Boy’s petition prompts cuts to NSW hospital parking fees

By Lily Mayers, Dom Vukovic

Updated

March 20, 2017 12:01:01

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Gidon said trips by his family had cost thousands of dollars. (ABC News: Stephanie Dalzell)
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Thousands back teen's call to slash hospital parking fees
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A Sydney teenager’s online petition has prompted the New South Wales Government to cut the cost of car parking at public hospitals by about $200 a week.Fourteen-year-old Gidon Goodman, who has a rare blood disorder and has to go to hospital for regular medical infusions, started the petition because he was concerned family members would stop visiting their sick relatives due to high hospital parking costs.Today, Premier Gladys Berejiklian responded to his campaign, which garnered more than 70,000 signatures, by announcing “a huge reduction in car parking fees” at all New South Wales hospitals.”Instead of paying about $200 a week, they’ll be paying about $20 a week,” she said.”Some families will be saving hundreds and hundreds of dollars every month.”

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The Premier (right) praised Gidon for making a difference to people’s lives. (ABC News: Stephanie Dalzell)
The Premier said affected car park operators would get $11 million a year in compensation as a result of the fees being slashed.”It does mean negotiating, it also means as a government we have to do what’s called forego revenue,” she said.”So we’re talking millions and millions of dollars.”We will be contributing to this every year.”Ms Berejiklian praised Gidon’s efforts in advocating for the change and pressing the Government.”Today is about people making a difference … a teenager like Gidon making a difference,” she said.”This is a huge boost for families patients and for carers who are visiting all of our public hospitalGidon said he was thankful the Government had acted to make it easier for families and carers to visit sick patients.”I’m now unbelievably proud to be able to say that the Premier and the Health Minister are introducing a policy which is going to do amazing things for the families,” he said.”Someone [visiting] once a week for a year will be saving $1,600.”These changes are going to be helping people who go [regularly visit hospitals] long term, helping families, people having babies [who] have to go longer than two days in a row.”Health Minister Brad Hazzard said Gidon’s campaign had sparked a review into the costs of car parking.”As soon as I became Health Minister, I met with Gidon, I listened to his concerns and I agreed. Gladys Berejiklian and I determined that we would move as quickly as possible and we have,” the Minister said.”He brought it to the Government’s attention.”Gidon said trips by his family to visit him in hospital had cost them thousands of dollars in car parking fees.The parking fee changes come into effect from July 1.

Amateur stargazers share passion for all things space

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I was interested in the geology of planets,” he said.Fun for all agesThe society is open to anyone with an interest in space, and holds regular talks, meetings and observation nights.The University of Tasmania gives the society space to use behind the Mount Pleasant Observatory.There, the radio telescope looks up to the distant sky while much smaller telescopes at its foot provide those gathered with glimpses into the void. On a clear, warm night a small gathering of people chat in the dark, taking turns to look through viewfinders on various telescopes pointed at the night sky.The Astronomical Society of Tasmania was founded in 1934 by a small group of keen stargazers.In recent years the society has experienced a renewed enthusiasm for all things space from the general public.At the society’s latest public viewing night, close to 700 people turned up to learn more about the stars. Photo:
Oliver says he will probably pursue a career in astronomy as it has been his passion since kindergarten. but now I’ve got to this stage of life, I’ve got the time to put into it and I absolutely love it,” he said.”I started at the beginning not knowing anything about the stars, I wouldn’t know where they were, but in a year-and-a-half I’ve learnt a lot.”The Astronomical Society of Tasmania has members all over the state.More information on the society and the stars can be found on its website. (ABC Radio Hobart: Carol Rääbus)
Oliver is in grade nine at school and is the youngest member of the society.”I’ve had [an interest in stars] since I was in kindergarten,” he said.”From that age I was really interested in the stars and space.”Just finding out the unknown and just how beautiful everything looks.”

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Photography got Michael Novak into stargazing. (ABC Radio Hobart: Carol Rääbus)
“I think television has a big influence these days,” Peter Manchester, the society’s outreach officer, said.”I think people are looking to ask the question ‘why’ and they want to know more.”

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Peter Manchester is the outreach officer for the Astronomical Society of Tasmania. (ABC Radio Hobart: Carol Rääbus)
Mr Manchester developed his interest in space after a career in geology, spending time looking down into Earth.”After many years being associated with geology, I wanted to think laterally … (ABC Radio Hobart: Carol Rääbus)
A love of photography prompted Michael Novak to join the society.”I’ve always been interested in [astral photography] … Photo:
Members of the Astronomical Society of Tasmania setting up for an observation night.
ABC Radio Hobart

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Carol Rääbus

Posted

March 20, 2017 12:20:00

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There has been renewed public interest in all things space. (ABC Radio Hobart: Carol Rääbus)

Fitness program pairs young students with older clients

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Fitness student Joelle Bowgett watches on as Joyce Macmillen from U3A completes her training program. (ABC Tropical North: Sophie Meixner)
“I just wanted to get back into the exercise routine. A fitness program at a north Queensland university is aiming to improve health outcomes for older Australians while encouraging interaction between young and old.Fitness students at Central Queensland University’s (CQU) Mackay City campus have been paired with clients from the University of the Third Age (U3A), who are generally in the 60+ age range.The students work one-on-one with the same partner for 10 weeks, and develop a set of goals that fits their client’s needs.At the end of the program the client may feel confident enough to join a gym independently, or feel more comfortable performing everyday tasks. I think we had 63 people who wanted to do it, so we’ve got a long list of people waiting,” he said.”These people often would not normally go to a gym, so we’d like to see the progression for the participants gaining enough confidence in this sort of environment to then go further and potentially enrol and become a member of a local gym.”So therefore their journey along the fitness lines is a continuous process.”

