milton - 2ST

Bushfire storytelling centre to open

 

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Rising from the Ashes, a Storytelling and Healing Space designed to help the community to recover and to heal following the summer bushfires, will open in Milton on Saturday.

People can share their stories, verbally or creatively through writing and other free art- based workshops, including, photography, pottery, mosaics, music or even cupcake decorating at the healing space in Wason Street Milton over the next 12 months.

Project manager Vivienne Benson-Hodge says trauma can shatter our sense of security, our attachment to others and can disconnect our feeling of hope in the world.

“Telling our stories in our own way, in our own time, revisiting the sights, sounds and memories of our trauma can help us reclaim our lost selves,” she said.

“Some people have already started sharing their stories with us and are keen to book in for a workshop.

“We have been greatly supported by other health and wellbeing practitioners, already working in a similar vein with people, who have been feeling the aftermath affects of the bushfires or feeling isolated by the effects of Covid 19.

“We are keen to hear from other local artists, who may be able to offer a workshop in their area of expertise.”

Vivienne says all in the area are invited to this space, by either engaging in the storytelling as participants, or by artists creating in any medium or craft, offering to conduct a workshop.

Workshops are free to participants and we will fund the cost of required materials as necessary.

Some of the early workshops commencing in November/December that will be advertised on the group’s Facebook page include: Cupcake decorating for Christmas for adults and children’s craft sessions, by Trish Tompkin and Gentle Movement Dancing plus African Drumming by Desire, Layered drawing using charcoal and Ink by local artist, Julie Sydenham.

Workshops and items of interest will soon be also available on the website www.shoalhavenrisingfromtheashes.com

Photo Katrina Condie

Little Forest community uses technology to reconnect after the fires

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While the Black Summer bushfires caused untold devastation, they have helped unite a small part of the local community in unexpected ways.

When flames were approaching, the residents in Milton's Little Forest Road kept in touch via a whatsapp group to discuss what was happening with the fires, and keep abreast of the latest safety warnings.

After the fires the group has become so much more, being at the heart of keeping the community connected.

Resident Janey Cameron said she was less affected than many others, and had time to use the app to keep people informed about support and assistance that was being made available.

That was the start of bigger things, with an artist living in the street saying she had material available to start a craft group in her home, free of charge.

"That got a few of them together, and was a really good way to bond and to talk about the fires as people were processing the whole fire experience, and they were able to do that in a really comfortable and warm situation," Mrs Cameron said.

A book club has started among the road's residents, along with a yoga and wellbeing group and more.

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A lot of the people living on the road grow their own fruit, vegetables and herbs, or have chickens and, "We have a produce group going and members advertise what they've got going and it's just shared, it's not a payment thing, anyone on the road who wants to can contribute to it and anyone who wants to can take from it," Mrs Cameron said.

And it doesn't end there.

"The whatsapp chat means that we help each other with finding lost dogs, or someone's found some car keys and we find out who the owner is because we can all chat together and work it out, we've solved internet problems for residents along the road, we've been able to welcome new people really easily and warmly because we can all get access to each other quite quickly, we've helped out with sick animals, so it's been really lovely just to have everyone on there."

Mrs Cameron said it had been particularly useful during the COVID lockdown, as people going into town had been able to run errands, buy groceries or even organise services for people unable to leave their homes.

Images: Jules Brooker and Pam Christie

Milton youngster faces her second battle with leukaemia

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Little Kyesha-Lee Minuti has already proven her fighting abilities.

And the four-year-old from Milton is going to need all of them as she faces a second battle with leukaemia.

Mum Terri Lang said Kyesha-Lee was diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of just 22 months, starting a two-year process of chemotherapy and treatment before she was finally given a clean bill of health.

But a blood test just three months later showed the leukaemia had returned, prompting a return to the Sydney Children's Hospital for more treatment.

It will culminate in coming weeks transplant of bone marrow coming from her five-year-old brother Dylan.

"On the 1st of December she gets admitted for the chemo and the transplant, and then she's going to be in isolation of hospital for two or three months," Ms Lang said.

"She's had three months of chemo now, and then she'll have another really hard week from the 1st to the 8th of chemo to wipe her system totally for the bone marrow to go on the 8th, which her big brother is the donor which is really good.

"It's sort of mixed emotions - it's really good that he's going to be a donor, but there's going to be two of my babies in hospital at the same time having operations. It's going to be a hard day."

Ms Lang will be joining Kyesha-Lee in isolation following the bone marrow transplant, taking all necessary precautions "to keep her safe".

"We've got to get through the next few months of her having no immune system," she said.

