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Tuesday, 07 August

17:25

Call to arms Foster Community Online

Brigade asks for more volunteers FOSTER Fire Brigade captain David Jones is relieved a recent call out to fight a blaze at South Gippsland Hospital proved to be a false []

The post Call to arms appeared first on Foster Community Online.

17:21

Emergency call on ACOs Foster Community Online

AMBULANCE Victoria Team Manager Leigh Nichols-Thompson is calling on more volunteers to bolster the services ranks. Were looking for more people to become ACOs (Ambulance Community Officers). The training is []

The post Emergency call on ACOs appeared first on Foster Community Online.

17:18

Nominate an Aussie champ Foster Community Online

NOMINATIONS are now open for the South Gippsland Australia Day Awards. The awards provide an opportunity to recognise people in our community who go above and beyond. Awards are now []

The post Nominate an Aussie champ appeared first on Foster Community Online.

17:15

Planning for the best Foster Community Online

THERES a rumbling discontent in the Mount Best community, as people consider the future for a plan that doesnt fit an easy planning mould. A recent town hall meeting attended []

The post Planning for the best appeared first on Foster Community Online.

16:53

Welshpool & District Horticultural Society Foster Community Online

The Spring Flower Show held by the Welshpool & Dist Horticultural Soc will be held on Friday Nov 2nd (1.30pm 5pm), and Saturday Nov 3rd (10am -4.30). Also a []

The post Welshpool & District Horticultural Society appeared first on Foster Community Online.

15:36

Young gun Abbey takes state title South Gippsland Sentinel-Times

Abbey Webb shows the high flying form that won her a state title. Photo: Ellie Beecroft.

ARAWATAS Abbey Webb was clearly the youngest competitor in this years Victorian Senior Motocross Championship, buy it didnt stop her from taking the title.
Abbey, 16, won a thrilling series finale at Colac in the Clubman division in her first year out of juniors.
It was a fitting reward for the Year11 student at Korumburra Secondary College, who trains hard both on the bike with local motocross legend Peter Boyle, and in the gym at Korumburras Pure Fitness.
It can be physically and mentally demanding, Abbey said.
She held her nerve when it mattered though, piloting her YZ 250cc to the chequered flag.
The series was held over four rounds at Horsham, Swan Hill, Albury and then Colac.
Each round has three heats.
Abbey was third overall at Horsham, second at Swan Hill, she won at Albury and then at Colac, where the state title came down to the final heat.
The racing format means that the Clubman riders are racing alongside the elite Expert riders.
By the end of the series, Abbey was beating them too, showing just how far shes come, particularly given shes only been racing competitively for three years.
That never happens, her mum Catherine said.
Its a family affair for the Webbs.
Theres a continuously growing track at their dairy farm which Abbey and her younger brothers Blake and Harvey use whenever they can.
Theyre both carving it up at junior level too, while dad David is an experienced rider and track manager at the Outtrim circuit and Catherine runs the canteen.
We enjoy the weekends away together. Its great family time, Catherine said.
However, she admits she cant watch them race!
With the state titles over, Abbey has her sights set on securing the Gippsland crown. She leads the series and will be hard to catch.
It means next year shell be heading to the Expert class, even though Year12 studies will be a priority. Abbey has plans to be a midwife.
Her motocross development will be fast-tracked even further following her selection to attend an elite riding camp in Melbourne.
Shell be one of only eight from Victoria, across a range of disciplines including enduro and off-road racing. As the only motocross representative, shell get some quality time with the tutors.
Abbey said she hopes her r...

12:20

Avalanche Warning Considerable for Vic Alps, and deteriorating Mountain Journal

With this (fantastic) and much needed top up of snow across the Alps, there is now a considerable risk of avalanche on northern and western facing slopes. It is likely this will become even more severe in coming days.

