NEWS - BCM - 13.2.2013 - Shandee Blackburn, the Mackay murder victim - SUPPLIED
NEWS - BCM - 13.2.2013 - Shandee Blackburn, the Mackay murder victim - SUPPLIED

The stories that transformed the region in July

July 1 – He was my hero: Son has staggering grief after dad killed at mine

“IT DOESN’T matter if I open my eyes or close my eyes, I still see Dad.”

Those were the heartbreaking words Anthony Routledge used to describe the grief of losing his father David Routledge, 55, in a mine tragedy at Middlemount in late June.

July 2 – Mayor says ‘we shouldn’t have to beg’

MACKAY Mayor Greg Williamson has vowed to hold the State Government to account on the billions of royalties being earned in the region on the back of figures showing Australia’s resources earnings hit a record $275 billion in the 2018-19 financial year.

July 3 – ‘Bag snatch and run went awry’: Witness makes robbery claim in inquest

A WITNESS claims the murder of Shandee Blackburn was “supposed to be a snatch and run that went wrong”.

However during Sumara Blackman’s testimony, Coroner David O’Connell asked her if she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which she denied.

Her brother Levii Blackman, who also gave evidence, admitted he lied about what he knew in relation to Shandee’s murder claiming he had been pressured by police.

July 4 – Only nine months to live: Heartbreaking cancer battle for young Mia

THE second the words left the doctor’s mouth, Ana McEldowney’s world stopped.

She had taken her eight-year-old daughter Mia for a check-up as the normally vivacious little girl had been having some trouble with her co-ordination. But it wasn’t supposed to end like this.

Within moments Mia had gone from being a normal grade three student who loved netball and dancing, to a child battling incurable cancer.

Friday, July 5 – LIFT-OFF: Our successful campaign to woo Qantas

MOVE over mining and sugar, Mackay has a new major player in town – aviation.

Aspiring Qantas pilots would soon fill Mackay skies with the major Australian airline selecting the city as its second Qantas Group Pilot Academy site.

Mother-daughter team Chris Pollard and Courtney Pollard said they have been forced to close Valley Rural Services after thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of stock.
Mother-daughter team Chris Pollard and Courtney Pollard said they have been forced to close Valley Rural Services after thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of stock.

July 6 - Bitter final blow: Valley’s last outpost to close doors forever

A BRAZEN burglary has “broken” a Finch Hatton family business, forcing them to close their doors forever.

Finch Hatton resident Chris Pollard’s voice cracked as she announced the closure of the Upper Pioneer Valley’s only service station, Valley Rural Services after 11 years of operation.

July 8 – Mine safety ‘crisis’: call for action after mine tragedies

CRISIS talks over the safety of Queensland coal workers will be held after the mining community was left reeling from another tragedy.

Mining contractor Golding confirmed the death of a worker, a 27-year-old man, at the Baralaba North Coal Mine about 2am on July 7.

July 9 – Shandee’s ex-boyfriend cannot recall saying ‘she would be better off dead’

“DID you kill Shandee?” The man acquitted of Shandee Blackburn’s murder has denied being involved in her death after he was asked directly by Counsel Assisting the Coroner John Aberdeen during a coronial inquest.

But John Peros told Mackay Coroners Court he “can’t remember” what he did the night she was killed.

He also could not recall saying “she would be better off dead” or “I hate her and would love to stab the c***” at a party.

July 10 – Plan to lure empty nesters: Decision on run-down resort in hands of councillors

DEVELOPERS hope to attract ‘empty-nesters’ to one of Mackay’s most iconic beachside locations but the plan is at the mercy of councillors.

Pioneer Projects No. 1, McGrath Developments and Pointglen Developments will be given a decision that stands to either make or break a development that would transform the once idyllic Kohuna Beachside Resort into ‘over-50s resort lifestyle accommodation’.

July 11 - The plan to remove evil lurking in the shadows

A CRIME Prevention Unit officer has pushed for increased lighting and CCTV cameras across Mackay after exposing danger spots in the CBD.

Sergeant Nigel Dalton told Mackay Coroners Court, which was holding an inquest into the murder of Shandee Blackburn, there were various entrapment zones where something sinister could happen even if people were 10m away.

July 12 – End of an era: Final Sugarfields phase under way

IT IS the end of an era for a well-known Mackay developer as Benarid Pty Ltd director John Galea announces the final stage of the Sugarfields estate.

After two decades, the project is finally in its last stages, with construction steaming ahead on Stage 6 of the estate.

July 13 – Safety first: Mackay in line for extra mine inspectors

MINE safety advocates are leading the charge for three extra mines inspectors to be based in Mackay following a spate of fatalities in Queensland coal mines in the past 12 months.

Announced yesterday, the new inspectors will be added as part of a raft of mine and quarry safety initiatives the State Government put forward in response to the mine safety crisis.

July 15 – Reeling in next gen: Breathing life back into Mackay recreational fishing

WHEN he was a kid, fishing was embedded into Allan Ahmat’s life early on.

Shortly after his family moved from the Torres Strait Islands, his father would take him out to catch a feed of fish for his family, friends and neighbours.

They’re memories he recalls fondly, and now he is eager to share his experience with the next generation of anglers.

Syd Miels from Plane Creek weimararer dog Kula died after eating 1080 baits.
Syd Miels from Plane Creek weimararer dog Kula died after eating 1080 baits.

