Unique Pindan sand sculpture to be unveiled at festival celebrating Broome’s historic Chinatown


Darby’s a sculptor who has travelled more than 2,000 kilometres from Fremantle to share his artistic skills with the Kimberley.

The artist was commissioned for five days to create an incredible sculpture using five tonnes of compacted pindan — a red soil found in the Kimberley’s south-west — and he’ll be using tools that are mostly the size of teaspoons.

Set up on the side of a main street, Darby has set to work creating a sculpture that highlights the essence of Broome. 

For him, working in the public eye is one of the highlights of his sculpting.

Darby revealed it was at this point, he would turn around and reveal to onlookers that there was nothing but sand and water being used.

When asked what happens if the sculptures got too dry, Darby kicked one of his smaller sculptures with considerable force: It didn’t even create a dent.

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Australia’s recent recession is unlike any before – but don’t expect the budget to be equally unique | Greg Jericho


The past recession has been unlike any previous ones, but despite this we can expect Tuesday’s budget speech will still be like many of those given in the past six years.

In the 1990s recession and the GFC, the budget story was really about revenue falling through the floor.

In the 1990s revenue went in two years from 24.4% of GDP to 22% of GDP – a 2.2%pt fall, equivalent in today’s terms to around $43bn.

The GFC was even worse – a fall from 25% of GDP to just 21.3% within three years – or having around $74bn a year less revenue to play with.

Those falls coupled with the increases in government spending created the deficits; but this time round revenue is not really an issue.

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Last year the government anticipated a fall similar to the 1990s recession, but the latest government finance figures show the fall has been minimal compared to the massive increase in government spending.

A major reason is that, unlike previous recessions, the job losses this time were much less ongoing than in the past. And a major part of that was the jobkeeper program ensured that job losses were not counted (which was fair enough, as these people were not working, but they were not looking for work either).

Crucially, the jobkeeper payments were also taxed.

Thus Josh Frydenberg on Tuesday has a bit of a different task than previous treasurers who have had to deal with recessions.

He will deliver a record deficit, probably around $180bn for this current financial year, and for 2021-22 probably around $80bn – a massive drop not because of an increase in revenue, but because most of a big pandemic-related expenditure is gone.

And crucially, unless the government waits till May next year, and decide to hold an early budget, this will be the last one before the next election.

So don’t expect language such as Joe Hockey in 2014 when he began his budget speech by saying: “Prosperity isn’t a matter of luck. Prosperity is not a gift. It needs to be earned. So now it is our turn to contribute”.

Frydenberg certainly won’t be repeating Hockey’s suggestion that “the days of borrow and spend must come to an end”.

Most likely he will adopt more of Hockey’s tone in his second budget in 2015 when he tried the more caring line, noting that “as we all know over the past 12 months, Australia has had to deal with its fair share of challenges”.

Perhaps we will see the very election-campaign-directed budget of 2016 when Scott Morrison began by asserting that “it’s not just another budget”, no, “this Budget is an economic plan.”

By 2017 Morrison, now not having to worry about an election had to admit, “many remain frustrated at not getting ahead” and that “Australians have taken second jobs, where they can, so bills can be paid. And it’s been a fair while since most hardworking Australians have had a decent pay rise.”

Guess that 2016 plan hadn’t quite worked (or maybe it had …).

That four years and one election later, the exact same lines could be uttered perhaps goes some way to explaining just how little this Coalition government has been required to do anything.

By 2018 Morrison asserted that “the Australian economy is now pulling out of one of the toughest periods we have faced in generations”.

Well … maybe not.

At least we know Frydenberg won’t be repeating his first budget speech of 2019 which began with the rhetorical flourish that “the Budget is back in the black and Australia is back on track”.

Last year he ended by arguing that “we are a resilient people, a proud nation and we will get through this together”.

I fully expect the speech will be in this spirit, a talk of the need still to live within means; a few words about struggling families and talks of plans and the future … and in a few years some other treasurer will no doubt also be able regurgitate the exact same lines.

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Unique water safety program saving lives by teaching children with autism how to swim


Some children with autism have a fascination with water, a tendency to wander and little or no sense of danger, putting them much more at risk of drowning.

