Meander Valley Gazette

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Meander Valley Gazette

Local author looks north

Arts and ReviewsJoanne Eisemann
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SET IN the Northern Territory during the early 1960s, there is a good mix of the funny, everyday and tragic in Wendy Laing’s novel Memoirs of an Arresting Woman.

Arriving at police headquarters in Darwin, Constable Laurie McKenzie learns she is the only female officer in the Northern Territory Police Force.

Transferred to the outback town of Rabbit Creek, she has to deal with murderers, a paedophile, domestic violence and crocodile poachers as shestrives to earn the respect of the townspeople and her male colleagues.

Although there is a continuing thread throughout the novel, the scenes break down into enjoyable short stories. The town and its surroundings almost become another character, they are so well described.

This novel would appeal to readers of other fictionalised memoirs such as those by Gerald Durrell and James Herriot.

Sally Odgers, editor, manuscript assessor and author, describes Memoirs of an Arresting Woman as a thoroughly good reading experience.

Deloraine author Wendy Laing is Secretary of the Society of Women Writers Tasmania, writes for the Meander Valley Gazette and runs the Deloraine Writers Group.

Memoirs of an Arresting Woman is published by Indie-Mosh and is available through their website, or as an eBook on Amazon and Smashwords.

You can contact Wendy Laing on 0499 993 850 to purchase a signed copy.

A letter from the Gazette

CommunityJoanne Eisemann

THE GAZETTE has been dealing with some difficult issues recently.

Because these have been made public, the Manager (Joanne Eisemann) and Editor (Elizabeth Douglass) have chosen to respond publicly.

The Gazette has found it necessary to review the ways in which representatives of the newspaper interact with the people, organisations and businesses they are dealing with.

This review was initiated by a temporary breakdown in communications with Meander Valley Council. The relationship between the Gazette and Meander Valley Council required some clarification on both sides.

Both the Gazette and Council now consider the breakdown to be repaired. The manager and editor of the Gazette have met with the council, and will continue to meet with the council, to make sure that lines of communication remain open.

The Gazette had hoped to resolve this issue quickly and quietly.

However, contrary to what we had expected, our conversations with the council and subsequent internal discussions were made public through Facebook posts, the circulation of emails, and the usual progression of social media and rumour.

Despite social media commentary not always being an accurate reflection of real events, it became very clear, very quickly, that the Gazette has many passionate supporters in the Meander Valley community.

We deeply appreciate the level of concern that has been expressed about our economic viability and editorial independence. Our sincere thanks go to everyone who has contacted us in the last month for their interest and offers of assistance.

It also became clear that there is confusion about our ongoing relationship with the Council and whether they make any financial contributions to us. The Gazette’s editorial integrity and our commitment to fair and unbiased reporting have also been questioned.

To make our independent status completely clear, we are sharing the following information about the Gazette.

  • We are a not-for-profit, independent paper covering news and events across the Meander Valley municipality with approximately 20 000 readers.

  • Gazette revenue mainly comes from the sale of advertising space that pays for part-time production and editorial staff, printing, delivery and other running costs.

  • Meander Valley Connect Inc. is the organisation that supervises and advises the Gazette as well as the Online Centres at Mole Creek and Deloraine.

  • Committee members of MVConnect Inc. are drawn from volunteer workers for all three organisations and the Gazette shares office space and some staff with the Deloraine Online Access Centre.

  • The Gazette receives no funding from the Meander Valley Council, Tasmanian State or Federal governments.

  • The Gazette has no obligations, financially or editorially, to the Tasmanian Education Department or Libraries Tasmania.

  • Sponsorships from local businesses supply additional funding.

Our relationship with Meander Valley Council also seems to require explanation.

The Council pays for a double spread in the Gazette every month. This allows the Council to regularly inform ratepayers about council activities without needing to print and distribute a separate publication. The council is solely responsible for the content and appearance of these pages.

The Gazette is always willing to engage with anyone who chooses to advertise with the Gazette, contribute stories and photos, or just read the paper. We expect that anyone should come directly to the manager or editor with any concerns they may have about the content of the paper or if they feel that they have a right to reply.

