Help for gaming addicts

THE WA Department of Communities has awarded Great Southern Employment Development Committee (GSEDC) support to deliver an innovative program aimed at assisting youth with video gaming addictions.

Get Your Game Off is a 45-minute interactive and educational information program for 10 to 18 year olds.

The objective of the fully-funded session is to help young people understand how and why video gaming can be addictive and its effects on relationships and school work.

Get Your Game Off sessions will be followed by free access to youth support group Zombie Gamers Anonymous, where gaming addicts can monitor each other’s progress and support one another.

“The issue of how destructive gaming can be is a sleeper in communities,” GSEDC Executive Officer Janelle Price said.

“It has not been diagnosed as a clinical disorder quite yet, but shows all the hallmarks of other destructive additive disorders.”

The program was instigated by a young gamer who recognised that gaming was having a negative impact on her life and her sleep.

Get Your Game Off sessions will be delivered in late August to mid- September and again in the fourth school term.

Primary and secondary schools can host Get Your Game Off sessions and after-school support group Zombie Gamers Anonymous by booking with GSEDC.

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Swags and bags for town sleep out

THIS year’s Sleep Out event in the Albany Town Square on August 10 will be used to raise vital funds to provide the most basic shelter for homeless people in the Great Southern.

The event is one of the major fundraisers during National Homelessness Week, and members from the Albany Youth Support Association, Albany Public Library and the City of Albany will be amongst others sleeping “rough” for a night.

Commencing at 5pm, community members are asked to experience what 1 in 200 Australians experience every night, by sleeping outdoors in tents, swags and sleeping bags.

This event will provide a fundraising opportunity for the purchase of additional ‘backpack beds’, to be distributed throughout Great Southern homelessness services.

Albany Youth Support Association has been providing youth homelessness services for more than 30 years.
“We have a unique responsibility in the Great Southern community in providing crisis accommodation support, early intervention and long-term transitions for young people moving out of homelessness,” AYSA CEO Rick England said.

“People often ask, is there homelessness in the Great Southern?

“With 60 per cent of rough sleepers outside major cities, 40 per cent of couch surfers in country towns and 55% per cent of people sleeping in severely overcrowded dwellings also in rural locations, the answer is yes.

“42% of the homeless population are under 25 years of age, and when we consider the long- term impact of this on the next generation, the cost to our society, it is very significant.

“As member of this community, I am interested in making homelessness history.”

This year’s Sleep Out event will include entertainment and community activities for all ages, including access to the library.

Monetary donations to Homelessness Week and funds for whole backpack beds can be processed via the Paperbark Merchants website at paperbarks.

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Library’s Rhyme-Time wish granted

THE Albany Public Library has won a $1000 grant from the Better Beginnings Social Return on Investment evaluation to buy more Story Time and Rhyme Time re- sources.

Youth services librarian Dora Adeline was grateful for the additional funding, as it allowed the library to receive new toys and musical instruments for toddlers and babies from the State Library of WA.

“We are very excited to receive our brand-new resources,” Ms Adeline said.

“These resources for Rhyme Time and Story Time are really important for early engagement in young children, particularly for brain development, social skills and developing literacy skills.

“75 per cent of brain development occurs in the first three years of a child’s life, so we are always encouraging families to read and sing together.”

The Albany Public Library Rhyme Time sessions are at 10.30am on Wednesday and Friday mornings, run for 20 minutes, and are suitable for boys and girls aged up to six years of age.

These sessions are completely free and do not require prior booking.

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Discounted fees for Anzac centre

ALBANY residents have been encouraged to visit the National Anzac Centre with a free membership program and discounted admission fees.

The National Anzac Centre League of Local Legends will be free to join, but only available to community members that reside within the municipal boundary of the City of Albany or to City of Albany ratepayers.

Members of the program will receive a significant discount of 50 per cent on standard admission prices or can enter for free if they are accompanying a paying visitor.

If they do accompany a paying visitor, that paying visitor will also receive a 10 per cent discount.

Albany Heritage Park manager Matt Hammond said a core part of the program will be an increase in events and programming at Albany Heritage Park, with members being the first to be notified about special events and school holiday programs.

“The National Anzac Centre is fast becoming recognised as a cultural pilgrimage of national significance, and we want to provide the local community with every opportunity to experience this and be proud of Albany’s connection to the Anzac legend,” Mr Hammond said.

“The National Anzac Centre precinct and surrounding Albany Heritage Park should be a space for the local community to meet, recreate, socialise and enjoy, just like the role Kings Park plays for local communities in Perth.

“We hope the program will provide a foundation for increasing local engagement with what is fast becoming a national icon.”

Other benefits of the membership program include a 10 per cent discount at the Forts Store Boutique, special offers at Garrison Restaurant and free member events.

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Sausage meet

ALBANY’S Italian community continued its annual sausage- making tradition on the weekend.

People from all walks of life got up to their elbows in diced beef and pork, with some making the journey from Esperance, Gnowangerup, Tambellup and Denmark.

