Shoppers fill the streets, retail booms

PRAWNS, PRAWNS, PRAWNS: Emily Coggin, Anne-Marie Ferguson, Mark Knaggs and Bridi Knaggs have been kept busy in the lead up to Christmas. Photo: PAIGE WILLIAMSFive tonnes of prawns will be sold at DMC Meat and Seafood in the lead up to Christmas.
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Owner Mark Knaggs said prawns were the biggest seller for the festive feast, and give or take a couple of hundred kilograms, he was confident five tonnes would be going out the door.

Regardless of what is filling the shopping basket, be it food or clothing, Dubbo retailers are happy with the biggest shopping month of the year.

The Gift Closet owner Krissy Smith said her store had been consistently busy since last Thursday, and she only expected trade to increase in the coming days.

Meanwhile shoppers had been buying Christmas presents since September at The Swish Gallery, owner and operatorSusie Rowley said.

All three business owners said they were expecting Christmas Eve to be the busiest day, and praised Dubbo residents for shopping locally.

Keeping money in local pockets was a “very big deal”, Mr Knaggs said.

“It’s been a hard year for retail in general. A lot of retailers are actually looking for that Christmas boost and the more you spend in townthe better off everything is,” he said.

“I think a lot of people these days are starting to do that. I know the internet has a lot of power but I think a lot of people still like walking in-especially with what we do-they like walking in and having a look.”

As Ms Rowley said she had posted on her Facebook page “when you buy from a small business an actual person does a little happy dance”.

SEASON OF GIVING: The Gift Closet owner Krissy Smith and Christmas Elf Courtenay Mace, encouraging shoppers to spend their money locally. Photo: Belinda Soole

Dubbo Regional Council has also been encouraging shoppers to spend their money within the CBD, through the ‘smile. it’s Christmas’ campaign.

More than 70 gift cards from the CBD elf will be handed out to local shoppers by the time council’s promotion finishes.

Not only was it locals shopping at DMC, Mr Knaggs said customers were also coming from places such as Newcastle and Muswellbrook.

“You’ve got to have the product. We think we supply a good product and so we get people walking through the door,” he said.

It was looking to be a record year for the business, Mr Knaggs said.

“It’s been busy for about a week, ever since it rained. Because it’s been a good season, good harvest, everyone has plenty of dollars and if they’re in town they want to spend it,” he said.

When it came to the big sellers this Christmas, Ms Smith said “everything” had been popular at The Gift Closet, but the Glasshouse candles had been the biggest seller.

Ms Smith said the candles had been going out the door faster than she could restock them.

“I don’t know if it’s because we’re a newer store, but we’ve found the response has been wonderful. Since Thursday last week it’s been constant. And there’s still people who haven’t done their shopping yet,” Ms Smith said.

Meanwhile, Ms Rowley said her biggest seller was anything with animal hide.

Mr Knaggs said he wanted to thank all his customers for shopping local and staying loyalto the business.

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Turvey Park Yellow edge out Dragons

IN PLAY: Saints pitcher Ryley Young lets rip in the junior softball game against South Wagga on Saturday morning at French Fields. Pictures: Laura HardwickTHE Wagga modball competition completed their final round of matches on Saturday morning before the mid-season break.
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In the feature match, undefeated competition leader Saints Dragons took on second placed Turvey Park Yellow.

After the first innings the scores were locked at twoall.

In the second innings, Turvey Park Yellow took control of the game, when a combination of good batting and untidy Saints fielding allowed Turvey Park to score three runs.

TALENT: South Wagga batter Aria McLaughlan swings hard with her eyes shut in junior softball on Saturday morning at French Fields.

They followed that up by not allowing a Saint to cross the plate.

In the end, Turvey Park reversed the round one result by defeating Saints Dragons 6-2.

Best for Turvey Park Yellow wereCrawford Wadley, Austin Gooden and Blake Gibbons.

Best for Saints wereLachlan Dicker, Simon Timothy-Nesbitt and Ash Smith.

In the other modball games, Saints Knights were too good for South Wagga Warriors, winning 8-3 while Turvey Park Red defeated Turvey Park Blue in a very close encounter 7-6.

The junior softball competition will now break over the Christmas holidays and will resume on February 4, 2017.

Wagga Softball Associationwill be represented by six under age teams at the prestigious 2017 Australia Day Tournament in Canberra at the end of January.

Wagga Softball teams will contest the tee ball, under 13 male and female and under 15 male and female competitions.