This includes Council management, the Mayor and individual councillors, because, as one of the largest ‘businesses’ in the valley, Council affairs are often the main topic of many stories.

It is extremely important for the Gazette to maintain a good relationship and clear communication channels with the Council. As with all who make up the ‘subjects’ of our stories, the Gazette tries to ensure that our reporting remains balanced.

Hearing from all parties concerned is the only way we are able to gather and cross check information, and cover all aspects of a particular story.

We can assure readers that we remain financially independent and strive to be impartial. We try to make balanced and careful judgements about what we publish.

Good communication is the essence of what we try to achieve every month.

As long as our readers find us relevant and we can continue to generate sufficient income to produce the paper each month, the Gazette is proud to keep making a contribution to the Meander Valley community and is grateful for the affection and interest that is returned.

Connecting our community - celebrating 5 years as Meander Valley’s local newspaper!

FeatureJoanne Eisemann

TURNING FIVE may not seem like a big achievement, yet it is a number loaded with significance.

Behind the scenes, ‘5’ adds up to countless hours of volunteering time that has been given by a small army of helpers to create and deliver the paper, month in, month out. Without their vital help, the paper wouldn’t exist. This is because the Gazette is, for all intents and purposes, very much a local, community-driven project.

This story is written to give you a better understanding of the Gazette as an enterprise, and to publicly recognise the valuable contribution made by so many wonderful people who help us out, each and every day.

When our region lost its local newspaper more than five years ago, it quickly became clear that something else went missing too. The valley lost the means to collectively share its stories - its triumphs and tragedies, news and tidbits, joys and friendships.

Equally, local businesses lost a key means to reach out to existing & new customers, and local council lost the ability to broadcast its latest information.

Since the start of the Gazette in 2013 (the first issue went to print in January 2014), all of the above has been made whole again. Five years on, we still regularly receive letters of gratitude and thanks for publishing a local newspaper. We enjoy telling the stories, capturing the valley’s living history and keeping young & old alike in touch with the amazing people and talents that surround us.

People often think that the paper is put out by Meander Valley Council. This is not so. While we are supported by our local council, especially through the inclusion of their Public Notices pages, the newspaper is actually run and published by a small, local not-for- profit organisation called Meander Valley Connect.

As well as the Gazette, Meander Valley Connect manages two Online Access Centres (Deloraine and Mole Creek) as well as Pixels Digital Art Gallery in Deloraine.

Meander Valley Gazette pays a small amount of money to a handful of core staff each month; however, for the most part, the paper is produced by volunteers.

Weekly meetings are held to discuss the paper’s content and direction. The content is predominantly written by volunteer writers who develop stories under direction of the editorial team. We also receive submissions by local community members, politicians and other services/ events visiting Meander Valley.

The stories and advertisements are brought together using industry standard software, two computers and the wonders of ‘cloud computing’, which allows people in a few different locales to access and contribute to the process.

Then, once a month on a Saturday, proofreaders gather in Deloraine to correct any errors. The paper is then converted into finished artwork and sent to the printers.

In line with our ethos of supporting small business, Meander Valley Gazette is printed in Tasmania in Franklin, Huon Valley. It travels to north via 3 different trucks, with Sunrise Trailers in Deloraine lending a final hand in the process by using their forklift to take the pallet of papers off the truck and place them onto the back of a flat tray ute, which is then delivered to the Deloraine Online Centre.

A team of folders get cracking unloading the pallet. Thousands of papers are hand-folded, ready to be delivered by Australia Post and a local contractor. Thousands more are delivered to Salmat in Prospect who organise delivery to residents in Prospect Vale and Hadspen. Yet more volunteers deliver papers to shops and businesses throughout the valley. Once delivered, the whole monthly process starts all over again!

We estimate the paper takes, collectively, around 400 hours per month to put together. Most of these hours are volunteered.

Currently, we are printing 9,500 copies per month. Plus, many people are accessing the paper digitally through our website www.meandervalleygazette.org. (Previous editions of the paper can be downloaded there, too. Just head to the shop and download for free).

