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ARTHUR the koala joey is expected to make a full recovery, after surgery last week at the Healesville Sanctuary on his broken leg.
The joey was brought into the sanctuary by two Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) officers on Wednesday (29 July), after they were flagged down by a member of the public near Powelltown.
Vets at the sanctuary determined the koala was likely hit by a car, which also broke his arm, and scheduled surgery for the next day to fix Arthur’s broken femur.
But during the surgery, which started at about noon, Doctor Franciscus Sheelings noticed that the bone had shattered more than anticipated, making the procedure more difficult.
“It was more complex than I thought it was going to be,“ Dr Sheelings said.
“There was a large crack extending down the length of the leg, which needed to be stabilised, in addition to the large fracture we have seen on the x-ray.”
Though the mood at the Australian Wildlife Health Centre (AWHC) was grim when the discovery was made – as it could potentially hinder efforts to fix the leg – a thumbs-up from Doctor Meg Curnick soon appeared to let members of the public watching know the surgery was back on track.
Shortly after 1.30pm, Arthur was brought out of anaesthesia, his leg wired and stitched up and his broken arm splinted.
Dr Curnick told media before the operation that it would take between four to six weeks for Arthur to recover, with vets later assessing whether he could be released.
“He’ll be with us for a while,” she said.
“We’ll have to make an assessment as to whether we can be absolutely sure that his welfare will be fine if he’s back in the wild – if not, sometimes what happens is we keep them in our collection.
“We’ll do everything we can to ensure he has a really good future, either way.”
A MAN in his mid-eighties has been taken to Dandenong Hospital today (Friday) after a crash in Pakenham.
The man’s Mitsubishi Magna collided with a Hyundai ix35 containing a mother and her six-month-old baby when he attempted to turn right into James Street off the Princes Highway.
The 32-year-old woman and baby travelling inbound on the Princes Highway were unhurt in the accident.
The elderly man told Leading Senior Constable Glen Ziino of the Cardinia Highway Patrol that he failed to see the car until it was 10 to 20 feet away.
“It is 80km/h along this stretch of road and it’s very lucky she wasn’t travelling at that speed and that no-one was badly injured,” Ldg Sen Const Ziino said.
Police were called to the scene at 12pm and traffic was diverted around the incident on the Princes Highway and toward Henry Street off James Street for around 45 minutes.
Both cars were towed away at the scene and the fire brigade was called to wash away spilt oil on the Princes Highway.
The elderly man is currently under observation in hospital.
EARNING his first state jersey was an unexpected honour for up-and-coming basketballer Jonathan Fennell.
Fennell, 11, from Lynbrook, has been at the peak of junior basketball through his time at the Dandenong Rangers – especially in 2014 as his side won a National Junior Classic and a VC grand final.
But Fennell is about to discover what he’s truly capable of at the next level as he represents School Sport Victoria (SSV) at the upcoming under-12 basketball championships in South Australia.
“I was shocked and very happy,” Fennell said.
“They all had talent there and I knew I was a top 25, but I didn’t know I was a top 10.
“It’s my first time making the team and I’d like to win the gold medal.”
Given the tough defensive tasks for his Rangers’ rep team, Fennell is a versatile swing-man capable of playing a number of spots on court and relishes every chance to get on court and play.
“I think I’ve been playing for about six years and I just love the game,” Fennell said. “It’s fun.”
This season hasn’t been as easy for Fennell’s Rangers, with a couple of bad beats at the bigger tournaments so far – with a middle of the pack finish at the National Junior Classic and a similar placing in the Australia Day tournament.
“We didn’t do that well in the Classic – we came ninth – and in the Australia Day tournament I think we beat every other team except Melbourne, so we came about fifth in that tournament,” Fennell said.
The Lynbrook Primary School student is keeping his basketball dreams simplistic for the moment – hoping to notch state team chances year in, year out as he progresses through the ranks.
He wanted to thank his under-12 coach Brad Crole and first rep coach Brody for their support.
Fennell and his SSV side will head to the Australia Pacific School Games Basketball Championships in Adelaide from 21-28 November.
EVERY eight seconds, someone in Australia will benefit from a blood donation.
