Andrew Carter of Caboolture of Australia Vintage Aviation Society - with his replica an 1917 SE5a World War I plane.
Andrew Carter of Caboolture of Australia Vintage Aviation Society - with his replica an 1917 SE5a World War I plane. Adam Hourigan

Relive the headlines and stories from May 2017

MAY 1: A PRE-WEDDING dinner had a disastrous ending when eight people were injured after falling through the second storey balcony of a holiday home in Yamba.

A man who was on the balcony in Clarence St when it collapsed on Friday night told The Daily Examiner the group heard a weird noise about 10 minutes before the accident.

MAY 2: ALL the fun of the fair comes to Maclean with the annual agricultural show being held over the next two days.

All the traditional events from cake judging to wood chopping, plus the traditional side-show alley will be at Maclean Showground.

Jan Fletcher takes a close look at a stained glass window she is working from in a leadlight class at the New School of Arts Neighbourhood House. The house is offering free classes this week as part of Neighbourhood House week.
Jan Fletcher takes a close look at a stained glass window she is working from in a leadlight class at the New School of Arts Neighbourhood House. The house is offering free classes this week as part of Neighbourhood House week. Adam Hourigan

MAY 3: RELUCTANCE on the part of the Wooli community to fill executive position on the committee organising the annual Goanna Pulling event has led to its postponement.

The event has pulled huge crowds to the seaside village since it began in the 1980s.

Wendy Boniface of Brisbane with her old english sheepdog
Wendy Boniface of Brisbane with her old english sheepdog "Hugo" before they competed at the dog show at Maclean Show. Adam Hourigan

MAY 4: ILUKA resident Kerren Heilpern was left waiting for 11 hours for vital surgery after suffering a brain aneurysm at her home. Her story has sparked a call for increased ambulance services to save more lives in the regions.

MAY 5: A LACK of detail around the Federal Government's "Gonski 2.0” plan has left Clarence Valley schools in the dark as to what the future of needs-based funding will look like.

The Turnbull government announced this week that they would spend $2.2 billion over the next four years, with the introduction of a new funding model for education.

MAY 6: MENTAL health services in the Clarence Valley received a boost yesterday, with Minister for Mental Health Tanya Davies making two major funding announcements.

While waiting for long-term projects like Headspace to be established in the region, the NSW Government will invest $170,000 in the New School of Arts to operate Pop-Up Youth and Community Drop-In spaces in Grafton and the lower Clarence.

Also announced was a funding boost of about $1.4 million for a suicide prevention initiative for enable CRANES Community Support Programs.

MAY 8: A PROFESSIONAL wild dog trapper, who has just eradicated four animals terrorising Gulmarrad residents, says baiting programs are a waste of time and money.

Kyogle-based trapper Bill Crisp, who runs Tracs Wild Dog Management, said trapping was a more effective method of removing wild dogs from an area than the 1080 baiting programs run by the NSW Department of Primary Industries' Local Land Services.

Mr Crisp said research had shown baiting programs failed in Queensland and Western Australia, but in NSW they continued to run despite a lack of success.

MAY 9: SOUTH Grafton woman Tammy Whatley was more than four times over the legal alcohol limit when she stopped her vehicle in the middle of the Pacific Hwy in heavy rain.

Yesterday, in Grafton Local Court, the mother of six was sentenced to a total of 18 months in prison over the incident.

According to police facts, the 38-year-old had been drinking tawny port with a friend in South Grafton before she got behind the wheel of a car on the evening of December 17 last year.

MAY 10: WHO knew that four little strings could bring so many people together?

The Grafton Ukettes are a group of local ukulele players 70-strong in number who meet every Monday to strum some chords and sing some songs.

This weekend, their music will bring people from all across the country, as they host a "Uke Hop” at the South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club, and with 140 people expected to come already, leader Madge Little says the weekend was all about fun.

