Cherokee, North Carolina, may very well be the next best mountain town, and you can thank Harrah’s Cherokee Casino for that.Harrah’s Cherokee Casino never sleepsThe 150,000-square-foot gaming venue is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When I wander in on an early Tuesday evening, there are already hundreds of people crowded around blackjack tables and posted up at the slots. I can’t decide if I’m overwhelmed or impressed.More than 1,000 machines are spread neatly beneath lighted glass structures that stretch from floor to ceiling. A two-story curtain of water falls from somewhere up above. Carpet cleaner and cigarette smoke hang heavy in the air. Waiters move through the crowds with trays full of drinks.As I weave in and out of the rows of machines beneath shifting shades of purple light, it becomes apparent that, at 27, I’m the youngest guest at the casino this evening. I’ve only been to a casino once before, so with little idea of where, or how, to start, I grab dinner instead.The Noodle Bar is packed. I find a lone seat at the bar between two couples, one of which promptly leaves. I order a glass of wine and an overpriced plate of lo mein drenched in soy sauce, feeling every bit a fish out of water, when an older gentleman takes a seat beside me.“I’ll have what she’s having,” he tells the waitress. “That looks light. I’m trying to watch my sodium.”He tells me his name is John Smith—“now you can say you’ve met a real-life one”—and he’s been driving from Knoxville, Tenn., to Harrah’s nearly every month since the casino opened back in 1995. There’s a youthful charm about him, despite the silver shock of hair that hangs low over his brow. He says his game of choice is blackjack, but the slot machines are fun, too.John doesn’t know much about Cherokee outside the walls of the casino. He never stays the night, even though the casino would comp his room (if that’s any indication of how often he frequents Harrah’s), and he only comes to town for the gaming. When I ask about his winningest trip to the casino, he gives me a blank stare.“Oh, I’ve never won anything. If I walk outta here only having lost $100, $150 bucks, that’s a pretty good night.”I down the rest of my drink to keep my jaw from hitting the floor. If I’ve done my shell-shocked math correctly, Mr. Smith has lost the equivalent of a year’s entry-level salary here.“Come on, I’ll show you around.”He leads me to a row of Game of Thrones-themed slot machines. After watching my $5 bet whittle away to nothing, it’s clear I don’t have the stomach for the gaming life. No matter. The casino is doing just fine without me.Last year, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino brought in over $300 million. The Harrah’s Cherokee location in particular has been the chain’s most profitable casino for over a decade, even before the 2009 referendum that allowed the casino to serve alcohol. That’s largely due to the fact that there are no Vegas-style casinos like Harrah’s Cherokee in the neighboring states of South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia.The outdoor drama “Unto These Hills” has brought tourists to the Qualla Boundary since 1950.Initially, some of the 13,000-plus enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee who live on or near the Qualla Boundary were skeptical if not downright opposed to introducing gaming to the community. At the time, unemployment was at an all-time high. Drugs and crime were already rampant in the neighborhood, and tribal members worried that the presence of a casino would bring more organized crime to town.Then there was the issue of how to handle such a large influx of money. Many feared political corruption would sweep through the ranks of tribal leadership. Indeed, a few corruption scandals have plagued previous tribal chiefs.And yet, for all of the political challenges that have come as a direct or indirect result of the casino, it’s hard to ignore the benefits. Per the compact agreement decided by the state of North Carolina and Tribal Council, Harrah’s takes only three percent of its annual earnings. Half of the remaining amount is used for funding tribal programs, providing healthcare for every enrolled member, and covering the cost of college for each of its youth. The other half goes right back to Cherokee members in the form of twice-yearly per capita checks.When the casino first opened, those checks didn’t amount to much. Still, for a seasonal tourist town with a high percentage of families living below the poverty line, it was something. Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources Joey Owle remembers the first “per cap” check his family received back in 1996.