March 22, 2007. This page contains all major
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.


The latest controversy about the failure of police to respond quickly to violence in Alice Springs unfolded in the early hours of last Friday morning.
Local builder Zoltan Ganya was in his Clara Court home in the Gap area when he was woken around 1.30am by the sound of someone kicking in his front door and smashing his windows.
Luckily Mr Ganya's wife and small children were interstate at the time.
Mr Ganya (pictured) ran out the back door and jumped a fence before waking a neighbour and ringing police.
He told police the offenders smashed almost every window in his unit, then stole his wallet and mobile phone as well as tools from the back of his utility.
The offenders drove off in a dark blue Holden Commodore.
Two men, aged 28 and 26, were arrested later that morning.
On Monday, one of them, Clinton Gowley, appeared in the magistrates court charged with eight offences, including entering an occupied dwelling at night to commit a crime, being armed with an offensive weapon, stealing, threatening behaviour in a public place, unlawfully damaging property and aggravated assault.
Bail was not sought and he was remanded in custody until April 2.
The Alice News spoke to Mr Ganya before he left town to join his family.
He said after his neighbour made a call to the police, he went with Mr Ganya to the second storey balcony of the neighbour's house from where they could partially see and certainly hear what was going on at Mr Ganya's unit.
Mr Ganya estimates 15 to 20 minutes elapsed before his neighbour made a second call to the police.
After this second call he says he saw, still from the neighbour's balcony, first one and then a second police vehicle driving up and down in Gap Road, but neither turned into his street.
"It was as though I was watching a play, standing on the balcony, watching it all unfold and I was helpless to do anything."
He says he was about to ask his neighbour to make yet another call when a third police vehicle did turn into the street.
Mr Ganya estimates that by this time half an hour to 40 minutes had elapsed and estimates that the offenders had dispersed some 10 minutes previously.
"If the police had responded within 15 to 20 minutes they would have had them all" - meaning the offenders.
Mr Ganya went to the police station to make a statement.
He says the officers he dealt with there were very apologetic and tried to be very helpful.
"The excuse I got was that they were preoccupied with a drunk driver."
They also referred to being understaffed and seemed to have had "no idea of the severity of the incident".
This puzzles Mr Ganya: "If you get news of a break-in in progress at that time of morning, you'd have to assume there are people at home and that it's urgent, wouldn't you?"
Two days later and Mr Ganya's wife and five month old baby would have been in the flat with him. They were due to arrive on Saturday.
"Imagine the potential for disaster.
"I wouldn't have been able to run away. I would've stayed to look after my wife and baby.
"I would've been dead and a few of them would have been dead too."
The police appear not to have not taken immediate action to apprehend the offenders, despite the clear identification of two of them by Mr Ganya and his indication of their address.
As Mr Ganya spoke to the Alice News, just before 9am on Friday, he received a call from the police asking about the address.
He gave the street, though not street number, and explained clearly where the house was and the type of vehicles parked there.
The News drove to the location about one hour later and had no trouble identifying the house on the basis of Mr Ganya's description.
The News asked the police about the timeliness of their response.
The media officer advised: "We've checked our comms log and the first call came in at 1.36am and the police arrived at 1.49am."
That is a claim that police took just 13 minutes to get there.
The News then spoke to the neighbour who had assisted Mr Ganya. He asked not to be identified.
He estimated that the police arrived "probably about half an hour" after the first call.
He says he made the second call to tell the police they should come with backup.
He said at the time he thought that the response took "way too long".
He said when police came to take a short statement from him he said to them that it had "seemed a long time" and "they said they were very busy". The neighbour's wife, also in the house at the time of the alleged offences, estimated the response time as "easily 30 to 40 minutes".
Another neighbour is publican Chris Vaughan of Bojangles.
He told the News that he called police "a bit after 2am", having made two earlier calls which rang out. On the third try he got through and was told police were aware of the incident, had dispatched a vehicle and was asked to give further information about was happening.
At that time the alleged offences were continuing.
He said police then arrived "quite promptly.
This tallies with Mr Ganya's and the anonymous neighbour's separate accounts of about half an hour elapsing before police arrived.
Clara Court is about two kilometres from the police station.
Mr Vaughan was anxious to report a second, good experience with the police. It occurred on Saturday night, when two stockmen, regular visitors to Alice, came into Bojangles and told him one of them had just been assaulted by an Indigenous youth. He urged them to call the police.
The police arrived within three minutes and within 10 minutes "had grabbed four individuals" and moved others on.


Mayor Fran Kilgariff knew the day before the council ordered interstate a street sweeper worth $50,000 that a local company was pitching for the deal.
She says Principal Products (Rapid Clean) owner Steve O'Burtill delivered brochures of similar sweepers to the council office on February 7, expressing his interest in supplying the machine.
Ms Kilgariff says the material reached her at 1.30pm the following day and she passed it on to council CEO Rex Mooney late that afternoon.
However, Principal Products was not approached regarding their proposal.
Two council staff were flown to Sydney at council expense to inspect the machine that was ultimately purchased.
The Alice News asked Ms Kilgariff whether in the wake of the scandal over the civic centre furniture tender, from which local traders were also excluded, she had followed up the sweeper matter.
She said no, but she had full confidence in Mr Mooney handling the matter properly.
She says in fact someone in the engineering department, which is headed by Eric Peterson, placed the order in Sydney although no contact had been made with Principal Products. Ms Kilgariff declined to name that person.
"Information we received was that Rapid Clean had been rung, prior to ordering.
"It was a misunderstanding and miscommunication between several staff," she said.
"I don't want a witch hunt.
"We have enough problems getting qualified staff."
She said the issue "does not warrant castigation of Eric Peterson."
The Alice News understands Mr Peterson has applied for two local government positions in Victoria.
"I have no knowledge of that," says Mr Mooney.
Meanwhile a council media releases says "aldermen reluctantly accepted that council officers had not breached the purchasing policy, but believed that all future purchases of this size should be open for publicly advertised quotes locally.
A 10% preference be given to local suppliers, which was not previously available.
"Aldermen have proposed changes to the policy that will require officers to advertise for three written quotes from local suppliers, where possible, for the purchase of items less than $55,000 including GST.
"Any purchase above $55,000 will require council to follow its tender process that also provides a favourable price weighting for local suppliers."