But a unique swimming program in Canberra — with a counterintuitive structure — has dived deep into the issue to turn the tragic tide.

Renee Zwikielberg has two children with autism — William, 9, and Sophie, 7 — and said she came frighteningly close to the tragedy of losing a child to drowning.

“We went on holiday about 18 months ago and William nearly drowned,” she said.

Ms Zwikielberg said they had tried many different types of swimming classes over the years from group settings to one-on-one lessons with instructors trained in teaching people with autism.

But she said it was not until William was enrolled in WaterAbilities at Black Mountain School that he made progress.

“At first, he didn’t even want to get in the water,” she said.

“He was afraid … and had a lot of anxiety about drowning given that it almost happened twice.”

William now has a better understanding of water safety and enjoys swimming lessons.(

ABC News: Andrew Kennedy

)

But William has since thrived in the lessons, learning strokes, safety and how to enjoy the water.

And that’s also given Ms Zwikielberg confidence that her son would be safe around water.

“It’s really changed my life. I can’t stress that enough,” she said.

Strengthening exercises key to swimming success

The program’s unique composition involves spending as much time outside of the pool as in it.

The unconventional strategy has used land-based exercises that strengthen muscles and movements used for swimming well before participants try to thrash against the water.

Young girl swimming under water
Sophie had fallen behind in mainstream swimming lessons but now has greater strength to float and swim.(

ABC News: Andrew Kennedy

)

Those strength-building exercises have been especially valuable for William’s little sister Sophie.

“Even at five, [Sophie] was what you would consider a floppy baby, but now her strength and her muscle tone has increased,” Ms Zwikielberg said.

Child swimming with woman
Flynn is happy to put his head under the water after taking part in the WaterAbilities program with his mother Ele.(

ABC News: Andrew Kennedy

)

Ele Fogarty has seen a similarly remarkable transformation in her son Flynn.

The five-year-old happily and safely dived underwater for the first time last week after a sensory condition had meant he previously became distressed if water — even from a shower — washed over his head.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” Ms Fogarty said.

“And he actually decided he’s going to do showers. They’re only small things but they’re massive.”

Drowning leading cause of death in children with autism

Carol Jennings co-founded the “holistic” pilot and said it was intentionally very different to mainstream swim schools.

“The whole team are allied health workers, so we draw on occupational therapy, exercise physiology, physiotherapy and early education, in addition to being swim school qualified,” Ms Jennings said.

According to Royal Life Saving Australia, children with autism are 160 per cent more likely to drown than those without.

And drowning is the leading cause of death for children with autism.

Woman smiling
Cherry Bailey says there is a great need for a program like WaterAbilities.(

ABC News: Tahlia Roy

)

The ACT Government spent $15,000 on the trial, which was also supported by Royal Life Saving ACT.

Royal Life Saving ACT general manager Cherry Bailey said the disability community had been crying out for a solution like WaterAbilities.

“The demand was obvious and really important,” she said.

“We want these children to be experiencing the same types of program opportunities as children without autism.

“[The program] has provided really special connections for families and children in the water and provided focus points needed in terms of fundamental movement, development in the water and readiness to learn … water safety skills.”

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AFL 2021: Greater Western Sydney star Josh Kelly’s unique choice


When Kelly was weighing up his future in 2017, North Melbourne offered him a staggering nine-year deal worth more than $10 million – essentially a Buddy Franklin-like contract that, Kelly – against his own financial interests – declined.

Then-coach Brad Scott met Kelly, whose father Phil is a past player with North and maintains Arden Street connections. There’s little doubt that North will be close to the front of the queue for Kelly this year.

Unlike the bulk of Melbourne clubs, the Roos will have the capacity to pay truckloads – they might have space to almost match the GWS eight-year amount (over whatever contractual period).

Would Essendon or Hawthorn make a comparable offer? The Bombers handed Kelly’s former teammate Dylan Shiel a seven-year deal in 2019 and Kelly, at his best, is a clear notch above Shiel.