“It was $595. I remember it was the first time I ever remember seeing a one hundred dollar bill,” says Owle. “That improved a lot of lives around here.”Now, 20 years later, Cherokee families are making as much as $12,000 a year from those per cap distributions. It’s not enough to rely on solely—16.2% of Swain County residents still live below the poverty line, which is 3.5% higher than the national average—but according to a longitudinal study conducted by Duke University, the added income is having extraordinary effects on the overall mental and physical wellbeing of Cherokee’s youth.Museum of the Cherokee Indian“The boost to the economy has such a ripple effect throughout the entire community,” says Cherokee Indian Hospital CEO Casey Cooper. “The tribe as a municipality not only has so many more resources now but the lives of individuals in my opinion are much improved because people have money, and because people have money, they have the ability to take care of those basic level needs at the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy.”The hospital over which Cooper presides is one of the many examples of gaming money being channeled back into the Cherokee community in a big way. Casino funds helped build the $82 million facility, paid for a new $26 million wastewater treatment plant, covered the multimillion dollar cost of building a LEAD-certified k-12 school, and last year, paid for the boundary’s first open-to-the-public trail system at Fire Mountain.Opened in June 2017, the Fire Mountain Trail System was constructed with casino funds.Cherokee’s Outdoor Recreation EconomyThe trailhead to the 10.5-mile Fire Mountain trail system is tucked up on the hillside overlooking the Oconaluftee Indian Village. Opened just last summer in June of 2017, the trails look like they could have been cut in last week—even the trail kiosk still smells of fresh-cut wood and paint.The project, spearheaded by Tonya “Tinker” Jenks with the Cherokee Preservation Foundation, and Jeremy Hyatt, Secretary of Administration, took six years to bring from idea to fruition. Historically, the Cherokee have always catered to tourists—the outdoor drama “Unto These Hills,” which has been around since 1950, has long brought visitors to the Qualla Boundary—but the idea of focusing on something like mountain biking as an economic driver is altogether new to Cherokee.“When you’re not a gaming tribe, you have to be a resource tribe, but we have the best of both worlds,” says Joey Owle. “We could be doing a better job of managing our forests, and that’s where we’re getting to is looking at that vision of what we have, conserving it, preserving it, and making money off of it as well.”Owle is tall and slender with quarter-size gauges in both of his ears. He’s sharp, a quick talker who sometimes spills out so much information in one sentence that it’s hard to keep up. At 29 years old, Owle is one of the many Cherokee millennials who took that opportunity to receive a free college education, lived off of the boundary for a few years, but then came home to serve his tribe.As a kid, Owle used the footpaths and game trails here to get to his friends’ houses on other parts of the boundary. Cherokee still maintains those six communities—Big Cove, Birdtown, Paintown, Wolftown, Yellowhill, and Snowbird, which is located nearby in Graham County—but things are different now. The trails are largely overgrown, parents are less apt to let their children roam free, and once-large tracts of property have become fractionalized.“When you look at making a trail system now, you may be cutting across 30 or 40 different possessory holders’ lands, and that’s somebody’s private property. That’s trespassing,”That’s also one of the challenges of expanding any trail opportunities for the public, says Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Natural Resources Manager Mike LaVoie. If the tribe doesn’t have a large enough tract of land within the boundary, it would have to arrange for land easements from possessory holders or purchase the property outright. It’s not impossible, he says, but there’s a long way to go.Energy has already been building around the Fire Mountain trails. Later this month, the trail system will play host to the inaugural women’s only Dirty Maiden Enduro Series. It’ll be another few years before the full economic impact of the trail system can be realized, but if the tribe’s fishing tourism is any indication of the potential success, the future is looking good.Enrolled Tribal Member Michael Bradley taking advantage of the Cherokee’s pristine waterways.Launched back in the 1960s by what was then the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries (now U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Cherokee’s trout program brings almost 50,000 anglers annually to the boundary. The program stocks more than 230,000 pounds of fish every year, which anglers can get a taste of for as little as $10 per day.Four years ago, the Natural Resources Department conducted an economic impact study on the fishing program and found that anglers brought in an average of $26 million annually, which makes trout fishing the second largest revenue generator for the Eastern Band of Cherokee after Harrah’s casino. Fishing tourism additionally supported upwards of 300 part-time and full-time jobs.