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Coordinator Russell Gardner says the course offers valuable experience for students. (ABC Tropical North: Sophie Meixner)
Mr Gardner said the feedback from the student was positive.”From an experience point of view you just can’t beat that face to face contact with different clients,” he said.”It’s not just the programming side that’s important, it’s also the experience of talking to different people, the socialising process, the relationships.”Especially for some of our younger instructors, to relate to 75-year-old clients, that’s something that we can’t simulate in a classroom situation. Photo:
Fitness student Jarred Baggow watches on as Frank Venselaar from U3A completes his training program. I lost my way a little bit, haven’t been doing it for a little while, so just wanted to get back to it again and be a little bit more active in my life.”Ms West said her trainer had been careful to adapt his exercise program to her abilities.”He’s very cautious with me because I think he’s got to be, and I’m the one saying ‘Yes, I can do a little bit more’,” she said.”Definitely not too strenuous yet, but we’re going to get there eventually I hope.”Skills you cannot learn in classroomCQU fitness course co-ordinator Russell Gardner said the program’s waiting list was over capacity.”We can only take 15 at a time. (ABC Tropical North: Sophie Meixner)
Making daily life that little bit easierFitness student Cameron Robertson said he and his client Glenda West had developed a good working relationship.”The exercises that I give Glenda, it’s mainly stuff that she can do with me and stuff that she can do at home herself, just to make her daily living tasks a lot easier,” he said.”Whether that be carrying the shopping, walking, squatting down and bending and doing stuff in the garden.”Mr Robertson said the program gave him skills he could not learn in a classroom.”It’s pretty good because 99 per cent of the population, they’re young when they’re in the gym, and it’s very rare that we get an elderly client in the gym,” he said.”This essentially broadens our search and we get to train everyone because everyone is different, and then with an elderly client, their goals are very different to a younger client.”Getting back into an exercise routineMs West said she enjoyed the program so much she had already arranged to come in for an extra session.”I’d do more if I was allowed,” she said.She said she had signed up to the program to give herself more motivation to keep active.”I’ve found that just doing my normal stuff at home is not enough, and this gives me a little bit more motivation, and motivation is a big part of being fit,” she said.
How to do a fitness audit (and why it's a good idea)
(ABC Tropical North: Sophie Meixner) ABC Tropical North

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Sophie Meixner

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March 20, 2017 13:44:57

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Fitness student Cameron Robertson helps Glenda West develop her fitness.
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Perth zoologist devotes life to saving African painted dogs

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ABC Radio Perth

By

Emma Wynne

Posted

March 18, 2017 11:00:00

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African painted dogs are at risk of being killed by farmers and poachers. (Supplied: Perth Zoo)
Now just 5,000 to 6,000 remain in the wild. Perth Zoo’s John Lemon has devoted his life to saving the dog.”When I’m not here at the zoo, I’m in Africa, that’s my life,” the founder of Painted Dog Conservation Incorporated told ABC Radio Perth.”I’m a self-confessed workaholic but I really do want to try and save a single species in my short lifetime.”

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John Lemon divides his time between work at Perth Zoo and conservation projects in southern Africa. “Particularly in Zimbabwe, in the area we work there were around 350 when we started, now there are around 750 to 800,” Mr Lemon said.”So there are direct outcomes from our work.”As part of the program, conservation workers spend time with farmers educating them that the dogs are not a threat to their livestock. “They are the underdog, and they are not even closely related to domestic dogs,” Mr Lemon said.”They have their own separate genus. “Obviously Africa has a lot of poverty and if we don’t give people an alternative to poaching, then who am I to say, ‘you can’t feed your family?'”What we have got to do is create alternatives and show them that their wildlife is the future, and that without the wildlife, people won’t come to Africa to visit.”Mr Lemon said he planned to devote the rest of his life to the African painted dogs. Photo:
African painted dogs are part of a breeding program at Perth Zoo. (Supplied: Perth Zoo)
Why the painted dog?To many zoo visitors, the African painted dog enclosure is not a major attraction.Their blotchy fur patterns, big ears and domestic dog-like looks are neither exotic nor cute, but Mr Lemon said we should not judge a book by its cover.”It’s their caring, social nature that really has me hooked.”They look after their weak, their sick, their injured.”I’ve seen dogs with two legs amputated due to snares in the wild still surviving because the mob come back and feed them.”If we could take a leaf out of their book, as humans, I think we’d be in a better place.”Their painted fur might look blotchy but each pattern is as unique as a fingerprint, while their Mickey Mouse ears help them communicate. “In 2000 I was lucky to win a fellowship to travel to Africa, and I decided I needed to do more.”So at the top of my game I quit my high-paying job, told my wife: ‘I’m going to sell everything, are you happy to support me? I’m going to go to Africa and build the largest rehab centre and children’s bush camp for education for a single species anywhere in the world’. A century ago there were 500,000 African painted dogs in 39 countries across Africa. “The dogs have been around for 13 million years, yet they may go extinct in my short lifetime.”If I can halt that, then I have achieved something really good in my lifetime and that’s what I want to leave the world with.” “I went there on February 28, 1977 on the front seat of my sister’s boyfriend’s car to the opening of Western Plains Zoo and I said, ‘I want to work here one day’.”My whole life was aimed at achieving that — and I did.”By 2000 he was the senior supervisor for carnivores and primates in Dubbo and had had considerable success breeding the painted dogs at the zoo. (Supplied: Perth Zoo)
“They use them for social communication like we do with our hands,” Mr Lemon said.They are also a distinct species. They are also trying to combat poaching and persuade local communities that conserving wildlife can boost tourism. “And I did that in Zimbabwe.”Life between Perth and AfricaPainted Dog Conservation Incorporated was founded in 2003.The not-for-profit now runs two programs in Zimbabwe, three in Zambia and one in Namibia — and they are starting to see results. “There is nothing else quite like them and once they are gone, they are gone.”‘I want to work at the zoo one day’Mr Lemon grew up in Dubbo, home of the Taronga Western Plains Zoo.On his very first visit he said he decided a life alongside animals was his future.