The Wagga softball executivewish allplayers and their families a happy, safe and joyous festive season.

HOME RUN: South Wagga batter Jasmin Naumoski makes it to home base for a run against Saints in the junior softball game at French Fields on Saturday.

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Greener fields now beckoning to Maher

AFTER 40-odd years Swan Hill real estate agent Peter Maher is pulling the pin on a fruitful real estate career that spans over four decades.
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Although retirement is a “surreal” feeling to the award-winning agent, he is very glad to not have to work a weekend again.

Originally from Pira, Victoria, Peter was born into a farming family of wheat and sheep.

“In them days, there were lots of neighbours but going anywhere on a pushbike on dirt roads was tough going,” he said.

After school, Peter studied accountancy in Bendigo and soon after secured his first job as an accountant at Elders in Swan Hill.

Although working back-of-house in accounts at the time, Elders introduced Peter to the world of real estate which would soon become the blueprint to his highly successful career.

Peter, who had always been curious about the world around him, moved interstate a number of times to broaden his experience and stepped outside his “comfort zone.”

One of those stints led Peter to Perth for four years where he commenced studies to become a real estate agent.

It didn’t take him long to secure a position as a residential real estate agent in Subiaco and in a few years he went on to break a state record.

“I actually broke the state record there. I sold 16 properties in one weekend,” he said.

“I spent four years in Perth before I was approached by Elders to come back to Swan Hill to sell rural properties.”

Peter jumped at the chance; at the time he thought a move back home was a good idea for his young family, enabling them to be closer to their support networks.

He went on to work for Elders for 15 years; between 1997 and 1998 Peter was awarded salesperson of the year for Elders National.

“It was unusual for a sales agents in this area to win that award because I was going up against other agents who were selling large pastoral properties throughout Australia,” he said.

“I sold 70+ properties in that year.”

Peter established Elders Swan Hill water trading, and was the first person ever to trade permanent water interstate.

“Once upon a time water was connected to the land but now it’s a separate title so you can trade it,” he said.

“I established Elders water trading in the mid-90’s.

“Clients were wanting to sell water and their water rights to release capital.”

After 15 years, Peter opted for a change and left Elders to establish Swan Hill’s BR&C Real Estate. Shortly after it was established, he moved to Geelong.

During Peter’s time in Geelong at Landmark Real Estate, he broke yet another state record.

“I broke the Victorian record for the dearest rural property sold,” he said.

“Glenfine Station in Skipton sold for in excess of $20 million.

“The property which was a cropping and grazing station was sold to the Los Angeles Police department superannuation fund (LAPD) for $22 million dollars.”

Never staying away from his home turf for too long in 2009, Peter returned to Swan Hill and established Mar Real Estate which was a successful business for nine months until BR&C won him back in 2010.

“I joined BR&C and have been here for six years now,” he said.

“I have seen the real estate business grow and put on four new staff over the years.

“BR&C originated in Swan Hill and are now partly owned by Ruralco which is a national live stock agency.”

As Peter looks back over his 40+ years in the real estate industry he is thankful for his many achievements and recalls four major changes over those years.

“Over the years I have seen the introduction of direct drills in cereal production, the introduction of Dorpers replacing Marino’s (a swing away from the wool market to the meat market), the freeing up of water rights to allow temporary and permanent trade of water, and the changes in technology going from pre-mobile phone where it was all after-hours work to pagers to the brick mobile phone and then to internet and satellite imagery,” he said.

“(Pre-mobile phone) you couldn’t talk to anyone until 7pm at night until the farmers came out of the paddocks where you had to call their home phones.

“You’d be on the phone from 7pm-11pm most nights.

“As soon as you sat down for dinner your phone would ring.”

Although it hasn’t quite hit him yet, soon enough Peter will be retiring to Castlemaine where wife Wendy has opened up a shop called The Wardrobe.

“I want to build a home with my own bare hands,” Peter said.

“It is something I have always wanted to do.

“Castlemaine has access to airports and I intend to do a lot of overseas travel.

“Retiring feels surreal. It is going to be great to not have to work on the weekends.”

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Giving a gift of home

More than 80 children from the Riverinawon’t be celebrating Christmas at home this year, prompting fresh calls for foster carers.
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A home for Christmas: Wagga-based carer Janet Moriarty says more foster carers are needed across the Riverina with more than 80 children currently displaced across the region.

Wagga-based carer Janet Moriartysaid whilethere was “always a big need” for carers, the Christmas season could be an especiallydifficult time of year.

