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Street feast on Clarence

CLARENCE Street’s niche restaurant precinct will take centre stage on Friday.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has partnered with CBD restaurants and businesses to showcase local food and entertainment at the Clarence Street Food Festival.

Located in Clarence Street, between Short Street and the Hastings River, the event also represents an opportunity for visitors and locals to meet council’s Place Making team and help determine a vision for the future of the precinct.

In additional to a smorgasboard of street food, there will be plenty of activities to keep visitors entertained, including live music, a projected light show, giant games (chess, checkers and Jenga) and street art demonstrations, which will be auctioned for charity on the night.

To embrace Friday the 13th, festival goers are encouraged to come in fancy dress and the street will be suitably decorated with spooky artwork from local school students.

Local business owners Todd and Lisa Richardson from Lv’s on Clarence said they were excited about the festival and promoting “an area many people bypass in their usual visits to the CBD”.

“There are a range of exciting restaurants and menus for people of all ages to enjoy close to the riverfront, and we are looking forward to revealing Port Macquarie’s best kept secret,” he said.

According to council’s community and economic growth director Tricia Bulic the festival is both an opportunity to showcase the precinct and for the community to share their vision of a transformative future.

The festivities will run from 4.30pm to 8.30pm.

Entry is free and a variety of food and refreshments will be on offer for a fee.

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Next step for preschool planPOLL

A decision about future expansion for Dubbo and District Preschool Kinder-garten will be made by Dubbo City Council in the coming weeks, after a state government ruling on the proposal.

A planning proposal to rezone land at Daphne Park was given support by councillors at the February ordinary meeting and is now in the hands of the NSW Minister of Planning.

If given the green light, the plans will be put on display to the public for at least 14 days and submissions from the public will be accepted.

Council will then make their final decision.

The land at Daphne Park is Crown land controlled by council, and is currently zoned RE1 Public Recreation, which prevents any expansion but the rezoning would see it become R1 General Residential.

A concerned resident who lives near the preschool approached the Daily Liberal because she was worried the expansion would eat into the city’s parklands.

Georgia Bryan said the land had been zoned as Public Recreation for a reason and she did not want the rezoning to happen without other residents being given the opportunity to have their say.

The preschool received a grant of $907,000 from the NSW government to allow it to build two classrooms and a staff room, and they had been awarded an interest-free loan of $91,000 to cover the costs of the rezoning application, development application and other fees.

Ms Bryan said she was surprised by the amount of assistance the preschool had received.

She pointed out a claim on Daphne Park had been lodged by the Dubbo Local Aboriginal Lands Council (LALC), but a day after the government grant was awarded to the preschool, the claim was revised to exclude the 2200-square metre section being requested for rezoning by the preschool.

Dubbo LALC chief executive officer Darren Toomey confirmed the decision was made to drop that parcel of land from the claim at the request of Dubbo MP Troy Grant.

“A claim had been made for Daphne Park but after negotiations and looking at the bigger picture, we decided to partially withdraw the claim,” he said.

“The overall decision was made because we recognise it is about working together. We recognise the need for preschool places in Dubbo so we can see the benefit the expansion would provide.”

DCC director of community services, David Dwyer, said the preschool had been treated the same as any other non-government organisation residing on council-owned land.

He said it was common for council to provide loans to help community groups and assist them with planning proposals.

Mr Dwyer said if the rezoning was approved and the preschool expanded, there would still be more than 5700 square metres of land available for public recreation at Daphne Park, including a playground, which is scheduled for replacement during 2015-16.

A previous expansion by Dubbo and District Preschool onto a portion of Daphne Park was completed in 1963, before the land was rezoned as Public Recreation, Mr Dwyer said.

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Why are we so scared to acknowledge life?

Claire Van Ryn asks: Why are we so scared to acknowledge life?AMBER Elizabeth Rose died last week. Quickly. Invisibly. Tragically. She hadn’t even reached her birth date.

The newspapers reported the devastating news of the murder-suicide in the rural town of Biddeston near Toowoomba.

They reported three deaths – Kris-Deann Sharpley, her seven-year-old son Jackson and her father Derek.

Amber was not in the headcount. Her life was not counted.

Over and over it was reported that Kris-Deann was “heavily pregnant”, that she was on maternity leave awaiting the birth of her daughter, that she had chosen her name and was sharing the excitement with her son Jackson.

But no one counted Amber’s life.

