VOLUNTEERS for this year’s Christmas Eve celebrations will be multiplying the festive cheer with more Santa’s than you can shake a stick at. The free event organised by thePortland Young Professionals Network and partners will run from 6-8pm on the Bentinck St lawns. Live music, an egg and spoon race, a jumping castle, kids craft and the arrival of Santa is just some of the entertainment on offer. New to this year’s celebration is Santa on the Run at 6pm — a one mile race that requires entrants to dress as Santa. The entry fee is $25, including suit hire, and all money raised will be donated to United Way Glenelg (UWG). UWG member Nicole Reefman said many of the organisation’s volunteers were of an older demographic, so the race is an opportunity to engage with a younger audience. “This is the first year we’ve run the event and there might be some people who aren’t sure about running in a Santa suit but we hope to build up a following with the YPN and have the event next year too,” Mrs Reefman said. Read more in Wednesday’s Portland Observer.
DEMONSTRATING outstanding ability and dedication to their work has gained 15 Portland apprentices awards at the 2012 Trades & Technology Skills Awards Night recently. The South West Institute of TAFE students were honoured in a variety of fields including electrotechnology, engineering, mechanical and fabrication in the Centre For Trade and Technology. Kane Rogers and Shane Lewis are employed by Sobey Services as apprentices. Their employer Glenn Sobey praised the two for the quality of their output. “We do a lot of different jobs here, so the two are gaining a wide range of experience,” he said. “They were chosen for these awards on the basis of their ability, and also because they really apply themselves to the work.” One Portland apprentice, Kieran Malseed of Mirtschin Plumbing, was honoured with the first-ever Brian Crichton Endeavour Award. “The Brian Crichton Endeavour Award is given in recognition of a plumbing student who has shown perseverance through schooling to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals,” a TAFE spokesperson said. Read more in Wednesday’sPortland Observer.
FOR at least five young Portland and Heywood residents, Monday morning brought a pleasant surprise with the arrival of their Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR). Nicola Symons, who attended Hamilton and Alexandra College, received the highest ATAR for the area with 95.1 and a perfect score for her Studio Arts subject, making her eligible for the prestigious Premier’s Award recognising the state’s elite students in the subject. Kaitlyn Hastings’ 93.85 made her the highest-ranked area resident at Monivae College, Portland Secondary College dux Eloise Fleming achieved 92.75, Bayview College dux Nathan Harders received 92.65 and Heywood and District Secondary College dux Ashleigh Endacott had 88.8. Nicola initially thought her results had been sent to the wrong person. “I sat with mum waiting for the “real” results to arrive and when they didn’t, we decided to celebrate the score I’d got,” Nicola said. She specially thanked family friend Bob Stone, aPortlandartist, who Nicola said helped her achieve her perfect Studio Arts score. “I’ve always loved arts, but more of the hands-on side. He really helped me with the theory side of things,” Nicola said. Nicola plans to study osteopathy at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, although she is undecided on whether she’ll take a gap year. Read more in Wednesday’s Portland Observer.
PEACH’S Fruit Market will close on Monday after six years in the city. The Portland fruit store, that has eight part-time and casual employees, will close for the last time on Christmas Eve. Peach’s Fruit Market owner Mark Petrie said thePortland manager Jackie Rivett would still be employed in the area for the wholesale side of the business, which supplies hospitals and other shops in the south-west, but other employees would lose their jobs. “It was purely a business decision,” Mr Petrie said. The Percy Ststore initially opened on December 4, 2006. “We sent a couple from Ballarat down to run it, but it didn’t do well,” Mr Petrie said. Mr Petrie stepped in to oversee the shop, but he said it involved too much effort to just break even. “Business is okay but not good enough to continue long term,” Mr Petrie said. “As the lease is going to run out I wasn’t keen on signing on for a long-term commitment.” Glenelg Shire councillor Geoff White was disappointed to learn of the closure and said Peaches had been a real asset to Portland. Read more in Wednesday’s Portland Observer.
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