Home' Greymouth Star : June 5th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, June 5, 2015
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uLetters to the editor
1963 - British War Minister John Profumo
resigns from government and parliament after
admitting he lied to the House of Commons
about his affair with call girl Christine Keeler.
1965 - US State Department
acknowledges publicly for first time
that US ground troops in South
Vietnam are engaging in combat.
1967 - Israel launches airstrikes
on Egypt, destroying most of that
country’s air force on the ground to
open the six-day Middle East War.
1968 - US Senator Robert F
Kennedy is shot and mortally wounded after
claiming victory in California’s Democratic
presidential primary. Gunman Sirhan Bishara
Sirhan was immediately arrested.
1981 - Five gay men in California are
reported as suffering from a rare pneumonia
found in patients with weakened immune
systems. These are the first recognised cases of
what became known as AIDS.
2004 - Ronald Reagan, who devoted his US
presidency to winning the Cold War, dies after
a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
John Couch Adams, British astronomer
(1819-1892); Pancho Villa, Mexican
revolutionary (1878-1923); John
Maynard Keynes, British economist
(1883-1946); Roy Higgins,
Australian jockey (1938-); Spalding
Gray, actor (1941-2004); Laurie
Anderson, US singer (1947-); Kenny
G, US jazz saxophonist (1956-);
Brian McKnight, US singer (1969-);
Mark Wahlberg, US actor (1971-); Pete Wentz,
American musician (1979-); Jade Goody, British
television personality (1981-2009.
“In a dream you are never 80.” — Anne
Sexton, American poet (1928-1974).
“The Pharisees and their scribes were
complaining to His disciples, saying, “ Why
do You eat and drink with tax collectors and
sinners?” — (Luke 5.30).
Two satellites, the
orbiting rockets which
had boosted the
Gemini 4 spacecraft
into space, passed over Nelson early today.
The objects were obser ved at about 6.45am
by Mr D Neighbours, of Murphy Street. The
first one was very bright, he said, and passed
directly above the city. It approached from the
north-west and was “travelling like old Harry”.
The second appeared half a minute later and
followed the same course.
There were no reported sightings over
Greymouth. One enthusiast Mr Len Schaef
said that though he was up very early and as
usual “had a good look around the sky” he saw
The men of Runanga believe that big trees
from little acorns grow but never in their
wildest dreams did they imagine that a penny
rise in a glass of beer would bring a £20,000
building within less than 20 years.
The small stickers carrying the legend ‘7d
beer is black’ had hardly begun to fall from
windowpanes when the Runanga men were
meeting. It was in the early days of October
1947 — the beginning of the beer boycott —
when Runanga men decided to amalgamate
their sixpences, their work and their thirsts and
sell beer to themselves.
“D unedin bottled beer only, and bring your
own glass” was the modest beginning of the
Runanga Workingmen’s Club, which opens the
doors of its vast, ultra-modern new building
The bungalow which has faithfully housed
the club’s 450 members and many visitors in its
early years, has ser ved its purpose so well that
the new clubrooms have been paid for in cash.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
itting at the dead end of a west
side Chicago street, the vacant
Ward elementary school is a
The three-storey building
has boarded up windows and
graffiti. Dandelions poke through cracks in
the parking lot. Two concrete playground
turtles, their paint fading, provide seats for
drug users, neighbours say.
“They should utilise it, or they should tear
it down,” said neighbour Connie Sims. “It ’s
like an accident waiting to happen.”
Ward was one of 49 elementary schools
targeted by the country’s largest mass
closing in 2013, and most are still empty
two years later. Under-enrolment and
low resources were cited by school board
officials for the closures, which mainly
affected poorer African-American and
The shuttered buildings have become
a vivid symbol of the fight over Chicago
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s sweeping drive
to reform education and tackle a projected
$1.1 billion education budget deficit.
Chicago’s teachers’ union is fiercely
opposed to turning the sites into charter
schools — privately run and usually non-
union — while residents say the empty
buildings have become sources of blight
and activists say the process to find new
uses has been painfully slow.
“They went and closed a record 50 schools
with no plan,” said Valerie L eonard, a West
Side community organiser.
The Chicago public schools system says
finding new uses has taken time because
it wants to evaluate all possibilities and
consult the public.
Empty urban schools can be a tough sell,
as Detroit, Philadelphia and Kansas City,
Missouri, all have found in recent years.
According to a 2013 study by Pew
Charitable Trusts, vacant school buildings
are sometimes in poor condition, their
layouts are often not conducive to new
uses and some are located in declining
In March, Detroit’s school system
transferred 77 of its 98 closed schools to the
city, which can use federal dollars to tear
some down while rehabilitating others, said
school spokeswoman Michelle Zdrodowski.
