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Issue 733

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Get healthy, wealthy and wise in Alstonville

Dr Andrew Binns demonstrates a pair of Nordic walking polesDr Andrew Binns demonstrates a pair of Nordic walking poles to Summerland Credit Union Manager, Barbara Moston; Traditional Medicines' Steph Willacy and AMP financial planner Darryl Smith. The poles help to take the stress off ankle, knee and hip joints while providing an upper body workout while walking, according to Dr Binns who will be talking on diet, exercise and the Gutbusters program at the Health Wealth and Food Festival at Alstonville this weekend.

If you'd like to exercise a passion for healthy eating, get a taste of financial success, or discover a wealth of fitness products, the inaugural Northern Rivers Health, Wealth and Food Festival at the Alstonville Entertainment and Leisure Centre this Saturday and Sunday is the place to be.

Organiser Sharon Lee of Fantastic Promotions said the festival has attracted more than 100 exhibitors in all areas of health, wealth and food.

"The Northern Rivers region is renowned for having a population with a wide interest in these subjects," she said.

"Our aim in setting up the event has been to put local residents in touch with the leading practitioners in the field by bringing them all together on the one site."

Sharon said the festival's layout included more than 40 exhibitors in the Entertainment Centre and a further 60 exhibitors in the adjacent Apex Pavilion.

The conference hall between the two exhibition areas will provide the venue for more than 20 speakers who will discuss health, wealth and food during the two days of the festival.

Keynote speakers will include Dr Sandra Cabot, author of The Liver Cleansing Diet, Daniel Kertcher, an investment, stock and shares specialist, and naturopath Janine McDonald who will speak on menopause and cardiovascular health.

Dr Cabot's experience in the fields of naturopathy, herbal and conventional medicine has given her a reputation as a pioneer in the field of women's health.

She will cover topics including natural hormones that help to slow down the ageing process in men and women, hormonal creams and lozenges, natural strategies to help you liver, ways to boost your energy and immune systems, and the four body types.

On Sunday afternoon she'll be talking on Baby Boomers: Looking At Your Health for the next 20 years.

Daniel Kertcher is the principal Australian speaker for the Anthony Robbins Wealth Mastery course and has taught more than 40,000 people how to invest and trade.

He will be discussing ways to reduce the risks associated with owning shares, and how to make safe and consistent profits from the options market, as well as details of funds management for individuals and self-managed superannuation funds.

Janine McDonald has been involved in the health and fitness industry for 17 years and her qualifications include an Advanced Diploma of Applied Science (Naturopathy), Diploma of Herbal Medicine, Diploma of Homoeopathy, Diploma of Natural Hygiene, and post graduate studies in live blood cell microscopy and Bioenergetic medicines.

Locally based speakers will include Dr Andrew Binns from the Gutbusters program, who will be speaking on weight loss management and other health related matters for the whole family, Sue Pollock of Ballina Naturopathics who will talk on live-blood analysis.

The range of food to try includes Sushi, crisp salads, burgers, Thai, Italian, Mexican, South American, and vegetarian styles. Beverages will include coffee, fresh juices and natural spring water. All will be available in a cafe style eating area.

Two stages will provide venues for demonstrations of a range of health and fitness techniques including Tai-Chi, yoga, aerobics, martial arts and massage. There will also be regular fashion parades of the latest gym wear.

Children will be catered for with an indoor playground plus two magic shows, at 11am and 2pm on each day of the festival

On Saturday at 5.30pm there will be an attempt to set a world record for the biggest Tae-Bo class ever.

Organised by the Alstonville Fitness for You Gymnasium, the event is expected to involve 1000 festival participants wielding glow-sticks on the Alstonville showground. Money raised during the attempt will be donated to the Northern Region Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

People wanting to take part should contact Gary Rodwell at Alstonville Fitness for You on 6628 0710.

There will be product give-aways every hour, $500 in cash to be won, and a prize of a one-week family holiday at Noosa for a lucky festival goer.

The Health Wealth and Food Festival runs from 9am to 6pm on Saturday and 9am to 5pm on Sunday. Admission is $5.

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Second tragedy for Casino family

The family of three-year old Chloe Ensby, who drowned in a North Casino pond earlier this year, is homeless after a fire destroyed their Chequerboard Hill home on Tuesday morning.

Chloe's father, Tim Ensby, was taking a shower when he heard the house's smoke alarm go off shortly after 7am.

Wearing only a towel he took his son Joshua, 8, outside before dragging his sleeping daughters Kimberley, 9, and Jessica, 8, through a back window of the house.

The family lost all its possessions in the fire. The house, which was extensively damaged is expected to be demolished today.

At first it was believed that the family had lost all photographs of Chloe, but it now appears that her mother Denise, who was visiting her sister in southern NSW at the time of the fire, had several photographs with her.

Late yesterday neighbours confirmed that the Dept. of Community Services had taken the children for two week's respite care.

The Dept. of Housing is believed to be organising another house for the family and it may be available as early a Friday.

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Flower power tackles cancer

Florist Christine Harvey and Wendy Evans from Lismore Florist with some of things people can buy for Daffodil Day tomorrow to raise money for the Cancer Council.

When Christine Harvey, from Lismore Florist, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1992 she was, like most newly diagnosed cancer patients, in "utter shock".

Christine is one of the lucky ones. After surgery she went into immediate remission and has been healthy and happy ever since. She even had a baby, Emily, who is now three.

The experience did however, make Christine aware of just how prevalent cancer is in today's society and ever since she has been an avid supporter of the Cancer Council's major annual fundraiser, Daffodil Day.

The humble daffodil is now the international symbol of hope for cancer patients and tomorrow, August 24, Christine is encouraging the entire to community to get behind Daffodil Day and make a donation.

"There's no-one in the community who hasn't been touched by cancer in some way, whether it be through having cancer themselves or knowing a friend or relative who has, and it's quite mind-boggling," she said.

"The only positive thing is that these days cancer is largely treatable, but that has only come about through many years of research. That's why it's vitally important people continue to support Daffodil Day and give whatever they can."

