Fires a reminder

Local fire brigades were called out several times last weekend to out-of-control burn offs. Photo: Chris FlemingA series of fires across the district last weekend serves as a reminder to landowners that they are responsible for making sure their burn offs are safe. It also serves as a reminder that our local firefighters are volunteers and should be thanked for the work they do.
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Woodend CFA 1st Lieutenant, Mike Dornau, said brigades get a mixed response to their turnouts. More often than not residents are embarrassed and grateful, but sometimes they show complete disregard for the help they receive.

“Those who do all the preparations and make the effort, then something happens that’s out of their control, they’re the ones who are embarrassed,” Lt Dornau explained.

“It’s more the people who are ignorant and don’t make any preparation for the fire. A number of calls on the weekend were typical, they did none of that, they just light up a fire and see what happens. We tell people to clear an area around the fire, have water and equipment on hand, don’t leave the fire unattended … they’re the ones who are indifferent.

“A lot of the time they don’t even say anything, you can just tell by their manner that they don’t really care that much.”

Lt Dornau said some people who have attended a Fire Ready Meeting for the first time have been staggered to learn that the Woodend brigade or any brigade would be made up of volunteers.

“They just expect people should be there,” he said.

Lt Dornau said he was surprised that people seemed to feel the need to burn off immediately after restrictions are lifted.

“A lot of it is just common sense – I’ve spoken to a lot of people who are burn-off savvy and they said ‘look, it’s been too dry, I’m not going to burn off yet, I’ll wait a couple of weeks’.”

Macedon Ranges Shire Council’s manager of community safety, Anne-Louise Lindner, said that even though the Fire Danger Period had ended and burning off restrictions on land less than 4000-square-metres have been lifted during April, people must be mindful of burning off conditions as outlined in Council’s Local Law No.10.

“Burning off is everyone’s responsibility. People must make sure that the fire is supervised at all times and that there is sufficient water available to extinguish it if required; and ensure that the fire is not a nuisance to neighbours or causing a hazard, such as reducing visibility for motorists on nearby roads,” Ms Lindner said.

“Residents who fail to do so may face fines up to $2000.”

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A week for young people, nationally

LEETON Youth Committee members Cate Rapley (left) and Molly Pettersson, both 14, get into the swing of painting themselves for the blacklight rave.
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NATIONAL Youth Week (NYW) is the largest celebration of young people in Australia.

Thousands of young people aged 12 to25 from across Australia are involved in NYW each year.

In 2015, NYWis beingheld from April 10 to19.

“It Starts With Us” is the theme for 2015 and was decided by the National Planning Group Young Members.

The phenomenon that is NYW all began in 2000 with the theme “Count Me In”.

Since then, other themes have included “Get Into It”, “Bring It On!”, “What’s It To You?”, “Make It Yours”, “Shout, Share, Live, Unite”, “Own It!”, and last year’s “Our Voice. Our Impact”.

There are many ways to stay in touch with NYW in 2015, but the newest is thefirst ever NYW live social media wall.

Any young person can contribute NYW or National Youth Awards news and photos to the wall using #NYW15.

The live wall can alsoshare relevant Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram posts and will also be live at the National Youth Awards and at select NYW events.

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Abandoned Dr Seuss house in Alaska a tower of mystery

For anyone who grew up reading Dr Seuss, a hike through the snowy wilderness of Alaska may bring back some magical memories.
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Just outside the town of Willow, a small sleepy hamlet about 130 kilometres from Anchorage, stands a structure affectionately known as the Dr Seuss house.

According to design website This is Collossal, the original owner decided to build the home after a forest fire swept through the area. A view of the national park and mountains beyond was the inspiration behind the location.

As the seasons changed and the trees grew again, the owner realised that his view was slowly being blocked by nature’s regrowth.

His answer? To keep heading upwards by adding room-upon-room to maintain the view. When finished, the house levelled out at 12 storeys.

And like all good crazy home builds, the structure was then abandoned for a time and eventually put up for sale.