Before her death Kris-Deann, a nurse, told her family how Jackson spent time chatting to his baby sister through her bulging belly. He kissed her and told her he was her big brother, that he was boss.

On Facebook, Kris-Deann shared a photo montage under the words “My Beautiful Children”. The two photos were of her son and a 3D ultrasound image of her unborn daughter. In curling script beneath were their names; Jackson and Amber.

Kris-Deann, like any expectant mother, treated the child in her womb as a valid human life, even though they had never met.

But no one counted Amber’s death when she and her family were slain last Sunday night in a red brick home on a quiet street as gum trees futilely waved their arms in the breeze.

The truth is that four people died.

Kris-Deann’s pregnancy was almost to term – that much is clear from the ultra-sound photo. The only thing separating that baby from bona fide humanity (according to this crazy world we live in) was her mother’s flesh.

Why are we so scared to acknowledge life?

As I’ve read through these stories I have grieved little Amber, the forgotten life in all of this. I have also glimpsed the mother’s heart of Kris-Deann and I get the feeling it would sadden her to know that her youngest child has not been publically acknowledged.

For what it’s worth Kris-Deann, from one mum to another, I counted four tragic deaths that night, and I know that many more were thinking the same as they digested their Cornflakes together with the news of your family’s passing.

I take comfort in the words of Jesus who persuasively spoke of the intrinsic value of life. God knows when a sparrow dies, or a hair falls from our heads, he said, “So don’t be afraid; you are worth more…” (Matthew 10:30)

Amber is worth more than the vague references to her mother’s pregnancy. God knows that.

Jesus also said this: “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” (Matthew 10:26)

Refusing to acknowledge life within the womb – especially with medical evidence expanding daily – is like refusing to answer a neighbour’s knock at the door because you cannot see them.

Rest in peace Kris-Deann, Jackson, Derek.

Rest in peace Amber.

■ Read more of Claire van Ryn’s musings at www.faithlikeamushroom.wordpress苏州美甲美睫培训学校 or follow her page on Facebook.

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Confederates drop season opener against the Blue Jays in Dubbo

DUBBO’S bid to make the finals of the 2015 women’s Premier League Hockey competition got off to the best possible start on Saturday, with the Blue Jays scoring a goal in each half to land a 2-0 win over Confederates at Pioneer Park.

With former coach Craig Johnston back at the helm the Dubbo side dominated for large periods of the match but were never fully comfortable until an Alisa Shaw goal with 10 minutes remaining in the second stanza sealed the win.

Alex Waters, who battled late in 2014 with a knee injury, returned to the squad opened the scoring in the first five minutes of the contest, capitalising on a turnover to give the home side the lead.

They should have doubled the lead shortly after when they earned a penalty stroke however Feds ‘keeper Stephanie Hinds was able to deflect Emma Corcoran’s shot to keep her side in the contest.

Both sides swapped opportunities until the half-hour mark when the game was delayed for a small period when Feds defender Samantha Stevenson suffered a serious ankle injury and had to be helped from the pitch.

Stevenson was visibly upset as she sat in the dugout before being conveyed to hospital via ambulance for further assessment.

Both sides regrouped and played the game out to half-time, with Dubbo carrying their one-goal advantage into the break.

The game opened up in the second stanza as the warm conditions tested the fitness levels of both sides.

Feds’ missed a couple of opportunities as young Blue Jays keeper Lilli Campbell stood up to the test in her first premier league match before before Shaw put the result beyond doubt when she capitalise on some lazy defence inside the Feds’ circle.

“It was really just a couple of moments that let us down there. It’s something to work on,” Confederates coach Mark Pengilly said afterwards.

“Dubbo are always hard to beat up here and you have to take your chances. We didn’t do that today

and we gave them a couple of chances they did take.

“I was really proud of how the girls reacted after Sam went down. Sometimes a team can drop their bundle but the girls stuck at it and we’ll learn from that game and hopefully keep improving.

“Last year was a rough one for us but this week we actually had to select a team because we had more players available than we could play which is a good sign.”

For Dubbo, rookie skipper Aimee Davies was a rock in defence and admitted she was pleased to get a win on the board so early.

“Home games early in the season are important and to get a win and keep a clean sheet was a big effort,” Davies said.

“We’ve got a pretty young side again this year but most of those younger players have had a couple of years of Premier League under their belt now and we want to make finals.

