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The roads around the Yarra Ranges could be a little more crowded tomorrow (Friday, 23 March) as local schools join in 2018’s national Ride2School Day.
The event, which is held in March each year, provides an opportunity for students, parents and teachers to try riding, walking, skating or scooting to school.
Though, getting in early for the event was Montrose Primary School who instead held their Ride2School event today (22 March).
Grade four teacher Wayne Armstrong said the turnout was fantastic with over 90 percent of students choosing to walk, scoot or bike to school.
“We’ve got a planning day tomorrow for next term so we decided to have ours today,” said Mr Armstrong.
“Probably had around 90 percent of students choose to walk, scoot or bike to school which meant we had maybe 300 bikes and scooters there.
“We have quite a few small bike shed and it was overflowing … we had to put them in the hall and oval – all around the school.”“Those who lived far away dropped their kids off down the road and they walked down the road to the school … it was a good vibe all around.”
Spokesperson for the Bicycle Network, Anthea Hargreaves said students in Victoria would join half a million young people taking part in Ride2School Day nationwide.
Ms Hargreaves said the day was now in its 11th year, and the celebration would result in Victorian streets coming alive with happy and healthy students, teachers and even parents riding, walking, skating or scooting to school.
“National Ride2School Day is the flagship event of Bicycle Network’s Ride2School program, which works with more than 1,200 schools to help develop an active culture and combat physical inactivity among young people,” Ms Hargreaves said.
“It was introduced after health authorities found that-two thirds of Australia’s young people don’t get enough exercise to stay happy and healthy.”
She said children need 60 minutes of exercise a day to stay healthy and the easiest way to do this is by simply replacing time spent sitting in the car or bus with a ride to school.
“Riding to school offers countless benefits — children can grow independence, connect with friends and even improve their marks.”
“Studies have shown that those who get active on the way to school arrive more alert, focused and ready to learn.”
Five shop break-ins over the past two years have left a Monbulk business-owner feeling vulnerable and frustrated.
Alpine Mowers suffered its latest hit during the early hours of Tuesday 20 March, just weeks after would-be thieves made an earlier attempt at entering the premises.
In the recent heist, the thieves were thought to have used a stolen utility to ram and gain access to the shop before making off with an estimated $10,000 worth of valuable stock.
Shop owner Adam Robin said he now fears venturing too far from the premises for any length of time, with his shop becoming a frequent target in recent years.
“I went away one weekend and you’re always kind of worrying, you know. You don’t know what you’re going to come back to,” Mr Robin said.
“You always kind of feel vulnerable. They’re too gutless to do it during the day, when police can come in five minutes. But at night, it seems they can just come in and do as they please.”
The thieves’ actions were captured on a CCTV system that Mr Robin has installed, including both the attempted burglary on Friday 2 March and the latest successful thefts.
Mr Robin posted the images to Facebook in an effort to find the culprits, writing; “I wish these oxygen-thieving germs would realise we don’t do night shift here! But there are other devices in other places that do!”
However, the thieves are yet to be found and Mr Robin said he couldn’t hide his frustrations.
“At present, it’s been five break-ins (over the past two years) and no result. They’ve just got away with it and I’m frustrated,” he said.
“I just think there’s not enough deterrents for these people. I mean, what happens if they go to court anyway; they’ll just get a slap on the wrist.
“I just don’t think enough is being done to help small business.”
Mr Robin said the spate of thefts over recent years had left him feeling on edge, because he didn’t know when the next break-in would occur.
He feels there could be more in the future and he would like more to be done, so he can feel that his shop and livelihood will be safe.
If anyone has information on the thefts, contact Lilydale CIU on (03) 9739 2300.
Eastern Health has rejected claims that cuts to allied health services is impacting on clients and waiting times.
The Mail contacted Eastern Health after sources close to Healesville Hospital and Yarra Valley Community Health raised concerns about cut-backs to allied health services and a ‘staff freeze’ at Yarra Junction and the closure of the Tecoma centre.
An elderly resident of Tecoma, also contacted the Mail voicing her concerns that
Eastern Health’s Tecoma Pathology Collection Centre is to close.