Photographer Jovell Rennie recently captured images of the structure and a video by Alaska Aerial Media has since been viewed more than 60,000 times.

Now, a new owner with an appreciation of the absurd has bought the property and intends on making the necessary renovations to keep the residential tower standing tall.


Whether the home will become a tourist attraction or a mecca for Dr Seuss fans only time will tell but the view from the top is absolutely stunning.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t get too windy in Willow.

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Have you seen Jennifer?

Have you seen Morwell woman Jennifer Bunney?
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Police are appealing for public assistance to locate missing Morwell woman, Jennifer Bunney.

The 66 year-old was last heard from about 4.30pm on Wednesday when she discussed her travel plans with a family member.

It is believed Ms Bunney was travelling from Morwell to Sale via train and bus and was planning to arrive about 8pm.

She has not been seen or heard from since and it is unknown if Ms Bunney made it to her destination.

Police and family hold concerns for Ms Bunney’s welfare as her disappearance is out of character and she requires medication for a condition.

Police have released images of Ms Bunney in the hope someone can assist in locating her.

She was last seen wearing a purple jumper with white writing, green t-shirt and black pants.

Anyone with any information is urged to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at 梧桐夜网crimestoppersvic南京夜网419论坛

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Cooper reins supreme

HORSE SENSE: Cooper Dabin at the miniature horse national championships over Easter. The Cootamunrda six-year-old put up a remarkable performance at the event. Photo: Luke DabinIT’S a big story about a miniature horse and its tiny owner.
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When six-year-old CooperDabinlined up as a handlerin the Miniature Horse Association of Australia national championships over Easter, he was the only child in the open class category.

What happened next was extraordinary.

Leading his trusty charge Sedona through the obstacle course, the Cootamundra kindy student showed maturity beyond his years, emerging with a third-placeribbon against the adults in his first competition.

His performance in the junior classes was just as stunning, walking away with four national titles including the Grand National Champion for overall junior performance.

His beaming mum Sarah Dabin said the results were a testament to Cooper’s hard work and the remarkable relationship he had forged with his horse.

“He’s been working with these horses from two years of age and we’re very proud of him,” Mrs Dabin said.

“He trains his horse by himself and was out there every day for the six weeks before the nationals.”

The family owns Mylora Miniatures, a boutique miniature horse stud in Cootamundra.

Cooper has now set his sights on representing Australia at the upcoming Trans-Tasman challenge.

“He’s very keen to make the team,” Mrs Dabin said.

The middle of three children, Cooper performed in front of a packed grandstand at the nationals, which was held in the same arena as equine events during the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Mrs Dabin said what miniature horses lacked in size, they made up for in moxy.

“Some are placid and others bounce around but they’re all great to work with,” she said.“They’re just great horses.”

The stud has 10 miniatures and one stallion, she said.The horses stand to an average of about 36 inches from the hoof to the wither.They can’t be ridden and don’t require breaking in, with competitors at the nationals leading them over jumps and through obstacle courses.

For this reason they are often kept as family pets, though they still retain naturalhorse behavior, including a naturalfight or flightinstinct, and must be treated like an equine, even if they are kept as companion animals.

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Apple Watch reviews very positive, with some caveats

The Apple Watch ‘builds the digital world directly into your skin’. Photo: Tim BeorFull wearables coverage
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The Apple Watch is available for preorder tomorrow but today the first reviews and impressions from select writers and reviewers are hitting the internet and they are … fairly uniform.

As a totally new piece of kit, the Apple Watch seems to have made a similar impression on almost everybody who has evaluated it: it can’t replace a phone, isn’t as good a watch as a watch, but does a great job of validating the smartwatch as a new form of gadget that’s great at doing things phones and watches simply don’t do.

It’s overpriced, a little affronting to use at first and not everybody is going to need one, the reviews say, but the device is also being almost universally praised for its fitness-tracking, its usefulness as a proxy for your phone when you’re on the move and its ability to keep you abreast of news, messages and other information at a glance.

