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CrowdStrike Scammer Alert - Stop, Think, Protect, Report.
CrowdStrike Scammer Alert - Stop, Think, Protect, Report.

22 July 2024, 9:00 PM

Scammers are patrolling for vulnerable targets concerned about the Crowdstrike’s faulty update to its security software.We are being asked to STOP, THINK, PROTECT, REPORT to assess anyone discussing your personal information and data on your computer.CrowdStrike is a US-based cybersecurity company based in Austin, Texas. A defect in their Falcon content update has sent millions of computers around the world into a blue death screen loop, affecting many personal computers as well as organisations.The National Anti-Scam Centre, Scam Watch is “warning consumers and small businesses to be wary of unsolicited calls, emails or messages requesting they download a software patch or provide remote access to fix or protect their computer from the CrowdStrike/Microsoft outage.”(Recommendations from Scam Watch)Lismore MP Janelle Saffin’s Electorate Office confirmed that some of its laptops were affected by the outage but were rebooted with the help of Parliament’s IT services team.“Janelle’s staff were able to continue offering service and assistance to her constituents,” a spokesperson said.“The best advice for anyone disrupted by the outage is to work with their trusted IT support expert to restore connectivity.“Be extremely wary of unsolicited offers to provide a fix for the blue screen. They are more than likely scammers looking for your personal information.”Federal MP Kevin Hogan and Lismore City Council did not say they have been affected by the CrowdStrike issue.  However, Mr Hogan reinforces the need to be wary, “It is exceptionally important businesses and consumers are cautious of any unexpected texts, calls or emails claiming to be assistance with the Crowdstrike issue.“Friday’s Crowdstrike failure has only reinforced the importance of maintaining cash in our communities.” Mr Hogan said.Professional assistance is vital when something happens with technology that we are unfamiliar with, and security is an issue.  Speaking with Ken at Compu-K, he explains a little more about what they know regarding this issue.“The CrowdStrike Falcon security software seems to be primarily designed for file servers of large organisations, government departments etc. and not PC’s.“Any organisation that is dependent on access to a central server, such as banks, supermarkets and government departments, may have been affected and their IT departments should handle it. “If anyone gets a pop-up message purporting to be from CrowdStrike they should probably ignore it. It is very likely from an opportunistic scammer. They like to take advantage of newsworthy events such as CrowdStrike or natural disasters. “Scammers use trusted names like Microsoft or Telstra to get people to ring them. They can be very convincing, and the thing to remember is that Microsoft or Telstra or MyGov or the tax office will never contact people this way.“Do not ring the number. Switch the computer off.“The same applies to emails and text messages that are unexpected or look a bit unusual, even if they are from friends. Especially the ones that say that the sender is having a problem, cannot be contacted the usual way and needs money. “If someone has a distracted moment and engages with a scammer, they should never give credit card or bank details out and they should not go out and get gift cards. “Scammers can be quite intimidating, and they make it hard to refuse them politely. Disengage with them immediately. If the computer is locked up and inaccessible, switch it off and take it to a trusted repairer.“If someone has an even more distracted moment and lets a scammer access the computer remotely, switch it off. Call the bank and report the event so that they can monitor transactions and help change passwords. Passwords need to be changed for all accounts that have been accessed online by that computer, such as MyGov, Facebook etc.“Remediation is a chore, and it is better to not get compromised in the first place. “There is a whole lot more that can be said about potential threats, and scammers are coming up with new angles all the time. The best prevention is awareness and vigilance.”George Kurtz, the CEO of Crowdstrike acknowledges, “We know that adversaries and bad actors will try to exploit events like this. (CrowdStrike are monitoring the large number of scammer organisations popping up pretending to be the real company)“I encourage everyone to remain vigilant and ensure that you’re engaging with official CrowdStrike representatives. Our blog and technical support will continue to be the official channels for the latest updates.”Mr Kurtz also informs us, “CrowdStrike is actively assisting customers affected by a defect in a recent content update for Windows hosts. Mac and Linux hosts were not impacted. The issue has been identified and isolated, and a fix has been deployed. This was not a cyberattack.”If you have any concerns, contact Scamwatch here.

Mayor Krieg welcomes 50 apartment design but concerned about council infrastructure
Mayor Krieg welcomes 50 apartment design but concerned about council infrastructure