School students and individuals will be selling fresh daffodils around the CBD tomorrow and people can also buy Daffodil Day merchandise from most businesses in the region. Fresh daffodils are $5 per bunch (or a gold coin donation for one stem) or people can buy $2 silk lapel daffodils, $4 pens, $5 enamel badges or the cuddly Dougal Bear for $7.

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Not everybody needs good neighbours

Is anyone home... where will the Neighbourhood Centre go?Is anyone home... where will the Neighbourhood Centre go?

It's called the Lismore Neighbourhood Centre, but right now, it stands lonely and alone amidst a vacant block opposite Lismore Shopping Square.

And that's the problem.

Four years ago, the shopping centre's owners, McConaghy Holdings, had a development application for a $30 million expansion across the road, including a Woolworths Big W store, approved by Lismore City Council. At the time Jim McConaghy said he was "ready to get on with it".

The project had been caught up in legal argy-bargy between the rival developers of the Goonellabah town centre, as well as rival retailers Woolworths and Coles-Myer. The Neighbourhood Centre was offered a $400,000 promise to relocate into Diadem Street - until Lismore Square management realised the Neighbourhood Centre ran a needle exchange program. They didn't want that sort of thing going on in their back yard.

So the Neighbourhood Centre has remained, as the building around it burn down and were removed.

But now time is of the essence, with the shopping centre's development application due to expire shortly. At the moment, McConaghy Holdings are applying to have the development charges reduced following a change in Lismore Council's development fees are a couple of years ago.

But the mayor is worried that the whole proposal might fall over unless a solution can be found for relocating the Neighbourhood Centre. He believes they "won't move" and the result is "gridlock". He wants action. A month ago he proposed council buy the imposing former Commonwealth Bank building in Molesworth Street and move the Neighbourhood Centre in there. His fellow councillors weren't so keen and the idea was rejected.

Last week the issue came to a head at the Lismore council meeting. Cr David Tomlinson had proposed 'fast tracking' plans to get Lismore Library to relocate onto the old high school site in Keen Street. The plan is to move the Neighbourhood Centre into the old library site in Carrington Street near Lismore City Hall. The problem is that even in a hurry, the move will take somewhere between 40 weeks and a year to happen.

The Neighbourhood Centre doesn't want to move twice. They're afraid it will cost them upwards of $40,000, and no-one seems keen to pick up the tab.

Cr Tomlinson claims it would "kill" the centre to move twice.

Cr Reg Baxter sees the whole thing as a 'Catch 22' with the centre in the box seat. The mayor is afraid the centre has the power to put the whole shopping square expansion on hold.

No-one seems very happy and no-one seems to be winning anything at the moment.

So to try and get things happening, the mayor moved that no action be taken on fast tracking the library move until the Neighbourhood Centre agrees to move to temporary accommodation so the Square can begin with expansion within six weeks or longer - "at Council's pleasure".

And because of the funding demands of the pool and flood levee, the library relocation will only proceed if it is funded from the sale of the neighbourhood centre land and $100,000 from reserves

Council agreed 7-3 (Crs Tomlinson, Irwin, Roberts against).

The Neighbourhood Centre doesn't want to be a party pooper, but as a community organisation with few resources, dedicated to helping the disadvantaged, it's unsure about what's best for the people it serves. And since it doesn't talk in the millions of dollars everyone else seems so concerned about, it's not sure if it fits into the brave new picture of a thriving Lismore at all.

A rescission motion against Council's decision has been lodged and will be discussed at the September 11 meeting.

Simon Thomsen

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Lismore council explores merger options

Lismore City Council is supported a proposal to hold talks about local councils amalgamating.

Council voted 6-4 (Crs King, Baxter, Hampton, Suffolk against) for the Mayor and general manager to continue discussions with the five neighbouring councils - Tweed, Byron, Ballina, Kyogle and Richmond Valley - to investigate the options for amalgamation.

While the issue has already been canvassed over the past four years to little effect - two councils are opposed, two open-minded, and one "defensive and non-committal" according to Mr Gainger.

Cr Ros Irwin supported the motion "reluctantly" saying "I don't think it hurts to talk". But she said there are serious concerns that there was already "too little" local democracy, and that the proposal was based around the economic rationalist approach. Cr David Tomlinson said it was an economic reality that mergers were going to happen.

Mayor Bob Gates said council had to take a leadership role in the process or it would be "dudded" by the other governments, claiming that Lismore "missed out" on the Alstonville plateau when the old Gundurimba and Terania shire councils were merged.

Mr Gainger, who is driving the push, was critical of the slow pace in structural reform for local government, saying he hoped his proposal would generate a lively public debate. "I have no agenda either for or against amalgamations, and I am not suggesting Lismore should merge with any particular council or at all," he said.

"But it's clear to me that the State government has all the advice it needs to change its policy of 'no forced amalgamations'. It's now in the best interests of Lismore - and surrounding councils - to consider what scope exists for amalgamations, rather than waiting for it to be imposed from Sydney."

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Go fly a kite this Sunday

Gearing up for this Sunday's Kites for Kids Day is Summerland Early Intervention teacher Rhonda Wheatstone, Colleen Johnston with her daughters Brooke and Melanie, Tyleah Yeigh and her dad Stuart Bryant and Michelle Thorman Parkes with her daughter Cheyenne.Gearing up for this Sunday's Kites for Kids Day is Summerland Early Intervention teacher Rhonda Wheatstone, Colleen Johnston with her daughters Brooke and Melanie, Tyleah Yeigh and her dad Stuart Bryant and Michelle Thorman Parkes with her daughter Cheyenne.

The high flyers will gather in East Lismore this Sunday, August 26, for Kites for Kids Day, at Wade Park in East Lismore from 10am-1pm.

The kite flying fun is being organised by the Summerland Early Intervention Centre to promote Early Childhood Awareness Week, August 20-27.

The Centre's coordinator, Miriam O'Grady, said the day was great chance for kids to have some fun and a good opportunity to tell parents what Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) is all about.

"It's a relaxed and enjoyable day for kids and parents, providing mums and dads with an opportunity to chat to the Summerland Early Intervention staff and find out more about ECI," Miriam said.

