Year in review June.
Year in review June. Jenna Thompson

Year in Review: Biggest stories of June 2018

JUN 1: A TWO-day police blitz on the Lower Clarence has led to more than one in 10 people tested returning an alleged positive reading for driving under the influence of drugs.

In total, 536 breath tests were conducted and 120 drivers were tested for drugs. Three drivers were charged with high-range drink-driving, three charged with mid-range drink-driving and seven with low-range drink-driving.

Ten drivers allegedly returned positive traces for marijuana and three drivers positive traces for methylamphetamines.

JUN 2: MANY in the Aboriginal community are calling for the town of Coutts Crossing to be renamed. It was named after Thomas Coutts, who is believed to have murdered many Gumbaynggirr people.

Coutts was the owner of a large property in Kangaroo Creek in the 1800s and is believed to be responsible for the deaths of at least 23 local Aboriginal people.

JUN 4: ADRIAN Sonter left school at 15 and went straight to work kneading the dough at Maclean's Hot Bread shop, so when he was told that according to a federal labour market report 35 per cent of job vacancies in regional areas were filled, he nodded his head in frustration.

Maclean Hot Bread and Cake Kitchen owners Katrina Gregor and Adrian Sonter.
Maclean Hot Bread and Cake Kitchen owners Katrina Gregor and Adrian Sonter. Adam Hourigan

The shop is currently advertising for an apprentice baker to start and Mr Sonter says despite there being talk of high unemployment, he has had just two applications for the entry-level position.

JUN 5: A QUEENSLAND woman used a replica firearm in an attempt to force a man from his vehicle while trying to flee police after a crime spree. Yesterday, she was sentenced in Grafton District Court.

Tamyka Blatch, 25, from Wynnum West in Queensland, pleaded guilty to using a replica firearm with intent to take and drive a motor vehicle.

Blatch also pleaded guilty to a string of charges following a week-long crime spree with her lover and a 15-year-old boy, which included theft of alcohol at Evans Head, stealing from a South Grafton tobacconist and shoplifting in Coffs Harbour.

Former regional SES controller Bryan Robins - concern over treatment of paramedics.
Former regional SES controller Bryan Robins - concern over treatment of paramedics. Adam Hourigan

JUN 6: BRYAN Robins has seen enough horrors of rescue work to last several lifetimes.

As the former regional executive officer for this SES region, he was a veteran of the Cowper bus crash and thousands of other emergency response situations, meaning he has seen things that many would shy away from.

"I keep seeing the stories about people bashing paramedics and seemingly getting away with it and I think they're just getting a s--- deal," he said.

JUN 7: WHAT was meant to be a couple's weekend away in Glen Innes quickly turned violent and ended with a victim hit in the head while driving, smothered with a pillow, thrown to the ground and kneed in the back before they made it back home.

Townsend man Blake Harris, 24, was sentenced in Grafton Local Court this week after pleading guilty to a series of assaults and stalk and intimidate intending to cause physical harm.

On their way home while the victim was driving, the pair began to argue, with Harris threatening, "If you don't shut up, I'll king hit ya."

JUN 8: AFTER six years of planning, Maclean's major retail expansion will start, with the turning of the first sod on a new supermarket next month - and it may well be just the beginning of bigger things, according to the Chamber of Commerce.

President Peter Gordon said many in the community looked forward to the addition of the Ritchies IGA supermarket in the Cameron Park carpark site and that it had many benefits for the business district as a whole.

JUN 9: CLARENCE Valley Council has "back-flipped completely" with its recommendation to approve a development modification for a sawmill at the Pinnacles near Grafton, say neighbours.

In February, council staff recommended against a proposed modification of a 1998 Copmanhurst Shire Council development application to allow the owners of the mill at 162 Coaldale Rd to significantly increase the mill's output and install new equipment.

JUN 11: WHAT do you do when someone poisons trees to improve their view? Erect a huge sign to block it. Clarence Valley Council officers will put forward a motion at the corporate governance and works committee meeting to erect a 1.8m x 0.8m sign in place of vandalised trees at Pippi Beach reserve and South Head Park at Yamba.

Council staff have been unable to ascertain who is responsible for the alleged tree poisoning but the committee meeting business papers suggest the likely cause of the poisoning has occurred to help maintain ocean views.

JUN 12: THE NSW Government's short-term holiday rental proposal falls short of community expectations, with Yamba resident Geoff Beresford calling for more controls.

Mr Beresford said their short-term holiday rental policy proposal, which gave all short-term holiday rental hosts a minimum of 180 days of occupation across the state, didn't meet the needs of the community.

JUN 13: COUTTS Crossing could have two names and a memorial to the 23 Aboriginal people murdered by the man the town is named after, following a meeting called to discuss proposals to rename the village.

Prospects for a name change for the village have gathered pace since Daily Examiner indigenous columnist Janelle Brown's article two weeks ago detailed how colonial settler Thomas Coutts murdered 23 Aboriginal people with arsenic-laced flour he gave as payment for work on his property at Kangaroo Creek in 1848.

JUN 14: FORMER Clarence MP Steve Cansdell's return to public life began with an apology.