During the time we have been printing we have uncovered a wealth of skilled artisans and craftspeople. We’ve also looked into many rurally-based enterprises, and the biggest surprise always comes when we discover another local business that is sending their products all over the globe. Innovation is clearly alive and well in Meander Valley and its our aim, with your help, to promote the area to its best advantage.

All up, we’ve been fortunate to be able to call upon the assistance of many people who have long experience in publishing and communications. In fact, the Gazette provides an ideal vehicle for people to express their creativity and make a meaningful contribution to the welfare of the community.

It also provides a wonderful training ground for those wanting to become journalists, photo journalists or graphic designers and we have mentored many of these over the years.

One of the hallmarks of the Gazette is its wonderful photos. We have been fortunate to have the input of Mike Moores, a photo journalist with some 40 years’ experience in both English and Australian newspapers.

The paper is offered free to all residents and visitors of Meander Valley and is financed by advertisers, sponsors and donations.

The break even costs of producing the paper each month are considerable, and we are very grateful to all of our advertisers for their financial support. Three local businesses have recently taken out 12-month sponsorships, helping to smooth out the ups and downs of monthly advertising income and helping ensure the current 20-page format can continue.

As always, our aim is to keep the residents of Meander Valley informed. To ensure that we can do the job properly we need your input. If we don’t know about an event we can’t tell the story!

If it’s interesting to you then it is probably of interest to other people too. Please email editor@meandervalleygazette.com if you have a story and/or pictures to share, or phone 6286 8212 on a Tuesday or Wednesday to speak with one of the team.

It’s always affirming when we hear the wonderful feedback the paper receives, and it confirms our steadfast belief that there still is a much-needed place in this digitised world for the printed word.

Thanks for reading your very own local paper!

Matthew Bowen lends a steady hand and keen eye to the job of paper folding.

Matthew Bowen lends a steady hand and keen eye to the job of paper folding.

Carol Tracey looks after our advertisers.

Carol Tracey looks after our advertisers.

Never too old to volunteer, 87 year old Victor Smith delivers hundreds of papers to local businesses each month.

Never too old to volunteer, 87 year old Victor Smith delivers hundreds of papers to local businesses each month.

Photo gems of beauty by Jade

Arts and ReviewsJoanne EisemannComment
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JANUARY 2018 | Lorraine Clarke

ANYONE WHO has marvelled at a glorious sunset and raced inside to get the camera before it fades, then been disappointed at the nondescript results, can only be enchanted by the quality of Jade Hallam’s work. She captures the ephemeral quality and colours of the fleeting light and preserves them in compositions of haunting beauty.

Jade grew up in Reedy Marsh and attended Deloraine High School before going on to Launceston College where her love of photography began. She made pinhole cameras, learned to use SLR film cameras and developed photographs in the darkroom. Jade studied education at university in Launceston, and now lives in Deloraine. She continued taking nature photographs and Forest Festival shots as a hobby.

A couple of years ago, she began developing her hobby into a business as a nature, landscape and family documentary photographer. This enables her to encapsulate memories of her other great love, bushwalking the Meander Valley region’s pristine wild areas, and to share these beautiful images with others who may not have the same opportunity to see them first hand. Her photographs showcase features of our valley that so many never even dream exists.

Jade is available for “A Day in the Life Of” family photography, events, weddings and portraits. She took portraits at last year’s Steam Punk Ball.

She prefers to take unposed photographs of families who wish to document significant milestones in their lives. Jade assembles these impromptu images into a hard-cover book that will be a souvenir of treasured memories.

“I really like to capture candid natural moments between people, to show relationships and personality, to tell a story about the reality of everyday life. I do this at home with my own family, creating an album with pictures, and we all find that it’s a great memento to look back on,” she said.

“I guess the reason why I love to photograph nature is not only because I want to share these places with other people but also because being out in these wild places, only an hour’s walk away in some cases, is so good for my well-being. It helps to recharge my body and clear my head to appreciate the simple beauty of a fern unfurling or the mist rolling in above a cascade on the Meander River. It’s a great time to just be away from the rush and busyness that is life with two small children. If I can help others to do the same, I think that’s pretty cool.”