"Early Childhood Intervention essentially provides support for families of children, from birth to school age, with delayed development or disabilities that may affect their learning abilities later on in life. Together with parents our team of teachers, speech pathologists, physiotherapists and other professionals work to help each child develop the skills they need to best prepare them for preschool and later, school."

The Kites for Kids Day will kick off with a professional kite flying demonstration by Michael Ayo, an Australian Champion kite flyer (bring along your kites).

The staff at the Summerland Early Intervention Centre with then perform their new show, The Cuddly Pet Song and Dance Show, which includes colourful costumes, dancing and plenty of Wiggles songs.

Face painting will be available all day and there's a free sausage sizzle following the show.

For more information on the service visit the Summerland Early Intervention Centre in Rifle Range Road, Lismore, or phone 6621 6421.

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Alstonville bypass protest continues

Alstonville residents blocked their village's main street for a second time last week as part of their ongoing campaign to have the NSW government begin immediate work on the Alstonville bypass.Alstonville residents blocked their village's main street for a second time last week as part of their ongoing campaign to have the NSW government begin immediate work on the Alstonville bypass.

More than 250 people took part in the rally on Thursday as the school day ended.

While it didn't cause as much chaos as the morning peak hour rally of July 4, it did highlight the congestion that occurs when school busses seek to enter traffic, according to Alstonville Ratepayers Association president Jane Gardiner.

"While many of the bus routes avoid the main street between the roundabout and Bugden Ave, they still face congestion when trying to enter the Bruxner Highway at either end of town."

Mrs Gardiner said the rally numbers were around the same as July, but reflected a different section of the community.

"There were large numbers of primary and secondary students from the three schools in the village present, as well as many mothers with young children in strollers," she said. "Once again the response from drivers affected by the blockade was sympathetic."

Mrs Gardiner said residents felt that they had made a point with the two crossing blockades and were now planning new tactics to highlight the need for the bypass.

"We cannot stress the point enough that the bypass issue is one that affects people driving through Alstonville as much as it does the residents."

Federal MP and Community Services Minister Larry Anthony, who was in a spot of hot water last week over claims that Centrelink was breaching an excessive number of people on benefits, joined in the demonstration while on his bicycle tour of the electorate. Given his troubles, he was happy to concentrate on a state-based issue instead, attacking the NSW government for not acting on the bypass.

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Big business in a load of rubbish

Lismore council's manager of Northern Rivers Waste, Kieran Wade, beside a waste truck with the new logo.Lismore council's manager of Northern Rivers Waste, Kieran Wade, beside a waste truck with the new logo.

Getting rid of refuse is big business. Lismore council spends more than $3.5 million a year on recycling, organic waste reprocessing and tip disposal. With the cost of disposing of rubbish into landfill currently around $47.5 per tonne and rising, it's a big investment.

So Lismore Council has turned its waste service into a business. The humble bloke we once called a garbo now works for Northern Rivers Waste, with a new logo, and a focus on competing for the treasure of trash.

Council's Business and Enterprise manager, Craig Kelly, said garbage is now a valuable resource that needs to be managed.

"Northern Rivers Waste will continually look for ways to reduce waste, recycle as much material as economically possible, and to turn a profit," Mr Kelly said.

As part of that plan, Council's waste unit will seek further opportunities by competing for tenders outside the Lismore area.

Council is also planning to set up a resource buy-back centre at the Wyrallah Road tip. Last week Hendersons Metal Recyclers were awarded the tender for three years at a price of $64,750 per annum. In return, they will keep the proceeds from the sale of recyclable material and for every tonne of recyclables Hendersons removes from the tip face, council will pay them $40.

And in partnership with Tryton Engineering, the largest worm farm in Australia is almost complete at the tip, ready to eat through the city's weekly collection of organic waste, turning it into lucrative fertiliser.

"We are about finding ways to help the environment and reduce costs to ratepayers," Mr Kelly said.

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Urgent recall on Norco custard

Norco-Pauls Milk is recalling two litre Norco Countrystyle Vanilla Custard with a use by date of September 18, after some of the plastic bottles were found to contain the listeria bacteria, which can make people sick.

Norco Paul Milk general manager Ian Hollindale said the product should not be consumed, but returned to their grocery retailer for a full refund. Anyone who has consumed the custard with the September 18 use by date, and experienced unusual symptoms, should consult their doctor.

Concerned people can contact the Norco consumer advisory line on 07 5509 9530.

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Prohibition stays

A report by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics into prohibition and cannabis use has found that without prohibition, cannabis use may be higher.

The report Does Prohibition Deter Cannabis Use? found that more than 90 per cent of weekly cannabis users said they would use more of the drug if it were legalised.

NSW Special Minister of State John Della Bosca said the report's findings endorsed the Carr Government's policy of maintaining criminal penalties for the supply and use of cannabis.

"Interestingly, while prohibition was an important factor in reducing the use of cannabis, the research found that health considerations were more important," he said.

Mr Della Bosca said that since the government introduced its cannabis cautioning system, which allows for two cautions, very few people had received a second caution.

"This appears to show that a brief intervention warning of the health and legal consequences of cannabis use may be acting as an effective deterrent," he said.

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Council demands bridge sweetener

Richmond Valley Council has written to the Broadwater Sugar Mill demanding the immediate payment of the $350,000 remaining of its contribution to the construction cost of the Broadwater bridge.

The demand follows council's discovery that mill received a $500,000 grant for the bridge under the Sugar Industry Infrastructure Program.

Council's director of business enterprises, Bill McMahon, told Tuesday's council meeting that prior to the construction of the bridge the management of the Broadwater Mill had indicated it was willing to contribute $50,000 a year for 10 years towards the cost of the bridge. It has paid $150,000 of that money over the past three years.

At the opening of the bridge in June the council approached the Federal Minister for Transport, John Anderson, requesting assistance with a $752,216 cost overrun on the bridge.

The Minister later wrote to council saying no further funds were available.

The letter also said that a further $250,000 for construction costs had been provided to the Broadwater Mill through the Sugar Industry Infrastructure Scheme, and that this amount had been matched by NSW Dept of Agriculture.