“The fishing program has been a really great boon to tourism,” says LaVoie. “Fish and trout in general have been very important to Cherokee history and culture for centuries, but also economically to the tribe today. There’s a multiplier effect of eight for every dollar spent by folks who come here to fish.”With pristine headwaters protected by the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Cherokee may very well have one of the best trout fisheries in the region. Over 30 miles of tribal waters are stocked on the boundary, with over 60 miles of headwater streams available to enrolled members only. The tribe also hosts annual casting tournaments like the Rumble in the Rhododendron, Casting for Hope, and the Talking Trees Children’s Trout Derby.“I grew up fishing here in the Big Cove community,” says Fly Fish Cherokee owner and guide Michael Bradley. “I’ve been fishing forever. It’s great because you can fish all year here. I’ve caught a few fish that are 28 inches.”Bradley is only 27 years old, an enrolled member, and a man of very few words, but he’s making a big name not only for himself but for the entire Cherokee community. Bradley’s held a top 10 spot on Fly Fishing Team USA for the past year and a half and has traveled all over the country to compete in national events. When he’s not competing or organizing local fishing tournaments, he’s commercially guiding clients on Cherokee waters 300 days out of the year.Beer and Bike ShopsIt’s relevant businesses like Bradley’s fly fishing outfitter that Owle hopes to see more of in the years to come. Cherokee is arguably already ahead of the game compared to many parts of rural Appalachia looking to adopt an outdoor economy—the tribe retains its younger population, has a few key employers, offers ample lodging and restaurants (albeit fast food chains) and cultural activities, and sits right at the gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. What the tribe really needs, says Owle, is to allow the sale of alcohol on the boundary.“As a young person, I want the opportunity to go to a local brewery or to go to a good restaurant and get a good beer,” he says. “What we have is this older generation which, I understand, believes alcohol has had a tremendously negative impact on native communities. Well, that’s true for a lot of places, not just native communities.”“We don’t charge anything to use our trails, so people all over the Southeast are hearing about our amazing trail system, they’re coming here, they’re riding it, and then they’re going to Bryson City to have a beer,” says Principal Chief Richard Sneed. “We’re going to have to have alcohol sales. We’ve got to keep them here to spend their money.”This year, the tribe will vote on an alcohol referendum. Both Owle and Chief Sneed agree that there seems to be a growing acceptance of alcohol among tribal members, even those who are personally opposed to drinking. Given the community’s proximity to Beer City, U.S.A., aka Asheville, N.C., the tribe’s adoption of alcohol is only a matter of time.Until then, Cherokee has plenty to celebrate. Next month, Motion Makers Bicycle Shop and Outdoor 76 will open the first outdoor outfitter on the boundary. The joint establishment, which will be located in a yellow house at the edge of town, will feature an open design with Motion Makers on the first floor and Outdoor 76 on the second floor.For Motion Makers owner Kent Crandall, the partnership is the perfect fit. Crandall says he had always wanted to open up a location in Cherokee, but hadn’t been actively pursuing it until the daughter of a landlord reached out to him specifically because her father wanted an outdoor business in his retail space.Looking up from the Oconaluftee River Trail. Photo: SmokyMountains.com“We knew this would be a real opportunity,” says Cranford. “Our shop is right at the beginning, literally, of the Oconaluftee River Trail. There’s already a community of people here who we know are getting more active and already utilizing our Sylva store as their access point for bikes. To have the opportunity to come into a community that is clearly opening its arms to the outdoors but doesn’t have all of the resources, it’s an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”The Cherokee location of Motion Makers will be the store’s third site and will offer the company’s largest rental fleet yet, including cruisers, mountain bikes, and even e-bikes, which are allowed on Fire Mountain’s trails. It certainly feels like fortuitous timing, for Cherokee, for Cranford, and for Outdoor 76 co-owners Cory McCall and Rob Gasbarro.“It’s an untapped market,” says McCall. “There are 12 million people a year visiting the Smokies. As a whole, we want to service those people visiting, but also the community of Cherokee. We love our town of Franklin to death, but we’re excited to open another location and gain the trust of this new community. Community involvement is ingrained in our business, and we want to be able to translate that here.”Finally, it seems Cherokee is opening its eyes to the golden egg it’s been sitting on for hundreds of years. While the casino has certainly helped put Cherokee on the map, El Camino Motel owner Lambert Wilson is grateful to see the tribe’s priorities shifting.“Gambling is so lucrative and they make so much money, but the tribe has realized that you can’t put your eggs in one basket. You’ve got to diversify.”
