The Daily Advertiser

January 2018 - December 2019 and September 2020 - Present

Baptism by fire. Those are the three words that I would use to describe my first full-time job in the field of journalism. My first two years in my dream role saw me build up the What's On round from scratch, take on the crime round, interview hundreds of people and write countless stories. It was incredible. 

It turns out I loved it so much I would return. I have recently returned to take on the role of the court reporter and features writer for The Daily Advertiser

Two to five year wait: The 'uncertain' experience of social housing

Shannon Fraser made headlines when she stumbled out of a bush in Queensland after being missing for 17 days. Her disappearance sparked a huge search in which emergency crews spent 800 hours scouring the area. "The farmer I came across called the police, and they told him it was a hoax because it could not possibly be me," Ms Fraser said. "I had lost so much weight. I was horribly sunburnt and I had cuts and bruises. I was barely recognisable. "I survived because I knew I needed to get back to my

Unanimous support for transformation of Wagga library

The city's library is set to undergo a major transformation after councillors supported the move during Monday night's meeting. A report submitted to Wagga City Council found that the library was failing to meet the needs of its users. In a report tabled to council, community services manager said that with only one meeting room, and a footprint dominated by bookshelves, the library's current configuration was not working. "The current civic centre location is 20 years old and despite minor refu

Riverina's Australia Day ambassadors revealed

From a Wiradjuri elder and an inventor to a children's author and sports commentator, the region's Australia Day ambassadors for 2021 have been announced. First-time ambassador, and internationally recognised sustainable material research scientist Veena Sahajwalla is heading to Coolamon. Prof Sahajwalla, who was born in Mumbai, gained her PhD in the US, and became an Australian citizen in the 1990s. She said she is looking forward to visiting the Riverina town for the first time. "I'm absolutel

Riverina GP tackles concerns about COVID-19 vaccine

In light of the upcoming rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, The Daily Advertiser talked with Finley general practitioner Alam Yoosuff and put questions to the Department of Health to address common concerns. Dr Yoosuff is the director of primary health for the Murrumbidgee Local Health District but spoke in his capacity as a GP. He said that as conversations around the vaccine ramp up, he has fielded many patients' questions. "A lot of people are asking about the vaccine and wanting to know when i

Community donates supplies for Fiji after devastating cyclone

Wagga has rallied to support Fiji after it was one of the strongest cyclones recorded in the Pacific. On Saturday, the Palm and Pawn hosted a day to celebrate Fijian Culture and gather donated supplies to send across the ocean. Tomasi Rokoqica, secretary at the Wagga Fellowship, said he was thrilled with the turnout and all the items that had been donated. "We have had so many people drop off books, shoes, clothes to help out," he said. "Even though it was a bit last-minute measure, so many peop

'Such a happy girl': little Havana will be sorely missed

Havana Frost will be remembered for her strength, bubbly personality and her beautiful smile. The Tumbarumba community have rallied around the five-year-old's family after she tragically died on Christmas Day. Her mother, Jellila Frost, said she was the happiest little girl and despite facing hurdles throughout her life, never failed to make those around her smile. "She was her own little unique person," she said. "Havana would never let her disability get in her way. "I am so grateful for the j

Abattoir workers among first to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Wagga meat workers will be near the front of the queue when the coronavirus vaccine rollout begins next month. The first to be offered access to the vaccine under Phase 1a includes quarantine and border workers, frontline health workers, aged care and disability staff plus residents. The much larger Phase 1b includes anyone over 70, other healthcare workers, those with an underlying condition and high-risk workers like emergency services personnel and meat processing workers. It also includes Ab

Thousands of Wagga drivers hit with parking fines

More than 2000 Wagga drivers were slapped with parking fines in the space of five months last year, with most stung for overstaying the timed-parking limit. The latest Revenue NSW data reveals 2071 fines were issued by Wagga City Council's parking rangers between July and November. In the same period in 2019, there were 1493 fines issued. A total of 923 fines were handed out during the same period in 2018. Sommer Deaves, owner of the Wellness Co, said her staff have been stung multiple times by

Small business's Telstra 'headache' finally comes to an end

It was the best birthday present one Wagga woman could ask for - Telstra admitting it had incorrectly charged more than $26,000 on business' bill. ICG Construction office manager Emma Burkinshaw said after an almost 12-month battle to sort out the issue, she would encourage others in similar situations to persevere. She realised in February 2020 they had been overcharged on a contract with the telco. In June 2019, ICG Construction signed a 36-month contract for a 100 number range to total $209.8

'Frustrating' fight to resolve $26,000 phone bill dispute

A NSW Riverina business has spent almost an entire year trying to convince Telstra it has been erroneously charged more than $26,000. ICG Construction has wanted to sort out the matter since February last year but to no avail. It was only after inquiries from The Daily Advertiser that the company reached out. Office manager Emma Burkinshaw said she realised in February 2020 they had been overcharged on a Telstra contract. "I contacted the local centre here, couldn't get anywhere," she said. "The

