Junior Jacaranda princess Tahlia O'Hara and Junior Jacaranda Queen Holly Blundell look up at the fireworks from the Jacaranda Riverlight Festival.
Junior Jacaranda princess Tahlia O'Hara and Junior Jacaranda Queen Holly Blundell look up at the fireworks from the Jacaranda Riverlight Festival. Adam Hourigan Photography

YEAR IN REVIEW: Big news from November 2017

NOVEMBER 1: A Brisbane claim to be Australia's Jacaranda Capital has been dismissed by Grafton's Jacaranda Festival Committee as an attempt to "jump on the festival bandwagon”. Speaking on ABC Radio the former curator of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Ross McKinnon, claimed the title on the basis of being the origin of the jacaranda in Australia.

NOVEMBER 2: A 25-year-old footballer, who terrorised his girlfriend by driving aggressively around the Grafton school where she was teaching, has been jailed for nine months. Nicholas Robert Monckton, 25, of Biggera Waters, Queensland, appeared in Grafton Local Court after he pleaded guilty to a charge of stalking and intimidation with intent to cause fear of physical harm.

NOVEMBER 3: Cranes have defended their Gold Cup title, taking home the Jacaranda Thursday competition for an amazing third year in a row. Wowing the crowd with an ABBA-inspired routine, the CRANES crew were the dancing kings and queens of the Jacaranda Festival.

NOVEMBER 4-5: MUCKING around with shaving cream and silly string are one thing, but violence is another especially for one grandmother whose family witnessed a bashing on Jacaranda Thursday. Sherry Dean's daughter and grandchildren were at Market Square when they saw on young teenager beat up another.

Ms Dean reported on a social post that one boy wrestled another to the ground before kicking and punching him, "booting” him in the face while he was on the ground.

NOVEMBER 6: TWO of the Jacaranda City's elder statesmen are out to bust a myth that Grafton City Council chased away an attempt to set up a university campus in the 1960s. Bill Dougherty and David Abrahams were both on the council at the time Grafton City Council was commonly thought to have rebuffed attempts to set up a university.

"Nothing could have been further from the truth,” Mr Dougherty said.

"We chased and chased and did everything we could to attract them here.

"It wasn't a university at the time. It was a proposal to build a teachers' college and in the end Lismore beat us with a better submission and the numbers to back it up.”

NOVEMBER 7: SUBCONTRACTORS left reeling from the Ostwald Bros collapse are no closer to collecting unpaid debts. The company abandoned the Glenugie to Tyndale section of the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway upgrade on August 25, leaving 200 workers out of a job.

More than two months later, as many as 23 unpaid subcontractors are uncertain whether they will ever recover their losses.

"We lost $289,000 direct to Ostwalds plus we're up for three months wages, fuel and taxes in the region of $400,000,” Grafton's Gerry McMullan, of G. McMullan Contracting, told The Daily Examiner.

NOVEMBER 8: A SOUTH Grafton woman is believed to be in a stable but serious condition at John Hunter Hospital after she suffered serious injuries in a collision on Monday night. The 20-year-old female driver of a Subaru WRX was travelling south bound on the Pacific Highway with three male passengers when it collided with a tree.

NOVEMBER 9: GARY Wilson's military service medals are worthless to anyone else, which is why he can't understand why they were stolen from his mother's South Grafton home. Mr Wilson's mum left for work that morning arriving home a few hours to discover thieves had broken into her home and ransacked the house.

NOVEMBER 10: A structural shortfall of aged care services in the Clarence Valley is about to turn into a 200-bed surplus says the head of one of the region's leading facilities. The chairman of Clarence Village Ltd, Geoff Shepherd, said the imminent entry of Signaturecare, plus an expansion by rivals the Whiddon Group, is about to create an excess of beds.

Both Mr Shepherd and the CEO of Signaturecare, Graeme Croft, were convinced the changes would be beneficial for the sector, but were aware of significant challenges. "Over the last five years at least, Grafton has been under-bedded,” Mr Shepherd said.

NOVEMBER 11-12: GRAFTON has set itself a target of 2019 to establish a centre to allow local students access to a full university education without leaving the area. The CEO of Country Universities Centre, Duncan Taylor, made his pitch to the Clarence Valley community to establish a centre in the town.

Mr Taylor, who was behind the push that set up the first CUC in Cooma in 2013, addressed a group of educators, business people and community members in the Clarence Valley Council's Grafton chambers. He said the State Government had pumped $8million directly into the CUC to seed further developments around the State and the Federal

NOVEMBER 13: EMERGENCY services have had an extremely busy weekend in the Clarence Valley after responding to call-outs to four separate crashes, including two on major highway. The mayhem started on Friday afternoon when there were two crashes on major roads in the area, and continued on Saturday when there were two more collisions, one in Ulmarra and the other in Woombah.

