Letters to the editor - Jan 14

Chaos theory
Woodlark St is in chaos – no through traffic for the foreseeable future. Is Council taking this opportunity to promote the bypass via North Lismore which can take you to Nimbin/Casino without ever coming into the CBD? What do you think?
When the “upgrade” is completed it will be business as usual (only with less parking in Woodlark St) and the same volume of traffic trying to get to the other side of the river via the two bridges. Where is the diverted traffic going now? Through the Harvey Norman car park – that’s where!
Makes sense doesn’t it?
Gail Doggett
South Lismore


Save Schapelle
While Schapelle Corby still rots in a squalid Bali prison, no Aussie is safe. There but for the grace of God goes you, me or any one of our kids. It’s time to expose the smear campaign against her, time to read the truth, and time to put our politicians firmly back on the hook for this gross miscarriage of justice. Check out www.schapellecorby.org before this innocent woman comes home in a body bag.
Kim Bax
Cedar Vale


Prawn farewell

The Big Prawn Restaurant will close its doors for the last time on January 24.
I have been helped enormously in this enterprise by a variety of suppliers, sales representatives and tradespeople, and the many staff, particularly those who have stayed with me until our last day of trading.
I would like to thank them all publicly for their assistance over the eight years I have been operating the restaurant. Without their support, and in many cases, their friendship, I would not have been able to operate successfully.
For any employers out there looking for good reliable staff, please call in and see me before the 24th or contact us on 6686 0086 as I have staff keen to find work as soon as possible after our closure.
Thank you and best wishes for the future to you all.
Judy Smith
Proprietor
Big Prawn Restaurant


Waffling on climate

I have read some ridiculous garbage in the letters section of all sorts of papers over the past 25 or so years but I think Don Gaddes’ letter ‘Hot to trot’ (Echo, Jan 7) takes the cake.
This letter in all its absurd waffle is completely contradictory to what he is stumbling around trying to say (and wasting my precious eyesight to boot). This letter is SO absurd it really does not deserve a response but I cannot refrain from doing so.
Since when was climate change only relegated to rising temperatures? Your own words state “while Europe and North America freeze, with record snow storms and hundreds dead”. These are your words buddy and you are using these words in your argument that climate change is not happening? You have got to be joking surely.
Heatwaves eh? Get your head out of the sand and have a peek at South Australia this summer – you may be quite horrified.
Andrew Thompson
Wadeville

PS: Summer is not over.

Climate and other catastrophes

We at KKKKKK (Kill Kevin Costner Kill Kevin Costner) take no pleasure in our forecast ‘precipitation’ (Echo, August ’09) resulting in depleted supplies of Florida oranges and cheerleaders in warm clothing. It behoves us to provide at least a speculation as to the causes of these (and other) ‘climatic catastrophes.’
If we accept that the fluctuations in ocean temperatures are not due to ‘atmospheric warming’ the most likely alternative is heat fluctuations in the Earth’s crust caused by movement of lava around the mantle. This ‘movement’ may be facilitated by such factors as gravitational/rotation relationships between the Earth, moon and sun (including sunspot cycles and the metonic cycle of the moon), and various heat convection properties of lava with differing densities and friction coefficients. It can be no coincidence that changes in weather cycles are seemingly associated with changes in seismic and volcanic activity.
We now have the word ‘catastrophic’ being used as a bush fire alert rating. From June 2010 we will be subject to at least a six-month ‘dry’, according to KKKKKK forecasters. What word are we using to describe the next fire season?  How about supercalifragalisticexpia…
Don Gaddes
Lismore


The sublime to the ridiculous

May I comment on the letters policy of The Echo. It seems to me that your editorial staff must be in some quandary about how to handle letters to the editor.
At present it appears you will publish anything without modification apart from some tinkering with punctuation or editing for length. I suppose it is commendable that you allow freedom of speech to prevail in this way. I have previously had letters in your paper – letters that would never have seen the light of day in a broadsheet newspaper because of unorthodox content. I am grateful for that.
However a conundrum arises when a correspondent wants to effectively claim that two plus two equals three. In your last issue (Echo, Jan 7) a writer proffers an explanation of coal burning for steel-making and power generation which is sheer drivel. Reference to a decent encyclopaedia would confirm this. Very likely your writer would never acknowledge error because his views are probably thoroughly bound up with inflexible ideology. Now it may be that this correspondent was indulging in massive irony and I have been fooled but his stridency and self-righteousness indicate otherwise. I don’t wish to assert that these views will mislead anyone – very likely they will attract no attention. I would say however that a more useful and interesting item might have appeared instead.
I have seen a rare few gems in your letters columns (I pay tribute to Peter Mullins, Alex Clarke and Tom Koo) but a great many more that are either incomprehensible or plainly nonsensical. The question for The Echo is whether to allow anarchy to rule in the letters pages or to omit the obviously spurious.
Tim Wilkin-Smith
Tullera