Creating the perfect butterfly garden

(AMLRNRM: Jeremy Gramp) Photo:
An Australian painted lady butterfly.

Butterfly collection of 'great scientific value' gifted to Launceston museum
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A common brown male butterfly.
Gene that turned moths black also colours tropical butterflies yellow
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A bitter-bush blue butterfly.

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ABC Radio Adelaide

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Brett Williamson

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March 17, 2017 12:28:38

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Butterfly gardens are booming in schools to help boost nature play and outdoor learning. (ABC Radio Adelaide: Brett Williamson)

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A southern grass-dart butterfly.

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Searching for butterflies provides hours of entertainment for both children and adults. (ABC Radio Adelaide: Brett Williamson)
Looking at the antenna was a way to differentiate a butterfly from a moth, Mr Ryan said.”A moth will have a club-like antenna.”And butterflies, when resting, usually have their wings closed, whereas moths will lay them flat. (ABC Radio Adelaide: Brett Williamson) Photo:
Butterflies are definitely welcome in the specially designed garden. Know your local butterflies He said the first thing that usually comes to mind when someone says “butterfly” is the monarch.”They are actually introduced and were brought over from California.”The NRM has an Adelaide-region butterfly identification chart, that when printed in A3 size shows species at life sizes.Mr Ryan said there were many local butterflies you could attract to your garden, including the wrongly named cabbage moth.

Australasian butterfly holds record number of vision cells

Caper white butterflies flock to Brisbane

A boom in butterfly gardens at schools across South Australia is being driven by an increasing interest in nature play and a drive to see students learn more outside of the classroom.The Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resource Management (NRM) Board has helped 12 local schools build a butterfly garden on their grounds.”It’s a great way for children to interact with their local environment,” NRM education coordinator Sam Ryan said.”[Students] learn about plants and some of the animals you are likely to see in a metropolitan area.”What makes a great butterfly garden?O’Halloran Hill kindergarten staff recently created their own butterfly-attracting garden in a southern courtyard of their grounds. Photo:
The NRM’s Sam Ryan talks to teachers who are about to become new butterfly garden hosts. (ABC Radio Adelaide: Brett Williamson)
He said an important part of creating a butterfly garden was growing plants that caterpillars would eat.”[Plants] like the ruby salt bush, kangaroo grass, hardenbergia — they’re fantastic for those caterpillars.”Flowering plants are also needed as a food source for adult butterflies.”A good butterfly garden will have different plants flowering at different times so the food source is spread out,” Mr Ryan said.Attracting the locals (ABC Radio Adelaide: Brett Williamson)
Mr Ryan said the plants were chosen to support and attract local birds, bees and butterflies.”There are predominantly local native species [in this garden].”

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Birdbaths with rocks in them provide surfaces for butterflies to access water.

Dumpster divers make free meals to build community

(ABC Radio Brisbane: Kym Agius)
Brendon Donohue has been a regular at the Food Not Bombs event over the past year-and-a-half.He is blind.”I was looking for more social interaction,” he said.”As a blind person it is very hard to get out into the community and go to social places which accept all diverse people.”Everyone is included here, regardless of disability.”It gives me a sense of belonging in the community.”William Hunter, who has had mental health problems, has been coming most Fridays since July 2014.”I was a bit involved with petty crime and stuff and I was a bit mentally unwell because of drugs.”I’m a lot better now but I get a bit lonely sometimes, so I come here and talk to my mates.”They’re good people, they’re kind and you can have a good conversation.”I’m on the pension and it helps, it’s a free feed.”

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Mike, originally from Sudan, comes some Friday nights to meet new people. Photo:
Sandon and Brendon met through Food Not Bombs and now go to the cinema and on runs together. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Kym Agius)
“He lives in the area and lives a fairly isolated life,” Mr Paine said.”He has been a real blessing, he has taught us sign language.”We have made a long-lasting friendship.”If he doesn’t turn up I’ll send a text to make sure he’s alright.”Paul did not want to be interviewed nor photographed, but those there could see the delight on his face.The group circled around him to sign “happy birthday” as he blew out his candles. Photo:
After half an hour sifting through the dumpster, the group has enough food for up to 40 people. What it’s like dumpster diving The crew from Food Not Bombs hits a bin once a week in inner Brisbane to rescue kilograms of food. Photo:
The table, laden with food, is carried a short distance from the community house to the park. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Kym Agius)
Atop the table last week was carrot soup, mash potato with saffron, a mushroom, eggplant and ginger stir-fry, apple crumble and a fruit salad.They had also made a carrot cake for one of the regulars celebrating a birthday — Paul, who is deaf. A group in Brisbane is turning food thrown out by supermarkets into home-cooked meals which they serve to the lonely, isolated and some who are just plain hungry.The young men and women gather each Friday in a West End park; they do not have a permit to be there, nor do they believe in asking for one. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Kym Agius) They are part of Food Not Bombs, a global movement to reclaim public space and protest against rampant food wastage.Andy Paine and his friends have been dumpster diving once a week for the past six years.They hit just one bin, fishing out enough fresh food to feed 30 to 40 people — bags of zucchinis, potatoes, loaves of bread, as well as packaged bananas and donuts.There are also unopened soft drinks, dumped by the supermarket after one in the pack of four broke.The usable food is washed off, the damaged turned into sauces, and the too-far-gone composted.”It is an incredible amount of waste, but it will help us provide food for other people.”