22 July 2024, 8:00 PM

Yesterday's announcement from the NSW Government about building 50 apartments in East Lismore was welcomed by Mayor Steve Krieg and the community.More details about the Landcom project emerged throughout the day.The exact location is the land immediately on the right-hand side of Crawford Road, with the East Lismore Cemetery on the left-hand side. The Build-To-Rent trial was first announced on 26 April when a deal was agreed to between Southern Cross University and Landcom, The NSW Government-owned land and property development organisation.It is not part of the first Resilient Lands announcement made on February 9 this year when Premier Chris Minns, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully, SCU's Vice-Chancellor Professor Tyrone Carlin and Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin announced 400 blocks will be built on both sides of Crawford Road on the 72-hectare site.$30 million will be spent to purchase the land and construct the 50 dwellings, which will be a combination of studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments in a flood-free area of East Lismore with 20% affordable housing. There will be two mid-rise buildings. The northern building will be three stories and will screen the lower-level southern building, which will be three stories above a ground-floor carpark.(An artist's impression of the $30 million 50-apartment project)Landcom says, "Pitched roofs, façade and balcony recesses help reduce the visual bulk and scale of the buildings so they blend with the surrounding character. Facades, roof treatments and materials reflect local architectural character".Landcom outlined the timing of the design, build, and move-in phases of the project.Community consultation will take place now until August 7, now that the draft design concept is complete, and a development application (DA) will be lodged with Lismore City Council following those consultations and any potential changes. Loose timing is the end of 2024.Construction is anticipated to begin in 2025, pending approvals. Then, residents could move into the new apartments in late 2026.The timing of the project is what concerns Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg."I think it's a great area for growth for Lismore. It's obviously flood-free land and has really good amenities in and around East Lismore. So, I think the location is really, really good."This is something that not just the Lismore LGA but the Northern Rivers is crying out for. The whole state is suffering from a housing crisis. So, I welcome the announcement.(An artist's impression of the new apartments in East Lismore)"We do have to change the way we live if we want to be a modern Regional Centre. Not everyone's going to live on a quarter-acre block in a three-bedroom, free-standing house. We need to change our thinking when it comes to housing. It's about catching up in a lot of respects. Lismore has been a little bit left behind as far as our planning and our identity is concerned."Mayor Krieg's concerns stem from Lismore City Council's rebuild of its flooded assets, like its sewage treatment plants, that over six hundred new East Lismore residents could be using by the end of 2026."After all the discussions we've had with different agencies involved in the state government, whether the timelines given are realistic, given the fact that many of our council infrastructure is still running on life support because of the flooding of 2022."I talked about the Resilient Lands announcement of up to 400 blocks up around that same area. The state government wants those blocks released by 2025/2026, that sort of timeframe. Well, we need to get cracking on our infrastructure work. We need to get our sewage treatment plant underway and working again. And we need to get all of our waste programs up and running and working again."All of these things aren't 6 to 12 months away, unfortunately, they're 18 months to 2 years away at the earliest."So while I welcome the announcement, I am somewhat sceptical about the timing of it, given the fact that our infrastructure needs an overhaul before these blocks of land and these 50 apartments can really come online and be fully occupied."(The East Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant May 31 2022)Mayor Krieg explained that any infrastructure project, like roads, bridges or sewage treatment plants, can have up to nine different government agencies involved in its planning, design and construction."I have full confidence in the administration of the Reconstruction Authority now with CEO Mal Lanyon and locally with Kristie Clarke. They're two very good people in very difficult roles. But, the whole purpose of forming the Reconstruction Authority is to give councils, like Lismore, that one point of contact to deal with reconstruction."It's pretty easy to forget the scale of the devastation of the flood of 2022. The bureaucrats in Sydney didn't live through it, didn't experience it, and don't understand the scale of the damage that was caused by the floodwaters. And for us, who are still living it and still trying to work through it, and still trying to get basic services to a point where we can feel comfortable to provide those services for our ratepayers, it is a massive frustration for us that things feel like they are ticking over very slowly and methodically."We have people in our council who will be driving the ongoing maintenance and servicing of these infrastructure projects, and they want to be part of the design, and they want to be part of the build, and they want to have input. One of my big arguments and fights still is to let Lismore City Council be part of the solution."We are going to come a point sometime in the future where the state government agencies are going to walk away and leave the council in charge of their own destiny in a lot of respects. And we want to have some level of control over what we're left with. It's critical to the rebuild and the reconstruction that, whether it's Lismore, Ballina, Casino, any council that went through what we went through, is included in the conversations and in the construction of some of these infrastructure projects."One of the counter-arguments to the building of new homes and land projects is that Lismore has roughly 562 fewer homes using the sewage and water services due to house buybacks. If we were in the same pre-flood position, that may be the case. However, the Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant is being described as 'being on life support", so it is barely able to cope with its current workload. And we know that the waste facility is critically damaged with our waste being shipped to Ipswich in Queensland.Are we complying with EPA standards?"At the moment, it is conforming with the EPA guidelines; it gets regularly tested and checked. So, everything's above board at the moment, but we can't bring on 50 new apartments and 400 new home sites in East Lismore alone. That's just in one area."If anyone has been to Wade Park, which is just down the road from these proposed developments, they'll notice a big brown brick building just on the corner. Well, that's a major pump station to the sewage treatment plant that services East Lismore and that whole region and that hasn't been fully repaired yet."If you think back to 2022, there was an announcement of $110 million for the sewage treatment plant upgrade. All of those pump stations were included because they were all underwater. They were all damaged by the flood."Mayor Krieg explained the time frame for the sewage treatment plant rebuild to understand his concerns."The timeframe that I've been given is that the concept design will be completed by the fourth of December by Public Works for our sewage treatment network. Then it's going to go into detail design, which you're looking at another 6 to 12 months. Then it is costed, we have to find a suitable builder, so it's got to go out to tender, and then we're probably looking for a 12 to 18-month build. So, we are looking at late 2026, early 2027 at best."It gets frustrating pleading for our residents to be patient. But that's the sort of timelines that are handed to us by the state government agencies. I have absolute confidence in my sewage treatment team to have a design and have a costing and to be able to order all the required parts and mechanisms by the end of the year, if they were given the chance to. And it would be fit for purpose, it would be state of the art, it would be flood resilient, and it would do all the things that we need it to do to allow for further growth, like when the North Lismore Plateau, the East Lismore developments and the upgrades to all of the new Richmond River High School come online. And we know there will be more."As we come towards the end of 2024, we will hopefully get a clearer picture of the infrastructure and housing timelines. We can only hope, that the infrastructure rebuild doesn't slow the new housing build.There is another question about the $110 million that was announced in 2022. With construction costs increasing by over 20% in the last two years, will $110 million get the job done?That is a story for another time.

