WARMING up the fire truck for Santa this week and looking quite the part was local CFA member Ian Hamley. During the next few days, with the help of Portland’s CFA, Santa will be making a few special appearances around town and is looking forward to sharing some festive spirit with the community. For all the kids out there Santa will be walking along Portland’s Bentinck, Julia and Percy streets accompanied by local firefighters from 10am to noon tomorrow. He will also be dropping by the Portland foreshore on Monday night, which is Christmas Eve. Arrive before 7.15pm to catch Santa hitching a ride but be there by 6pm for games, jumping castles and a Santa on the Run race.
CREDITORS have agreed to the $2.5 million sale of Whitpark, a division of Noske Group, back to executive director Tony Noske but three employees won’t be retained and the rest will lose some entitlements. The sale was agreed to Monday and includes the transfer of plant, trucks, equipment and 72 of the company’s 75 employees based inPortland, Geelong and Brighton. A spokesman for Ferrier Hodgson, the former voluntary administrators and current liquidators of Whitpark wouldn’t confirm if the three employees were made redundant or quit. The spokesman said it’s unlikely the $800,000 in superannuation entitlements will be paid to employees in full. “Employees are aware of this and over the next few months we will be confirming exactly how much of their superannuation entitlements they will be paid,” they said. But the spokesman said leave entitlements of $266,000 will carry over with the sale. Whitpark liquidators John Lindholm and Brendan Richards of Ferrier Hodgson will investigate Whitpark leading up to the appointment of administrators and any other avenues that may lead to further recoveries for creditors. a press release from the company said.
MORE than 1800 Portland landlines were unable to receive calls Tuesday night as Telstra continues to struggle with the fallout of last month’s exchange fire. The 1837 lines were down between 9.30 and 11.30pm due to re-parenting of lines from the Warrnambool exchange to the new South Melbourne exchange, where Portland’s landlines will now be based. Telstra south-west Victoriaarea manager Bill Mundy apologised for the dropout. “We’re trying to ensure these things don’t occur again as we work towards finishing the re-parenting of lines,” Mr Mundy said. Landlines were also down in Mortlake and 800 ADSL services were down in Port Fairy Wednesday due to ongoing works at the Warrnambool exchange. A skeleton crew of technicians will continue to work at the Warrnambool exchange during Christmas and the New Year. Mr Mundy said Telstra is in the process of installing new redundant pathways outside of Portland, which act as back-up lines in case the current service is disabled again. Read more in Friday’s Portland Observer.
TEN former Portland North Primary pupils returned to school on Wednesday, although with most now in their 80s there wasn’t much for them to learn. The informal reunion was to help promote the school’s upcoming 140th anniversary, which will be celebrated on March 1 next year. The visit sparked fond memories for several of the scholars, aged between 79 and 89 years. Principal Don Nelson said the anniversary would be marked with a celebration and family night, open to past and present pupils and the wider school community. During the day pupils will attend school dressed like the school’s first pupils may have been and enjoy old-fashioned games and a bush dance in the afternoon. The celebration itself will take place from 6pm and include a barbecue tea, drinks, Devonshire teas, more old- fashioned games and entertainment from the Cockatoo Valleysong group, Portland Secondary College Band and an Irish band. The evening will finish with a short film about the history of the school featuring stories written by the school’s current pupils. Mr Nelson said he hoped to invite more groups of former pupils into the school in the future to spend time with pupils and share their experiences.
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