It isn’t an easy feat to meet the high demand for blood, but many on the Border have rolled up their sleeves to help out those in need.
More than 70 donors from Albury, Wodonga and Wangaratta were presented with awards on Thursday night for reaching a milestone of more than 50 donations, adding up to an impressive 7600 donations between them.
The volunteers were thanked for the efforts at the Regent Cinemas in Albury, helping save the lives of one in three Australian who will need donated blood in their lifetime.
The local volunteers are part of an extraordinary effort being made across Australia, with around one donation commencing every eight seconds.
Despite the great achievement, Border residents are still being urged to roll up their sleeves and give.
Across the country around 1000 donors are still needed this week alone to meet demand.
To help give as part of National Blood Donor Week call 13 14 95 or visit donateblood.com.au
NEW RACQ research has reported that more than half of Queensland high school seniors have admitted to travelling with drivers they suspected had been drinking.
This does that bode well for the Southern Downs with recent reports suggesting that road accidents were costing the region’s economy $35 million a year.
The people behind Total Driver held an information night last week at Scots PGC. They are trying to create awareness in parents and teenagers that more needs to be done in preparing young drivers for the road.
Their website claims to reduce post-licence accident rates by 75 per cent.
Total Driver founder and director Gene Corbett said it was about changing the behaviours behind driving and getting parents involved in that process.
“All of the evidence shows that once they’ve got their license, the horse has already bolted,” he said.
“We’ve just had our worst road toll in 10 years. The Easter period was a 10-year high. We’ve been having more accidents per person per kilometre of travel than we’ve ever had. We aren’t preparing (young drivers) properly.”
Gene said the current focus on young drivers was just to pass the test and meet industry standards and requirements but not actually on how to drive.
“Black Toyota are on board, they are sponsoring for Warwick, Stanthorpe and the Downs region, we also have the schools on board, we were just at Scots,” he said.
“We’ll be launching on 11 August.”
For more information you can check out their website www.totaldriver.com.au or call 1300 887 352.
THE region’s manufacturing mouthpiece plans to grow its non-Dandenong membership.
South East Melbourne Manufacturers Alliance (SEMMA) held its AGM at Sandown Racecourse on Thursday 30 July.
President Simon Whitely told the 150-strong crowd that SEMMA had about 200 member companies, only 40 per cent based in Dandenong.
“With support from a number of regional councils we are seeking to reposition SEMMA beyond the boundaries of our historical Dandenong base, with the ambition to unite the manufacturing sector of the entire region,” he said.
Executive officer Adrian Boden encouraged members to inform SEMMA of the issues they were facing and possible solutions.
“I am always ready to meet with any company looking to extend its network,” he said.
“Collaboration among our members will not only increase the local pie but improve our capabilities.
“Between our companies, we have an incredibly diverse range of capabilities and technologies that could only benefit from more collaboration.”
Mr Boden said SEMMA was in the past year instrumental in securing a bi-partisan pre-election commitment to 50 per cent local content in Victorian trains and trams.
SEMMA doubled its presence at this year’s AusTech expo during National Manufacturing Week, hosting 13 manufacturers plus City of Greater Dandenong, CSIRO and Swinburne.
It took part in automotive industry discussions and continued to advocate for the Port of Hastings.
“This whole region is a significant player in that sector and we have to think 20, 25 years ahead, not five to six years ahead,” Mr Boden said.
SEMMA is speaking out against the State Government’s two new public holidays – on Easter Sunday and Grand Final Eve – after surveying members.
“We can only see a negative. We cannot see a positive in this,” he said.
SEMMA last September participated in a City of Greater Dandenong business delegation to China.
“It is clear that China must be seen as a clear opportunity for future sales as they require more expertise and their costs escalate, particularly in the health care, pollution and high-tech, low-volume areas,” Mr Boden said.
SEMMA has forged a new partnership with the CSIRO and Swinburne University that has facilitated more than 30 researchers visiting seven small to medium enterprise (SMEs) members.
“Both sides are hopefully much more open and understanding of each other’s issues and of possible opportunities,” he said.
