Erica Power, 11 and Cooper Stephenson, 8 of Grafton Public School sound the trumpet during a break from the school concert held in See Park for the Jacaranda Festival.
Erica Power, 11 and Cooper Stephenson, 8 of Grafton Public School sound the trumpet during a break from the school concert held in See Park for the Jacaranda Festival. Adam Hourigan Photography

YEAR IN REVIEW: Biggest headlines of October

OCTOBER 2: It's all about mental in October, and here, it's all about creating a healthier Clarence Valley. Sue Hughes has recently become Our Healthy Clarence project co-ordinator and she's packed the month full of things to help youth and adults with their mental health and raising awareness of the services available.

OCTOBER 3: An unaccompanied learner driver who flipped his HiLux ute onto its roof is typical of young drivers using city streets as drag strips, says a resident who witnessed the crash. Police have issued a 17-year-old Grafton boy with infringement notices for being an unaccompanied learner driver and negligent driving.

OCTOBER 4: It was supposed to be a night to remember for a family on a dream holiday but it turned out to be one of terror for a Grafton family. Dance teacher Nicole Shipman and her family were forced to flee to the safety of their hotel after finding themselves near a mass shooting incident in Las Vegas. Ms Shipman was in the midst of the holiday after leading her dance school through Disneyland and Hollywood.

Grafton dance teacher Nicole Shipman and her daughter Madeline text family and friends that they are safe while being held in lockdown in the convention centre of the Paris hotel in Las Vegas. Nicole and her family were nearby when shooting broke out at the Mandalay Bay casino.
Grafton dance teacher Nicole Shipman and her daughter Madeline text family and friends that they are safe while being held in lockdown in the convention centre of the Paris hotel in Las Vegas. Nicole and her family were nearby when shooting broke out at the Mandalay Bay casino.

The family was amid the chaos while walking towards Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Speaking to The Daily Examiner on the night from within the hotel Paris, just three kilometres from the shooting location at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Ms Shipman said they were at an intersection near the resort when they were turned around by security.

OCTOBER 5: Police are continuing the hunt for a man, believed to be in his 20s, who threatened a service station attendant with a claw hammer and made off with cash from the till. The man, described as being in his 20s and of a thin build, was wearing a black hooded jacket, black pants and dark shoes at the time of the robbery.

Police said the man, armed with a claw hammer, entered the service station on the Pacific Highway and threatened the 60-year-old attendant. After he stole some cash, he fled the scene on foot and has not been seen since.

OCTOBER 6: An Alumy Creek resident is urging motorists to slow down as the road toll rises for the eastern long-necked turtle. Over the past few days, John Melenhorst and his son Francis have been rescuing turtles but haven't saved them all. They picked up 10 turtles off the road that had been run over.

OCTOBER 7-8: Fineflower residents are fed up with the state of their dirt roads after a "pointless" resealing project was competed this week. The 600m stretch of tarred road between Carnham Rd and Oaky Creek Bridge was torn up last month and scheduled to be resealed to the tune of $200,000, a completely unnecessary exercise according to one resident.

OCTOBER 9: Clarence Valley police are calling for the public's help in tracking down a man in relation to the reported indecent assault of an 11-year-old girl in Yamba. Police said there were reports a child was indecently assaulted by an unknown man while shopping at a discount store in Treelands Dr on Thursday.

OCTOBER 10: A 50-year-old Iluka man is out on bail despite facing two charges of indecently assaulting a girl aged 11 at Yamba. Magistrate Robyn Denes granted bail to Anthony James Abbott during a hearing in Grafton Local Court yesterday. Prosecution strenuously opposed bail on the strength of the case and the danger Abbott posed to the public.

OCTOBER 11: A Local Court magistrate has again branded Maclean a drink-driving hotspot while sentencing one of six people who appeared before her for high range PCA offences. Magistrate Robyn Denes has been an outspoken critic of drink-drivers on the Lower Clarence over a number of years.

