A couple of stories from the local papers (click the images to enlarge).
1. From the front page of the Macedon Ranges Telegraph, two weeks ago.
“A LOCAL road reserve has been targeted for a clean-up of undergrowth amid concerns it is a homosexual hotspot and a fire hazard,” the story begins. It’s pretty much the standard sex-panic riff, with a country beat “suddenly” discovered to be a homosexual meeting spot (or “hotspot” in the Telegraph‘s shorthand), but there’s an added element: it’s not just the sexual nature of the goings-on that we’re warned about, but apparently there’s a fire hazard as well.
“There are used condoms and tissues and other things left lying around where they have been, and it’s a worry to think that families on a long drive might stop here to let children stretch their legs and run around a bit.”
He said many of the incidents happened in broad daylight, and better maintenance of the long grass and plants might deter such activity.
“Not only is it a bit of a fire hazard, it’s also a health and safety risk. You just wouldn’t believe what can go on there. It’s shocking.”
2. The second article, from today’s Macedon Ranges Leader, also made the font page:
I don’t know anything more about this story than what’s in the paper, but it sounds like a tragic series of events:
A MACEDON Ranges teenager involved in a horrific head-on collision with a water tanker in Benalla was facing nine criminal charges, including two for rape, before his death.
The 15-year-old was due to face a Children’s Court today on charges relating to an alleged incident involving a 13-year-old boy at a 2006 New Year’s Eve party. But, the charges will never be contested in court after the boy died instantly when the Holden Commodore sedan he was driving slammed into a water tanker on the Midland Highway on January 29.
As I say, I don’t know any more than what I’ve read: maybe this is just a tragic coincidence, or maybe this young man deliberately ended his life when faced with a truth about himself that he didn’t feel he could go on with.
Either way, it’s terribly sad.