December 6, 2006. This page contains all major reports and comment pieces in the current edition.

Samih Habib, businessman and alderman, will be meeting with representatives of Asian international airlines in Darwin early next month, seeking an extension of their networks in Australia, to take in Alice Springs.
“They are interested in getting a foothold in Australia, but the Australian government is very protective.”
Alderman Habib (pictured) says two carriers seem keen, including Tiger Airways, already flying to Darwin and WA.
He will invite their executives to Alice Springs for more talks, and to get an appreciation of the Central Australian area.
Ald Habib says he’s acting as a council representative.
He’s also keen to talk to Skywest, which is now operating only in WA, to expand their route network to The Centre.
“We cannot always be blackmailed by one airline,” says Ald Habib.
“We have to do something and the time is now.
“We cannot afford to be the backyard of Ayers Rock.”
The meeting in Darwin is supported by the owners of the airport there, and senior staff of Tourism NT, the former tourist commission.
Ald Habib says the initiative ushers in a new era for the council, of raised assertiveness, counter-acting the neglect by the NT Government and its preference for the Top End.
Ald Habib says there is a simultaneous pitch by the council to push ahead with the international airport for Alice.
John Anderson, the Federal Minister of Transport at the time, said in September 2004 that he was backing a plan to open the Alice Springs airport to international traffic, both charters and scheduled flights.
“I’ve always adopted a policy of saying if people want to develop an international airport we’re right with them.
“I’ve done it for other airports,” said Mr Anderson.
“My only note of caution would be, go into it carefully from a commercial point of view.
“From a government and official point of view we’ll always support it.”
Meanwhile the Federal Government has yet to pay up its promised $200,000 for charter flight handling facilities in a four-way deal, including the council, the Alice airport and the NT Government. The other three have already paid their share.

“Beautiful cross-cultural theatre” out of Central Australia is more marketable than any theatre out of Sydney, declares Danielle Loy, a young lawyer as well as aspiring playwright  who has taken a leap of faith to quit her day job and head up a revitalised Red Dust Theatre.
Like many arts organisations in the Centre, Red Dust has been languishing on a small amount of operational funding and, from time to time, small project grants.
Now Loy, with the backing of a strong committee, has thrown herself full-time into turning that around.
“I’m in a good position, I don’t have kids, I don’t have a husband, I can do it for a while,” she says.
The strategy is to rapidly expand the theatre’s repertoire and track record as the platform from which to attract more substantial funding and sponsorship.
They’ve already begun by offering for a fee bite-sized theatre, drawing on segments of their previously produced play, Barracking, as an attraction at local events such as the recent Desert Knowledge Symposium.
“We want to encourage more organisations to keep in mind the Red Dust product for their special events,” says Loy.
“If the segment is from a play that we have already produced, with two weeks’ notice we can present a 20 minute show.”
But the real kickoff of the new look Red Dust comes next year with the production of country singer-songwriter Warren H. Williams’ The Magic Coolamon.
To Loy’s knowledge it is the first piece of musical theatre to be written solely by an Indigenous Territorian, and it will be the first time Red Dust has tackled a family show.
The storyline has a strong appeal to children and the production will involving an all Indigenous cast with the exception of local teenage actor Ella Dann.
The Magic Coolamon, to be staged at the Desert Park, will help Red Dust achieve one of their goals, which is to make theatre more accessible to a broader section of the community as well as to tourists.
“It makes sense to share a real Central Australian voice with tourists,” says Loy. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to educate them about the Centre.
“We’ve had discussions with Tourism NT. They will help promote the show, as will the Desert Park.”
At the same time, Red Dust is working on strengthening its relationship with the Araluen Centre for the Arts.
A sign perhaps of good things to come is that Araluen has made its stage available for Red Dust to offer the first of what Loy hopes will be an ongoing series of workshops in theatrical arts and stagecraft.
“We are committed to nothing less than having a fully professional company with all staff and actors paid for their time,” says Loy.