One abandoned high school is about to
become part of an automotive plant.
Of Philadelphia’s 34 shuttered schools,
sales are closed or pending for 25, said
spokeswoman Raven Hill.
Forty per cent of closed schools in
the United States became charters, the
Pew study found. Others found new
life as housing and community centres
— sce narios that also were envisaged in
Chicago by a February 2014 advisory
However, the charter option has long
been a political challenge in Chicago, where
public school teachers held an eight-day
strike in 2012 over Emanuel’s reforms and
his support of charter schools.
Although Chicago Public Schools, or
CPS, had previously pledged not to go the
charter route, it enraged its teachers’ union
last month by saying it would consider
turning some closed sites into charter
schools if communities wanted them. One
such proposal already has been approved.
“This is a betrayal of the board’s promise
to not allow charters to snatch up closed
schools,” said Chicago Teachers
Union staff co-ordinator Jackson
Andrew Broy, president of
the Illinois Network of Charter
Schools, said charters should
be able to access vacant school
buildings if there is no other viable
use for them.
“The longer we wait to do so, the
more those buildings deteriorate,”
The 38 empty school buildings
are costing Chicago’s cash-strapped
system more than $3 million a
year for utilities, security and other
maintenance, official figures show.
CPS said it avoided $430m
in capital costs over 10 years by
closing the schools. It spent $233m
on refurbishment for schools that
took in displaced students.
So far, Chicago has found new
uses for four empty buildings
— on e became an arts academy,
another a testing centre. Sales are
pending for two buildings — including
one that will include an expanded charter
— and requests for proposals have gone
out for three, officials said.
CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey said
finding new uses has been a ‘deliberate
process’ of evaluation because officials
saw what happened in other cities when a
building was sold off too quickly, and then
became “an albatross.”
“ We knew this would take some time
and we wanted the community to have
a chance to express their wishes,” said
Yet there have been no community
meetings since November 2014, and none
are currently scheduled.
Asiaha Butler, a community activist in
the South Side’s troubled Englewood
neighbourhood, said she hates to see closed
public schools among so many other vacant
homes and businesses.
Some have become targets for vandalism,
according to police reports. In April,
vandals broke windows not only at
Englewood’s closed Yale Elementary but at
surrounding homes as well, said
“It really hurts your heart,” she said.
The Chicago advisory report
acknowledged that the evaluation process
cannot go on forever, and recommends
demolishing remaining facilities in mid-
Residents hope that something
— anything — happens soon.
“They ought to do something — tear
it down, make it a strip mall,” said Lisa
Pruitt, who works as a church secretary
near the boarded-up Ross Elementary,
with its mutilated United States flag
mosaic and cracked blue playground slide.
She remembers when the South Side’s
Washington Park neighbourhood was
“It’s a bit of a desert now,” said Pruitt.
Chicago’s empty schools
Two concrete playground turtles are seen outside the boarded up windows of Laura Ward
School in Chicago.
Out of touch policing
It is with considerable concern to read
of the off-the-Coast police move to
stymie local area commander Inspector
John Canning and his senior staff
(Greymouth Star, June 2).
These officers are trusted members of
the local community and they know full
well the difficulties of policing such a
large area. All kudos to them for making
a stand on our behalf. They should be
To now have others, effectively toe-the-
line appointees, seconded to bring about
unwanted changes to rosters is another
example of bureaucratic meddling. The
region, unfortunately, has had the comic
leadership from outside police hierarchy
before, at Pike River Mine, no less — we
do not want a repeat of that debacle.
To Superintendent Karyn Malthus
and those supporting her — such
secondments, in my opinion, have little
connect with the local community and it
is yet another example of police hierarchy
pushing aside those who simply do not
toe the line. I have no confidence in such
What is proposed we have seen before
— it will inevitably lead to further cost-
cutting and less face-to-face services.
Policing more than 600km via lobby
telephoning and relying on Inspector
Cousteau-like responding, does not cut
For many years, Mr Canning and his
colleagues have been valued and trusted
members of the constabulary, living and
partaking in all things within the local
community — their replacements are not
and never will be.
The West Coast community should
roundly reject bean-counter policing from
‘yes men’ commanders, and it should get
in behind Mr Canning and his team.
On page 2 of yesterday ’s paper are two
adjacent articles — ‘ Tb programme to
sur vey farmers’ and ‘Possum control need
The first article repeats the mantra that
‘possums spread the disease’. The second
states that last year 9838 possums were
killed and checked for Tb. None had the
This puts me in mind of the July 24,
2014 headline ‘Fewer possums but Tb
Ospri’s primary role, according to their
website, is to manage the national pest
management plan for bovine Tb. Now
that it is finally clear that possums are
not responsible, is Ospri finally going to
look at the real reasons for the spread of
bovine Tb, or are they going to ignore
scientific evidence and continue blindly
doing what they have always done?