“It’s challenging for families that are struggling with the needs of themselves and the needs of their children,” she said. “That’s when kids will come into care.That’s when the pressure tips the balance.”

A carer for 13 years, Mrs Moriartyencouraged anyone with the capacity, to genuinely consider opening their hearts and homesto displaced children across the region.

“If you can imagine yourself in a child’s shoes –who doesn’t know where they’re going to sleep that night –how would you feel and what would you do?” she said.

“I guess from my view, I want all children to have what I had growing up.”

Mrs Moriartysaid all children had a right to a loving, caring and safe home.

“Most of these kids have experienced some kind of trauma,” she said.

Shesaid seeingso many in a good position to become foster carers was sometimes frustrating.

“People don’t realise you can be married, single orin a same-sex relationship,” she said. “You can do anything and be a foster carer.”

Mrs Moriartysaid watching the kids flourish in care was priceless.

“I do this because I like doing it,” she said. “I feel like I’m making a difference.”

Riverina Anglicare regional manager BradAddison said at least 10 long-term foster carers and at least 10 respite carers were needed acrossthe region.

He said makingsure children and young people were happy, safe and secure while supporting carers was the biggest priority.

“Christmas is a time to focus on children, family, joy and hope which is why providing stability and care for a child can be one of most significant gifts people can give.”

Mr Addison said culturally-appropriate placements for indigenous children were also needed, with more than 30 children currently supported byTangerene.

Visitfosteringnsw南京夜网419论坛or call 1800 236 783 for more.

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Gilbert, Jones, Hines on podium

DUBBO Cycle Club held its annual Christmas Wheelrace series on Tuesday night, with Timmy Hines, Ashlee Jones and Chris Gilbert the winners of the time honored feature races. Hines (80m handicap) set a blistering tempo from the start to reel in the front markers and take out the mens’ Christmas Chain Wheelrace, with Jason Farr (40m) finishing second ahead of Chris Couper (40m), Kurt Eather (scratch) and Sam Fitzgerald (160m).
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Jones (scratch) gave away 30m to her nearest rival and was able to pick off her counterparts to win in convincing fashion in the women’s Christmas Chain Wheelrace over Haylee Fuller (30m), Zara Fuller (120m), Helen Hines (260m) and Catherine Fuller (65m). Fresh from a strong last round of the Dubbo City Toyota Track Series, Gilbert held off the fast finishing Makayla Fuller, Isabelle Russell, Trent Hines and Louis Russell to take out the junior Christmas Wheelrace.

On a shortened program of racing, Lachie Clark was the runaway winner of the D-grade scratch race ahead of Haydon Carroll and Jason Canobie, while Brodie Wheeler sprinted hard to take out the C-grade scratch race ahead of Craig Granger and Haylee Fuller.

Sam Fitzgerald was able to get the upper hand in the B-grade scratch race over Dylan Eather and Danny Barber, while Kurt Eather was able to edge past Jason Farr and Tim Hines to take out the A-grade scratch race. Going into the Christmas break, brothers Kurt and Dylan Eather hold strong positions in the Percy Dawson Memorial Trophy standings for their efforts in A and B-grade, while young stars Emily Hines and Isabelle Russell also hold prominent placings for their results in the junior division races. Despite track racing in Dubbo taking a short recess, a number of the club’s talented junior and senior riders will head to Sydney for the hugely popular Christmas Carnival, which runs from December 27-31 across Sydney’s four velodromes.

Dylan and Kurt Eather, Luke Ensor, Jason Farr, Zara Fuller, Danny Barber and Sam Fitzgerald will head to Sydney for the five day carnival, which is held at Dunc Gray Velodrome in Bass Hill as well as Tempe Velodrome, Lidcombe Velodrome and Huntsville Velodrome.

The Dubbo City Toyota Track Racing Series resumes on Tuesday January 10and training will continue over the Christmas break on Tuesday and Thursday nights at Victoria Park No.1 Oval. The club will also hold the Club Championships scratch races on January 17.

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Spirit of Christmas alive in the Valley

Christmas time can be crazy. That mad rush to buy presents, food and drink, generally undertaken in heavy traffic, heat and humidity can fray nerves and shorten tempers.
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It’s no wonder that people claim that the true spirit of Christmas is dying. But to all those in doubt of what Christmas is about, we saylook no further than the Sapphire Coast.Christmas is a time for giving andhere in the Bega Valley, giving is something we do best!