“This allows them to concentrate on the creative task. If they’re worrying about other work and making ends meet, their energy in the theatre will reflect that.”
Craig Mathewson, who founded Red Dust together with playwright Michael Watts and performer Roger Menadue, will lead two half-day workshops in acting and directing on Saturday, December 9.
Mathewson’s dream for a long time has been to work with an ensemble of actors full-time, “dedicated to honing their craft and making quality theatre that deals with profound issues, that tells the stories of this place.”
That’s when Loy talks of the international marketability of Red Dust: “It’s huge, much more marketable to an overseas audience than the Sydney Theatre Company.  We can give a meaningful  and entertaining glimpse into a part of the world that so many people are fascinated by – instead of telling, showing!
“We under-estimate the power of theatre to contribute to perceptions of Australia. Imagine the benefit of people overseas being exposed to the positive aspects of relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.” 
Mathewson, who in the 90s toured shows in Europe with an English-speaking theatre company based in Germany, says there is no doubt that a quality show with Indigenous content would go very well in Europe.
“It’s a matter of skilling people up to withstand the demands of a touring schedule – it’s hard work!”
He’s also confidant that Michael Watts’  Waiting for Becket would tour well and, being a one-man play, lucratively. 
Before all this, however, there’s a lot of work to do on the ground in the Centre.
There are plans to build “bite size theatre” into an event in its own right, offering a festival of short 10-minute plays, with heats over two weeks and then a final.
“If we put on 10 plays, that’ll  be 10 lots of families and friends being brought to the theatre, some of whom may never have been to a play before,” says Loy.
The process may also uncover kernels from which to develop full-length shows.
Darwin Festival has purchased Barracking for 2007 and that will start a Territory tour, another first for Red Dust, taking the show to a number of remote communities before returning to  Alice (since it was first staged here, the script has undergone a development process with professional dramaturg Peter Matheson).
A collaboration with the Darwin Theatre Company will also see four half-hour plays produced under the umbrella title Dark Territory.  Writers are Michael Watts, Maryanne Butler, Steven Carlton and Gail  Evans. The production will open in Darwin in May and will come to Alice as part of Araluen’s theatre season.
Meanwhile in Alice Loy’s own play, Hit by a Bus, will open in May. It also has been in script development with Peter Matheson.
Says Loy with humility: “Hopefully I’ve taken on board the feedback I’ve been given, about letting my characters tell their story.”
Not all of the resources are in place yet for this panapoly. There are bits of funding from  Arts NT and Artback; and there are plenty of submissions in the pipeline, including to the Australia Council.
But Loy is also going to Melbourne shortly to meet with the Australian Business Arts Foundation to look at “ways to make us viable without having to rely on government funding”. 
The vision for this work-in-progress is big but it does seem like there’s the passion to match.

Playing to a packed public gallery, a majority of aldermen on Monday night pushed forward with their call for a youth curfew – the so-called Night Time Youth Strategy –  and committed council to installing CCTV cameras in the CBD, despite not having a budget line for it nor any idea of how much it will cost to run.
Mayor Fran Kilgariff and Alderman Jane Clark were in Canberra on council business and took part in the meeting over a crackling phone line.
Ald Melanie van Haaren was also participating by phone, but with much better reception.
The poor phone connection did nothing to assist Ms Kilgariff and Ald Clark in getting across their minority views on the issues  to a largely hostile audience.
There were plenty of knowing looks and smirks exchanged between aldermen physically present and with individuals in the public gallery.
Several members of the public – inexplicably squashed into the far corner of the chambers, with several forced to sit behind the projection screens – were vocal in their support or condemnation of views, with at least one disturbing call to “be careful how you vote”.
Local youth services were present in force and welcomed Ms Kilgariff’s strong opposition to the curfew aspect of the youth strategy.
She said she was completely against police picking up children from the streets and taking them into care and custody. Clapping from the youth service representatives.
“We actually don’t know the true status of youth affairs,” she said.
“Well said!” came a call from the gallery.
