GALLERY: Year in Review - July

July 1: Archdeacon of the Anglican diocese of Bathurst Frank Hetherington welcomed the sale of the Orange Anglican Grammar School, but said the easing of the burden on the diocese will have no impact on the finances of his parish Holy Trinity.

July 2: Tourists and visitors to Mount Canobolas were left without a place to have a coffee when the Mountain Tea House closed for good. The teas house closed some months before hand unnoticed by Cabonne and Orange councils and Taste Orange, following the decision by its owners to downsize and spend more time with family. 

July 3: Orange councillor Kevin Duffy admits he sometimes stays overnight at Borenore, but he told a tribunal that the Orange house owned by his son, Robert has been home since April 29 2012. The Orange Ratepayers Association began legal proceedings against Cr Duffy in January this year, claiming the former Cabonne councillor still lived at his Borenore property Fairbank instead of Orange, making him ineligible for a place on Orange City Council. 

July 4: The police, Roads and Maritime Services, and a representative for member for Orange Andrew Gee all opposed a second set of traffic lights further up Telopea Way at the Farrell Road Intersection, but Orange City Council still maintains it's the only was to fix the area's traffic woes. Councillors signed off on the $200,000 traffic lights to fix the traffic congestion near the busy Northern Distributor Road intersection caused by housing development and the north Orange shopping centre.

July 5: The long awaited Suma Park Dam upgrade was set to raise the wall by one metre, increasing its maximum capacity by 10 percent and make it strong enough to withstand a one-in-a-million-year flood event at its completion in 2015. The $19 million project would add an extra 1800 megalitres to the 18, 073 megalitre dam and meet the NSW dam safety committee's requirements for improvements to its current design, built in 1962 to withstand a one-in-200-year flood event. 

July 11: Orange was sitting well compared to the rest of NSW with petrol prices ranked in the top 10 cheapest in the state. The reason Orange prices differ to those in the city is mainly due to distribution. It can take up to two weeks for petrol bought by service stations to reach the pump in Orange. 

July 12: Shoppers eagerly anticipating the new Summer Centre were told they would have to wait a little longer, with Ashcroft's Supa IGA due to open its doors in September, as the July opening date gets pushed back. 

July 15: Brenda and Ken Fishpool racked up more than 80 years of donating blood, saving the lives of 900 people in the process. To celebrate National Blood Donor Week they were recognised for their diligent efforts in a ceremony with 30 other donors who have reached significant milestones. This special group of donors have made 2450 blood donations between them and are among Orange's greatest life savers. 

July 16: Mike Whitney and the Sydney Weekender team were in Orange to film for an upcoming episode featuring regional NSW locations. About half of the show was to be dedicated to Orange, focusing on Wine Week. 

July 18: After at least 11 years of lobbying and 30,000 signatures, Orange's 24-hour emergency helicopter service was finally cleared for take-off. About $2.5 million in annual funding from the state government was set to mean that patients will be able to be airlifted to Sydney or Orange hospital at any time. Member for Orange Andrew Gee said it had been a frustrating fight, but one worth the effort.

July 24: A 24-year-old pregnant woman underwent an emergency caesarean after her waters broke when a runaway car pinned her against a garage wall. Paramedics said the woman was lucky not to have sustained more serious injuries, however the baby, who was about 6 weeks premature, was flown to a Sydney hospital in a serious but stable condition. 

July 25: Canowindra's Age of Fishes museum enjoyed the presence of the voice of natural history, Sir David Attenborough, to help mark 20 years since the 360 million-year-old ancient fish fossils were excavated in the area. Sir David, in Australia for a national speaking tour, kept his visit fairly low key in an effort to enjoy the trip to the region with family.

July 26: A facility on Orange's doorstep creating a product to tackle the breakfast spread giant that is Vegemite. Kind'a Mite was taken to the Orange Farmer's Markets and received a positive reactions from locals who were pleased to see a local company making an alternative to Vegemite, which is owned by American company Kraft. 

July 27: Local mum Jessica Trew speaks up about the stranger that smacked her child, after the three-year-old blew a raspberry at the woman at a supermarket. Discussions about discipline options led to a poll undertaken by the Central Western Daily where 92 per cent of respondents said it was ok to smack your own child. 

July 30: Orange City spokesman Nick Redmond hit back at the way University of NSW researchers acquired data for a report that he said wrongly raised concerns about the Macquarie pipeline's environmental assessment. Mr Redmond said the water the council proposed to take from the river was already covered by 8400 mega litre water entitlements.


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AFTER a tenacious decade-long battle with NSW Ambulance bureaucracy and the State Government, the announcement the Orange-based rescue helicopter could fly out of the Orange base at night from the start of 2014 was hailed as a big victory.

From the 30,000 individuals who had signed a petition to be presented to state parliament to former Member for Orange Russell Turner, current member Andrew Gee and Mayor of Orange John Davis, it was a victory shared by all.

Over the decade I have reported many tragic cases of delays in getting a rescue helicopter to the critically injured in the region, and the full extent of the shortfall in services wasn't fully known until a document was leaked to the media and local government officials in 2009 detailing shortfalls in patient outcomes because of delays in sending a helicopter from Sydney.

The 'golden hour' referred to by so many health professionals over the years as the critical timeframe from the time of injury to the time of specialist trauma treatment, went out the window for many central west residents who strongly believed they were not getting the same level of service as their metropolitan counterparts.

The previous 12 months had been particularly frustrating for lobbyists of a full 24-hour service, as the former shadow minister for Health Jillian Skinner, who was such a strident critic of the shortcomings of the previous labor government in funding the service, backed away from the introduction of a 24-hour service, instead ordering yet another in a string of reviews to see if the service was really needed.

Later in the year in November, a dampener was put on the exciting news with NSW Ambulance flagging delays in recruitment which would push back the start of the 24-hour on call service to April, with member for Orange Andrew Gee indicating his disappointment.

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