"This was the first that we had heard of a grant to the mill," Mr McMahon said. "As a result I have written to the sugar co-operative asking that they pay the outstanding amount immediately."

However, NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative CEO Greg Messiter claimed the situation was far more complex than described by Mr McMahon.

"The money is part of an industry infrastructure package that dates back to the removal of the tariff on sugar in 1993," Mr Messiter said.

"We knew the money was coming and it allowed us to make a commitment to a number of projects, including the bridge and the connection of the Broadwater co-generation project to the North Coast electricity grid.

"We are engaged in communication with Richmond Valley Council, but as far as I am concerned we have an agreement to provide $50,000 a year over 10 years."

Richmond Valley Council is also smarting from the accounting procedures used to calculate the bridge's value.

Because the bridge straddles the boundary between the Richmond Valley Council and Lismore City Council, half the value of the bridge now appears as a $2,078,312 asset on Lismore's books.

This is despite it having contributed only $260,209 (12.5 per cent) to the construction cost.

Dave Fawkner

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Abduction attempt

Police are appealing for witnesses after a man attempted to abduct a young boy in Alstonville on Tuesday afternoon.

Police say the boy, aged 8, was walking home from school along The Avenue around 3.35pm, when he was approached by a man driving an older model yellow station wagon with black roof racks. The man claimed the boy's mother had asked him to pick the boy up. The child refused and the man tried again. When the boy crossed the road towards the Anglican church, the man got into his car and drove away.

The man is described as 180cm tall, with short dark hair and clean shaven. The station wagon had some red paint and rust on the rear left hand side.

If you can help, phone police on 6628 0244.

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Bat power

Electricity authority Country Energy is investigating options to combat damage to power supplies in the Wollongbar/Alstonville area, which are being caused by flying foxes.

Regional general manager Col Ussher said bats had caused three blackouts in the area in the past two weeks. The last blackout, at 9.20pm on Tuesday night, left 1400 houses without power for 90 minutes after bats brought down lines in White Lane, Alstonville. 20 houses had to wait for three hours for power to be restored.

Mr Ussher said the outages were caused when the bats either landed on the wires or caused the wires to clash together.

"We are investigating options including placing one wire higher than the other two, making it more difficult for bats to clash wires together, and upgrading sections of the existing copper wires with more robust aluminium wires," he said.

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Murder attempt

A 40-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder following a vicious attack on a woman in a house near Nimbin last Thursday.

Police allege the man forced his way into the woman's house around 4am. When he was confronted, the man smashed a concrete statue over the woman's head. Another resident of the house raised the alarm and called the police and an ambulance. The woman was taken to Lismore base hospital, then transferred to Gold Coast hospital suffering from deep lacerations to her head and arms. She was in a serious but stable condition.

The man was arrested at a nearby property a short time later.

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Horse attacker caught

A 15-year-old East Lismore youth has been charged over the shooting of three horses with an arrow on August 3. The youth was arrested last Thursday and appeared in Lismore Children's Court on August 17. He has been charged with two counts of receiving stolen property and three counts of aggravated cruelty to an animal.

Police allege the juvenile shot the horses using a bow and a number of arrows given to him by another person after they had been stolen from a Lismore house the previous evening. Following a search of the youth's home, police allege they found a large quantity of stolen property, including an archery bow and two arrows.

An 18-year-old man has also been charged with two counts of receiving stolen property and possession of a prohibited drug. He has been bailed to appear in Lismore Local Court on September 17.

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Better living

If you're so busy in your life that you don't have time to think about the things that are important to you, then make time to attend the Living Better for Less workshop this Saturday, August 25. Jenny Spinks, a Bega-based Quaker will discuss simplicity in life as well as practical applications of her alternatives to consumerism including food co-ops, ethical investment and permaculture.

The workshop is at the East Lismore Uniting Church, Dibbs St, 9.30am-3 pm.

Entry is $5 and bring a lunch to share. For details phone Ruth Haig on 6633 1411.

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Great steak earns a big gong

Kingsley and Therese Martin, proprietors of the Bellowing Bull, with their award for best regional steak restaurant from the Restaurant & Catering Association.Kingsley and Therese Martin, proprietors of the Bellowing Bull, with their award for best regional steak restaurant from the Restaurant & Catering Association.

Fins seafood restaurant in Byron Bay has been named restaurant of the year at the Restaurant & Catering NSW Regional Awards for Excellence.

The Northern Rivers fared well in the awards, announced in the Hunter Valley on Monday, with three other local restaurants taking out categories of the prestigious annual awards.

As well as winning best restaurant, Fins won the seafood section.

Lismore's Japanese restaurant, Caf� Millennium, won the Asian Pacific restaurant category, while the Bellowing Bull at Wollongbar won the Best Steak Restaurant category.

The 7 Mile Caf� at Lennox Head won the Informal Dining Section, as well as receiving an honourable mention for Wine List of the Year.

The winning restaurants will now go on to compete in the national awards later this year.

The next important date on the foodie calendar is September 10, when a number of local restaurants are expected to feature at the release of the 2002 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide.

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Concerns over site for new Nimbin hospital

Nimbin residents are opposed to plans by the Northern Rivers Area Health Service (NRAHS) to build the new Nimbin hospital and aged-care facility in a residential area.

Residents raised their objections at a community consultation meeting last Thursday night to discuss plans to site the Multi Purpose Service (MPS) facility in Thorburn Street and Silky Oak Drive.

What raised the community's ire was that the MPS is likely to house a needle-exchange program and a small methadone clinic, as well as a hospital with emergency department, resuscitation area and four acute beds; seven high-care beds (nursing home); four low-care beds (hostel), and a community health centre.

Residents are also concerned about the site's distance from the doctors' surgery, 24-hour vehicle access, congestion from school buses and the likely downsizing of Mulgum House, which is on the proposed site.

Health service officials told the meeting that Mulgum House, an independent unit for people over 60, and operated by North Coast Community Housing, had an average occupancy rate of 70 per cent, was not considered viable in its current 10-bed form. They said it could be partially incorporated into the MPS.

