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Central teachers become bike ambassadors
Central teachers become bike ambassadors

12 June 2024, 5:30 PM

Eight teachers from three Central primary schools were the first participants in a new schools bike ambassador course that kicked off in Alexandra yesterday.The teachers from Alexandra Primary School (APS), St Gerard’s School (SGS) and The Terrace School (TTS) spent the first day of the two-day course learning bike basics, including the anatomy of a bike, how to check and fit helmets, road rules and etiquette, among much more.Central Otago District Council (CODC) road safety advisor Chris Foggin (Foggie) said it was exciting to take the teachers through the programme handbook and resources he had developed.“The bike games cards from the national bike ready programme will be key for students [to get them out there doing it].”Foggie giving an overview of the course content at Alexandra Community Centre. PHOTO: The Central AppSGS teachers Sue Wright (front) and Ollie Yeoman check helmets for dents or damage and the stickers to indicate the New Zealand safety standards.Foggie said by the end of the two-day course the teachers should have the confidence to lead groups safely and engage with other people using the cycle trail or road network.His approach to conveying cycling content was a flexible one, with a coaching style as opposed to more traditional prescriptive instructor led courses. “I’m 90% doing and only about 10% telling . . . and that’s what biking should be.”The schools bike ambassador course is a part of the CODC Wheels Up campaign designed to make the Central community more road-safety savvy.The teachers also learned about foundation bike skills, trail-side repairs, incident management and reporting, conflict management and first aid. Read more: Schools bike ambassador course gains tractionRead more: New role focusing on road safety in Central To find out more about the course contact Foggie on [email protected] out about Central’s cycling trails on The Central Apps’ Cycling | Walking button.

New chief exec for Rural Women NZ
New chief exec for Rural Women NZ

12 June 2024, 5:15 PM

Marie Fitzpatrick has been named Rural Women New Zealand’s new chief executive.Her appointment, announced by the board of Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ), will begin on July 1.RWNZ national president Gill Naylor said having Marie on board would have great benefit to the organisation.“She comes from a rural background, having spent some of her childhood in Central Otago and has an eclectic CV, which will benefit the diverse range of work Rural Women New Zealand is involved in.”Marie brings several decades of experience in and around the public sector to the role, most recently in the leadership team at Fisheries New Zealand in the Ministry for Primary Industries.The attributes Marie has built on within those roles would be of great benefit to the organisation’s government advocacy work, Gill said.“Likewise, charitable community service is another strand of our work and Marie has a wealth of knowledge in this area as co-founder of the Good Bitches Baking Charitable Trust. Her experience growing the charity from a few friends baking for the community to a nationwide network of more than 3000 volunteers will be invaluable as we continue on our journey to grow our membership.”Marie said she was excited to be moving into the role.“I am passionate about building a sense of community, equity and supporting the health and wellbeing of New Zealanders,” she said.“I feel really honoured to be given the opportunity to lead Rural Women New Zealand into its centenary year and beyond, as we continue to make a positive impact in our rural communities.”Gill thanked outgoing chief executive Gabrielle O’Brien for her significant contribution to the organisation over the past three years.“Thanks to Gabe’s dedication and commitment, the organisation is in a much stronger position to tackle the future.”To learn more about the various branches of Rural Women New Zealand within Central, visit The Central App's Groups | Clubs page.

Student stood down after threatening others with toy gun
Student stood down after threatening others with toy gun

11 June 2024, 5:45 PM

Alexandra Police were called to a bb gun incident at Dunstan High School last Friday, which resulted in a Year 11 student being stood down for a day.Senior Constable Graham Perkins said the student turned up at school after purchasing a $5 toy gun from the Giant Department store, and when he showed it to a friend, the incident escalated.“The friend grabbed it out of his bag and started firing it at other kids.  He said ‘let’s go out into the field and pretend it’s a real gun’.”  The gun came with plastic pellets that can still hurt people when shot at close range, he said.Snr Const Perkins said that was the part that police were concerned about, because it could have sparked an Armed Offenders callout, as well as causing the school to go into a lockdown, and wasting a lot of time and resources.The students were sent to the acting principal’s office and the toy gun seized and confiscated, before police were called and three officers turned up to talk to them.“It’s just those comments that caused us some concern. It could have been quite a different outcome,” Snr Const Perkins said.The 15-year-old student who used the gun, not the student who bought it to school, was the one stood down, he said.Acting principal Bryce Clapham said while it was a low level incident, which had the potential to become a significant event, he was pleased with the way in which his staff responded.“The police were involved as I inquired about the legalities of the gun being used. As always, we took this opportunity to speak with the rangatahi involved and their whānau, about making positive choices and looked at what learning could be taken from the experience.”