The Mail has been told there are currently multiple vacancies in paediatric services such as speech therapy and occupational therapy.
The involvement of the union – the Victorian Allied Health Practitioners Association (VAHPA) – and a dramatic spike in membership since December, has been taken as a vote by practitioners across the Eastern Health network that services are under threat.
VAHPA Lead Organiser Linda Jenkin told the Mail they became aware last year of concerns about cuts to services, particularly children’s services.
“We were made aware in late December that they (Eastern Health) had announced a range of austerity measures, had budget issues and were freezing positions and cancelling casual shifts,” she told the Mail.
She said they were working through some issues around a breach of the consultation clause in that process, but also said they had received correspondence about changes that impact the Healesville/Yarra Junction and Maroondah Hospital services.
“Any cut or reductions on staff has to impact clients and waiting lists,” Ms Jenkin said.
“You can’t just ‘off-shore’ any of this work, and a particular issue is children services where the evidence is there’s a very small window of opportunity to get kids into these services early.
“If people can’t afford to go to private practice, then that’s an issue.”
In areas such as the Upper Yarra and Healesville, where there is a high demand for children’s early intervention services, corresponding with a lower-socio economic demographic, and issues of poor transport services, there is a cumulative effect.
“If you have 45 (practitioners) at say Box Hill (hospital) and you take one out that’s one thing, but in those smaller campuses if you take one out where you might only have three practitioners, that’s a massive impact.”
The other issue is jobs – with Ms Jenkin saying that most staff live in the catchment.
Eastern Health responded to the Mail’s direct questions on cuts with a reaffirmation that “providing timely and clinically-appropriate care is a key priority for Eastern Health”.
Matt Sharp, Eastern Health Executive Director of Clinical Operations (Acute and Aged Medicine, Specialty Medicine and Ambulatory Care, Pathology, Pharmacy, Patient Access and Allied Health) said they are constantly working to balance high-quality, sustainable services with increased demand and a growing, diverse and ageing population.
“Eastern Health has systems in place to ensure clients are seen in order of clinical urgency. Our community health team is currently recruiting to recently vacated roles so we can provide more timely care. During this process, we are working with local health partners to ensure clients are seen sooner,” Mr Sharp said.
He said the decision to close the Tecoma Pathology Collection Centre was made after careful consideration, with an increase in private pathology providers in the Tecoma region a factor. Alternative services were available at a private service in Tecoma, or at The Angliss in Upper Ferntree Gully.
Eastern Health also advised that the use of casual staff at Eastern Health was part of normal business activities and said it fluctuates throughout the year, according to demand.
Addressing claims that they were making cuts to address a budget deficit of more than $20million, they advised the 2016-17 deficit was $8.4million – information that is available in their annual report.
There are two possible reasons that in the future the horrible and confronting sight of dead wombats on the side of Yarra Valley roads may be a rare thing.
One is that people start to take more care. The other is that they may not be around anymore.
The Common Bare Nosed Wombat is high on the list of animals that volunteers with the Upper Yarra Wildlife Rescue Network are called out to rescue or bury.
According to a Lesley Pinkerton, a registered wildlife carer and UYWRN treasurer, in 50 years’ time it could be extinct – seen only in zoos.
Wombats are not the only victims but are part of an ever increasing number of animals across the board with some of the causes being road kill where motorists ignore wildlife caution signs and excessive speed, dogs and cats allowed to wander, destruction of natural habitat and introduced species such as rabbits, foxes and birds.
UYWRN is urgently in need of volunteers to maintain the network and provide training and mentors.
“Any time that people could give to help with the work we do, and ease the pressure on our limited number of volunteers, will make a difference,” Ms Pinkerton said.
In the meantime, she said members of the public can play a vital role in keeping a watchful eye for animals, particularly at dawn and dusk, and by helping an animal that is injured.
“If you hit an animal and need help, give us a call; don’t just leave it on the side of the road,” she said.
“If you come across an animal and don’t want to check the pouch, give us a call.”
Volunteers may not want to do rescue and transport, but there are other roles, including visits to schools and other groups to raise awareness.
