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THE Exit Theatre in Healesville invites you to a night of Poetry, Piano and Passion.
Television actor John Wood (Blue Heelers) and concert pianist Konrad Olszewski will lead a night of poetry readings about love, loss and passion.
Joined by Kristof Kaczmarek and Suhasini Seelin, the night promises a poetic journey of the heart, stirring and inspiring with poetry and music from around the world.
The journey begins at 4pm, on 31 May, at the Exit theatre in Healesville and continues at Ruby’s Music Room in the Melbourne CBD on 6 and 7 June.
Seating is limited and bookings are essential.
Please call 0431 875 755 for more information.
PAKENHAM police have backed a community initiative which has caused a major spike in drug-related tip-offs.
The Crime Stoppers program Dob in a Dealer was recently taken up by traders in Moe who pooled funds into an advertising campaign which encouraged people to report information relating to the manufacture and distribution of crystal methamphetamine or ice.
Since the campaign was launched on the side of a local bus in early April, police have received a 263 per cent rise in tip offs of suspected drug activity in the area.
The campaign assures potential informants anonymity.
Acting Senior Sergeant Darren Hedge from Pakenham police said he had encouraged the campaign to be rolled out locally.
“We rely on information from the public to carry out investigations,” he said.
“Reporting even a small amount of information or information that may seem insignificant is useful for us.
“Our intelligence officers gather all this information and may be able to draw links between separate reports which can lead to further investigations.”
Police recently visited a number of Pakenham business owners to collect information about crime or suspicious activities in the area.
Moe police are still working through the gathered intelligence and plan to issue warrants to investigate specific claims further.
“The bus has been a great success with greater intelligence, but with increased intelligence comes increased workload.
“A lot of crime is linked to drugs, the result of drugs or an addition to feed habits,” he said.
McMillan MP Russell Broadbent addressed Parliament saying he hoped the campaign will be rolled out further, including into the Pakenham and Officer areas, where more people are becoming addicted to the dangerous drug.
“This ice epidemic is staggering,“ he told MPs.
“When you speak to the police, they tell you that they have never struck anything like it in the whole of their careers, and they are 20 and 30-year veterans.
“They say ‘we have never struck anything like it, and it will attack anybody’.”
Mr Broadbent said he had directly seen the devastation the drug could cause.
“I know for sure that this ice epidemic has directly killed two people around the Warragul area.
“They were not from low socioeconomic, deprived families,” he said.
“These were young, bright, brilliant tradies with a magnificent future in front of them, destroyed in moments – quality business people destroyed in three months; going from 30 people on their staff, down to nothing; their business gone in three months, and their family destroyed.
“Sadly, so many lives will expire before we deal with the ice epidemic.”
Earlier this year, the State Government committed $45.5 million to the Ice Action Plan which is designed to reduce the supply, demand and harm of the life-ruining drug.
Victoria Police statistics indicate that drug related offenses in the state have risen by 12.3 per cent from 2012 to 2013.
Crime Stoppers has helped seize more than $170 million worth of illicit drugs and stolen property over the past 28 years.
Are you a trader in Cardinia shire and would you sponsor similar advertising? Join the conversation at www.facebook.com/PakenhamBerwickGazette.
LOCAL businessman and former Ansett pilot Perry Taylor is used to flying the rich and famous around the world, but a couple of weeks back he had two special passengers on board.
Perry was charged with returning Johnny Depp’s two Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, home after Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce ordered them out of the country.
Perry said he was bound by confidentiality, but could reveal the 15 May flight to Los Angeles was a pleasure and Pistol and Boo were very well behaved.
“The dogs were wonderful,” he said. “They were better than anyone I’ve met on a midnight flight from Bali on Jetstar.”
The exercise is said to have cost $400,000, but Perry said “it didn’t cost the taxpayers a cent” and he spent most of his time apologising to the dogs for the “Australian bureaucratic” mess.
For Perry, who piloted the Rolling Stones during their Australian national tour last year, it’s all in a day’s work.