In the history of U.S. space flight, neither NASA nor the FAA have permitted a vertical launch over private homes or people directly downrange. The risk to people and property from an exploding rocket is too great. But that may soon change if a private launch facility across from Georgia’s Cumberland Island National Seashore is approved.Cumberland and Little Cumberland Islands have just become the first communities in America to be directly downrange from a vertical launch spaceport awaiting license approval from the FAA. Hikers and campers on Cumberland Island National Seashore would be endangered by the proposed launch site, and more than sixty private homes lie in the path of rockets that Camden County commissioners hope someday to launch.On January 29, the Camden County, Georgia, Board of Commissioners filed an application to launch commercial/non-federal rockets over the Cumberland Island National Seashore and Little Cumberland Island. Camden County’s proposal to launch vertical rockets over people and their homes is without precedent in the United States.According to the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed spaceport, rocket failures are reasonably expected to occur every 18 months (a 6 percent stated failure rate with 12 proposed launches each year). It will only take one rocket failure to completely destroy Little Cumberland Island and the northern end of Cumberland Island.“What other national park or neighborhood in America faces the prospect of destruction every 1.5 years as a result of the actions of its own local government?” asks Rebecca Lang, a resident of Little Cumberland Island.Aerospace Corp. was engaged to analyze the risks associated with launching rockets from the proposed site, but Camden County has refused to make the results of the analysis public.Little Cumberland Island Homes Association, Inc., the Southern Environmental Law Center, and other groups and individuals have submitted Georgia Open Records Act requests for public disclosure of the risk analysis for the proposed spaceport. Camden County denied the requests, relying on an inapplicable exception to Open Records Act. This risk analysis contains impact dispersion diagrams of debris fields from rocket explosions all over the National Seashore and the homes of its residents.Little Cumberland Island is within the boundaries of the Cumberland Island National Seashore and is home to the longest running Loggerhead Sea Turtle Research program in the world. The Little Cumberland Lighthouse was built in 1838 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.Cumberland Island National Seashore attracts 50,000 hikers and campers each year and is a United Nations Global Biosphere Reserve.For more information on the threats that Spaceport Camden poses to Cumberland Island National Seashore, visit ProtectCumberlandIsland.org.
Here are the highlights of the proposed Code of Conduct for Court Employees:• Canon 1: A court employee shall uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary and the court employees’s office. “An independent and honorable judiciary is indispensable to justice in our society. Court employees shall personally observe high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary are preserved. Court employees shall maintain and observe the highest standards of integrity, honesty, and truthfulness in their professional and personal dealings.”• Canon 2. Court employees shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all their activities. Examples of improper conduct include: trying to get a traffic ticket or parking violation fixed; using official letterhead for private business correspondence; carrying a business card reflecting an official relationship with the courts unless authorized by the appropriate authority; discussing the merits of cases pending before the court with litigants, counsel or other persons who do business with the court in a manner that gives the appearance of preferential treatment.Court employees may not knowingly make false entries on time cards or personnel records; backdate a court document; falsely claim reimbursement for mileage or expenses; misuse the telephone, fax machine, or copying machine; or take supplies home for private use.“Such conduct may be punishable as theft under the criminal statutes,” the proposed code says.• Canon 3: A court employee shall adhere to appropriate standards in performing the duties of the office. Besides carrying out duties in a “courteous and professional manner,” this canon also details that a court employee “shall not publicly comment on the merits of any pending action and should require similar restraint by the court employee’s subordinates. This proscription does not extend to public statements made in the course of official duties or when explaining court procedures.”Additionally, “no court employee shall alter, falsify, destroy, mutilate, backdate or fail to make required entries on any records within the employee’s control.”And court employees shall not “discriminate against or engage in bias or prejudice against another person based upon race, physical or mental disability, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or political affiliation in the conduct of service to the court.”This canon also stresses that “no court employee shall provide legal advice or