Dylan Shiel.Credit:Getty

The Hawks, historically, have been reluctant to offer long-term contracts, a policy that was bent for Tom Lynch, who preferred Richmond’s somewhat lesser offer to Hawthorn’s seven years.

It is hard to believe that St Kilda, on the prowl for Kelly in 2017, would find the space for him. Carlton, from what one can gather, have room for a barracuda only if they shift someone out, having spent about $1.4 million annually on Zac Williams and Adam Saad and with Patrick Cripps and Harry McKay coming of contract this year.

Melbourne, Richmond, Collingwood, Geelong and the Bulldogs won’t have sufficient room to accommodate Kelly, unless they’re prepared to shed players or slash wages. Or back-load to the point of no return.

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Two other factors are at play in Kelly’s call: Kelly’s form and that of his team.

In 2016-17, Kelly seemed on the brink of becoming one of the game’s top six players, a smooth mover with superb skills who could win the ball inside and outside the contest.

He hasn’t reached that projected level since, having suffered some injury setbacks – notably a groin problem that hampered him early last season.

GWS are backing him to play up to the level of the contract they’ve offered. This eight-year commitment is yet another example of the extreme measures required for GWS to secure their best players, having signed Stephen Coniglio (seven years), Lachie Whitfield (seven), Toby Greene (six) and Nick Haynes (five) to very long terms that Victorian clubs rarely entertain.

Kelly’s moderate form, relative to his talent – and the club’s disappointing results lately – raises the question of whether GWS would be better to avoid that eight-year option, given they’ve fallen from finals, lost key players and have to work out how they move forward (contending, refreshing?).

Whatever he decides, Josh Kelly’s call – and that of the club that signs him – will be a watershed moment for the competition.

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Canberra artist Tommy Balogh stages unique exhibition this weekend, capturing and revealing the light




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Changing political winds – and a unique crisis – allow Democrats to go it alone on stimulus package


The last time a Democratic administration tried to push through a major economic stimulus in a time of crisis, painstaking negotiations with Republicans resulted in a watered-down compromise. Now, President Biden and the Democratic Party are looking to go big — and potentially go it alone — on a massive stimulus package.

Biden has met with Republican senators and stated his desire to get their votes on his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, meant to help battle both the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic damage it’s done to millions of Americans. However, both the new president and Democratic leaders in Congress are moving forward with a process called reconciliation that would allow them to pass much of the relief plan without a single Republican vote.

Both the size of the package and their approach to gaining GOP votes are departures from how the Obama White House and congressional Democrats handled the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

“The way I see it, the biggest risk is not going too big, it’s if we go too small,” Biden said Friday. “We’ve been here before. When this nation hit the Great Recession that Barack and I inherited in 2009, I was asked to lead the effort on the economic recovery act to get it passed. It was a big recovery package, roughly $800 billion. I did everything I could to get it passed, including getting three Republicans to change their votes and vote for it. But it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t quite big enough. It stemmed the crisis, but the recovery could have been faster and even bigger. Today we need an answer that meets the challenge of this crisis, not one that falls short.”

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-C.A.), and the Chairs of the House committees to discuss a coronavirus relief package in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Friday, February 5, 2021. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times/Pool via Getty Images)

President Biden at a meeting on Friday in the Oval Office to discuss the coronavirus relief package. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times/Pool via Getty Images)

At the start of Obama’s tenure, with the economy in tatters and large majorities in both chambers, Democrats sought Republican votes while attempting to appease the most conservative members of their own caucus. Obama and Biden did get three Republican votes in the Senate but none in the House, and the total cost — roughly $800 billion — was decried as too small by many economists at the time of its passage, leading to the slower recovery the current White House is hoping to avoid this time around. The price tag came down from $920 billion after negotiations between two Republican senators from Maine, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, and Sen. Ben Nelson, a moderate Democrat from Nebraska.

“These aren’t easy times, obviously, for America,” said Snowe when explaining her vote. “Given the gravity of the circumstances economically, I thought it was important to be part of a process that could yield a consensus-based solution.”

Despite concessions meant to earn Republican support that weakened the legislation, Obama was still criticized for not following through on his promises of bipartisanship and unity.

