Speeding Lavington driver had no licence, didn’t officially own his car | The Border Mail


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A Lavington man who had only just bought a car off a friend escaped the clutches of pursuing police by speeding through roadworks, a court has heard. Police abandoned the chase because they knew road workers would be put at grave risk. Shae Ashley Peter Watson had bought the car for $450, but the registration had not been transferred to his name. IN OTHER NEWS: Hours after the pursuit, the owner received a text from Watson, who clearly was in a panic. “Hey, I need you to call me ASAP,” the text read. The man telephoned Watson, who was apologetic for what he had done. “I’ve just been in a chase in the Magna. I’m sorry, I know this is not what you want to hear,” Watson said. MORE COURT STORIES Defence lawyer Angus Lingham told Albury Local Court that Watson had since spent just over four months in jail. Mr Lingham said it was accepted the offending was serious. He said Watson, now 31, had also spent 59 days in custody in Victoria earlier this year, though his NSW jail time had had the greatest impact. “Quite clearly he views his offending in a very different light after serving 124 days in custody,” he said. Mr Lingham said Watson was thankful no police officers, road workers or others were put at immediate risk from his driving. He said the maximum speed Watson reached during the pursuit, on July 23, was 80km/h in the 40km/h roadworks speed zone along Wagga Road. Watson pleaded guilty to police pursuit and being a driver never licenced and a separate possess a prohibited drug charge over 0.4 grams of methamphetamine. Police saw Watson’s car in Cheyenne Drive, Lavington just before 3pm. They did a U-turn, then Watson accelerated to 80km/h in a 50km/h zone. Watson was placed on an 18-month intensive corrections order, with 150 hours of unpaid community work. He got a two-year driving ban and was fined $600 for not having a licence and $500 for the methamphetamine.

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Californian hopes to light up Heat after Perth quarantine stint


That’s the hope for the 28-year-old, who was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 17th round of the 2015 draft.

“Ideally getting back into affiliated ball would be the goal from here,” Gercken said.

“I think after not playing this year, coming down here will give me the chance to travel and see Australia, but hopefully I will get in front of some people who might not have seen me before.

“That’s kind of where it’s at in terms of where I want to be playing down here but really I just want to get back out there and play again to get those competitive juices flowing because it has been a long time.”

Since being drafted, Gercken has been banging down the door attempting to find a spot in minor league baseball and from there, all it takes is some impressive form and your affiliated club to take a chance on you and you could be playing in the Major Leagues.

So during 2020, where he wasn’t able to play a game all year, Gercken had time to think about which direction to take his career. After everything he had heard about Australia, down under was where he wanted to return.

“It actually worked out that my manager at Sioux City actually played for Perth a while ago. He gave them my number and the rest is history,” he said.

“The fact that more players are coming down here to play gives you a bit more excitement about doing it yourself, and something to look forward to as far as what the baseball is like in Australia.

“Everybody that I know who has played down here has nothing but good things to say about Australia in general as well as the baseball, so I’m excited to be here.”

Right now Gercken hasn’t seen much of Perth except the inside of his hotel room, where he is in quarantine.

His two weeks is almost up and he has tried to stay busy to ensure he’s ready for the Heat’s season-opener at home to the Canberra Cavalry on Friday December 18.

To be somewhere where COVID-19 is pretty well under control is something that’s a bonus too.

“I’m just trying not to count down the days and I haven’t actually found it too bad. I’ve tried the best I can to stay busy and have done some room workouts, and have been trying to stick to some type of schedule. But we’ll see if I’m still feeling the same way after day 12,” Gercken said.

“I actually didn’t know about the COVID situation in Australia until I talked about signing down here, and found out that once you get out of quarantine you don’t have to wear a mask or anything.

“I quickly got excited about playing baseball the way it’s meant to be without masks and with fans in the stands so I now can’t wait for that to start, and it’s getting close which is exciting.”