Long-time member of the Albany Italian Club Michael Martelotta said that around 40 people attended the event.

“Everything went really well,” he said.

“We had Italians wanting to make sausages the way their forefathers would have made them, and we had dinky-di Aussies wanting a master class in sausage making.”

Mr Martelotta said the day was all about the community and getting everyone to bond over sausages.

After two days and more than 500kg of meat later, the contributors made chorizo sausages for the resident Spaniards, northern and southern Italian style sausages and Puglia style sausages.

According to Mr Martelotta, there are different processes and ingredients for the humble sausage that usually depend on the region they’re from.

“Northern and southern types of sausage are filled and tied differently,” he said.

“Some can be tied as long as 20cm, and others can be shorter like regular sausages.”

Everyone who rolled up their sleeves to help walked away with their share in the goods, with many returning to buy any leftovers.

“We had people buying anywhere from three kilos of sausages to 15kg,” Mr Martelotta said.

“It’s a dying culture. We need to remember how to make things fresh and from scratch.”

The Albany Italian Club has three major events a year, with their annual Club Ball being held on August 26.

To keep up with any Albany Italian Club events, you can follow them on their Facebook page.

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Bon Accord residents dig in over ‘super pit’

MANYPEAKS farmer Gary Howie said he was disturbed by the number of negative reactions to his plans to extract gravel from his property at Bon Accord Road in Lower King.

Mr Howie said he intended to build a house and establish a garden and orchard on the block but first had to remove the hard surface rock.

“In its present state, it’s near impossible with my ordinary farm machinery to work it,” he said.

“It will only be getting dug four to five hundred millimetres deep to get the rock out and the top soil will be going back.

Mr Howie said he would only be digging in two to three hectare sections at a time and then have the area back into pasture within a year.

He said the couple living next door to his proposed gravel pit had written a letter of support to council even though their house was just 200 metres from where bulldozers would be operating.

Many of the neighbouring property owners and the Lower King and Bayonet Head Progress Association have writ- ten letters of objection to Mr Howie’s proposal.

There are several sand or gravel pits operating in the neighbourhood at pre- sent, and Bon Accord Road residents say they are concerned about the proposal on environmental and safety grounds. Kat Bradford, who lives almost opposite Mr Howie’s block said she had a young family who had recently moved there because they wanted a rural lifestyle.

Ms Bradford said she was concerned about the effect dust would have on her family’s health.

She said her two children attended Great Southern Grammar, but it was not safe for them to ride their bikes to school.

Donald Main, who lives directly opposite Mr Howie’s block, said the noise from the quarry would be “indescribable” and dust and vibrations would be a major problem for him.

“Why would you introduce a quarry into an area which everyone acknowledges is becoming subdivided into dense residential land?”

He said the City of Albany was doing a poor job of policing existing quarry operators’ activities.

“They do an inspection once a year and they refuse to limit the number of trucks,” he said.

“In wet weather, I’ve actually been forced into a ditch.

“There used to be a lot of people who walk up here, kids on bicycles or on horses or with dogs – they’ve all disappeared.”
The City of Albany was contacted for comment on this.

Mr Howie said his land was zoned “agricultural” and he had entered into an agreement with Palmer Earthmoving to remove the rock on his property.

He said he was impressed with the way owner David Palmer had replaced the topsoil on his own property at a separate location to the proposed gravel-pit.

“He’s mined the whole farm and got the gravel out and the end result is magnificent,” Mr Howie said.

Mr Howie’s application for an extractive industry license was open for public comment for a six-week period ending yesterday. A City of Albany spokes- person said councillors would consider the matters raised in the submissions and deal with them as part of the official determination process.

Palmer Earthmoving has been approached for comment.

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Going dry in July for cancer support

TRAVEL with Purpose Albany agent Nilla Spark will participate in next month’s Dry July cancer fundraiser after her diagnosis with breast cancer made her realise the importance of financial support for cancer sufferers in regional areas.

Dry July is an annual fundraiser in which people consume no alcohol for the month of July, to raise money for cancer patients and carers and their families.

Receiving the news of her developing cancer in October 2004, Ms Spark endured countless trips to Perth for radiotherapy and was separated from her family for long periods of time.

“My breast cancer diagnosis should have and could have stopped me from doing, being and achieving,” Ms Spark said.

“However, I knew I had to face my cancer challenge head on and do whatever it took to stay alive.”

Fortunately, Ms Spark was introduced to Solaris Cancer Care, a support organisation for adult cancer patients and their families.

The support of this foundation helped alleviate some of Ms Spark’s stresses caused by the distance she had to cover to and from metropolitan health facilities.

“These volunteers are selfless in giving their time to help with the emotional and physical effects of cancer,” she said.

Later in 2006, Nilla’s successful treatment led to her clear diagnosis.

Ms Spark is preparing to participate in Dry July this year to raise money for the Solaris Cancer Care Great Southern team.