Hospital patient transfer vehicle gets an upgrade
Hospital patient transfer vehicle gets an upgrade

11 June 2024, 5:30 PM

After more than 600,000 kms and 12 years on the road, Central Otago Health Services greatly welcomes the upgrade of its Mercedes Sprinter patient transfer vehicle.Numerous community groups, too many to name, have generously donated towards the new replacement vehicle - a Mercedes Sprinter 315 MWB, at a total cost of $104,603, plus fit-out.Central Otago Health Services has been operating its own patient transport service (PTS) since June 2012.The vehicle gives the hospital a seven day a week capability to transport patients between Dunstan Hospital, Clyde and Dunedin Public Hospital.It is staffed by a team of five drivers and registered nurses from the Vincent Ward who transport between 20 and 35 patients per month.These patients require additional care that cannot be provided at Dunstan Hospital, including surgery or specialist diagnostic equipment and procedures. It is also used to transport recovering patients undergoing rehabilitation back from Dunedin Hospital to Dunstan Hospital so they can be close to home with friends and family.As well as this, there is occasional transportation of patients to aged residential care.  Nursing director Tina Gilbertson explained that this is in addition to the emergency St John Ambulance and the air rescue helicopter service that is used for patients that require time critical care, including ICU or urgent surgery. Planning for the transition from ‘Benzo’ the old Mercedes to the yet ‘unnamed’ new vehicle is underway and work continues to raise the balance of the remaining $50,000 funding to enable the final fit-out to be completed.The new hospital patient transfer service vehicle will need to be fitted out with medical equipment and stretchers. PHOTO: The Central AppThe Mercedes Sprinter will need a new floor, installation of overhead lockers, under bed storage for patients’ belongings, plus retro fitting of rear jump seats, light bar sirens, medical equipment and stretchers.An extra comfortable mattress ensures patients are well looked after on the 200km trip.“Our drivers are hugely committed, and they will go the extra mile, literally, under quite challenging circumstances,” Tina said.For people needing to attend appointments in Dunedin, there was another separate community health shuttle service run by Hato Hone – St John.“The hospital wishes to sincerely thank the many generous donors, contributing to this wonderful new vehicle, without their support we would not be able to provide this highly valuable service.” The donors and public will be invited to an open day to view the new transfer vehicle when work is complete. To keep up to date with what medical centre is on each weekend, click on our On Call this Weekend button.Read more: Book lovers stock up for good cause 

Thousands of native tussock planted at Half Mile Reserve
Thousands of native tussock planted at Half Mile Reserve

11 June 2024, 5:15 PM

More than 100 volunteers helped plant 5000 native tussocks at Alexandra’s Half Mile Reserve on Sunday.Based at the Clyde railhead where it operates the eco-nursery,  Haehaeata Natural Heritage Trust (HNHT) has a five-year memorandum of understanding with the Central Otago District Council (CODC) to carry out planting in the reserve.The public planting session was led by HNHT with many of the plants sourced from Home Creek Nursery at Lake Manapouri.HNHT’s project coordinator Rach Baxter said it was a fantastic turnout across all ages from a baby all bundled up to volunteers in their 80s. Volunteers and HNHT trustees had pre dug 5000 holes, totalling 66 hours of labour to make the public planting day work easier. Three local species were put into the ground, poa cita (silver tussock), poa colensoi (blue tussock) and festuca novae-zelandiae (hard tussock).Volunteers with the tussock to be planted. PHOTO: Bev Thomson The favourable weather on Sunday afternoon drew more volunteers than the pre-registered numbers, with families and community members getting stuck in.Many hands made light work at the public planting afternoon. PHOTO: Katherine OrmeRach said the next milestone for Half Mile Reserve would be getting the rabbit proof fence up.After that HNHT would be planting 500 trees and shrubs including kowhai, weeping matipo, olearia lineata, kanuka and some cabbage trees. “I’m hoping that it will be mid to late August," she said."It’s dependent on the fence first.”