Gercken was actually pleasantly surprised with how little his life was impacted by the global pandemic back home in Los Angeles as well, aside from the small problem of not getting to play baseball.

“So I’m in LA and when COVID first hit I was coaching high school baseball but that got shut down,” he said.

“The other thing I was doing was pitching lessons and what actually surprised me the most was that even when COVID happened, even though everyone followed all the guidelines, I actually had more kids wanting to do pitching lessons just strictly to get out of the house.

“Life didn’t really change too much aside from obviously not getting to play games, and then restaurants closing and stuff like that. A lot of other people had their life turned upside down but luckily enough that didn’t happen to me.”

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Sydney COVID case likely infected at work


A Sydney hotel quarantine worker infected with COVID-19 appears to have acquired the virus from a returned overseas traveller.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard says it’s likely the woman was infected at work.

“It’s a massive relief,” he told reporters on Friday.

“The virus is not part of our locally transmitted viruses; it appears it has come from overseas,” he said.

“We have more work to do to work out where it has come from but highly likely it came from possibly the hotel or possibly aircrew,” he said.

Airline crews returning from overseas stay in hotel quarantine hotels before turning around and going back overseas.

“We will do some more work and report back to the community but is extremely good news for all of us.”

NSW Health was yet to determine which aircrew or person from overseas managed to transmit the virus.

It said the woman’s case that was revealed on Thursday, was the only local infection in the state in the past 27 days.

There were 11,128 tests reported in the 24-hours to 8pm on Thursday night with five cases in returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Jeremy McAnulty said testing of the woman’s contacts was continuing.

“There have been no further positive results so far,” he said.

Some staff at Sydney’s Novotel Hotel who worked last Friday were being tested and placed in isolation, he said.

Her colleagues who worked on November 28, 29 or 30 had already been tested and her five household contacts had tested negative.

NSW Health is awaiting the test results of a small number of her close contacts.

The woman’s infection sparked widespread alarm on Thursday, with fears Western Australia could withdraw its promise to open its border up to NSW and Victoria from next Tuesday.

WA Premier Mark McGowan says he will take the weekend to assess his options.

However Queensland authorities say its borders will remain open for now after travel restrictions were lifted on Tuesday.

“The government is keeping a close eye on what is happening in Sydney and our health experts are in regular contact with their NSW counterparts,” Health Minister Yvette D’Ath told Queensland parliament on Thursday.



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Topshop empire brands set for fire sale


There could be several bidders for the individual brands, particularly Topshop and Topman, as these are seen as Arcadia’s crown jewels.

The boss of one rival retailer said Boohoo was viewed as the frontrunner in the race to buy Topshop.

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The comments add to speculation of a swoop by the online fashion retailer, which acquired Oasis, Warehouse, Karen Millen and Coast earlier this year as they fell into administration.

Sir Philip’s long-time rival Mike Ashley is also thought likely to make an offer. Asos, meanwhile, is widely believed to be uninterested in Arcadia’s businesses as its strategy more recently has been investing in its own in-house brands.

However, Arcadia’s administrator Deloitte will be seeking to preserve as much of the business as possible.

That means buyers are likely to get preferential treatment if they are willing to take on the entire Topshop/Topman operation, rather than just the brands and online platforms. Better still would be a buyer for the entire Arcadia group – provided the price is right.

John Stevenson, an analyst at Peel Hunt, said: “The most obvious outcome is for the brands to go online, apart from perhaps Topshop and Topman, and Boohoo will of course be interested, along with a wide variety of interests.

“But I think Boohoo would only get Topshop with a knockout offer as it won’t be interested in the physical shops and the administrators will be looking for a buyer to take it all.

“Topshop is a viable business that was delivering £1 billion of annual sales two years ago, so if you can revamp it that would be attractive.”

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Mr Stevenson said the Sports Direct tycoon was an obvious buyer, although he too was not likely to be interested in any stores.

He said: “Ashley has a lot of physical retail space so would only be looking for brands to sweat his assets rather than picking up more.”