The Grafton Ukettes gather for a group shot ahead of this weekend's Uke Hop at the South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club.
The Grafton Ukettes gather for a group shot ahead of this weekend's Uke Hop at the South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club. Adam Hourigan

MAY 11: McAULEY Catholic College would receive more federal funding per student than any other school in Clarence Valley under the new Gonski 2.0 plan.

The secondary school, located in Clarenza, currently receives $12,449 per student in federal funding, compared to Grafton High, which receives $3469 per student.

Despite the apparent imbalance in funding, it is important to recognise public school funding is predominantly stategovernment sourced, while private schools rely on the Federal Government for up to 80% of their funding.

MAY 12: AN ASTOUNDING 27 people have appeared in Maclean Local Court in one day to face charges of drink-driving in the Lower Clarence.

With 130 cases listed on Tuesday, that number meant about one-fifth involved a charge of drink-driving.

Perhaps more troubling was that many of them were second offences, and most were in the mid or high range.

Rachael Noakes at work in Grafton reflects on her Voice journey so far.
Rachael Noakes at work in Grafton reflects on her Voice journey so far. Adam Hourigan

MAY 13: CONTRACTS for the Australian Border Force are one in a million, so it's a big deal when you get one.

Yesterday, Yamba Welding and Engineering announced just that, having won a $5.4 million contract to build eight vessels for the government organisation.

As well as being the largest contract in the Yamba business's four-decade history, the deal will have flow-on effects in the local economy and ensure steady work for the company's tradespeople and apprentices for years to come.

MAY 15: THE Clarence Valley still has to wait until at least January before construction will start on the National Broadband Network.

According to NBN Co state corporate affairs advisor Marcela Balart more than 5300 homes and businesses across the Clarence Valley can access fixed wireless technology, and an additional 880 premises in parts of Maclean and Woolgoolga are expected to to able to connect to the network between August and February next year.

However it will still be at least a further eight months until the majority of houses will be able to connect.

MAY 16: THE CLARENCE Valley community is about to get its first look at a suite of plans which will guide it over the next decade.

The Clarence Valley Council will debate five reports from the general manager detailing draft strategies to guide the region until 2027 when it meets in Grafton from 4pm today.

All five reports have recommendations to go on public exhibition for 28 days from May 19.

MAY 17: MORE than 6000 people in the Page electorate will be affected by cuts to Sunday penalty rates, according to new statistics by the Labor think tank McKell Institute.

But estimates of a $15.1 million loss in income across the region because of the impending changes has been questioned by Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan, who says the research leaves an important economic question unanswered.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Hayley Talbot (centre) completed a 400km kayak down the Clarence River; Grafton Ukettes; Wendy Boniface with old english sheepdog Hugo at Maclean Show; Arms and the Man at the Criterion Theatre; Jan Fletcher in a leadlight class at New School of Arts Neighbourhood House; Grafton's Rachael Noakes on The Voice; Grafton Wedding Expo organiser and Carol Davies and Leah Stevenson of Lasting Impressions Bridal and Formal Wear; Marilyn Donelan shows off Maclean Show champion ribbons; Andrew Carter's replica 1917 SE5a World War I plane.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Hayley Talbot (centre) completed a 400km kayak down the Clarence River; Grafton Ukettes; Wendy Boniface with old english sheepdog Hugo at Maclean Show; Arms and the Man at the Criterion Theatre; Jan Fletcher in a leadlight class at New School of Arts Neighbourhood House; Grafton's Rachael Noakes on The Voice; Grafton Wedding Expo organiser and Carol Davies and Leah Stevenson of Lasting Impressions Bridal and Formal Wear; Marilyn Donelan shows off Maclean Show champion ribbons; Andrew Carter's replica 1917 SE5a World War I plane. Adam Hourigan

MAY 18: THE CALL has gone out for a Plan B to fix the Clarence Valley Council's finances without a special rates hike.

The architect of the only attempt at an alternative plan for budget repair, other than asking the State Government's permission to slug ratepayers up to 8% extra a year, has been Cr Andrew Baker.