North Wagga rallies around Fijian community after cyclone Yasa

Just before Christmas, Fiji was hit by one of the strongest cyclones recorded in the Pacific destroying thousands of homes along with schools and other infrastructure. Tomasi Rokoqica, secretary at the Wagga Fellowship, has been living in North Wagga for a year and considers it a second home. He said it was heartbreaking to witness the destruction in his home country. "Most of the men who are here [in Wagga] are from the areas that were affected," Mr Rokoqica said. "The result of it was really d

River and Wren sets 'hopeful' return date for 2021

One of Wagga's much-loved markets has set a "hopeful" return date for 2021. Jennie Meiklejohn, the River and Wren markets founder, is hoping to bring the monthly event back on May 2. "Last December, I had proposed to start back in March when things were looking settled," she said. "But then a couple of weeks after it was announced, it became obvious that it wouldn't be wise due to cases in NSW. "The safety of the community is more important." But, Ms Meiklejohn has been preparing to bring the ev

Company swoops in to buy Wagga Homebase complex

A company has snapped up one of Wagga's prime commercial developments for the hefty sum of $46 million. The Homebase on Hammond Ave was purchased by Metro Diversified Property Management according to media reports. The East Wagga complex was co-owned by Darryl Kelly, former Wagga Rugby League president and current Gold Coast Titans part-owner. The 20,000 square metre retail centre is home to Harvey Norman, Fantastic Furniture, Officeworks, Spotlight, Hungry Jacks and KFC. The sale was brokered b

Riverina marks 125 days since last coronavirus case

The region remains free of coronavirus marking 125 days since the last case. The Murrumbidgee Local Health District released a statement on Monday confirming no new cases had been registered despite recent outbreaks in Sydney. In the last seven days, health authorities have conducted 4077 tests in the MLHD. Since the pandemic started, there have been 58 cases in the region with none currently active. The MLHD has conducted 96,863 tests since the first outbreak. IN OTHER NEWS: Last week, acting C

COVIDSafe app 'failed to deliver' according to Wagga expert

Wagga residents were urged to download the "life-saving" COVIDSafe app, but experts say it has "vastly underdelivered". Associate Head of Computing and Mathematics at Wagga's CSU campus, Tanveer Zia, specialises in technology security. In his opinion, the app has failed its original objective of assisting with widely tracing close contacts in virus outbreaks. Dr Zia said technological issues, combined with privacy concerns and a lack of public awareness, could have contributed. "For an app that

Four injured after 'car, caravan' crash with one still trapped

Four people are being treated by emergency services after a two-vehicle crash on Lachlan Valley Way south of Cowra. A NSW Ambulance spokespersons said paramedics were called to the scene just before 12.30pm. "We have got six road crews responding and three helicopters on the way," they said. "A 18-year-old male is suffering from significant leg injuries. A 78-old-male is trapped with a head injury and complaining of chest and back pain. "An 80-year-old female is out of the car complaining of nec

Man hiding in shed arrested after police pursuit on Sturt Highway

Despite trying to hide from police in a creek and then in a shed, a man has been arrested after a police pursuit near Borambola. Officers noticed a man driving at highspeed west on the Sturt Highway about 1am on Thursday. Riverina Police District Superintendent Bob Noble said highway patrol engaged in a pursuit that reached up to 170km/h. "Police will allege in addition to excessively high speed, the driver engaged in other dangerous manoeuvres including overtaking vehicles in an unsafe manner,"

Teenager dies after two-vehicle crash on Lachlan Valley Way

A teenager has died following a two-vehicle crash in the Central West region. About 12.30pm on Friday, emergency services responded to reports of a crash on Lachlan Valley Way, about 20kilometres south of Cowra. On arrival, police and paramedics were told a 4WD, with a caravan attached, and a sedan, had collided. Despite the efforts of emergency services, the 18-year-old female driver of the sedan died at the scene. Her 18-year-old male passenger was airlifted to Canberra Hospital in a critical

Five arrested after cross-border crime spree

Riverina police have arrested five men suspected of carrying out a crime spree across two states involving multiple robberies and pursuits. District Superintendent Bob Noble said a joint operation investigating a string of offences committed across the two states has been underway for the past couple of weeks. "This has involved a number of stolen vehicles, home invasions, break-and-enters, thefts and other matters involving at some point threats of violence [and] pursuits with police," he said.

Riverina mum's solution to 'childcare gap' in region

When a Riverina woman was confronted with a gap in childcare services, she set about fixing the problem. When Rebecca White and her partner started down the road of parenthood, it was as an Australian Defence Force family. This meant she lived nine hours away from her support network. "We had no weekend catch-ups, and no one to duck over to quickly help out," Mrs White said. "We only planned visits for four to five days which left us with a taste of what support looked like. "Our friends had you
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