Arcadia collapsed into administration on Monday, putting the business into the hands of Deloitte, who will now seek buyers for the various brands or the entire group.

Asos and Boohoo were unavailable for comment.

Telegraph, London

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Why you shouldn’t believe that story about a man being choked unconscious for not wearing a mask


CoronaCheck is RMIT ABC Fact Check’s weekly email newsletter dedicated to fighting the misinformation infodemic surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

You can read the latest edition below, and subscribe to have the next newsletter delivered straight to your inbox.

CoronaCheck #50

Shocking footage of a young man being turfed unconscious from a Melbourne pub has spread online, with some sources suggesting the incident came after the man refused to comply with a mandatory mask mandate. In this week’s newsletter, we explain that the incident had nothing to do with COVID-19.

We’ve also taken a look at a Danish study supposedly showing masks to be “useless”, and check in with Argentina, which has one of the world’s highest counts of coronavirus cases.

Was a Melbourne man choked unconscious by security guards for failing to wear a mask?

Dramatic footage showing a teenager being choked, dropped on the floor and carried unconscious from a Melbourne pub by security guards has been shared by fake news websites claiming the incident took place after the man refused to wear a mask.

“Medical police state HORRORS in Australia: Young man choked out, slammed to the ground, heaved out of a restaurant for not wearing a mask,” a headline from the popular conspiracy theory website Natural News declares.

Natural News claimed a man was ejected from a Melbourne pub for refusing to wear a mask, but that’s not correct.(Supplied)

According to an accompanying article, the video “shows the shocking brutality of the newly emboldened medical police state enforcers who now believe they have the right to assault, injure, kidnap or even kill people who refuse to comply with senseless mask mandates or dangerous vaccine mandates”.

But that’s not quite right.

While the footage does indeed show a man being callously ejected from a hotel in Melbourne’s outer east last week, news stories reporting the incident made no mention of any refusal by him to wear a mask.

Rather, the man was reported to have been thrown out of the Croydon pub for “bad behaviour” before he climbed a fence to regain entry and poured himself a beer from behind the bar.

It was at this point, according to witnesses interviewed by Channel Seven, that the man was grabbed by a security guard and placed in a chokehold.

So, who is behind the spread of the false claim linking the incident to mask mandates?

Natural News is believed to control at least 200 news-sharing websites but has been given a score of just 5 out of 100 for credibility by NewsGuard, a service which tracks fake news websites.

“NaturalNews.com regularly publishes false and misleading claims related to vaccines and to other medical issues, as well as to non-medical matters,” NewsGuard says of the site.

“The site has repeatedly promoted false and unsubstantiated claims about the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to Vox, which describes Natural News as “one of the internet’s oldest and most prolific sources of health misinformation and conspiracy theories”, Facebook banned the sharing of any articles linked to the site’s domain back in May.

The site has since bypassed the ban by drawing on its wide network of domains through which it shares its false and misleading content.

“Many of these sites are not blocked on Facebook, which means that Natural News content can find its way onto the platform by way of these domains,” Vox reported.

In the case of the Melbourne pub footage, Fact Check found identical news articles posted to six sites, four of which had been shared across Facebook.

Did a Danish study find masks to be ineffective?

A Danish study into the effectiveness of masks in stopping the spread of COVID-19 has been shared widely online, with some suggesting the study found the face coverings did not work as intended or were “useless”.

One article published in The Spectator in the UK, and shared more than 11,000 times on Facebook, claimed “the evidence shows that wearing masks in the community does not significantly reduce the rates of infection”.

People wearing face masks stand on a train platform.
The Danish study on mask wearing was misrepresented online.(AP: Bo Amstrup)

But what did the study actually find?

According to UK fact-checking outfit Full Fact, the study did not find a significant difference between the COVID-19 infection rates of mask wearers and those who did not wear a mask.

