16 December 2019

2019 Year in Review - Community

| Amy M
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The most-read stories under the heading of Community on The RiotACT in 2019 covered everything from heartfelt farewells to lighthearted discussions of bogans and a ditty about Queanbeyan. This list features the feel-good stories that made Canberrans laugh, and farewells that saddened many, with the number one article sharing the story of a much-loved quiet Canberran whose small business had endured in the same location for 25 years before it was given its marching orders in 2019.

10. Alpaca Therapy welcomes the generous gift of baby Paprika

Glynda Bluhm from Alpaca Magic and Nils Lantzke of Alpaca Therapy

Glynda Bluhm from Alpaca Magic and Nils Lantzke of Alpaca Therapy load Paprika and her mum into the Alpaca Therapy van. Photo: Facebook.

The beginning of 2019 was an emotional rollercoaster for Alpaca Therapy’s Nils Lantzke, wrote Genevieve Jacobs in March. His beloved alpaca Mimosa was put down after being brutally mauled by an unleashed dog. But a week later, he took delivery of a three-month-old baby alpaca called Paprika, thanks to the generosity of several local business owners and Hit 104.7’s weekend team of Ellie Mobbs, Bethany Larsen and Jason Roses.

When Region Media spoke to him, Nils had just unloaded Paprika and her mum, Papaya, from his truck after taking delivery of them. Here’s the full story if you missed it.

9. Tuggers, Charny, Gunners – it’s all part of Can-bra

Welcome to Canberra sign

Welcome to Canberra – or should that be ‘Can-bra’, ‘The Galah Cage’ or ‘The Candy Bar’. Photo: File.

What’s in a name? Well, plenty if you hail from Gunners, Tuggers, Kingo or Belcompton, wrote Michael Weaver in November. He reported that the Australian National Dictionary Centre, based at the ANU, was on the hunt for popular nicknames for Australian towns and suburbs. Readers of The RiotACT were quick to share their favourites. But have you heard Canberra called The Candy Bar, Cabtown or The Galah Cage?

8. How bogan is Canberra?

Bogan Place

Is Canberra a ‘bogan place’? That’s the name on a street sign in Kaleen. Photo: Glynis Quinlan.

Is Canberra full of bogans? That’s the question Glynis Quinlan asked in March. And while Canberrans have the highest average incomes in Australia, tend to be the most-educated people in the nation and have an impressive range of cultural institutions, hip cafes and trendy restaurants to visit, it seems there is also a bogan side to our carefully planned city.

7. The very best reasons to bleed Green: why supporting our local teams really matters

Ricky Stuart and TJ Campagna.

The Raiders’ Ricky Stuart visits TJ Campagna in the Canberra Hospital during his long recovery period. Photos: Supplied.

Proud Canberran Alanna Davis is a passionate supporter of the Brumbies, the Raiders, the Capitals and the Canberra Cavalry, and a champion for women’s equality and safety. But it wasn’t until tragedy struck two years ago that she understood the depth of our community’s spirit. In October, Alana shared her experience after she and her son TJ were involved in a multi-vehicle car crash, and described how the Canberra Raiders made a huge difference during TJ’s prolonged recovery.

6. Jamison shop owner urges public not to give money to beggars after customers and staff abused

Owner of Discount Hut Jamison Onur Cajina

Owner of Discount Hut Jamison Onur Cajina said the issue had been going on for nearly 18 months. Photos: George Tsotsos.

In June, an article from Lachlan Roberts about an owner of a Jamison shop who had shared her experience with beggars sparked lively discussion. Onur Cajina urged the community not to give donations to people sitting outside the front of her store begging for money after her staff and members of the public endured months of verbal, racial and physical abuse for not paying up, Lachlan wrote.

5. Farewell to Rhys Summergreene, a man of generosity and compassion

Rhys Summergreene

Rhys Summergreene speaking at the Menslink summer camp. Photo: Supplied.

The tragic death of young Canberra real estate agent Rhys Summergreene saddened many locals touched by his generosity, style, courage and unfailing commitment to others. Genevieve Jacobs wrote that the 28-year-old died after battling a highly aggressive cancer which was diagnosed in 2017. While fighting for his own life, he raised $75,000 for childhood cancer sufferer Freyja Christiansen, spoke to troubled young men about finding resilience, and continued to give to others with generosity and compassion.

4. Braidwood’s secret water supply waiting in weir

Martin Royds at a weir

Martin Royds near one of his weirs which is brimful despite the ongoing drought. Photos: Supplied.

John Thistleton headed to Braidwood in November to meet beef cattle farmer Martin Royds, who made the astonishing offer to supply Braidwood with back-up water should the Shoalhaven River run dry in the drought. Mr Royds is one of a rising number of farmers in the district practising regenerative farming, promoted by the ABC’s Australian Story series on farmer Peter Andrews’ drought-proofing.

3. Radio crew give Queanbeyan something to sing about


Mix 106.3FM morning show host Nige, in the parody to Queanbeyan. Photo: Screenshot.

While sittin’ at the table deciding which Canberra suburb to parody next, the morning crew from Mix 106.3FM threw the rule book out the window … and it landed in Queanbeyan, wrote Michael Weaver in September. To the strains of Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler, 106.3 immortalised our cousins over the border with a song about a man on a bus bound for Queanbeyan. Click the link above to listen to the ditty.

2. Dog owner finds dog treats containing fish hooks in his backyard

Sabotaged dog treats

Dog treats with hooks in them were also found in NSW last week. Photos: Supplied.

In May, Lachlan Roberts had the distressing news that a Gordon dog owner had discovered dog treats laced with fish hooks in his backyard and warned the local community to search their properties in case the problem was more widespread.

“We have found dog treats containing fish hooks in our backyard around our gate and garbage bins,” James Roberts posted on Facebook. “Some sick bastard is going around with dog treats containing fish hooks and throwing them over fences with people who have dogs.”

1. Beloved Jo’s Juice squeezes last orange at Old Bus Depot Markets

Josip Sladic

Josip Sladic served his last orange juice at the Old Bus Depot Markets on 30 June. Photo: George Tsotsos.

He was a mainstay at the Old Bus Depot Markets for over two decades but in July Lachlan Roberts reported that Jo Sladic was soon to pour his last juice at the popular weekend destination in Kingston.

The decision by the new owners of the markets to not renew Mr Sladic’s lease might have left a sour taste in his mouth, but the news brought an outpouring of love from the customers that have become his friends.

Join us tomorrow for a look back at the top property articles on RiotACT in 2019.

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