“I completely support the need for a beefed up youth strategy, which is in process,” said Ms Kilgariff. 
“With this motion we have jumped the gun. 
“It’s very premature, a Clayton’s solution.
“Any child on the street should be able to be there without being suspected of a crime.”
Mutterings of dissent from supporters of a curfew, including from Ald Murray Stewart.
“You must be joking!” he said more than once, without being called to order by the chair (Ald Robyn Lambley, author of the motion being debated).
Ald Clark, seconded by Ms Kilgariff, moved an amendment to defer a decision on the strategy until council  receives a report on the issues from its community services director in December.
The amendment was lost, and the motion, which commits council to writing to the Teritory Government with their youth strategy  recommendations, was carried.
Ald van Haaren had spoken for the motion without reservation: “I don’t believe we have a large problem with youth crime,” she said, “ but this is about having a safe house for kids on the street at night and following on from that, a process of providing additional support to families.
“I don’t see it as a curfew and it should be a discretionary option.
“It’s not about hounding kids off the street who are on their way home from a job on a bike.”
Ald van Haaren feared that a less strongly worded proposal would be “pushed under the table and ignored”.
Ald Samih Habib spoke with emotion about “the sad part of this” – that the town’s streets are not safe for the children themselves and about the lack of anywhere to take them. He said the budget for Aranda House, which used to be such a facility, was equal to the entertainment budget for the Territory’s Parliament House. He decried this as shameful.
“I want to know why we don’t do something? All of us are slack, everyone.
“I object to a five year old being locked up by police because they have no home to go to.
“It’s not the council’s job but we can keep the pressure up.”
He called on people to join him in sleeping outside of the Chief Minister’s office to “get someone listening to us”.
“Good on you, Samih!”
“Stir ‘em up!”
The youth strategy is cost free for the council – they’re only writing a letter –  unlike the CCTV camera initiative whose cost at present is unknown.
An application for external funding from the National Crime Prevention Program will be submitted on Friday but aldermen rejected the executive’s clear preference for a wait and see approach on this issue.
Ald van Haaren suggested the immediate formation of a steering committee to identify money from within council’s budget and to prepare a proposal to go to tender.
Ald Habib asked about returning the money to council coffers if the external funds are received.
He also asked if the surveillance tapes would be monitored.
He was told that there would be the technical capacity for the tapes to be monitored.
“Good but not good enough,” said Ald Habib. “We want to prevent crime before it happens, not just get evidence.”
Ms Kilgariff reminded aldremen of a previous consultant’s advice about the limited effectives of cameras in the mall because of poor sight lines (blocked by verandahs, trees, shade structures).
She moved that a report be prepared to provide advice on physical placement and potential monitoring.
“We need get information. To do otherwise would be to have our heads buried in the sand.”
Ald Clark wanted to see a report on funding of the initiative before any commitment by council: “It’s premature to immediately relocate money from other areas.”
Ald Stewart described opposition to the initiative as “bizarre and bemusing”, given the support given to it at the recent committee meeting.
He again identified the tree planting program as an obvious source of funds. This year’s allocation to that program of $70,000 “will give us some coverage while we’re waiting  for the Feds”.
“It’s time for common sense to reign,” said Ald Stewart.
“Here, here!” from the gallery.
“95% of people behind the idea know where the camares should be placed,” declared Ald Koch.
“If the cops don’t want to monitor them, we’ll get someone else to do it.”
“Here, here!”
“It’s not a difficult decision to make, get the application in and start the ball rolling on finding the funds.”
Clapping and “Oh, there is some intelligence out there!”
Ms Kilgariff tried again: “It’s financially irresponsible to not know the cost before we do it. We’ve never done that before.”
Groans from the aldermen. No call to order.
CEO Rex Mooney warned that the mayor’s amendment would prevent the submission to the Commonwealth.
As it was put to the vote, someone from the gallery called out,”Be careful how you vote.”
Ald Clark said “I’ve got my hand up [in favour of the amendment].”
Ald Habib told her, “You’re the only one.”