Police Minister Chris Burns has found a way of dealing with vehement criticism by the public of the police service in Alice Springs: he's not answering questions about it.
Last week the Alice Springs News reported that a woman, who had been assaulted and robbed in the Alice Springs CBD, had not been interviewed by police for 11 days.
The victim was Pattie Buschman, a senior employee in a building maintenance company.
She says when she reported the events to the police station, the front counter officer told her no-one was available to deal with her matter because all officers were busy elsewhere. A police officer finally spoke to Ms Buschman in Darwin, where she lives, 11 days later, and just some hours after the Alice Springs News had made enquiries about the crime with the Alice police.
When the police media officer in Alice Springs gave inadequate responses to the Alice News, we put follow-up questions to her, which she declined to answer.
We then put the matter to Dr Burns.
However, his minder advised us that "the Minister does not comment on police operational matters or individual cases".
We said to her the buck stops with her boss, as the Police Administration Act makes very clear.
It says: "The [police] Commissioner shall exercise and perform all the powers and functions of his office in accordance with the directions in writing, if any, given to him by the Minister."
We pointed out these are issues in the public interest. The Minister can obtain the information we're seeking by directing the Commissioner to provide it.
The Minister did not.
So here is what Dr Burns doesn't want to talk about.
In the exchange the police spokeswoman repeats the allegations published in the News last week, and then gives a reply.
In each case the News seeks clarification, which we are getting neither from the police nor the Minister.
POLICE: Ms Buschman alleges [that] police have still not interviewed Ms Buschman 11 days after the attack. Police took a report from Ms Buschman when she came to the front counter. The report is being investigated. NEWS: What rank does the front counter person have? What is his (Ms Buschman told me it was a man) level of training? Was a written report prepared? If so, what does it contain? Was it signed by Ms Buschman? For how long did the officer speak with Ms Buschman?
POLICE: She suffered injuries to her neck and had her blouse and bra torn when she chased the offenders and caught up with them. Front counter Member who spoke to her after the event saw no evidence of torn clothing or injuries to her neck.
NEWS: This is her statement to US: "I told them the shirt was torn, it was dangling on my shoulder, how could he not notice? I told him the necklace was stolen. I told him I can't turn my neck to the left hand side, they yanked it too hard. I told the counter person the necklace was taken, I showed him the shirt, it was ripped. He told me he has all units out." Did in fact the only police officer dealing with the matter in 11 days get most of it wrong?
POLICE: Stolen items included about $300 cash, driver's licence, cards and a $3,500 gold and diamond necklace. In her statement to police on the night of the attack Ms Buschman said she had her bag stolen which contained about $300 in cash and cards. She made no reference to the loss of a $3,500 necklace.
NEWS: She did tell the counter person on the night of the attack. She has no insurance. She can't claim it back. She told that to the officer interviewing her on Tuesday.
POLICE: When she reported the incident to the Police Station front counter she was told police "were all busy looking for a woman who had had her throat cut." The front counter member tried to explain the gravity of the jobs police were busy with at the time.
NEWS: Is it normal routine for police, when confronted with the traumatized victim of assault, to make a commentary about police work load, and then do nothing further for 11 days?
POLICE: Police made her walk back to her hotel alone. Police asked if she was right to get home.
NEWS: Did the front counter member say: "You've had an awful experience, there's no way we'll let you walk home in the middle of the night." She tells me she was asked if she had anyone picking her up. She said, no, I have to walk back. And she did.
POLICE: Offenders tried to enter her hotel room later that night. Ms Buschman did not make a report to police about this incident.
NEWS: Ms Buschman was under the assumption that police would follow up on her complaint. Was that not a reasonable assumption? How many complaints need to be made about a violent crime until police start acting in a competent manner?
POLICE: Article refers to Supt [Sean] Parnell stating a "priority one" response by police to an incident in the CBD should take under ten minutes. A Priority One incident is an incident like the one described by the front counter member.
Ms Buschman told police the offenders had already fled and police patrols were, in fact, tasked to be on the look-out for the offender she described.
NEWS: From that we conclude:
¥ Police, contrary to what Mr Parnell told me two weeks ago, do not have the capacity of dealing with more than one serious incident at a time.
¥ Professional investigation will occur only if offenders remain at the scene of the crime.
¥ The front counter member "tasked" patrols to look for one offender. Four or five people attacked Ms Buschman.
If the report by the front counter member was adequate, why was there a need to get a member to speak with Ms Buschman, in Darwin, on Tuesday, some hours after our email to you with my story draft?
If the report was not adequate, why was a proper account of the events not obtained sooner?
Was it our email that prompted the investigation in Darwin on Tuesday this week? If not, what did?
If the front counter member's report, which [the News] assumes was in written form, and signed by Ms Buschman, was not adequate in every respect, detailing the events, precise descriptions of the offenders, the goods stolen, and so on, how come no officer came to see Ms Buschmann before [the News] raised the issues in our email to you, 11 days later?
Ms Buschman says the officer who rang her on Tuesday told her the statement she'd made in Alice Springs could not be found.
He then took a brief statement and indicated a full statement would be obtained later.
That means, as of now (Wedensday, March 14, 7.45pm) a proper investigation of this robbery has still not commenced.
In this matter, is the police acting in a competent, professional and adequate manner?


Sir,- The Todd Mall shopping precinct of Alice Springs has evolved into a dangerous place for tourists to visit.
Any tourists, and indeed locals, silly enough to venture along the Todd Mall after 8pm are sure to be accosted, slandered and derided by drunken layabouts whose only objective is to create trouble at all levels.
From wanton vandalism, graffiti, defecation and urination, the Alice Springs mall has it all, even blood stains on the paving. Moreover, these uncivilised antics take place both day and night. The situation in the mall has deteriorated over the last 15 months. Todd Mall has become home to street kids [aged] from seven years on. It is not unusual to have 30 young thugs swearing, roaming and vandalising Todd Mall from 10pm until early hours of the morning.
If you need lessons in the refinements of the English language, then Todd Mall is the place. What will we do when the 7-12 year old kids grow up with the impression that they can get away with anything?
Build more and bigger jails? Who is responsible for this mess? The traders, vendors and shopkeepers of Todd Mall, as individuals, are absolutely powerless to do anything at all. The Alice Springs Council will spend thousands of dollars on reports but no action is taken.
It is now time to wake up, face the problems and do something about it because tomorrow will be too late. I feel the council has let us down badly for many years. We are not getting the protection and safety a small town should enjoy and would be proud to advertise.
If the environmental safety of the town is not the council's responsibility, please advise me whose responsibility is it? Urgent reply requested.
Michael Hollows
Director Alice Springs Desert Art Gallery

ED - Haven't we heard this before? We checked the date of Mr Hollows' letter to Alice Springs Mayor Fran Kilgariff. It was May 6, 2002. Mr Hollows received the following reply from Nick Scarvelis, then council CEO, the following week, May 13, 2002. (The mayor was on leave.) Mr Scarvelis advised him first of Todd Mall cleaning and rubbish removal procedures, then continued:

There have also been measures taken for design of lighting upgrade in our 2001/02 program with the implementation of this lighting upgrade to occur over a three year financial period from 2002 to 2005. (To be approved by council.) Commander Gary Manison (NT Police) will be meeting with the elected members tonight and I have sent him a copy of your letter. Many of the issues you have raised in your letter are not within our jurisdiction. I am also making arrangements to meet with the Executive Director of Tangentyere Council to see if Night Patrols can be increased in the Mall.