“That this is bipartisan legislation is simply not accurate,” Sen. John McCain said at the time. “We want to work with the other side, and this is not the example that I think the American people wanted.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, complained that Republicans “didn’t have a chance to negotiate,” while the GOP’s Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, decried the cost, saying, “Yesterday the Senate cast one of the most expensive votes in history. Americans are wondering how we’re going to pay for all this.”

Democrats were also displeased with the final package, with then-Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa stating, “I am not happy with it. You are not looking at a happy camper. I mean, they took a lot of stuff out of education. They took it out of health, school construction, and they put it more into tax issues.”

The crises are different — a pandemic that has killed nearly 500,000 Americans while upending life for millions more versus a total economic collapse. But while today’s Republicans have also attempted to turn Biden’s calls for bipartisanship and unity against him by criticizing him for going it alone on COVID-19 relief, the White House has taken a broader view of bipartisanship.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to reporters after the weekly Republican caucus policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 26, 2021.  (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill on Jan. 26. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has repeatedly said that the relief legislation is bipartisan because of the wide support it shares in the country, even among Republicans, even if it doesn’t garner any GOP votes. A recent poll from Yahoo News and YouGov showed more Americans supporting than opposing all 20 pieces of Biden’s agenda, including 74 percent support for $2,000 checks and 58 percent support for a minimum wage increase.

“The president ran on unifying the country and putting forward ideas that would help address the crises we’re facing,” Psaki said Friday. “He didn’t run on a promise to unite the Democratic and Republican Party into one party in Washington. This package has the vast majority of support from the American public. This is something that people want. They want to see it passed. They want these checks to get into communities. They want this funding to go to schools. They want more money for vaccine distribution.”

Republicans have also attempted to criticize Biden for both the cost of the package and the process of using reconciliation, citing the deficit and national debt. But their use of reconciliation to pass a massive tax overhaul in 2017 primarily benefiting the wealthy has undercut their argument and earned a dismissal from the president.

“What Republicans have proposed is either to do nothing or not enough,” Biden said Friday. “All of a sudden, many of them have rediscovered fiscal restraint and the concern for the deficits. But don’t kid yourself: This approach will come with a cost. More pain for more people for longer than it has to be.”

The shift in Democratic strategy has a number of roots. There are the presidential campaigns of Sen. Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist who now chairs the Budget Committee and will be a key figure in reconciliation, along with the rise of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has become a prominent figure in Democratic politics and an outspoken advocate for progressive positions.

There were also the actions of former President Donald Trump, who advocated for $2,000 checks and paid little attention to the deficit throughout his term, diminishing arguments from the right about fiscal concerns, in addition to the Federal Reserve changing its policies on inflation and unemployment. Finally, Democrats have dealt with over a decade of McConnell slowing the Senate to a crawl while in the minority and running roughshod while in the majority. Their frustrations finally boiled over when combined with the urgent crisis facing Americans.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., during a hearing on Jan. 27, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)

Sen. Bernie Sanders at a hearing on Capitol Hill on Jan. 27. (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)

This time around, even senators hailing from states Trump won easily aren’t balking at the 10-digit price tag on the legislation. Last week, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he wasn’t opposed to the administration’s $1.9 trillion cost but wanted a bipartisan process. Manchin has expressed opposition to some details of the rescue plan, including a $15-per-hour minimum wage and eligibility for $1,400 checks, but he voted to advance the reconciliation process. Trump won the Mountain State by nearly 40 points in 2020.

Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, a state Trump won by 16 points, said earlier this month in a CNN interview, “I don’t think $1.9 trillion, even though it is a boatload of money, is too much money. I think now is not the time to starve the economy.”

The Senate is key in these negotiations, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds a narrow Democratic majority.

In addition to moderate Democrats being open to the large number, the White House has publicly rejected an economist who has previously had an outsize influence in the party. Larry Summers was treasury secretary under Bill Clinton and a key adviser for the Obama administration who pushed for the 2009 stimulus to be smaller. Last week, in a Washington Post op-ed, Summers made a similar argument, saying $1.9 trillion was too large and could open the door to a devastating inflationary cycle.