“However, this is not proof that masks don’t have a significant effect, as the study didn’t look at whether mask wearing protects others by stopping wearers from exhaling the virus,” Full Fact said.

FactCheck.org drew a similar conclusion when they set out to answer the question of whether the study showed that masks were “useless” against COVID-19.

“The study found that face masks did not have a large protective effect for wearers — not that masks provide no protection at all or don’t offer benefits to others,” the fact checkers said.

The LA Times reported that the study actually showed that people weren’t using masks enough, with the researchers stating in their conclusion that the findings “should not be used to conclude that a recommendation for everyone to wear masks in the community would not be effective in reducing SARS-CoV-2 infections”.

According to the Times, editors of the journal which published the study also said that “masks likely need to be worn by most if not all people to reduce community infection rates” and that the results of the study should provide motivation for widespread mask wearing.

Experts interviewed by the New York Times, meanwhile, noted the limitations of the study, including that participants’ mask wearing behaviour was not monitored other than through self-reporting, and that the study was conducted when “both mask wearing and infection were rare in Denmark”.

Fact checkers at AAP raised similar concerns, concluding that while the “study did not find a statistically significant change in rates of COVID-19 infection among people wearing masks, it carries several limitations — including a small sample size and potential reporting flaws”.

“It also did not examine whether masks reduced the spread of the coronavirus from infected individuals, which experts say is the primary reason for mask-wearing recommendations.”

From Argentina

Having recorded the 9th largest number of COVID-19 cases in the world — more than 1.4 million — and nearly 40,000 deaths, Argentina has also been inundated with coronavirus misinformation, which South American fact-checking outfit Chequeado has confronted head on.

One claim found to be false by the fact checkers had suggested that a video showed new cremation chambers on their way from Spain to Argentina in preparation for future COVID-19 deaths.

In reality, the footage was of a port in Romania, not Spain, and showed machinery used to dehydrate plants to be fed to livestock.

A claim that a new law in the country would make vaccinations against COVID-19 mandatory was also found to be false, as was a suggestion that the law would shield the pharmaceutical companies producing the jabs from legal challenges.

“The COVID-19 vaccine bill was not enacted, but has received support from a portion of the Chamber of Deputies so far and [is] awaiting action by the Senate,” the fact checkers said.

“The text does not refer to the mandatory application of a future vaccine; nor does it establish ‘legal immunity for laboratories due to side effects’.”

Meanwhile, in a familiar genre of fact check, Chequeado investigated a viral photo purporting to show Argentinian President Alberto Fernández attending a public event without a face mask and with no regard for social distancing.

However, according to the fact checkers, the event took place in October 2019.

Finally, Chequeado deemed a claim by Mr Fernandez linking increases in coronavirus cases to protest marches to be lacking evidence.

“According to official data, there is no evidence available to establish a correlation between the increase in infections and the concentration of people outdoors.”

In other news: How do the efforts of the Coalition and Labor stack up when it comes to cutting emissions?

With the east coast sweltering amid record November temperatures and the summer bushfire season fast approaching, Australia’s record on climate action is again in the spotlight.

During an interview on the ABC’s 7.30 program on November 11, 2020, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese criticised the Federal Government’s record on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Asked about Labor’s policies, Mr Albanese said: “[W]e had a 15 per cent reduction when we were in government. Up to … the end of last year, there had only been a 1 per cent reduction under this Government since it came to office in 2013.”

RMIT ABC Fact Check this week found that claim to be close to the mark.

Annual greenhouse gas emissions fell 14.4 per cent under the last Labor government. By the end of 2019, under the Coalition, they had fallen 1.4 per cent.

The quarterly figures reveal a similar picture, with Labor recording a drop in emissions of 13.4 per cent, compared with the Coalition’s 2.4 per cent.

While those changes reflect the numbers available at the time of the claim, emissions have since fallen further, in part due to the effects of COVID-19 on transport.