50 apartments announced in Built To Rent project in East Lismore
50 apartments announced in Built To Rent project in East Lismore

22 July 2024, 12:08 AM

Plans for 50 apartments in East Lismore that are well-designed, climate-resilient and sustainable have been released for community and stakeholder feedback as Landcom implements a build-to-rent pilot. Led by Landcom, the development at the corner of Crawford Road at 138-146 Military Road will deliver secure rental housing in a region impacted by rising rents and low housing availability. Twenty percent of the apartments will be affordable rental housing for those on low and moderate household incomes, such as the essential workers who keep our cities and towns moving. Set to include a mix of apartment sizes to suit the needs, lifestyles and budgets of different households, future residents will be close to shops, schools, Southern Cross University, open space and other community infrastructure. Work is underway to finalise the design and planning in preparation for the lodgement of the development application with Lismore City Council in the coming months. Subject to approvals, construction is projected to begin in 2025 with residents expected to move in 2026. The site for the homes is not flood prone and the design aims to maximise solar access and cross ventilation for the wellbeing of future tenants. The development will also include private off-street parking, as well as outdoor communal spaces, a mix of subtropical plants and views to bushland in the east. Locals can have their say about the draft design concept by completing Landcom’s online survey by Wednesday, 7 August 2024. Landcom will also hold a community information and feedback session on Thursday, 1 August 2024 at East Lismore Bowling Club. Locals can drop-in any time between 5pm and 8pm to learn more, ask the project team questions and share their thoughts. Light refreshments will be provided. For more information about the project and to complete the online survey, visit Join In, Landcom’s community engagement portal: https://www.joinin.landcom.nsw.gov.au/eastlismorebtr.Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully, said “Regional NSW has not been immune from housing pressures. Through this build-to-rent pilot project residents will have access to well-located, well-designed and well-built homes. “The Government committed to a build-to-rent pilot at the election and this project in East Lismore will help to boost the supply of much-needed rental stock while providing greater housing security and stable rents. “The build-to-rent project continues the NSW Government’s ongoing efforts to support flood recovery in the Northern Rivers.” Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin said, “There is an essential need for more homes across regional NSW and locals in Lismore were already doing it tough before the floods in 2022, when around 40% of local rental households were experiencing rental stress. “I advocated strongly for this build-to-rent project, a welcome investment by the NSW Government to provide secure and affordable rental options for the Lismore community.  “It’s good to see Landcom seeking to help local renters to put a roof over their head as soon as practical, while also planning to deliver housing that is in tune with the local environment.” Landcom CEO Alex Wendler said, “Beyond helping to boost housing supply and tackle the housing crisis head on, we are aiming for a high-quality and attractive development that is climate-resilient and sustainable so that future residents are proud to call it home. “Community feedback is a key component of our planning process and I encourage locals to have their say about our plans.”

Ocean Shores man charged over alleged drug supply after RBT stop
Ocean Shores man charged over alleged drug supply after RBT stop

22 July 2024, 12:01 AM

A man has been charged with drug supply after a vehicle stop at Brunswick Heads on the weekend.About 9.40pm on Saturday 20 July 2024, officers from Tweed/Byron Police District stopped a vehicle in Tandys Lane, Brunswick Heads for the purpose of a random breath test.After speaking to the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle – a 50-year-old man – police searched the vehicle and allegedly located about 38 grams of MDMA, 91 grams of ketamine, 55 grams of cocaine, 5 grams of cannabis resin, 5 grams of LSD, 40 grams of cannabis leaf and 32 prescription pills.The man was arrested and taken to Byron Bay Police Station.While the man was in custody, police obtained a search warrant and conducted a search of the man’s residence at Palmer Avenue, Ocean Shores.During the search warrant, police allegedly located a small quantity of cannabis leaf, 113 grams of cocaine, 33 grams of MDMA powder, $13,500 in cash, a sling shot, a number of prescription pills and two mobile telephones.The man was charged with 12 offences - supply prohibited drug - indictable quantity (five counts), supply prohibited drug - small quantity, deal with proceeds of crime, possess prohibited drug (four counts) and possess prohibited weapon.The man was refused bail to appear at Byron Bay Local Court today (Monday, 22 July 2024).Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.

State Govt trials modular homes to deliver more social housing
State Govt trials modular homes to deliver more social housing

21 July 2024, 10:03 PM

The Minns Labor Government has announced the first sites to trial modular social housing today as it continues to look for ways to address the housing affordability and availability crisis facing New South Wales.  As the Government continues to look at innovative ways to bring more homes online sooner, $10 million has been invested to explore and trial the use of modular housing to deliver much-needed social homes for the people of NSW.  Following a comprehensive assessment, sites in Wollongong and Lake Macquarie have been identified as suitable locations to deliver the first modular social homes. While Lismore was not on the list, if the trial is successful, we would see a roll out across the state to address the social housing crisis in our region. Three sites in Wollongong will host three modular social homes, whilst four sites in Lake Macquarie will host five modular social homes. A procurement process for the delivery of these homes has begun, with completion expected by early 2025. Modular housing provides a cost effective and time efficient alternative to traditional building methods, which means homes can be brought online faster. It is estimated that modular homes can be delivered 20% faster than traditional methods, with time savings expected to increase over time. Last year, the NSW Government formed the Modular Housing Taskforce, an expert cross industry panel who have spearheaded this project and provided advice to the government on barriers to the utilisation of and ways modular housing can be harnessed to speed up the delivery of homes. The Taskforce includes peak industry experts such as; PreFab Aus, Shelter NSW, Property Council of Australia, Local Government NSW and people with lived experiences of social housing.  As modular housing has not previously been used at scale in NSW, feedback from the Taskforce highlighted several regulatory barriers to the rollout of modular housing widely, which the NSW Government is methodically working through.This work includes collaborating with the NSW Building Commission to set uniform standards for manufactured homes constructed offsite.The NSW Government will continue to work with the Taskforce, and local governments as it looks to expand the Modular Housing Program across the state and bring more social homes online sooner.For more information visit: www.nsw.gov.au/homes-nsw/MMCPremier of New South Wales, Chris Minns said, “Housing affordability and availability is the single biggest pressure facing the people of New South Wales.“We are pulling every lever we can to tackle the housing crisis, and today is an important milestone in our work to utilise nontraditional methods of delivering more homes, sooner rather than later.”Minister for Housing and Homelessness Rose Jackson said, “Today marks another significant milestone in our Modular Housing Taskforce Plan as we announce the locations for the first set of modular social homes."These initial sites are a crucial first step towards revolutionising public housing delivery and we anticipate this demonstration project will pave the way for more of these innovative homes to be rolled out in the future.“Amid a severe housing crisis, we need to look at every option we must get a roof over people's heads sooner. Leveraging modern construction methods will help us provide sustainable, quality housing faster for the people that need it most.“We know people don’t have time to wait and while we get on with the job of building 8,400 new public homes announced in the recent budget, we will continue to leverage every opportunity we have.”Member for Wollongong Paul Scully said, “Modular and modern methods of construction are used to produce award-winning architecturally designed homes in a timely and efficient manner, so it makes sense to trial this approach to construction as part of the Minns Government’s commitment to build more social housing.“I welcome not only the use of new and innovative methods of construction that are used the world over to trial them to build more social housing in Wollongong – it is a sensible use of new technology to try and solve a long-term housing waiting list.”