The report below comes from Mountain Sports Collective (check here for their three regional updates: Central VIC Alps, NE VIC and Snowy Mountains):

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Primary Hazard: Wind Slab.
Wind loaded aspects lee to the north and west are prone to avalanche. Avalanches are Large and Likely. Conservative terrain choices are essential to safe travel in the backcountry and any unpatrolled areas. This advisory is for the MSC North East Vic Alps region areas adjacent to and including Mount Hotham, Mount Bogong, Mount Feathertop, The Fainters and Bogong High Plains. 
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The following advisory was issued by Bill Barker from Mt Hotham ski patrol:
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Yesterday saw about 10 cm of graupel (snow that looks and acts like bean bag balls) fall onto a very hard base, and now we have some denser wind blown snow sitting on top which is a good recipe for unstable snow. Stay away from steep lee slopes. There will be great turns out there but stick to lower angled and densely treed terrain, and watch out for terrain traps. Take Care.
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The State Emergency Service has also issued an avalanche warning:
  • Recent heavy snowfall onto an existing firm base of snow, together with cold temperatures and strong winds, means there is considerable avalanche risk on some terrain in back-country alpine areas.
  • Ski resorts will be undertaking avalanche control work to minimise any hazards within resorts.
Anyone undertaking activities such as skiing, snowboarding or hiking in back-country alpine areas should exercise caution and remain alert.
You should use maintained and monitored slopes when skiing or snowboarding.

12:13

Estranged husband charged with Island murder News The Star

HOMICIDE Squad detectives are continuing to appeal for more information from the public in relation to the death of young mother Samantha Fraser in Cowes on Monday, July 23.
Last Thursday, police charged her ex-husband Adrian Basham, 41, of Paynesville with her murder.
He appeared at Bairnsdale Magistrates Court last Thursday and was remanded in custody to appear in Latrobe Magistrates Court on January 10, 2019.
Homicide Squad Detective Inspector Tim Day said, Whilst a person has been charged with Samanthas murder, the process does not end there and I cannot stress how it is important to still seek the publics help.
Det Insp Day said even a minor piece of information from the public could be enough to fill any gaps in the investigation.
Detectives are appealing for anyone who has dashcam footage taken on Monday, July 23 in the vicinity of Phillip Island between 7am and 1pm, and hasnt already spoken to police to download and secure the footage, then contact Crime Stoppers.
Investigators are interested in footage taken in the vicinity of Seagrove Way, or between Seagrove Way and San Remo.
They would also like to hear from anyone with CCTV footage from Seagrove Way or surrounding streets or anywhere on Phillip Island on the day of Ms Frasers death.
Police are keen to speak to anyone who saw the man in San Remo or Phillip Island that day, particularly in the vicinity of Seagrove Way, Cowes.
Anyone with information or footage is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au
Police were called to Ms Frasers house on Seagrove Way about 4.30pm on Monday, July 23 to conduct a welfare check on her.
The 38 year old was found dead in the garage of the property. Ms Fraser is a mother of three.
A Facebook fundraiser for Ms Frasers family had raised $60,172 by Friday.

12:12

Funding to buoy community houses News The Star

COMMUNITY houses across South Gippsland will share in State Government funding for extra coordination hours, giving the public greater access to employment, training and volunteering opportunities.
Venus Bay Community Centre is the only benefactor in South Gippsland Shire, while in Bass Coast Shire, Inverloch Community House, Bass Valley Community Group and Wonthaggi Neighbourhood Centre at Mitchell House benefited.
All houses received $14,760 each to now provide 25 coordination hours a week.
The additional coordination hours will help staff and volunteers provide activities and services such as language classes, computer tutoring, health and wellbeing activities, life skills lessons and self-help.
Gippsland Regional Neighbourhood Houses Group Inc, which services Bass Coast and South Gippsland shires, will benefit from extra networker hours.
Victoria has more than 400 neighbourhood houses across the state within 16 networks. Neighbourhood house networkers have responsibility for supporting houses to ensure the community is getting the best service possible.
Eastern Victoria Region MLC Harriet Shing said, Neighbourhood houses are a wonderful part of Victoria, including here in Gippsland.
From gardening lessons to IT training, theres always support, advice and a helping hand to be found at neighbourhood houses. It is wonderful to be able to increase their funding.
Venus Bay Community Centre coordinator Alyson Skinner said the funding increase was the result of a campaign spanning four years.
We will be able to open another day and put resources into other programs and events as determined by the community, she said, citing activities for young people and improved transport as possible items.
Leongatha Community House coordinator Eunice Donovan was pleased the community of Venus Bay would receive extra funding.
How wonderful it is that residents throughout South Gippsland Shire now have more equitable access to support and assistance from their community houses, and Im delighted the work of the sector is being recognised by government, she said.
Milpara Community House manager Jenni Keerie said Milpara is already funded for 30 hours per week.
The benefit for all community/neighbourhood houses will come from additional hours allocated for the networker who supports the Gippsland area, she said.
This will mean increased support to each house, as well as increased time for the networker to take our issues to the peak body, Neighbourhood Houses Victoria.
Neighbourhood houses leverage $5.02 for every $1 in funding. Most organisations are given funding and keep it. Neighbourhood houses are given funding and we share it with others.
Essentially, the communities where community/neighbourhood houses are located are the winners overall of the increased funding allocation, and that is a good thing.