ED - Mr Hollows replied in part, emphasising the "serious and urgent" nature of his topic:

I have been in discussion with other shop owners at the south end of Todd Mall.
The results of these informal discussions illustrate conclusively that the reputation of this town is suffering as a safe destination for the tourists. Serious damage to property, both public and private, has increased alarmingly in Todd Mall over the last 18 months.
The town's reputation is at stake now. Mall [traders] have supplied me with estimates of the damage caused by vandals to their property over the last six months. [Mr Hollows provided a list showing 27 broken windows at nine shops, with repairs costing an estimated $23,880.]
The damage the vandals cause is substantial, not only to each individual retail business, but to the whole town. Accommodation staff members now advise tourists that they should not walk around the town after dark and are especially asked not to venture along Todd Mall.
It is now far too dangerous to enjoy the town at night. Is this what you want for your town? Is this the town where tourists have to suffer a voluntary curfew and lock themselves in their motel and hotel rooms after dark? Children and teenagers roam the Mall from 8pm to the early hours of the morning almost every day now.
All the areas along the length of the mail are open to attack by vandals. Constant damage continues, which is on a daily basis. The rest and recreation areas for vandals appear to be in the park areas of Adelaide House and the corner of Todd Mall and Gregory Terrace.

ED - That was on May 14, 2002. What has changed?


Starting in 1972 Papunya Tula Artists, entirely owned and directed by Aboriginal artists, now supports more than 160 of them from the Western Desert communities of Papunya, Kintore and Kiwirrkura. The company has been self-funded and free from any government assistance for almost 10 years.
Its new art centre at Kintore, 500 kilometres west of Alice Springs, was completed in December last year, self-funded through company profits, and was officially opened last Friday.
SUE WOOLFE, the prize-winning Australian author, attended the event and filed this report for the Alice Springs News.

There were tears of nostalgia as well as joy last Friday at the opening of the Kintore Papanya Tula Art Shed, a handsome structure that may well become the epicentre of the entire community there.
The artists, many of them nationally and internationally known, gathered for celebrations and reminiscences, as did guests from far and wide, including curators from the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of NSW, revered historian Dick Kimber, renowned New York anthropologist Fred Myers, art collectors from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and the much-loved Daphne Williams, who gave one of the opening addresses.
Kintore artists, as the world knows, began painting in the dusty open air, under the shade of trees. Daphne Williams pointed out that in spite of these difficult conditions, some of Australia's greatest painting were done. Daphne Williams told us how in the Ôeighties she camped on the football oval, helping out artists with paints and canvases.
"It didn't seem hard", she said. "I enjoyed it more than any job in my life, working with the artists."
As time went on, a rectangular shed was found for canvas priming and stretching and the mixing of paints, and the women began painting in earnest, usually congregating inside.
The men tended to paint at home. In the late Ônineties, accommodation was built for staff.
It became clear that a much larger structure could better allow artists to work together. The women would be able to paint communally, reminding each other of their country's stories while they painted, singing together to give the work more potency, and inspiring each other with the cross-fertilization of ideas.
The men would be able to work separately in their own space in their own way. More staff could live-in, helping with the essential infrastructure.
The planning of the Art Shed began in 2002 but there were the inevitable delays. The architects needed time to observe the way people used the rectangular shed, and to consult with both artists and staff.
There were several major changes in direction; initially the old shed was to be incorporated in the new structure, but that proved too expensive; steel was to be used for the trusses but the price of steel suddenly skyrocketed due, it's said, to the consumption of steel in China leading up to their Olympics.
The original budget was around $800,000, but expanded to $1.2 million. The actual building time was comparatively brief; it began and was finalized in about eight months.
The Art Shed's celebrations included a traditional women's dance depicting a story of two women and a lizard, and then a dance with boomerangs by the men. There was lunch, dinner and for those who stayed over, a delicious breakfast of garlic flavoured scrambled eggs and fried cheese, all provided by Vast, the film caterers.
In the evening everyone crowded in to a showing of Fred Myers' 1974 footage of daily life in 1974 at Yaa-Ya, Papunya's first outstation. As well-known artist Elizabeth Mark Nakamarra watched the celebration, she said that she used to take canvases home to paint. But "now more spaces and it's cool. More family. Workers can sing out for a brush. Got somebody all the time, people going around. We're happy. We're proud."