She again spoke of the region's troubling drink-driving record when sentencing a man who blew a PCA reading of 0.199 when pulled over after police noticed his car swerving all over the road on River Rd at Harwood.

OCTOBER 12: In a passionate deputation to Clarence Valley Council's Environment and Planning committee, Yamba Action Group's Geoffrey Beresford declared short-term holiday rentals in regional areas made it easy for terrorist cells to plan large-scale attacks away from prying eyes and were not better than long-term rentals, economy-wise.

He said the Yamba Action Group was against the NSW Government's proposed regulations for short-term holiday rentals.

OCTOBER 13: Dressing up as a zombie may seem like a lot of fun, but it also has an important message. A council-organised zombie walk is all about promoting the importance of mental health in your everyday life while encouraging young people to seek help when they need it.

Jeremy Jablonski and Sage Kirby as Zombies ahead of the weekends Zombie Walk.
Jeremy Jablonski and Sage Kirby as Zombies ahead of the weekends Zombie Walk. Caitlan Charles

OCTOBER 14-15: A former Dean of Grafton has described the Sydney Anglican diocese decision to donate $1million to the No case in the same-sex marriage debate as causing a crisis in his father. Reverend Peter Catt, who was Dean at Grafton from 1997 to 2007, said he felt paralysed when he learnt of the decision.

OCTOBER 16: The Jacaranda Festival is adding a host of new things to the festival this year, including wine and beer tasting event at Memorial Park but that plan might change when it goes before a full council meeting. Council is set to decide whether the festival will be granted a limited liquor licence and that the park's ban on alcohol will be temporarily lifted.

At the recent Corporate Governance and Works committee meeting, some councillors were adamant the licence should not be granted. Councillor Arthur Lysaught said if the festival intended to sell alcohol, the permit shouldn't be granted because it was so close to a licensed venue.

OCTOBER 17: Two women have had lucky escapes after a car mounted the steps of the Commonwealth Bank in River St, Maclean.

A car which crashed into the Commonwealth Bank building in Maclean this morning. Photo: Sarah Hourigan
A car which crashed into the Commonwealth Bank building in Maclean this morning. Photo: Sarah Hourigan Adam Hourigan

Coffs/Clarence Local Area Command duty officer Inspector Jo Reid said an 81-year-old woman was struck and momentarily pinned when the driver of a Holden Astra, a woman in her 50s, suffered a suspected medical episode while behind the wheel.

OCTOBER 18: A Clarence Valley man has escaped jail over a harrowing and prolonged road rage incident on Grafton streets. Jake Ogilve, 27, appeared in Grafton Local Court facing several charges stemming from three separate incidents.

The most serious of these took place about noon on December 5. The male victim was driving a Toyota four-wheel drive through Grafton, with his partner and four-month-old daughter in the car, when a gold Hyundai Accent driven by Ogilve followed him closely on Villiers St. According to police facts, hostilities developed between the two parties, and at some point Ogilve pulled in front of the victim's car and stopped.

OCTOBER 19: National Parks and Wildlife staff will hold a demonstration today to protest against a State Government proposal they say will downgrade the service in the Clarence Valley. Northern region organiser Asren Pugh said the proposal would amalgamate north and south districts and move the regional office to Coffs Harbour.

OCTOBER 20: Wooli Marine Rescue's Richard Taffs, amputee sports star Peter Webster, junior sport supporter Glyn Williams, and North Coast Football's Harry Menzies will all carry the Commonwealth Games Queen's baton when the relay passes through the Clarence Valley.

OCTOBER 21-22: A generation after knocking back the opportunity to make Grafton a university city, the Clarence Valley has a chance to redress its mistake. Clarence Valley Mayor Jim Simmons was excited at the prospect of the valley finally taking up an opportunity offered by tertiary education.

