Horowhenua Mail : August 4th 2011
Reflecting your community THURSDAY, August 4, 2011 Editorial (06) 368 6014 -- Display Advertising (04) 298 5019 -- Fax (04) 298 2073 -- email@example.com -- www.horowhenuamail.co.nz IN BRIEF Lucky escapes in four-car crash, page 3 Dancing to glory, page 5 Hockey boys' tough test, page 46 INSIDE Escape attempt fails A Waitarere Beach man, thinking he could make a cheeky escape down the beach in his four-wheel-drive, was nabbed pulling into his own driveway. Police said the 34-year-old, stopped by police on Kemp St, Hokio Beach on Sunday, did a quick u-turn after failing a breath test, and headed out to the beach. Constable Scott Harvey said the police Commodore vehicle could not follow on the sand, so another Levin unit was called to head out to the driver's Waitarere Beach home. ''They [police] virtually met him his driveway, just as he was pulling up,'' Mr Harvey said. The driver was charged with failing to remain, failing to stop for red and blue lights, and driving with a breath alcohol reading of 1237, more than three times the legal limit, and his licence was suspended for 28 days. Cannabis campaigner: Levin's Billy Mckee, arrested for supply and cultivation of cannabis, outside Levin District Court with supporters Gary Chiles, left, and Jeff Lye. Cannabis supporters at court By TANYA WOOD Smoking support: Billy Mckee supporters share a smoke outside court. Doug McLeod, GreenCross supporter of Te Puke, left, and Hawke's Bay ALCP candidate Romana Manning. Levin s Billy Mckee had vocal sup- port when he appeared in Levin District Court last Thursday, on charges of supply and cultivation of cannabis. About 20 free Billy Mckee supporters from GreenCross, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party (ALCP) and Norml, stood outside the courthouse with placards and banners, a few openly smoking a joint, before police arrived to check the demonstration would be a peaceful one. The 56-year-old, who lost the lower half of his right leg after being deliberately rammed by a drunk driver 36 years ago, said he has been a medicinal cannabis user for the last 10 years. A television crew filmed the protest and interviewed Mckee after he emerged from the bail hearing. Mckee said he is pleading not guilty to the charges, and although there was a good chance he could go to jail for a couple of years, it was worth it if it gets the debate going and changes the law . GreenCross, which Mckee has been a member of for eight years, president for six, actively promotes the legalisation of medi- cinal cannabis use under GP supervision, and took part in last year s hearings, which saw the Law Commission recommend cannabis be made available on prescription as a licensed drug if proven to treat certain conditions safely. Mckee said joining GreenCross, a medical support group of 50, mostly old ladies and cancer sufferers in the main, requires a letter from the applicant s GP acknowledging their patient s use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. It s a political issue and the police are trying to cut down the debate by targeting organisations such as ours. Asked to resign from the Horowhenua District Ratepayers and Residents Association follow- ing his arrest last month at his home in Levin, the self-described fulltime social and environmental activist said he was unsuccessful in getting his bail conditions changed to use cannabis. Mckee, who needs a wheelchair, said he uses about a gram a day of cannabis, mostly as a poultice on the stump when it starts throb- bing and going into spasms. Within five or 10 minutes I can feel an improvement, but now I m getting those spasms every night and I m not getting to sleep. Mr Mckee was remanded on bail to reappear in Levin District Court on August 17. Upgrade part of five-year plan By TANYA WOOD CONTINUED Page 3 Shannon s latest spruce-up is all part of Oosh retail owner, Suzie Johnson s master plan to have the rural town known as the funkiest small town in New Zealand . The recent $30,000 upgrade, which included historical bollards and carpet rose beds along the corner of Ballance St and Plimmer Tce, is part of the town s five-year plan, following on from upgrades to Te Maire Park, including a new playground, street tree planting, public seating, upgrading the old railway station and bus shelter. The girl from Napier, and driv- ing force behind the town s re- emergence as a shopping mecca, opened her first shop in Shannon, Gallery 57, in 2007 and was instrumental in setting up the first town meeting five years ago. Mrs Johnson s vision for a five- year makeover of the town saw 70 people turn up to a public meeting and get behind the plan. She said Horowhenua District Council sees people wanting to make a difference , and it has been fully supportive of the plan since the beginning. It was all baby steps , and all done on a shoe string, but we ve pretty much done everything in four years. A Shannon resident of almost four years, Mrs Johnson said she rucks up council, all the time . I know council always get a bit of flack but it s been great to us. She has worked closely with the council during the past few years, even submitting a design for the town s notice board which was adopted. She said chief executive David Ward, in particular, had been brilliant .
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