An on-line business can be operated from anywhere: so try Alice Springs as home base, with a contract in United Arab Emirates, all the while keeping your on-line business ticking along.
That's the story of former long-term public servant Robin Henry, who's lived in Alice Springs since 1991 with short breaks away at Tennant Creek and Darwin.
Initially he worked for ATSIC and other Australian Government departments as a training manager and in human resources (HR).
Following the abolition of ATSIC he ended up working in administrative jobs which had nothing to do with his expertise. So he took extended long service leave and turned to running his own on-line business full time. Called Desert Wave Enterprises (not be to confused with the local surfwear shop) it deals in HR and management products and publications.
A teaching contract with a college in the Emirates has meant less time on developing the business but, equipped with a laptop and help when he needs it from his Alice-based daughter Meredith, he continues to maintain it.
And while he's been away he has even added an audio download site to his offerings. The site sells niche-topic audio books on commission.
They're about things like Internet marketing and educational products, and come with his recommendation, selected on the basis of not only the information they contain, but also their user friendly download or access interface and a trial offer or money-back guarantee. Sounds easy but can you really earn a living like this?
Mr Henry says there are some people advertising on the Internet who claim they have made huge sums of money from various sources.
"They show screen captures of their income statements from such places as PayPal and Clickbank to show that they are being honest.
"In most cases, for varying sums of money, they will reveal their secrets to you so you can duplicate what they have done and earn heaps of money too. "The theory sounds good. Obviously if you use a tried and tested method to do anything, it's better than having to start from scratch yourself.
"My experience however, has been that it's better to go for a long haul approach and create a solid, substantial business. In any business, on- or off-line, you need to develop steadily and persist with a planned strategy to increase your business share.
"The ONE key benefit that on-line businesses have over physical businesses is that they cost relatively little to sustain ... you aren't as likely to go out backwards with a huge rent commitment or stock you can't sell.
"Thus, they are often good income sources for people who have time, but not money.
"If for example, you have a site that generates $20 per day and you create another 19 such sites, you can be earning a solid income of $400 per day.
"Increase that to 30 sites earning $20 per day and you get $600 per day and on it goes.
"So, the ideal seems to be that you need plenty of exposure in some type of niche market and plenty of information to get noticed in search engines etc.
"Traffic equals sales in any business.
"I ran my first business, Desert Wave Enterprises, part-time, selling four of my own ebooks and numerous others for other people.
"It provides a steady flow of income from sales (and has done so since 1998) but insufficient to replace a full time income of $60,000.
"If I work it full time when I return from the UAE next year, I'll be able to build it up by adding more ebooks of my own and target marketing each of the products I sell, so it has potential to earn me a suitable income.
"Having many strings to one's bow is the key to Internet marketing. Unless you are lucky enough to find a new way to have sex and produce an ebook revealing your new method that becomes a best seller overnight, you won't be selling hundreds per day and making millions.
"My new business, Download-Audios.Com, commenced in December and sales each month have been increasing slowly, now averaging between $30 and $40 USD per day.
"This puts me into a comfortable break-even plus position.
"I expect it to take six months to be generating an incomeÊaroundÊ$150 to $200 per day.
"Like any business, it takes time to become known, develop rapport with customers, gain trust, and loyalty.
"It costs me less than $2 per day for franchise fees, with the site working 24/7 with few overheads.
"Advertising will be my largest cost and it's up to me how much of that I do."
The News asked Mr Henry about how he manages security for transactions, from both his own perspective and that of his customers. He uses Clickbank which provides a secure service for digital products only and also PayPal which is owned by the same consortium (an eBay group).
"Both have been around a long while, are well reputed and very popular," he says.
Download-Audios uses a Scottish merchant bank as the CC provider.Ê
"These services are very much cheaper than rocking up at Westpac or NAB and setting up a merchant account, as their fees are sales-based not monthly charged which is excellent for small operators like me." An added financial benefit for his on-line trading is that the ebook sales are made overseas, so "there's no GST as it's considered an export". Says Mr Henry: "The main thing for me is that my business is growing. The question is, at what level will it plateau?
"My strategy at present is to build awareness of the business by promoting it. Thus I am putting most of my effort into increasing my links and visibility on the web.
"In the last couple of months I've managed to get to a GoogleÊpage ranking of 1/10 and have 4,799 links on the web. These will increase weekly.
"Strategies that help this are my blog, my involvement in the blogs and discussions of other relatedÊpeople, my articles, and so on."
FIRST PAGE The News googled "download audios" and two sites related to Mr Henry's business came up on the first page.
So it seems to be working but it also sounds like it takes a lot of effort and it doesn't stop there.
Mr Henry recently began work on a languages audio books site which will be a niche site separate from, but central to and linked to his download audios site.
Over the next year he plans to build a dozen or so of these niche sites that will be filled with related articles, AdSense adverts, affiliate related products and a variety of ways to capture email addresses from interested people. They will be contacted with offers "so as to upsell and backsell products".
As a bonus for his home town, Mr Henry's sites also include information and photographs of Alice Springs.


It's a major event in every mother's life though not often treated in the news. Here Alice Springs born and bred RENATA PETERS, about to become a mother for the second time, writes of the last stages of her pregnancy in the intense heat of an Alice Springs summer. She is pictured with mum Maggie Urban on Renata's 30th birthday, celebrated last week.

For nine months I have been lovingly at work making a little miracle. I have a lovely big round tummy with an active little baby boy inside.
I am constantly aware of how temporary this experience is and so am enjoying my pregnancy now and savouring the moments I have with my big tummy, my baby being inside and a part of me, being big and round, and being as homely, nesty and womanly as I'll ever be.
It is especially wonderful, hilarious and ticklish when the bub rolls over inside, changing position, making my tummy go into funny egg shapes.
It's fun for my husband Jeff to feel my tummy when that happens. Once we put a cup on my tummy and watched it roll around.
Sometimes the baby has a stretch and I feel his pokey little foot pushing out below my right ribs. I can feel it with my hand and I push it back in because it tickles.
Mirikai, my first baby, used to do the very same thing in the same spot, so I know that they are both mostly laying in the same positions as each other in my womb.
Our baby is due on March 27. But you know babies, they come when they want to, so he could be early or late Ð whatever that means. When he's ready is more like it.
We're planning a home birth with a birthing pool. There are no pain relieving drugs available at home, just water, back massages, focus and good ol' grunting, groaning and yelling!
The homebirth politics has been resolved since Mirikai's birth. That was in the middle of much uncertainty about public indemnity insurance.
The public health system now offers free home birth midwifery care, so I don't have to pay lots of money for a private midwife this time. I had no complications in my first birth and my current pregnancy is normal, vibrantly vegan, healthy and thriving, so home birth for me is a go.
My midwife Rosemary visits me at home for my ante-natal check ups. It's always fun to listen to the baby's heartbeat with the Doppler machine.
No news on the names front. Names are always hard. His name will not be a common one of course, but it also won't be Rainbow Cloud. Jeff and I do seem to like the same ideas though and agree much of the time.
We experienced the hottest February on record in Alice Springs, the first February since records began without a drop of rain. Being pregnant I have especially been feeling the heat and so resort to hibernating indoors with the dogs.
I go outside in the (sort of) cool of the morning or at sunset. Town errands have to be completed dashing from one air-conditioned shop to the next with your car parked in absolute shade.
In this later part of pregnancy I have been feeling very physically restricted. I have not been exercising and I eat, eat, eat. I will start gentle swimming soon. I am a gorgeous 76kg complete with plump "babyfat" which is fun for me because when I'm not pregnant I never budge from 56kg. Watching the scales go up as my belly goes out has been exciting.
For a while I walked a dog at sunrise or sunset, but now I get a painful foot cramp plus a lot of pressure from what feels like a bowling ball sitting inside my pelvis. This really slows me down and when I go to town sometimes I walk very slowly!
Sometimes I feel out of breath, even just standing. My lungs are squashed and my heart is working twice as hard.
Bending down to pick things up or put shoes on is very uncomfortable. So I get Jeff and even Mirikai to pick things up for me or I try to use my toes to tidy up the floor!
I get a sore back doing the dishes (we're getting a dishwasher). My legs and feet feel tight and pressured. My muscles often feel tense and sore, so I've been getting a massage every month and lately every two weeks on a table with a tummy hole in it.
I feel like I'm being put back together muscle by muscle having a massage. Sometimes I get heartburn because there simply isn't enough room for the food to go down fast enough. A couple of nights had me awake until 3am, sitting bolt upright with heartburn with nothing to do but write on the computer.
I am often tired and have naps each afternoon but I do get energy in the morning and evening. At night I wake up regularly and feel awake (body preparing for new baby).
We are busy preparing the house for the baby's arrival. It can get expensive buying baby stuff, so it takes clever planning. I have been particularly domestic Ð cleaning house, moving rooms, throwing stuff out and shopping for the baby. Don't worry, I won't retile the bathroom this week.
Jeff lovingly listens to my pregnancy woes and complaints and always asks how I am. He bought me flowers today and did all the shopping and paid the bills. Lately, as I turn into a beached whale, he has been cooking for us and doing more cleaning than usual .
Well, wish me the best for my fabulous birth that I'm so looking forward to and all the hideous pain that goes along with welcoming a new human being into the world.