“With the Apple Watch, smartwatches finally make sense”, writes Geoffrey A. Fowler at The Wall Street Journal. “I only look at it in blips, for rarely more than five seconds. It shows me the weather with one finger swipe. It gets physical, gently tapping my wrist when something important needs my attention and lighting up when I lift my arm to look. It nudges when I’ve been sitting too long.”

Using Siri and following map directions are frequently reported to be much more convenient on your wrist than in your pocket, and likewise with Apple Pay, which lets you use the watch as a credit card with the press of a button and a simple tap. Apple watch explainer: models, styles, prices

Most functions of an iPhone can be handled in a limited way by the watch.

“I’ve controlled iTunes from my watch while I’m in the car, and I’ve synced two different photo albums to the watch, which I browse through often”, writes Lauren Goode at re/code. “I’ve used Apple Maps for turn-by-turn directions and like the way the watch buzzes on my wrist ahead of an upcoming turn. Although the Maps app did at one point think I was on a road that was on the other side of a creek. Oh, Apple Maps.”

Even more than its benefits as a device you actively use, however, reviewers have remarked how much better it is to have notifications delivered to your wrists rather than having to constantly check your phone.

“The effect was so powerful that people who’ve previously commented on my addiction to my smartphone started noticing a change in my behaviour”, writes Farhad Manjoo at The New York Times. “My wife told me that I seemed to be getting lost in my phone less than in the past. She found that a blessing.”

He goes on to say that this naturally makes the device more useful for people who are constantly swamped with information, as opposed to people who don’t need to check their phone too often.

Many reviewers were taken with the “Taptic Engine” feedback that taps your wrist rather than vibrating. The idea is to give you different taps for each kind of notification so you know if you need to check immediately or not, which Joshua Topolsky at Bloomberg writes “can produce strikingly realistic sensations, almost like a bell tapping on your wrist”.

As the first generation version of a new device, teething problems are to be expected and the Apple Watch certainly seems to have them. The performance of third party apps was a common complaint among reviewers, with many noting they frequently refused to play nicely with the Watch’s Apple-built features or, in some instances, to open at all.

The Verge’s Nilay Patel writes that the device seems underpowered or poorly optimised overall, with even system notifications and native apps sometimes taking too long to load or stuttering strangely into existence. He also notes that the time between raising your wrist and having the screen turn on is slow enough to become “quickly distracting”.

“Committing to technology that’s a little slow to respond to you is dicey at best, especially when it’s supposed to step in for your phone”, he writes.

Another common complaint was that the interface was not immediately easy to understand, but the consensus seems to be that this is less of a problem in the long run. Actions we’ve all learnt from smartphones — such as swiping up or down from any screen for notifications or settings, pressing a button on the side to turn the screen on or off — do completely different things on the watch, which is controlled with a combination of taps, hard presses, presses of the side button and presses and turns of the “digital crown”.

“Sometimes I didn’t know where an app menu was. Or, I’d find getting back to an app I just had open would require an annoying series of crown clicks, swiping through apps, then opening the app again”, writes Scott Stein at CNET. “I’m having difficulty figuring some things out, how would my mom feel?”

Overall the watch has been received as the most advanced and cohesive smartwatch yet, with enough connectivity to be useful in a range of applications, enough battery life to usually last the day and enough innovation to be worthy of your attention. It is, however, clearly a version 1.0 that will get better with successive releases and updates.

“If Google brought all of the world’s digital information to our computers, and the iPhone brought it to us everywhere, the Watch builds the digital world directly into your skin”, concludes Manjoo. “It takes some time getting used to, but once it clicks, this is a power you can’t live without.”

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Stephanie Scott murder “tragic”: Piccoli

TRAGIC: Students and colleagues of murdered Leeton High School teacher Stephanie Scott will be offered counselling. STUDENTS and colleagues of murdered Leeton High School teacher Stephanie Scott will be offered counselling inthe wake of her devastatingdeath.
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The students and teachers, who are currently on holidays, willbe able to access a full-range of welfare services.

