Reader reports strange lights over Utungun.
Reader reports strange lights over Utungun.

Have you seen strange lights in the sky?

I AM wondering if you might have featured a story about a large round white light with blue and red lights contained within the white light.

My family have witnessed this several times throughout the last five or so weeks.

It seems to appear around 2-3am on a clear night.

The direction that we see it is south and south east and east south east from Utungun.

Is perhaps something to do with the roadworks.

Janis Hughes


A reader asked why the RSPCA was fundraising using cupcakes that contained milk and eggs.
A reader asked why the RSPCA was fundraising using cupcakes that contained milk and eggs. Trevor Veale

Criticism of the RSPCA was unfair

I READ with disgust the letter by Jenny Moxham (CCA August 9).

In my view, her letter is totally misleading, insults the intelligence of readers and her criticism of the RSPCA in the context of the letter is unwarranted.

She writes, and I quote in part "In order to obtain dairy products cows are compelled to have a baby each year".

As a woman she would know all adult female species have a life cycle where they have an insatiable urge to mate.

This cycle in a cow's life comes 90 days after giving birth, the gestation period is 270 days, hence the natural life cycle of any bovine female is one calf (not baby) each year regardless of whether the cow is in a dairy herd, beef herd or wild buffalo in the Northern Territory.

Regarding her comments on the poultry industry, I suggest she does some research into the life of wild birds.

It is recognised that several thousand wild birds die each day, killed by predators looking for a feed.

There is no humane way these birds die, they are simply torn apart whilst still alive.

Many only die when their guts are torn out.

Bill Buckless, Woolgoolga


Reader asks why Macksville will have a new community college and a Tafe?
Reader asks why Macksville will have a new community college and a Tafe? Alison Paterson

I see this as a waste of our money

WHY is the Liberal/National Party wasting our money on a new College in Macksville?

The community already has a well established Tafe College, which runs aged care courses, as well as other courses.

Tafe has a proven track record of providing a high standard of training.

Tafe is proactive and responsive to the needs of the local industries and community.

This is poor money management and a waste of our hard earned taxpayers' money to use our money to start a new College in Macksville when this is already provided to the community.

Sharon Grainger, Urunga


Malcolm Turnbull talks up the alliance with the US before President Donald Trump.
Malcolm Turnbull talks up the alliance with the US before President Donald Trump. Nathan Edwards

Turnbull and no Trump

ALTHOUGH we live in a democracy where we elect our leaders to make decisions on our behalf and hope they get it right.

I find it ludicrous that Malcolm Turnbull has been in a twist about marriage equality for what seems an eternity and has been unable to make or come up with a decision and yet at the drop of a hat he announces Australia will back the US if they are attacked by North Korea.

It's ironical that he procrastinates over something that affects the lives of the Australian people and then so quickly decides a course of action that will affect us all in a potentially more devastating way. 

The PM has stated that the ANZUS treaty is very clear.

That be as it may should not simply be an open invitation for our country to follow the lead of an unstable, volatile and unqualified US President.

The actions of the North Korean leader should be condemned by all of us but I think the PM has got it wrong here.

Instead of openly and irrationally indicating our involvement, he should stress to the US President that his threats affect more than the USA and that he should choose his responses in a less aggressive manner.

Bob Kennedy, Toormina



Demise of Discussion Group

IT IS with some degree of sadness that I write to you to advise and inform the public of the demise of the C.H.E.R.P. Discussion Group.

It started and was running for 37 years. It is a truly proud achievement.

Many mid to elderly people have used our group to explain, remember, report on, discuss current ideas and media information.

Delightful reminiscences and experiences of life and travel. 

Good friends were made and problems advised on. Holidays everywhere were talked about.

Some subjects caused repercussions, political and personal and repetitions of incidents and beliefs had members leaving. 

New enrollments through the C.H.E.P.'s umbrella were introduced by the groups leaders over the years with an 11.00am break for a cuppa and chat welcomed. 

Ideas, plans and necessities of life with families and age has caused our cancellation of the Discussion Group at the Community Centre, neighbourhood building and as the last organizer, I feel sorry to close up.

Never hide those thoughts, plans and ideas - let them all out.

George Gardiner


Acknowledging Gumbayggirr Country

AN important discussion about changes to the Constitution to formalise the inclusion of Australia's First People is occurring right now.

I believe this is an excellent time for greater local acknowledgement of our Aboriginal Community.

The council, and other organisations, open meetings with an 'Acknowledgement of Country' and visitors, coming from the airport, are welcomed to Gumbayggirr Country.

I would like to see local councils adding to their logos, letterheads etc., the original names e.g. Ballgin (Bellingen), Wilgulga (Woolgoolga) , and Garlambiria (Coffs Harbour).


