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NOE GARCIA, The Sentinel 

Sierra Pacific small forward Arianna Chavarin (15) drives into the paint in the third quarter of the Feb. 1 game against Strathmore. Sierra Pacific faces Bakersfield Christian in a semifinal playoff game.

Lemoore student took gun on campus, father arrested on gun charges

LEMOORE — A high school student took a gun onto the Lemoore High School campus in what Lemoore Police officials called an “isolated incident,” leading to the arrest of the student and the student’s father.

On Monday around 9 a.m., a 16-year-old Lemoore High student was found to be in possession of a firearm in his backpack at school, police said.

Police said school administration immediately called the Lemoore Police Department and put forth the appropriate safety action. Officers said they responded to the scene, secured the weapon and arrested the student without incident.

Officers said the investigation revealed that the student did not make any threats toward the school or others. Lemoore High School officials informed parents about the incident as well, police said.

Authorities said further investigation revealed the pistol was an illegal weapon and also had a high-capacity magazine.

Officers said detectives assisted with a search warrant of the student’s residence located within the city limits of Lemoore.

Police said the search warrant resulted in an additional firearms confiscated from the residence and another firearm was recovered from a vehicle owned by the student’s father, 47-year-old David Escalera Sr.

The firearms recovered from the residence were unsecured and readily accessible, and officials said one of the seized firearms also had altered serial numbers.

Police said all firearms were seized and Escalera Sr. was arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment, criminal storage of a firearm, possession of an assault weapon, and possession of a firearm with altered serial numbers.

Authorities said Escalera Sr. was booked in the Kings County Jail with a bail set at $95,000 and the student was taken into custody and booked into the Kings County Juvenile Center.

The Lemoore Police Department said it will continue to take every measure to ensure the safety of the students and staff. Officials said students and staff are strongly encouraged to call authorities if they see or hear anything suspicious.

Students witness government in action

HANFORD — It’s not out of the ordinary to hear the phrases “I make a motion to approve” and “I second that motion” at a Kings County Board of Supervisors meeting — except when those words are being spoken by teenagers.

That’s exactly what anyone visiting the board’s meeting on Tuesday morning would have seen and heard.

On Tuesday, the number of supervisors jumped to 10. There were also two county administrative officers and several department heads were doubled.

It was all part of the Les Collins’ Youth in County Government Day, which the county has been doing for several years.

Students from six high schools in Kings County were invited to job shadow county officials in several different departments, including the Sheriff's Office and District Attorney's Office.

Avenal High School couldn’t make it, but a combined 50 students from Hanford High, Hanford West, Sierra Pacific, Lemoore, Corcoran and Lemoore Middle College high schools all attended.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard Valle said the day gives students an opportunity to see the government in action at the county level.

“I think they do a lot of reading on state and national, but the county level is where a lot happens,” Valle said. “It’s good for them to come learn and see where we meet and even know about the Board of Supervisors and what we do and how the government operates in Kings County.”

It was the 10th year in a row that Valle’s son, 16-year-old Kobe Valle, visited on Youth in County Government Day to see what his dad does.

“It’s interesting,” Kobe said. “I get to see what my dad does every Tuesday, and I think it’s good to get people my age interested in this type of stuff.”

Supervisor Doug Verboon said there weren’t events like this when he was a kid, so he thinks it’s great to be able to introduce the young students into local politics and local government.

“It gets their minds working and lets them understand what’s happening in the community and maybe they can help in the future,” Verboon said.

Verboon said this day could even open students’ eyes to future career options within government.

“It gives them a broader spectrum of things that actually happen in the community and maybe gives them something to focus on,” Verboon said.

Inside the Community Development Department, Director Greg Gatzka went over some plans with Mabel Zamora.

Zamora, 18, attends Corcoran High School, and said it was the first time she has participated in Youth in County Government Day. She said she enjoyed the experience and appreciated the time all the county employees took out of their days to show the students around.

“I wish I would have done this when I was a freshman or sophomore,” Zamora said, adding she was interested in teaching as a career but was open to other options.

This was about the 10th year Gatzka has experienced Youth in County Government day, and it’s something he thinks is important in more ways than one for the students.

“It’s a very important program to involve our local high school youth in understanding more of what we do in government, but also to job shadow to see what kind of potential job opportunities might interest them as well,” Gatzka said.

Kobe, a sophomore at Corcoran High School, said even though he is more interested in a career in video game technology than government, he still looks forward to participating in the event every year.

“It’s a fun experience and informative,” Kobe said, adding he suggests the program to other students.