“It’s all part of the job,” he said. “When I first met Johnny Depp I had no idea who he was. I had to ring my wife and ask her who Johnny Depp was. Now we’re good friends.”
The local ink to the Johnny Depp dog debacle was discovered by Noosa Today columnist Benny Pike.
Don’t miss Benny’s column in this week’s Noosa Today, out on Thursday.
SUE Chamberlain is often still left pondering how the earth didn’t shatter the day a 8.1 magnitude earthquake rocked Nepal last month.
The local woman was trekking through Nepal with Wodonga resident and Nepal native Ang Rita Sherpa as the quake struck, and had to brace herself throughout the shock.
“The sensation is very difficult to describe,” she said.
“Initially there was a massive bang and then the air pressure changed, and it was playing with my head.
“I had to spread-eagle my poles out and ride it out.
“I still think how solid ground could wave like that and not break up.”
The quake only lasted for around two minutes, but for those who experienced it, it felt much longer.
Although Ms Chamberlain was out in the open, she had fellow trekkers behind her in areas subject to rockfalls, while two avalanches had ploughed through Everest Base Camp where they should have been. The foggy weather had luckily set them on a different course.
From there, with no communication, the trekking group relied on the “Sherpa Telegraph” for news.
It took a while before the group reached towns and villages and began to understand the real devastation caused by the quake despite being still so far from the epicentre.
You won’t see many photos of destruction on Ms Chamberlain’s camera. After seeing the terrible fatalities and injuries suffered by the people she had come to love, she soon put her lens away, and paid her respects as best she could.
The trekking group stayed mostly in accommodation that had been damaged the quake, with rooms that were only half usable, and continually had to ride out the aftershocks.
Ms Chamberlain even had clothes ready beside her bed in the event of an emergency evacuation at night.
“I’d be lying in bed thinking ‘oh is there another one coming’”.
Ms Chamberlain arrived back home in Australia safely in time for Mother’s Day, however the images of a scarred Nepal – a country and its people who she came to know and love over her years of visiting – weighs heavily on her mind.
She is now reminding all Australians not to forget or avoid Nepal as it faces a long road ahead to rebuild.
‘Nepal needs the tourists, it’s their number one form of income,” she said.
“There are plenty of things to do, and the people are just beautiful.
“If they stop going, how on earth are they going to rebuild their infrastructure.”
The infrastructure Ms Chamberlain is talking about includes schools that have been destroyed, hospitals and medical facilities that have been reduced to rubble, and homes that have crumbled.
Residents saved what belongings they could from their former homes – and where there were once traditional villages, now sit tent towns.
Many villagers are living off their vegetable gardens that survived the earthquake, and working in a bartering system to make ends meet.
But the Nepalese know in just a few weeks’ time, the monsoon season will set in to dampen the country’s earth until October. There is only hope that the rains won’t dampen their tent-covered and resilient spirits.
Ms Chamberlain is now urging local residents and all Australians to remember the country that has suffered so much in a few months’ time when the rains dry up and rebuilding will start full swing.
Already, school children are behind in their education and won’t start classes until 29 May- weeks after the school term should have begun.
“It’s important to build the schools first, get the kids back into school, and let the adults get back to what they need to do.”
Those looking to send secure donations to Nepal can do so through Non-Resident Nepali Association Australia at http://www.nrn.org.au/
Those looking to organise fund-raising efforts and have Sue Chamberlain share her experience and knowledge of Nepal can phone her on 0418 244 722.
GEORGIA Gourlay’s AFL Youth Girls National Championships campaign … lasted 13 minutes.
In one of those rare moments you’d have to see to believe, Gourlay ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her knee just from changing direction in pursuit of a West Australian midfielder.
Not from pressure under a tackle or jarred after landing in a marking contest – just a simple turn to chase her opponent.
That one insignificant and virtually miniscule moment in a match – the first of the carnival between last year’s grand finalists Vic Metro and West Australia earlier this month – will dictate the rest of Gourlay’s season and likely affect part of her 2016 as well.
