jury, he didn't know what it was, but he still volunteered to be foreman.”
“And I learned a lot,” he added.
After the ceremony, Blum invited some of the youngsters to come up and have their picture taken with him. Wyatt Chadwell was invited up to the bench.
“Have a seat,” Blum said, allowing the boy to sit in his chair for a picture.
“Here, bang the gavel,” Blum said, handing the boy the gavel, which he took and knocked on the desk.
July 14, 2016
Lake County News
By Elizabeth Larson

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