The UYWRN’s next meeting is at Red Relish Café in Yarra Junction at 10am on Saturday, 17 March, and prospective volunteers are welcome.
A rescue and transport training session is planned for April.
The wildlife rescue number is 0427 088 121. For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/uywrn/ .
The annual Benvenuti Festival in Seville on Sunday, 11 March, was love affair … with culture, food, good wine, community and a diverse program of music and entertainment throughout the day.
The festival, held at Killara Estate, taking advantage of the magnificent views, attracted people of all ages, including teenage music lovers and sweethearts Emma Rush of Wandin and Ryan Smith of Seville, and Roma and Victor Cattapan from Lilydale, who in September this year will celebrate 60 years of marriage.
The couple came to celebrate the Italian connection – Victor is the first-born Cattapan in Australia and Roma, is an Aussie lass through and through – the name was just a happy coincidence!
The beneficiary of the festival this year is the Seville Township Group who are raising funds for the Seville War Memorial.
“For the township to be involved brings home the heart of this festival,” said president, Derry Aulich.
“It’s a welcoming and inclusive festival based on migrants who helped set up the Yarra Valley in so many ways.
“We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to promote our cause – Seville War Memorial,” he said.
Luigi Fotia, from the Yarra Valley Italian Cultural Group which hosts the festival, said it was great to see so many people enjoying themselves and going away happy.
“That’s what we are working for,” he said. “It’s not always about big or small, it’s the people who come and who make it a success, enjoying the atmosphere and also supporting a good community cause in the Seville War Memorial.
See more photos of Benvenuti 2018 at mailcommunity.com.au .
Good players perform in big games.
And this season’s Reeves Shield final was no exception as Knoxfield batsmen Tom Boxell and Jack Taylor struck centuries to close out The Basin, giving the Knights their third premiership in a row.
The Basin bowlers had no answer to Boxell (100) or Taylor (127), as the pair added 148 for the fifth wicket and ultimately an unbeatable total of 8/356 at the close of day one.
Taylor showed why he was selected in the Victorian Country team as his innings consisted of only 84 balls with 11 boundaries and 9 sixes.
The Basin’s run chase at one point was on track at 3/150.
However, once leading run-maker Scott Vozzo departed for 82, the Bears’ dream of their first premiership was over, dismissed for 267 in the 73rd over.
Josh Lindner took three wickets, following up on his six-wicket haul in the preliminary final while Taylor was awarded the Stephen Lee Medal for best afield.
In one of the great grand finals, Footballers claimed the Decoite Shield after holding out a gallant Lysterfield in dramatic scenes on the last ball of the day.
On day one, Footballers elected to bat and a boil-over seemed likely when they stumbled to 5/66 before Tharanga Lakshita and Radhik Gooneratne pushed the score to 160 when Lakshita fell first ball after drinks for 60.
Gooneratne gave terrific support with 64 as the ‘Ballers’ were dismissed in the 74th over for a defendable 205.
Former Sri Lankan international fast bowler Lakshita produced a marathon performance, reducing The Beavers to 7/107 and a possible early finish.
However, the talented Anthony Brolic was untroubled with wickets falling all around him, until he gained support from Steve Kennedy and Brad Paull which saw Lysterfield back in the contest requiring 17 runs to win at a run a ball with just one wicket in hand.
Lakshita commenced the final over to Brolic with eight wickets to his name as the Beavers required seven runs for the flag.
The experienced Sri Lankan delivered a brilliant final over leaving Brolic (89*) stranded at the bowlers end with a boundary required to win from the last ball.
Tailender, Tim Chivers could manage only a single, giving the Griffins a two-run victory and the Shield.
Lakshita finished with 8/67 from 30 overs.
Grand Final scores
Knoxfield 8/356 (Boxell 100, Taylor 127, Gerloff 40, Freeling 3/41) d The Basin 267 (Vozzo 82, Rundle 33, Sherriff 35, Oaten 45, Wilson 3/64, Lindner 3/80). Stephen Lee Medal – J. Taylor. Umpires: Carter and Sevior.