Clyde cafe owner calls meeting on road closure
Clyde cafe owner calls meeting on road closure

10 June 2024, 5:45 PM

Clyde’s Recharge Bar has unexpectedly missed out on half a day's trading due to the closure of Clyde’s Sunderland St for infrastructure works, sparking the owner to arrange a public meeting tomorrow night.Owner Gareth Watt had one of his baristas call him last Monday morning, June 3, to say all of the access to the cafe was blocked.Gareth contacted Central Otago District Council (CODC) project manager Dan Kirkman by phone to get this corrected, and Dan said it would be fixed. “Nothing was done an hour and half later, so I turned signs around myself [so people could get to our door].”Gareth said he was concerned about the lack of coordination and communication about the works in Clyde, which is why he’s holding a meeting at Recharge Bar, at 6pm on Wednesday, June 12, for impacted business owners and interested residents.“It’s a chance for everyone to voice their opinions. Clyde business owners are meeting at 5.30pm and then everyone is welcome from 6pm.”He’s invited Central Otago District Mayor Tim Cadogan and representatives from CODC, and Fulton Hogan.Sunderland St, with works underway. PHOTO: Dan Kirkman/CODCThe businesses on Sunderland St are facing a long closure, according to a CODC press release (dated June 7), which stated Sunderland St would be closed between Naylor St and the Masonic Lodge from June 4 with the closure to remain in place through the winter.Gareth said another recent closure ran for 10 days and on many of those days there was no one visibly working on anything.Recharge Bar owner Gareth Watt and his daughter. PHOTO: Supplied “On two days [contracted workers] were actually on site. “In the winter [the Clyde businesses] need anything that comes into town.“My main concern is that we want it completed as soon as possible . . . and not to drag on.”CODC said the winter closure is to enable new footpaths to be built, the old underground water pipe to be replaced and an additional water supply pipe (rider main) installed. The extra pipe will future proof the water supply if one of the pipes needs repairing, or a new connection is added in the future, without having to turn off the water.CODC project manager Dan Kirkman said he understood the street closure was frustrating for business owners, so they were focused on completing the job as quickly as possible.Dan will be attending the meeting and answering questions relating to the Sunderland St work. 

Strong year for Central Stories
Strong year for Central Stories

10 June 2024, 5:30 PM

Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery in Alexandra has had a strong year with increasing numbers of visitors coming through the door each month.A report from staff to the Vincent Community Board presented yesterday showed that average monthly numbers each month had increased from 2340 back in 2021/22 to 3127 people over the past year.As well as regular art exhibitions and six school holiday programmes, Central Stories also hosted several events during the year including science expos and an astro-tourism conference, as well as completing the redesign and refurbishment of the foyer and shop.Children enjoying one of the school holiday programmes offered at Central Stories. PHOTO: FileCr Martin McPherson noted the substantial growth and said staff were doing a great job.Central Stories made a profit of $27,000 over the past year, compared to just $11,000 and $13,000 in previous years, but still relies on funding from the Vincent Community Board each year.Alexandra District Museum Inc (ADMI), operating as Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery, received $108,667 from the Vincent Community Board for the 2022/23 financial year. Of that funding, $82,000 was its annual grant, which contributes to operational costs of the museum and art gallery. A one-off payment of $26,667 was also made, to align the organisation’s funding cycle to the board’s annual grant round (November 1).In the financial manager’s report, it was noted that at the start of the 2023/24 year they only had one fulltime employee and a part-time contractor, and to operate efficiently, and not be reliant on excessive volunteer time, the organisation required at least two full time equivalent staff.  There are currently 18 volunteers involved with the organisation.Central Stories has now secured funding from Lotteries for another part-time staff member and the team was planning for a sustainable future.The report said although the museum would prefer $167,000 in annual funding, it had been told to only budget for $82,000 in the next funding round.“Where we are at the moment is not sustainable in the long term,” administration and collections manager Andy Davey told the board.“It’s not just a museum, but more than that with the relationships we have been building up around Central Otago.”The Museum 100 project with the Central Otago Museum Trust and five other museums around the district coincided with its multi-year project to digitise the collection, with help from the volunteers.