“If we don’t have the money let’s borrow it,” he said.
Horrified reaction from  Ald Geoff Bell.
“Good on ya, Samih,” from the gallery.
Mr Mooney again warned aldermen about the financial implications: “We don’t know what the running costs will be.”
Ms Kilgariff asked to speak again.
On low-voiced advice from Ald Koch, Ald Lambley told her the debate was closed.
Despite her misgivings, Ms Kilagriff supported to motions, with only Ald Clark dissenting. 
With that vote the gallery emptied, with a final comments about “peanuts” being thrown over a shoulder (presumably for the monkey aldermen) and proceedings returned to their more usual staid tenor.
The meeting also saw council vote for a review of its laneway closure policy, although the controversial closure of the Laver Court laneway will be pursued.

Independent Member Loraine Braham is seeking to block the proposed itinerants’ camp in the northern industrial area through a petition to the NT Government and an objection to the planning authorities.
She says she doesn’t blame Federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister Mal Brough for the selection: “It was agreed to by the Alice Town Council and the Territory Government,” she says.
(In fact, the Dalgety Road site has been objected to by the council, even though council’s representatives on the town camps taskforce implementaion committee, Mayor Fran Kilgariff and Alderman David Koch, had earlier approved the site.)
 Ms Braham the MLA for Braitling, says: “It is inappropriate to have a residential establishment in an industrial area.
“Concerns have been raised with me by the veladrome committee as well as businesses and private home owners in the Dixon Road area, such as Fairview Court and Cliffside Court, about the impact of such a large number of people.
“The proposed facility is said to have a ‘defined’ life but the longer term options are not stated.
“History has shown that sites for temporary short term accommodation became permanent town camps.
“The application states that the development is a temporary facility until such time as more permant facilities are provided. Does this mean this will then become a permanent facility?
“An independent survey has indicated about 350 private accommodation units were being used or solely used by Indigenous clients.
“I would assume these visitors would move to this [new] accommodation rather than the private sector for cost reasons.
“This should be of concern to those motels that have catered for indigenous clients as their occupancy could be sorely affected.”
Ms Braham says she cannot imagine how the people camping in public places or public housing or town camps will be persuaded to use the proposed venue.
“The application also does not identify existing sacred sites, something that is required of other development proposals.
“This site had the blessing of the Town Council and NT Minister.
“I think it was premature to advertise this proposal without consulting the residents or businesses in the aerea.
“I only hope objectors get a fair hearing and are not considered racist as most have been very genuine in their concerns.
“ I would like to see how successful the facitilty is at the Tyeweretye Club [adjacent to the show grounds outside The Gap] before another is built.
“I believe the importance of improving the accommodation on [remote] communities is more important than encouraging people to come to town for no reason.”

While Planning Minister Delia Lawrie has rejected an application from the Brown family to develop 170 rural residential blocks at White Gums because the scheme would contravene the 40 hectare minimum block size, her Development Consent Authority (DCA) is set to approve eight hectare blocks in the same area.
The second application comes from the senior member of the pioneering family, Jim Brown.
And while Ms Lawrie (pictured) is keeping secret the report to her by the DCA about the 170 block project, the DCA has no trouble conducting its business in public view, releasing minutes and recommendations.
The DCA advised Mr Brown this month that a final precondition for his application is receipt of a comment from Environmental Health Central Australia.
The difference is that the Jim Brown application can be dealt with by the DCA, while the Brown family application is a rezoning and must be decided on by the minister.
For the long running residential subdivision scheme the DCA considered submissions from 120 people, roughly half of them opposed to the project.
Deliberations have gone on for some five years, and an earlier proposal had already been rejected.
The Brown Family now says they have spent half a million dollars on consultants and other work.
The cost to the government of the protracted process is not known.
Family spokesman Steve Brown says all engineering and other demands by a string of government authorities had been met.
But in the end Ms Lawrie rejected the proposal mainly on the basis of block sizes.
