GALLERY: Year in Review - February

February 2: Flash flooding in the Unity Bridge area in north-east Orange was flagged as a big problem by Orange City SES. The thunderstorm that hit could have put lives in jeopardy, and residents complained of being treated like second class citizens as syringes were amongst the rubbish to be found in the aftermath of the flood. 

February 4: Figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research put Orange among the most violent cities in the state.The most common group for assault offenders was men aged between 18 and 25. Orange City Council crime prevention committee and police agree they need to find out why the rate per capita is so high and address the issue. 

February 7: Residents looking for a place to call home take advantage of the Housing NSW's decision to sell off a large number of its former rental properties, and say they they are unperturbed by the Glenroi location.

February 8: Electrolux workers get told to try a little harder, as they are given six months to prove they can make fridges cheaper than in Asia and other parts of the world to avoid the plant's closure. An optimistic mayor John Davis says it is an opportunity for Orange to prove just how good it really is. 

February 9: Orange Civic Theatre staff sends out a survey to find out how they can bring people back to the theatre, after recording a $30,000 loss on contracted productions. This did not include local productions by Orange theatre companies, so questions were asked as the kind of professional entertainment that should be brought to the theatre to boost numbers. 

February 12: The Orange Anglican Grammar School was put on the market in a bid to recoup millions of dollars owed by the Anglican Diocese of Bathurst. Principal Leonard Elliot is thinking positively about the move, and hopes it will encourage new growth.

February 13: Orange City Council looks for more ways to drag children away from video games and TV and encourage them to play outdoors. The strategy was to include regular playground equipment, but also provide informal play opportunities. The Orange City Play Strategy 2013 Facebook page was set up to allow residents to have their say. 

February 15: The RSPCA warns dog owners not to leave their pets locked in vehicles, especially in hot weather. A local vets tell of how easily a pet can get heat exhaustion, and even die in the heat of your car.

February 16: The Orange building industry was set to receive a boost with up to 30 contractors to be involved in the building of Ronald McDonald House. Electrolux in Orange pledged to supply all the whitegoods for the house. The imminent start of the $5 million project was said to be a testament to the support received from around the region. 

February 18: Orange Taxis warn residents not to use unapproved mobile phone apps to book a taxi, after taxi networks across the state found them to be insecure. The SmartHail app, available on iPhone was said to be the only safe option, whereas other apps allowed anyone to log on as a driver. Fears include that anyone could pick you up and take you anywhere, and that the vehicle that comes in the place of your taxi may not even be roadworthy.

February 19: Brindabella, Orange's newest airline, played down suggestions that the viability of its Orange service could be in jeopardy unless passenger numbers at the airport double. Despite the hype leading up to the opening of the new service, only 10 passengers out of a possible 30 boarded the airline's first flight out of Orange. 

February 20: Local cherry producers had their backs to the wall, having to let fruit rot on the trees in what was supposed to be a bumper season. A glut in the industry saw prices plummet, leaving orchardists contemplating their future after losing tens of thousands of dollars on the season's crops. 

February 23: Orange man Jason Blowes was lucky to escape injury when the roof of his home was ripped off in strong gusty winds early one morning. He awoke to a loud noise coming from the back of his house, and by the time he got up to see what it was, his roof was against a tree. 

February 25: An argument over ambulance response times was central to a disagreement between member for Orange Andrew Gee and Orange City Council. A day after council launched a petition for more paramedics in the city, Mr Gee devoted his column in the Central Western Daily to opposing the case, saying statistics provided by the Ambulance Service of NSW showed Orange was adequately covered and council should have met with the ambulance service to get their side of the story. 

February 26: Many children started kindergarten in Orange, but none were as excited as four-year-old Charlotte Reid. Charlotte's rare genetic disorder trichothiodystrophy (TTD), means that she is allergic to sunlight, and is restricted as to where she can go. 12 months earlier her parents thought she would never attend school, but as she scooted around her school for the very first time, Charlotte could not wipe the smile off her face.


1. Woman dies after car accident

2. Orange Anglican Grammar School for sale

3. Electrolux bidding war: Orange plant's uncertain future

4. A night out at the Occidental: warts and all

5. Outlet added to shame register

6. End of the line for family business

7. Enough's enough: our drinking culture has to change

8. Glenroi no barrier to couple's first home

9. Opponents rally to stop McDonald's

10. Hidden cost of private parties



LOOKING back through the headlines in February, it is sad to think how much has changed from what was a month full of optimism. 

There was a second airline for Orange, and people were hopeful it would bring competition to reduce flight costs, widen the choice for flights to and from Sydney and increase tourism potential. 

There were critics of Brindabella Airlines, but both council and member for Orange Andrew Gee were confident the airline would be around for the long term. 

However the Central Western Daily started to run stories about cancelled and late flights and, eventually, the company stopped returning calls from us asking for comment. 

Sadly in December, the company was taken over by receivers. 

I also think back to how council and Electrolux staff were confident the factory in Edward Street would not close despite undergoing an "investment study" to determine its viability. 

The staff worked hard and for the most part, the people of Orange were optimistic they would achieve the magical mystery target needed to keep the doors open and the factory line humming. 

But once again hope turned to devastation as, in October, the company announced it would close the doors in 2016. 

There was one success story to come in February.

The Anglican Diocese of Bathurst announced it was selling the Orange Anglican Grammar School because it could not longer pay its debts. 

At least principal Len Elliott's optimism was not misplaced, with the school's future secured when it was bought by the Sydney Anglican Schools Corporation.

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