Speaking at the White House podium on Friday, Biden’s economic adviser called Summers’s assertion that Biden’s team wasn’t properly concerned with the potential for inflation “flat-out wrong.”

“I think that the idea now is that we have to hit back hard, we have to hit back strong if we’re going to finally put this dual crisis of the pandemic and the economic pain that it has engendered behind us,” Jared Bernstein said. “We’ve constantly argued that the risks of doing too little are far greater than the risks of going big, providing families and businesses with the relief they need to finally put this virus behind us.”

Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii summarized a popular Democratic response to Summers, writing, “Why would we listen to the economist who admits he went too small last time if he’s warning us to go small again? I swear this town is nuts. It’s like people can only remember thirty names and so they just keep going back to the same people.”

Cover thumbnail photo illustration; Yahoo News; photos: AP, Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images, Getty Images.

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We deserve to tell the stories of our unique lived experience


Washington Post tally, a third of best actor Oscars went to actors playing characters with disabilities between 1988 and 2015. Noting, of course, that the actors themselves were not disabled.

“Playing” disabled can be an awe-worthy and lucrative career move. Audiences marvel at an able-bodied actor’s ability to inhabit a disabled body. Even though disabled people do so every day.

Anne Hathaway in Roald Dahl’s The Witches didn't need a disability to make her scary.

Anne Hathaway in Roald Dahl’s The Witches didn’t need a disability to make her scary.Credit:AP

But quite separate from the actors cast are the disabled characters written in the first place. Pop culture visibility is powerful. It should be used to subvert stereotypes, provoke meaningful empathy and help able-bodied audiences recognise their own privilege.

But the characters with disabilities that most of us watch on screen lack complexity and nuance. Films and television tend to reduce the expansive and varied experience of disability to the same four storylines.

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First, there is the evil and depraved villain, whose physical difference is used to simultaneously disgust and horrify, a la Anne Hathaway’s Grand High Witch. Disabled villains may well be a viewer’s first experience of a person with that particular disability and can colour their understanding in future. The second category is disability as a superpower. Think of films like Shine or Rain Man, where the value of someone’s life is dismissed until they’re “redeemed” by virtue of their special abilities.

Category three is inspirational pity porn. If you’ve ever sat in a cinema and begun watching a film like I Am Sam or The Miracle Worker feeling sorry for the main character but, by the end, were marvelling at how they’d done things able-bodied people do every day, that’s what I’m talking about. These films make disabled people seem extraordinary for doing the ordinary; rather than recognising it’s the society they live in which makes the ordinary difficult to navigate.

The fourth and final category is perhaps the most damaging and certainly the most common. Here, the character with a disability is angry and bitter and consider themselves a burden to others. References include the sickly sweet Me Before You, American classic Born on the Fourth of July or the James Cameron blockbuster Avatar. This trope suggests to audiences that being disabled is the worst possible experience a person could have. That life is not worth living in a body that doesn’t work exactly the same way as others do.

Now here’s the rub: A disabled person’s relevance should not have to come from being extraordinary. Nor should our relevance be reduced to our disabilities alone. Ask any filmmaker, television show runner, author or artist and they will tell you that authenticity in storytelling is essential. Without it, we cannot captivate, excite or inform our audiences.

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Such authenticity is impossible with disabled people being part of shaping and telling their own stories. This does not only mean putting more disabled people on screen, but ensuring disabled people have decision making-roles behind the scenes, as scriptwriters, directors, producers, and costume designers. Do not presume to know our experience. Ask us.

The result would surely be more films about disabled people that are painted with all the colours of the rainbow. Films that recognise disability for what it is, a unique and personal experience. An experience that can involve marginalisation, anger, pain and frustration but also community, empathy, confidence and pride. If disabled people were involved in the depiction of characters with disabilities, then disability could become part of someone’s story and not the point of it.

The Grand High Witch was always a terrifying character because that’s how Dahl wrote her. She had blue spit, lots of money and turned small children into mice, for goodness sake; how much more terrifying can it get? The addition of limb difference did not add to her malevolence, except in the form of damaging stereotypes being remade for a new generation. Disability cannot be a cheat for monstrosity in an era where we all know better.

