That was our year: 2012

STORM DAMAGE: Property damage as a result of November’s storm which devastated parts of Woodburn.
STORM DAMAGE: Property damage as a result of November’s storm which devastated parts of Woodburn. Patrick Gorbunovs

HEADLINES from the Rivertown Times that covers the Lower and Mid Richmond, in 2012 showed it was a busy year.

It started out with a tragedy when the body of Ashley Butler was discovered on the Richmond River at Woodburn, a year ago today, by some local waterskiers. We remember his family and friends.

The Woodburn Bendigo Bank committee celebrated reaching $600,000 in pledges. It now hopes to move forward with enough surveys showing community interest to open its own branch.

Floods affected much of the area with a fishing trawler sinking at Evans Head.

Coraki residents fought to re-open the Campbell Hospital after a storm in 2011 damaged a non-patient part of the building.

The Rivertown Times reported on elderly couple Roy and Brenda Harris who were forced to travel to Lismore Base Hospital on a regular basis for Roy's diabetes and heart treatments. To this day the hospital remains closed.

Evans Head Bowling Club opened its new motel-style cabins, offering a different style of accommodation for visitors.

The Woodburn community rallied for single mum Kayla Clapham, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukaemia, helping to raise money by holding Kayla's Fun Day by the river. Kayla is now back at work and loving being with her children again after a long treatment in Brisbane.

Anzac Day came with its controversy when young Tyler Boyd of Evans Head was told by the Woodburn-Evans Head RSL sub-branch president he couldn't march wearing his great grandfather's war medals. A letter from the sub-branch secretary, however, withdrew the objection and Tyler was able to wear the medals with pride.

Descendants of New Italy's settlers partied in April with pasta at the 131st anniversary of the small settlement. The event enjoyed increased popularity with a 30% rise in people attending.

Despite the wet weather, in the same month Crankfest was considered a success. Young people all over the Lower Richmond gathered at Evans Head to dance and skate their hearts out.

The Beef Meets Reef event in Evans Head was a resounding success with businesses and community groups getting in on the parade. The feedback showed everyone looking forward to the 2013 event.

The beginning of June saw Coraki residents still protesting for their hospital, along with supporters of Mullumbimby and Bonalbo hospitals also threatened with closure. Federal MP Janelle Saffin and Richmond Valley Mayor Col Sullivan supported the day.

Broadwater and Evans Head beaches were seriously eroded by wild seas in June.

The town of Broadwater was in shock in June when one of their own was callously beheaded in his home. Ned Kelly allegedly met his end by a neighbour's hand. Jonathan Stenberg is in police custody awaiting trial for his murder.

Paralympian star Jacqueline Freney won our hearts when she returned from the 2012 London Paralympics with eight gold medals.

Young athletes at the Mid-Richmond Athletics Carnival at the Evans River K-12 school showed off their best performances at the end of July as well.

A callous act in which a young female grey nurse shark had her fins cut off while still alive, shocked readers. Her carcass was found on Airforce Beach at Evans Head.

Teenagers were raided at a hangout near the Evans Head surf club, highlighting the need for more vigilance against teen drinking, drug-taking and violence.

The local council elections saw Evans Head builder Robert Hayes and Woodburn publican Daniel Simpson become our newest representatives for Richmond Valley Council.

The Woodburn Riverside Festival finished with some spectacular fireworks from the Woodburn bridge.

In October the official announcement that the Evans Head aerodrome would be receiving an F-111 fighter jet as a showcase piece brought the small town out to celebrate.

The issue of coal seam gas was debated throughout Evans Head, Woodburn and Broadwater with the first meeting to gauge interest held in the recreational hall in Evans Head.

Woodburn was hit by a massive super cell storm in November which saw some residents lose their roofs and fences. The clean up continues in some cases as insurance companies take over damage repairs.

Christmas has come and gone for another year and the new year lies ahead with all its hopes and expectations.

We look forward to reporting all the news for our readers again in 2013.



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