V8 Superboats National Championships next weekend
V8 Superboats National Championships next weekend

21 July 2024, 9:02 PM

Round 1 of the National Championships for the Australian Formula Jet Sprint Association, V8 Superboats, starts next weekend in one of the world's favourite venues near Cabarita Beach.There’s nothing but adrenaline action, rush stacks and speeds up to 140 kph on race day," said ex-president of the club, active member and racer Peter Monger, who is primed for this year's event“You've got 15 seconds between races, so it just goes full on all day. Crashes and spills, they're always on there, so excitement plus.”The Round Mountain track is particularly good for watching the boats, as the landscape surrounding it is like a stadium. Everyone has a good view of the entire track.The races include three classes of Superboats - Entry level class, International group A class and a Superboat class.There are only two local Northern Rivers teams competing this year, and Peter is hoping for a place in the Superboat class.“This is our first full season in the Superboat class this year. Last year, we had one round in this class, and we managed to take second place in that round.  “There were a few boats that were quicker than us but they fell out during the day through different reasons, crashes and so forth. So, if we can get back on the podium for the first round, we'll be really happy.”(Peter Mongers team, Mongrel)Competitors have four qualifying rounds on Saturday and two qualifying rounds on Sunday. The top 15 boats of each class advance to the elimination rounds.The tactics change and the tension builds at eliminations.“You can be the leading boat all day long. The eliminations are when the pressure comes on. “If you bugger up on that first elimination round, you're out for the rest of the day. You can only rely on your last run. You’ve got to be consistent.”The races run all through the day and are timed. There are two boats idling in the pit pool, ready to go at all times. After a boat has gone through the finish beam and enters the spin-out pool, there is a 15-second break before the next racer begins at the start line.The track directions have been released for round one. The late dispensing of this knowledge controls advantage on the day; the entrants do not know the course until a week before the race.  “When you're down on track level, and you can only see the island in front of you and nothing else, navigating is very difficult.”Practice is not easily done in this sport, “Generally, you get behind that wheel and practice on race days.”There are club days when the track is available to be used. It is required to be open to everyone, and “we've got to make sure that the association will agree to a date.”The World Titles for V8 Superboats takes place every four years. In 2024, it will take place in New Zealand, so the national competition in Australia is split into two sections.“We'll run three rounds of the national competition before the world titles and then three rounds after. There are quite a few Australian boats going over for the world titles.”Mitch, another club member, told me that the Superboat track at Round Mountain, Cabarita, is considered the best in Australia by racers.  Peter elaborates that those who race on it consider it their favourite track in the world, “Not one person who has raced on it hasn’t praised the track.“When we get internationals over here, whether they're the Kiwis, Americans, Canadians or from the UK, they rate this as the best track they’ve raced on.”Live streaming of Round Mountain races around the world is popular because of the track.“The big difference here is we have 11 islands; every other track has about four.(Round Mountain Track at Cabarita)“So it's a much more technical track, and it’s harder to remember your track directions because there are so many different islands to go around.”A shadow looms over this year's race as the land the venue is held on is up for sale, and the future of the use of this track is uncertain.“We have the best landowner in history. He donates the whole use of the land to us, and we maintain it. Excess money made on the day is donated to charities that he likes.“Ross has been a godsend. Without him, we would not be able to run these races.”Peter also praises the spectators who attend the races and speaks of a race last year that was washed out. “90% of the people that attended sat through the drizzly day and didn’t ask for their money back - that kindness pretty much saved the club.”Next weekend is round one of the national competition, and possibly due to the unconfirmed future of the track, the second round will also be held at Round Mountain. So, if you can’t make it next weekend, book in for the beginning of August.Check them out on Facebook or get tickets on their website.

Liquor Legends Lismore Heights expands general store offerings to serve coffee
Liquor Legends Lismore Heights expands general store offerings to serve coffee

