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A trucking disaster

A NIGHT-TIME truck ban has been imposed by VicRoads on some of the busiest roads in Melbourne’s north-east, just a month after Melbourne’s new wholesale fruit and vegetable market opened in nearby Epping, drawing heavy truck traffic through Warrandyte from across the state.

Trucks are now banned on all major north-south roads which access the Ring Rd between Heidelberg Heights and Eltham between 10pm and 6am in response to a petition protesting increased truck traffic and noise on Rosanna Rd, signed by about 600 people.

A glance at the map of these banned routes shows the only river crossing to the east of this area that is available to trucks overnight is via Warrandyte Bridge.

The transport industry and fruit and vegetable growers have warned the Andrews government to expect road chaos as the curfew forces thousands of truck drivers onto other residential roads at night and in the early morning. The curfew is a 12-month trial on nine arterial roads that run between the Eastern Freeway and the M80, the so-called “missing link” in Melbourne’s ring road.

VicRoads have put out a brochure North-East Truck Curfew Trial which states: “The night truck curfews trial has been carefully planned to strike a balance for the local community and truck operators.”

However, the bans do not include Research-Warrandyte Road, Kangaroo Ground-Warrandyte Rd, Warrandyte Bridge, or Ringwood-Warrandyte Rd. Furthermore, the brochure goes to great lengths to specify where the trucks are not allowed at night, but does not make any attempt to explain where they should go, particularly for those trucks from the south and east of Melbourne coming up Eastlink to Ringwood that need to access the Ring Road.

The truck industry has warned the ban will simply create new conflict between trucks and residents elsewhere. Victorian Transport Association chief Peter Anderson called the government’s curfew “a lazy and short-term approach to the underlying problem of lack of connectivity of our road network. It’s going to push trucks down roads that they’ve never been down before,” he said.

This latest action by VicRoads reinforces the views of some residents that until such time as the state government does something about connecting the Ring Road to the Eastern Freeway and Eastlink, then Warrandyte is seen as the sucker in the middle that gets all the traffic.

That viewpoint gains strength when considered alongside other recent VicRoads decisions such as reneging on previous agreements to restrict engine brake noise through North Warrandyte and refusing Yarra Valley Water access from Research Road to their pumping station at Professors Lane on the grounds the road is “too busy”.

The Diary asked VicRoads to comment on why Warrandyte roads were not also considered for this ban, where the heavy traffic from Eastlink to the Ring Road was supposed to go, and what modelling had been done on the effect of this ban on Warrandyte’s roads.

Vince Punaro, regional director Metro North West, VicRoads said: “Before and after traffic volume, data is being collected at various locations in and around the curfew areas. Throughout the trial, this data will be used alongside community and industry feedback to ensure the curfews balance the needs of the local community and truck operators. At the end of the trial, all of the data collected will be assessed to determine the effectiveness of the curfews.”

Five for Friday (spooky!)

What’s happening in Warrandyte and surrounds in coming days? Hold onto your hat … and your heart! There’s something spooky in the air.

One … Tomorrow is the day when witches, monsters, black cats, zombies, vampires, werewolves and all sorts of creatures come out to play trick or treating. We don’t care if you think it’s too American and “unAustralian”. It’s all about the kids having fun, so have a heart!

Two … We are right in the thick of Spring Racing Carnival and where better to go than the mighty Grand Hotel Warrandyte for a beer, a bite, and a bet! TAB, great food, drinks, and the place to catch up with great friends. Aside from Saturday and the Cup on Tuesday, Oaks Day is on Thursday and the pub isn’t the only one having a function. It’s all happening at Olivigna http://olivigna.com.au/oaks-day/ but don’t bother trying to book – it’s a full house!

Three … Blatant plug for a valued Diary advertiser: Warran Glen Garden Centre & Cafe is holding a Pink Ribbon Charity Breakfast on November 5 from 9am to 11am with 100% proceeds going to the Cancer Council. Phone 9844 1322. What a way to start your Oaks Day and also contribute to a magnificent cause! Also don’t forget Warran Glen’s Ladies Shopping Night on November 26 that includes nibbles, fashions, specials and prizes from 5pm to 9pm.

Four … Food, glorious food, and this time it’s a Turkish Dinner Banquet at Cocoa Moon tonight and tomorrow night! $40 per person, don’t forget to book a table.