Leave the trees

I was flabbergasted by the advice given to readers by ‘Growing Gardens’ writer Anita Morton regarding the removal of trees and shrubs. Nowhere does she point out that Council approval has to be sought first. Two of the reasons for removal she mentions are specifically stated, among others, within the Lismore City Council’s Tree Preservation Order as Criteria for Refusal:
“In accordance with the provisions of this Tree Preservation Order, the following reasons are not adequate justification to remove tree(s):
Shade: Significant pruning and/or removal of tree(s) to reduce shading. Judicious crown thinning may be permitted where medical evidence is submitted stating that shading is detrimental to a person’s health, or where evidence is submitted to indicate shading prevents energy efficiency through solar passive design.
Leaf fall: Pruning and/or removal of tree(s) to prevent leaves accumulating under or around tree(s) or within gutters or swimming pools.”
The value of trees to a community is immeasurable. Researchers have found that shade preserves the paintwork on houses and prolongs the life of materials such as asphalt by three or four times – a good reason for more street tree planting. They enhance and add value to property, reduce glare and reflection from other buildings, insulate and reduce stress on buildings and act as filters for air pollution. Trees can also provide natural windbreaks from cold winter winds. They are also said to reduce stress levels in people. Best of all, they attract birdlife into the garden.
Liz “bloody tree hugger” Lawrence
Lismore


Clearing the air

J Henry (Echo, Dec 24) was wondering how the Howard government managed to build up a huge budget surplus and keep people smuggling in check. With regard to the latter they didn’t. It was simply that there were less people being smuggled before the financial crisis. Even the current figures pale into insignificance when you compare them with those who overstay their visa. As for the first part of your question, many years ago, perhaps when you were too young to remember, we had a treasurer named Paul Keating. He insisted that we engage more with a large (and soon to be resource hungry) land called China. He would go on to become our Prime Minister and further develop this relationship, and when China required raw materials for its colossal industrial growth, they bought them from us. This was called the mining and resource boom, and the Howard administration was fortunate enough to be able to ride on the back of it, getting out just in time for the global financial crisis. While Howard’s regime was in power they were also able to save quite a bit of money by not spending very much on infrastructure and so they had lots of money coming in and very little going out. If you have some spare time for some research one day, it is all on public record. I hope this has been helpful and cleared things up for you a bit.
D Benson
Lismore


Help our hospital
I cannot sit back any longer and not try to do something regards the Northern Rivers Area Health Service.
In my opinion, the Lismore Base Hospital should have been the hospital repaired and done up to deal with everything. After all, Lismore is the city around here.
The outlying towns and areas should only have to travel to the main hospital, not to hospital double and triple the distance. Many people do not have the facility to get to these places. First to be removed was the Rehabilitation Centre to Ballina, then the sacking of the chaplain from Lismore Base Hospital. Now they want to close the Pain Management Clinic, two extremely important services needed by many people.
Easy to see that Mr Crawford and his so-called bosses in Sydney have no need for these services. Things would change back very quickly if they did. If the money spent on fireworks and other unnecessary items was put into our hospitals and health areas, things would certainly be in a much better position.
Come on people of Lismore and surrounds, please get off your bottoms and put pen to paper and write letters to The Echo, Northern Star, Members of Parliament and even current affairs. We have to do something to stop Mr Crawford and his puppeteers from totally ruining our hospitals and area health.
N Rogers
Goonellabah