21 July 2024, 8:00 PM

Ten months ago, Ken Ellis opened Liquor Legends Lismore Heights on Ballina Road. The business was a liquor store and a general store providing food basics like bread, milk and snacks.At the time, Ken told the Lismore App that Liquor Legends was not the finished product, saying, "The longer we are open, the more we will understand what the local community needs."One of those community needs was a place to get a morning coffee. So, Ken submitted a development application (DA) to the Lismore City Council, which was recently granted.The result is a coffee van in the driveway of the physical Liquor Legends store and the hiring of two new staff to run it."The liquor side of the business has been good," Ken said, "The general store side of the business we found quite slow. I put that down to essentially the times we were able to open. Our DA was from 10am to 10pm, so we put in a modification with council a few months ago to be able to open from 7am, not for the alcohol side, but so we could service the general store side for when people want bread and milk before 10am, and that's where the idea for coffee came from."Then we thought that no one will know we are open if we go from within the store, so I started looking around and thinking of different ideas, like maybe we could drop a shipping container in or something. The reason we went with the caravan was because it basically needed to be a mobile service unit. So, we went with that, and now we're able to offer all of the general store staples out of the out of the coffee van before we open the store."We've got bread, milk, muffins, banana bread, Byron Bay cookies, toasted sandwiches, all served from out of the the caravan. But, if someone came and wanted a bag of flour or whatever from inside the store, we can make that happen. The guys can just duck inside and grab them if someone had a desperate need for one of the general store items we didn't have in the van.The most important question for coffee drinkers, is what type of coffee are you buying? Is it good coffee? Luckily, Ken has some friends who know a lot about coffee."I knew very little about coffee. I've been in pubs, and I've had coffee machines that just knocked out standard pub coffee. Some mates of mine have a coffee roasting business south of Sydney, and they helped me with the setup of the van. I went and chatted to them, just expecting to get some advice, and they were like, oh, mate, we'll get you a coffee machine. I was going to put the standard coffee machine in there, and they were like, no, no, don't go with that; it's not going to do the job. So, I ended up getting a big, shiny La Marzocco machine. It's not the Ferrari, but it's the absolute benchmark standard of coffee shops. "Now, they're shipping coffee up to me from Taren Point. I've been through all of their roastery and tried a bunch of their different blends and have decided on serving a dark carnival blend at the moment. It seems to be a great allrounder that will go with a lot of the different styles of milk, such as oat, soy or almond and that sort of thing. And so I wanted something that would work across all of those."Ken's has hired two new local staff members with coffee experience, Phoenix and Niki, who will be the smiling faces you see each Monday to Saturday morning from 7am to 10am."If the demand is there, we'll open up seven days," Ken added, "But at this point, we just thought we would kick off Monday to Saturday and see how it goes."As an enticement for people to try out Liquor Legends Lismore Heights coffee, Ken is giving away 500 cups to members and those who join the membership program."When I was chatting to the manager, people have been turning up expecting to spend their money on coffee, but because we've given them the coffee for free, they've bought something else, which has been kind of nice."Liquor Legends Lismore Heights is at 426 Ballina Road, just after the Rotary Drive roundabout and next to the Lismore Heights Post Office.

Byron Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to build new play precinct
Byron Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to build new play precinct

20 July 2024, 11:11 PM

Byron Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, formerly the Macadamia Castle, has announced its new status as a tax-deductible DGR (Deductible Gift Recipient) charity, where every dollar donated is tax-deductible and is spent directly supporting wildlife conservation and education. This milestone marks a significant transformation for the long-standing tourism destination, heralding an era of enhanced conservation education and family-friendly facilities for the Northern Rivers community. With the confirmation of the Sanctuary’s full tax-deductible status, a local philanthropist has generously donated funds to build a state-of-the-art Nature Playground at The Sanctuary for visitors. This playground will significantly improve the Sanctuary's offerings for local families whilst aligning with its mission to connect guests with nature. An ambitious fundraising campaign is underway to raise further funds to expand on the project, to be completed by Spring 2024. The innovative Nature Playground will aim to create an outdoor precinct that helps our community to create curious, creative and confident children through play and adventure, with added positive effects on children's health and wellbeing. The playground’s design emphasises the importance of nature, ecosystems, and wildlife, using natural and sustainable materials that integrate into meaningful and educational play.  Coinciding with the playground's launch will be a new membership program for locals, granting year-round access to the Sanctuary's facilities and fostering a strong community. The Sanctuary’s team is dedicated to continually improving the offering for the community so that the facility is not just a Sanctuary for Australian native animals but also visitors.  The Sanctuary has ambitious plans to transform its enclosures and redevelop park facilities, complementing the enhanced family precinct, the developments include a Reptile House, Nocturnal House, and Rainforest Walk. These projects will focus on ecosystem precincts and offer comprehensive educational experiences for visitors.   Amanda Gorvin, General Manager of Byron Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, said, “We are thrilled about the future of the Sanctuary following our DGR status recognition. This new chapter will enable significant growth and development, thanks to the generous support from the community and corporate partners. Our Sanctuary is deeply community and family-focused, and we aim to enhance our offerings to benefit visiting guests and our local members while promoting the importance of our natural world,”  You can help to complete the Nature Playground and significantly improve the Sanctuary's offerings for local families whilst aligning with its mission to connect visitors with nature by clicking HERE. 

The Sassy Bean cafe was in cold water on a sunny day
The Sassy Bean cafe was in cold water on a sunny day

20 July 2024, 9:55 PM

Fire crews were called to the HomeCo shopping centre yesterday when a sprinkler went off at 7:35am, before shoppers had entered the premises.The sprinkler located directly above The Sassy Beans coffee machine has inundated owner Tony Zammit's café. “I am totally devastated. After two and a half years of Covid, two and a half years of flood recovery, and just when things were getting back to somewhere close to normal, and now this,” Tony Zammit laments.Firemen arrived at 7.45am, but could not shut off the water until 8am. 5000L of water a minute poured onto Tony’s coffee machine, fridges, and the food he was preparing.“We weren’t even cooking or anything. The fridges are destroyed, the coffee machine is destroyed. I just can’t believe it.”Tony was preparing food for the day when the sprinkler went off. “I walked under it 50 times that morning, but suddenly I was getting drenched.”The water spread out in the shopping centre, affecting Repco, BCF and Petstock. Apart from The Sassy Bean, the other businesses weren’t too negatively affected.Petstock’s Kylie said, “I rocked up to work, and there were fire engines out the front. The carpark was full of water. I didn’t think we were too badly affected until I went inside, and I saw the water coming through the wall from Sassy Bean.”The water was not sufficient to cause any damage to stock.(Photo: provided)Repco cleaned up and was ready to open as soon as possible.At BCF, Rob said, “We got here in time to pick up low-lying stock and put it up high. Then it was just 5 hours of mopping.”(Photo: provided)Eleven firefighters attended from Lismore and Ballina. The fire crews cleaned up until 9:10am and the centre reopened at 11am once all the shops were ready.Tony does a lot of weekend preparation on Friday evening and Saturday morning. The food on the counters on Saturday morning was ruined, but the food in the fridges was protected. However, it couldn't be kept for long.(The clean-up. Photo: provided)Tony hates waste, so he started making enquiries to find a charity that could take the sandwiches and pies.Sharon Dwyer from the Winsome kitchen was not in Lismore, but was able to coordinate salvaging the food to be handed to those in need. (Tony's food on its way to The Winsome. Photo: provided)Tony now turns to the next steps. He has already made calls to implement a quick temporary setup so people are still able to access the café services, but plans will have to play out over the next few days. What is required to start over needs to be assessed - insurance and costs are undefined, timing is a big hurdle and the effort seems daunting after so much loss.The Sassy Bean café has been up for sale, and Tony fears that this turn of events will not bode well.  See more details in a recent story here.HomeCo was contacted for an explanation as to what caused that amount of water to enter the building's main body, but it did not provide a comment at the time of publishing.