Steve Cansdell announces he is running as a candidate for the seat of Clarence as a member of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party.
Steve Cansdell announces he is running as a candidate for the seat of Clarence as a member of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party. Adam Hourigan

"Firstly, I want to nip things in the bud," Mr Cansdell said when he spoke yesterday at the Grafton Hotel to reveal why he would stand for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party at the 2019 NSW Election.

"Seven years ago I stuffed up through ignorance but ignorance is not an excuse."

JUN 15: CLARENCE Valley Council will spend an extra $6 million minimum on the Grafton Olympic Pool Master Plan following a structural assessment that found the 50m pool would fail in coming years.

The six-stage project will now cost $16,977,000 and will include a new 50m pool, waterslides and diving pool refurbishment, an indoor heated 25m pool and refurbishment of the main building.

JUN 16: EMERGENCY services are searching for a 72-year-old Brooms Head man who has not returned from a fishing trip.

Kenneth Parker, who was staying in Sandon village while on a fishing trip with a friend, went fishing on Wednesday afternoon. He was last seen about 1.30pm in Sandon village. He told his friend he was going fishing on the Sandon River. However his boat was found anchored to the jetty and his fishing rod was missing.

JUN 18: DESPITE recent issues, the Grafton Bridge is still on track to be opened before next year. In April, following completion of piling at piers seven and eight, quality testing identified some issues within the piles that may reduce the overall durability and strength of the pier foundations.

JUN 19: BROOMS Head photographer Stephen Otton can only guess what happened to his friend Kenneth "Kenny" Parker after he left to go fishing last week.

"He wouldn't have gone off somewhere without letting somebody know," Mr Otton said.

Late yesterday police called off the search for Mr Parker, who was last seen in Sandon village on Wednesday when he told a friend he was going fishing on the Sandon River.

JUN 20: LESS than a month ago, Ulmarra residents, in conjunction with The Daily Examiner's Let's Not Wait campaign, were successful in having the 50km/h speed zones extended and new warning signs erected on the southern and northern approaches to Ulmarra.

Ulmarra residents meet with Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis where he announced changes to speed zones around the village.
Ulmarra residents meet with Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis where he announced changes to speed zones around the village. Adam Hourigan

JUN 21: AN EXTRA $10.5 million for Grafton Base Hospital is just the start of funding needed to allow the hospital to meet the pressures building on it.

A member of the hospital's Medical Staff Council, Dr Allan Tyson, said the announcement in Tuesday's budget was welcome but a long time coming.

"Really, this has been promised for a while so it's actually a little difficult to get really excited about," Dr Tyson said.

JUN 22: FORMER Clarence Valley paramedic Wade Walker has called out Roads and Maritime Services for failing in their duty of care following a truck crash at Ulmarra. About 9.30pm Monday, a B-double rolled over, coming within metres of destroying the Brown family home.

"I have spoken to Krystal and Ryan (Brown) and, as a former paramedic, I'm concerned about the whole family's welfare, including the three daughters," he said.

JUN 23: A GRAFTON electrical contractor, who has won a massive contract to install more than 120km of cable at the new Grafton jail, will need to add 90 people to his workforce.

McGrath Electrical and Data owner Scott McGrath said his company was approved to install the jail's security cabling.

JUN 25: AFTER months of pressure following The Daily Examiner's Let's Not Wait campaign, Roads and Maritime Services has finally listened to the people of Ulmarra.

Late Friday afternoon, RMS responded to recent criticisms about failing in their duty of care to address Ulmarra's notorious black spot by announcing the installation of speed cameras and safety barriers.

JUN 26: OVER-zealous policing that led to the wrongful arrest of a Grafton youth has cost the NSW Government more than $120,000. Grafton solicitor Joe Fahey said police had agreed to an out-of-court settlement after a court case was halted when video evidence (showing police grabbing the 17-year-old for no apparent reason) came to light that contradicted the evidence the police case relied on.

SPEAKING UP: Some of the speakers at the meeting at Coronation Hall Coutts Crossing, gather at the front of the hall.
SPEAKING UP: Some of the speakers at the meeting at Coronation Hall Coutts Crossing, gather at the front of the hall. Tim Howard

JUN 27: AT LEAST 97 per cent of Coutts Crossing residents don't want their village name changed, says the convener of tonight's public meeting called to discuss the issue.

Coutts Crossing resident Adrian Pryor said the community was opposed to a proposal to rename the village based on the fact its name commemorated an early settler, Thomas Coutts.

JUN 28: UNTAPPED potential may be identified by a $40,000 desktop study to be conducted by Clarence Valley Council into the viability of owning and operating Nymboida Power Station.

In a motion proposed by councillor and former mayor Richie Williamson, it was put to the council that a study be conducted into the viability and long-term impacts of the council running the station.

JUN 29: TWO men in their 20s have been arrested in connection with the death of Iluka man Aaron Marks in Ballina last month.

The unconscious body of Mr Marks, 38, was found on the River St footpath in the Ballina CBD about 2am on Sunday, May 13, a few hundred metres west of the pub where he had been drinking that night. .

JUN 30: RATES and charges are set to go up from July 1, with the Special Rate Variation coming into effect in the Clarence Valley.