What the hell… the year of living dangerously

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The front cover shock headline from March 19, 2020.

Lockdowns, rubble, statues and green beans… not a bad “Seven Days”, says IAN MEIKLE

IT’s been a year since the World Health Organization called COVID-19 a pandemic and a year to this edition since the ACT, like the rest of Australia, fell bewilderingly into lockdown.

Ian Meikle.

Now we know what a coronavirus is and I have seen Australia described as “armchair virus watchers”. The Lucky Country indeed, with a world reeling from a year of more than 117.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 2.6 million deaths.

I topped the front cover of the March 19, 2020, edition with the heading: “Virus crisis: What the hell?” As in what the hell was happening?

Among the six pages dedicated to early aspects of the covid experience, in this column, headed “Keep calm and carry on, says Dr Keryn” I noted that “the ACT lost its coronavirus innocence to a 30-something man, who turned himself into the Weston Creek Walk-in Centre. 

“None of this fazed ACT chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman who reassuringly said, sure, there would be a heightened level of anxiety around the place but there was no risk to the general community from this case, but didn’t say why. 

“The ACT is poised and ready, and keep washing your hands was the message but the Canberra Liberals, fearing the infection risks of malingering in waiting rooms, called for drive-through testing facilities.” They got that right!

The rest is shared history (what was the toilet roll rampage all about?), but maybe the “What-the-hell” heading should have been a little stronger. 

The landscaped aftermath at Watson.

WE grumble often about the speed with which City Services does stuff, but the department did well in getting rid of hazardous building waste dumped in Watson. 

A reader complained that he had fruitlessly contacted four different government agencies in January about the dumped material, which he said contained sharp metal fragments, concrete blocks, plastic and rubber waste, at the entrance to the Mount Majura Nature Park on Tay Street, Watson, that leads to Clancy’s Walking Track. 

Building rubbish dumped in Watson six weeks ago.

“CityNews” digital editor Danielle Nohra published the reader’s plight on citynews.com.au and within two weeks the rubbish was gone, the area landscaped and City Services telling us the incident had been referred to the licensing and compliance team that regulates the Litter Act 2004 to investigate the illegal dumping.

The prime ministerial “statues” adorning Aarwun Gallery.

COLUMNIST Jon Stanhope seriously got his statue count of PMs wrong in the last edition of “CityNews”. He reckoned there were six in Canberra, of which he, as chief minister, paid for four of them. Robert Stephens, owner of Aarwun Gallery in Gold Creek, begs to differ. 

“As always I find Jon’s column quite enlightening and interesting, just thought he might like to see my version of sculptures of prime ministers at the front of Aarwun Gallery. 

“Still a couple more to come, I had not thought of John McEwen as being a prime minister, maybe I should add him into the collection.”

BROADCASTER Rod Henshaw has taken work experience to a whole new level. 

Rod Henshaw’s champion beans.

For a few years, part of his weekend work at 2CC has been facilitating “The Garden Gurus” program (7am-9am). Over those Saturday and Sunday mornings fielding listeners’ calls and listening to horticulturalist Paulene Cairnduff he picked up a growing love for growing things… tomatoes, corn, cucumber, you name it. Now he’s got bragging rights having bagged first prize at the Canberra Horticultural Society’s Autumn Show for his green beans (a rat got his prized tomatoes). 

Taking his win with all the modesty a radio announcer can muster, he says: “Bean there, done that!”

Ian Meikle is the editor of “CityNews” and can be heard on the “CityNews Sunday Roast” news and interview program, 2CC, 9am-noon.

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Ian Meikle, editor

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Ian Meikle
Ian Meikle is the owner and editor of "CityNews".

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