“To do that we need to win games and we’ve started the right way.”

DUBBO BLUE JAYS 2 (Alex Waters, Alisa Shaw goals) def ORANGE CONFEDERATES 0

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Plan to grow region

MILDURA Tourism will carry out a feasibility study to determine whether a long list of proposed projects have scope to get the green light.

STRATEGY: Mildura Tourism will develop a master plan to set out opportunities for the city.

Recently there has been new and ongoing public advocacy for numerous projects and proposals including a motor sports hub, riverfront dining, Mungo National Park upgrades and a purpose-built convention centre.

As part of its three-year strategic plan, Mildura Tourism identified a need to develop a universally-accepted master plan that sets out opportunities for the city, taking into account what is achievable and viable.

Mildura Tourism CEO Rod Trowbridge said relevant government, industry and business partners would be consulted over the Tourism Destination Management Plan which would be drafted following a feasibility study.

The latest strategic plan for 2015 to 2017 also identified the need for Mildura to be recognised as a major Australian city and, in turn, attract more visitors to the area.

“Mildura Tourism’s objective remains to position our region as a modern and vibrant destination that is continually growing, evolving and improving,” Mr Trowbridge said.

“We need to increase visitation and resultant business yield, delivering stronger economic benefits which in turn can fuel investment in new infrastructure and attractions.”

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Anglicare’s plea to restock pantry for city’s many people in need

RESTOCKING: The pantry is not yet bare but Anglicare administration support worker Christie McGuirk is calling on people to send in donated food, particularly long-life staples, so they can continue to provide emergency food to people in need.Photo: TANYA MARSCHKE 0301tmanglicare1FOLLOWING a busy few months Anglicare is calling for donations of long-life, easy-to-prepare food to give to people in need.

Anglicare administration support worker Christie McGuirk said the not-for-profit organisation was running out of food to give to people as emergency meals and needed to restock its pantry.

She said there had been a high demand during the Christmas period.

“We want anything non-perishable, anything ranging from toiletries, deodorants, baby food, anything that’s not perishable,” Ms McGuirk said.

“We cater for a diverse range of people.”

Ms McGuirk said the food was usually for emergency meals for up to two nights, and people were referred by Family and Community Services, Centrelink, the Salvation Armyand more recently St Vincent de Paul.

Items that are in particular demand include pasta and rice that can go with canned food already stocked in the Anglicare pantry. Items such as toilet paper are also useful.

The pantry initiative has been running for about 13 or 14 months to help low-income people.

“It would be really nice if some of the bigger organisations could help or leave a donation so we can go shopping as well,” Ms McGuirk said.

Food and supplies can be dropped off at the Central Western Daily at 132 Kite Street, Orange or at Anglicare at 1 Hampden Avenue between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

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‘Ignorance no excuse’

THE fire danger season will come to a close tomorrow, but authorities are warning people not to be complacent.

CAUTION: Mallee Catchment District 18 CFA operations officer Robin McNally warns people not to get complacent as the fire danger period comes to a close.

Since October 27, 2014 when the fire danger season started, local fire authorities have had a steady year, according to District 18 Mallee Catchment CFA operations officer Robin McNally.

“We had a range of fire activity both on public and private land,” he said.

“Luckily, none eventuated into larger fires.”

Mr McNally said the CFA had utilised a large number of resources to keep those incidents under control.

He said he was thankful the fire danger period was not as busy as the previous year.

“We don’t want another year like that,” he said.

Mr McNally said although the fire danger period would end this week, it paid for residents to be vigilant with warm weather continuing and plenty of dry fuel around.

He said there was still the usual onus on landholders before burning off to contact the Emergency Services Telecommunication Authority, notify their neighbours beforehand, create fire breaks and have adequate firefighting equipment. Those in the irrigation district also still need council approval to conduct burnoffs.

It is also imperative that weather conditions for the day and the next couple of days after the burnoff are suitable for the activity to ensure a burnoff does not result in a bushfire.

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No council budget information session

A councillor has unsuccessfully tried to hold an information workshop with the community about council’s annual budget. Photo: Southern Highland NewsA COUNCILLOR has unsuccessfullytried to hold an information workshopwith the community about council’sannual budget.

Councillor Ian Scandrett put forwarda notice of motion for council to hold apublic workshop where communitymembers could ask council employeesquestions about the budgets, councilaccounts and Fit for the Future.

