CITY NEWS JUNE 7

City News

DESPITE a relatively unremarkable-to-date annual kangaroo cull, an animal rights activist is spooking Canberra motorists.

The protester sets up on Mugga Lane most afternoons between 3 and 6, complete with corflutes and a lifelike kangaroo mask, urging passersby to “stop the kangaroo massacre”, which is “cruel and catastrophic”.

Some motorists toot in approval, others give a lengthy blast to show displeasure and occasionally yell obscenities.

While our intrepid activist is cull-campaign toughened, one recent experience left the protester blindsided.

The driver of a large black, four-wheel drive pulled in after dark one night, then quickly left. The driver returned the following night armed with a portable light and a supply of batteries, “to make sure people see your sign”.

LRVs are coming and they are fast. Posters are popping up in shopping centres warning that LRVs (Light Rail Vehicles) are “approaching” and posing the question: “Are you Rail Ready?”

Canberra-metro.com.au has begun training commuters to “only cross at designated intersection crossings”, pointing out that LRVs move quickly and that “earphones and other distractions can put you at risk”.

Meantime cynics who scoffed at a 2018 Stage 1 deadline may have a glimmer of hope with the wriggle room that appears to have been applied to the latest update.

The word is that the project will be completed on schedule by the end of 2018 with the first passengers carried in the first quarter of 2019.

As for Stage 2 it appears to be way ahead of schedule, given there is no schedule. A large “light rail stops here” banner is plastered across the facade of the site of Geocon’s skyscraper, the Grand Central Towers at Woden.

IF there was a Walkley Award for weasel words Nationals’ leader Michael McCormack would already have his name engraved on one of the prized gongs.

Attempting to drown out predecessor Barnaby Joyce’s noise on decentralisation, the former journalist said: “Whilst there is always more work to do, any initiatives which enhance the government’s strategic policy focus on decentralisation – to not only grow regional communities but also decrease congestion in our cities and improve the quality of life and share economic opportunities more broadly – are always welcome.”

DESPITE the ongoing debacle surrounding Barnaby Joyce’s relocation of the APVMA to Armidale, the decentralisation sword of Damocles continues to hang over some Canberra public servants.

At a recent estimates hearing Nationals Senate leader Nigel Scullion admitted “seven agencies were being considered by cabinet for decentralisation away from Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne”.

The former Deputy PM continues to mock the concept after reports of staff being moved from Sydney to Parramatta suggesting: “You can’t decentralise to the centre. You have to decentralise from the centre”.

IN 2013 Belconnen was proud that a local pizza shop was consistently topping its franchise’s nationwide chain. Florey Domino’s dominated the chain’s 550 outlets nationwide winning its 13th straight annual sales award. At the time Domino’s Florey was knocking out a pie every two minutes. Now Domino’s languishes at the bottom of the just published Deakin University’s Global Obesity Centre study.

STILL on nutrition and the University of Canberra is trumpeting the appointment of health and fitness guru Michelle Bridges’ dietitian Lisa Donaldson.

Diagnosed with coeliac disease and other intestinal issues more than a decade ago, Ms Donaldson, who holds a Bachelor of Education degree from UC, returned to the institution to undertake a Master of Nutrition and Dietetics graduating in 2011. Donaldson, who has also worked with Channel 9 nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan, returns as UC’s dietitian in residence.

FORMER Ainslie transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey apparently has made giant steps in handling her “potty mouth”. The athlete who came to prominence after being banned by the AFL from playing in the AFLW recently appeared on Fox Footy’s “Open Mike” with the doyen of Melbourne AFL scribes Mike Sheahan. Mouncey tweeted that she had “recorded Open Mike without swearing… seriously, it’s a big f&*%@$g achievement”.

CITY NEWS FEB 1

LATE 2013 I left the Capital Radio Network – after more than a decade as a presenter – frustrated at the workplace culture. A “Canberra Times” front-page story suggests little has changed.

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Journalists Tom Mcllroy and Tracey Spicer reported management’s alleged failure to properly address claims of sexual harassment brought by a young, female journalist against 2CA announcer Frank Vincent. Vincent – labelled by staff as “untouchable” – was sacked a day after management received a list of questions from the “Times”. Word from long-term Mitchell staffers is that the former breakfast personality is not the only one perceived to be “untouchable”.

“OUR Nick” may have finally won our respect. In losing to Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open “The Australian” sport reporter Will Swanton says that by having a “serious crack”, the Canberra superstar Nick Kyrgios “lost nothing but may have found something”. Swanton reports Kyrgios was “still telling his courtside box to f— off. He was still chastising them, embarrassing them and ordering them to stand the f— up. He slammed a ball into the grandstand and escaped a code violation. But all was okay. Why? Because he was giving 110 per cent”.

A YEAR ago “Seven Days” reported the “rare sight” of two men sitting in deck chairs on a traffic island at peak hour at Canberra’s most dangerous intersection. The pair of locals held grave safety fears after the installation of traffic lights at the Gundaroo Drive/William Slim Drive/Barton Highway roundabout and took ringside seats to witness the “switching on” of the $10 million project. One year on it appears the doubters were wrong. ACT Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris says “between January and December 2017 a total of 47 accidents was reported compared with an average of 100 per year for the 2012-16 period”.

CANBERRA transgender athlete Hannah Mouncey, who made national headlines last year after being barred from playing in the national women’s AFLW competition, is gearing up for another season with the Ainslie club. The former Commonwealth Games handball representative posted on Facebook: “Just re-registered for season 2018, now let’s see what happens”. Mouncey was blocked from playing in the inaugural competition being deemed “to have an unfair advantage” over the rest of the competition. Whether the goalposts will be shifted to include Mouncey this year is not clear, but the issue will certainly dominate coverage of the second season of the highly successful AFL initiative.

PERSONAL injury law firm Blumers has cleverly used social media to promote a decade-old TV commercial campaign that featured principals Mark and Noor Blumer’s five-year-old grandson Max. Max, who began “spruiking” at the age of two, was back on the box – for January only – in the silent-movie themed spots. For the record “little” Max – whose line was “call Blumers” – now stands over 183 centimetres (six foot) and is in year 12.

A SHORT piece in “City News” late last year plugging a reunion for staffers at the Australian Government Publishing Service has brought romance in the New Year for two single Canberrans. Ron and Angela were colleagues at the Kingston site and dated several times, but had not seen each other since 1973. Ron, now 71, claims to have no memory of the back-in-the-days dates, though Angela suggests Ron’s amnesia is “selective” for a good reason. The romance came to a shuddering halt when he over-indulged and left Angela to find her own way home from a party to which he’d taken her. But time heals all.

CONVENTIONAL wisdom says “giving a dog a bad name” is not good but here’s a tip anyway. The good oil is that a young greyhound with the pedestrian moniker of “Nugget” but renamed “Community Values” by those lobbying the Barr government to lift a ban on the sport in the ACT -– came second in its first race and shows signs of a promising career on the track.