Local news

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.

Sleaze-Unease

“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:

Sex-Count Teen

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.