I could suggest a couple of possible
factors involved in the spread of the
1. Strip grazing. This forces cattle to eat
mud. Are the officials not aware that Tb
can sur vive for up to eight years in soil,
especially in cold, wet conditions and
especially when the iron content in the
soil is high, as it is where the ground has
been humped and hollowed to break up
the iron pan?
2. Not providing any shelter from the
cold and the rain. (A couple of years ago
a whole local herd died of the cold).
Feedback from Ospri would be
Filthy public toilets
The article on new public toilets for
Cobden will, I am sure, be welcome for
visitors and locals alike. It is a pity that
more enthusiasm was not forthcoming
for existing toilets in Runanga, despite
requests for an upgrade.
Any visitors to our town would be
revolted at the disgusting condition of
this so-called amenity and would more
than likely leave the area ASAP. On the
plus side, the graffiti was removed when
reported at the time of the upgrade
request and it would be appropriate for
council members to inspect the premises
to see for themselves what they expect
others to use.
Freedom campers would feel cleaner
using the bush than this hovel — hardly
an incentive to respect our environment. I
can only hope that some urgent action is
taken over this longstanding problem and
I look for ward to a reply from the relevant
Grey District Council assets manager
Mel Sutherland responds: “The council is
about to undertake a minor upgrade of the
Runanga toilets. The toilets are cleaned six
days per week, Monday to Saturday.
These toilets do suffer f rom a high level of
vandalism so it would be appreciated if the
public could report any incidents and the
perpetrators to the council and/or the police.”
I would like to voice my concern of the
sale of synthetic cannabis in Greymouth.
Firstly, synthetic cannabis is a chemical
substance created to mimic the effect of
cannabis. It is shown to be super addictive
and causes harm to people’s health.
There are numerous side effects from
synthetic cannabis including anxiety,
vomiting, paranoia, aggressive behaviour
and psychosis. The addictive drug may
lead to increased use of hard drugs such
as methamphetamine as they seek out
greater highs. Users of synthetic drugs
have shown disorderly behaviour in the
community with the urge to seek their
next high. As we know, certain products
of synthetic cannabis which show a high
health threat themselves to users. This
substance was banned in 2014 under the
Psychoactive Substance Act, but now
alternative synthetic drugs are still on our
shelves, on sale.
A sur vey says that users of the drug are
typically aged between 16 and 22 years.
This shows us that our youth are most
at risk to this drug. They can become a
danger to themselves, their families and
their health from the use of synthetic
cannabis. If the sale of synthetic cannabis
becomes on demand this gives the
opportunity for our people to become at
My plan of action is to ban synthetic
cannabis in Greymouth, but firstly, ban
the sale of synthetic cannabis in a 1km
radius of the central business district. This
can cause the sale of synthetic cannabis
to drop. In addition, we can also ban any
synthetic cannabis drugs that people may
try to sell in Greymouth. This can lead to
a synthetic cannabis-free Greymouth, to
become a safer and happier community.
John Paul II High School
cannabis ban 2
I am writing to voice my concern
over the sale of synthetic drugs in our
As you may be aware there are shops in
the Greymouth area with a reputation for
selling synthetic drugs. I am concerned
that since the interim ban on the drugs
was lifted early last month, these shops
will continue to sell the drugs.
The use of these drugs can result in toxic
symptoms that generally last three to four
hours, such as abdominal pain, nausea,
vomiting, chest pain, heart palpitations,
hallucinations and seizures. Some people
can be even more severely affected,
resulting in long lasting psychosis and
even a permanently damaged mental state.
The creator of these drugs has even said
that he thinks that you would be an idiot
to try them and that they are not actually
safe for human consumption.
There have been made cases country-
wide of people breaking into cars and
shops and stealing money and things to
sell, just to be able to afford to pay for the
drugs they have become addicted to.
I propose that the Grey District Council
impose a 6km radius from the central
business district and a 1km radius from
each school where the synthetic drugs
cannot be sold. I personally think that
these drugs should not be available at all
in our community, but making them less
accessible is the first step.
In March, I sent a similar letter to the
council and they have not yet replied.
John Paul II High School
In fact, Mayor Tony Kokshoorn responded
individually to the John Paul II High School
Year 13 social studies students on March 26.
cannabis ban 3
It has come to my attention that the sale
of synthetic drugs has been prohibited
since May 8, 2014, and was set to be
reviewed early last month in May 2015. If
the law is reviewed and lifted it will cause
the sale of synthetic drugs to restart and
cause the substances back into the hands
of the young people of Greymouth.
