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Local fire districts, academy recognized

Jack Barnwell
jbarnwell@tahoedailytribune.com
Tahoe Douglas Fire Chief Ben Sharit, Lake Valley Fire Chief Gareth Harris, Eastern Alpine Fire-Rescue Chief Terry Hughes and South Lake Tahoe Fire Capt. Jon Anderson represented their respective agencies during Lake Tahoe Community College recognition of support and service to the local fire academy and fire sciences program.
Jack Barnwell / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

Local fire agencies received a standing ovation from Lake Tahoe Community College (LTCC) board and staff on Tuesday, in large part for helping to fan the flames of its fire academy’s success for the last nine years.

Representatives from South Lake Tahoe Fire Department, Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District, Lake Valley Fire Protection District and Eastern Alpine Fire/Rescue received resolutions while LTCC fire program graduates showed up in numbers for support.

Tahoe Douglas Fire Chief Ben Sharit, Lake Valley Fire Chief Gareth Harris, Eastern Alpine Fire-Rescue Chief Terry Hughes and South Lake Tahoe Fire Capt. Jon Anderson represented the four fire departments.

Jeff DeFranco, LTCC vice president, called the Fire Academy one of the college district’s most successful programs.

“Fire is our flagship vocational program and goes back for our entire 40-year college history,” DeFranco said. “It is a very core part of this college’s future.”

Virginia Boyar, LTCC dean of career and technical education, said the fire departments’ involvement and the fire program put the college on the map.

“This is a program that would not exist without the dedication of these individuals,” Boyar said. “The fire districts actually approached the college and said we want to have a local training opportunity for students so they can be trained in our unique geographical setting.”

Harris, she said for example, teaches at the fire academy, while Hughes acts as the academy coordinator. Boyar added that South Lake Tahoe Chief Jeff Metson was responsible for putting together a top-notch fire services bachelor’s degree proposal.

“We have undying gratitude for you,” Boyar said.

Board member Michelle Sweeney, who represents the area affected by the June 2007 Angora Fire, noted the practical support the local fire agencies and the fire program provided the community.

In other actions, Board Clerk Fritz Wenck swore in Antonio Benitez as the new student trustee, replacing Gina Niceforo.

The board also approved an addendum to its master agreement for the college’s pending improvement of parking lots and pedestrian routes.


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