Jamila Rizvi is a writer. She lives with a disability as a result of a recurrent brain tumour.

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Adelaide firefighter’s unique gold ring recovered after 13 years offshore


Disaster struck at Henley Beach while Adelaide firefighter Justin Ocenasek was throwing a ball to his mate in 2007.

His unique gold ring, a memento hand-forged by one of his Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) colleagues, was lost in the waves.

“I got the ring fitted to my right hand because I’m a left-hander, but my right hand was bashed up from playing football, so I moved it to my left,” Mr Ocenasek said.

“I went to throw the ball with my left hand and, as I’ve thrown it, the ring has gone flying off in the same direction and fallen in the water.

“We were looking around with our feet trying to find it, but after about an hour we pulled the plug on the search.

“I have thought about getting Kym (the jeweller) to make me a new one, but it wouldn’t be that same graduation ring.”

But in a story fit for the annals of JRR. Tolkien, the ring sat dormant in the sands off Henley Beach for 13 years before being discovered by an unlikely hero.

Firefighter Justin Ocenasek joked that the ring might be on its way to the US.(Supplied)

A fateful find

For landscaper and semi-professional metal detectorist Bruce Phillips, it was just another day.

“I like to hunt the area, particularly after storms because it moves the sand around and items that have been buried for a while tend to show up,” Mr Phillips said.

A man with a metal detector in shallow water at the beach
Metal detectorist Bruce Phillips managed to find who the ring belonged to.(Facebook)

“This day I hadn’t found too much, just a couple of old coins, but I was just beyond the break line next to the jetty, and I picked up this ring.

“It came up in the scoop and I looked at it and I thought ‘well, it’s definitely gold’, but I couldn’t really make out what the marking was — I thought it was a tulip!”

But the engraving was something far more interesting.

“I got home and gave it a bit of a clean with a gentle polish and noticed there was writing on one side,” he said.

“I thought SAMFS? That doesn’t make sense. Oh wait, SA MFS!

“I realised when I turned the ring around that I was looking at a fireman’s helmet.”

A large ring with a design of a firefighters' hat on it
Bruce Philips initially thought the ring had the design of a tulip on it.(Supplied)

A story fit for the modern age

With nothing but the ring in hand, Mr Phillips set out on a quest to return it to its rightful owner.

“I did a quick Google search because Google is your friend in these sorts of things and found there weren’t any official MFS rings,” he said.

“I reached out to the MFS and a gentleman who works there said he would look back through his books and got in contact with Justin.

“At the same time, his wife had actually seen my Facebook post or she got a tip-off and she said ‘oh my god, this is my husband’s ring’.”

Henley Beach
The ring was lost at Henley Beach, in Adelaide’s west.(ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)

Mr Ocenasek said he was absolutely floored when the ring was found.

“It’s beyond a needle in a haystack type scenario — it’s one ring in all the ocean and he found it,” he said.

“My sister lives in America and I mentioned to her on the phone that there’s a fair chance the ring is closer to her than to me after all these years.

Mr Ocenasek offered Mr Phillips a reward, but he turned it down.

“All I would like is to get a photo with [Mr Ocenasek] at the MFS station returning the ring so I can put it in my collection,” he said.

The ring will be returned next week.



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Fears that K’gari-Fraser Island bushfire has ‘massively impacted’ unique ecosystems


A local conservation action group fears a massive fire that has burned through more than half of K’gari-Fraser Island will devastate its heritage-listed landscape and wildlife.

Threat levels were eased to watch and act and an emergency declaration was revoked on Tuesday morning after much-needed rain overnight, with the settlement of Happy Valley narrowly escaping the flames.

But Peter Shooter, president of the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation – a community-based organisation that seeks to protect the island’s natural resources – warned the consequences of the fire, which has been burning since 14 October, would be considerable.

“K’gari is an island with vegetation types that traditionally do burn and recover from burning,” he said on Tuesday.

“But this fire has been of such a magnitude and duration that the impact is really concerning. There has never been a recorded fire of this type on K’gari.”

Peter Shooter, president of the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation (FIDO).