That seems an onerous burden for most footballers to comprehend, missing out on the joy of a grand final victory to watch from the sidelines, but that’s not how Cranbourne midfielder Gourlay, 16, wants to frame her accident and recuperation.
“It was really random – I was running at a girl from West Australia basically on the side of the square,” Gourlay said. “She went to side-step me and the way she was side-stepping in the footage my right hip falls down and then you see my knee and my leg just collapse.
“My knee and my leg go different ways and I was rolling on my back for a bit and a few of the girls tried to pick me up and I started screaming and put my hand up.”
It could have been a sour note to tarnish the remainder of her Youth Girls campaign, but with four days left to support her team-mates and keep morale high – Gourlay took it upon herself to ensure the team remained upbeat.
“It’s such a good week, so I thought ‘OK, I’ve gotten injured, but I still need to be positive as I’m not going to be in a state team with a lot of these girls who are graduating again’.” Gourlay said. “It just won’t be the same team, so there’s no point being down about it and just have to stay positive with it all.”
She had to sit on the sidelines for the grand final – Vic Metro’s emphatic return to premiership success by knocking off Queensland by seven points – only hours after confirming the worst news possible.
“It was a weird day on Friday – as before we left to go to the grand final I was told that I had done my ACL,” Gourlay said. “It was confirmed – and a few hours later the girls won the national championship so it was a pretty up and down day.
“Went on from there and I think it was good on my behalf as I wasn’t emotional during the week and when I got told on the Friday I had a bit of a cry, but I had people around me and that didn’t really last long.”
“Was a bit weird watching them pull on their boots and I’m just sitting down kind of watching it all unfold.
Gourlay had her knee surgery last Wednesday – repairing the ligament with a graft – and with the next Youth Girls campaign only a year away, there’s plenty for the Eagles’ gun to focus on as she begins her rehabilitative journey back to the football field.
“That was a good thing as well – so many people throughout the week were saying that I had to take the positives out of it and I did,” Gourlay said.
“It wasn’t my last carnival if it was I’d have been extremely down a lot more upset.
“If all goes to plan, the first game of the National Championships should be the first game I come back and play in – it would be crazy, but everyone else said it would be good as I’m taking precautions and not coming back too early.”
She’ll also have to sit out the South East Juniors season as her Cranbourne side hopes to go one better after losing back-to-back grand finals to Beaconsfield.
YOU could not imagine a better AFL outing for Kara Donnellan.
Resuming her AFL career by donning the red-and-blue for the third time in three years, Donnellan, 23, was Melbourne’s mightiest on Sunday at the MCG in the annual AFL Women’s clash between Melbourne and Western Bulldogs.
She was first in under the packs, pushing aside all and sundry in her usual hard-edged attack on the footy.
Claiming 23 possessions across the afternoon – equal highest on the ground alongside her skipper Daisy Pearce – Donnellan and her beloved Demons held on against the faster finishing Dogs to claim an eight-point triumph and maintain a perfect 3-0 winning record.
She might have to hold on to her jumper though and not give it to her six-year-old brother as she’s done many times before.
This year’s guernsey holds extra gravitas because it might need to be framed alongside her AFL Women’s Match best on ground medal.
Hearing her name called out and accepting her medal from AFL Commissioner Sam Mostyn remains a moment Donnellan can’t quite imagine as she didn’t think she was in the running for it.
“I looked up at the screen – as they had the leading stats-getters up there – and saw my name was up there as the equal highest … and didn’t realise I had 23 touches,” Donnellan said.
“When they read out my name I was very shocked – didn’t expect it at all, but it’s very humbling and an honour to win it.
“Our team was fantastic and so were the Bulldogs so it was just a fantastic contest by all.”
It all started with that hushed awe earlier in the afternoon – with Donnellan taking the field before the crowd erupted.
She’ll never get accustomed to that journey onto the field, but once there the task at hand takes precedent.
“You never really get used to it – it’s always a fantastic experience and moment when you run out onto the ‘G,” Donnellan said.
“It’s the best sporting venue in the world so to have that opportunity is an absolute honour and privilege.