The Thorburn street site was identified after consultants found that problems with steep slopes, size constraints and difficulty with access on the existing on Cullen Street site could increase construction costs by up to $500,000.

Health service CEO Chris Crawford said that the meeting had raised a number of valid points regarding the location of the new facility, which would be discussed at next week's meeting of the NRAHS board.

"As a result of Thursday's meeting we have identified two other sites which may be suitable for the MPS and we are examining these at the moment," Mr Crawford said.

"It is clear that we need to engage in wider community consultation.

"I can assure the Nimbin community that we will not be making a final decision until such a process is carried out," he said.

Dave Fawkner

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A safe place for kids

Juvenile justice minister Carmel Tebbutt launched the Lismore Children's Contact Centre last week with the Centre's coordinator David and Bill, and its executive manager, Lily Roberts.Juvenile justice minister Carmel Tebbutt launched the Lismore Children's Contact Centre last week with the Centre's coordinator David and Bill, and its executive manager, Lily Roberts.

It's an all too common and tragic problem. Former partners fight every time they see each other, but they have kids, so they can't get away from each other. The problem is how to save the kids from the witnessing the abuse two warring parents inflict on each other.

Now, thanks to the new Lismore Children's Contact Centre, which opened last week, children should be protected from pain of watching their parents fight during changeovers and contact visits.

"We want to provide an environment in which children can feel safe and happy while having contact with the other parent," said the centre's coordinator David (last name withheld for safety).

"Residential parents can bring their children here and the non-residential parent can come to see the children without either parents having to see each other, therefore reducing the chance that the child will see their parents fighting or abusing each other. And for parents who can have supervised contact we can provide a place for them to see their children.

"We have a range of supportive and trained staff in social welfare and psychology to mediation and family therapy."

Phone the centre on 6622 6777.

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Council waives fees

Lismore City Council has excused itself from paying nearly $18,000 in water and sewerage (S64) charges on the controversial Crozier Oval grandstand development.

Council voted 7-3 (Crs Tomlinson, Irwin, Roberts against; Crs Crowther, Gallen absent), to waive the fees, despite a warning from staff that it may lead to other sporting groups applying to have their S64 development charges waived as well.

Cr Reg Baxter proposed waiving the fees, saying it was "a matter of logic", claiming that the development would not create an additional strain on water and sewerage usage, since it was only transferring usage from Oakes to Crozier oval.

But Cr Diana Roberts claimed the decision would leave council on "shaky ground" in dealing with other developers.

"Every developer has arguments on why we should reduce their charges. The difference is we're the developers and we have to be accountable," she said.

Council staff recommended against the decision, pointing out that the charges had already been reduced by 43 per cent following a revision on the project.

The manager of Lismore Water said the decision would also mean that the S64 plan would have to be revised, resulting in an increase in the current charges for other users.

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No butts for smokers littering

Non-smoker Marian Foreward from Lismore Unlimited highlights one of the CBD butt bins at the transit centre. Non-smoker Marian Foreward from Lismore Unlimited highlights one of the CBD butt bins at the transit centre.

Three months after cigarette butt bins were installed in Lismore and Ballina, council rangers have reported a reduction in discarded butts.

The bins were a joint initiative Ballina Chamber of Commerce and Lismore Unlimited, with funding from Keep Australia Beautiful.

Lismore Unlimited manager Marian Forwood said that despite the environmental problems they cause, research found that many people didn't see butts as litter.

"With butts containing toxic chemicals and taking up to 15 years to break down, we need to keep them out of the waterways," Ms Forwood said.

"We realise that it will take a while for people to get the message and change their habits, and encouraging councils and local businesses to provide the specially-designed cigarette butt bins will help."

Smokers are also being encouraged to use recycled film canisters as personal butt bins.

As from the environmental cost, there's a $60 on-the-spot fine for littering with a single butt. Dropping a lit cigarette butt will cost you $200.

Lismore council rangers have tried to help the smoking public by offering small maps showing the location of the butt bins.

The project is also offering a 20 per cent discount on the stainless steel butt-out bins for the first 10 orders from business. Phone Sharon for details on 6686 2426, or 0413 091 440.

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Recycled idea celebrates second year

Recycled Sports proprietor Ros and Ian Carrington are celebrating the store's second birthday with discounts and specials throughout August.Recycled Sports proprietor Ros and Ian Carrington are celebrating the store's second birthday with discounts and specials throughout August.

When Ian and Ros Carrington decided to open a second-hand sports store in Lismore, they knew the venture had never been tried anywhere in Australia but were sure they had hit on a good idea.

The sports loving couple couldn't have been more right and their business, Recycled Sports, has been embraced by the Lismore community.

Ian and Ros said they set up Recycled Sports to make sport accessible to everyone, from Uni students and single parents to business people and retirees.

"Lots of people want to start a sport and get fit and healthy, but can't or don't want to pay top prices for sporting equipment," Ian explained.

"We sell budget to medium priced sporting goods which makes playing sport a practical and affordable activity for everyone, regardless of income. Also many families have unused sports equipment sitting in their garage gathering dust, which we can turn into cash.

"There has proven to be a revolving market to service and with the addition of retailing budget-priced new products our business has a unique market niche."

The Carrington's are justly proud of their simple, no frills operation and going on their growth rate in the two years they've been in business, so are the customers.

The business has been so successful they plan to expand into other areas in 2002 however, they have made a commitment to retain Lismore has their centre for operations.

To celebrate two years in business, Ian and Ros will have storewide discounts throughout August or while stocks last. There are great bargains on every piece of equipment, clothing and accessory imaginable, with the discounts anywhere between 25 and 50 per cent off.

Recycled Sports even has a policy of matching all Lismore and Ballina sports prices.

"In most cases we'll be cheaper but if there is an exception we will cheerfully match that price," Ian said.

Recycled Sports is at 136 Keen Street, Lismore. For more info phone 6622 0505.

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Family fun day at Ballina airport

Hazelton Airlines is holding a family fun day at Ballina airport this Saturday, August 25, to celebrate adding Ballina to its growing network of over 20 destinations throughout New South Wales.