Edited by Ellen McCutchan

Got a fact that needs checking? Tweet us @ABCFactCheck or send us an email at factcheck@rmit.edu.au





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Plane Lands on Twin Cities Freeway, Crashes Into Vehicle


The pilot of a single-engine plane made a “suspected emergency landing” on Interstate 35W in the Twin Cities late on December 2, striking a vehicle in the process, the Minnesota State Patrol reported. Footage captured by a Minnesota Department of Transportation traffic camera shows the Bellanca Viking plane descending onto northbound lanes in Arden Hills, landing behind one vehicle and just ahead of two others. After touching down, the plane’s forward momentum leads it to collide with the vehicle ahead of it. No one was injured in the crash, the state patrol said. Credit: Minnesota Department of Transportation via Storyful



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US, UK military teams to participate in Call of Duty tournament


Washington: The day before the annual Army-Navy gridiron game, an even larger interservice rivalry will be contested on video game battlefields.

The Call of Duty Endowment Bowl on December 11 will match teams consisting of esports athletes from each branch of the US military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Space Force – as well as members of the United Kingdom’s British Army, Royal Air Force, and Royal Navy.

A gamer playing Call of Duty.Credit:Getty Images

The matches, played on the recently-released Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War game, will broadcast live starting at on the Call of Duty YouTube and Twitch channels.

“The eight teams representing military branches in the four-hour tournament will each have two popular Call of Duty streamers on board, one serving as captain, and will be coached by a Call of Duty League professional. Well-known streamers joining the teams include Courage, LEGIQN, Huskerrs, Swagg, Espresso, Vikkstar, Tommey, C9Emz, and Spratt.



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Victoria fast-tracks level crossing removals


The Victorian Government is fast-tracking its Level Crossing Removal program, with preparations to award $1.5 billion in contracts for nine level crossings and remove seven more ahead of schedule.

Level crossings in Surrey Hills, Mont Albert, Pakenham, and Glen Huntly will now be gone for good earlier, as part of an accelerated delivery program which will see one level crossing removed every four weeks on average in 2021.

Member for Box Hill, Paul Hamer, said, “Getting rid of these dangerous and congested level crossings will make Surrey Hills and Mont Albert safer and easier to get around.”

With two fatalities at Union Road in 2016 when a train and car collided – and a further eight near misses in recent years – the Surrey Hills and Mont Albert communities will be safer when the boom gates are removed and a rail trench dug to separate the road and tracks by 2023.

Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, said, “Every level crossing removal makes our streets safer, improves traffic flow and allows us to run more trains – in addition to creating hundreds of Victorian jobs.

“With a dangerous and congested level crossing to go every four weeks on average in 2021, we’re not wasting a minute getting rid of these relics of the past.”

Extensive engineering and technical investigations found consolidating Surrey Hills and Mont Albert stations into a single premium station in a central location will reduce construction impacts, avoid acquiring homes and businesses and provide more trains, more often for the local communities.

The new, modern station will sit in a central location less than 150m from the current Surrey Hills Station and less than 400m from the current Mont Albert Station – and with entrances at both ends of the platforms.

Construction on the new station will start in mid-2021, with major works to begin in 2022 to deliver a modern, accessible station with entrances at both ends to maximise access from both Surrey Hills and Mont Albert.

Further out in Melbourne’s south-east, the Victorian Government will also deliver a new train station at Pakenham East, extending the metropolitan rail track by two kilometres to boost transport connections for the growing community.

Pakenham is currently a major bottleneck where V/Line and Metro trains merge onto shared tracks, often getting stuck behind one another.

The new Pakenham East station will include separate turnback tracks for Metro trains and dedicated V/Line tracks – avoiding congestion and improving service reliability.

These upgrades will be delivered as part of work to remove level crossings at McGregor Road, Racecourse Road and Main Street in Pakenham – which will be removed with a raised rail line, a new Pakenham station and opening up new space for community use.

Together with the Cardinia Road level crossing, due to be removed when a new road bridge opens next week, Pakenham will be boom gate-free in 2023/24, travel safer and easier for more than 60,000 vehicles that travel through level crossings in Pakenham each day.