Good sports
The Northern Star is offering sponsorship to community groups and event organisers. This is great but I request both The Northern Star and The Northern Rivers Echo and local councils consider how those who consider they are bored and are becoming unfit as a result can be assisted.
At this time of the year hundreds have left school eating and drinking more sweet food, putting on weight (some still doing that from last year) and are becoming more inactive. Some have recently retired or lost their job so they need to become active citizens again, for their health sake, so I request they be encouraged to get involved in sport activities again.
I am suggesting that these people of all ages, especially the young ones as they are the future of our community and sport and organisations, become involved with sport and be given assistance to purchase basic sports equipment as their fitness is important. It is my opinion that it would cost less for them to play some sports than to socialise by over eating. I play table tennis in “the big tin shed” behind the Goonellabah Workers Sports Club on Sunday morning, Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and sometimes Thursday mornings. Players from under 10 to over 80 years take part in what is recognised as one of the greatest fitness sports. All are welcome, cost is cheaper than most sports and juniors are assisted in various ways. I am sure most other sports would also be prepared to assist the needy.
Jim Armstrong
Clunes


Pay your way
In regard to the proposal to run the Repco rally annually in the Kyogle LGA, I hope that before supporting this proposition that all residents make themselves fully aware of what the costs and benefits were for the recent Repco rally. The cost to Kyogle ratepayers was over one hundred thousand dollars as reported at the November Council meeting. Repco provided a forecast of a massive $31.89 million in economic impacts that would be shared between Kyogle and Tweed LGAs but Kyogle Council has been unable or unwilling to confirm or correct that of this figure, 20% for Kyogle would mean an impact of six million in the Kyogle LGA and generate 6-8 full-time jobs or 300-400 part-time jobs.
The actual impact is far different than that forecast mainly because of the failure of spectators and officials to patronise the Kyogle tent cities. The Kyogle Mayor said in the media that we sold a lot of fish and chips and meat pies but we didn’t get the people staying in Kyogle that we expected. It is as obvious as the nose on the Mayor’s face that the economic impacts were millions of dollars short of the forecast.
Spokesmen for the rally continually emphasised that Rally Australia was a not-for-profit organisation but failed to inform us that other companies closely associated with them stood to make millions of dollars from advertising and TV rights to a massive worldwide audience.
Kyogle ratepayers subsidised the rally by over one hundred thousand dollars and were slugged again as NSW taxpayers to finance the services such as police etc that supported the rally. NSW taxpayers also put in an undisclosed number of millions via Events NSW and just like the secret regulations attached to the special rally legislation, that amount is being kept secret under loopholes in the freedom of information act that gives it a ’commercial in confidence’ status.
I urge all Kyogle ratepayers whether they are pro-rally or anti-rally to band together and become pro-Kyogle by insisting that if the rally is to return then it must pay its own way. I urge all ratepayers to think about whether or not the Council should have invested in the rally and to try and identify any economic impacts that have flowed on that justify the one hundred thousand dollar expenditure by Kyogle Council. The rally should pay its own way or just go away.
Rick Wagner
Homeleigh


Data digging

Mario Elba’s letter (Dec 17) infers that people who have no belief in the faith of Christianity have listened to 19th century arrogant German men and or Karen Armstrong’s views, and or the internet. When I left the Christian faith, I never had a computer. I did my research using the bible and its contradictions, lexicons’ concordances, Bible dictionaries, and the most important of all, encyclopaedias pre 1950 vintage for historical dates. Not too many Christians are prepared to spend this sort of time to establish data for their own use.
The Romans were a dominating force of power when the alleged Jesus was said to have been born. And in 525 CE (AD) the Julian calendar was replaced by a new calendar which the sixth century Pope had prepared, when he commissioned a Christian monk Dionysius Exiguus who fixed the date of the birth of Jesus in the year of Rome 753, or 0 BCE. Jesus’ first birthday for example would be 1 Anno Domini (year of our Lord) usually shown as 1 CE (AD). The dates on our coinage verify this.
In recent times, 16th century scholars have found that some of the dates of Roman history, near the beginning of the Christian era, cannot be reconciled with what has been recorded in New Testament writings. Such as, when Herod the Great (73-4 BCE.) reigned as King of Judea (37-4 BCE) ordered the "Massacre of the Innocents". Death of all infant boys under the age of two, in Bethlehem, and in all districts, so as to make sure that the infant Jesus was killed. See Matt.2:16. So we find King Herod was dead four years before the birth of the biblical Christ as set by Monk Exiguus. Biblical scholars of the 16th century such as James Ussher 1581-1656, Irish church dignitary, have taken the birth date of Christ back four to five years to justify the book of Matthew. However more confusion rears its head when one looks at the gospel of Luke. These dates are in contradiction to the recordings of Luke. When Mary (who was about to give birth) and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem the Census was being taken according to New Testament writings but no dates are given. According to encyclopaedias, it is calculated out that the Census took place in 6 CE. Is this the true date of the supposed Jesus birth? We have here a 10-year discrepancy between Matthew and Luke as to when the birth of the alleged Jesus took place. This is only a very small sample of my research. I can cite many more. The ball is in your court Mario.
Jim Lee
Alstonville