12:10

Dry conditions cause fire News The Star

RUBY and Leongatha Fire Brigades attended an escaped burn off that was spreading into trees early on Monday morning, August 6, at 12.25am.
The fire in Hughes Street, Leongatha, fanned by a strong breeze, burnt through dry grasses and spread to some established gum trees.
Whilst this fire didnt pose any risk to life or property, it does show how dry our environment is.
Darren Hardacre from the Ruby brigade noted you would normally not expect a fire to spread this much and to catch trees alight during the winter months.
This is a good reminder to all members of our community not to burn off if windy conditions are forecast and that you should be vigilant with all your fires at any time of the year, Mr Hardacre said.
Lets hope this is not a sign of the times to come.

Timely warning: conditions are dry and with combining strong winds, fires can still start in winter.

12:09

Demand for local bus boost News The Star

REGULAR bus services and improved links between local towns are on South Gippslanders wish list for travel improvements.
South Gippsland Shire Council hosted six drop in sessions across the shire last week, discovering how public transport could be improved.
These forums were a result of council resolution in March to document community feedback and advocate for change to public transport authorities.
Councils community strengthening coordinator Ned Dennis said the drop in forums held in Nyora, Tarwin Lower, Leongatha, Foster, Mirboo North and Korumburra revealed a range of public transport needs.
We heard that its difficult for those travelling on the South Gippsland line to link to Cranbourne. Its not just about linking our public transport directly to Melbourne; we need other reliable links, he said.
We also heard there needs to be much better linkage in the Leongatha, Korumburra, Wonthaggi and Inverloch loop. This is for two reasons. The first is the Wonthaggi hospital is being developed into a subregional hospital and it is important people have the means to get there, or they will continue going to Monash or Latrobe Valley.
The second is young people work in these towns and cant always get to their places of work.
Mr Dennis said there had been some feedback about the train service. Whilst people said it would be nice to have, many people just wanted more services to be made available.
The biggest thing overall is that people want a regular bus service in their towns, Mr Dennis said.
For example, Poowong has one bus service running once a week on a Thursday to Warragul and Drouin.
This service came from a council program several years ago, but Poowongs population is now pushing 800.
A bus stopping in Loch, Nyora and Poowong would give more people access to the Melbourne line, and including Poowong would only add 10 minutes to the journey.
In Tarwin Lower, the priority was to have a reliable service linking it and Venus Bay with Leongatha and Wonthaggi.
They want to be able to get to the shops, or the doctors, or the movies. If there was a regular link to Leongatha a couple of times a week, people could commute, Mr Dennis said.
An online discussion kicked off a week before the drop in sessions and feedback is still being collected.
By mid August, council will collate the information to provide a report to council in late August.
Following this, council will advocate its position to Public Transport Victoria.
We want to see more access to services because it will give people greater capacity to stay local, Mr Dennis said.
It is certainly a factor for young families when they are choosing where to live. Older people also find it difficult to move to South Gippsland because they can access public transport and other facilities easier towards the city.
We have received valuable advice from the community and w...