It’s not uncommon for our communities to rally in support of those in need every day of the year, but it has become particularly apparentduring this holiday season.

The third annual BDNChristmas Toy Drive once again left us awestruck at the level of generosity from this community.

Meanwhile, there is noother way to describe theresponse by the community to a call for donations to help those affected by the Merimbula Lake Holiday Park fire than heartwarming.

Thesepeople were made homeless and then within a few days they had more clothes andmore furniture than before the fire. Just incredible.

As Michelle Nitschki said: “These donations have illustrated why I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”

Christmas is a time to celebrate with family and friends.

It is a time of love and happiness and while not everyone has someone they can be with on this day, no-one has to be alone thanks to the generosity and kindness of a group of locals.

For the fifth year in a row, all Bega Valley residents and visitors are invited to share in a three course meal at the Sapphire Coast Christmas Lunch. The lunch, which is growing every year, has now spilled over two venues, one in Merimbula and one in Eden.

Every single person who attends the lunch, which last year was more than 200, receives a gift, which has kindly been donated by members of the community.

As another year draws to a close and the Bega District News print edition prepares to take a short break (we’re back on Friday, January 6), the whole team here wishes to thank the community.We want to thank you for showing us the true meaning of Christmas and for reminding us that it’s not the landscape that makes the Sapphire Coast so special, it’s the people.

Here’s wishing you and your loved ones the merriest of Christmases and the happiest of new years!

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Fire risk on the rise this summer

“Quite a few ignitions” across the Riverina have prompted warnings for a significantfire event this summer.
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Rural Fire Service (RFS)operational officer Bradley Stewart said while thethreat of fire was “always there”, the risks were “elevated this season”.

He said fire brigades had been called to one or two grassfires per day, with flamesburning an average of10-20 hectares for the majority.

Mr Stewart said the RFS had attendedfour grassfires and an incident involving a vehicleacross the weekend alone.

He said whileblazes battled across previous weeks were “probably nothing major”,the chances were “well and truly there to have a fairly significant fire” in the coming months.

“Seasonally we’ve seen prolific grass growth,” Mr Stewartsaid.

“The extensive rain throughout springput a lot of moisture back into the soil and the soil was able toretain thatduring the warmer months which led to quite extensivegrowth.

“I would describe it easily as prolific and therefore the amount of fuel that’s available has increased.”

He said in the past, the fuel wasn’t necessarily present for the fire to “take off”, howeverthe increased growth sitting in rural areas was causing someconcern.

Mr Stewart said it was every land owner’s responsibility to prevent the occurrence and spread of fire.

Two Riverina residents have already been issued infringement notices via NSW Police for “foolish” and “reckless” acts causing fire, according to Mr Stewart.

“People fail to realise that firehas a direct impact on others if it escapes.”

“Not everyone can take up insurance…it destroys people’s livelihoods.”

Mr Stewart said more hay-bale stacks on farms in the region had increasedtheriskofspontaneous combustion,as productbreak-down created aninternalheat.

He said the resulting fire was hard to combat.

“That’s whatcausedthe Oaklands fire last week,” he said. “It’s why we encourage farmers to check their haystacks for heat.”

Mr Stewart said the community messagewasthe same and advised residents to “pay attention to fire danger warnings”.

RFS are advisingland owners to keep grass short, maintain their machinery and fire-fighting equipment.

Visit rfs.nsw.gov419论坛 for further fire-season advise.

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Push for Murray Basin track change

Maryborough Station.Central Goldfields Shire Council has resolved to advocate for the standard gauge conversion of the Maryborough to Ballarat rail line.
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The upcoming Murray Basin Railway Rail Project will see the section converted from broad gauge to dual gauge to allow both passenger and freight trains to run.

However, council fears the dual gauge connection would have a detrimental impact on passenger services, which would be required to run at slower speeds on the tracks.

“The Central Highlands Regional Growth Plan identified a residential growth corridor along the Ballarat-Maryborough Rail line to Maryborough including Creswick, Clunes and Talbot,” a statement in the agenda read.

“The use of passenger rail is very dependent on regular, convenient and fast services. Increasing the rail speed to 130 kph reduces the time to and from Ballarat.

“Failing to deliver on higher passenger train speeds will be an impediment to regional growth, jobs and improved opportunities for regional communities.

A motion to advocate to Transport Minister Jacinta Allan for a switch to standard gauge was approved at a council agenda on Tuesday night.