“I implore everyone to sign up or donate to Dry July to keep services like Solaris Cancer Care going,” Ms Spark said.

You can support and donate to Ms Spark’s Dry July cause at

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Vintage voilà


VANCOUVER Street will come alive on Saturday with the buzz of its annual street festival.

Live music, vintage fashion, street performances, gourmet food and plenty of tweed will be on show for this year’s event.

The Vintage Tweed Ride is one of the highlights of the day and includes the Perth chapter of the WA Historical Cycle Club.

It will feature one of the biggest collections of penny farthings and vintage bikes ever assembled in the Great Southern.

Tweed rides, or runs, are a global phenomenon which began in London in 2009.

They feature vintage bicycles and a dazzling display of vintage clothing, with tweed being the preferred option.

Both vintage and non-vintage cycles are welcome to join the ride that departs the University of WA on Stirling Terrace at 12.20pm.

Vintage cycle enthusiast Murray Gomm is a member of the Great Southern chapter of the WA Historical Cycle Club and said there was always a bit of excitement in the air when it was time to “tweed up” for the ride.

He said the club was fortunate to have received a collection of penny farthings that were made by the late Garry Clark, which would be ridden in the event.

The ride makes its way to the Vancouver Street Festival where prizes for best dressed riders will be presented.

The best time to catch the ride is on take-off at the UWA at 12.20pm and on dismount at the festival around 12.30pm.

Riders can register at the start line from 11.50am.

Other highlights of the festival include performances from musicians with Odette Mercy and her Soul Atomics headlining the program with a set of funk and soul originals.

Straight from Fairbridge Festival, the band is renowned for its great horn and rhythm sound and the huge sound of their lead vocalist.

The entertainment program also includes the rollicking songs of The Albany Shantymen, the dance beats of David Rastrick’s Electro Swing Thing and the moving sounds of Soulin Wild.

Double bass and piano accordion duo Flamacue will be playing and The Second Hand lead a line-up of roaming street artists.

New to this year’s event is the Manga Milkbar, a creative space for young people with free Wi-Fi, aerial displays, Japanese-inspired craft and space to draw.

Cosplayers are especially welcomed, with the design of the milkbar inspired by vintage anime.

The Vancouver Street Festival will also see the opening of the Story of Wool exhibition which celebrates Albany’s connection to wool production.

In another festival first, a 230m knitted scarf will be wrapped around the front of the Vancouver Arts Centre.

Children are well catered for with activities including clay sheep painting, fleece throwing and a vintage dress-up photobooth.

Festival parking will be available in Foundation Park, Parade Street, and events kick off at 11am.

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Green Skills farewells state manager

GREEN Skills has farewelled state manager Diane Evers and paid tribute to her dedication and hard work.

Ms Evers is leaving her role to pursue a career in politics as the Greens (WA) MLC elect for the South West region.

Green Skills has offices in Perth, Albany and Denmark and has been a leader in environmental and sustainability action, delivering community-based environmental and socially beneficial projects for almost 28 years.

Ms Evers has worked for the organisation since 2009 and for the past four years has held her Albany-based managerial position.

During this time she has nurtured networks across the region and metropolitan areas and encouraged strategic programs to promote sustainability and encourage innovation.

Since joining Green Skills Ms Evers managed the Albany arm of Ecojobs, an environmental personnel service, and secured contracts and tenders from government, community and business, providing many hours of work for regional people.

This included ensuring that skills and funds were directed to hands-on landcare restoration and rehabilitation work, with other grant-funded initiatives supporting community-based interactive environmental programs and opportunities.

Laura Bird has taken on the role of acting state manager  and will carry on where Ms Evers left off.

– Geoff Vivian

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Announcers sent expulsion letter


ALBANY Community Radio listeners may be surprised to learn that several of its well-known broadcasters and volunteers are due to be expelled from the organisation.

While not all of them are prepared to be interviewed, The Weekender understands as many as 11 members received identical letters last week summoning them to an “expulsion meeting” on May 8.

“The reason for your proposed expulsion is that you acted detrimentally to the interests of Albany Community Radio (ACR),” the letter reads. “ACR Rules of Association expect that you do not bring into disrepute the operations, management, staff or other volunteers of ACR.”

The letter also invites the recipients to explain why they think they should not be expelled.

Foundation member June Humphries said Albany Community Radio made several attempts to hold an Annual General Meeting (AGM) last year which were not legally constituted.

“After some volunteer members of Albany Community Radio including myself appealed  to State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) to demand a  properly constituted AGM we have been summonsed to a meeting on May 8 to be expelled,” she said.

“If we are expelled it means that we are unable to vote (or stand for office or committee) at the AGM.”

According to SAT records the members taking the action are Brian Humphries, Donna Moss, Ian Rayson, June Humphries, Ken Ewers-Verge, Mara Nedela, Marianne Chester, Maxwell Chester, Peter Moss, Sandra Sullivan and Valerie Green.

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