GALLERY: Year in Review - April

April 1: Police investigated the cause of a shed fire near Bourke that left two Orange men in Sydney hospitals with significant burns. A corrugated iron shed caught fire, and as the men attempted to save furniture a mattress became wedged in the door, trapping them inside. Police said that although there may not have been suspicious circumstances, a crime scene was set up because of the serious nature of the injuries. 

April 3: Construction plans were announced to complete the Cadia East Project, representing an investment of $2.05 billion. This was set to make it the largest underground mine in Australia. With an approved life of 21 years, it was hoped the mine would secure the future of Cadia Valley Operations.

April 4: McDonald's representatives met with residents opposed to the location of the $2.75 million fast-food outlet hours before the development went before Orange City Council, but the meeting did little to ease residents concerns. Orange councillors put off a decision on the controversial McDonalds development application until after council addresses traffic problems at the intersection. 

April 5: A Facebook comment that offended a man led to him facing Orange Local Court on charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm after he found the man responsible in a shopping centre carpark, and punched him in the head.

April 6: Local man James McKay made a brave decision to speak out about his wish to choose the time and place of his death after being diagnosed with the most severe form of motor neurone disease, passed down through his family. Opinions on the topic were to be discussed at a public forum in Orange: Dying With Dignity: Your Right to Choose? as part of the Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill.

April 8: Church group members in Orange were set to spend a Saturday night out on the town to see what really happens after dark. On the invitation of police, members of the Orange and District Ministers' Fraternal were taking the chance to gauge how many people congregate in the streets after midnight, and what they get up to.

April 9: A casual barman was left badly shaken after he was robbed at gunpoint at Wentworth Golf Club. The man was alone at the Ploughmans Lane club when two men entered the premises, one of the men threatened him with a firearm before ordering him to get on the ground. The second robber then helped the armed man take the money from the till and safe before both men fled and the victim called the police. 

April 11: A local man got a standing ovation from doctors and nurses when he walked out of his Westmead Hospital room just two weeks after sustaining a critical head injury when he was punched outside the Royal Hotel. Adam Ford was supposed to be in an induced coma for several days after undergoing life-saving brain surgery, he astonished his medical team and was out of bed ad going for short walks just two days later. 

April 13: At least one Electrolux employee is concerned about his future after talk of the loss of 28 jobs off the factory floor as part of natural attrition. The decision not to replace the employees came amidst attempts by Electrolux communications to downplay the decision. 

April 15: A crowd of more than 8,500 people streamed into Wade Park to watch the Nitro Circus. By 1pm a large crown had begun lining up at the gates, with patrons snaking all the way around the corner into Lords Place, with patrons keen to get the best view of the show. Orange was lucky to be included in the 14-stop Nitro Circus regional Australian tour. 

April 16: Sando Rossetto backed calls by an Orange hospital trauma specialist to think carefully about safety when using a chainsaw, to avoid the type of horrific injuries he sustained. Autumn brings with it people cutting firewood, and also the unwelcome wave of serious injuries to the emergency department.

April 18: The public get their first view of the plans for a $7 million project that would see the demolition of the Visitor Information Centre to make way for the Orange Regional Museum. Orange City Council community and cultural services director Scott Maunder praised the design that included a sloped, grassed roof that would create an outdoor space for visitors. 

April 19: Councillor Chris Gryllis proposed a five-metre high pergola modelled on the style of the Akubra hat named after Banjo Paterson as the perfect way to commemorate the 150th birthday celebrations for Orange's Favourite poet. Councillors agreed to allocate $10,000 to develop designs for the $150,000 pergola to go in front of the Emmaville cottage after it's relocation.

April 23: Orange Show Society president Peter Naylor claims The Orange Show was being held back from becoming one of the best agricultural shows in the state due to lack of volunteers. 

April 26: While numbers were down at the dawn service at the cenotaph a Robertson Park, about 3,000 people still braved the cold weather to attend the early morning service. Later in the day, about 4,000 people attended the 11am civic commemoration also held at Robertson Park, with an impressive number of them children. 

April 29: Security guards working alone at night at the Bloomfield campus refuse to respond to  distress alarms without calling for backup following a number of incidents which left them concerned for their safety. 

April 30: Orange's second linear accelerator halves waiting times for patients receiving radiation therapy. Without the second machine, patients who have travelled from as far as Bourke would have had to wait up to eight weeks for treatment.

THE TEN MOST READ STORIES ON THE CENTRAL WESTERN DAILY WEBSITE IN APRIL, 2013:

1. New pub turns to luck of the Irish

2. Butcher named and shamed for innocent mistake

3. Two burned in camping blaze

4. Development opposition food for thought for McDonald's

5. Anita's petition a bogey for golf club funding

6. Ski's the limit: bold proposal for Lake Canobolas

7. Orange youth accused of bomb threats

8. Skeleton found in abandoned vehicle

9. Penalty rates blames for closed doors at Easter

10. Police investigate armed robbery

THROUGH MY EYES: PERGOLA DIVIDES COUNCIL AND COMMUNITY

By CLARE COLLEY

ORANGE City Council's 12 councillors made hundreds of decisions for the city at their meetings over the past year.

Some things they fought for fiercely and others were rubber stamped with barely a second thought.

But there is no doubt that one of the most polarising topics of the year was Cr Chris Gryllis' proposal for a five-metre high, hat shaped pergola to honour Orange's favourite poet - Banjo Paterson.

Cr Gryllis unveiled his long held plans for the hat in April and initially his fellow councillors agreed to spend $10,000 to develop designs for the pergola. 

As well as offering shade for visitors Cr Gryllis believed the pergola would become a tourist attraction in its own right alongside Emmaville Cottage - Paterson's possible birthplace.

But many residents, and several of his fellow councillors, disagreed.

The hat was labelled tacky, outdated, and a waste of ratepayers' money in the far from favourable comments made online and in submissions to the council calling for the plans to be scrapped.

Eventually after several months of to-ing and fro-ing, councillors eventually put plans for the hat to bed earlier this month.

Cr Gryllis has since attempted to revive the pergola, offering to fund it himself, but with its most staunchest critics Cr Reg Kidd remaining steadfastly opposed any chance of a resurrection looks unlikely.

In the lead-up to the bard's 150th birthday celebrations in February, the hat-pergola captured the public's attention.

While the pergola itself may not have been popular, very few people have criticised the efforts the council and community have put into honouring the poet and establishing the inaugural Banjo Paterson Festival.

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