Supplied

Located off Queensland’s south-east coast, K’gari-Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island, at 123 kilometres long, and listed as a World Heritage Area due to its unique ecosystems.

Among them are significant rainforests, which Mr Shooter said were of significant concern for the group as they do not respond well to bushfires.

He also warned that the island’s large populations of small marsupials, reptiles, birds, and insects would have been “massively impacted”.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has ordered a full review into the preparedness and response to the blaze, which is believed to have been caused by an illegal campfire, following criticism from the opposition and local business owners.

Opposition spokesperson for fire and emergency services Dale Last told ABC the fires had caused “shocking damage” and accused the government of failing to act sooner to protect the island.

“This is a World Heritage-listed site that has been treated appallingly from a weak minister who is failing to take any responsibility for this unfolding disaster,” he told the ABC. 

However, Ms Palaszczuk defended the initial handling of the blaze, which was taken over by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services in late November. 

“This one just completely got away,” Mr Shooter said. 

Manager of the Cathedrals on Fraser campground Jack Worcester

Manager of the Cathedrals on Fraser campground Jack Worcester and his daughter, Maggie.

Supplied

Manager of the Cathedrals on Fraser campground Jack Worcester praised Queensland Parks and Wildlife for their efforts on the fire front, which he estimated came up to 100 metres from the property.

“I don’t think they could have done any more, to be honest,” he said. 

“Earlier on, when the fire was still a long way up north … I guess it would have been easier to put out, but if they had thrown the amount of resources at it that they are throwing at it now, sure it may have gone out but then we would be investigating why they spent so much money on a small fire.”

He said the remote terrain of the island meant it was difficult for firefighters to access the front.

“We’ve got one sand track, there’s no exit, you can’t really put crews on there to fire fight. It’s just too dangerous,” he said. 

QFES co-ordinator Brian Cox said about 50 residents, many of them volunteer firefighters, had remained to defend their properties.

“Firefighters, with the assistance of water-bombing aircraft, will continue working to contain the fire today but firefighters might not be able to protect every property,” the QFES said. 

On Tuesday afternoon, residents of The Oaks and Kingfisher Bay Resort and Village on the eastern side of the island were told to prepare to leave if conditions worsen.

Mr Cox told Seven’s Today a combination of the rain, fire crews on the ground, and back-burning had allowed authorities to “save” the township of Happy Valley on Monday morning.

“Last reports are that the fire front is now around about 400 metres away from … The Oaks, about a kilometre south of Happy Valley,” he said. 

About 90 firefighters and 24 water-bombing aircraft were working to contain the fire on Monday.





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8 Unique Gift Ideas for People With Anxiety


 

Do you want to find something meaningful, fun, or personal for someone you know that has a hard time with an anxiety disorder or that gets very stressed? The following gift ideas for people with anxiety are interesting and different than the norm. As someone who has experienced anxiety on a high level for most of my life, I wanted to put together the ultimate list of things that I would like to receive myself, when I’m feeling highly anxious or stressed. Most of these gift ideas for people with anxiety are found on Amazon at great prices too!

So, Christmas, birthdays or any other occasion, these items make great gifts!

1. The Rustic Good News Mindfulness Jar

This Jar is something very unique. The ‘mindfulness Jar is packed with a month’s worth of heart warning feel good news stories. The angle of the jar is to pick you up. With so many bad and negative news stories (the stuff that gets air time) it’s easy for us to constantly feel like we need to live in fear and go into ourselves.

This jar mindfully gives us one positive news story everyday for 30 days. This gift idea for someone with anxiety makes a great present because there’s not too much else like it. It could also help you get out of a rut of negativity when you’re pulling out a good news story each day.

This jar would work magic if you stopped watching the news for a month and just read each and every story from the jar instead.

2. The Mindfulness Jar

Here’s another jar… I don’t know what it is about these rustic mindfulness jars but I just love the way they look! This jar is similar to the jar we mentioned above but it’s main function is to teach you mindful practises over 31 days.

