GALLERY: Year in review - December

December 3: With Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane suggesting redundant Electrolux workers should line up at Centrelink and the state government trying to train them for jobs that don't yet exist , both tiers of government were offering "pie-in-the-sky"solutions for Orange's pending job crisis, according to union representatives.

December 6: Wild weather lashed out at the city with trees brought crashing down and blocking roads during a storm in Orange. The Bureau of Metrology issued a severe thunderstorm for the area, and at the height of the storm wind gusts of 91km per hour were recorded at Orange Airport. 

December 7: In an emotional ceremony in the new TAFE Aboriginal learning centre a group of young Aboriginal men and women graduated from the Western Institute of TAFE IPROWD course and are now eligible to pursue a career in the NSW Police Force. 

December 11: Police investigated a disturbing case of animal cruelty after a family pet was dumped in a suburban back-yard decapitated, without a tail and badly beaten. The bull terrier puppy was stolen and returned, already decomposed, to the owners nearly three weeks later.

December 12: Summer is the time to be active, but it's also a time to be aware of the dangers of outdoor activities. Wheelchair bound John Wade of Wheelchair Sports NSW Roadshow visited James Sheahan Catholic High School students to warn them of the dangers that could cause the end of life as you know it. 

December 16: Figures in Orange City Council's annual report reveal sporting grounds and sport and recreation continue to be the council's most costly facilities. Each of the city's 17,089 rate assessments contributed $234.48 and $42.66 to cover the loss caused by sport and recreation and sportsgrounds respectively. 

December 18: The Fair Work Ombudsman slapped several cherry growers in Orange with fines during an audit for failing to meet their employer obligations.

December 19: After much debate, the hat-shaped pergola was buried, the $80,000 life sized bronze sculpture was put off until funds can be raised from the community. Meanwhile Councillor Reg Kid hopes to end once and for all the debate over Banjo Paterson's birthplace with an updated study investigating the location of the cottage on the Narrambla Estate. 

December 20: An alleged threat of "snitches sleep in ditches" to a crown prosecution witness in the Wentworth Golf Club robbery landed Adam Troy Miller, 30, in jail for Christmas. Miller faced Orange Local Court after police arrested him for breaching his bail, intimidating a witness and using a carriage service to threaten and harass Jessica Jones, who is facing court on unrelated drug charges.

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

1. Dog tortured, remains returned to owners

2. Toddler run over in driveway

3. Second owner reports dog killing

4. Facebook post invites trouble

5. Accident at corner of Anson Street and Gardiner Road

6. Heartless thieves steal from boy's grave

7. Mechanical failure causes road closure

8. Dog snatcher's window of opportunity

9. GALLERY: Wild and windy weather

10. POLL: Duffy dismissed from council

THROUGH MY EYES: BRINDABELLA CRASHES TO EARTH

By JANICE HARRIS

THE cracks in the wings of the Brindabella operation appeared in November when and increasing number of flight were being cancelled and aircraft grounded.

On December 15 came the news Orange did not want to hear, although not entirely unexpected, that that the airline which operated out of Orange alongside Regional Express (REX) airlines, was in receivership.

It was disappointing for many who believed the two airline system made for strong competition for travellers who chose to fly in and out of Orange.

The airline had suspended it's services from Orange to Sydney from December 2 and although there had been a high level of complaints about the airline's operating procedures in not notifying customers of flight cancellations and changes in the weeks leading up to the suspension, it was hoped the airline would be able to pull itself out of the doldrums.

A great deal of effort by various stakeholders had gone into the acquisition of the airline service for Orange, however, on a positive note, Orange was not left in the same position as places such as Mudgee, who were left with no service at all following the announcement.

It was the unreliability of the service and the lack of customer service in advising travellers of cancellations in the preceding months which invariably turned many customers away.

Following the announcement of Brindabella going into receivership Orange City Council, who had also worked hard to secure the airline for Orange, was left with a bill of $36,908.30 in unpaid passenger fees.

Positive assurances came in the short term at least from Airport Coordination Australia that for the moment they would preserve the now defunct Brindabella landing spots in Sydney for the short term at least.

But with the New Year will comes a renewed interest in whether or not that assurance can be maintained with no second operator yet appearing on the horizon for Orange.

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