Footballers 205 (Lakshita 60, Gooneratne 64, Kinniburgh 4/67, Chivers 3/23) d Lysterfield 9/203 (Brolic 89*, Lakshita 8/67). Ken Utting Medal: T. Lakshita. Umpires: Walters and Head.
Some outstanding performances by Yarra Ranges Athletics athletes highlighted another week of athletics in the Yarra Valley.
The little athletics athletes were all smiles and eagerness on Saturday morning.
Great to see personal bests from many of the athletes as well.
The senior athletes competed at Vic Milers Club meet on Thursday night with outstanding results despite the heat.
Saturday had club athletes competing at Casey Fields and Aberfeldie in the final round of AV Shield competition.
The club is excited about the prospect of having three teams qualified for the Shield final in February, especially with the surprise qualification by our Under 18s Men’s team.
The next round of Little Athletics will be on Thursday night from 6pm.
The seniors get a week off next weekend.
Don’t forget to enter EMR Region Championships or Athletics Victoria Vic Open or Vic Junior Championships.
See you all on Thursday night.
For results, news, photos and more, visit yarrarangesathletics.org.au or check out the Facebook page.
Healesville Soccer Club coach Milton Sakkos is excited about the club’s first match for the season, against Ringwood City at the Don Road Complex on Saturday 24 March.
In his first match as senior coach of the Reds, Sakkos says everyone is looking forward to the first game this weekend.
“Everyone is excited with the new team that we have,” he said.
“The team is divided between new players and old players. It will be interesting to see how we go.”
The club has introduced six new players into their playing squad, including Jason Barriento, Miguel Barrigos, Govinda Bohara, Nathan Meneses, as well as Javier and Xavier Torres.
Starting pre-season in late January, the senior players and the reserves have been training every Tuesday and Thursday before their first match against Ringwood.
With the hard work put forward by the senior coach, Sakkos is feeling positive for the players before the new season.
“I don’t know how everyone is going to go. I am feeling positive ahead of the new season,” he said.
“Everyone is excited ahead of the new season.
“We are going to have everyone on the list available.”
Sakkos still believes that there is room for improvement in regards to their fitness.
“I still think we are four weeks away from where we should be,” he said.
“There is still a little bit of work to do and we need to keep improving.
“We need to keep working hard throughout the whole season.”
Don Valley athlete Casey Wright has ticked off a major goal in making her Winter Olympics debut at PyeongChang, though she failed to qualify for the sprint classic quarter final.
In what has been described as difficult conditions, Wright, 23, performed admirably in the qualifying race on Tuesday 13 February (local time), striving home in 3:49.80s to finish in 63rd position.
The former Mount Lilydale Mercy College student finished outside the qualifying time of 3:25.80s, with Stina Nilsson from Sweden taking out first position in 3:08.74s.
Wright’s Australian teammates also put in a strong showing, with Jessica Yeaton finishing in 48th position and Aimee Watson in 58th position.
Despite failing to qualify, Wright tole the Australian Olympics Commission website she was proud of her efforts.
“It was OK; it wasn’t quite as fast as I wanted but I definitely gained a lot of experience skiing with all these amazing girls,” Wright said.
“It’s pretty special to now be an Olympian. It’s been at the top of my goal list for quite a few years now, so I’m stoked. I can put a big tick next to that one.”
European cross-country skiers traditionally dominate the gruelling sport, which was the case in the qualifying event, with the first three positions going to European competitors.
To put Wright’s efforts into perspective, at PyeongChang teammate Barbara Jezersek became only the fourth Australian cross-country skier to finish between 30 and 40 in an individual Olympic event.
Jezersek placed 39th in the women’s 30km skiathlon.
Wright’s journey has been nothing short of incredible, after basing herself in Anchorage, Alaska, where she is working towards a degree in Health Science at the University of Alaska.
For Watson and Yeaton, they will now compete with Jezersek in Day 6 of the competition in the women’s 10km free event.
Don Valley prodigy Casey Wright is set to grace the international stage as she prepares to make her Winter Olympics debut for Australia.
The cross-country skier, 23, is in PyeongChang for the opening ceremony, during which snowboard star Scotty James will be the flag bearer for the Australian team.