Book lovers stock up for good cause
Book lovers stock up for good cause

10 June 2024, 5:15 PM

Avid book enthusiasts have collectively contributed $20,000 towards Cromwell Rotary Club’s latest fundraising project.The money was raised during the club’s King’s Birthday Book Sale, with proceeds going towards a stretcher for the new patient transfer vehicle available through Central Otago Health Services.Book sale committee member Neroli McRae said while the club had a target of $25,000, the end result was “not a bad effort”.She thanked everyone who donated books and made a purchase throughout the five day event, which started on Thursday, May 30 and finished on Monday, June 3.The committee was still working through the figures to determine how many books were sold.While the committee felt there were less people in attendance than previous years, those who did make the most of it got a chance to buy some old classics, as well as more recent titles, magazines, children’s books and puzzles.Neroli said the money raised will be well spent, for the benefit of the wider community.The book sale is one of two the club hosts each year.The first on the calendar is the annual Summer Book Sale, which usually raises about $10,000.Money raised from the summer event goes towards local and international projects.Among the local initiatives the club supports are breakfasts in schools and distribution of illustrated dictionaries to children in classrooms.The club also supports ShelterBox, an initiative which provides emergency shelter and essential supplies to help communities devastated by disaster and conflict.

Central Otago Foodbanks well stocked this winter
Central Otago Foodbanks well stocked this winter

09 June 2024, 5:45 PM

Significant amounts of rescued food from local supermarkets are helping the Combined Ministries Foodbank in Alexandra to stay well replenished.As the cost of living continues to rise, volunteers are noticing an increase in families in need, and it’s particularly those ‘every day people’ who often finding themselves short.Co-ordinator Diane Barbara said with the opening of a second supermarket in Alexandra in late 2022, the food bank receives plenty of meat, dairy, bakery items and fresh produce up to three times a week.The Alexandra-based foodbank has always operated out of a small space at the back at the Salvation Army, but now there are big freezers and pantries full of excess stock. “The community - their support is phenomenal in this area. Particularly over the past two years, they are recognising the need is there,” Diane said.When there is excess, Alexandra has been able to assist the other food banks in the area, including Cromwell, and a new one in Roxburgh attached to the Baptist Church.“To me the most important thing that if people are suffering hardship, they can call an agency in Alexandra and have access to the foodbank.”Families are given allocated ‘points’ by one of the social agencies, and depending on their size and need, can then use them in any which way they want.There’s also personal hygiene products, nappies, and other important items for families in need, “it’s about empowering the person to pick what they need,” she said.Open Monday to Thursday from 9-12pm, the foodbank never turns anyone away, and has eight volunteers helping out with parcels on a regular basis.

New van for local Up-Cycles charity
New van for local Up-Cycles charity

09 June 2024, 5:30 PM

Up-Cycles Charitable Trust (Up-Cycles) has been supported by local businesses to buy a new van in what the founder called an “incredible donation” and a “game changer” for the fledgling charity.Up-Cycles refurbishes, repairs and adapts second hand bikes and distributes them to those in need in Central and Southland, including recognised seasonal employees, neurodiverse learners and those without reliable transport.Founder and managing director Chris Foggin (Foggie) reached out to the community for leads to access funding because the 24-year-old van, personally donated by him, was too small and too expensive to run.“We now cover many more kilometres and require a bigger cargo capacity to carry bikes and gear.”The new van, officially handed over last week in Queenstown, was funded by The Hugo Charitable Trust (Hugo Trust), Rothbury Insurance Brokers Southern Lakes (RIBSL), Central Otago Motor Group (COMG), and Hyundai.“[It’s] difficult to express our gratitude in words, however this is a game changer for our charity,” Foggie said.“We will now be able to travel further at a more economic rate, carry more bikes and equipment, and this will also be a launch pad to enable future education programmes we want to deliver in our community.“It’s just epic for our charity and the people who have made this happen are helping to make a huge difference in our communities.”A bike donated by Central mountain bike expert Phil Oliver. PHOTO: SuppliedUp-Cycles first corporate sponsor Rothbury Insurance Brokers Southern Lakes (RIBSL) is a tenant of a Hugo Trust owned building.All of the rent RIBSL pays to Hugo Trust goes to charity. RIBSL branch manager Jason Bodmin approached Hugo Trust and shared the Up-Cycles story in the hope of garnering more support for the cause.Hugo Trust chief executive officer and trustee Aoibhean Monaghan said with the growth in cycling and all the benefits associated with it they were keen to help. Up-Cycles, which started in December 2022 and largely operates from a shipping container, gained official legal status as a charitable trust in October 2023, thanks to the support of Aspiring Law. Maryanne Green, the eldest daughter of Irish philanthropist and businessman the late Hugh Green, known in Ireland as Hugo, founded the Hugo Charitable Trust in May 2017 to continue Hugh’s philanthropic legacy and to give back to the people of New Zealand. Since 2017 the trust has donated over $16 million to charitable causes around New Zealand.To find out more about Up-Cycles contact Foggie on [email protected] more: Schools bike ambassador course gains traction Read more: New role focusing on road safety in Central Read more: Changing lives one bike at a time 