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Bags of zucchinis and potatoes were saved from the dumpster, as well as unopened soft drinks and cakes. Photo:
The food rescued from supermarket dumpsters is turned into vegan and vegetarian meals. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Kym Agius)
They head to a community house to cook, turning the haul into vegan and vegetarian dinners.”We are not just about reducing food waste,” Mr Paine said.”Food waste is also just eating in front of the TV and not thinking about the potential.”Not thinking about what we could be doing with our food, what communities we could be building, how we could be reaching out to people, how we could be using the streets. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Kym Agius)
“That is what Food Not Bombs is about; it is about envisioning a different world and a different way of eating.”Forming lasting friendships through foodAs part of their weekly ritual, the barefooted group walk their long wooden serving table from the community house to a park on Boundary Street. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Kym Agius)
Mr Paine said they wanted to create an environment where you could make friends and meet new people every week.”We welcome strangers and use food as a resource for building community — using food beyond just fuelling our bodies.”

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Denis comes to Food Not Bombs to talk to people from other cultures.
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(ABC Radio Brisbane: Kym Agius) ABC Radio Brisbane

By Kym Agius

Updated

March 17, 2017 13:23:56

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Food Not Bombs regular William Hunter has turned his life around after petty crime and mental health problems.

New generation of Irish dancers ready for St Patrick’s Day

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Emma Wiggle is inspiring a new generation of Irish dancers
“Also if you go and see Riverdance and you have a child with you, they’re going to want to start Irish dancing no matter what.”Ms McGrath said aside from the big hair and jewel-clad costumes, the students were attracted by the fast pace of the dance style.”The fitness that these kids have is unbelievable,” she said.”The material that even my six and seven-year-old class are learning is really technical.”The standard is quite high now and I can expect a lot from these dancers.”As well as the little ones, we’ve got dancers who are training to compete on the world stage.”

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Irish dancer Aine Fitzpatrick, 19, prepares for St Patrick’s Day in Canberra. (ABC Radio Canberra: Hannah Walmsley) Irish dancers of all ages from McGrath Irish Dancing school will feature as part of the festivities across Canberra on Friday.The dance school is one of five in the city, training kids as young as three and four in the high-energy pursuit.While many of the young dancers have Irish heritage, dance school director Leanne McGrath said there had been a new kind of resurgence in the sport.”Since last year, Emma the Wiggle has been doing Irish dancing on the Wiggles,” she said. It wouldn’t be St Patrick’s Day without the sound of a traditional Irish jig, shamrock green dresses, towering hair and feet tapping in unison. (ABC Radio Canberra: Hannah Walmsley)
Aine Fitzpatrick has been training up to six times each week in preparation for the world championships in Dublin in April.The 19-year-old ANU student said she was first attracted to the sport while living in its heartland.”I started when I was really young living in Ireland but gave it up when I moved to Australia, thinking there were so many other things I could do,” she said.”When I moved to Canberra about five years ago I was so inspired when I met Leanne and have kept going ever since.”Starting from 7:30am on Friday, Ms Fitzpatrick and the troupe will be performing at the Irish Club in Weston, at various nursing homes across the city, and then busking around Woden.”Then in the afternoon we’ll be back to the Irish Club,” she said.”After we perform on St Patrick’s Day there are always tonnes of people asking where we have classes and what kind of ages can do it.”

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Jayden, 11, and Imogen, 9, took up dancing after being inspired by a performance at the National Folk Festival. “A lot of beginners watch the Wiggles and so a lot of the intake in the last couple of years has been because of that — it’s been awesome for the sport. (ABC Radio Canberra: Hannah Walmsley)
A family sportSiblings Jayden and Imogen started Irish dancing after seeing a live performance at the National Folk Festival in Canberra two years ago.”The dancers looked like they were having so much fun and they looked really fit,” Jayden said.”Dancing helps us to be strong for the other sports we play because we both play rugby too.””It’s great doing a sport together, because we can help each other out when we need it,” Imogen said.”If one of us has had to miss a lesson, then the other one can teach us anything new we might have missed out on.”It means we never fall behind and we’re always at the same stage.”

