Year in review: The biggest moments of October 2016
OCTOBER 1-2: Preparations for annual Bridge to Bridge Ski Race in Grafton include a commemoration for Jared "Jed" Coey, who was killed in a race fall in 2015.
OCTOBER 3: Clarence Valley businesses looking to get a share of the $550 million spend on a new jail prepare their cases in time for a visit from the consortia bidding for the contract to build the prison.
OCTOBER 4: The NSW Rural Fire Service reads the riot act to landowners after a spate of fires in the region over the weekend. Clarence Valley district manager Superintendent Stuart Watts said landowners ignored fire permit regulations. "We haven't got around to the cause and origin of all of the fires yet, but most of them have been caused by landholders who haven't done the right thing and by burn-offs that haven't gone to plan," Supt Watts said.
OCTOBER 5: A South Grafton man tells how he was woken by a terrified neighbour screaming "don't do it, don't do it" shortly before a shot was fired into the wall of her flat. A man was later charged with firearms offences and with threatening a witness in a court case.
OCTOBER 6: Police charge South Grafton man Jason Michael Stewart, 23, with threatening a witness and other firearms offences following a shooting in South Grafton. A 42-year-old woman detained with Stewart was released after being questioned by police.
OCTOBER 7: Clarence Valley musician Tullara Connors reaches the crucial threshold of $8000 in her crowdfunding campaign to release her debut EP. She was delighted to reach the target with more than 24 hours to spare.
OCTOBER 8-9: Clarence Valley brahman stud Jomanda rewrites the record books at the prestigious Rockhampton Brahman Bull Sale with one of the bulls fetching $150,000. Their bull, El Toro's price was $90,000 higher than the previous record.
OCTOBER 11: A man from Newton Boyd is charged with kidnapping after allegedly assaulting and detaining a man near Coffs Harbour in late September. The 50-year-old man allegedly punched his younger victim in the face a number of times and threatened him with a knife.
OCTOBER 12: Greyhound racing fans in Grafton were overjoyed at NSW Premier Mike Baird's backflip on his plan to ban the sport in NSW from July 2017. The Grafton Greyhound Racing Club president John Corrigan said while the amount of racing around the state would probably shrink, the North Coast would be largely unaffected.
OCTOBER 13: A 60-year-old pilot and his female passenger are lucky to be alive after their plane plunged into a field shortly after take off from South Grafton Aerodrome. The man was taken to Grafton Base Hospital with a bump on his head, but was released soon after. It appeared the nose of the plane had been ripped off by the impact.
OCTOBER 14: Higher School Certificate students around the Clarence Valley make last-minute preparation before the examination begins. The hashtag #hsculater was trending strongly.
OCTOBER 15-16: THE Clarence Valley community is in mourning over the sudden death of mother-of- three Jodie Spears. The 32-year-old died on when the Suzuki scooter she was riding was involved in a two-vehicle crash as she returned from work to her home in Coutts Crossing.
OCTOBER 18: The Clarence Valley digs deep for a GoFundMe campaign for the family of 32-year-old Coutts Crossing mother Jodie Spears who died in a motorcycle accident a few days earlier.
OCTOBER 19: Grafton girl Gabrielle Larkin is looking to establish herself as a model after she was runner-up in the nationwide Aboriginal Model Search. As part of her prize for placing second, the Year 11 student will go for a photoshoot with a leading photographer. The images will be placed on an agency's website.
OCTOBER 20: Newly elected Clarence Valley mayor Jim Simmons uses his casting vote twice to ensure a controversial plan to apply for a special rate variation moves ahead. There was fiery debate in the council on a mayoral minute calling for an organisation review of the council and a general manager's report outlining a Fit for the Future Improvement Plan and the SRV.
OCTOBER 21: The Saraton Theatre celebrates 90 years of being the entertainment hub of Grafton. The only commercial heritage-listed building in the Clarence Valley has plenty to celebrate in its colourful history.
OCTOBER 22-23: The designers of the second crossing of the Clarence River at Grafton reveal the bridge will be pre-fabricated and built in just a few days once all the groundwork is done.
OCTOBER 24: A group of nearly 50 Nymboida residents wants telecommunications giant Optus to acknowledge the democratic principle that the majority rules. The residents have put in submissions to the telco to halt construction of a 40m mobile phone tower at 451 mobile phone tower at 451 Glens Creek Rd, right in the middle of properties belonging to 11 families.
OCTOBER 25: A confrontation with a security guard outside a licensed premises has landed celebrity chef Clayton Donovan with a conviction for common assault. The 43-year-old, of Nambucca Heads, appeared in Grafton Local Court for sentencing over an incident in Sydney. His solicitor, Sally McPherson, said that since Donovan closed his esteemed Jaaning Tree restaurant two years ago to pursue pop-up events and opportunities with the ABC, his environment had been fairly unstable.
OCTOBER 26: A massive congregation packs into Grafton's Christ Church Cathedral to farewell Coutts Crossing mother Jodie Spears who died tragically when her motor scooter was involved in a crash with a car as she rode home. There were touching tributes to her from family and friends.
OCTOBER 27: Living in inner-regional areas such as the North Coast brings a wealth of blessings, but a new study suggests residents are also among Australia's most likely to develop cancer. The new Garvan Rural Health Report titled A Rural Perspective: Cancer and Medical Research confirms inner-regional dwellers have the country's highest cancer rate as a result of an ingrained culture of risky behaviour. But there is good news for those living on the North Coast. Despite being among the most likely to develop cancer, relatively easy access to healthcare means inner-regional residents are also among the country's least likely to die from the disease.
OCTOBER 28: Lower Coldstream farmer David Gibson is worried and frustrated after battling with Clarence Valley Council for two years about the appalling state of the Lower Coldstream Rd, where he lives. He said the council needs to slash long grass between the road and the creek and to repair slumping in the creek bed, which at some points has brought the bank within a metre of the roadway. "Drivers can't see where the edge of the creek starts. They could pull over and find themselves down in the creek." Mr Gibson said.
OCTOBER 29-30: Arsonists are believed to be behind a large-scale bushfire burning north of Grafton, with three possible ignition points identified by authorities. Rural Fire Service and National Parks crews first rushed to the blaze at
Fortis Creek which had swept through more than 4646 hectares of land.
Firies battled rugged terrain and fierce heat to fight
OCTOBER 31: Another entry into the 82-year-old Jacaranda Festival's history book was penned as Sharni Wren was crowned the 2016 Queen of the Jacarandas. Sharni's festival journey has been a long one, beginning last year when she nominated for the queen competition, but she had to relinquish her campaign due to family illness and resume her quest for the title until this year.