"It's going to be a hard road but I've got to do what I've got to do as a mum and get her better."

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Ms Lang said watching the youngest of her six children battling through not only the illness but also the debilitating impacts of treatment had been tough.

But she is no stranger to difficult times, having already gone through more emotional pain than many people could imagine.

"I've been through hell and back already," she said.

It peaked when Ms Lang lost her second child, son Kyle, to pneumococcal meningitis when he was just eight weeks old back in 2004.

It took just days for Kyle to go from being a healthy, normal baby to needing on life support machines.

"He was healthy and we thought he had just stomach issues, then all of a sudden it was pneumococcal meningitis," she said.

"They did the scans and it'd attacked his brain stem so they practically told me he was going to be a vegetable or we needed to turn the machines off, so I had to make that horrible choice, but I had to do what was best for him not best for me.

"As much as I wanted to keep him here and be a mother, it just wasn't the right situation - even the doctor said it's cruel."

Ms Lang said making the decision to turn off the life support was "so hard".

"It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life," she said.

However she has a community rallying around her to help ensure a better outcome with this health battle as Kyesha-Lee fights to overcome leukaemia.

Friends and family members are organising a fundraising raffle to help with the costs of Ms Lang staying in Sydney with Kyesha-Lee while the rest of her family is in the Shoalhaven, and there is also a Go Fund Me page set up called Kyesha-Lee's Journey with Leukaemia.

Images: Terri Lang

 

 

New addition to Milton's 'big tree' park

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The glorious 190-year-old fig tree has always been the feature of Milton’s Mick Ryan Park, but now visitors can also test their climbing skills on a brand new playground.

The $130,000 playground was officially opened by Mayor Amanda Findley today, with some local children helping to cut the ribbon.

The equipment sits alongside the historic tree, manicured gardens, a toddler bike track and barbecue area which is popular with local families.

“In the modern play space we have here, there’s still that hark to nature - we’ve got a wonderful climbing tree, we’ve got a wonderful garden where the kids can play hide-and-seek, and then they can come back to this modern creation and play here,” Cr Findley said.

“It’s a stunning location and a must-do rest stop on the Princes Highway at Milton.”

Cr Findley said her children loved the park growing up, and she hopes the children of today and future generations will also enjoy the facility overlooking Milton farmland and beyond to the Budawang Ranges and Didthul.

“Parks are where memories are made, where we get cuts on our chins and scars for life.

“Parks are for making friends, building resilience and having a mighty fine time.”

After cutting the ribbon, Cr Findley - complete with her Christmas-y reindeer antlers - joined the kids on the playground and even tested out the tunnel slide, much to the delight of onlookers.

Children can now enjoy a basket swing, spinner, climbing cube and see saw as well as climbing wall, tunnel slide and climbing webs.

The new playground also has a shade sail which means both the playground and the tree can be enjoyed in the warmer months of the year. 

Council purchased Mick Ryan Park in the 1960s from dairy farmer Mick Ryan in order to preserve the fig tree and ensure a parcel of grassed land would be kept for future generations to enjoy.

"It is great to see nearly six decades on, residents and visitors have a wonderful precinct for families to spend the day or even a weekend,” Cr Findley said. 

The park is one of a series of playgrounds throughout the Shoalhaven that have been upgraded and opened in time for Christmas.

“The Shoalhaven’s locations for their parks are exquisite beyond belief,” Cr Findley said.

“And we have three more in the planning.”

Cr Findley said she will look into giving the amenities block a face-lift – perhaps a mural and a fresh coat of paint, as well as installing a water fountain in the park.

Photos Katrina Condie

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Slippery patient stitched up

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There were some very brave vets and nurses in Milton on Tuesday, who had to wrangle an injured and cranky wild diamond python brought into the Milton Village Vet clinic by national parks and wildlife rangers.

Dr Caitlin McFaddon says the male snake had a large gash on his side which was stitched up by her team.

A bulge in the snake’s belly indicated he had a fresh rabbit for breakfast!

Photos Milton Village Vet.

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Strong winds and power lines spark a grass fire at Yatte Yattah

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Strong winds have caused a grass fire emergency at Yatte Yattah.

Four fire units from the Milton and Conjola Rural Fire Service were called to Pointer Road at about 3.30 pm yesterday afternoon.

An RFS spokesperson said the blaze was sparked when power lines touched after being blown by strong winds.

A 20 square metre area of grass was scorched, with RFS crews quickly bringing the fire under control.

An Essential Energy crew was also on the scene to ensure the safety of the RFS crews before the power supply was restored.

Image: Milton RFS Facebook