Two small local businesses, wholesalers of wild produce harvested by Aboriginal people, are concerned about the worth to the industry, as well as possible negative impact, of work by the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre.
Craig James, the CRC's general manager for Commercialisation and Communication, says it is early days for the CRC's work in the area.
The value to industry of CRC research accrues after the research is complete, he says.
But the wholesalers think the researchers are looking in the wrong places.
Rod Horner, who's been trading in the wild produce for 30 years, says the existing model, built on the traditional knowledge of Aboriginal people and their labour, is small but it works and it is growing, learning from its mistakes.
He says structural changes - such as a mooted introduction of a buying agency funded from the public purse that would by-pass the wholesalers Ð would not be immune from mistakes, and the larger their scale, the larger the likely mistakes.
Dr James dismisses the introduction of a buying agency as "a rumour".
Mr Horner says research should be focussed on extending the collections of wild produce "to other areas where us middle men aren't there to get it going" and on possible markets for other wild produce to add to the repertoire of what's on offer.
Peter Yates of Outback Bushfoods - the creator of Wakapulka Dukkah among other products - would also welcome any research on marketing and product development but as well wants some focus on investment opportunities.
Says Mr Yates: "From our point of view, the problem is that the industry is so tiny. There are quite a few people, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, who earn a portion of their income from bushfoods, but in Central Australia there is only one person - me - whose sole income derives fromÊthe trade in bushfoods.
"Yet lots of people make much better incomes studying it.
"If all, or even some, of the money that has been spent on research had been invested in marketing and/or infrastructure, we would all be a long way further down the track now."
He says capital is needed to buy up large quantities from wild harvests when they're available and to invest in infrastructure such as storage facilities and a small factory for local value-adding.
Says Mr Yates: "Crops become available in response to rain, and at these times, large volumes of produce have to be bought.
"This creates the first bottleneck, as working capital availability is stretched. And the produce needs to be stored appropriately, possibly for some years.
"There is currenty no facility available for this, meaning that losses are much higher than they need to be.
"Investment is also needed in processing facilities - for local value adding.
"Here in Alice, if anywhere, we have the confidence in bushfoods to see their potential on a larger stage. To get much further than we have, we need a small factory, and this again is an issue of capital shortage."
Dr James says the investors the CRC couldÊ"try to attract are those who want to partner on research and industry development to grow the industry but for that to happen you need to demonstrate to potential investors through sound research that there is a good business case".
"We are emphasising partnerships because some of the fragilityÊof the industryÊcould be lessened with more strategic partnerships," says Dr James.
Another emphasis in the CRC has been on commercialisation trials, basically farming the bush tomato to ensure consistency of supply to the interstate and international markets and to look at "the cost/profit ratio" of cultivation.
Both Mr Horner and Mr Yates are sceptical about the outcome, with the critical unknown factor being who will pick the crop.
Mr Yates has set up his own commercialisation trial, but in vicinity of communities he already works with. Even so he's not entirely sure that there'll be interest in picking a cultivated crop, as opposed to confirmed interest in going out onto country with family and friends and harvesting in the wild.
"Even with welfare reform pressures bearing down on them, Aboriginal people might choose not to pick the crop but to move into places like Alice Springs," he says.
Interestingly, the existing industry activity all occurs in an arc north of town from Utopia in the east to Yuendumu in the west, dating back to tentative beginnings in 1964.
Apparently there is little wild harvest for trading in the Top End, or elsewhere in the Centre.
"Had I gone to Darwin instead of here, would it have worked, then or later? Who knows?" asks Mr Horner.
He came to Central Australia in 1975 with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.
His job was to look for economic development possibilities and in this capacity came across records of previous dealings in seed harvested by Aboriginal people.
He says Ted Egan in 1964 supplied to the Forestry Branch 112 lbs (about 50 kilos) of mulga seed harvested by people at Yuendumu.
Jack Cook of the Welfare Branch knew about this and thought it offered potential for development "but he didn't have contact with people in the bush". Mr Horner set about making that contact, principally in Utopia, Ti Tree and Napperby. He showed people the species for which he knew there was some demand and began buying from them and on-selling.
He left his government job in 1979 but maintained his interest in seed harvesting for revegetation.
It provided him with some income, which he supplemented with various other jobs.
And so it went until the late Ôeighties when a demand for produce native to Australia began to grow interstate and buyers began looking for supplies of bush tomatoes and edible wattleseed from the Centre.
Mr Horner was selling mainly to Sydney man Vic Cherikoff, formerly of Sydney University's Human Nutrition Unit, who'd gone into the bushfoods business.
Then in the late Ônineties a conference in Brisbane put him in touch with a wider network of buyers.
There were other wholesalers in the Centre operating in similar low key fashion: Frank Baarda at Yuendumu had been buying seed since the late Ôseventies, Janet Chisolm at Napperby Station began buying in the early Ônineties, and most recently Outback Bushfoods, a partnership between Mr Yates and Jock Morse, joined the ranks.
Mr Yates has had a similar grassroots approach, working with human capital - his own and that of his suppliers.
"Outback Bushfoods facilitates the harvest. The harvest would not happen without people like us in the middle," says Mr Yates.
"The CRC should be working with us, with all the players.
"And they should be asking themselves, ÔAre we totally understanding the industry?'" Dr James says, "This is precisely what Desert Knowledge researchers, who are working with all the players, are asking."
Continues Mr Yates: "They are wanting to put more money in the hands of the harvesters and get a cheaper product to the processors, while taking away my livelihood.
"They think they [a buying agency] will be able to ring up people on Aboriginal communities and say ÔI want x kilos of bush tomatoes' and they'll get them. "They do not grasp the true nature of cross-cultural engagagements.
"The key to our success is our face to face contact with people on key communities and the trust we have built up through working with them.
"The same goes for the other wholesalers."
The Alice News asked Dr James if there's a move to by-pass the wholesalers. Says Dr James: "No. Our research clearly shows what a vital role the wholesalers/consolidators,Êsuch asÊOutback Bushfoods, play in the industry.ÊÊ "By getting the picture of the inter-relationships among pickers, growers, wholesalers, food processors etc, we are able to do research that benefits theÊwholeÊindustry and desert people."
Dr James says it is not appropriate for the CRC to put money into commercial initiatives with private companies but data from the commercialisation trials will help the CRC advise businesses thinking of getting into bushfoods cultivation.
Mr Horner says if the art of growing bush tomatoes in horticultural plots in perfected it is "likely to need mechanical harvesters and will move to the Riverland or Israel and where will we be then?"
Mr Horner readily agrees that the industry suffers all the vagaries of any primary industry.
"It didn't rain last year so we got a very small crop of bush tomatoes - I could have bought five times what I got and sold it all.
"Three years ago it didn't rain in Queensland, so the mines didn't buy seed for rehabilitation - that led to a 79% drop in sales."
An irrigated crop would at least help resist the impact of local drought, wouldn't it?
"They can't get enough pickers now for any of the fruit crops around Australia - will they import pickers from China?" asks Mr Horner.
With high unemployment in the bush and new pressures to find jobs, why wouldn't we assume that Aboriginal people will pick?
"Maybe they will," he concedes, but then says there may be some resistance to having anything to do with a cultivated crop based on a traditional view that increase ceremonies, not farming techniques, are responsible for the growth of the bush tomato.
Some Aboriginal people may disapprove of challenges to that view, he says. They are adapting but there are still complex beliefs around plants and animals that are food sources but also of spiritual significance to them.
As to a buying agency, he wonders what mechanisms would be in place to ensure quality control.
If people doing the buying don't know anything about the product, will the harvesters take the pain to clean it, for example?
Mr Horner feels the CRC will do what they do regardless of him.
"They'll waste money - but hopefully the blackfellas will get lots of it.
"I've got good customers who'll continue to buy off me.
"This wave of money will come and go and hopefully not do too much damage."
Mr Yates wants to challenge the corporate nature of the CRC.
"In the new world of research and intellectual property, knowledge is a commodity. If you are a partner of the CRC, presumably you have some access to the knowledge, but if you are a small, pioneering enterprise (that has contributed its own enormous knowledge to CRC researchers generously, often and gratis), it is likely that you don't have the money to become a Ôpartner', and thus fall into the alternative category of Ôcompetitor'. Competitors get no access to CRC results."
Says Dr James: "Again, we are a research organisation that produces knowledge needed toÊdevelop the bushÊproducts industry.ÊWe don't compete withÊindustry players.
"All CRCs are bound by their agreement with the Commonwealth Government to use the research to benefit Australia economically and in other ways.Ê "Hence, weÊwill use theÊintellectual property to generate economic outcomesÊand both Outback BushfoodsÊand Mr Horner's business may well beÊcompanies that benefit directly from thisÊintellectual property."