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Dancers from McGrath Irish Dance school practising ahead of St Patrick’s Day in Canberra.
(ABC Radio Canberra: Hannah Walmsley) ABC Radio Canberra

By

Hannah Walmsley

Posted

March 17, 2017 07:00:00

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Six and seven-year-old dancers will perform as part of St Patrick’s Day festivities in Canberra.
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We’re not kidding: Cyclists draw a goat with 200km ride

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“There is talk of doing a quokka or a numbat or some other iconic West Australian animal,” Mr Jones said.Tackling the goat before the kidBut their next adventure won’t happen next weekend. “Part of the reason we actually did this now is that my partner is nine months’ pregnant, she’s due in about four days,” Mr Jones said.”It was something fun to do before I have a kid — geddit?”In the meantime, the goat ride route is available online for anyone to replicate. Strava art — the practice of making a drawing in the course of a ride — has been around for a few years.Creating the goatMr Jones said he planned the route carefully. A cycling group has caused a stir online after completing a 202-kilometre ride across Perth, mapping a picture of a goat.Ben Jones, one of four members of the amateur cycling team Fight Club, told ABC Radio Perth it took eight hours to complete.He said it was just a fun way to spend a Sunday. (Supplied: Ben Jones)
“People love it,” Mr Jones said.”I think it’s just that people like something a bit different.” The team has also been asked what their next piece of ride art will be. “It comes up through Osborne Park for the head, the eye is in Noranda, horns in Mirrabooka, and then it goes through the north-eastern suburbs,” Mr Jones explained.”The tail is in Swan View, some hooves in Kalamunda and the other hooves in Kensington and Victoria Park.”Online hitAfter sharing the image on Sunday night, it has had an enthusiastic response from cyclists internationally. Photo:
Ben Jones (right) and the Fight Club team on the eight-hour goat ride. The team started in Leederville, Perth’s inner-city suburb known for its cafes and popularity with both cyclists and hipsters.”There is a joke going around among people who have seen it online that it makes sense that the beard of the goat is in Leederville,” Mr Jones said.The route then took the riders north, east to the Perth hills and then across the river to the southern suburbs. External Link:

Instagram shot of Goat Ride Prep – Ben Jones
The team’s progress was mapped using Strava, a social media app for cyclists and runners which tracks your progress and then shares the results online. “In Perth, everyone rides their bikes around the river and around the hills which are great places to ride, but it’s interesting to do something a bit different.”But why a goat?”Goats are badass and they’re an easy animal to draw in profile,” Mr Jones said. “It’s about 202 kilometres, so not for the faint-hearted, but anyone can do it,” Mr Jones said. “We are hoping that a few other people will have a crack at it and, in the spirit of Strava, try and do it faster than we did it.”
(Supplied: Ben Jones) ABC Radio Perth

By

Emma Wynne

Posted

March 15, 2017 14:29:43

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Team Fight Club rode 202km in a day to create this image across Perth’s suburbs.

Meet the outback school using fresh food to change lives

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Mount Isa 4825
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Underprivileged students board community school bus toward academic success
Prep teacher Sarah McKenzie said the value of the program was visible on report cards and on the students themselves. “From an education perspective as well, these kids are having the right nutrition for their brains, so they’re able to focus for longer periods of time.”Ms McKenzie said the nutrition program was also helping to relieve pressure on teachers.”It makes my job a lot easier as well because these students, they’re healthy, they’re ready to learn, and they’re coming to school every day, which is the most important thing,” she said. (ABC North West Queensland: Harriet Tatham)
Improving health and gradesWhat began as a trial for Prep students has been expanded across the entire primary school. A remote school in north-west Queensland has launched a nutrition program aimed at improving attendance and student health.Sunset State School in Mount Isa offers students breakfast, morning tea, and lunch free of charge — something teachers say is helping the entire community.”It’s available to everyone that comes here — any families, any children, any background,” said principal Bryon Burke. “A lot of these children had lots of sores all over their skin, and just by having oranges every day has remarkably improved the quality of their skin,” she said. (ABC North West Queensland: Harriet Tatham)
Educating the communityStudent support worker Jenny Craigie, who frequently works alongside parents and guardians, said the food program was also making a difference in homes. Photo:
Prep teacher Sarah McKenzie describes the changes in her classroom as “remarkable”. “The rates of sickness and absence in our children has significantly decreased, attendance rates at school have significantly increased,” he said.”Children are here far more regularly at school each day and it gives them the opportunity then to more frequently access the curriculum. Their learning is far more consistent.”

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Sunset State School in Mount Isa runs a food program aimed at improving grades and attendance. “We believe it’s highly beneficial for our school and our kids, and certainly that’s what the data is telling us.”Attendance rates improve

Boarding the bus for academic success An unofficial school bus service is increasing school attendance rates for some of far north Queensland’s most underprivileged students. He said it was about prioritising student welfare and making sure bellies were full. The index of community socio-educational advantage (ICSEA) ranks schools according to their level of educational advantage.Sunset State School is ranked below the national average.While limited educational advantage often goes hand-in-hand with poor attendance rates, Mr Burke said his school was now bucking the trend.In 2015, school records show Sunset’s Prep class reported an average attendance rate of 78.6 per cent. It’s actually a honeydew melon.”

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School support workers Toni Woodward (L) and Lisa Dempsey prepare fruit and sandwiches for students. “With Indigenous families, because fruit is a very expensive item, they’ll only buy bags of oranges and bags of apples that come pretty cheap in bulk, but we miss out on a lot of other things like nectarines and our peaches, and our grapes,” she said.Ms Craigie said by exposing young children to fruit they did not recognise, the school was helping to expand their horizons.”The reaction to some of these fruits is unreal, it’s like the colours — they’ve never seen it before,” she said.”We actually had a honeydew melon [and] we cut it up.”Those kids had seen a rockmelon, so they were like ‘Miss, this fruit is not right — it’s not the right colour’.”I was no, no baby, that’s the right colour. (ABC North West Queensland: Harriet Tatham)
Mr Burke said Sunset State School did not receive any extra funding to pay for the program. Two years on, preliminary 2017 data ranks the attendance rate at 91.3 per cent, something Mr Burke attributes to the new nutrition program. “We saw issues such as attendance and nutrition in children and family support as important to us, and I fund those on a yearly basis to make sure that they happen,” he said.