Five … Warrandyte Football Club’s amazing 15-minute DVD featuring all the highlights of the big Grand Final Day is up for sale for only $10 and available at the Grand Hotel, Warrandyte Newsagency and Diary office. Don’t miss your copy.

 

Bags of Cannabis dumped in Warrandyte

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Images Copyright Warrandyte Diary

POLICE were called this morning after loads of marijuana plants were found dumped in Gold Memorial Drive in Warrandyte after a resident noticed what appeared to be rubbish left on the side of the road.

More than 10 large garbage bags and four pot plants along with a hydroponic globe were found at the site on Gold Memorial near Hussey’s Lane. Police are currently investigating.

The resident called the Warrandyte Diary shortly after notifying police and said “at first I thought it was some idiot who had dumped a heap of rubbish, but I quickly realised what it was – it was some idiot who had dumped a heap of cannabis!”.

More information to come in the next edition of the Diary.

 

Living with Lyme disease

Is there anything worse than not knowing what’s wrong with you when serious symptoms kick 
in and affect
 your health and wellbeing? Yes – when you know what’s wrong with you but the Australian system can’t help you. SAMMI TAYLOR investigates

EUGENE Hansen has lived in Warrandyte his entire life. He’s a successful small business owner, a coach at the Warrandyte Junior Football Club and is a familiar face in our local community. He is a loving husband and a father to three children.

But Eugene has lived with a painful secret – an incurable disease. His health is rapidly deteriorating; his quality of life is in decline, yet he’s not receiving the help he so desperately needs.

Eugene suffers from Lyme disease, an infectious disease caused by bacteria and borne by ticks. Lyme disease is characterised by a steady break down of the immune system, causing those infected to become vulnerable to several co-infections. If left untreated, over time Lyme disease can cause a myriad of issues—seizures, migraines, cognitive impairment, arthritis and insomnia are all common for those with Lyme disease. These symptoms are often extremely painful and can, in some cases, be fatal.

But this is more than just your daily pains and aches.

“I’m in excruciating pain. I have seizures. I suffer excruciating migraines, between 21 and 25 days per month of migraines,” Eugene tells the Diary.

“I get pneumonia pretty regularly. I can’t battle illness. I avoid as many public places as I can—hospitals or any place where I could pick up any illness. I don’t have the capacity to fight off any infections.’

It took over 14 months, and 220 medical appointments, before there was even a glimmer of diagnosis or the hope of answers. Treatment, a cure and an end to this excruciating pain seemed like a lifetime away.

“I had CT scans, MRIs, blood tests…I had absolutely everything. The only logical conclusion they could come to was: ‘you’re nuts’. Neurologists throw their hands up in the air and tell you it’s all in your head. But, really? Simply, I am in pain and it needs to stop.”

Eugene’s blood was tested in Germany and America to diagnose the disease—and both tests came back positive. However, Eugene’s Australian tests showed no sign of infection.

The reason? As a technicality, the condition does not exist in Australia. Our doctors aren’t trained to diagnose it and our pathology testing doesn’t have the sensitivity to locate the infection in blood tests.

There’s cruel irony in what comes next. In the northern hemisphere, Lyme disease is not only treatable but curable. If diagnosed within four weeks, a simple course of antibiotics eradicates the disease from your system: 28 pills and you’re cured.

“It’s like if you stand on a rusty nail here in Australia, you go and get a tetanus shot. All I needed was those antibiotics for four weeks. It’s exactly the same as treating the common flu,” Eugene says.

There are at least 1494 diagnosed cases of Lyme disease currently in Australia, according to the Lyme Disease Association of Australia.

Another Warrandyte man, Terry Ryan, 45, has also suffered Lyme-like symptoms for over a year. The similarities between him and Eugene are indisputable: they’re both tradesman, living and working on expansive properties in the Warrandyte area. They’re both family men, devoted to their community and battling a mysterious illness that has destroyed their immune system and quality of life.

“I’ve been to dozens of hospitals, seen dozens of neurologists, cardiologists, immunologists. They pretty much told me it was all in my head and I needed to see a shrink,” Terry told the Diary.

But the physical pain and symptoms many Lyme patients suffer are clear signs the disease is far more than a mind game.

“I’ll collapse and have seizures and sometimes I’m just really out of it. I have no control over my body. It’s like there’s this big fog cloud over my head. It’s like you’re in a mist and you just don’t know what’s going on.”

Terry and Eugene are just two among the potential cluster of Lyme disease patients in Warrandyte. The Diary is aware of and in contact with at least a further three members of our local community who are battling the condition.