recommend the names of private attorneys, when acting in the capacity of a court employee.” • Canon 4: No court employee shall disclose confidential information acquired in the course of employment. This canon also requires that if a court employee has knowledge that another court employee has violated this rule to “take appropriate action. No employee shall be disciplined for disclosing such a violation to an appropriate authority.”It asks court administrators to educate court employees about what information is confidential.Court employees are also prohibited from engaging in ex parte communication “from litigants, witnesses or attorneys to judges, jury members or any other person in the decision-making process, except as provided by law or at the direction of the court.” • Canon 5: Every court employee shall avoid conflicts of interest in the performance of professional duties. This canon expects court employees to “regulate outside activities to minimize the risk of conflict with court-related duties. Generally, a conflict of interest exists when the court employee’s objective ability or independence of judgement in the performance of his or her job is impaired or may reasonably appear to be impaired.”In an anti-nepotism section of the canon, no employee may be supervised by a member of the employee’s immediate family, “nor shall there be any assignments as supervisor and subordinate between employees engaged in a dating relationship.”The committee recognized that this restriction may result in a qualified candidate being summarily rejected for a position or represent a hardship to smaller counties.“However, when balanced by the need for actions free of the taint of nepotism both in appearance and fact, this restriction is necessary.”Court employees who have the authority to enter into or approve contracts over $1,500 in the name of the court system must file financial disclosure statements with the chief judge (consistent with that which is required for disclosure under F.S. 112.3145). • Canon 6: A court employee’s professional position shall not be used for private gain. This section deals with the prohibition against soliciting or accepting freebies, whether they are “gifts, loans, gratuities, discounts, hospitality, services or favors directly or indirectly from attorneys, litigants or other persons known to do business with the court.”Additionally, “receiving fees, money or other compensation not provided for by law in return for public services is prohibited and may be punishable under the criminal code.”When is a gift OK?When it’s the holiday season, the giver is an attorney, and the food and refreshments are “of insignificant value.”Gifts may also be exchanged between court employees and judges during the holidays, birthday, or weddings.“The standard to keep in mind is that court employees should always conduct themselves in a manner that inspires public confidence in their role as court employees. After all, when serving the public interest, court employees must be free from the influence of improper outside interests. Also, gifts that cannot properly be accepted may be returned at government expense.”When it comes to outside employment, it is only permitted when the job does not involve “an entity that regularly appears in court or conducts business with the court system and it does not require the court employee to have frequent contact with attorneys who regularly appear in the court system.”If the court employee is also an attorney, he or she may provide “occasional uncompensated legal advice or document drafting for relatives or friends; or as part of pro bono services as recognized by The Florida Bar. However, the attorney may undertake litigation only if it is of a personal or family nature and so long as the litigation does not conflict with” other provisions of the canon.Judge Silverman acknowledged this prohibition may likely require a change in the Rules of Judicial Administration. • Canon 7: A court employee should refrain from inappropriate political activity. Keep the bumper stickers for candidates off your office door, and don’t use the office phone for drumming up support for your favorite judge running for re-election.This canon makes it clear that court employees should separate their political activities from employment duties.No political activity may be carried out during work hours or using government vehicles, equipment or on court property, and this includes telephones, fax machines, computers, network connectivity, copies and stamps.This also means court employees cannot display campaign literature, badges, stickers or endorsement signs on behalf of any party, committee, agency or candidate for political office.Nor may court employees solicit signatures for political candidacy or solicit campaign contributions on the job.Court employees may voluntarily participate in a judge’s or clerk’s campaign activities, including contributing money, but only through a judge’s or clerk’s fund-raising committee. Judges, elected clerks, and court administrators or supervisors may not require subordinate court employees to participate in political activities.“In general, court employees may participate in any political activities that do not give the impression that the judiciary itself endorses political candidates or supports political causes.” July 1, 2002 Regular News Proposed Code of Conduct for court system employees Proposed Code of Conduct for court system employees
