Snake causes stir at shops

This red-bellied black snake visited the Jimboomba Convenience Centre on Wednesday afternoon.A RED-BELLIEDblack snake caused a stir at the Jimboomba Convenience Centre on Wednesday when it decided to visit the local travel agency.

The five-foot long reptile arrived outside agency about 2.30pm to the great surprise of staff inside.

The snake’s travel plans were foiled though when Tanzen from South Side Snake Services was called to the scene.

She located the animal under a plant pot, where she said he had likely slithered in fright.

“I think he’d turned up and seen people and got frightened,” she said.

“I was able to pick him up and take him away to release him.”

Tanzen said rather than trying to book a flight, the reptile had most likely travelled to the shopping centre looking for food.

Tanzen from South Side Snake Services with the snake.

“There’s plenty of food around the area, including lizards and other snakes and rodents,” she said.

“Shopping centres have bins, bins attract rodents and rodents in turn attract snakes.”

She said the staff in the travel agency had done the right thing by the snake.

“Snakes are protected by federal law, it is illegal to interfere with them in any way,” she said.

“The best thing people can do is watch it from a safe distance and call a professional.

“Their actions are a credit to them, not everyone acts as sensibly.”

To report a snake sighting phone South Side Snake Services on 0408 886 225.

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Bromhead last on ballot

THE Christian Democrats have secured the top place on the ballot draw for the electorate of Myall Lakes. Incumbent Stephen Bromhead from the National Party will be at the bottom of the ballot paper.

The draw took place this afternoon at 2pm in Forster, with Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead, Country Labor candidate David Keegan and Independent candidate Steve Attkins in attendance.

David Keegan from Country Labor with Independent candidate Steve Attkins at the ballot draw on Thursday (March 12).

The order of candidates on the ballot paper will be as follows: Andrew Weatherstone representing the Christian Democratic Party in number one; Stephen Ballantine from The Greens in number two; Independent Steve Attkins in number three; Glovina Gouskos from the No Land Tax party in number four; David Keegan from Country Labor in number five; and The Nationals’ Stephen Bromhead in number six.

Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead being sworn into office

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Editorial: No slow fade for our shire

THIS weekend we almost take a brief respite from the frantic scramble towards the election as Gunnedah packs in an enormous amount of activity.

Today is the opening of the Australian Masters exhibition at the Work of Art Community Gallery.

Tonight, we have the charity screening of 50 Shades of Grey, followed by a whopping 36 girls making their debut tomorrow night.

Friday night will also see the opening of Return of the Prodigal, an exhibition at the Creative Arts Gallery by former Gunnedah resident Iain Campbell.

On Saturday, the feverishly awaited Firefighters Championships kicks off, along with the Gunnedah Aeroclub Air Spectacular and the beginning of the Week of Speed.

That’s a humungous weekend of activities.

Sunday will see an interesting turn of events with the staging of the anti-coal and gas family fun day at the Donnelly Playing Fields. The event has been heavily promoted through social media and organisers are planning to make a human sign to kick home their argument.

Even leaving out the rally, which has obviously been timed to attract attention ahead of the election, this menu of amazing events show Gunnedah is one regional town that is not going into a slow fade.

Take a look at the range – there is something here for everyone from the arts folk to the speed demons. Teenagers will be presented to society in an old-fashioned tradition still popular in the vastly changed society of today, and activists will be championing our agricultural land.

Even without the air acrobatics, it’s enough to make your head spin.

This weekend and all its events shows us how lucky we are to live in a shire where good things happen and the community has plenty of opportunity to get involved.

Our town is not sitting quietly bemoaning times gone by, we are bringing them into the future with us, and creating a vibrant place people are happy to live in.

Well done to all the organisers of all the vastly different events. To put together something for your community takes time, effort and dedication, and we are all the better for it.

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Junior Gunnedah rugby side to play Super 15 curtain-raiser

The Gunnedah Junior Rugby Under 10s team which will be playing a curtain-raiser game to the Waratahs and Blues, Super 15 match in Sydney later this month. Pictured back left is PJ Carter, Alex Bomford, Sandy McArther, Lachlan Paul, Sam Sawyer, Michael Walsh. Front left: Eliza O’Donnell, Patrick McCumstie and Olivia O’Donnell.