Lismore-based Network Manager for Hazelton, Maurice Gahan, said the introduction of the Ballina service now provides more than 100 Hazelton flights each week between the Northern Rivers and Sydney.

He said Hazelton is the largest regional airline in NSW and are the third largest user of Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport.

"Next year Hazelton celebrates 10 years serving the Northern Rivers community and are delighted to add Ballina to their network," he said.

"The family fun day at Ballina airport begins at 10am and will feature a free sausage sizzle, jumping castle and face painting for children. A SAAB 340 aircraft will be open for inspection between 11am and 1pm.

Ballina Mayor of Ballina, David Wright, will officially welcome Hazelton to Ballina at 1pm.

Mr Gahan said everyone is welcome to come along and enjoy the day.

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Students score an E for business

Kadina High School E team members (l-r) Matt Kelso, Dylan Ward, Alice Elwell, Andrew Fox and Kellie Roder with Summerland Credit Union CEO Margot Sweeney and E team coordinator Samantha Albertini (left), Kadina High School principal Toni Hughes and teacher Lindsay Kitching.

Kadina High School E team members (l-r) Matt Kelso, Dylan Ward, Alice Elwell, Andrew Fox and Kellie Roder with Summerland Credit Union CEO Margot Sweeney and E team coordinator Samantha Albertini (left), Kadina High School principal Toni Hughes and teacher Lindsay Kitching.

St Vincent's Hospital CEO Trevor Sanders, Day Surgery Unit nurse unit manager Kate Mager and E team coordinator Jan Manson (far right) with Trinity Catholic College E team members Brett Gollan, Clare Stewart and Rebecca McKenzie.

St Vincent's Hospital CEO Trevor Sanders, Day Surgery Unit nurse unit manager Kate Mager and E team coordinator Jan Manson (far right) with Trinity Catholic College E team members Brett Gollan, Clare Stewart and Rebecca McKenzie.

As part of a national Australia Quality Council program, five year 10 students from each local high school have spent a week with local businesses as junior consultants for the organisation.

Each group of students, known as the E (Enterprise) Team, spends a week with their chosen organisation reviewing current business processes to find ways of improving them. The E Team then has to present their findings to the business.

While providing companies with workable solutions to problems or issues experienced in the workplace, the E Team program also gives students a hands-on experience in real-life business situations.

The E Team from Kadina High School spent their time at Summerland Credit Union where they made improvements to the induction and orientation process for new employees. The E Team from Trinity Catholic College did their week at St Vincent's Hospital, where they made recommendations on how to improve the admission process for people in the Day Surgery Unit.

"The E Team identified how we can make better use of our technology, have a better customer focus and how we need to encourage more teamwork between doctors, nurses and other administration staff," St Vincent's Hospital CEO Trevor Sanders said.

"They have developed an understanding of issues that were foreign to them a week ago and using their analytical skills have made recommendations, some of which we are certain to adopt.

"This will ultimately result in better patient care and less stress for the staff, and in three months time we will invite them back to see how their recommendations have helped the hospital. They were just so impressive - I'd give them a job anyday."

The students from both groups said they had learnt countless valuable skills throughout the week which help them both in school and when they join the workforce.

"We kind of know what to expect when we go and get a job… and none of us want to leave school now!" quipped Trinity student, Clare Stewart.

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Vietnam veterans remember their comrades

Northern Rivers Vietnam Veterans marked the 35th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan last Saturday with a memorial service and wreath laying ceremony at the Far North Coast Vietnam Memorial in Lismore.Northern Rivers Vietnam Veterans marked the 35th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan last Saturday with a memorial service and wreath laying ceremony at the Far North Coast Vietnam Memorial in Lismore.

The service paid homage to the 125 men of D Company from the 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment. On August 18, 1966m the 125 soldiers in D Company were ambushed by 3000 enemy troops in a rubber plantation near the village of Long Tan.

With support from artillery at the Australian Task Force base at Nui Dat, and with ammunition dropped in by RAAF helicopters, D Company held its position for three hours, until a relief force could fight its way to the battlefield.

D Company lost 17 soldiers in the battle and an additional 19 men were wounded, while the enemy forces lost between 250 and 500 men.

All up, 59,000 Australians served in Vietnam and 520 soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Saturday's Vietnam Veterans Day also marked 28 years since the day in 1973 when Australia withdrew the last troops from Vietnam.

Q Lismore VAN and VVCS offices will relocate due to refurbishment from next Monday, August 27 until September 21. They will be located on the upper ground level on the Conway Court building. For more info, phone Greg Erwin on 1800 555 254, extension 7683.

Terra Sword

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Clean look for transit centre

(Rear left to right) How about Asking Youth event organiser Rebecca Boots and LCC waste minimisation officer Lesley Trott with competition winners Billie Makie, Shanna Bayliss and Joseph McDermott.(Rear left to right) How about Asking Youth event organiser Rebecca Boots and LCC waste minimisation officer Lesley Trott with competition winners Billie Makie, Shanna Bayliss and Joseph McDermott.

Users of Lismore's transport interchange now have a permanent reminder not to litter, in the form of three murals hung in the centre on Saturday.

The murals are the result of a competition organised by the How About Asking Youth program, to highlight the problem of rubbish in the community.

The winners in the three sections, Shanna Bayliss, 12-14 years; Billie Mackie, 15-17; and Joseph McDermott, open; had their designs painted by Coraki artist Sharon Walker.

The competition was made possible by a grant from the Keep Australia Beautiful Council.

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2NCR notches up silver jubilee

Gearing up for 2NCR's 25th birthday celebrations this Friday and Saturday is 2NCR committee member Coralie Gardiner, presenter Kelly Walsh, new manager Craig Bulley, presenter Chris Nelson, committee member Wanda Coates and presenters Barry Olive and Kate Montagner.Gearing up for 2NCR's 25th birthday celebrations this Friday and Saturday is 2NCR committee member Coralie Gardiner, presenter Kelly Walsh, new manager Craig Bulley, presenter Chris Nelson, committee member Wanda Coates and presenters Barry Olive and Kate Montagner.