Symbolically at Tuesday's council meeting he said "events had overtaken point 5”, when he moved a rescission motion to remove one point of his controversial eight-point plan from the council's books.

MAY 19: THE DRIVING etiquette of Clarence Valley motorists comes into into question after we monitor the performance of people driving across the Grafton Bridge at key times.

In the space of 20 minutes we observed at the Villiers/Fitzroy St Roundabout: 20 drivers perform 450° turns from Villiers St right lane, 30+ drivers perform 360° turn south from Fitzroy St and six drivers turn left from the Villiers St right lane.

MAY 20: THE financial problems of the Clarence Valley Council don't stem from inefficiency, says Mayor Jim Simmons.

Cr Simmons said people should remember the council had already met the Fit for the Future efficiency benchmarks.

"We have not reached this point because we are an inefficient organisation, or because we don't provide our services efficiently,” he said.

"Something has to give.”

MAY 22: THE era of anything goes for people camping at Diggers Headland Reserve appears to be over.

At the May 16 council meeting the Clarence Valley Council approved a 10-point motion from Cr Andrew Baker which included a raft of regulations for camping ground users.

These included a computerised booking system to replace the first in, best dressed approach to gaining camping sites that exists now.

MAY 23: WHEN it comes to higher education in the Clarence Valley, vocational education and training (VET) providers, like TAFE and CHS Training, have earned bragging rights over universities, with new research indicating VET graduates enjoy a higher employment rate and median starting wage.

In a report released by McCrindle Research and Skilling Australia Foundation, up to 67% of university graduates find work, compared to 78% of VET graduates or 92% of VET graduates who studied as part of an apprenticeship.

MAY 24: PARTS of the Clarence Valley could be under water in just a few decades according to some new coastal mapping released this week.

A newly developed map of Australia, based on data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) in the US, shows how sea level rises up to 2100 will affect coastal areas including the Clarence Valley and Wooli.

MAY 25: A SIX-MONTH police investigation of online child sexual exploitation has led to the arrest of a 37-year-old man in Yamba.

Yesterday morning, officers from the Sex Crimes Squad's Child Exploitation Internet Unit's Task Force Trawler arrested the man in Yamba and executed a search warrant on a home in Maclean.

MAY 26: THERE were some hair-raising sights within the DiMattia & Co salon yesterday, but they were deadly serious about raising money for a good cause.

The salon joined with 300 others across Australia to raise money for the Starlight Foundation as part of Smiles for Starlight, and Mrs DiMattia said that today's zombie-themed dress-up had attracted a few funny looks from customers.

MAY 27: WHEN Paul Dutton was a baby, he was taken away from his family with two of his siblings and raised by another family in Sydney.

Yesterday, the Barkindji man opened the CRANES screening of Servant or Slave at the Saraton Theatre as part of their acknowledgement of National Sorry Day.

MAY 29: FOR THE second year in a row Grafton real estate firm McKimms has won the naming rights for the centrepiece of the July Racing Carnival, the Grafton Cup.

MAY 30: THERE were plenty of smiling faces when two South Sydney Rabbitohs, Angus Crichton and Cody Walker, were in the Clarence Valley yesterday.

For Cody Walker, who spent some time growing up in the Lower Clarence and playing rugby league for the Magpies, the visit was a chance to give back to the community that supported his rise through the ranks.

Hayley Talbot (centre) gets a hug from husband Michael and children Archie and Phoenix after she completed her 400km kayak down the Clarence River.
Hayley Talbot (centre) gets a hug from husband Michael and children Archie and Phoenix after she completed her 400km kayak down the Clarence River. Adam Hourigan

MAY 31: A LITTLE thing like a broken arm two days into her trek was not going to stop Hayley Talbot's planned two-week trip down the Clarence. Two years of planning nearly finished in two days for the Yamba mum when travelling down a rapid.



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