The community is also expected to benefit from a new premium elevated Pakenham station, providing better connections between metropolitan and regional train services along with upgraded facilities.

Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, said, “From Preston to Pakenham, our level crossing removals are freeing up our biggest rail and road bottlenecks to get Victorians moving faster – and we’re delivering them well ahead of schedule.”

As part of the $1.5 billion in fast-tracked contracts to be awarded by the end of 2020, level crossings will go faster in Hallam, Williamstown, Deer Park Ardeer, Glenroy and Bell Street Preston, the most congested level crossing in Melbourne – with the Bell Street Coburg crossing already gone, delays will ease significantly on one of the city’s busiest roads.

As well as delivering eased congestion and five brand new stations, the contracts will generate over 3,400 direct local jobs. Across the level crossing removal project more than 48.5 million hours have been worked to date – with thousands of jobs for engineers, signal operators and labourers and broader local supply chains.

With 43 level crossings already removed, the Victorian Government is well ahead of schedule on the commitment to remove 50 crossings by 2022, and 75 by 2025.



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Call of the wild


Rescue dog Maya got a second chance at life with owner Romane Cristescu, who trained her to detect koalas. Credit:Marie Colibri

Growing up, Romane was something of a frustrated dog lover. She loved wildlife, too. Or rather, her scientist’s brain was fascinated by native animals, their habits and habitat.

After initially training as a vet in her native France, Romane shifted gears and became an ecologist, studying the relationships between organisms and their environments. She moved to Australia in 2007 to complete PhD research into koalas in human-made habitats.

The tricky thing about studying koalas is that they are hard to find: they camouflage remarkably well against the grey-green leaves of their preferred eucalyptus trees. And their voracious appetites mean they move around a lot; adult koalas eat up to a kilogram of leaves every day, so they regularly change trees.

Consequently, the easiest way for ecologists to identify koala habitats is not by looking for actual koalas but for koala scat, which is the scientific term for poo.

Unfortunately, locating small, round, brown koala droppings on the ground among a lot of thick, equally brown leaf litter is pretty difficult, too. As Romane carried out the laborious task day after day, she got to thinking there had to be a better way.

‘I started thinking that maybe there was another animal that could find these scats by relying on their nose.

‘Koala poo is very smelly, but it doesn’t smell like poo – it smells like eucalyptus. Using your eyes, they are quite hard to spot, but for dogs the smell would be like a rose in the bush.’

Dogs weren’t in common use for conservation work at this stage. In fact, Romane didn’t even know conservation dogs existed in Australia – she describes her feeling that canines might be well suited to the job as ‘just a hunch’.

She contacted several professional dog trainers to discuss her idea. It’s something of an understatement to say none was particularly enthused.

Discouraged by the response, she set the idea aside while she completed her PhD.

In 2012, through a mutual acquaintance, Romane happened to meet a dog trainer by the name of Gary ‘Gaz’ Jackson. She mentioned to him that she had once hoped to train a dog to detect koala scat, but the plan had been scuppered by dubious members of his own profession.

‘He looked at me and said, “But that’s so easy!”’ she recalls. After a robust discussion, Gaz agreed to help Romane locate a suitable dog and train it to find koala scat. A few weeks later, he called to say he’d found her. ‘He said, “I have your dog.”

He had found her at a local shelter – Romane believes her former owners simply abandoned her outside, leaving no name and no history. She decided to call her Mayamaya, which she had discovered means ‘dog’ in the Pitta Pitta language once spoken in what is now western Queensland; she would be Maya for short.

‘My understanding is that she was supposed to be put down on the day Gaz rescued her, but the vet nurse at the clinic didn’t want to put her down,’ she says.

The nurse’s reluctance may have had something to do with the fact that Maya was only a young dog; she estimated her age to be somewhere between one and four.