Traffic delays expected for planned roadworks on Bangalow Rd & Bruxner Hwy
Traffic delays expected for planned roadworks on Bangalow Rd & Bruxner Hwy

20 July 2024, 9:02 PM

Anyone driving on Bangalow Road and the Bruxner Highway south of South Gundurimba can expect traffic delays over the next few weeks as Lismore City Council carries out Heavy Patching work on behalf of Transport for NSW.The heavy patching will take place between 6:30am and 6:30pm with Bangalow Road at Howards Grass the first road to receive the patching from tomorrow (Monday, July 22) through to Monday, July 29.Then, on Monday, July 29 through to Monday, 5 August, the intersection between Wharf Road and Coraki Road on the Bruxner Highway will be patched.The final worksite will be the intersection between McInnes Road and Tatham Road on the Bruxner Highway, commencing on Monday, 5 August through to Monday, 10 August.Lismore City Council says traffic control measures will be in place to manage single-lane traffic flows through the work site. "Road users are asked to follow onsite signage and directions given by traffic controllers, commute through the job site at low speed, and, where possible, avoid the area. Some minor delays can be expected while these works are being completed. "During the works, residents are urged to follow traffic controllers’ instructions when both entering and exiting their driveways. We would appreciate your cooperation with all traffic control and workplace protection measures to keep everyone safe."Lismore City Council and Transport for NSW apologise in advance for any inconvenience experienced while we carry out these works and thank motorists for their patience during this time."

CSIROs Dr Wong provides expert commentary about bird flu in Australia
CSIROs Dr Wong provides expert commentary about bird flu in Australia

20 July 2024, 9:00 PM

The world is currently experiencing a bird flu ‘panzootic’ – a pandemic of birds. This devastating global outbreak is being caused by a particular strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus called H5N1 clade 2.3.4.4b. It is affecting wild birds and poultry, and some mammals, on every continent except Australia. Meanwhile, three separate strains of bird flu – H7N3, H7N9 and H7N8 – have been detected across poultry farms in Australia. NoneAs Australia’s national reference laboratory, CSIRO’s Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP) is playing a key role in testing, determining virus strains and keeping Australian authorities informed. (CSIRO’s Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP) in Geelong, Victoria.)Dr Frank Wong, is a senior research scientist at ACDP and a World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) Reference Laboratory expert in avian influenza. Dr Wong explains bird flu in more detail and its risk to humans.What’s the difference between low pathogenic and highly pathogenic bird flu? “The virus strains are classified as either low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) or high pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses. LPAI infections in birds may cause only mild illness or no disease at all. But HPAI infections in poultry can cause outbreaks of severe disease, resulting in many sick and dead birds in affected farms. “Some H7 and H5 strains start out as low pathogenic in wild birds but they can become highly pathogenic through virus mutation in infected chicken flocks."How much of a risk does highly pathogenic avian influenza virus pose to people? “Bird flu is basically a virus that affects birds with occasional spillover to other animal species. “There have been rare cases when people have caught the virus, usually from working directly with the infected poultry or affected farms.  “As it is still a bird-adapted virus, we normally do not see avian influenza being transmitted from person to person or mammal to mammal. The risk to people is still considered low at this time.” Has Australia ever had an outbreak of bird flu before now? “Australia has had previous outbreaks of the disease ‘HPAI’ in poultry, including in 2012, 2013 and again in 2020. In each instance, the outbreaks were quickly contained, and the strain causing the highly pathogenic outbreak was eradicated. “Australia’s previous outbreaks were of H7 bird flu; we’ve never had an outbreak of H5N1 here, which is the strain causing havoc overseas.” What strain of bird flu is causing Australia’s current outbreaks? "There are currently two states and one territory affected by bird flu outbreaks. While there are three separate strains involved, they are all H7 strains of the virus. Outbreaks in Victoria have been caused by H7N3 HPAI impacting egg farms in the Meredith region and H7N9 HPAI in one farm in the Terang region. "The HPAI outbreaks affecting farmed chickens in the Hawkesbury region of NSW and in the ACT have been caused by the H7N8 strain."What strain of bird flu is causing the devastating outbreaks around the world? “The bird flu strain causing havoc overseas is known as highly pathogenic H5N1 clade 2.3.4.4b. It emerged sometime in 2020 and has spread to every continent except Australia, affecting millions of wild birds and domestic poultry. This virus has even killed wild birds and marine mammals in Antarctica.” What is different about this H5N1 strain? “Clade 2.3.4.4b H5N1 has picked up the ability to infect a much wider variety of bird species than other HPAI strains previously. (Wild birds can spread bird flu to farmed poultry, where it can mutate to more pathogenic strains. © CSKK IMG-6270, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Photo: supplied)“Scientists have also noted that wherever H5N1 spreads, it has mixed with local bird flu strains. This seems to have allowed it to adapt to new environments and may explain its ability to infect many new bird species. “It has also spilled over into several mammal species, such as foxes, and marine mammals, such as sea lions and elephant seals and on rare occasions, it has spilled over into cats and dogs. It was reported in farmed minks and fur farms in Europe and since March this year, the virus was detected in dairy cows for the first time in the USA.” What is the risk that H5N1 will reach Australia? “The main hosts that carry bird flu viruses over long distances are migratory ducks and geese. As Australia isn’t in the flyways of these migrations, the risk of H5N1 reaching Australia is relatively low.  “However, the risk has slightly increased because of H5N1’s ability to infect additional species of wild birds. This increases the chance of introduction through regional or bridging species.” What is CSIRO’s Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness in Geelong doing to prepare for a possible incursion of H5N1? “At CSIRO’s Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness, we assist with Australia’s surveillance efforts and conduct research to characterise the virus to understand it better. We’re helping keep track of bird flu and which strains are spreading through poultry and wild birds not only in Australia but in our region and globally. “Australian state and territory laboratories rely on ACDP to conduct testing on bird samples to confirm the presence of avian influenza.  “We then do genetic sequencing of the virus and use this information to identify the exact strain and understand if and how it is changing. This way we know if the virus is a local virus already present within Australian wild birds, or whether it could be a strain introduced from overseas.  “We then provide this information and advice to authorities and animal health working groups to support them in making decisions for responding to outbreaks.  “In my role as the World Organisation for Animal Health reference expert, I meet with the other avian influenza reference laboratory experts. We share information about the circulating strains around the world and any new spillover events, such as the H5N1 infections of dairy cattle in the US earlier this year. “This work has also helped us be as ready as we can be with diagnostic capabilities and response advice.” 