(ABC North West Queensland: Harriet Tatham) ABC North West Qld

By Harriet Tatham

Posted

March 13, 2017 14:47:02

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Prep attendance rates have risen from 78 per cent to 91 per cent over a two-year period.

Meet Margaret River’s winery dogs

(ABC Rural: Anthony Pancia)
He is a bundle of infectious energy. (ABC Rural: Anthony Pancia)
He’s been around the winery longer than a lot of the staff and is a bit of a celebrity in his own right. He’s a calming presence who tends not to move too quickly these days but we couldn’t imagine life on the vineyard without him.— Jo Evans, ownerSolstice the dingo-heeler

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Solstice loves a belly rub. — Hannah Mackay, ownerBear the black Labrador

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Bear is a calming presence in the vineyard. She is the meeter and greeter. Vintage is underway in the vineyards across the Margaret River region of Western Australia and, just as they do each year, four-legged friends play a pivotal role in keeping stress levels down as the workers toil under the blazing sun. I think it’s important to have a dog around the vineyard and we can’t imagine life without Rex.— owner Debbie Gallagher, ownerSonny the beagle

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Sonny is full of beans and the vineyard is his playground. — Mike Peterkin, owner Video: Meet Margaret River's winery dogs and watch them at work

(ABC News)
Boallia the kelpie collie

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Boallia keeps an eye on vineyard workers. (ABC Rural: Anthony Pancia)
He’s a calming influence on everyone and has the ability to slow everything down when it’s at its busiest. He loves getting out among the vines and checking everything out; it’s like one big playground for him. He’s as much a part of the winery as the vines themselves. (ABC Rural: Anthony Pancia)
Bear is a constant companion around the vineyard for my husband, who often works alone. (ABC Rural: Anthony Pancia)
He’s just pure love and we are blessed to have him in our lives here. (ABC Rural: Anthony Pancia)
Willow and Pinsky play a very important role for us. (ABC Rural: Anthony Pancia)
The workers just gravitate towards her throughout the day for a cuddle or pat. (ABC Rural: Anthony Pancia)
Jessie loves to lounge around on the cellar door floor where it’s nice and cool and the guests love to see her there. She just has that ability to keep everyone happy. — Danica Bettany, ownerWillow and Pinsky

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Willow and Pinsky are ice breakers and prompt conversation among winery visitors. They act as an ice-breaker with customers, which in turn makes it a lot easier to start conversations. She’s got a beautiful temperament and will never say no to a nice rub down, which seems to help as the stress levels start to ramp up throughout vintage. I see our workers having a great old time with him and Solstice is always happy to roll over and get a nice rub on the belly. There’s no doubt his presence acts as a stress relief.— Vanya Cullen, ownerHamish the terrier

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Hamish is a bit of a celebrity at his winery. They add a nice homely touch and add to the overall atmosphere. — Emily Bromell, cellar door managerRex the Staffordshire terrier

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Rex is able to slow everything down in the vineyard and bring calm. — Ute Kurys-Romer, ownerJessie the chocolate Labrador

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Jessie enjoys meeting and greeting winery visitors. He’s getting on in years, so is not as active as he once was, but our customers and workers just love going up and giving his belly a big scratch.
ABC Rural

Photos by Anthony Pancia

Updated

March 10, 2017 10:19:26
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Margaret River 6285

Story Dogs helping develop young bookhounds

Second time lucky for rescued dogs Bella, Bindi, Zuri and Angus
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Perth 6000
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“It is fun — and that is really what it’s all about.”Seven-year-old Taylor Jovanovic had been finding reading “a bit difficult” but said she loved reading to the Story Dogs and the volunteers. Photo:
Story Dog teams operate at schools right across Australia. One of those volunteers is Christina MacAulay, who comes to St Vincent’s every week with her dog Jasmine. A nationwide program that sees children reading aloud to dogs is building their confidence and improving their literacy. “The more Story Dogs we have, the more children would get the opportunity to build their confidence as readers,” she said.”We know there are a lot of dog lovers out there and a lot of people like myself who have retired and are probably looking for something different to do.”The children love it, the dogs love it and the volunteers love it as well.” Lindy Etteridge is the coordinator of Story Dogs for the Rockingham and Kwinana area in Western Australia.Every week, she brings her dog Poppy to St Vincent’s Primary School for one-on-one reading sessions with some of the children.She has seen some remarkable improvements in the children who read to the dogs.”One of the dogs was listening to a selectively mute child read,” she told ABC Radio Perth.”Over the year the child went from refusing to read, then would only read if the volunteer didn’t listen, to actually reading fluently in front of the volunteer and dog.”Dogs don’t judge or correctMs Etteridge said children who have been struggling to read suddenly feel confident in front of a dog.”A dog is non-judgmental, it is not going to bark if they get a word wrong. (ABC South East SA: Kate Hill)
“We have a number of dogs that we are waiting to assess to see if they are suitable, to try and get a few more into schools next term,” Ms Etteridge said. “Sometimes my parents would go and do other stuff and I wouldn’t have time to read to them,” she said.”She’s [the Story Dog] nice, she’s kind and she helps with words.”Story Dogs sought afterStory Dogs is reliant on volunteers willing to bring their dogs to school and organisers are keen to recruit more. “We have a normal routine at home, but once Jasmine has her jacket on she knows that it is time to work,” Ms MacAulay said.She said she hoped more people would consider joining Story Dogs.
(ABC News) ABC Radio Perth

