Jingle all the way

A FAMILY in Albany has made it their mission to bring extra smiles and joy to others this festive season.

The Stewart family, comprised of Adrian, Sheila, Keeran, Hayden and Bryson, moved to Albany two years ago after living in Geraldton.

It was in Geraldton that they began the Christmas car tradition, which involved dressing up their Mitsubishi Pajero with tinsel, lights, flags and a sleigh, and blasting Christmas carols and songs out of speakers.

They would drive the streets of town upon request from the public and have now brought that tradition to Albany.

Dozens of people have requested the car take a trip past their house in the lead-up to Christmas.

“We just want to spread some Christmas cheer and bring people together,” Ms Stewart said.

“It warms people’s hearts.”

Mr and Ms Stewart’s son Keeran, pictured, said seeing the smiles on children’s faces was his favourite part of being involved in his family’s tradition.

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Japanese restaurant inspires foodies

TO BE a home away from home is the aim of a new foodie oasis opening tomorrow night.

Don Japanese Fusion will open its doors for the first time on Friday evening to supply the people of Albany with traditional Japanese cuisine.

Owners Kowin Huang and Tony Wu are excited to share their recipes with the community and hope everyone will come along to try something new.

“Our main dish is donburi, which is a traditional rice bowl dish with meat on top, which some people might think, ‘that’s just rice’, but when they try it, they will be surprised,” Ms Huang said.

The restaurant will also offer blooming tea with peony, jasmine, mint, lotus leaf, lavender and pink rose, to name a few options.

Deep-fried squid tentacles, pork dumplings, octopus pancake balls and steak don are also on the menu, along with sushi with grilled eel, crab, salmon, tuna and chicken.

Ms Huang said the restaurant would introduce a new dish to the menu every three months.

She has also applied for a liquor licence.

“We want to bring a bit of Japanese culture to people’s busy lives,” Ms Huang said.

“We want people to feel like this is home, a place where they can eat and enjoy the atmosphere, relax and forget everything else.

“We aren’t just about our food; we’re about our care for our customers.”

Don Japanese Fusion is located on Middleton Loop and will trade 9am to 9pm Tuesday to Saturday, 9am to 5pm on Sundays and close on Mondays.

Ms Huang asked for people’s patience during the first few days of trade as she is still in the process of hiring staff.

The restaurant will open from 6-9pm tomorrow night.

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Campaign to combat cancer

AS THE days get longer and warmer and people start to spend more time in the sunshine, a new Cancer Council WA campaign is urging people to remain aware of the dangers of skin cancer.

Don’t Let The Sun See Your DNA is a statewide initiative that kicked off on Sunday to increase public knowledge of the risks associated with ongoing UV exposure.

Cancer Council WA’s Great Southern Regional Education Officer Bruce Beamish said half of all sunburns in Australia occurred during passive recreation, such as watching sport, garden, picnicking and doing chores.

TAFE Beauty Therapy lecturer and coordinator Alison Sharpe is all too familiar with this type of sun exposure.

“I was driving one day and I saw this opaque, almost clear-looking freckle on my hand, and it was tiny but I showed the doctor anyway,” she said.

“The doctor said it was fine but I said, ‘no, can you check it again’, and they ended up taking a big triangle out of my hand because it was a melanoma.”

Ms Sharpe frequently spends time in the sun and is now hyper-aware of skincare.

Alongside Mr Beamish, she teaches her beauty therapy students the importance of being aware too.

“I love going to the sea and gardening…but the sun is pretty vicious here,” she said, reiterating the importance of her sun protection behaviours.

“I teach my students about how to recognise abnormal freckles and moles, and to not be afraid to refer a client to the doctor.”

Albany Ink’s Danica Joysdottir lost her mother to skin cancer a few months ago and has since joined the Cancer Council’s mission to raise awareness of early detection and looking for symptoms.

“My mum was always sunbaking in Mexico and Canada,” she said.

“She had a mole that she kept catching when she was shaving, so she went to the doctors to get it checked.

“The doctor said it was fine but she went back and asked for it to be removed…she wasn’t educated in the fact that it’s when the cancer comes back that it’s dangerous; it had metastasized.

“It grew into this big lump on her leg and by the end, she had so many lumps over her body…you could smell her rotting flesh.”

Ms Joysdottir will soon be stocking special sunscreen in her store to remind her clients and anyone who stops by the store of the importance of sun protection.

“I worked as an apprentice for a year and a half and the tradies never liked wearing sunscreen because they’d get grit on themselves and it wouldn’t feel very nice,” she said.

“Cancer Council has come out with a non-greasy sunscreen now so hopefully we can encourage them to wear that, as well as remind people to cover up their tattoos.”

Visit sunsmart.com.au for more information.

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Royal award for Albany duo

A PAIR of Albany men joined the ranks of thousands of young achievers around the world last week when they received the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award at a ceremony in Perth.

Eighteen-year-old Sam Reeves and 22-year-old Simeon Colback each spent several years taking part in the structured youth development program, which stresses individual goal-setting and self-improvement.

“There was definitely a sense of accomplishment of it all coming together,” Mr Reeves said of winning the prize.