CLT grant to provide health benefits
CLT grant to provide health benefits

09 June 2024, 5:15 PM

A Central Lakes Trust operational grant means Bone Marrow Cancer Trust (BMCT) could provide 250 nights' accommodation at Christchurch's Rānui House to help Central Lakes residents needing treatment. Central Lakes Trust (CLT) approved $911,875 in grants at their May board meeting in Cromwell. The funds were distributed as 13 operational grants and six project grants.CLT grants manager Mat Begg said there are many charitable organisations in our region doing important work for our community.“Through our operational grants we give these organisations peace of mind to focus on delivering their services without concern for covering their day-to-day costs. This is especially true for the smaller groups in our region.”Bone Marrow Cancer Trust (BMCT) was granted $32,500 towards their operations in this round.BMCT chief executive Mandy Kennedy said the continued support from CLT is invaluable to the organisation and the many patients and families who rely on BMCT services. “Last year alone, BMCT provided 250 nights of accommodation and support at Rānui House to patients and families from the CLT region who needed to travel to hospital in Christchurch for often life-saving medical treatment.” Mandy said with the opening of the new Rānui Apartments later this year, she anticipated this number will increase, allowing BMCT to support more families during challenging times.Cystic Fibrosis NZ (CFNZ) also received a $11,000 operational grant. CFNZ philanthropy manager Sue Radcliffe said Cystic Fibrosis (CF) can be very socially isolating and frightening for parents. “CFNZ’s social work service becomes a lifeline as they learn to cope with the relentless care needs this condition requires. Our community support lead is a registered social worker who provides wrap-around lifelong support. “She attends CF clinics with caregivers to ensure each client receives optimal care, medication and treatment. She is in regular contact via freephone, email, video calls and travels to Central Otago conducting home visits assessing the physical, emotional and mental health needs of both the CF person and the caregivers.”Other project grants for Central include $12,000 for the Otago Outdoor Education Trust to install a firewall and $40,000 for the At World’s Edge Festival 2024 (AWE), which features classical music performances across the Central Lakes region in Cromwell, Bannockburn, Wānaka and Queenstown. The Salvation Army received $155,000, and Parkinson’s New Zealand $10,000 both as operational grants. View all May grants on CLT’s website.

Alexandra pop-up library to open in a week
Alexandra pop-up library to open in a week

09 June 2024, 5:00 PM

Alexandra Library will be closed this week as it prepares for its next chapter.The library, located at 43 Tarbert St, will be closed for about six months while it undergoes a refurbishment.However, the service will resume thanks to a pop-up library at Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery, where a range of its services will be available from 9am on Monday, June 17.A wide range of reading material will be on offer and staff will have access to items in off-site storage.People will also still be able to return items after hours.A limited range of programmes, including Home Services, wi-fi, printing and computer use will be available.Refurbishment of the Alexandra Library, which has been “on the cards” for the past 15 years, will start on Monday, June 17.It will include a cosmetic internal renovation of the building, new office equipment, shelving and general enhancement.The project has been made possible by Central Government’s Better Off Funding, which has provided 60 per cent of the total $1,035,000 cost.Central Otago District Council (CODC) group manager - community experience David Scoones said the refurbishment had come about thanks to the mahi of the Alexandra Library team and the community who had supported the project.“A project that, for many, has been a labour of love for 15 years and thanks to the better off funding has been made achievable. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back into the newly refurbished space.”CODC anticipates the refurbishment will take up to six months to complete.Central Otago libraries has also been busy converting its collection to Radio Frequency Identification barcodes, which was another Better Off Funding project.CODC was granted $361,000 towards the installation of the wireless radio tagging system.