“With the pressures on our financesand planning, I think it would be aworthwhile exercise to hold these sessionsso that people can come alongand ask questions of staff and councilin terms of our budget,” Cr Scandrettsaid.

“I would think this may pay some dividendsbecause if there are to be somehard decisions to be made in our budgetpre consulting them, discussing itwith the community might yield somepositive outcomes.”

However, councillors were quick todisapprove of the motion.

CouncillorJim Clark said the public weren’t”greatly interested” in the budget.

“The way it works with local governmentis you do all the hard yards, youget elected and one of the things youdo is you make decisions about thebudget,” Cr Clark said.

“You have to go through the budgetline by line, page by page, the publicdon’t have to do that, they elected youto do that.”

Councillor Garry Turland was notsupportive of the motion and said itwas an “election campaign”, which CrGair agreed with.

“I think it is self promotion really,” CrGair said.

“When you put forward thesenotices of motions, ask yourself withinyourself, what is the purpose? Is it

about me or is it about the community?Because in my opinion, this is reallynot about the community.”

The motion was lost with Cr Gair notinghis “disappointment” with supportersof the motion.

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Fem a poster girl for Joe Hockey’s plan to keep people in the workforce

LOVE MY WORK: Fem Hawke, who is almost 70, says she wants to keep working for as long as possible. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0306sgfem1FEM Hawke, 69, has been working for 53 years and says she can’t envisage a time when she won’t be going to work.

“I just absolutely love work and I always have,” she said.

Mrs Hawke, who could perhaps be a role model for Treasurer Joe Hockey’s plan to keep people in the workforce for longer, started work fresh out of school at the age of 17 and for 10 years worked at CBN Channel 8 before starting her own giftware business in Sale Street.

“I enjoy the stimulation of conversation and the friendships you make through working and even today I still love retail,” she said.

Even after selling the business belonging to herself and her husband Courtney to their daughter, Mrs Hawke has maintained an active interest.

“You do get tired when you are working in retail,” she said.

Mrs Hawke said while she wanted to keep on working as long as she could, she and her husband always had a retirement plan.

“Courtney did have a succession plan in place for when I turned 60 and even though I just love coming into work the reality is that it is physically very tiring,” she said.

Mrs Hawke said, however, she didn’t know if Mr Hockey’s plan for working longer in the future would be feasible for manual workers.

“I have seen some of the men working on the site behind us at the business and they work incredibly hard on a physical level,” she said.

“Some of them are not all that young and I imagine it would be difficult to maintain that level as you get older.”

Mrs Hawke appreciates there are many more challenges for business owners today compared to the time she opened her gift store in the 1970s.

“These days for people who own a business, not only do they have to work hard all day, when they come home at night they have all the pressures of compliance such as keeping up with their business activity statements – it makes for a very long working day,” she said.

At 81, George White said he too enjoyed the social contact that came from going to work every day.

“I started work when I was 17 on my father’s orchard – mind you I didn’t get paid for two years so I moved into driving trucks which I have done for 63 years,” he said.

“I just can’t sit at home and do nothing – I would go stupid.”

Mr White has slowed down a little lately as the result of a cataract operation and chemotherapy for six months, but he said he was raring to go again and only had a few days off work, with his sons helping him in his part-time cardboard collection business.

“I just love being out and about meeting people,” he said.

Mr White doesn’t think Mr Hockey’s new intergenerational plan will be popular in some quarters.

“There are some bludgers out there who don’t want to work but just want the dole, so they are not going to be happy,” he said.

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‘Road work needed’

AFTER the first months of a Victorian Labor Government there are “pluses, minuses and still things to do”, according to member for Mildura Peter Crisp.

Pluses and minuses: Peter Crisp is pleased with Labor’s action on freight rail but country roads remain a problem.

Today marks 100 days since Premier Daniel Andrews led Labor to victory on November 29.

Mr Crisp listed a commitment on Mildura freight rail as a positive, but said he was still “concerned” about the state of country roads.

The Nationals’ MP said the axing of the Coalition’s Country Roads and Bridges Program would see road maintenance funding across the state drop by up to $370 million over the next five years.

The government last month announced the $35.8 million Stronger Country Bridges Program and the $50 million Safer Country Crossings Program.

“I have concerns about country road maintenance in the VicRoads network and local government network,” Mr Crisp said. “The government is yet to make a useful and substantial commitment to country roads.”

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