“You don’t get much time to soak it up though – you run out there, run your lap, get into your warm ups and then it’s on.”
While she now calls West Australia home, and has even represented her adopted state, Donnellan remains one of the south-east’s greatest football exports as the former Narre Warren/Berwick footballer continues to soar in every facet of women’s football.
She’ll take the field for WA in the State Women’s Game against Victoria at Subiaco on 5 June.
Donnellan wanted to thank Melbourne Football Club for their continued support of the women’s game.
SEABL – ROUND 7
THEY don’t get any closer than this.
Dandenong had to sweat out a last-term surge from the Hobart Chargers and wait to see how Shane Harris-Tunks shot the final two free throws of the game.
Rattling off 23 points in the final term to hunt down the Rangers, Hobart almost dragged the match to overtime as a last second foul was called against Daequon Montreal on Harris-Tunks.
Harris-Tunks missed his first free-throw and tried to set up a last-ditch set-play with a deliberate miss on the second shot, but Dandenong’s Chuck Long was able to wrap his hands around the most important rebound of the game and literally hold on to the Rangers’ 83-81 SEABL victory.
“If we could choose a guy to shoot the two free throws for them, it would be that guy (Harris-Tunks),” Dandenong coach Darren Perry said.
“He’s not an offensive force, not really a good shooter of sorts, but in that situation you never know.
“Sometimes they both go in and we’ve got to come up with a play with point-five, so the time out was talking about if he misses we couldn’t afford to let them tip it in.
“Chuck did a great job getting that ball.”
While injuries continue to ravage the roster – including starting point guard Andrew Harms (leg) and soreness ruling out Calvin Enge (ankle soreness) for Sunday’s clash – the Rangers found the right-mix to rattle off back-to-back wins across Saturday and Sunday.
Dandenong carried on the good form it started 18 hours earlier, knocking over Ballarat 101-90 in an away victory via Lucas Walker (32 points) and Chris Patton (20 points), when it faced Hobart at home on Sunday afternoon.
Both sides threw away 10-point leads as neither team was willing to throw in the towel or truly capitalise on its earlier efforts.
Taking a prime role with Harms out of action, Dandenong guard Dwayne Campbell (15 points) showed he’s never one to discount in this league.
Campbell drilled five-of-five from beyond the three-point arc, including three in quick succession in a highlight-driven third term.
“He’s battled with his injuries this year – he had a hamstring injury and struggled to get back – but came back had a great weekend,” Perry said. “Playing him 35 minutes – a week ago he wouldn’t have managed that – but he’s managed to get himself right and did a great job for us.”
Dandenong came back through the second term to run past the Chargers, but the 13-point lead the Rangers built was squandered as Hobart’s Tom Wright (22 points) found his three-point range and Kyle Hunt (21 points, eight rebounds) menaced any Ranger under the basket.
It took the steadying presence of SEABL All-Star Montreal (35 points, six rebounds) to calm down the Hobart rampage and post the match-winning bucket with 50 seconds to go.
“Credit to all the guys this weekend,” Perry said.
“We definitely did have to – not necessarily make a statement – but turn some things around and we managed to do so.
“We’re still building – we had good sections of the game last night and we were pretty happy with the effort.
“Ballarat shot the ball well and Hobart came home shooting the ball really well, so we just have to figure out if it’s just as much about our defence or that teams really get up to play us.”
Perry expected Harms and Enge to return to the line-up this week.
The winning weekend pushes Dandenong back into the top four in SEABL’s East Conference with a 5-5 record and within striking distance of Albury-Wodonga (6-3) and Nunawading (6-4) ahead of them as Dandenong clashes with Bendigo.
Dandenong’s women had a mixed weekend, earning the win against the Ballarat Rush 79-54, on the back of amazing shooting from Jacinta Kennedy (21 points, 11 rebounds) and Clare Papavs (19 points, 13 rebounds), but failed to hold off Hobart in a 67-70 loss on Sunday afternoon.
Dandenong sits first in SEABL East with an 8-2 record before heading to Bendigo on Saturday night.