Mayor's column: Putting reality before popularity
Mayor's column: Putting reality before popularity

08 June 2024, 5:30 PM

I’ve never liked being called a politician and I genuinely believe the role of mayor is not a political one, well not at least in places like ours where we are blessed that the big parties don’t get actively involved in local body elections. But, I also have to realise that what I think is irrelevant. Wikipedia defines a politician as “A person who has political power in the government of a state, a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking an elected office in government” and the last part does define the role of a mayor. Tidy definitions aside, I’ve tried not to act like a politician in my role, which is what probably got me in a spot of hot water with some folk this week. Three submitters to our council Annual Plan submissions expressed their displeasure at my having suggested to an elderly person at a drop-in session that they could, as a last-gasp measure, use a reverse mortgage to pay their rates. I was accused by one of the speakers of being out of touch with reality. But, here is the reality of what I was faced with more than once during the drop-in sessions; an elderly person telling me that the proposed rates increases on top of all the other bills that have skyrocketed in recent times would mean they couldn’t afford food or heating. In that reality, I could have acted like a politician and given some platitudes or said I would see what could be done. That might have made the person feel better for a wee bit, and it would have kept me off the front page of the paper on Friday morning. But, I would have been misleading them, because other than kicking the cost of council services in Central Otago down the road a year or two, or on to a future generation, there is nothing I can do about the increase that is coming. But, as I say, I try not to act like a politician and didn’t mislead them but instead tried to find a practical solution. Certainly an unpalatable solution, but a solution nonetheless. There is no easy way out for council from the perfect storm of cost increases and higher regulatory requirements that have put us and every other council in the country in the situation we are in, and misleading about that reality much and all as it would be the easy thing to do is not something I am willing to do. And, hiding from the reality we all face is not something councillors were willing to do on Wednesday when we continued on the path that will lead us to an average rates rise of over 18%. The only options that were open to us to make any significant change to that increase was to defer the pain on to tomorrow by running some of the operations of council next year through debt or not paying our way and letting future generations do that for us through cutting depreciation funding. It’s not going to be a popular thing for some people to hear but I am proud of my councillors that not one shirked from the reality of what we are all facing, not one put popularity before reality. Despite what Wikipedia says; I don’t think we have a single politician around our council table, and I for one am very grateful for that.

Alexandra swimmer named in tri series team
Alexandra swimmer named in tri series team

07 June 2024, 5:45 PM

Alexandra Swimming Club’s (ASC) Caleb Ludlow has been selected to represent New Zealand in the tri series event against Australia in Hamilton on October 4-6. The tri series is an event designed to introduce young New Zealand swimmers to the demands of performance racing in an international environment. For the second consecutive year, the tri series will see two New Zealand teams swimming against two Australian states; Victoria and Western Australia. Caleb said it was neat to get the opportunity and was a great stepping stone for his future plans.“I hope to gain a lot of skills and new practice techniques from the training camp at the beginning of the series, from both the coaches and other swimmers. “It will be great to train and compete in a big group of similar age and speed swimmers.”Caleb is heading to the United States next year, where he plans to continue with his swimming while getting his university degree.“It will be awesome to train and compete in a college team with the benefits of on-campus facilities at the same time as working towards my career goals.”Caleb Ludlow has achieved another milestone in his swimming career. PHOTO: SuppliedCaleb’s mum Shelley said she was excited when she received the email from Swimming New Zealand.“I cheered out ‘Caleb you need to see this, you’re in’!“[Swimming competitively] is a lot of time and effort, along with his school work where he is just as self-driven, but he really just loves it. I'm a very proud mum, it's great being there for your kids as they become awesome young adults.”[He] gets so much out of his swimming, from the fun of club training with long-time swim friends and having Ashleigh Rankin coaching with her great combo of enjoyable and challenging sessions, to the racing that gives him such a boost of adrenaline and satisfaction.”Swimming New Zealand's Olympic programme lead Gary Francis said tri series is an important step in athlete development."Congratulations to the selected athletes for the New Zealand teams. The tri series format has been developed as a great opportunity for athletes to develop and race for their team against Australian states. For many of our athletes, it will be their first experience of international racing, and will be an important step in their development."The tri series format is five days long - the first two days are pre-event training days where swimmers will have the opportunity to be coached by coaches from other teams, get to know other swimmers, and work on racing skills.During the competitive meet coaches will post their team selections just hours before racing so swimmers have to learn resilience and flexibility, as well as knowing they are racing for their team. There is little rest time between matches and swimmers learn the importance of recovery processes, good warm-up and swim down and how important correct nutrition is before, during and after competition. Before the tri series, Caleb is training in the pool and the gym gearing up for the Otago Championships, Auckland Championships and the New Zealand Short Course Championships also held in Auckland.The Dunstan High School student, who specialises in breaststroke, scooped three gold medals in the South Island Long Course Championships in March for 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke. Together with fellow swimmer Liam Rees, Caleb represented ASC at the New Zealand Championships in Auckland and the NZ National Age Group Championships (known as NAGS) in the Hawke’s Bay in April.Read more: Alexandra swimmers perform in Hawke’s Bay For more about ASC see their club listing.