“When you first start, you set out what you want to do for your category and you have to set goals. I definitely met those goals and then some, so it’s a big achievement.”

The initiative’s Gold Award requires participants to meet criteria in five categories including physical recreation, skills, voluntary service, adventurous journey and a residential project.

For Mr Reeves, this involved volunteering his time at Albany State Emergency Service, coaching air rifle at PCYC, playing cricket, engaging in a 12-day Outward Bound navigator course in Walpole and spending six days aboard the STS Leeuwin II.

“It requires dedication more than anything,” he said.

Mr Colback, also an SES volunteer, initially entered the program through his position at the Army Cadets.

He said for him many of the criteria for the award were satisfied when he ran numerous adventure trips in Karijini over the span of two years.

“I started running these just for me and my mates. We would all get together and I’d take them canyoning through the gorges there which is a ton of fun,” he said.

“There’s some people that go overseas and rebuild places for this, others who might learn how to speak a different language or learn how to computer code.

“It’s purely a way of getting youth to go and do more stuff and then through that, it helps them figure out what you’re good at and where to go in life.”

Mr Colback now works as a tour operator in the national park for West Oz Active, while Mr Reeves hopes to study a Contemporary Bachelor of Music at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

The duo encouraged others to sign up for the initiative.

“The Army cadets are actually going to start up an award centre to help others take part,” Mr Colback said.

“Hopefully more people in Albany get the award because it’s really great and looks amazing on your resume.”

More than eight million young people from 130 countries around the world have participated in the program since it was founded roughly 60 years ago.

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Christmas activities raise festive spirits

THIS weekend is jam-packed with activities to get the Great Southern into the festive spirit.

Twilight markets, a Christmas-themed outdoor movie, giant snow globes and Santa are some of the entertainment ready to roll into the Albany Town Square and Alison Hartman Gardens on December 6 and 7 as part of the Christmas Festival and Pageant.

Expanded to two nights, the Christmas Festival and Pageant this year includes a Friday night program that includes the lighting of the Christmas Tree next to Albany Public Library, followed by a screening of the 2018 film The Grinch, all from 4pm.

Festivities continue at 3pm on Saturday with live music, kids’ activities, entertainment and food vendors.

The Christmas Pageant will begin at 6pm with 45 floats from schools, businesses and community groups marching up York Street.

Green Skills is holding a Twilight Market in the Town Square on Friday and Saturday from 3pm to coincide with the festivities and has a sustainable Christmas theme.

City of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington encouraged everyone in the region to come into the city centre and get into the festive spirit with the whole community.

“The Christmas Festival and Pageant is always a highlight on the calendar and it’s a great way for families to have some fun and celebrate the year that has been and look forward to the Christmas break,” he said.

More information on the festival pageant and road closures can be found online at albany.wa.gov.au or by calling 6820 3000.

Pictured here are Logan and Harper Wilkinson, who are more than excited about this weekend’s events.

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Grommets 20 years young

THE Granny Grommets, Albany’s most beloved community and sporting group, celebrates 20 years this Saturday.

The group formed from an over-50 recreational group in 1999 and continues to go from strength-to-strength now boasting about 80 members.

It’s oldest member, 85-year-old Margaret White, only took up body-boarding 10 years ago.

There are currently four octogenarians in the group.

Since the group formed, it has clocked up some impressive publicity featuring on popular cooking and lifestyle series Surfing the Menu presented by renowned chefs Curtis Stone and Ben O’Donoghue.

They have also featured in numerous newspapers including The Australian, were interviewed by media personality George Negus, had a book written about them by local author Diane Wolfer as well as launching their own cookbook.

The Granny Grommets also raise funds for major charities.

The members have been coached by Albany surfing legend Tony Harrison who also schools them on how to handle rips, study the tides and water safety.

In appreciation of his services and dedication, the group nominated him for Australia Day honours where he was successful in being named a Western Australian Premier’s Active Award winner.

A highlight for members is the annual surf trip where the group camp out at Bremer Bay to surf all day, then swap stories around the campfire drinking mulled wine.

Lyn Brady summed up the group’s philosophy saying is was “all about ageing with attitude”.

The groups meets for a surf every Friday morning, rain, hail or shine, at Surfers carpark, east of Middleton Beach.

The celebrations commence at 11am at the Stirling Club on Saturday.

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Dishes take the cake

A GROUP of home economics students from Great Southern Grammar have been crowned state champions in this year’s McCormick Flavour Forecast Recipe Challenge.

The students also placed second nationwide with their dishes.

The Challenge saw students tasked with creating three dishes based on strict criteria that address predicted food trends.

This year’s competition was all about “Need for Seed” and “Mexicana Vegana” and using ingredients such as basil seeds, lotus seeds, jackfruit and tempeh.

Year 10 student Jonte Eastough was part of the team that created savoury brioche tartlets with fennel seed oil, basil seed vegetable mousse cones and lamb duo with roasted cumin seeds.

Daniel Cosh looked after the jackfruit when his team created the vegan loaded jackfruit nachos and Jasmine Butterworth sorted the ice-cream for the churros tropical mousse cup dish embellished with spice.