“We have talked with Indonesian diplomats in Hubei province. In Wuhan, the [evacuation] process continues,” Retno said.Read also: Indonesian diplomats descend on virus-hit Wuhan to rescue trapped citizensShe thanked all relevant ministries and state institutions as well as Chinese authorities for their cooperation in facilitating the repatriation. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo ordered on Thursday evening the immediate repatriation of the at least 243 Indonesians trapped in locked-down Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province – the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, which as of Friday had killed 213 and infected nearly 10,000 in mainland China.The Air Force has kept three aircraft and a team of health personnel on standby to evacuate Indonesian citizens from Hubei at any time, awaiting instructions from the government. The government has also prepared Sulianto Saroso Hospital in North Jakarta to be used as a quarantine facility to monitor the inbound citizens once they arrive in Indonesia. (ami)Topics : Jakarta confirmed on Friday afternoon that the government would send an aircraft to evacuate Indonesian citizens from China’s coronavirus-hit Hubei province in less than 24 hours.”The plane and team are set to fly [to Wuhan] in less than 24 hours. We are also using a large plane so that all Indonesians willing to be evacuated can fly without having to transit,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said on Friday.Retno said she had met with Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia Xiao Qian earlier that day, during which the Chinese envoy had given clearance for Indonesian aircraft to land in Hubei and evacuate the country’s stranded citizens.
The pension fund, which divides assets strategically among various major asset classes and has a conservative investment profile, said investment managers tendering for the mandates should have assets under management of at least €5bn.The “Mario Negri” pension fund provides details of how managers should respond using its published questionnaires.It said that, on the basis of the replies it receives, it will then move on to pre-select managers to go through the next phase.A second phase of the process will then consist of possible direct meetings to gain further information and clarification on proposals.The pension fund had €2.3bn in total assets at the end of 2014. The Italian pension fund for executives of commercial, haulage and transport companies, Fondo di Previdenza “Mario Negri”, has announced a tender for three investment management mandates.The pension fund is offering mandates for three portfolios – global balanced (bonds and equities), US equities and European small and mid-cap equities – according to a notice from the fund.The fund did not state the value of the mandates.The deadline for tenders to be received is 8 March.
Unilever closed its defined benefit (DB) scheme Progress to new entrants in 2015, when it placed pensions accrual in a new collective defined contribution pension fund, Forward.Earlier this year, both schemes joined the new APF, enabling them to operate with one asset manager and under a single board.In the opinon of the jury, this was a significant step towards a ‘future-proof’ plan.Jetta Klijnsma, state secretary for social affairs, won the award for Extraordinary Contribution to the Sector, because of innovations introduced under her watch. These included the new financial assessment framework (nFTK), the introduction of the APF, and legislation to improve governance and communication.The jury also credited Klijnsma with the nationwide dialogue concerning the update of the pensions system.The Unilever APF was also awarded the Innovation prize, while the sector scheme for the hospitality industry (Horeca & Catering) was awarded for its customer service.The ESG Award went to the €45bn metal scheme PME. The small Calpam pension fund won the awards for Best Investment Policy and Best Long-term Investment, as well as the silver award for Best Small Pension Fund.The bronze awards for best strategies for equity, bonds, and property were bagged by BPL Pensioen (the former sector scheme for agriculture), Pensioenfonds TNT Express, and the occupational pension fund for general practitioners (SPH), respectively.The industry-wide pension fund for building materials (HiBiN) won the prize for best medium-sized scheme, while the Unilever APF was also awarded silver for Best Large Pension Fund.The sector pension fund for painters and decorators (Schilders) won the award for best funding improvement. Its coverage ratio increased from 94.2% in June last year to 109.8% at March-end. Unilever’s general pension fund (APF) has won the golden Pensioen Pro Award for the Best Dutch Pension Fund of 2017.A jury of pension selected the Unilever APF from a shortlist of three candidates, after 1,628 experts had cast their votes.Rob Kragten, the scheme’s chief executive, received the award last week from Hamadi Zaghdoudi of Willis Towers Watson, during the annual congress of IPE’s Dutch sister publication Pensioen Pro in Amsterdam last week.The event was attended by 330 representatives from the sector.