By Hilary Smale and Emma Wynne

Posted

March 10, 2017 10:43:51

Video: Story Dogs are helping kids gain confidence in reading.
How an autism assistance dog turned a family's life around

How my wheelchair turned me into an artist

ABC Radio Sydney

By

Amanda Hoh

Posted

March 09, 2017 12:59:42

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Andrew Grant has been working as an artist since 2013. (ABC Radio Sydney: Amanda Hoh)
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Sydney 2000
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Andrew Grant was fit and active throughout his teens and 20s working as a labourer, with National Parks and Wildlife and then in hospitality.But at the age of 28, he slowly found himself struggling to walk up stairs and get out of low furniture.He was diagnosed with a degenerative neuromuscular condition called inclusion body myositis.The disease causes Mr Grant’s muscles to waste away to the point that he may one day struggle to breathe and swallow.”To a degree there was a loss of identity,” he said.”I used to love riding motorbikes, sailing and working on cars and bushwalking and doing active things.”But as I became more and more disabled I wasn’t able to participate in those activities and those were parts of my identity which were starting to splinter away.”That experience is one that Mr Grant has channelled into his work now as a painter. Photo:
One of Andrew Grant’s untitled paintings in his solo exhibition. (Supplied: Andrew Grant)
The body of work, which has taken a year to produce, features abstract landscapes and figure paintings of lonely contemplative women and men.”Most of the figure paintings were inspired by this loss of identity and the emotional toll that you experience with the transitioning into a physical disability,” Mr Grant said.”I wanted to expose people to that emotional toll like the solitude, the frustration and angst.”Mr Grant said he had only gravitated towards being defined as a disability artist, as opposed to being recognised simply as “an artist” in the past year, as a way to encourage other disabled people to join the art scene.”Getting involved in the arts for me has brought me into a creative and nurturing community where I can find acceptance and not be judged.”It will give you social participation, it will give you a voice.”Following the exhibition, Mr Grant will start on his next project — a “dark and moody” self-portrait to enter into the Archibald Prize.The Renaissance Project is being exhibited at 107 Projects in Redfern until March 12. External Link:

Andrew Grant and life as a disabled artist
Following his diagnosis, Mr Grant went back to high school via TAFE to earn his Higher School Certificate before enrolling in art school.The only campus he could attend was Kogarah TAFE which was wheelchair accessible.”I found myself at a bit of a crossroads and I took the opportunity to reinvent myself,” he said.Accessible paintingMr Grant started painting large works initially, but had to move on to smaller canvases as he lost movement in his arms.He bought an electric easel with grant money from Accessible Arts, and has a wheelchair that can be raised and lowered so he can extend his reach around his paintings.Last week, the 45-year-old launched his first solo exhibition titled The Renaissance Project.

Joan Oliver is 70 and is going back to school

“I walk about an hour-and-a-half every day, I swim four times a week, there’s no sitting down watching telly or reading trashy novels for me,” she said.With life experience on her side and a very supportive family, Ms Oliver said she was thrilled to finally satisfy her longing for a better education.And her advice for other elderly people considering further education is: “Do it.””It’s never too late and I’ve seen people that could be about my vintage at the campus and it doesn’t take long to feel like you belong.” “My plan at this stage is possibly to work with the community on a voluntary basis because I think I’ve missed the boat when it comes to a career,” she said.And while most 70-year-olds are settling into retirement, Ms Oliver said she had no plans to slow down. Joan Oliver never felt satisfied with her education after being taken out of school at age 13.Now aged 70, she has completed her VCE — last year she was the oldest graduate in Australia — and is starting university for the first time.Sitting at the grounds of Victoria University in Footscray, Ms Oliver was feeling slightly daunted before the first class of her criminal justice degree began.It has been more than 50 years since she left high school.”Part way through year seven I was taken out of school at age 13.”My mother didn’t believe in education for girls and I was sent off to work in a dressing gown factory.”Married at 19, and giving birth to her first child shortly after, Ms Oliver said she had always wanted to further her education but life got in the way. (ABC Radio Melbourne: Fiona Pepper)
“I was an avid golfer but unfortunately I incurred an injury and I couldn’t play golf anymore, and I thought right, now is the time to go back to school.”While completing her VCE, legal studies became one of Ms Oliver’s favourite subjects; that led to her decision to study criminal justice at university.If all goes to plan Ms Oliver will be in her mid-70s when she graduates with a Bachelor of Criminal Justice, significantly older than most university graduates. Photo:
After finishing up her VCE last year, Joan Oliver is getting stuck into a bachelor criminal justice at Victoria University.
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Melbourne 3000
(ABC Radio Melbourne: Fiona Pepper) ABC Radio Melbourne

By

Fiona Pepper

Posted

March 08, 2017 09:07:20

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Joan Oliver says it’s never too late to better your education.