She declined several requests for an interview but issued this statement: “The proposal by Pat Brown was to rezone an area of 236 hectares to SU (specific use) to allow subdivision down to 4000 square metres.
“This represents a significant departure from the current Planning Scheme and cannot be supported at this stage.
“The White Gums area is zoned R (rural) under the Alice Springs Town Plan and the minimum lot size is 40 hectares in this zone.
“This area is also considered remote from town services and Power and Water also raised concerns about the impact of the development on the Roe Creek borefield.”
As a drastic reduction of block sizes was a prerequisite of the project from the beginning, the government could have saved the Brown family, as well as its own bureaucracy, massive costs by saying “no” when the project was first mooted.
The DCA is an interface between the government, the department and the minister. It has Alice Springs based members.
Its chairman, Peter McQueen, is independent from the government.
It has been customary to release the chairman’s report once the minister has made a decision, but Ms Lawrie is departing from this convention.
She told the Browns on November 20 that she’d decided against their plans.
In her statement to the News she said: “The report made to the Minister by the department is not for the public, it is for the Minister, so we will not be releasing it.”
In fact the Alice News had asked for the report not of the department, but of the DCA.
In recent times the authority released the minutes of “hearings on behalf of the Minister” on November 18, 2004; April 21, 2005; August 18, 2005 and December 15, 2005, and possibly, others.
In its report of May 20, 2004 the DCA dealt at length with public submissions on the earlier Brown family rural residential scheme, recorded in 12 pages of minutes, followed by four pages of recommendations to the Minister.
All this was made available to the public.
The DCA said at that time it “does not support the ... development concept as it is of the view that it contravenes the objective of the RL1 zone and is not supported by the Alice Springs Land Use Structure Plan 1999 and Land Use Objectives.
“Nevertheless, the Authority believes that development in some form may be warranted in this locality.
“In the event that the Minister is of a mind to facilitate the type of development promoted through the application and associated documentation, it strongly recommends the incorporation of detailed development and management controls to reasonably ensure a satisfactory standard of development.”
The Brown family last week said as a result they had made significant changes to their proposal, in line with government requirements, and could not understand the renewed rejection.

A  review of Alice hospital records from 2000 to 2006 discovered that an average  of  2.6  Indigenous women sought treatment every day for domestic violence-related injuries, according to Opposition Leader Jodeen Carney, who is calling for mandatory reporting  by health professionals of such crimes.
“One of those victims presented to the hospital an astonishing 189 times during that six year period.
“This year alone more than 666 Indigenous women have sought treatment as victims of domestic violence,” says Ms Carney.
“Health  Minister Chris Burns needs to release the Alice Springs study for  public scrutiny and order a similar review of records held at the other Territory hospitals,” she says. 
“I  can’t  fathom  how  a  woman  can return to hospital with assault related  injuries an average of 30 times a year during a six year period. This  woman  clearly  needed assistance and the current system let her down. 
“Had the police been involved the perpetrator would have been punished. In October Coroner Greg Cavanagh recommended the government look at introducing mandatory reporting of cases domestic violence.
“In June I asked  the Chief Minister in Parliament if she supported the mandatory reporting of domestic violence. Her answer was confused and incomprehensible.
“Now is the time for the Chief Minister to let all Territorians know exactly where she stands on the matter of mandatory reporting of domestic violence.”

An anthology of writing from Central Australia about Central Australia will be launched in town next week.
The milk in the sky, it brings together the work of 25 authors, some well known in the Centre, some putting their work before the public for the first time.
It is the third publication of Ptilotus Press.
The first publication, Living Room: poems from the Centre, edited by Jan Owen, presented the work of 10 poets.
The second was for the dry country: writing and drawings from the Centre, a collaboration between writer Meg Mooney and visual artist Sally Mumford.
The new anthology presents short fiction, poetry, memoir, meditation and imaginative speculation, in pieces described by editor Janet Hutchinson as “accomplished, intelligently wrought and sharply resonant of this desert region”.
Says Ms Hutchinson: “These writings take us on the road, out bush, onto stations, into town.