NSW Farmers say balance is vital in nature strategy
NSW Farmers say balance is vital in nature strategy

20 July 2024, 7:59 PM

The state’s peak farming group says the new NSW Nature Strategy must not be used to restrict food and fibre production.The state government released its response to the statutory reviews of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and the native vegetation provisions of the Local Land Services Act 2013 on Tuesday.The response signals a shift in the way the state fulfils its responsibilities to protect the environment and manage native vegetation across the State, now and into the future. Farmers were fearful last year’s review of the Biodiversity Conservation Act by former public servant Ken Henry would lead to unworkable environmental policies that would undermine productivity and leave unmanaged and degraded landscapes in its wake. NSW Farmers Board Member Oscar Pearse said locking up land and restricting the land management practices of farmers was unlikely to deliver positive biodiversity outcomes.  “We’re still looking through all of the detail, but what we can see so far is more Government-mandated land clearing in the regions for non-agricultural developments, while those growing food and managing biodiversity in the landscape face major restrictions,” Mr Pearse said. “Farmers spend their lives in the landscape and love where they live – they work hard to produce healthy plants and healthy animals with world-leading sustainability credentials. “The drastic changes proposed for limiting the use of the Land Management Code will drive farmers away from cooperation with conservation and natural capital markets while they try to survive on their land, which is precisely the wrong signal to send.” Mr Pearse said this issue would likely get a lot of attention at next week’s NSW Farmers Annual Conference, where Environment Minister Penny Sharpe was set to speak. “The strength of our organisation is at our grassroots level, and we’re going to have hundreds of those members in Sydney next week, it is our members who will inform our formal response,” Mr Pearse said. “Recognising the strong connection farmers and landholders have with their land and the key role they play in managing and enhancing native vegetation and natural assets is critical. “The way forward is for everyone to work constructively together, we need NSW Farmers members to understand the implications this will have on their farms and give us that feedback so we steer government in the right direction.”

NSW SES donates clothes through Uniforms 4 Kids partnership
NSW SES donates clothes through Uniforms 4 Kids partnership

19 July 2024, 10:05 PM

Retired NSW State Emergency Service (SES) uniforms will be saved from landfill thanks to a partnership with Uniforms 4 Kids, a charity that will turn the former orange and blue uniforms into clothes and items for children and families in need.  Officially launched today, the partnership means donated emergency service uniforms can be turned into evacuation bags, children’s clothes, hats, pencil cases, library bags and soft toys. The partnership is an opportunity for the NSW SES to help the communities it serves even further, while also supporting sustainability.  The charity relies on volunteers to cut, stitch and sew the items. It also partners with the New South Wales Police Force, Queensland Police Service, Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force, Ambulance Victoria, Queensland Ambulance Service, Royal Flying Doctors and Australia Zoo.  (Photo: supplied)Uniforms 4 Kids was founded in 2015 by Order of Australia recipient Yvonne Pattinson, who began recycling donated police uniforms for children in remote and rural communities.  To date, more than 55,000 items made by the charity have been donated to domestic violence shelters, remote communities, families and children in need throughout Australia and in countries overseas where the AFP and Australian Border Force provide assistance.  Anyone interested in getting involved can visit www.uniforms4kids.com.au. Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib said, “Our dedicated SES volunteers do a lot for their local communities, and this partnership with Uniforms 4 Kids extends that ethos of helping people out.” “This partnership will help ensure fewer retired SES uniforms go to waste, not only helping families who might need financial assistance during these challenging times, but also helping to reduce landfill.” “Volunteerism makes the world a better place, and to have two volunteer organisations partner to improve the lives of the communities they serve is inspiring.” NSW SES Acting Commissioner Deb Platz APM said, “We’re proud to partner with Uniforms 4 Kids, which is a very worthy cause that will make a difference to the lives of others in need.” “Not only that, but being able to give children evacuation bags made from old NSW SES uniforms will further develop community awareness and get families talking about what they may do, or pack, into the bag should they need to evacuate during a natural disaster.” Uniforms 4 Kids Chairman Glenn Ferguson AM said, “We are thrilled to have the NSW State Emergency Service partner with us to further deliver on our mission of creating unique clothing for children in need, no matter who or where they are.” “By being able to repurpose donated uniforms for the good of others, we’re continuing the use of the NSW SES uniform to protect and serve communities, all while reducing waste.” “Our dedicated sewing volunteers are based all over the country, with some groups formed in nursing homes, assisted living villages, church groups, or social groups, adding to the social impact we’re having.” “Our team is made up of volunteers, and all monies raised go towards enabling the creation of outstanding and beautiful clothes.” 