New Urgent Care Centre to open in Alexandra
New Urgent Care Centre to open in Alexandra

07 June 2024, 5:30 PM

Alexandra will soon be home to a seven-day Urgent Care Centre, providing a walk-in service for non-life threatening injuries and illness.The facility will be operated by HealthCentral at its new location of 105-107 Tarbert St, from July 8.The service will be available to everyone in Central Otago, including visitors to the region.They will be able access the centre every day from 8am to 6pm without a referral or appointment.Patients registered with HealthCentral will receive discounted rates, including at weekends.Examples of the conditions that will be managed in the clinic includes, but is not limited to, sporting injuries, chest pain, shortness of breath, unwell children, coughs, colds, Covid, cuts, grazes, urinary tract infections, ambulance presentations, workplace accidents and illness.Anyone who requires assistance after hours, from 6pm to 8am should call HealthCentral on 03 440 0295 and their call will be diverted to a new telehealth provider who can arrange for them to be seen, if required.People with a medical emergency must call 111.The new Urgent Care Centre will be available to everyone across Central, including visitors to the region. PHOTO: SuppliedHealthCentral, which is the largest primary care practice in Alexandra, is both solution and strategically focused.A media statement highlighted that for many years the service has identified gaps and inequities in service provision across the rural region, and with no imminent support or solutions available, it was decided to “not wait and proceed with opening a much needed Urgent Care Centre.The centre has been purpose built to service the wider Central Otago community and its visitors.GP and clinical director Kate Dixon is among those looking forward to providing the service.“I am really excited to be able to improve access to urgent care for patients in Central Otago,” she said.General manager Jenaya Smith was looking forward to opening the doors, following what had been a big task.“This project has been a massive undertaking, so it is very rewarding to see the new facility we have worked so hard on come to fruition.”HealthCentral will offer short public tours of the new facilities closer to its opening date.

LGNZ working to improve voter participation
LGNZ working to improve voter participation

07 June 2024, 5:15 PM

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) is working to improve voter participation, a move Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan welcomes.LGNZ has established a new group focused on local electoral system reforms that drive greater voter participation and implement four-year terms.It’s a move Mayor Tim hopes will make a difference across Central, after the district experienced a voter turnout drop of 46.8 per cent at the last election.He said the previous election had a 56.7 per cent turnout and the national average was 40.4 per cent.“When there is not a mayoral election, as was the case in Central last time, voter turn-out does tend to drop away. For instance, in the Clutha District there was no mayoral election in 2019 and there was a 45.8% turnout, then in 2022 with a mayoral election there was a 53.4% turnout.”He said he does not understand why people do not vote in as great a number as general elections, “as what local councils do has a far greater impact on their day-to-day lives”. The LGNZ Electoral Reform Group will be chaired by Nelson Mayor Nick Smith.LGNZ president Sam Broughton said serious reform of the nation’s local electoral system was needed.“Currently, local elections are cumbersome and inefficient compared with the general election. We also feel there is too much time and money wasted by having short three-year terms. “Local government does important work and makes long-term decisions on behalf of our communities. It’s important we have a strong local democracy backing that, but we need to get the settings right,” he said.Four key areas of reform being considered are: increasing voter turnout, implementation and transition to four-year terms, considering the ways people can vote, who should administer local elections and how they are best run.“The decline in voter participation over the last three decades is a threat to the mandate mayors and councils have to speak up for their communities,” Nick said. “There are also questions over the viability of postal voting with the decline in postal services and most people doing their business online. “It is more important than ever, with democratic values being challenged internationally and growing disinformation on social media, that we refresh our approach to local elections. “This is difficult work as changes to our electoral law are best made by broad agreement. “I will be working directly in this new role with mayors, chairs, councils, and communities around New Zealand on how improvements in our local democracy can best be achieved,” he said.“I also look forward to engaging with the Government and opposition political parties on building support for positive reform.”

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