Australia’s medical boards, federal government and insurance agencies all deny Lyme disease exists in our country. For Lyme patients, these auhorities turning a blind eye to their suffering is just another punch in the guts. With no acknowledgement of the condition, there’s no accessible, or legal, treatment and no Medicare rebates.

Eugene says: “You basically end up paying for all of your treatment and there are locals here in Warrandyte who can’t afford that. They suffer through all the side effects, the seizures and the chronic symptoms, because they simply can’t afford to pay for the treatment.

“I could go to Germany. It costs $77,000 for the treatment there. We’re now looking at selling our home for the treatment. We shouldn’t have to go through this.”

But Eugene is determined to not only overcome his own illness, but fight to improve the lives of other Lyme sufferers.

“I want to just go and shut the gates of my property and get better. But I can’t do that unless I get the acknowledgement that [Lyme disease] exists,” he says.

“I’m going to scream into any microphone until they say that the easiest way to get this bloke to go away is to get off the fence, acknowledge it and fix the issue.”

The Lyme Disease Association of Australia is pioneering that fight. The dedicated group of volunteers provides support for Lyme patients—connecting them to medical services, peer support and updating them with new information. A recent awareness campaign, launched in May this year, saw 20,000 postcards with Lyme awareness messages sent to politicians across the country.

“I believe the government needs to take action right now. They need to indicate there is a Lyme-like illness here and it’s an emerging disease,” says Sharon Whiteman, president of the Lyme Disease Association of Australia.

“Lyme patients need to be given the best standard of treatment. It is hard for anybody to understand that in a country like Australia patients, who are obviously very ill, would go to a doctor and be told that their symptoms and all kinds of abnormal tests are being ignored. It is unbelievable, but it is the truth.”

The next step for the Lyme Disease Association of Australia is to get our federal government to take notice.

“The politicians are skirting around the issue. We’ve been bashing [Kevin Andrews’] door down to meet him but he hasn’t responded to me at all,” Eugene says.

“[There are] constituents here who are suffering, who are in horrendous pain. He says he’s a strong advocate for families—well what about my family, Kevin? Come and spend some time with me and my family when I’m having a seizure or a migraine at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning. Come with me and tell my children why I’m sick.”

The office of MP Kevin Andrews has sought advice from the Minister for Health, Hon. Susan Ley. They are in the process of investigating the issue of Lyme disease in our community.

“I understand and sympathise with the concerns of people and their families who are suffering from a chronic debilitating illness,” Mr Andrews told the Diary. “But it must be up to the patient and their treating doctor to decide on an appropriate diagnosis and treatment.”

There also is some consolation in the support from the Warrandyte community and those battling the illness are drawing strength from one another.

“I keep in contact with all the others,” Terry says.

“Every now and again we catch up down the street or at footy or whatever, just to see if there’s anything new and what’s going on.”

Eugene says: “And Terry has been a tremendous support. He’s become a part of our support network. I want to try to arrest this thing. I don’t want to give in. I’m in a constant battle with pain because I want it to stop. I want to get better.

“I’m prepared to do what I need to do. I’m going to show everybody here that I can beat it.”

 

If you have any information on Lyme disease, or think you may be experiencing symptoms, please contact your doctor. More information on Lyme disease can be found at www.lymedisease.org.au

Police urge Warrandyte residents to step up home security in light of crime spike

MANNINGHAM crime prevention unit is urging residents of Warrandyte and surrounds to be vigilant with security of their homes and to invoke the basic Neighbourhood Watch Principles after another increase in crime in recent months.
Senior constable Carla Reardon told the Diary there had been a spike in burglaries in Warrandyte, Templestowe, Park Orchards and Donvale.

“By no means are we wanting to alarm people, but do need home security increased in the area to help deter burglars,” Sen Const Reardon said. “On many occasions people have security systems but  aren’t arming them or they are inactive for a variety of reasons including being broken or residents are only out for a short time.
“We are reminding residents to lock their houses including doors and windows, be aware of any suspicious behaviour, and people or vehicles that look as though they are out of place. Descriptions and details are very useful. It’s important to report any suspicious behaviour to 000 at the time of seeing these things so police have the opportunity to attend and make an assessment of it.
“Increase natural surveillance, for example, keeping gardens trimmed and having working sensor lights.
Get to know your neighbours and notify them if you will be away for a period of time, even just the weekend.”