Lismore's Chrissie Jackson wins Miss Pole QLD
Lismore's Chrissie Jackson wins Miss Pole QLD

19 July 2024, 9:01 PM

Lismore’s Chrissie Jackson placed first in the Miss Pole Queensland professional pole dancing competition last weekend where she was awarded the coveted sash, tiara and flowers at the high level competition.This is the first time someone from the Roxie Rose Burlesque and Pole Dancing studio has taken out this honour, and Chrissie couldn't be more happy.“It's a massive achievement. I've watched videos of Australian pole dancers years ago when I was back in the UK, and I was just absolutely in awe of the talent here.“Australian pole dancing is some of the best in the world. The standard over here is really, really high. I never expected to win one of these comps.”(Chrissie - image provided by Chrissie)Dancers use two types of poles - spinning and static. Chrissie loves to make the static pole look like a spinning pole, using strength and flowing movements to achieve a seamless dance.Chrissie’s choreography went for 4 minutes and 15 seconds. “It doesn't sound very long, but I can guarantee you when, when you're on stage and you're having to do tricks and floor work and put it all together with a smile at the same time - it's a long time!”Getting this far wasn't easy, “It is about determination and focusing on being the best I could possibly be. It's true that you get out what you put in. It has been my sole passion outside of work.”Training for competition-level pole dancing requires cardio and strength fitness. But Chrissie doesn’t feel like it's a hard workout and much prefers it to the gym.“I fell in love with the sport years ago. At my very first class, I bought a pole, which is really unusual. I knew this was for me. It's so much fun. I love it. (Chrissie - image provided by Chrissie)“There aren’t many sports where you can dress up - wear nice heels, do your hair and makeup, wear a lovely costume. And it keeps you fit as well.”Chrissie was competing against 14 other women, one other, Natalie Wilesmith is also from Roxie Rose’s and trains closely with Chrissie.(Chrissie and Nat - image provided by Chrissie)“Natalie is my training buddy at the studio. She was in the competition as well. I want to give her a shout-out because she is such a legend.“She is my heart girl. She really supports me and everything that I do, and her routine was amazing.”Megan Phillips and Cherie Small have been running Roxie Rose Burlesque and Pole Dancing since the end of 2016 and have stuck it out despite multiple floods and the Covid pandemic.  “It’s great to have Chrissie and Nat compete. We couldn’t be happier for Chrissie and her win. They trained so hard, they both deserve to be up there! It brings the training up to a whole new level.”Nat said, “It’s such an honour being able to compete on stage with the best in Queensland. My first goal was to qualify to be able to compete in that competition. My second goal was being able to do my routine well and be entertaining. And I'm pretty sure I achieved that."(Nat on the pole)Both Chrissie and Nat teach at the dance studio. Chrissie advocates that this is a great way to work out.“It doesn't matter how old you are, what size, shape, your gender, anyone can do it and it will. It really increases your confidence. “There's a saying that the longer you pole for, the smaller your pants get, and the higher your heels get, because you just become so much more confident. “It's lovely to see how the students evolve over time. They become more - themselves and they flourish in the sport.”(Chrissie and Nat and their students at a showcase at the end of term)Chrissie and Nat would also like to give a shout-out to Cherie and Megan for the supportive space they provide and the friends, students and partners who came to support Chrissie and Nat on Saturday night.“It's always great to have a really good cheer crew in the crowd because it really fires you up. It's lovely to hear the support from the crowd.” What does this win mean for Chrissie? “It means I go to the national finals in November. Other than that, I'll just continue training the way that I am training now. I might teach a few more classes, some more workshops. I'm proud of myself.”The next term of dance starts Monday 22nd, and there are 20 classes with different styles and levels. And two male students! So, if you are interested, check them out on Facebook, or send them an email at [email protected] can also follow Chrissie’s dancing career on Instagram @chrissiejacko.

Cattle death sends farmers a warning for Mud Scours on the NRs
Cattle death sends farmers a warning for Mud Scours on the NRs

19 July 2024, 8:01 PM

Livestock producers in the Northern Rivers have been provided information from North Coast Local Land Services after Mud Scours or Yersiniosis, has recently been confirmed by laboratory testing as the cause of death in cattle on a local property.Mud scours is a severe and often fatal bacterial scour (diarrhoea), which can result in sickness and death in large numbers of adult cattle but can also be seen in weaners and yearlings. It is a common cause of diarrhoea and death in the north coast region each winter and spring, often following physiological and environmental stressors such as lack of nutrition and cold, wet, windy weather. This recent confirmation serves to remind cattle producers that the conditions are now favourable for this disease to occur and to monitor stock regularly. Since the disease is driven by seasonal and paddock conditions, it tends to occur as outbreaks and can cause significant losses in affected herds. Some years are particularly bad for the disease, with a significant number of properties in a district affected since many places may experience similar environmental conditions. The bacteria require cool temperatures and mud on dry feed, so it is often seen on low-lying or poorly-drained pastures, commonly after flooding. Cases can also occur as lagoons and dams dry out in winter and cattle enter the mud to feed. However, the disease can also occur on high ground, as in the recently confirmed case, particularly when hay around self-feeders is contaminated with mud from cattle feeding. If seen early, cattle will be depressed, not eating, drooling saliva and have high temperatures. They then develop a watery, smelly scour, occasionally tinged with white casts or blood. Some cattle may linger for a week and have a profuse watery scour and dramatic weight loss. Others may just be found dead without noticing diarrhoea prior. If treated early with broad-spectrum antibiotics, animals may be saved. It is best to consult your veterinarian about diagnosis and treatment as it is worth ruling out other causes of diarrhoea such as that from stomach worm, salmonellosis or Johne’s disease (which, if suspected, must be reported to your Local Land Services District Vet). It is also important to keep scouring animals well-hydrated. Electrolyte replacement solutions may be required. If possible, move the cattle to a fresh paddock. However, this may be difficult as farms with the disease often have no dry areas during the risk period. Careful observation is essential to ensure early treatment of any suspicious cases. If hay around feeders is the problem, remove spilt hay and move the hay ring to a fresh site. If you are concerned about your livestock, you can contact the North Coast Local Land Services District Veterinarian team on 1300 795 299.

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