News senior journalist Darren Linton looks back at the issues he tackled in 2012, from water storage to plover chicks.December 4, 2012 4:17am
"Probably the most important story of the year because the seven councilors elected in November will have a big influence on the lives of every citizen of Greater Shepparton over the next four years," Darren said.
"The field for the election was bigger than the Melbourne Cup and voters opted for three new faces promising a fresh approach. The problems and challenges for Council remain the same, maintaining growth and providing services while dealing with reduced external revenue and unrest over ever increasing rates and charges which are the only self generated income.
"The ongoing multi-million dollar burden of an old defined benefits superannuation scheme is also a big challenge for the new council."
"Getting a corny reference to 60’s television series Get Smart into the lead of a story was just a bonus, the detail of just how close Lake Eildon got to being full was a ripper yarn," Darren said.
"For several months there was increasing confidence from water experts that Lake Eildon would reach 100 per cent before summer. Why was it important? Because after years of drought and the destruction of successive floods a fully Lake Eildon would have been the icing on the cake.
"It was more a psychological rather than a physical milestone to be able to say, even four just a few days, that the recovery from the drought was complete.
"Although the target was narrowly missed water is now abundant again which in the state’s largest and most productive irrigation is a key driver of confidence."
"Thankfully when a cardboard box full of old photographs and documents was left in a charity bin in Gympie, Queensland, the store manager bothered to take a closer look," Darren said.
"Inside were photographs from World War I, ledgers for a government relief scheme in Shepparton East following the second world war and many other treasures relating to the district. Georgina Mackay had gleaned some clues from the hand written notes on the backs of the photographs but had been unable to find anyone to hand the box too so she sent it to The News in the hope we could help.
"The mystery of the dumped photos was soon solved when we published them and they were returned to grateful Bunbartha resident Doug Lees for safekeeping."
"Nature is literally on your doorstep living in the Goulburn Valley but sometimes you have to make a conscious decision to pause and admire it," Darren said.
"The News has a resident pair of Masked Lapwings who insist on nesting each year beside an increasingly busy internal road to the car park. Given the recovery from drought and the abundance of spring breeding generally it was a good opportunity to tell their story.
"Three of the four eggs hatched and the family has happily moved farther afield meaning the swooping threat has also dissipated - at least until next spring when they are sure to return."
"There was no single reason put forward by police or VicRoads for a spate of serious truck crashes across the Goulburn Valley in September but Roads Minister Terry Mulder didn’t hesitate in agreeing to a meeting with truck drivers and transport operators at Violet Town to listen first hand to their concerns," Darren said.
"Mr Mulder left with a much clearer view of pressures on drivers and a few ideas to pursue including a fresh look at fatigue management, addressing crawling queues at major logistics centres that keep drivers in the cab when they could be resting and provision of more rest stops along the Hume Fwy.
"There were a few raised voices in the meeting but the outcome was positive and the Minister's prompt response may ultimately save lives."
A single-storey weatherboard house in Doyles Rd, Shepparton was gutted by fire on Saturday.
The under 16 Pigeons kick started the YFNC's finals campaign with a resounding victory over the Paul Spargo led Scots College in the Grand Final of the AWJFL Elwyn Langford Shield at the Albury Sports Ground on Sunday.
Greater Shepparton City Council was successful in securing the National Cutting Horse Association Victorian Futurity Cutting Horse Championships for 2014 and 2015, with this year’s event scheduled from September 10-14 at Tatura Park.
Success at the regional schools soccer competition has earned the Echuca Primary School (208) girls side a spot at state games on Wednesday.
Julie Sands and Sheridan Clark have been kept busy, visiting Rochester recently yo dispense free coats to residents.
Book Week gets colourful turnout.
Deaprtment of Environment and Primary Industries unhappy about Mt Disappointment vandals.
Jerilderie Shire deputy mayor Ruth McRae handed the key over for the new Rural Fire Service station last Friday.
Farmers have a new weapon in the fight against mice.
Cobram school students take their books to the streets, dressing up for Community Reading Day.
Public interest to determine Deniliquin Town Hall refurbishment.
Customer service will remain a strategic focus for incoming Goulburn-Murray Water chairperson Sarah Scales.
The Benalla Indian Myna Action Group will pay a $1 per bird bounty on live birds delivered to CAL farm. National Party MP Bill Sykes donated $100 to fund the bounty.
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