July 16 – Pets at risk: The poison causing ‘indescribable agony and terror’

SYD MIELS returned to his Sarina home to find his furniture destroyed, the fixtures in pieces and his pet dog writhing in pain on the floor.

Kula, his eight-and-a-half-year-old Weimaraner, had “gone wild” in his caravan home after, Mr Miels believes, consuming the common agricultural poison 1080.

Fellow Sarina resident Alan Kochevatkin has started a petition asking the State Government to review exclusion zones and distance requirements surrounding the poison’s use to improve community safety.

July 17 – Double the money: Tourists splash staggering amount of cash on Mackay

IN WHAT the tourism industry hopes is a sign of even better things to come, new data shows a million visitors have forked out $545 million in the Mackay region.

This is a staggering 47.9 per cent growth in domestic overnight expenditure year-on-year in the 12 months to March 2019.

Louis Moore, with his fiancé Courtney Leverington and their daughter Ayla.
Louis Moore, with his fiancé Courtney Leverington and their daughter Ayla.

July 18 – ‘He absolutely adored the both of them’

LOUIS Moore had a big dream to own his own home before the age of 25.

Excitedly, 24 days before his 25th birthday, Louis phoned his mother Karen Moore to tell her he had done it.

Louis, his fiance Courtney Leverington and their 14-month-old daughter Ayla moved in on June 1 to continue their life together.

Tragically, less than two months later Louis was killed in a crash on the Bruce Highway.

July 19 – $150M strip tease: Show us missing link cash

NEGOTIATIONS to secure a $150 million ‘regional deal’ took a giant step forward after four major players committed to working together for the region’s future.

But they need the Commonwealth and Queensland governments to loosen their purse strings for the deal to go ahead.

July 20 – Marking our ground: How we keep our rising stars and attract sporting heroes

MACKAY has battled for years to keep its best and brightest sports stars in the region – fought, but often failed, to knock back the tempting tendrils of opportunity sent out by nosy neighbour Townsville and the metropolitan might of Brisbane.

We can no longer turn a blind eye to this.

July 22 – Investigators left baffled: Lengthy internal probe fails to find direct cause of mine death

AN UNDERLYING medical condition, loss of control due to environmental factors or a bump to the head are three possible scenarios investigators probing the death of mine worker Allan Houston have put forward after failing to determine the direct cause of his death.

The Gracemere father, 49, was working at BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s Saraji Coal Mine near Moranbah at 10.25pm on December 31, 2018 when the dozer he was operating travelled over a bunded low wall edge and rolled down the embankment.

July 23 – ‘Old mate was there with a bloody axe’

A SARINA man claimed he only armed himself with an axe for protection after watching a “vicious” dog attack the family pet.

But Mackay Magistrates Court heard the 47 year old grabbed the axe from his yard, went directly to home of Brett Webster and Tara Malone and threatened to kill their dog Bus.

July 24 – Ice scourge: Drugged up blokes busted at work

RANDOM workplace drug testing has revealed too many Mackay workers are going to their jobs drugged up on ice and marijuana.

Two workers, aged between 40 and 50, had so much methamphetamine in their system that the urine could have damaged testing equipment.

July 25 – Tech key to safety reset: How BHP plans to make mines safer

THE deployment of drones and autonomous haulage will form part of BHP’s plan to protect workers as the Queensland mining industry grapples with the fallout of a safety crisis after a tragic spate of six deaths in 12 months.

In a speech to the Bowen Basin Mining Club, provided exclusively to Daily Mercury, BMA asset president James Palmer will outline the company’s strategy to address workplace safety during a “critical time” for the industry.

July 26 – Fake gun, real peril: Truck driver’s desperate attempt to recoup $30K in ‘stolen’ wages

A TRUCK driver went to his Paget workplace armed with a gun in a desperate move to recoup what he believed was up to $30,000 in stolen wages.

First the Carmila man lured manager Darryl Caracciolo and administration worker Susan Gravino into an office inside Global Food and Wine Mackay under the pretence of handing over paperwork.

July 27 - ‘Disgraceful attack’: Businesses targeted for their association with Adani

COMMUNITY leaders have condemned a green group’s plan to bombard a Mackay business supplying Adani’s Carmichael Mine with a “week of action”.

In an email to supporters, Mackay Conservation Group said engineering company GHD was helping Adani “design its climate-wrecking coal mine” and called on the community to protest against the company.

July 29 – Muddying the water: Crabbers fight for survival over tough new quotas

QUEENSLAND mud crab – the “hero” of our food tourism trade – is under the crunch as tensions boil over in the state’s $300 million seafood industry.

Some of the state’s 2000 commercial fishermen plan to launch a legal injunction against the State Government over tough new limits, the Daily Mercury exclusively revealed.

July 30 – Mum charged after allegedly covering for millionaire son

A MOTHER accused of helping her son, who is facing cocaine trafficking charges in Mackay, flee the country is in hospital following her Australian Federal Police arrest.

The case against Elizabeth Anne Turner was briefly mentioned in Mackay Magistrates Court.

Mining businessman turned fugitive Markis Scott Turner is accused of being a major player in a multimillion-dollar cocaine syndicate.

July 31 – Sugar Stand-off: Clock is ticking to jump final hurdle

MACKAY Sugar is scrambling to ensure the last remaining growers agree to the final hurdle under Nordzucker’s takeover bid, after 95 per cent of grower members voted in favour of the deal at the Extraordinary General Meeting.

Following a resounding ‘yes’ vote, the last remaining growers will need to agree to changing the cane supply payment formula from PRS to CCS.



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