Does the Territory's Community Welfare Act put Aboriginal children at a tragic disadvantage?
If they are put into foster care by welfare authorities they must, if at all possible, go to Aboriginal families.
People dealing with children at risk are asking whether that's a good idea: there are relatively few suitable Aboriginal families, and what's the benefit of passing over perfectly suitable non-indigenous foster carers?
The Act allows the court, with respect to children of any race, to make a range of orders, including the placement of a child with a foster family, or making the child's welfare subject to Ministerial direction or guardianship.
At all times "the need to safeguard the welfare and development of the child" is paramount.
But with Aboriginal children there are additional requirements, and these may well limit the scope for making the best possible choices.
For example, the Act says "where a child in need of care is an Aboriginal, the Minister shall ensure that every effort is made to arrange appropriate custody within the child's extended family" or "to arrange appropriate custody of the child by Aboriginal people who have the correct relationship with the child in accordance with Aboriginal customary law."
And: "A placement that is consistent with the best interests and the welfare of the child shall be arranged taking into consideration ... preference for custody of the child by Aboriginal persons who are suitable in the opinion of the Minister."
These requirements, however well intentioned, open the door to abuse of the system.
Says one insider with more than two decades of local experience: "Finding suitable foster carers of Aboriginal background isn't easy.
"Placing a child with its extended family doesn't always solve the problem.
"High quality homes with a good insight into a child's needs, physical and educational, are hard to find.
"Many may not be very much better equipped to look after the child's needs than the family it is removed from.
"Plus foster parents get paid," says the source.
"It can turn into a bit of a racket."
The decisions are made under strict secrecy, to protect the children's identity, by the Territory Magistrate's Court which sits as the Court of Family Matters, as distinct from the Family Court, which is Federal.
The consequence of unsuitable placements is that the court has to review arrangements time and again.
This ties up the resources not only of the court, but also of the inadequately staffed Family and Community Services Department (FACS) which makes the applications for court orders.
The thrust of the legislation is getting kids back to their natural parents.
"Quite often that's pie in the sky," says the insider.
The lack of sufficient suitable foster families raises the question, should the government build homes?
"There is the fear that this would stigmatize the child."
But is that not the lesser evil compared with being exposed to neglect, sexual abuse and malnutrition, for kids who on top of it all, may be suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome?
The insider says there is no clear way out of the "cycle of welfare" in which some children are trapped, "in families that are totally dysfunctional".
Family Minister Delia Lawrie declined a request to be interviewed by the Alice Springs News.
Despite a day's notice, the the FSACS office in Alice Springs did not provide the approximate number of applications it makes to the court in a year.


Folklore in Alice Springs remembers Olive Pink chiefly for her eccentricity, even crankiness.
Another woman - passionate, observant, adventurous but also tender - is revealed through the exhibition of her paintings of wildflowers, on show at the Olive Pink Botanic Garden (OPBG) until March 31.
The watercolours, painted during her early travels in the Centre in the 1930s and Ô40s, are on loan from their permanent home at the University of Tasmania.
They are presented by OPBG curator Colleen O'Malley with a few well-chosen extracts from Miss Pink's letters and writings, as well as from the diary of a railwayman, Horrie Smith.
An amateur naturalist himself, he befriended and accompanied Miss Pink on some of her sketching forays out from Edwards Creek, a tiny railway siding in northern South Australia.
Some of his own painted sketches are included in the show.
There are also photographs of the plants which reveal the accuracy of Miss Pink's representations, but also reveal that they are more than simply accurate.
For me the best of them capture the artist's delight not only in the instance of seeing, but in the whole journey towards it.
This is expressed in a poetic text she wrote about the Nicotiana suaveolens, or Ingulba Ingulba for the northern Arrernte people.
Her painting in this case perhaps does not quite nail the exquisite beauty of the plant but her words make up for it:
"... a frail, dainty blossom, greenish-cream outside when half unfolded, but magnolia-cream when opened out and turned skyward on proudly upright, slender neck.
"An elusive scent as of clove pinks is wafted from her if one is near enough! But she only perfumes herself ever so daintily. "... to me she is the spirit of starlight. And out here I love her greatly or her ethereal beauty.
She reigns from sundown to sunrise, when she daintily folds her cream gown tightly around her again (showing only its palest of green linings) and then dreams of the stars and whispering white gums, and the liquid bird-calls, and of all the other lovely bush sounds which she has drunk in during her cool vigil."
Botanist Peter Latz, speaking at a dinner commemorating Miss Pink's birthday on the weekend, commended the paintings for capturing "the spirit" of the plants depicted.
Included in the exhibition are paintings and drawings by two contemporary artists in the botanical tradition, working in Alice.
Pat Weeks, trained as a commercial artist in Melbourne, first travelled to the Centre over 40 years ago.
She has embarked on a vast project of recording as many native flowers of our region as possible, with a particular focus on species found at the OPBG.
Sally Mumford turns her eye particularly to seed pods, working in graphite with exceptional finesse, assembling the pods in rhythmical compositions, showing all their fascinating variety.