OCTOBER 23: David Lorenzo, owner of the successful Plantation bakeries, has been announced as the new operator of the Grafton Regional Gallery cafe. At Tuesday's council meeting, councillors discussed the new lease in a confidential session before emerging with a unanimous vote for Mr Lorenzo to take up the three-year lease.

Entrees operator David Lorenzo takes a break from putting the finishing touches on the new food venue at the Grafton Regional Gallery.
Entrees operator David Lorenzo takes a break from putting the finishing touches on the new food venue at the Grafton Regional Gallery. Adam Hourigan

OCTOBER 24: Two NSW Government heavyweights who were in Grafton for the opening of the Woolgoolga-Halfway Creek section of the Pacific Highway upgrade warmed up with a low-key ceremony. State Ministers Melinda Pavey and Andrew Constance inspected an area in Powell St, Grafton, where a new cycleway is proposed.

OCTOBER 25: The first cruise ship that could test the passenger facilities of the Port of Yamba could arrive before the end of the year, says Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis, but he was unsure of any details of the size or type of vessel that could be coming. Yamba and Coffs Harbour are being considered as potential international cruise ship terminals.

OCTOBER 26: Yamba resident Prue Elizabeth Harvey is facing a serious battery charge in Florida in the US after allegedly pushing over a female cyclist during the popular Zombie Bike Ride. Harvey allegedly yelled "fall bitch" before shoving the 68-year-old female cyclist to the ground in Key West, the Miami-herald reports.

Arrest.... Police mugshot of NSW tourist Prue Elizabeth Harvey
Arrest.... Police mugshot of NSW tourist Prue Elizabeth Harvey

Harvey, 32, was in Key West to attend a wedding and was accused of running through the cyclists, who wore zombie costumes and painted their faces and bodies for the popular annual 6km bike ride. She allegedly gave riders dirty looks before shoving Linda Malcolm to the ground. Ms Malcolm suffered a scrape on her left knee.

Ms Malcolm's daughter allegedly chased Harvey to the rear of a church and police were called.

Key West Police Department officer Antonio Ane said Ms Harvey smelled strongly of alcohol and told police she had been drinking and could not remember anything past 1pm on Sunday.

OCTOBER 27: A company looking to build a $35million aged care facility in Grafton is in negotiations with the Grafton Golf Club over land the club has controversially been seeking to redevelop for 13 years. Signaturecare, which has delivered 19 aged care homes on Australia's east coast, has plans to develop another 11.

OCTOBER 28-29: Six months of preparation culminate tonight in the crowning moment of the Jacaranda Festival as a queen will be announced under the lights of Market Square as candidates Erika Honnery, Rachael Noakes, Brielle Lentfer, Emilee Wall, Alana Gordon, Bridgett Mawhirt and Jozee Adamson gather for final rehearsals.

OCTOBER 30: When newly crowned Jacaranda Queen Alana Gordon walked off the stage at Market Square the first person she saw was her eldest boy, six-year-old Tyler. "Mummy, I'm so proud of you", he said as he gave her a big hug. Ms Gordon was also the highest fundraiser, contributing $23,077.91 towards the total $58,098.66 raised by senior candidates.

Newly announced Jacaranda Queen Alana Gordon gets a hug from her son as she walks off stage.
Newly announced Jacaranda Queen Alana Gordon gets a hug from her son as she walks off stage. Adam Hourigan

Ms Gordon said the ambition to be part of the Jacaranda quest had been a long-held one growing up in Grafton.

"I have wanted to run for queen my whole life," she said.

"But life got really busy. I have three beautiful children now, and I'm 29 next year, so it was now or never.

"This is just unreal, amazing, I didn't expect it at all."

OCTOBER 31: Grafton drivers might need to exercise more care in the Jacaranda City's purple hotspots as awestruck tourists are likely to ignore traffic conditions to get a better look at the blooms. Council's events and promotions officer Alicia Savelloni said it was important to ensure visitors continued to feel welcomed in the city.



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