SEMMA also announced new deals for members from Nissan and 1st Contact Foreign Exchange at the event.
THE new Ermha headquarters is more than an office space – it’s a community.
And the Dandenong South space is increasing staff productivity and the not-for-profit’s ability to serve people in need throughout the south-east.
Ermha supports people facing challenges resulting from a disability, mental illness, homelessness, or experiences of trauma or substance use to live the life they choose.
Its 200-plus team members had been running between four buildings on Robinson Street in Dandenong to find space for a meeting, chat to a colleague or pick up a document.
At the end of June they came together in a new head office in the Estate One precinct on the Princes Highway.
“It’s actually been quite exciting for all the staff,” Ermha marketing and communications executive director Christine Thornton said.
“It’s created a new environment that’s more of a community, more of a family feel.
“With the different sites we didn’t get that chance to integrate with all the other programs.
“I feel like we have so much more productivity.
“I feel like I’m much more productive having everybody around and being able to see where people are, so you can go have a conversation with them right away instead of being hidden in little spaces.”
Ermha took the move as an opportunity to introduce hot-desking.
“The exciting thing about that is all different levels of the organisation are working with everyone,” Ms Thornton said.
“Because they’re sharing hot desks and they’re all in the same area, there’s a lot more cross-communication between the programs.
“I feel like we’re providing more co-ordinated services.”
She said the new space was bright and open, but had breakout rooms for when staff needed quite time or a client meeting.
“The clients absolutely love it. They’re starting to feel very welcome,” Ms Thornton said.
She said Ermha had been expanding at a rapid rate and outgrew its spaces.
“It was never our plan to have four leases in four different buildings. It was just meeting demand,” she said.
“We couldn’t just go out and move our head office every time we got a new contract.”
So Ermha signed a seven-year, $411,445 per annum lease for a 1349 square metre space at 81-125 Princes Highway.
“We are still maintaining our drop-in space at 65 Robinson Street,” Ms Thornton said.
“We knew we still needed to maintain our representation in the CBD of Dandenong.”
YARRA Hills Secondary College played host to leaders form local primary schools for an anti-bulling forum last week.
The Bully Stoppers project forum included student leaders from Mount Evelyn Primary School, St Mary’s Primary School, Birmingham Primary School and Wandin North Primary School as well as students from Yarra Hills Secondary.
The students engaged in leadership skills training as well as discussions on how to deal with the problem of bullying in their schools and in wider social networks.
Through activities like random acts of kindness, notes of appreciation, brainstorming sessions and guest presentations students had a chance to gain valuable skills and techniques to tech others how to combat bullying. The bully stoppers forum was the product of a Mount Evelyn Township Planning Night held in 2013.
Representatives from local primary schools put forward a proposal for a youth summit to focus on issues affecting young people in the area.
With support from Lilydale Rotary Club and Yarra Ranges Council, the Bully Stoppers Project is also funded through a grant from the Victorian Government to stamp out bullying in schools. The forum was opened by Mayor Maria McCarthy who gave a speech about the importance of tackling bullying and the importance of these types of discussions.
Margi Sank from Lilydale Rotary Club said the forum was a great initiative and is pleased the Rotary Club has a chance to be involved in it.
“It’s about peace and conflict resolution and we’re happy our focus in Rotary fits in with the forum,” she said.
“We’re all really impressed with the work the schools do.”
Students also had a chance to discuss their own experiences with bullying during a presentation from author and local teacher Sharon Witt.
During the presentation, students were encouraged to take the skills they had learnt back to their school and make a difference to bullying working together as a team.
Acting Principal of Yarra Hills Secondary College Robyn Dew said it’s important for primary school children to gain these skills now as bullying is an issue that goes beyond the school gates.
“Every school will experience bulling but it’s also a society wide issue.”
“We want to raise awareness and empower students to make a difference and change attitudes to make a change to bullying,” she said.
One of the activities during the forum was a discussion on how to launch the anti-bullying boat.
The boat will was constructed by a local artist in partnership with St Mary’s Primary School and is made from materials that represent students feelings associated with Bullying.
The boat will travel from school to school as a reminder of the work and commitment students have put towards combating bullying.