“They present glimpses into workplaces and family kitchens, pubs and suburban backyards.
“They let us bed down in plush resorts, small communities and faithful old swags.
“They introduce us to old-timers as well as newcomers, in several senses of those words.
“They give us the chance to stare at the expanse, breathe the air, sip the precious water, rub the sand off our hands and greet each other under that vast, sparkling canopy. Above all, they say, ‘Come on in.’”
Peter Bishop, creative director of Varuna –The Writers’ House, who has taken a keen interest in the Territory’s developing literature over the last few years, says of The milk in the sky: “This is a collection that brings the reader face to face with experience passionately lived and passionately told. Keep it with you –it tells you things you can’t live without.”

I read with amazement in one of those trashy magazines this week (there’s an admission I didn’t think I’d ever make) that Jessica Simpson has an IQ of 160.
For those not up to date on the IQ bell curve, 160 is a certified genius.
Further along in the interview Jessica says that she likes playing the ditzy blonde girl because it gets her further and people are “like more willing to do what you, like want and that”.
Award winning actress Scarlet Johansen has just this week made a scathing attack on the Bush administration in a reputable magazine for what she calls “their destruction of female liberty”. By all accounts a well argued statement that sadly was overshadowed by the two pages that focused on her opinion of her cleavage. The message being, cleavage sells more magazines than well thought opinion.
Cities across the western world are filled with such women.
They have become so celebritised that women with IQs of 160 feel they can get further along in life by playing the ditz.
I wonder what the sisterhood in universities 30 and 40 years ago would think of Jessica Simpson? I think I might have an idea.
I will obviously never understand what it’s like to be a woman.
Not even in the “frock up for the footy trip” kind of way and this column is in no way meant to be a forum for slagging off the XX- chromosome sorority.
I was raised by strong, fiercely independent and openly intelligent woman. My mother taught me to believe that you should have an opinion and that you should never be afraid to voice a well researched thought.
She throws her arms up in frustration when she sees the Big Brotheresque microcelebrities natter inanely, taking pride in their obvious lack of worldly intelligence.
I will never understand why some people find their ignorance pride-worthy.
I was once witness to a woman dressed in the finest business suit, at a very proper function tell the small crowd of people around her that she never watches the news because “politics is so … well boring”.
Well, that’s a fine point you make there. Why be interested in the world today if it’s not exciting?
Perhaps that philosophy is the very reason the news is full of the stomach turning events you don’t watch.
Regardless of the cause for this phenomenon, I am glad that it seems to be contained in our larger cities.
Whether it is the fact that women have found it easier to succeed in a male dominated environment by appealing to our flawed natures (the Marilyn Monroe effect); whether it is seemingly easier to survive in a hectic and dangerous world if one dumbs things down a bit (the shiny distraction effect), I don’t know.
But when I go home to Sydney I hear conversations filled with so much emptiness that I often wonder if “omigod” will be the next word added to the Macquarie Dictionary.
Thankfully Territory women as a rule aren’t as mentally suppressed as many of their big city sisters. The women I have met here have all been bright, sharp and informed.
Some of the women I have met annoy me beyond words but they’re still intelligent and not afraid to show it. 
People in general in Central Australia have an opinion on issues.
They get rankled when politicians seem inactive and they debate issues at the local or at the barbie.
Perhaps those that retreat into the ditzy defence can’t handle a society without the comforts of the city. “What do you mean there’s no salon in my hotel?”
“I have to order that in from where?”
“I said double half-caff ristretto.”
Sure we whinge about these inconveniences but we move on.
There are more important things in life than those cute little serving dishes from the Mega centre in Randwick.
Or the to-die-for little top from the boutique in Adelaide.
I’m glad I live surrounded by men who prefer their women smart and women who won’t let their men treat them otherwise.
That trashy magazine also said that Jessica Simpson is on the lookout for a boyfriend.
Jess, might I suggest a trip to the Alice.