Wright is one of five cross-country skiers in the 50-strong Australian team, after she was rewarded with selection for some recent strong results.
Although the Yarra Valley will always be her home, Wright has been based in Anchorage, Alaska, where she is working towards a degree in Health Science at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Wright is coming off a stellar 2017 season during which she finished third in the 1.4km women’s classic sprint at the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan.
Her podium finish was the best result for the Australian team at the eight-day meet.
Wright told the ‘Mail’ she had taken great strides in recent times.
“I’m skiing like a totally different athlete than I have in the past seasons, which shows how much progress I have made since moving to Anchorage,” she said.
“I am training with some of the best skiers in the USA.
“Being surrounded by faster skiers, and an incredibly supportive team, has allowed me to push my limits and see what I am fully capable of.”
Wright also recently competed in the US National Championships, where she finished 20th and 27th in two different sprint events.
Before her debut, in an interview for the official site of the Australian Olympic team, Wright said she was relaxed before the event.
“I’m just going into this with an open mind and just hoping to ski as fast as I can and finish the race knowing that I left everything out on the track,” she said.
“There’s not many World Championship events where you get to have these opportunities, especially to have it with other countries as well is very unique.”
Dandenong Ranges Music Council (DRMC) has announced an exciting program for 2018, with some major community music projects in the works.
Ensembles are expected to resume in early February, with the feature music projects aimed at community wellbeing and wider education.
DRMC member Ray Yates said there was an air of excitement over 2018.
“The DRMC is looking forward to a fantastic year of music-making, with new projects such as ‘Forgotten Heroes’ and ‘The Dutchies of the Dandenongs’,” he said.
“All the orchestras, bands and choirs have begun rehearsals and are gearing up for a great year of music-making for all ages and abilities.”
Among the bigger projects includes ‘Forgotten Heroes – Vietnam Veterans’, which aims to engage Vietnam Veterans and their families.
Planned activities will explore and assist with the wellbeing and validation of the veterans’ experiences, and culminates in an event showcasing the music of the era and a new song expressing thoughts and feelings of present-day vets.
The DRMC is asking for assistance to locate veterans and their families.
Enquiries to Cath Russell at email@example.com.
Meanwhile, the DRMC will be holding ‘Penny Drive’, a project that combines history and music to tell the story of the fundraising campaign by Victorian children after World War I.
The campaign helped to build a school at Villers-Bretonneux in France.
The DRMC will also work with the Dutch community in the project, ‘Dutchies of the Dandenongs’.
The project aims to tell stories through music about the journey after World War II, with settlements aplenty in the Dandenong Ranges.
Community members of Dutch decent can register their interest to play a part.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact (03) 9754 6566.
For more information, contact the DRMC on (03) 9754 6566.
More details at www.drmc.org.au.
David Strassman is set to unpack some much-loved characters and a brand new show for local audiences.
The hugely popular ventriloquist and comedian will soon jet out from his US home for a series of Victorian shows, including a stop-in at the Memo in Healesville on Wednesday 28 February.
He will deliver his new show, ‘iTedE’, with a little help from his friends Ted E. Bear, Chuck Wood, Kevin the Alien, Grandpa Fred and Sid Beaverman.
Strassman told the ‘Mail’ his new show, complete with a stunning production and special effects, will focus on modern society’s fixation with technology.
“Everyone is either watching television or is on an iPhone these days. It doesn’t matter whether we are children or adults, we’ve all got our heads in the screens,” he said.
“It’s not a political show, but I’m holding up a mirror to society while providing a few laughs.”
Strassman, who performed in Healesville back in 2013, said he loves nothing more than to reacquaint himself with Australian culture.
“I particularly love regional Victoria and I’ve toured extensively throughout before. It’s something about the culture, the pioneering spirit; I can’t quite explain,” he said.
“When someone says ‘mate’ to you, you know you’re their mate. You care for each other. There is a barbecue in every park and a sausage sizzle at every Bunnings store.
“I was at Port Arthur around when the massacre took place and you Aussies took away all the guns. In the US, we’ve already had 10 school shootings this year. You look out for each other.”