Australians now refer to Uluru, not Ayers Rock, and I'm confident people would embrace this idea for having both the current name and the original names of our local towns.

John Courcier, Coffs Harbour


Reader asks what cost is the blueberry farm boom having on the Coffs Coast environment?
Reader asks what cost is the blueberry farm boom having on the Coffs Coast environment? Tobi Loftus

Who gives a damn about the blueberry farms explosion?

FOR 35 years now I have been farming my land in an environmentally aware way using certified organic principles and showing thousands of people, including farmers, how it can be done commercially.

I have always believed that a farmer should leave his land in better condition than when it purchased.

I have watched with dismay the incredible spread of the blueberry industry in the region and must ask the question, who is managing this?

With as I see it, many farming practices that are not sustainable, such as clearing of forested areas without approval, cultivation of very steep lands, planting of monocultures, essentially unregulated use of herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and soluble fertilisers, all being washed into our catchment at an alarming rate.

There is no requirement to provide shelter belts or protection for neighbours or nearby houses or schools.

Many blueberry farms are utilizing all their land and netting directly up against neighbours fences leaving it to neighbours to plant shelterbelts for spray drift protection.

Nobody has the right to treat our land or our country in this way.

Why do we continually allow this to happen?

Sure, blueberry farms are providing income to Coffs Harbour and jobs to backpackers, which is good but it must be done in a sustainable and healthy way.

When the bubble bursts in this industry who will be responsible to take down all the netting and clean up the environmental impact?

Have I mentioned the visual effect blueberries have had on our landscape or the fact that blocks of netting appear next to schools, between houses and all over our" Green Belt" which was supposed to be the buffer between development and forests.

This week I have noticed a new planting on the eastern end of Bonville Peak on extremely steep land.

Sure this was old banana land, but it was never cultivated or planted in rows straight up and down the hill like this.

Have these people never seen the effects of an east coast low rain event?

I have previously seen bananas washed down the hill in this area and these were established with a good ground cover.

This type of irresponsible farming needs to be stopped.

The good blueberry farmers need to bring in production standards and recommendations for future developments.

The E.P.A. need to be more active in this area, and the local council needs to show some leadership and take an unbiased stand on this issue.

If a developer or a nursery wanted to do this type of land work and have so much effect on the land and environment they would have to apply for a Development Approval.

Why not make these new ventures prove that their practices are worthy and sustainable and do not have an effect on our water catchment, surrounding environment, neighbours and community.

Councillors stand up and make a difference for our lands sake !

Tom Hackett, Bonville


Asylum seekers on Manus Island.
Asylum seekers on Manus Island. EOIN BLACKWELL

Not swamped, don't need turn back

IN 2013, the Coalition told the Australian people that we were being swamped with boat people, that we needed turn back to repel the hordes of boat people headed for our shores. Were we? No!

The Coalition's claim that we were being swamped in 2013 is proven wrong in two analyses. In one study, only one in a 1000 people fleeing persecution from the Middle East, headed for Australia to become boat people.

That's 8700 refugees coming our way each year.

The actual number of boat people picked up by our Navy from 2009 to 2013 averaged 8800/year.

And did this number of refugees swamp us?

No! We have a humanitarian quota (HQ), namely the number of refugees we will settle each year.

It varies from year to year, depending on the number of boat people expected.

About half of the HQ is allocated to boat people.

In 2013, the HQ was 20,000, with 10,000 places for boat people.

Those 10,000 places were enough for the 8700/8800 refugees who came.

We were not being swamped and nor have we been swamped with boat people in any year before 2013.

Obviously, if we weren't being swamped, we didn't need turn back.

But the new Immigration Minister (IM), Scott Morrison, did.

He had seen the Australian people become more and more fearful of being swamped by boat people.

He believed that his political career would blossom if he was seen to stop the boats.

Turn back was the strategy he devised to stop the boats.

But he couldn't launch turn back when we weren't being swamped.

So he manufactured a swamping crisis. How? He lowered the HQ from 20,000 to 13,750 refugees /year.

The result? 3000 unused places on the quota suddenly became 3250 more refugees than our humanitarian quota allowed.

Now that we were being swamped he could launch turn back. And he did!

Dr Michael Blockey, Scotts Head

Man dies after three vehicle crash near Nambucca Heads

premium_icon Man dies after three vehicle crash near Nambucca Heads

Paramedics worked to revive an elderly driver in one vehicle.

PHOTO GALLERY: Navy Squadron marches on Coffs Harbour

premium_icon PHOTO GALLERY: Navy Squadron marches on Coffs Harbour

725 Squadron navy freedom of entry at the Coffs Harbour Jetty.