The education community has reacted with sadness to murder of the popular 26-year-old English and drama teacher.

Leading the tributes was Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli, who called the situation “tragic”.

Mr Piccoli, who is also the local federal member for Ms Scott’s electorate of Murray,pledged to personally offer his assistance to Ms Scott’s grieving family.

“I was very saddened to hear of Ms Scott’s death,” Mr Piccoli said.

“As the local MP, I will also offer whatever assistance I can to the Scott family during this particularly distressing time.”

“It’s a tragedy for the tight-knit Leeton community and I know the town is devastated by what has occured.”

Mr Piccoli said Ms Scott was a well-respected teacherwhose colleagues had been particularly hard-hit by her loss.

“I have ensured that the Department of Education will offer whatever support it can to Ms Scott’s family.”

“School staff will also be offered access to the Department’s welfare services, and counselling for students will be provided when school resumes after the current holiday period.”


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Want for nothing in large home

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Bedrooms 5, bathrooms3, carspacse8

AGENT: Roberts Real Estate, Stuart McLeod, 0400 844 423

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THIS immense family home offers a private, leafy lifestyle that will leave you wanting for nothing.

Located in up-market Danbury Park, only 10 minutes commute to town, this home is situated on more than one hectare.

Built in the ’80s, the home is two storeys and boasts five bedrooms, three bathrooms, four toilets and numerous living spaces.

Living spaces includealarge kitchen, generous formal living and dining room and a family room complete with bar.

The home also boasts a heated spa-pool and cedar sauna for ultimate relaxation.

You will find quality craftsmanship and fittings throughout the home from the use of cedar and black heart sassafras to the quality drapes, carpets and fixtures.

The home boasts underfloor heating as well as gas and wood heating.

The home is privately situated behind electric gates.

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Private and well kept

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Bedrooms 3, bathrooms2, carspaces 1

AGENT: Harcourts Launceston, Jeremy Wilkinson 0400 895 022

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TUCKED away in quiet suburbia is this perfect investment opportunity.

The brick-clad property offers a large openplan living space combined with ample kitchen facilities.

A separate oven, hotplates with rangehood, dishwasher, microwave oven and breakfast bar are included.

Owners can walk through the adjoining dining room into an ideal outdoor entertaining area, perfect for a barbecue.

Two of the home’s large bedrooms include built-in wardrobes and a third bedroom could double as an office or study.

The property is landscaped for low maintenance with no lawns, and established trees and shrubs to add privacy to the deal.

The location at 2/4 Casino Drive, Prospect Vale, is just minutes from the Country Club resort and its 18-hole golf course, restaurant and bar.

A heat pump and additional wall heater and insulation means all-year comfort.

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Anzac Day blast from the streets

On AnzacDay and Remembrance Daynothing helps people reflect like hearing the Last Post played by a bugler.
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An increasing number of services are forced to userecordingsbecause of the lack of buglers.

Lockhart RSL president Stephen Goodwin believes the Last Post is a vital part of Anzac Day.

“That’s what it’s all about,” he said.

“It gives people time to think and reflect. Hearing it played by a bugler sends tingles up your spine.”

The Diggers Last Post is an onlinecommunity aiming to get all buglers and trumpet players to play the Last Post at dawn on April 25.

Musicians are encouraged to walk out their front door, onto a balcony, the beach, a paddock or any local high point where the breeze will carry the sound.

Brett Stevenson from Sydney is behind the campaign and hopes musicians of all ages and abilities will take part.

While getting to a dawn service isn’t easy for most people Mr Stevenson hopes by hearing the Last Post played in the streets people will feel involved.

Mr Goodwin hopes the campaignwill draw attention to the lack of musicians and encourage the younger generation to learn how to play.

“It might raise peoples awareness of what it is like to hear it played live,” he said.

The Last Post: Brett Stevenson (left) with a young bugler hopes musicians across Australia will play the Last Post at dawn this Anzac Day.

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