NOVEMBER 14: WITH a special rate variation application looming in the Clarence Valley and spending under scrutiny, council has revealed a breakdown of the general managers' expenses, revealing Scott Greensill spent nearly four times as Ashley Lindsay in the same time period.

NOVEMBER 15: A Sunday evening drive through Corcoran Park has left one teenage girl without a car and a father asking council to please explain.

Just after 8pm on Sunday Angel Windred and a friend decided to finish off the weekend with a quick visit to the park. However, when the pair returned to the entrance just before 8.30pm they had been locked in.

"We'd been to this park lots of times as kids and there's always someone who comes and kicks you out before they lock up,” Ms Windred said. "I was really worried I'd have to stay there overnight.”

NOVEMBER 16: CELEBRATIONS were staged throughout the Clarence Valley last night after the result of the marriage equality survey was announced with more than 60 per cent of Australians voting yes. At a local level, nearly 60 per cent of Page voters said yes in the postal survey.

NOVEMBER 17: JACARANDA trees are the centrepiece of Grafton's natural beauty and Clarence Valley Council open spaces manager David Sutton was confident they will continue to stand tall well into the future. He said council recognised that action needed to be taken to address future decline in the street canopy due to aging.

"From that year, we've had $50,000 per year to spend on the renewal of trees, and another $70,000 this year ,” he said.

"From the project, we have planted more than 300 jacarandas in Grafton and South Grafton and we've planted 200 other trees. We are in the process of doing this year's planting and we've got another 100-150 trees on order, 30 of which are jacarandas.”

NOVEMBER 18-19: "THEIR bravery was more than outstanding for what they'd done, they put their life on the line for Geoffrey and my grandchildren.”

Those were the words of Geoffrey Blackadder's sister-in-law Frances Blackadder as she described the actions of lifesavers and first responders who spent almost an hour giving CPR to Mr Blackadder at Wooli Beach after he suffered a heart attack on Boxing Day last year.

NOVEMBER 20: TWO men are lucky to be alive after a head-on collision following a police pursuit at Ulmarra yesterday morning which saw both cars burst into flames. At 10am on Sunday police attempted to stop a Nissan X-Trail travelling southbound on the highway at Ulmarra after a driver failed to stop. The vehicle crossed over to the northbound lanes and hit an oncoming four-wheel-drive.

NOVEMBER 21: PATRICK Smith still carries the marks from his years of drug abuse on his arm. However, it's not needle scars from his time injecting ice but a simple two-word tattoo that has become his mantra after becoming clean and sober: 'never again'.

NOVEMBER 22: WITH the official opening of the new Whiddon Grafton addition yesterday, Elaine Stephenson was there to show it's more than just the staff and residents who will benefit from the new $25-million expansion of the aged care facility. Mrs Stephenson, whose husband Laurie resides at the home, said the new facility was exciting for everyone, including the families of those who call it home.

NOVEMBER 23: A request by council to apply for a Special Rate Variation next month is their last chance to save more than 50 jobs and prevent massive cuts to services. After many years of proposed SRVs going through council with rates reading higher than 40 per cent, the application for a cumulative 25.97 per cent variation is the best option, according to Mayor Jim Simmons.

NOVEMBER 24: IT'S the moment Clarence Valley residents who are sick of the bumpy, dangerous, dusty unsealed roads have been waiting for as Clarence Valley Council have decided to review and update their future works program on the sealing of gravel roads. Council has an unsealed road network of more than 1017kms with an annual cost of grading these gravel roads of $2,547,000.

NOVEMBER 25-26: CLARENCE Valley Council has survived an audit but there is no question that the council is still under financial strain with the Office of Local Government directing them to get their general fund in order. The office said a large portion of the council's financial strain was due to asset management and depreciation changes that came into effect this year.

NOVEMBER 27: CONSTRUCTION of a motel at Maclean Bowling Club is on schedule to be completed by January. After four years of consultation and planning, the first sods on the club's top green were turned in March this year and club secretary manager Mark Williams said he was pleased with the progress made by builder Rob Connolly.

NOVEMBER 28: GRAFTON District Golf Club members have taken the first steps to banking a $2.2-million windfall for their club by voting to support the controversial sale of the former 10th and 11th holes. President Trevor Townsend said the club would double the amount of money it could make by selling the land to aged-care developer Signaturecare rather than its original plan to subdivide into 14 blocks.

NOVEMBER 29: HOTELIERS in the Clarence Valley are calling on the network operator of the upcoming Container Deposit Scheme to bring their collection points to the Clarence as a matter of urgency. Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis described the fact the scheme would not be operational here by its scheduled December 1 start-date as "a stuff up”.

NOVEMBER: 30: A bit of extra shade in summer might be a positive thing for the residents next to the new private hospital development, however the lack of winter sun for some blocks worried the State Government's Joint Regional Planning Panel enough to result in the deferral of a decision on the development's height.

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