The idea is to use each mindfulness practise one day at a time so that you can build up the habit of mindfulness in a no pressure way that will help to develop this way of thinking and behaving. This jar is a great idea because not only does it look great but it uses the idea that forming new habits takes about 30 days.

The mindfulness exercises are folded up in with unique designs that open your mind up to a new way of thinking everyday for a month. If you want to give a loved one the gift of learning mindfulness in an easy to manage way, this jar is perfect. Did I mention it also looks awesome?!

3. Stress Less Cards

Another neat thing I found is stress less cards. These cards are already recommended by health care professionals for people who deal with anxiety and stress on an everyday basis. They look great and they also work well.

There are 50 cards in this pack. Each card has a different exercise to follow containing mindfulness, meditations and stress relieving techniques.

I like these cards because you can carry them with you anywhere. When you’re feeling stressed of anxious you can shuffle your deck and pull out a card to follow the exercise.

A simple idea yet an effective one.

4. Smiles In A Jar

Smiles in a jar is exactly that. Smiles. This jar is packed full of brightly coloring cards which have moving, motivational, humorous, and loving messages on them. This gift idea is great for those who are anxious or stressed because it provides a little pick me up.

This jar is also a cool idea if you’re struggling to find a cost-effective but meaningful gift for someone’s birthday of secret Santa present.

It works wll for dad, mum, a brother, sister or a grandparent or anyone really..

Although it’s not marketed at the anxious or stressed, you can’t help but feel calmer when you have a loving message every day of the month.

5. I Am Here Now

I Am Here Now is a super unique idea. It’s basically a book of mindfulness exercises that’s useful for beginners and also mindfulness veterans. What makes it so different from anything else on the market is it’s creative approach.

Instead of just learning about Mindfulness, the guide book gets you stuck in with proactive activities. Like all good mindfulness guides, the book is designed to open your mind creatively, bring awareness to you sense and understand your thoughts and emotions with it’s thought provoking words.

It’s created by mindfulness teacher Tara Brach. The guide gets you to do lots of activities to start thinking mindfully like drawing around your hand, and placing both hands on the book to connect with the rhythm of your pulse.

The interesting and unique illustrations of emotions and situations in your life make this a very special present. You can also use the journal pages in between activities to jot down you thoughts.

With some very positive reviews on Amazon, this one’s probably my personal favorite on the list of gift ideas for people with anxiety.

6. How To Stop Worrying And Start Living

Another book that makes a great gift for someone with anxiety is Dale Carnegie’s How To Stop Worrying And Start Living. It’s probably the most talked about book when it comes to how to stop worrying. And for good reason – Dale’s book is straightforward and easy to read. It provides practical techniques that you can use to break the habit of worrying, before it breaks you.

The book is a full of real life examples about people, some famous, some not, who have learnt how to handle worrying and fear. The stories flows into each other beautifully and are highly relatable. The book covers all aspects of what the modern person worries about, money, relationships, work, etc and provides actionable exercises to stop worrying. If there is an ultimate book on learning how to stop worrying, it’s this one, which makes it a highly useful gift if the recipient is experiencing anxiety.

7. The Worry Plaque

The next item on the list is something very unique and interesting. This is the worry plaque, which can be mounted on your wall. This gift for someone with anxiety is just a bit of fun, but it’s sure to bring a smile to someone’s face. The idea is to place your hand in the print. By doing so, the green light turns red, which means you have successfully passed your worry into the ‘worry fairies’. Everytime you’re feeling very worried about something, place your hand in the print and imagine your worry being passed into the plaque, freeing you from it.

If you want to give something truly unique as a gift, this is the one for you! There is also access to video content where you can stream positive affirmation on the companies website.

8. Weighted Blankets

There’s something incredibly relaxing about weighted blankets. They make great gift for guys with anxiety or girls experiencing anxiety. Until I tried one myself, I thought they sounded a bit suffocating, however, I was completely wrong. Instead, there is something calming about having the lightly weighted blanket over you. It feels as if you are being cradled in your bed, being put into a deeply calm state. This is slightly more expensive than the other gift ideas for people with anxiety, but it’s a great investment and a highly practical gift idea.

This post was previously published on Projectenergise.com.

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Photo credit: iStock

 





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