12:08

VicRoads role under the spotlight News The Star

SEVEN submissions from within the South Gippsland Shire Council helped to inform the inquiry into VicRoads management of country roads interim report, released recently.
Completed by the Victorian Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee, the inquiry examined the effectiveness of VicRoads in managing country roads, the existing funding model, the lack of consultation with regional communities, and the option of dismantling VicRoads and creating two specific bodies for country roads and metropolitan roads.
VicRoads is responsible for 25,000 kilometres of Victorias roads and roadsides. Of those 25,000 kilometres, 19,000 kilometres are rural and regionally based roads.
The inquiry received a total of 335 submissions.
The report determined various concerns relating to the role of VicRoads in managing country roads.
The report said many submissions commented on the poor quality of maintenance work and the competency of contractors hired by VicRoads to carry out such works, including one from South Gippsland Shire Council.
In its submission, council said VicRoads was a poorly informed purchaser having works delivered by inexperienced contractors and the result is gradually declining quality in the work delivered.
Councils submission also suggested issues with routine maintenance work.
The poor contract model historically used for VicRoads maintenance, where it was more financially rewarding for contractors to keep repairing potholes, has also been a contributing factor, its submission said.
There does not appear to be a sound pavement renewal program where larger pavement areas are reconstructed rather than basic pothole repairs being undertaken.
The report said South Gippsland council (and other councils) indicated it often dealt with complaints relating to state managed roads due to limited community understanding.
Rural councils such as South Gippsland experience fallout from complaints about the condition of the arterial road network, the councils submission said.
Road users and ratepayers typically do not distinguish between local roads managed by council and arterial roads managed by VicRoads.
Forty two individual submitters were in favour of a specific country roads body separate to a metropolitan roads body and 11 were opposed.
Mark Petersen of Leongatha North noted his recollection of the operation of the Victorian Country Roads Board.
I am old enough to remember the Victoria Country Roads Board. Under this organisation our roads were maintained to a high standard, surfaces were regularly re-sealed, there were crews that patrolled our highways daily repairing holes in the surfaces until a proper repair could be effected. This is what we need now, Mr Petersens submission said.
The reports only recommendation was for the inquiry to be referred to the appropriate committee in the next Parliament of Victoria for consideration...

12:06

Tree trouble News The Star

TREES falling across roads will cause a death sooner or later according to Dumbalk North farmer Adrian Harris.

Mr Harris said the increased number of trees falling across roads is no coincidence and is only going to get worse.

And while recent strong winds are a factor he said the maintenance of trees by the Shire along the roadsides is just not keeping up.

A recent Tuesday storm on July 17 saw 10 trees fall over the road in just a 10 km radius around the Milford and Farmers Road areas in Dumbalk North.

During that day five trees alone fell along the Milford Road, some onto the road and some knocking down farmers fences, Mr Harris said.

If a car had come at the wrong time or stock had wondered onto the road because a fence had been knocked over then we could have had a major accident.

My best friend and cousin were both killed by trees coming down and Im very aware of the damage trees can do.

In most instances the trees are cleaned up by our good corporate citizens which are the farmers with their tractors and chainsaws. Sometimes it is reported to the Shire and they mostly turn out but other times we just tidy up the roadsides ourselves.

Mr Harris said a big problem in this whole South Gippsland Shire is leaving many dead trees on the roadsides and these pose a threat.

Farmer Harry Goldsmith points to what he describes as an incorrect tree planting by the Shire in 1984 along Farmers Road where they planted unsuitable trees like wattles and often under power lines.

Wattles have a lifespan of only about 30 years and they start to die and drop limbs. Some of the gum trees they planted too are dropping limbs or dying.

Mr Goldsmith said Farmers Road was in a very good condition and doesnt want to see the speed limit drop from its current 100km/h.

The problem isnt the road condition it is the poor maintenance of the trees.

The men point to an accident on the Milford and Farmers Road intersection which claimed the life of a motorcyclist 18 months ago where a coroners report indicated that the trees were a mitigating factor in the accident.

Those poplars were all removed immediately around that intersection and visibility around there is much improved, Mr Harris said.

Some progress was made during the last summer when a contractor came and pruned back some of the roadside trees but Mr Harris said they didnt go near far enough.

I asked the contractor why he wasnt cutting down the dead trees and he said he wasnt allowed to touch them and nothing over nine inches in diameter either, Mr Harris said.

Mr Harris pointed to other problems during a drive with The Star to inspect the area.

One Blackwood tree had split down the middle; one half hanging over a farmers fence and being held up by another tree, the other half pointed towards the road.

I reckon theres only one way this tree is going to go and i...

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