The Northern Rivers' very first FM station, 2NCR, will celebrate 25 years on air this Friday and Saturday, August 24-25 with a birthday party in Southern Cross University's Goodman Plaza.

2NCR began broadcasting in August of 1975 as one of the first 12 community broadcasters in Australia and the first FM station in the Northern Rivers.

Since then the small radio station has gone through many changes including a relocation from Lismore's CBD to Southern Cross University's Lismore campus. While the university still holds the broadcasting license, 2NCR has been independently managed and operated by North Coast Radio Inc since October, 1999.

Five weeks ago the station appointed a new manager, Craig Bulley, who welcomes everyone in the Lismore community to come and celebrate 2NCR's 25th birthday.

"The local community has supported 2NCR for many, many years so we invite all listeners and interested people to come along and enjoy the free music and entertainment," Craig said.

"We are always looking for more presenters and volunteers, so for anyone interested in joining 2NCR it's a good opportunity to talk to the current presenters and staff. We're also having a membership drive where people can pay $5 to be a member until the end of 2001 or $25 until the end of 2002. This gives people access to studios, various training programs and whole range of other benefits."

The birthday celebrations kick off tomorrow at 4pm with free drinks live acoustic music from SCU students with a special Thai Night at Unity's Cafe from 7pm (tickets $15).

On Saturday the celebrations start at 6am, with one of Australia's longest running presenters on community radio, Marge Graham, presenting her Country Breakfast show.

To complement the show there'll be a free BBQ and country performers. At 10am solo artist Amby will perform, followed by jazz band Beef Cheeks - which is largely made up of SCU music students - at 11am.

Local rock outfit The Stingrays will perform at 12pm accompanied by rock and roll dancers, and at 3pm Gregarious Chance will funk things up. Four piece rock band The Other Ones, featured two 2NCR presenters, will perform at 4pm with the final act, Counterstroke, starting up at 5pm. Throughout the day there will also be a variety of community stalls to browse through (community organisations are still welcome to have a stall at no cost).

For more information phone Craig on 6620 3939.

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14 years of helping women

Rose-Maree Payne from the RoseMmaree Women's Lifestyle Centre celebrated 14 year in business on Wednesday, August 8Rose-Maree Payne from the RoseMmaree Women's Lifestyle Centre celebrated 14 year in business on Wednesday, August 8.

After gaining weight following the birth of her first child, Rose-Maree Payne joined a gym to try and shed the extra kilos.

Twelve months later, Rose-Maree was not much better off in the weight department and found the male oriented programs daunting.

It was these two factors that led her to establish the Rose-Maree Women's Lifestyle Centre in Lismore - on the eighth day of the eighth month in 1988.

Eight seems to be Rose-Maree's lucky number and she has had great success with the centre. Last week - on the eighth day of the eighth month - was the centre's 14th birthday and as a present to her customers, Rose-Maree has refurbished the gym and fitted it out with new equipment.

"It's just amazing to think what started as an exercise alternative for myself has become so popular with so many women around the country," Rose-Maree said.

"When I started the centre I never thought it would grow this big, but obviously there was a need for this type of service. I hope in another 14 years I'll still be here - I'm passionate about health and wouldn't want to do anything else."

The Rose-Maree Women's Lifestyle Centre helps women lose weight through a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise.

According to Rose-Maree one won't work without the other - so it's a package deal.

The centre has qualified trainers to supervise classes and compile programs, which can be tailored to individual needs. There are programs to suit individual lifestyles and people can either purchase programs with unlimited usage, with three visits per week or for the really busy just twice per week.

Classes include tummy, butts and thigh, figure enhancing, multi mix or total body workouts and there's a kids corner for mothers.

Rose-Maree Women's Lifestyle Centre is located upstairs at the Rous Road Shopping Centre in Goonellabah. For more information or bookings phone 6625 1211.

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Nimbin family centre opens

The organising committee for the new Nimbin Family Centre - (front) coorindator Mel Lina, Dianne Gregory, Mandie Hale, (rear) Wally Wallace and Margie Hayes. Photo: Sarah CraneThe organising committee for the new Nimbin Family Centre - (front) coorindator Mel Lina, Dianne Gregory, Mandie Hale, (rear) Wally Wallace and Margie Hayes. Photo: Sarah Crane

Parents and carers with young children in Nimbin and surrounds are invited to attend the opening of the Nimbin Family Centre next Thursday, August 23.

The aim of the new centre is to provide information, referral and support to parents and carers with children under the age of five, as well as giving parents access to a range of resources such as parenting videos and books.

The opening, from 12 noon, will feature a range of guest speakers outlining the role of the new centre and its services, and the resources and information it will offer. The opening is designed for the whole family and there will be jugglers, face painting, performances and heaps of games for the kids followed by a free BBQ lunch.

The Nimbin Family Centre is on the Community Centre grounds, behind Family Day Care and next to the Cave Cafe.

The centre's first project is a four-week Family Gatherings group, presented in conjunction with Aboriginal Health. The group will look at communication and self-esteem while providing support for parents. Bookings are essential.

For more information or bookings phone the centre on 6689 0423.

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Alstonville winners amazed

Marion Whitney, winner of a 'Mystery Weekend Away' through The Echo's Amazing Alstonville Competition, with National World Travel proprietor David Delaney.Marion Whitney, winner of a 'Mystery Weekend Away' through The Echo's Amazing Alstonville Competition, with National World Travel proprietor David Delaney.

Marion Whitney of Alstonville was thrilled when she discovered she was the winner of a 'Mystery Weekend Away' through The Echo's Amazing Alstonville Competition, held in conjunction with National World Travel.

Marion won an overnight stay at the five star Royal Albert Hotel in Brisbane for two people.

"Having never won anything like this before I was delightfully surprised," Marion said.

"I haven't had a real holiday since about 1960 because I've been studying and working for some time. It's just delightful."

David Delaney from National World Travel said the competition was a way to promote a locally owned and operated business and give something back to the local community.