Recently, Jade’s images have embellished the pages of Meander Valley Gazette, accompanying Tara Ulbrich’s local walking trail articles.

Jade is the featured artist for January at Pixels, the new digital art gallery in the Deloraine Online Access Centre, where her incandescent nature photographs are displayed on large screens around the walls all day long.

Pixels is open for viewing at the Online Centre from 10.00am to 4.00pm weekdays, and also on weekends.

Visit www.jadehallam.com.

Photo | Meghann Maguire

Emma gets journalism training

NewsJoanne EisemannComment
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SEPTEMBER 2017 | Joanne Eisemann

18 YEAR OLD Emma Hodgkinson is the latest writer to join the Meander Valley Gazette team.

A Meander Valley native, Emma mostly home-schooled until attending Newstead College where she studied Media in Years 11 and 12.

“When I applied to do media as a subject in college, it wasn’t something I really wanted to do, but then as I started getting into the course it became my favourite subject. I liked all the different mediums and all the different things you could do with it,” shares Emma.

“In Year 11 I did Media 2 and got the subject award. In Year 12 I did Media 3 and received a Certificate of Excellence, a higher award. I did a lot of extracurricular activities in media during those years.

“There were two other kids who did just as well as I did. It was a little bit of friendly competition, we worked hard and we also helped each other out along the way.”

Emma was one of two students chosen from Newstead College to work on the 2015 Fuse magazine. Two students are chosen from each High School and College in the Launceston area to produce a magazine by students for young people published by The Examiner, who also provide editorial support.

“I think its important to volunteer. It’s not only beneficial for the community, but it’s also beneficial for yourself, because you get to learn new skills. You make life easier for other people and you are able to embrace a whole new experience,” says Emma then adding, “For me personally, being able to volunteer for the Meander Valley Gazette is a huge opportunity. To experience something that I really want to pursue as a career, and to get a head start into that industry.”

“I am hoping to study media next year at UTas in Hobart. The sooner I’m in there the sooner I’m able to make a career out of it. I think I am very lucky to be able to pursue a career that I am passionate about.”

Photo | Jade Hallam

Telling stories with pictures

EventsJoanne EisemannComment
Mike Moores

Mike Moores

JULY 2017

MEANDER VALLEY Gazette’s photographer, Mike Moores, is a happy chappy ever since the Gazette was able to purchase a new camera.

The new camera will “enable us to achieve higher resolution images that, in turn, will assist in getting better reproductions into the paper which can be tricky at times,” says Mike.

Up till now Mike has been using his own camera to take the paper’s pictures, with no backup camera in case of breakdown.

A significant portion of the purchase was covered by a Community Grant from Meander Valley Council.

To celebrate, Mike will offer a three session Introduction to Photojournalism course at the Deloraine Online Access Centre.

The course will cover “a history of photojournalism, examples of great photojournalists, how an image can change attitudes, how to tell a story in a series of pictures or a single shot, as well as practical assignments to hone photo taking skills,” explains Mike.

This is a great opportunity to learn from an award-winning photographer.

Each session will be three hours in duration on consecutive Friday mornings 9.00am – 12 midday starting on 28th of July, then the 4th and 11th of August.

A limit of six places means early booking is essential.

Call 6362 3537 to book your spot. The cost is $30.00.

Photo | Joanne Eisemann

Top shots bring success in press awards

Arts, NewsJoanne EisemannComment
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SEPTEMBER 2016

MEANDER VALLEY Gazette photographer, Mike Moores, received high commendation for two of his pictures entered in the 2016 Victorian Rural Press Awards.

'Bringer of Fire' taken at Winter Fire in 2015 gained second place in the general interest category and 'Rodeo fun for Rattle N Hum' took second place in the sports section.

Recognition of his talent extended to the 'Photographer of the Year' section where he received second place. The Awards showcase and recognise the best journalism and photography across rural/regional Victoria and Tasmania. Well done, Mike!

Photo | Mike Moores