Strassman is not only popular in Australia and New Zealand; he has performed in London’s West End, New York’s Off Broadway and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Yet, he equally enjoys drawing laughs from a theatre in outback Australia, without all the tech and wizardry.
At the heart of his shows are the unique voices of so many characters, which have developed identifiable personalities.
“I have introduced new puppets over the years; they tend to take a while to flesh out before they take on a character of their own,” he said.
“But they each have their own back story, much like characters in a film. So they each have their own hopes, fears, neuroses and foibles.”
Strassman said he couldn’t wait to meet and entertain Healesville audiences.
“I started out in comedy clubs in New York where a laugh is expected every 10 seconds or so and that’s what the show brings,” he said.
“I have an amazing production team, which allows me to perform the show anywhere, from major city venues to regional Victoria.”
More details at www.davidstrassman.com or www.ach.yarraranges.vic.gov.au/Venues/The_Memo_Healesville.
Director Richard Linklater’s ‘Before Trilogy’ is the brilliant offering of the Yarra Ranges Film Society’s 4th annual Healesville Mini Film Festival.
The festival, which has established a reputation in a very short time for providing a quality day of film indulgence, will be held on Sunday, 4 February, at The Memo in Healesville.
The three films starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy are made nine years apart; ‘Before Sunrise’ in 1995, ‘Before Sunset’ in 2004 and ‘Before Midnight’ in 2013.
Linklater made an art of films set over the period of just one day and has employed the technique in the ‘Before Trilogy’, incorporating time lapse by shooting the films nine years apart using the same leading actors.
Yarra Ranges Film Society president Keith Wade said it was an exciting trilogy that perfectly suited the festival’s model of bringing significant and connected films by a single director to the screen, including in the past films by directors Ralph De Heer and Iranian director Asghar Farhardi.
In the ‘Before Trilogy’ Linklater’s celebrated three-part romance captures a relationship at various stages over nearly two decades, as Hawke as Jesse, and Delpy as Celine, age along with the characters they are playing.
Mr Wade said the opportunity the festival offers to see all three films on the one day adds a fascinating dimension to experiencing films that are a cornerstone of Linklater’s career-long exploration of cinematic time.
The films show the emotions between the characters as their relationship matures.
“Seeing these three films on the one day is a rare chance to absorb from the films the full impact of how human relationships can develop with age.
“Each film leaves you in suspense,” he said.
One of Australia’s most respected film critics, Jake Wilson, will introduce each film and stay on for what has become a popular aspect of the festival, a Q&A session at the end of the day.
The films screen at 9.45am, 1.10pm and 3.10pm with a one-and-a-half hour lunch break to allow film-goers to stretch their legs, speculate on what happens next with Jesse and Celine, and enjoy some of Healesville’s fantastic eateries.
Mr Wade thanked both the Yarra Ranges Council and Healesville Bendigo Bank for their on-going support of the festival.
Tickets will be available on the day, but with the growing popularity of the festival, and to ensure a ticket to every session, Mr Wade recommends booking online at www.culturetracks.info, or purchasing tickets ahead of the festival from The Memo in Healesville or The Arts Centre at Warburton.
Now in its ninth year, The Wandin Custom Car and Bike Show has established a reputation not only as an outstanding display of vehicles, but as a popular mid-week get-together for friends and families.
The Rotary Club of Wandin, supported by numerous local motoring businesses, the Wandin Bendigo Community Bank and other community organisations, runs the monthly show from October through to March.
All roads lead to the Wandin East Recreation Reserve on the third Wednesday of each month as hundreds of pre-1985 cars and multi-generational bikes file through the gates and make their way onto the showground.
Owners and enthusiasts mingle with those who have a more casual appreciation of the eclectic collection of horsepower, chrome and glossy paint jobs.
Starting at 6pm and running through to 9pm, the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly with the local CFA providing a barbeque and wood-fired pizza and refreshments also on offer.
The entry fee for cars and bikes if $5 with gold coin entry for patrons.
The event supports the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal and local community organisations.
The 2018 show dates are January 18, February 15 and March 15.
Enquiries to Auto One in Woori Yallock on 5964 7366, or visit Wandin Rotary Club facebook page.