Funk, reggae, rock, folk, ska, blues and a few other things collided in the cosmos last Friday night on the roof at The Lane, showering the Alice crowd with blissful melodic particles.
Darwin band, Neo, was in town for one night on their ÔFunk Bus to You' national tour.
"There were a lot less band members on the night than there were on the poster," said Marge Earl.
Good point, Marge, there were only four people of the original seven-piece line up performing on the night.
But they produced such a fat wall of sound that I'm scared to think what a seven piece line up might sound like.
The band members were eccentric enough as it was, all with individual coloured pants and several with wide brimmed straw hats.
"They were such dudes" said Sean Challis, who rocked up because he had no other plans for his Friday night.
Neo opened with Jack Tinapple playing jazz flute, and gradually brought in the bass, guitar and harp.
It was so refreshing to hear some new instruments in the mix, not just the staple guitars and drums - I wonder why it has become such a common combination?
There was an instant reaction to the music - everyone started busting out some insanely original dance moves.
It's funny how the character of the groove affects the quality of the move.
My sister has this tag on her email that says "As beats the drum, so goes the dance." I think she's right.
These guys had plenty of musical know-how. They were quite comfy with swapping and changing their instruments - bass player Robbie Hoad playing didge and djembe, singer Tim Sinclair, acoustic and electric guitar as well as harmonica, and guitarist Jack Tinapple also singing, playing harmonica and flute.
"They funked the brains out of that mother funker," shouted Dean Opie.
Mother Funker? Is that a genetically modified groove? Why did he come up and yell that at me?
Is he trying to get quoted?
Go and get quoted! What would Marge Earle think? The crowd loved it and there was an instant reaction to the music, including from me.
In fact, I felt bad about enjoying it so much while on the job - is a journalist supposed to jump around like a mad man at a show he's meant to be reviewing?
Probably not.
I took off my media pass.
I interviewed the band after their gig. They all sucked on their beers and drew on their fags.
"Alice Springs is very central - it's at the centre of the planet," said bass player Robbie Hoad.
It naturally rocks, it's very central". Hmmmm.
Neo went to Mutitjulu community the day after The Lane gig.
They will keep working their way around Australia until they reach Byron Bay where they will play the East Coast Blues and Roots Festival. Pretty good going ... funk, reggae, rock, folk ska, blues AND roots.

ADAM CONNELLY: Police Minister our super hero.

The police Minister Chris Burns is a superhero!
There I've said it. I hope I haven't revealed his secret identity but he is a super human.
This mild mannered politician from the Top End looks harmless enough. An innocuous looking gent in his middle age. But behind the receding hairline and middle age spread lies a man of steel.
A man of extraordinary bravery.
A couple of weeks ago Dr Burns said that he felt perfectly safe walking through the Todd Mall at night. Someone give that man a Star of Courage.
Hey, we hand those things out to people who have run into a burning building to save pensioners. Trivial. Walking through the Mall at night, now that's brave. Or stupid.
It is at this point in the column that I remind you not to think of our caped crusader in a superman costume. That might scare the children.
Now I'm a large and, until quite recently, hairy man. Not a lot of social situations scare me.
I grew up in a fairly rough part of Sydney.
The school I attended was on the front cover of the Sydney papers three times for gang violence.
Some of the kids I sat next to in roll call ended up either in gaol or the morgue because of their association and involvement with these gangs.
So I have learned how to not look for trouble. That being said I am still a bit wary if I'm walking the Mall at night.
It can be a scary place. Let's be honest, it isn't the most brightly lit venue in the world and the bored kids mingle with the drunkards like a scene out of a grownup version of Oliver Twist.
In fact given the choice of hanging out in the Mall at two o'clock in the morning or minor surgery I think I'd give the knife serious consideration.
But these issues don't seem to enter the thinking of the super hero. No, in fact like all good politicians, our good Dr Burns would actually engage threatening people in conversation. Maybe kiss a baby or two.
See we mere mortals have come up with our own plans to tackle the problem. Some citizens have devised a plan that would see them patrol the streets telling the young folk to go to bed and stop the tomfoolery.
The idea does have some merit. Good citizens increasing their presence around town. I would definitely feel safer in the Mall if I knew that, if trouble did raise its ugly head, then there would be level-headed people there to help.
Sure, you might think that that particular job might best be carried out by those qualified to do so. Like the police.
But Super Burns isn't really coming to town on the numbers in that regard. And why would he?
If we were more like him and were able to dodge the slings and arrows of outrageous drunkenness then a police presence wouldn't be necessary.
I don't personally know the people who have volunteered to take on the initiative, so I am a little concerned that such a plan might turn into a pitchfork-and-torches type mob should things get out of hand.
Mobs of that ilk are only cool in Scooby Doo cartoons. I don't recommend them for Gap Road.
I have an idea that was born from a scene I witnessed last week. A group of kids were waiting for the bus. Let's just say that although they were wearing school uniforms, their behaviour was far from studious.
In fact their behaviour would quite easily fall into the category of "anti-social".
There was a senior woman who tells me she has been part of the community "since the war". It's rude to ask a lady her age, so I'm not sure exactly which war but I'm pretty sure it wasn't the Gulf War.
Her legs aren't what they used to be so, as bold as brass, she asked the brats who were clambering all over the bus stop bench if she could sit down. Immediately they stopped their stupidity and allowed this lady a seat.
Their demeanor calmed and had I not witnessed the scene five minutes earlier I would have thought they were a credit to their school.
So here's the plan. A granny-lead solution. The council can supply the gophers (probably from a non-local company) and our senior citizens can roam the streets calming the anti social.
Think about it. It's not a silly idea. There aren't many people I fear. But my Nan is one of them.

LETTERS: Todd River rubbish a disgrace.

