Police in Alice Springs arrested 39 people in the 24 hours until 7am today.
The larger than usual number of arrests was due to additional policing support provided by Operation Shiloh members.
Superintendent Matt Hollamby said 16 arrests were as a result of drink driving. Six of those were high range
"Five were arrested for aggravated assault, one for causing serious harm and six for breach of bail.
“Three people were arrested for breaching their Domestic Violence Orders and the remainder for drug and warrant related incidents.
“The scary part about this is it does not include the number of people apprehended for protective custody or issued with a Notice to Appear or Summary Infringement Notice.
"These are just the people who were charged with offences."
Police tested 188 drivers at six Random Breath Testing Stations throughout the town and surrounding areas.
“Four returned a low reading, seven a medium reading and five a high reading, the highest of those was 0.217%," says Supt Hollamby.
“Eight Summary Infringement Notices and Traffic Infringement Notices were also given and 156 litres of alcohol was destroyed.
“I continue to urge anyone who may witness suspicious behaviour, anti-social and criminal behaviour including drink drivers, to report it to Police on 131 444."
A 28-year-old man was arrested yesterday on drug and firearm offences following a search at Charles Creek Camp.
Detective Acting Superintendent Travis Wurst (pictured) says: “This further confirms there is an inextricable link in Alice Springs between cannabis supply and the disposal of stolen property.
“Since the commencement of the Operation on December 1, Operation Thresher officers have already arrested 17 people culminating in the submission of 24 arrest files, predominantly for property offences." (Police media release.)
Last week on Tuesday evening Woolworths’ fresh produce aisles bore a striking resemblance to some of my imaginings of what would happen in a remote town like Alice Springs if the food transport system failed. The whole section was eerily empty aside from a few disorientated staff wandering about attempting to look busy. The explanation, as I later found out, was that cooling systems in the Monday trucks had been faulty and when the fresh produce arrived it was all frozen and could not be sold.
While the Fresh Food People’s shelves were bare, my fridge shelves were brimming with heads of lettuce, shallots, basil, rocket and other fruit and veg. My housemate and I get a $30 fresh box of produce once a fortnight through Food for Alice. The box is stocked with locally grown fresh fruit and veg sourced from the Steiner school garden, back yard vegie patches and the Alice Springs Market Garden. Shortfalls are made up with produce from Adelaide. But what would it take for us to grow all that we need and not have to depend on trucks bringing it in?
The Desert Knowledge Q&A-style forum yesterday unearthed some gems.
One was the profoundly convincing and moving support for alcohol restrictions by Brad Bellette, whose father was a "very violent alcoholic".
For someone who owns an advertising agency in a town dominated by the alcohol industry and culture, this was a brave statement.
And the other was Year 10 student Kemy Ogendi who with astonishing clarity and precision defined the problems between young and old in Alice Springs. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
At a time of transition in our self-image – the romance of the hardy pioneering town receding under the pressure to create a more collaborative future between the settler and original populations – it is fascinating and often heartening to look at Philip Jones' Images of the Interior. This book presents the work of seven photographers, turning their lens on the people and landscape of The Centre from the 1880s to the late 1940s.
With each, there are 12 full page reproductions of their photographs.
Almost every one feels iconic, yet it is amazing how few are well known to us. This is our heritage, the rich material that tells the foundation story of the early settler encounter with this place. The dominant impression that it leaves is of curious, adventurous men who responded to the unique beauty of the desert landscape and were very interested in the Aboriginal people they met, in both their cultural difference and in them as people, as individuals. KIERAN FINNANE reviews.
Above: Young Arrernte woman at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station, c. 1895. Photograph by Francis Gillen. From the South Australian Museum Archives.
UPDATE, December 8, 2011: Plantings are underway in amongst the blue metal. See Mike Gillam's comment posted on the full story page for the latest.
Yeperenye Pty Ltd appears to be putting itself in contention for the Alice Springs landscape design award, with this effort at its carpark adjacent to the ANZ bank on Parsons Street.
After chopping down mature trees, including a number of river gums, and clearing all other vegetation from the area in late October, the company promised that a "beautification program" would follow shortly. It was to include "smaller, safer trees and shrubs". Perhaps they're coming, though not many people would start a garden by spreading thick piles of blue metal. KIERAN FINNANE comments.
The Alice Springs News Online has invited Yeperenye Pty Ltd to respond. To date they have not done so.
The popular misconception about sand being taken out of the Todd River is that this is done as a flood mitigation measure, deepening the channel to allow a greater volume of water to flow within the banks. In truth, it would take major works to achieve this, including the removal of causeways and the re-location or re-laying of services that are under the river.
The works that are undertaken are better described as "channel improvement" to prevent channel migration and bank scouring.
The Town Council's Director of Technical Services, Greg Buxton explains that this is done "to ensure the river doesn't change course and endanger the properties close to the existing river banks."
However, works at Heavitree Gap are seen as a priority and would contribute to reducing the threat of flooding. "Silt, fines and sand" deposited at the gap by flows have "grassed up" with couch and kikuya, matted into a solid mound (pictured) that now stands well above the Bloomfield drainage line. These conditions could lead to the river breaking its banks in a Q20, let alone a Q100.
Extensive works removing sand and weeds were done to address this very same problem at the start of the decade, so why hasn't there been regular maintenance? KIERAN FINNANE reports.
There's a movement around Australia to arrest urban decline. Alice could follow the example of some other fight backs.
They're bucking a trend: as businesses close down or leave the town centre for another location, they've moved into Gregory Terrace, just around the corner from Todd Mall's busy southern end. They've done a clever and stylish revamp of the former fish 'n' chips shop; they're catering to younger consumers – 18 to 35 years – and doing what it takes to appeal to them: offering an experience, not just a product; a cool aesthetic, and working flexible hours.
Dwayne Chapple and partner Peta Coburn bought the tattooing business, formerly at the Polana Centre on Smith Street, after Mr Chapple had been working in it for three years. "We wanted to get away from the stigma of the old shop, the old tattoo cliches. We wanted to be part of the community, be where the action is," says Mr Chapple.
Stay True Tattooing is a good example of a business recognising the strength of the local younger market, says Matty Day. A former professional skateboarder turned community development activist, he recently joined the business innovation committee started by Alderman Murray Stewart in an attempt to get some creative focus on Alice's declining economic fortunes.
Mr Day is convinced that there is opportunity in the current situation. He is taking his cues from the Renew movement, which began in Newcastle in late 2008, driven by a prominent arts and media identity, Marcus Westbury. Melbourne-based, Mr Westbury had grown up in Newcastle. He found his home city in decline: in the two main streets 150 buildings were empty. The area was widely seen as violent and dangerous; there was a lot of vandalism, graffiti, and growing anger and distrust in the community. His answer was to establish Renew Newcastle. In just 18 months the situation had turned around. The ideas started to catch on: there are now similar revitalisation schemes in Adelaide, Townsville, Geelong and Parramatta. Mr Day says Alice should be next. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: Top – Tattoo artist Dwayne Chapple at work. His business has relocated from Smith Street to the town centre: "We wanted to be part of the community, be where the action is." • Above – Matty Day wants Alice to think about rebuilding in our own community instead of putting all our eggs in a hoped for, but maybe elusive tourism basket.