26 December 2017

Top ten news posts on The RiotACT in 2017

| Amy M
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Many of the most-read news stories on The RiotACT this year reported on violence: a race-hate bashing of Chinese college students at Woden interchange; two dangerous dog attacks; and carloads of men harassing women cyclists in Canberra’s inner north.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, with the top ten also featuring a tongue-in-cheek April Fools’ Day post claiming that Australia Post would introduce fines for inappropriate letter-boxes, and the news that Braddon’s Lonsdale Street would be closed off for a street party to celebrate a Yes vote in the marriage equality survey.

10. Pack mauls cat to death as dangerous dog petition gathers pace

The pack mauling to death of a Rivett couple’s beloved cat in the front yard of their property on 16 October 2017 gave extra impetus to an online petition calling for the ACT Government to take action on dangerous dogs.

Amanda Lyons told The RiotACT‘s Ian Bushnell that she had just let her black cat Jasper out the front door with her while she had a coffee about 6 am. Moments later she was startled by a kerfuffle in the garden and Jasper screaming. She couldn’t see in the sawn light how many dogs were involved, but knew there was more than one.

9. Government says Yes to Braddon street party to celebrate survey result

The entire top half of Lonsdale Street was chalked into a rainbow, Braddon food and drink vendors hosted portable food vans and pop-up bars and DJs brought into to entertain the crowd after the ACT Government approved plans to close part of the road near Hopscotch Bar to celebrate a Yes vote in the marriage equality survey. Over 2000 people said they would join the event on Facebook, which started out as a “chilled in-house private party” and soon turned into “a full-blown street party” as the number of RSVPs increased.

8. Fines to be introduced for inappropriate letterboxes

Did you fall for this April Fool’s Day prank? Citing a fake media release, Paul Costigan claimed that “due to the enormous difficulties faced by postal workers on their rounds, it has been decided to ask residents to have inappropriate and badly designed letterboxes replaced by the end of 2017.” It seemed the obvious way for Australia Post to recover some of the revenue it had spent on its highly paid former CEO…

7. Dangerous dog still on loose after vicious attack
Beware of Dog

A teenage boy was “viciously attacked” by a dangerous dog in a Gordon suburban park in August, sustaining a gaping wound on his upper arm that required plastic surgery. “He did not approach the dog, the dog just ran up out of nowhere and latched on,” his mother told The RiotACT.

Domestic Animal Services had advised it would send out extra patrols in a bid to catch the animal, which was still on the loose at the time of publication.

6. Carloads of men harass women cyclists in inner north
Car Low Angle View

“A young Canberra woman has been abused and chased by a car full of men while riding her bicycle home from Civic, and there are suggestions it’s not the first time this group has harassed people in the area,” reported Jane Speechley in March 2017. Inner north resident Kirsty Dale shared her experience being harassed while riding her bike with The RiotACT, and said two of her friends also had similar encounters whilst riding their bikes home in the same area at night time.

5. Airservices faces potential class action over staff contracts

Airservices Australia came under fire in May 2017, after current and former staff teamed up with Chamberlains Law Firm to advance a potential employment claim with an estimated value of up to hundreds of thousands of dollars per worker. The claim alleged that management staff joining the Federal Government-run navigation service provider were obliged to sign individual contracts that unlawfully stripped their redundancy entitlements.

4. Doctors urge Government to think again on nurse-led walk-in centres

ACT Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris

The ACT Government was urged in August to consider alternatives to its popular nurse-led walk-in centres before pressing on with plans to open more in Gungahlin and Weston Creek/Molonglo. The move came as the centres were criticised by Canberra doctor Dr Thinus van Rensburg, who claimed the cost and patient numbers do not justify the coming expansion of the program to Gungahlin. In an open letter, he accused Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris of “spending millions of dollars from a limited tax resource on an unproven and un-needed venture.”

3. Woman, 18, bitten by brown snake in Kambah
Eastern Brown snake. Photo: iStock

“A young woman has been rushed to hospital this afternoon after being bitten by a brown snake at Kambah,” we reported in the middle of last summer’s sweltering heat. The 18-year-old was walking in a paddock when she felt a bite on her calf muscle and looked down to see a brown snake. She returned home before ringing Emergency Triple Zero (000).

2. A statement from Ricardo De Marco regarding ACT Health action against Ricardo’s Cafe
Photo credit:

In January 2017, Ricardo’s Café in Jamison discovered that around 15 people had become ill from salmonella after drinking smoothies at the café. The RiotACT received a statement from owner Ricardo de Marco, in which he stated that:

“If anyone has become ill or been hospitalised as a result of salmonella contracted from Ricardo’s I am deeply, deeply sorry. We have always worked diligently to provide excellent customer service and have always taken the utmost care in operating a clean and hygienic restaurant. Our kitchen is now perhaps the most sanitised kitchen in the city.”

1. Gang attacks Chinese students in race-hate bashings at Woden Interchange

Bashed teenager

“The Chinese student community is reeling after the race-hate bashing of two students in separate incidents at the Woden Bus Interchange on Monday,” we reported back in October 2017. The students were attacked by local teenagers after refusing to give them cigarettes, with the assailants shouting ” “F….g Chinese! Go back to your country!”

The attacks sparked fears among the many Chinese students in the ACT for their safety.

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