Indigenous student recognised for excelling in STEM

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Maryborough 4650

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By

Ross Kay

Posted

March 08, 2017 12:46:34

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Indigenous student Greta Stephensen receives her award. (ABC Wide Bay: Ross Kay)
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On the screen over time the particles arrange in the shape of the narrow slit. (ABC Wide Bay: Ross Kay)
Her advice for any woman considering studying STEM subjects is simple — your perspective is important.”I think if you’re a woman and you’re wanting to go into the STEM field then you really need to just try,” Greta said.”You really need women and people from diverse backgrounds to go into the workforce. “What we’re doing with the Indigenous STEM awards is showcasing some of these great Indigenous leaders that we do have.” Quantum mysteries of the double-slit experimentThe subject Greta chose for her investigation was one that was originally performed more than 200 years ago but still confounds scientists to this day — the double-slit experiment. “Research shows that when you do have diverse groups you have greater results, you have a diversity of opinion, and you have different ways of looking at problems,” she said.”If you have a single type of person working on a problem, they may not look at all the possible angles, but if you do have a mixed group of people they may think of things that you may never have considered. The experiment shows how light can demonstrate characteristics of both a particle and a wave.Photons or matter are shot towards a plate with one narrow slit and a screen behind it. ASSETS program manager Jen Parsons said the importance of diversity in the sciences could not be overstated.”We have a lot of knowledge and expertise in our Indigenous communities,” she said.”A lot of time the reason why we don’t see good representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is purely because they may not know that opportunities exist, or they may not have those types of aspirations. (ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe)
In May Greta will fly to the United States for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair as a guest of the CSIRO, where she will observe competing teams from around the world, including Australia. “I had to submit an application with all the things I had done, so that included the camps and the competitions and an [extended experimental investigation] that I had done, that presented my skills and my passion for STEM.”

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STEM subjects centre around science, technology, engineering and mathematics. A young Indigenous woman has been recognised by the CSIRO for her passion and pursuit of excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).Greta Stephensen, from St Mary’s College in Maryborough, received the CSIRO Indigenous STEM Student Award after attending an Aboriginal Summer School for Excellence in Technology and Science (ASSETS) camp, as well as demonstrating her work on an experiment.”The award is about passion for science as an Indigenous student,” Greta said. When the particles are observed or measured, they arrange in the shape of the two narrow slits.But when unobserved, the particles arrange in multiple lines, as though the particle waves have interfered with each other.”When they’re not observed they create a bunch of lines at the back of the wall, and they think that is due to diffraction, so we chose to do our [experiment] on the diffraction of people,” Greta said.”So we set up the experiment and came up with the same results, which is really hard to explain considering scientists still don’t know why the particles are doing that.” Encouraging more women into scienceGreta has plans for university study in the future.”If I get a good enough OP I’m hoping to apply for the University of Queensland and get into the dual degree of engineering honours and maths, and then I would like to apply for a cadetship with the CSIRO,” she said.”If I get that I can work with them all through uni and then after that I don’t know where I’ll go. “If we have them, then the world will be better because we’ll be able to have new technologies and new perspectives.”It is an idea echoed by Dr Parsons, who adds that broader perspectives can lead to better problem solving. STEM subjects in fashion Thinking of a creative industries career? Anywhere in STEM, NASA maybe.”I’m very passionate about STEM, and I don’t think anyone could influence me not to do it.”

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Greta will spend two weeks in the US attending the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles. “It’s really important not only for women to recognise that it’s a fantastic career opportunity, but also for organisations to see the benefits of having women, and Indigenous women in their organisation.” External Link:

The Double-slit experiment explained
When you introduce a second narrow slit, things get interesting. Then stick with maths and science, writes Mark Liu.
Queensland's Deadly Science program hits WA

Stationery social enterprise changing girls’ lives

(Facebook: Words With Heart)
She said pitching to male investors also had its challenges.”I’ve had times where I’ve pitched to men and have had comments on my voice, appearance and things that are off the topic of investing in a start-up,” Ms Shuttleworth said.”Every woman I know in the start-up space has a story like that.” A Brisbane woman has created a social enterprise stationery business to help fund education projects for women in developing countries.Lauren Shuttleworth said she began Words With Heart two years ago after being inspired while on a volunteer trip to Kenya. External Link:

Words with Heart
“I met a 10-year-old at a school but the orphanage she was at couldn’t pay her school fees anymore,” she told ABC Radio Brisbane’s Terri Begley and Rachel Fountain.”It really upset me.”When I came back to Australia I decided I wanted to create a source of funding for these girls that wasn’t a one-time donation but an ongoing source.”I realised that starting a business was the way to go, and I wanted to do something that would help education, so stationery was a good fit.”The social enterprise measures its impact and success by how many education days they can fund.”So far we’ve funded 70,000 education days across Sierra Leone, Cambodia, Uganda and Nepal,” Ms Shuttleworth said.”Our aim is to fund one million education days by 2019.”Being a woman in the start-up worldMs Shuttleworth said getting ahead in the start-up world was at times difficult; currently 75 per cent of start-ups are founded by men.”Sometimes when you go to a networking event for start-ups it can feel like Where’s Wally trying to spot the other female in the room.”It can feel unwelcoming at times from the sense of being different, especially in the tech space.”

Photo:
Stationery made by the social enterprise helps women and girls in developing countries learn.
(Supplied: Words With Heart) ABC Radio Brisbane

By

Jessica Hinchliffe

Posted

March 08, 2017 12:58:33

Photo:
Lauren Shuttleworth hopes to use paper to make a difference.
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Brisbane 4000