The Gunnedah Junior Rugby Club Under 10s team will have big shoes to fill when it plays the curtain-raiser to a Super 15 match in Sydney.

This junior team, which has already started training in preparation for the big occasion, will be the prelude to the NSW Waratahs and Auckland Blues game at Allianz Stadium.

Defending premiers, the Waratahs, have notched two wins from four rounds this season, one of which was a bye.

All Gunnedah players are looking forward to representing their community on the big stage.

Also on the menu is a “Come and Try” Day for the Gunnedah Junior Rugby Club to be held on Friday to kick-off the 2015 season.

All current players and anyone who thinks they might be interested are welcome to attend. Age groups include Under 6, U8, U10, U12 and U14. The afternoon starts at 4pm and finishes about 7pm with a free sausage sizzle. All registered players will receive a free Red Devils 2015 cap.

Further registration and training days will be held from 4-5pm on Thursday, March 26, and Thursday, April 23.

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Letter: Promises, promises

Les Smiles, of Gunnedah, writes:

We are in an election campaign, as if you did not know, and we are once again in the midst of a great deal of promise.

We’re promised this and we’re promised that and some of the other as well.

However, all promises are dependent upon being elected or re-elected.

Let’s examine the history of those who were elected last time and what it’s meant to Gunnedah.

Gunnedah Timbers closed with substantial loss of jobs because the Pilliga was kept locked up in order to placate the Greens, and the Shooters and Fishers and secure their votes in the Upper House for legislation critical to the government.

The lack of action by the incumbent government in this matter cost the jobs and income of 22 families.

Gunnedah received no grants from the Royalties for Regions Fund despite having as much coal activity as neighbouring areas. Why?

The Pilliga was locked up, ostensibly to protect the fauna and flora of the forest. The area that was burned in the past few days would have supported the Gunnedah sawmill for quite some time and in the process, assisted in bushfire protection.

There is no doubt that a number of animals and a large amount of flora that may otherwise have been protected have been lost. So much for the environmentalists. No sign of them on the fire ground.

Let us now look at the new multi-million dollar overhead bridge which will direct most traffic from Narrabri and Coonabarabran along Bloomfield Street. My previous letter pointed out how the community and the council of the day rejected the plan.

One candidate is holding the new bridge up as a great achievement. You won’t get many votes for that.

Those of us who live in Bloomfield Street and others whose children attend the childcare centre or one of the three schools in the street will hold their breath and hope that no child or adult is injured by the traffic which will be generated.

As to the election, there are a number of candidates, but only two can be considered as realistic chances.

The Nationals, as far as most country people are concerned, are a sub-set of the Liberal Party, and rarely deviate from their policy.

The front-running independent has discovered that there are votes to be had in opposing coal and coal seam gas. Care should be taken, since just as many could be lost.

There are a great number of people who will lose homes and businesses should the mines close, and the economic viability of the towns in the area would certainly be threatened.

The principal complaint about the mines seems to revolve around perceived damage to the aquifers. They are already damaged, but not by mining.

People who have lived in Carroll for many years recall when wells dug to 7m provided ample good quality water.

But not now. Irrigation has increased the depth required to reach water in Carroll to 30m. No mining caused that.

Who can remember when the Mooki had a flush that actually got past the massive pumps and above-ground dams on the plains to reach the Namoi? Not too many.

The Watermark mine continues to receive much criticism amid claims it will mine on the blacksoil plain. They have, in fact, unambiguously stated that they will not.

Shenhua Watermark has purchased the country it will mine at top prices. It has established a community fund worth $5 million, including $1 million to the Rural Health Centre, and spends approximately $250,000 annually in local shops. On goods and services in the local region, the total expenditure tops $20 million.

I have watched the protesters at the various places around the area and have to wonder how many of them are from here.

Are some of them being paid by Greenpeace as is claimed? If that is in fact true, how seriously can their actions be viewed?

We hear much about the food bowl. I am sure there is food grown, but a great deal of cotton also, and not matter how much chutney is used, underpants, shirts and singlets are still indigestible.

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