But despite her youth, Maya wasn’t in great shape. ‘She was a very smelly ball of fluff, and she was really scared,’ says Romane.

One thing Maya did want to do, however, was play ball. A large part of the reason Gaz had chosen her was that she was ball obsessed. That drive to play is vitally important for a detection dog – or any sort of working dog, really – because the promise of play is their motivation to work, with a few minutes of playtime their reward for a job well done.

Romane had been told that Maya was a mix of working breeds. It was only years later that she discovered that was not the case at all. ‘We were at an RSPCA occasion and some people came up to us that had a dog that was the spitting image of Maya. The same colouring, the same spots – she’s got very spotty feet. They said, “You’ve got a lovely blue merle border collie,”’ she says. Though she knew Maya was incredible, purebred or not, the comment was something of a revelation for Romane, because by then she was more than familiar with Maya’s incredible work ethic.

With her colleague Dr Celine Frere, in 2015 Romane co-founded the not-for-profit USC Detection Dogs for Conservation (DDC) team. Russell Miller became the team’s dog trainer. Maya, of course, was the team’s founding dog.

Today, Maya is a senior dog. While the younger team members tackle these new branches of conservation detection, Maya, the doyenne of the group, continues to sniff out scats and provide researchers with valuable tools to help Australia’s emblematic marsupial.

For Romane, dogs in general – and Maya in particular – provide an ideal example of how to age gracefully. ‘I don’t think they care how old they are, and I don’t think we should care either,’ she says. ‘I never see Maya as an old dog. I see her as a friend, an amazing colleague, and a wonderfully happy personality.’

We should all take a (eucalyptus) leaf out of Maya’s book.

Edited extract from Extraordinary Old Dogs by Laura Greaves, published by Penguin Random House, RRP $34.99.

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What’s that, you want more senior dogs? Scroll through for a peek at the other furry friends featured alongside Maya in Extraordinary Old Dogs:

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James Fallon High School teacher Craig Roder retires after 36 years at the school | The Border Mail


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It’s rare for Craig Roder to walk down the street and not run into someone that used to sit in his classroom. Mr Roder has been teaching maths at North Albury’s James Fallon High School for 36 years, seeing generations of families pass through the gates. But this month the beloved mentor will have his last lesson after announcing his retirement. Looking back on his 38-year career, Mr Roder admitted teaching has fulfilled him. “I was probably in year 8 or 9 when I decided I wanted to be a teacher, I just couldn’t decide whether it was going to be maths of science,” he said. “I got the idea sitting in class when the kids either side of me would ask me how to do things before they bothered to ask the teacher. “They seemed to understand what I was saying, so I thought maybe this is something I could turn into a job. “There’s been very few times since then I’ve regretted that decision.” IN OTHER NEWS: Mr Roder said the time felt right to bid farewell to the school, with fishing, golf and domestic travel now on his radar. While the years have been filled with highlights, his HSC class of 1986 remains a standout. “One of my best memories in teaching is right back near the very start,” he said. “I was only in my fourth year of teaching and my first HSC class was extension one and extension two. “Both classes were a really nice bunch of kids that worked hard and finished up well above the state average, which was good for a first attempt at a HSC class.” While he never imagined his final year at school occurring during the chaos of a pandemic, he admitted he’ll miss teaching in the classroom. “That’s the reason you go into the job in the first place and it’s the most enjoyable bit,” he said. “The first step is treating them like little people rather than children. “Respect is a two-way street.” Mr Roder has also been a mentor to teachers starting out in the profession and has worked as a timetabler for shared classes between Murray and Albury High Schools. James Fallon High School principal Jenny Parrett said Mr Roder would be missed by staff and students. “It’s lovely to reflect on a career and be able to say how many thousand and thousands of young people have been touched by Craig’s work,” Mrs Parrett said. She admitted there hasn’t been a problem that Mr Roder couldn’t solve over the years. “They did make the mistake of getting me to teach music and geography once, but maths is what I do best,” Mr Roder said.

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