The trio agreed the challenge was difficult, but it taught them valuable lessons.

“I could only cook sausages before but now I can cook more,” Jonte said.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking waiting for the result but we really enjoyed participating,” Jasmine added.

Teacher Teresa McAllister was proud of her students.

“It’s a very challenging and involved task,” she said.

“They did it all over eight lessons – ordering the food, designing it, making it, thinking about what it would look like in a photo – and they had to write a comprehensive justification as to why they did what they did.”

The judges said it was inspirational to see how the students used curriculum design processes to come up with innovative use of the set ingredients, particularly as some students had never heard of the ingredients before.

“Students really excelled and exceeded all expectations for their age group,” they said.

“Some stunning thinking and creativity went into their entries … it was clear students used active reflection and evaluation at each stage of the process and acted on these to amend their recipe and presentation to come up with stunning results.”

The students’ prize was $500 worth of spices and $1500 worth of Tupperware for their hospitality classes.

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Mice add spice to event

MICE will be the main attraction at a fundraiser this weekend at Kendenup Country Club.

The Kendenup Cup will take place on Saturday and see mice race in a similar style as horses do at the Melbourne Cup.

The racecourse is a bit smaller than Flemington though, taking place in a box on a wall.

Jacqui Burcham explained.

“We get mice from a breeder and they run six races in a big box,” she said.

“The mice are auctioned off, so people ‘own’ a mouse for a specific race and collect the winnings if their mouse wins.

“Everyone else can bet on any mouse and all the money goes into the Country Club.”

She said the event, held annually since 2012, was popular among the locals and got the whole family involved.

“We have a snail race for the kids,” Ms Burcham said.

“And this year, we are trialling a new species to race in the box used for the mouse races … some people are sceptical, but we are going to give it a go.”

There will be prizes for best dressed, raffles, and food and drink available for purchase.

The money raised will go towards replacing some of the Country Club’s carpet and for general maintenance.

“It’s fun, unique and everyone has a laugh,” Ms Burcham said.

“The main thing people like is having fun and being with their friends.”

Ms Burcham suggested large groups wanting a table together to call ahead to book a table, by calling 0433 452 528 or 0459 514 091.

Doors open at 6.30pm and races will commence between 7pm and 7.30pm.

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Couple plot top garden

COLIN and Anne Buckingham’s front garden at 4 Shapcott Street in Bayonet Head is an ever-evolving spectacle.

Since first purchasing the then four-year-old property in 1987, their half-acre lot has cycled through housing hundreds of shrubs, fruit trees and other unique plants.

The Albany couple last week had their decades of toil recognised when they received the Best Private Garden award at the annual Keep Albany Beautiful showcase.

“We were gobsmacked. We know it’s a good garden but we didn’t think it would be a winner,” Mr Buckingham said.

“But we did meet the criteria which was to try hard and develop the verge right down to the road so it presents well.”

Scattered around the lawn and near the road verge, clusters of recently pruned roses, azaleas, agapanthus, camellias and deciduous trees add colour and flair to the large property.

While Mr Buckingham is mostly responsible for the “bigger, heavier stuff” like planting, lawn maintenance and pruning, Ms Buckingham works to maintain the neat “details” of the garden through weeding and spraying.

“It’s a release, you get out there and it calms you down,” Ms Buckingham said.

“It’s an enjoyment to see the beautiful plants flourishing. My roses now are just about to come out in their first flush.”

The Buckinghams topped the list of a total 23 residential gardens nominated for last Wednesday’s ceremony.

A garden at 7 Callistemon View in Yakamia took home the Best Water Wise Garden award over 12 others, while Amity Village RAAFA won the Best Commercial Garden award and Great Southern Grammar claimed the prize for Best School Garden.

Keep Albany Beautiful President Lynley Harrison and the Buckinghams thanked the event’s sponsors and coordinators, including Keep Albany Beautiful founder Alice Rule.

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‘Vehicle for change’

CREATING a literal “vehicle for change” was the task set to a group of Albany secondary students this year.

The aim was to spread the word about road safety as well as educate themselves about the dangers of combining driving with alcohol, drugs, texting and speeding.

As a result, two full-size cars were painted with a variety of graphics and words by North Albany Senior High School (NASHS) and Alta-1 College students and they are now on display for public viewing – one at Albany Marina and the other at Albany Leisure and Aquatic Centre.

Palmerston Aboriginal Prevention Officer Thomas Dimer said the project had been a success.

“It’s really good to see other young people talking about the cars and what they are for and sharing the messages,” he said.

“It’s a different, colourful way to get road safety messages across and I think it’s very important for the rest of the community to see that our young people are aware of these issues.”

Artist Kiya Watt helped students paint the cars and said she was proud to have taken part.

“Working with the Indigenous girls at NASHS was something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” she said.

“Not only was the workshop about culture and empowerment, it was about road safety and drink driving, and the girls really took control and captured that message.

“Projects like these are more impactful than having them sit and listen for hours, so we let them tell us their stories and they painted the messages they wanted on the car, giving them that sense of ownership.”

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