A future for our place
Long-term residents of the district probably have a connection with the old Lismore High School site at the corner of Keen and Magellan Sts. This may be based on its substantial indigenous heritage or the educational traditions of rural schools, secondary schools, the NRCAE, SCU, Conservatorium and Library.
There will be stories of how generations accessed this site, close to the shopping and parking of the growing CBD. Some will recall the uniqueness of The Block – and how this heart of the regional city hung off the edge of and linked business to the sporting precincts of Oakes Oval and surrounding sporting fields, and in recent times, on to the shopping square. Places like this have a past, but it is beholden on us now to give them a future.
A revitalised location close to the amenities of a thriving commercial and cultural centre will provide ongoing services to this community. Lismore deserves to come into the 21st century with facilities that respond to the needs and aspirations of current and future generations. The quality of life valued by residents and visitors to the city requires constant attention by us all.
We now have an opportunity for a positive investment in the future through, in the first instance, an art gallery. It will provide an attraction for visitors. Their word of mouth will promote the city as a desirable destination and will demonstrate something distinctive to be valued by locals.
Across the globe communities recognise the importance of creating cultural precincts with outdoor and indoor spaces that engage, represent and celebrate local triumphs and challenges. They add to the sense of belonging by old and new settlers and visitors. Sensitive design and open access encourage people to stay and explore. While here they spend money. They get a snapshot of the local creative industries and how these complement the other facets of a healthy community. Yes, there are cafes, retail outlets, workshops, meetings spaces, civic reception spaces that all help people feel pride and hope in public spaces.
We recently observed the positive impact of the operations of an Lanntair arts centre in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis (www.lanntair.com). It clearly demonstrates that communities like Lismore can take a venue to its heart. It provides multidisciplinary facilities in the CBD for people from all walks of life generating festivals, performances, exhibitions, educational workshops and socialising. The proposed Margaret Olley Arts Centre can again provide art to the heart of our city and bring the traditional sense of place full circle.
Ros and Peter Derrett
Lismore


Neil family reunion
This year 2010 marks the 150-year anniversary of the arrival of the first settlers to the Yeppoon District in Central Queensland.
Rightly so, the Atherton family are recorded as first settlers, but it is lesser known that the party which left the Armidale district in NSW in April 1860, and arrived in the Yeppoon district in August 1860, consisted of 22 persons, five of which were the Neil family.
Prior to this historic journey, Walter Neil, a farmer from Scotland, aged 70, and his wife Margaret, aged 58, had sailed from Plymouth, in the Una, in 1849, together with their five children – Thomas, Isabella, Alison, Walter and William, and they settled in the Armidale district of NSW.
In 1860, one of those children, Walter (d.o.b 1829), then aged 31 years, his wife Isabella aged 25, who was heavily pregnant with son William, and their three young children, Mary Jane (six years), Walter John (four years) and Thomas Alexander (two years), joined the Atherton family expedition. One can only imagine the trials Isabella must have suffered, travelling in a dray with three young children, then giving birth, probably in a tent, within weeks of their arrival. The party of 22 (including children) was driving three bullock teams with drays, a covered wagon, a team of horses and 2000 head of cattle, arriving in August 1860.
One recorded event involved second in-charge Walter Neil and Fred Rannacks. The party struck extremely wet weather at Alligator Creek near Yamba, and one large wagon containing farming equipment could proceed no further. Walter and Fred stayed with and guarded the wagon, both day and night for three weeks, as a large group of Aboriginals showed considerable interest in their presence.
We are actively seeking further information on this Atherton/Neil journey in 1860.
The Neil family settled in the Yeppoon district, however, at this stage, we have limited knowledge of their lives from 1860 to 1895. We would appreciate any information others may have to accurately portray their lives, particularly during that period. Any family tree details would also be very welcome.
With the eighth generation still living in the Yeppoon area, we are inviting descendents of the Neil Family to a reunion on September 25 and 26 2010 in Yeppoon.
Please contact one of the following: Nancy Lynem rfandnlynem@bigpond.com, address 6 Witt St, Gladstone, Qld, 4680. Ian Neil  iansue neil@bigpond.com or (07) 4939 1069, or Jim Burton (07) 4934 4853.
 


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