The reason I am writing is, as a young
member of the Greymouth community
I think it is important that the sale of
synthetic drugs is stopped.
If young people are able to buy synthetic
drugs over the counter in your local
community without knowing the facts
and the full effects behind the synthetic
drugs, what is next? This is why a bylaw
should be advocated and put in place, like
the Auckland City Council did for their
community, which would help towards
stopping the sale of synthetic drugs in our
A suggestion for the bylaw would consist
of there being a 6km radius starting from
the central part of Greymouth prohibiting
the sale of these synthetic drugs but also
a 1km radius from both primary and
secondary schools, prohibiting the sale.
By this bylaw being placed in the
Greymouth community it would
reduce and possibly stop the effects that
synthetic drugs have on the Greymouth
community but also to the young people
of Greymouth. I see the sale of synthetic
drugs as a threat to the Greymouth
community and believe this issue needs
to be addressed with a bylaw being
John Paul II High School
cannabis ban 4
It has come to my attention that the
law that bans synthetic drugs in New
Zealand will soon be lifted. As a student
of John Paul II High School, I believe
that this law should stay in place. The
law came into effect at midnight on
May 7, 2014, banning the sale of legal
highs and synthetic drugs in dairies and
This law should stay in place because at
the time of the law being put into effect,
synthetic drugs JWH-018 and JWH-
073, also known as synthetic cannabis,
caused many problems when used. It
not only gave users similar effects that
normal cannabis give its users, it also
caused hypertension, abdominal pain,
delayed reaction time, hallucinations, heart
palpitations and psychosis that could last
for up to several days.
To help protect the people, I would
like to ask the council for a bylaw that
makes it illegal to sell synthetic drugs and
legal highs within a 6km radius of the
Greymouth shopping district. This will
make it harder for the people who are
addicted to the substances to purchase
Would you please help in raising
awareness of this issue?
John Paul II High School
cannabis ban 5
Recently, the ban on sales of synthetic
drugs has been lifted, but I still believe
that the council should keep a ban on
the sale of synthetic drugs. I propose that
there should be a 6km radius in which
synthetic drugs should not be sold around
the central business district and a 1km
radius around primary and secondary
I believe the youth of the community
would benefit from this, especially putting
into consideration the health problems
synthetic drugs carry with them. These
health problems include, but are not
limited to: severe paranoia, delayed
reaction time, hallucinations, hypertension,
seizures and heart palpitations. The youth
would also benefit from this ban because
they are still trying to set up their futures,
so we need to help them achieve any goals
for the future.
I also believe that this ban would prevent
crime in Greymouth, especially by youths.
I have read too many stories from around
New Zealand where youths and older
groups and individuals have turned to
crime, so that they can get money to
purchase synthetic drugs. By banning
synthetic drugs sales in Greymouth,
we could prevent the crime rate in
I wrote a letter to the council in March
about this issue and have not received a
response from them.
Thank you for your consideration.
John Paul II High School
cannabis ban 6
During Year 13 social studies at John
Paul II High School, we have been
inquiring about synthetic cannabis — how
it affects people negatively and how to
keep it out of our community.
We have discovered that in May this year
the temporary ban/bylaw that prohibited
synthetic cannabis/drugs was lifted. We
as a c lass firmly believe that a new ban/
bylaw should be put in place to keep
these harmful substances out of the Grey
I propose that a ban be in place so that
the sale of synthetic drugs is banned in a
6km radius around the central business
district and a 1km radius around all forms
of schooling and education.
As part of the community, I am worried
about what these synthetic drugs will be
exposing the Grey district to. Because of
this is we are trying to advocate a change.
John Paul II High School
cannabis ban 7
I am writing this to voice my opinion on
the sale of synthetic cannabis in our Grey
Around 12 months ago throughout New
Zealand, a temporary ban was put in place
to discontinue sales of the drugs. The ban
was lifted early May this year and it is now
legal for shops to sell and promote the
drugs, if they have an updated licence and
permit to do so. Whether or not our shops
in Greymouth do sell synthetic cannabis,
I want to propose a ban in having no
drugs sold within a 6km radius around the
central business district and a 1km radius
around all schools.
As a young student in Greymouth I
think our community can benefit majorly
with this ban, being medically beneficial
and also financially. I know I write this
letter not only with my own concerns
about the recreational drugs but also the
concerns of Greymouth residents who also
feel the need to prohibit drugs sales in our
John Paul II High School
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