Central Goldfields mayor Bob Henderson said the future of passenger services between Ballarat and Maryborough is crucial to growth and tourism along the corridor and said council would push for a meeting with Ms Allan.

“We want standard or broad gauge, but not dual,” Cr Henderson said.

“We want to increase services, not take them away.”

However, it’s understood that a bulk of the V/Line passenger fleet would not be able to run on standard gauge tracks, meaning passenger trains would have to be specially fitted out for the standard gauge tracks at an enormous cost –possibly in the hundreds of millions.

It’s understood the state government is comfortable with the current plan to change the line to dual gauge.

“We’re building a dual guage connection between Ballarat and Marybourough to enable both freight and passenger trains to operate,” Ms Allan said.

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Fair milk price legislation gathers momentum

If you love fresh milk in your coffee, tea or weetbix share your opinion to help Queensland dairy farmers, with submissions to the Fair Milk Price Logos Bill closing in early January.Lovers of fresh milk are encouraged to support Queensland’s dairy farmers and make a submission to the Katter Party’s fair milk price legislation by next month.
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Driven by Member for Tablelands Shane Knuth, whose electorate covers the Tableland’s dairy industry, the legislation wants to establish the eligibility criteria and legal protection for voluntary ‘fair milk price’ logos to be placed on containers of milk.

The logos are are designed to inform consumers the region where the milk was produced and the dairy farmer who produced the milk received a certain minimum price for the milk.

Queensland Dairy Organisation northern chairman James Geraghty, who farms at Millaa Millaa, said while the logo would not solve the industry’s problems, it was “another tool in the shed”.

“The industry is supportive and was involved with writing the bill,” Mr Geraghty said.

“It’svoluntary and does not involve regulation, and will be consumer driven. It gives consumers a choice.

“When the milk comes in with the mark on it, which means those farmers have been paid a sustainable price, then consumers can approach retailers and ask for milk with that mark.”

Mr Geraghty said the Katter Party, in particular Mr Knuth and his Atherton office, should be congratulated for pushing the bill, and he hoped Queensland’s twopolitical parties wouldn’t let politics get in the way when voting takes place.

The bill also provides for the setting of a minimum price to be paid to dairy farmers in a region for the production of milk to carry a fair milk price logo, calculated using the Queensland Government’s Queensland Dairy Accounting Scheme.

Submissions close on 3 January 2017.

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Law returns to city’s old court house

Lawyer line-up: MGR Solicitors trio Jonathan Green, Alecia Roman and Jye Cunneen at the old Wodonga court house their firm now occupies. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIREA FORMER Wodongacourt house is again home to a legal concern,nearly 100 years after the last case was heard at the High Street building.
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The premises, just southofthe Hume Freeway, is housing MGR Solicitors, a Wangaratta firm that is expanding into the Albury-Wodonga legal fraternity.

The appeal of working in an historic building was an attraction for principals Jonathan Green, Alecia Roman and Jye Cunneen.

“For me it’s important that a law firm works from a building that’s got character and that’s part of the local make-up,” Mr Cunneen said.

Next year will mark 140 years since the building opened as a court house after being built for 1325 pounds.

It ceased hearing cases in 1920 and has since been used as a private residenceand for commercial enterprises such as a restaurant and real estate agency.

Since 2014 marketing and advertising business Dutch Media has occupied and owned the building.

It has now moved intoa $500,000 two-storey extension at the rear, leaving the former court house to be leased out.

Mr Green said the interior renovation of the 1877 premises, its location and history had combined to make it the best site to expand into in the Twin Cities.

“It matches our building in Wangaratta, which is a heritage-style building,” Mr Green said.

“We thought it would really work well with what we’ve got and what we want to have.”

MGR Solicitors evolved from McSwineys, one of Wangaratta’s most venerable law firms whose partners once included magistrate Ian Watkins.

In the spotlight: Jonathan Green, Alecia Roman and Jye Cunneen in the renovated interior of Wodonga’s first brick court house which opened in 1877.

Mr Green and Ms Roman became partners in the firm in 2013 and Mr Cunneen joined in September.

The firm specialises in business, commercial and property law and is also involved in estate planning and administration.

Its clients include North East councils.

Mr Green and Mr Cunneen, who live in Albury, will work from the Wodonga office along with three support staff.

Mr Green was raised in Wangaratta, while Mr Cunneen is originally from Myrtleford but completed his education at The Scots School Albury.

Following furnishing, the office will open for business on January 16.

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