As part of the Amazing Alstonville Competition, five other lucky Echo readers have also each won a $66 gift voucher at one of the participating Alstonville businesses.

The winners are Susan Newman - Adorable Dogs; Tony Baron - Alstonville Health Foods; Daniel Reeves - Alstonville Settlers Motel; L Degroo - Duck Creek Mountain Promotions; and L Randle - National World Travel.

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Bag a bargain book

"You never know what wonderful treasures you might find here," says Lifeline volunteer Sylvia Young of the annual Lifeline Bookfest, which is being held this Friday and Saturday, August 24-25, at the South Lismore store."You never know what wonderful treasures you might find here," says Lifeline volunteer Sylvia Young of the annual Lifeline Bookfest, which is being held this Friday and Saturday, August 24-25, at the South Lismore store.

"The Bookfest is not only a great chance to pick up some bargain books but it's also an opportunity to help a really worthwhile local organisation," Sylvia said.

"The two-day Bookfest is a lot of fun and there's plenty for everyone.."

During the sale all fiction books will be 50 cents each, children's books 20 cents, magazines 20 cents, non fiction half the marked price and encyclopaedias, tapes, CDs and videos will have special discount prices.

All proceeds go towards Lifeline's free Crisis Counselling service in the Northern Rivers. For more information phone 6621 8516.

Lifeline volunteers Sylvia Young and Nellie Brown with some of the great books people can score for next to nothing at this weekend's Lifeline Bookfest.

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Frontline experience shapes Major

With 25 years' experience in the field of addiction, a stint as the Salvation Army's director of youth services in Sydney's outer western suburbs in the 1980s, and a three-year term as a prison chaplain, it's not surprising that Major Brian Watters has a view on addiction. But his experience goes deeper than that.

"I wasn't raised in a Christian home; I grew up in an alcoholic one," the retired Salvation Army officer who now heads the Australian National Council on Drugs told The Echo.

"It was only in my teens, after I became a Christian, that I decided to use my early experiences with an alcoholic father to help others."

Since joining the Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD) four years ago, Major Watters has investigated a number of overseas programs including hash cafes in Holland, a registered addicts' program in Switzerland and special gaols for drug offenders in Sweden.

While they have provided him with further insights into addiction, he remains convinced that condoning any sort of drug use is not the way to go.

"My response continues to be that we need to develop the widest net possible to reduce supply, demand and harm," Major Watters said.

"As such I support the enforcement of the law by customs and police, education programs to steer people clear of drugs, and ways of reducing the risk for users. However, if we must lock addicts up we should not lump them in with the general prison system."

Major Watters also admits that there is room for programs that he does not personally agree with.

He says that while injecting rooms provide a safe environment, they only serve a particular group of addicts and are not a solution to the issues of addiction. However, he questions the need for an Australian heroin trial when the government already has access to the results of a number of European trials.

On cannabis decriminalisation, Maj. Watters is adamant that "a society already ravaged by nicotine and alcohol does not need another legal drug".

"In the end we have to recognise that angst and psychic pain are at the core of drug use of any kind," he said. "Addiction is a disease of the spirit." - DF

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Ballina hosts unemployment conference

Leading politicians and experts of unemployment will gather in Ballina in September for the 8th National Unemployment Conference.

Southern Cross University will host the three day event at Ballina RSL Club, September 23-25.

The conference will kick off with a panel session including federal politicians such as Natasha Stott Despoja, Cheryl Kernot, Mal Brough and Larry Anthony.

Recent studies by the Smith Family suggest that 48 per cent of working families are living below the poverty line, and the outlook on unemployment suggests that situation will get worse, rather than better in the short term.

The conference committee are encouraging sponsorship for unemployed people to attend and have their voices heard. Community and indigenous organisations, unemployment service providers, academics and people with an interest in social issues will find opportunities to debate and share ideas to improve the lot of disadvantaged Australians.

Keynote speakers include Sue Bradford bringing insights from the New Zealand experience, David Thompson from Jobs Australia and Andrew Watson from the ACTU. A regional and rural politician panel will also help to crystallise issues in the Northern Rivers region.

A website for the conference gives full details of papers to be presented and can be found at http://norsearch.scu.edu.au/unemploymentconf2001/ or contact Conference Manager Karen Hanna 6620 3932, or email khanna@scu.edu.au

Young children remain at risk from a continued outbreak of whooping cough in the area. Northern Rivers Public Health Unit director Mark Bartlett said children should be vaccinated against the potentially life-threatening disease.

"To date this year, we have had 156 cases of whooping cough, with only a slight decline over recent weeks. The majority of cases have been in children, aged 10-14 years, but all age groups have been effected," he said.

Mr Bartlett said that to help prevent serious illness, parents should ensure that young babies and children are vaccinated. Vaccinations are administered at 2, 4, 6 and 18 months, with a booster at 4 years. Babies need at least three vaccines to be protected, but the vaccination is not lifelong and older children and adults can still contract the illness.

"Whooping cough normally begins like a cold with an irritating cough, which becomes more severe and persistent. Any adult or child with a persistent cough should avoid contact with young babies and visit their GP for diagnosis and treatment," he said.

An adult whooping cough vaccine is now available for people over the age of 12 years. For details, see your doctor.

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Having a Great Time with Herbs

Northern Rivers Herb FestivalAre herbs just weeds? Not according to the applause of the audience at the Northern Rivers Herb Festival's finale, the Great Herb Debate.

An estimated 8,000 people turned out during the nine day inaugural event, to find out about the many medicinal properties of herbs, check out the range of herb products available and taste the tantalising herb-inspired meals prepared by a variety of restaurants.

Industry conferences attracted delegates from as far away as Brisbane and Sydney, while the Herbie Parade brought hundreds out onto the CBD streets to cheer and watch the procession.

Northern Rivers Herb FestivalYoung people turned up in hoards for the skating, dance and BMX demos at the skate park while the night-time lantern parade and live entertainment attracted hundreds of families.

Organisers say the entire festival went off without a hitch and are certain it will put Lismore on the map as the herb capital of Australia.

The festival organisers are already planning next year's event.

Photos: Terra Sword

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