Sir,– Alice Springs Town Council has become insular since their multi-million dollar office refurbishment. There is no sense of fiscal
They seem so retractive and defensive with every move in order to protect their own. All else is either ignored or put straight in the too hard basket.
Daily I see the over-burdened town camp areas first hand and it nearly breaks my spirit.  My consolation comes in the knowledge that dumping in the wider Alice Springs area has decreased over the years since I first embarked upon my own little humanity-serving course.  
Late last century I decided to clean up many areas around the Alice, some of which had been used as little dumps for decades.  Things were achieved in a quiet manner with much indigenous voluntary assistance.  
This action which took thousands of hours resulted in hundred of tonnes of rubbish being cleared from our environment. It has cost me dearly.
Thousands of bags mostly orange in colour have been left on roadsides for the authorities to pick up. For years this was done “willingly”. 
A few years ago when the ASTC could no longer ignore my actions they asked me to please explain. For the record in 2004, ASTC officially approved my placing of orange rubbish bags along Bradshaw Drive before the backflip came. Then came the first of numerous fines for littering the streets of Alice Springs.
A couple of meetings resulted with them supposedly supporting my ideals.  They stipulated that if I did things their way support would follow. I arose to walk out knowing through my experience that their way had failed this town for decades past. I accused them of not acting in the public interest and again knowing that when the shit comes down there are always the blackfellas to blame.
Of my successful anti-dumping campaign I will spare your dear reader the detail. Suffice to say that one achieves nothing sustainable in this life if blaming others is part of the picture.  
As has been reported in the Alice News I have, as a very frustrated social activist, dumped on the ASTC offices. It sickens me that the ASTC stand by the litter fines levied at me over the years. I demand their rescission. In the meantime, my campaign will continue on the fringes as time and funds permit.  Your support is welcome by phoning me on 0438 204 253.
It surprises me little that people of goodwill are leaving this town after being burned and spurned by our shabby excuse for a council. If, in some years time, our family considers leaving the Territory a major factor would be the disgusting way in which the Alice Springs Town Council has deliberately vilified the Chewings Litter Campaign.
Toward the ASTC I am irascible as ever.  They refuse to provide this town with the most basic service.  Your paper has thankfully had the guts to shine a bright journalistic torch over ASTC’s activities. Fastidious readers will know that the council have cut litter funding in real terms. 
I understand that the volunteer resource centre has been removed this year.  Why? These problems are just mounting and volunteers with all their oddities and eccentricities are sorely needed.
You do not need the passion and insight of a Doctor Hunter “Patch” Adams to realize that this town needs all the help it can get.
This is a council which encourages greed above responsibility. I am not after a medal for my efforts. I would be happy with a mature and accountable council.
D. R.  Chewings
Alice Springs

Sir,– Self-publishing [Father Forgive Us and Red Hot Soup] has been very rewarding for me and I am always happy to hear readers say that my books have inspired them to preserve their stories for future generations.
Although I was a bit apprehensive having to do my own promoting, that too turned out to be a happy affair.
I love being at the Sunday markets, meeting people I sometimes haven’t seen for years and making new friends by inviting visitors to our home.
It is great that five of our six children have now made Alice Springs their home – only Simone lives in Perth – and that we are able to make so many people happy, not only with my writing, but also by promoting a bit of our Dutch heritage with Fred’s organ demonstrations, our garden which is open for interested visitors, and of course with our dancing which has become very popular, also because of the generosity of our professional teachers.
We were recently on the NOS, the National Television in Holland in a program about the 400-year connection of the Netherlands with Australia.
They were filming here from ten in the morning till three in the afternoon with only three minutes shown.
The journalist hopes that the NOS later will use their whole trip for a documentary on the NT.
Because of our website, the journalist had already in his head what he wanted to do.
They carried the second organ, the Desert Rose, on top of the dam beside our house, filming the path in the dry creek with Fred playing Tulips from Amsterdam and a kangaroo (of which we have lots in our garden at the moment) hopping away on the rocky hills.
Mien Blom
Alice Springs

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