Sir,- I do the Harley tours here in Alice.
I just went for a stroll in the Todd river this morning (Friday 16th) with my two and a half year old daughter.
It was great to see the water in the Todd and the dogs had a ball running up and down, splashing away but I also saw plenty of green cans and rubbish ... bloody disgusting (see photo). Lots of glass also and yes, my dog cut his paw!
I enjoy reading your paper, keep up the great work.
Alan Bartlett
Alice Springs

Why grog in glass?

Sir,- I wish to talk about broken glass on our footpaths.
As much as I like my alcohol contained in glass, I'm wondering why any alcohol is still sold in this form?
I suspect our new glass sweeping machine may not be able to keep up with the huge amount of broken material.
Could the Council or Liquor Commission consider another change?
Surely most of the walkers/cyclists/disabled of Alice Springs would be most pleased with such a change.
Anthony Nagy
Alice Springs

Sir,- In January this year the Member for Greatorex at a public meeting supported the proposal for short term accommodation along Len Kittle Drive.
The Leader of the Opposition was silent at the time despite the groundswell of objections to the applications.
Now, conveniently, the Leader of the Opposition has changed position and for political opportunism, blasts the Government for approving the application.
It's no wonder residents have expressed their dismay at the decision and the feeling of being let down by both the Government and the Opposition.
The carrot to the Government was obviously the $50 million to Ônormalise' the town camps but will the town camps relinquish their leases which are held Ôin perpetuity?'
The whole social fabric of this town is changing. The residents should have more say in its future.
It is also time the long term Indigenous residents spoke up instead of leaving it to a few.
But the Leader of the Opposition and Member for Greatorex should come clean on why the change of heart.
Loraine Braham
Member for Braitling

Youth night patrol back

Sir,- I write to correctÊan inaccuracy onÊpage 3 ofÊyourÊMarch 15 edition: theÊlong time community worker who did not wish to be named statedÊ"Youth Night Patrol no longer exists".
Tangentyere Council has been operating a night time youth patrol for the past five weeks.Ê
The serviceÊis transporting young people away from public hot spots on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
ItÊis funded by the Commonwealth Attorney General's Department.
Tangentyere Youth Patrol ensures there is an appropriate response for young people encountered in public spaces at night, assisting them to return home or to a safe place.
The primary target group is Aboriginal people aged under 18. However, the service has the flexibility to also assist non-Aboriginal young people encountered during patrols.
William Tilmouth
Executive Director
Tangentyere Council

Native title apology

Sir,- Regarding my letter in last week's issue [ÔNative title rip off?'] I would like to apologise for not going directly to the Lhere Artepe executive committee with my grievances prior to writing to the editor.
I was very angry and hurt when I read an article from the previous week [ÔHouse blocks: black firm may take over', page 5, March 8] in regards to big decisions that were being made and things said that conflicted with all that I know and believe. I understand that the person providing the information that upset me so much is not a current executive member and I have full confidence in Frank Ansell as the working chairperson.
After attending the executive meeting on March 16, I understand that Lhere Artepe is only a young organisation. I have been assured that no Antulya families will be missing out from now onwards and I have full confidence that Lhere Artepe are going to do the right thing.
I encourage any other families to be up front with them and give them a chance before yourselves writing to the paper.
Nicole Laughton
Mbupa (Alice Springs)

Tourist dollars vital

Sir,- Regarding  'A desert town like Alice' (letter from Californian reader Mark Lees, March 8).
I have always been told in Alice our main industry is tourism.
Without the tourist dollars this would be a very different place.
The tourists may fuel the bad behaviour of the locals who can now afford more alcohol and drugs, which seems to be the town's main problems.
But without tourists, many locals would be unemployed if it wasn't for the tourist.
The conservation of local culture is partly because of the interest from the tourist and a main reason people are drawn to this town.
People come from all over to experience the culture and are surprised to find amazing views and so much to do and see.
We need to continue to encourage the tourist industry.
S. Watson
Alice Springs

We need better paths

Sir,- Local walking and cycling paths are a disgrace, compared to excellent paths that people use regularly while on holidays or going to work in other states and countries.
There is NO good reason why Alice Springs people cannot have an equally great path network also. The good reasons are many - flat and scenic country, great weather, and most of us live within just 4kms from our place of work.
On most days we can walk or cycle to work and help reduce global warming.
All recreation paths need to be at least two metres wide where possible, similar to the path along Barrett Drive, with helpful signage.
Below is a list of locations where paths present dangers to users:
• Under Stott Terrace Bridge, west side, extremely dangerous edges and needs widening urgently.
• South Terrace before Casino Causeway, glass on path, need to consider not selling glass to offenders.
• Adjoining path from Casino Bridge to new path on Barrett Drive, is small and disgusting, need to replace and widen.
• Path along South Terrace discontinues near Rotary Park toilet block, need to replace path.
• Bradshaw Drive path west from the big roundabout, very rough and holds water after rain, ground is very acidic.
• Larapinta Drive on north side, from Diarama Village - band aid fix to Lyndavale Drive, replace with one path.
• Larapinta Drive on north side, need to continue from end of Kramer Street to Simpson's Gap Path, at Flynn's Grave.
• Larapinta Drive north side, from Milner Road to Diarama Village, large rubbish trucks drive on it and crush path.
• Smith Street on north side, need to continue from path on Lovegrove Drive to Stuart Highway.
• North Stuart Highway opposite Tietkens Avenue on the Eastern side, path over open drain fills during rain, forcing riders including school children riding to school onto the very busy Stuart Highway, needs extending similar to four other drains further north on the path.
• North Stuart Highway at Head Street, south west side, fence on Wintersun Caravan Park, is a blind corner.
It is dangerous for people using the path, fence should be cut back the same angle as all other corners in this area.
• Path along Wills Terrace from Stuart Highway should be widened on the north side, continue widening all the way along Undoolya Road to join with Kurrajong Drive path.
• Path along park on Sturt Terrace south from Undoolya Road to under Stott Terrace Bridge west side finishes just south of the bridge and goes nowhere, need to construct a small bridge over Sadadeen Drain to join pathway north from Tuncks Road past the foot of Annie Meyer Hill. • A path continuing from Annie Meyer Hill along Sadadeen Road to continue on Spearwood Road would complete an almost traffic free loop around town.
• Path along side of St Philip's College, there is water running over paths and is often unpleasant and smelly, need to construct drains under path.
• To continue the path from Old Timers Village on the Eastern side, all the way to the Airport and the Ghan Historical Site.
This would enhance recreation for runners, walkers, cyclists, as an extra area to have fun regularly, whether socially or in serious training.
Great for energetic people who want to go to or from the airport to meet friends in the cooler months (dream on, Noel).
• Construct a path from the Old Timers along Ilparpa Road to join the Simpson's Gap bike path. Maybe some day (dreaming again).
Noel Harris
Alice Springs

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