Vasileios Gkogas is aware he has big shoes to fill as he takes over from Charalambos Ladopoulos as Consul General of Greece for Education but says he is more than happy to keep going with the work Ladopoulos has done. But it’s his connection to Australia already that many may not know about. Gkogas made his first trip to Australia, as a 20-year-old, to complement his degree in teaching, which he completed in Greece. It was at that time he truly fell in love with Australia. “I love Australia, it’s part of my personal and family history. When I was six, I was ready to immigrate to Australia because three of my mother’s sisters live here in Australia. One is in Tasmania and the other two are in Melbourne. “When I came here in 1980, I fell in love with Australia. It reminds me a lot of Greece, very warm, the people are open so I am happy to be back here in Melbourne.” In his first week in office, he says his priority is to become familiar with Melbourne and to “find somewhere to live”. “I have a lot to do,” Gkogas tells Neos Kosmos of the mammoth task ahead for the next three years. “I want to try and meet all the people around Australia who are involved with Greek education. I want to communicate with the schools, the community, to speak to everyone in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide who are involved.” From then, it’s business time for the Consul General of Greece for Education. He will be creating initiatives to promote the inclusion of Greek education in Australia. Gkogas, like his predecessor, comes from a primary school teaching background. Having worked in Greece for 28 years as a teacher and five years in Germany, Gkogas also has degree in Fine Art, Painting and Museology, and speaks fluent German and English. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
Testimony began Wednesday in the jury trial of a Snohomish man accused of being a lookout during a home invasion robbery Dec. 19 in Ridgefield, in which a victim was tied up and several firearms were stolen.Jarrod A. Wiebe, 27, is charged in Clark County Superior Court with first-degree burglary, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery, second-degree extortion, first-degree criminal impersonation, and 10 counts of firearm theft.In an agreement with prosecutors, three of his friends, including the group’s ringleader, pleaded guilty Monday to multiple charges.“The state’s theory is that even though Mr. Wiebe may not have been the actual person who commissioned these crimes, by virtue of (being an accomplice), he is just as culpable as his cohorts,” said Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu during opening statements Wednesday.Wiebe’s attorney, Chris Ramsay, said Wiebe was outside the home at the time of the crimes and didn’t participate in threatening the victim, tying up the victim or demanding money and firearms from the victim.“In the end, you are going to know the other three certainly committed all of these crimes, but you’ll have doubt about (whether) Mr. Wiebe’s contribution, if any, added up to accomplice liability,” Ramsay said.