The beachfront home of BreakFree accommodation group founder and ex-AFL player Tony Smith and wife Simone has sold for a record $25m. Picture supplied.FROM lavish riverside mansions to palatial beachfront pads with equally luxurious price tags, Queensland’s top-selling homes of the past year have been revealed.The agents inking deals for the state’s most exclusive homes say COVID-19 had little impact at the top-end of the market, with big money changing hands for lifestyle properties before and during the pandemic.But many of the priciest property sales took place behind closed doors, shrouded in secrecy as the growing trend of selling offmarket gathered pace and high profile buyers and sellers sought discretion.The Gold Coast had the biggest home sale in Queensland in fiscal 2020, with a beachfront mansion fetching a jaw-dropping $25 million — equalling the state’s most expensive property on record.In fact, half of the 10 top selling homes in 2019/20 are on the Glitter Strip.Selling agent Harry Kakavas of Prestige Property Sales said the sale of 2 Heron Ave, Mermaid Beach, was proof cashed-up buyers — mostly from interstate — were seeking lifestyle properties even in the middle of a global health pandemic.Place Estate Agents managing director Sarah Hackett, whose $8.4 million sale of 99 McConnell St, Bulimba, just missed out on making the top 10 list, said COVID-19 was not even factored in to conversations with buyers and sellers in Brisbane’s prestige market.“For buyers and sellers, it’s a good time to consider upgrading, as it’s a neutral playground to invest in,” Mrs Hackett said.“I’m currently working with Sydney and Perth investors looking to Brisbane for opportunity.”“I’m excited about the top-end market and what is to come.” Two of the biggest sales of the past year were negotiated by Tom Offermann Real Estate in Noosa, which is now the most expensive housing market in Queensland.Mr Offermann said the inability to travel during coronavirus restrictions generated a surge in buying activity for holiday homes. “This year we sold apartments for $9 million and $14 million on the Noosa beachfront, which would have contributed to the rising median price,” principal Tom Offermann said.1. 2 HERON AVE, MERMAID BEACHVendor: Tony and Simone SmithNew owner: Not disclosedSale price: $25mSold: May 2020 This beachfront mansion at 2 Heron Ave, Mermaid Beach, was the biggest home sale in Queensland in 2019/20 and equals the biggest home sale in the state on record. Image supplied.One of the Gold Coast’s premier beachfront mansions sold offmarket for a jaw-dropping $25 million in May, blitzing the competition to take out the top sale of 2019/20. The luxurious abode — which takes up a whopping 40-metre slice of ocean frontage — was home to former AFL player and now property developer Tony Smith and his wife Simone.They paid $12 million for the property in 2014 when it was a block of shabby units and knocked it down to build a four-bedroom, four-bathroom Hamptons-style home.The buyer, who does not wish to be named, is believed to be a high profile figure from the Melbourne suburb of Toorak who intends to use the luxury beachside pad as a family holiday home.The home features high ceilings, a guest wing, a cinema, a spa and steam rooms, and sits on a 2112 sqm lot. This home at 2 Heron Ave, Mermaid Beach, sold for $25m. Picture: Jerad Williams.2. 1 KING ARTHUR TCE, TENNYSONVendor: Karl Morris, Brisbane Broncos chairmanNew owner: Canstuct International CEO Rory MurphySale price: $17.6mSold: October 2019 This property at 1 King Arthur Tce, Tennyson, was the biggest home sale in Queensland in 2019/20.The riverfront mansion owned by the chairman of the Brisbane Broncos sold offmarket to another high-profile chief executive in October.Records confirm Canstruct International CEO Rory Murphy paid a whopping $17.6 million for the property at 1 King Arthur Tce, Tennyson.Canstruct International, a construction and services company operated out of nearby Yeerongpilly, was awarded the lucrative contract by the Federal Government to run the immigration detention centre on Nauru.The house sits on a whopping 4224sq m and has seven bedrooms, five bathrooms, garaging for six vehicles, a pool and a championship-size tennis court.It also boasts possibly Brisbane’s biggest private pontoon at 50m, plus 98m of river frontage and unobstructed northern views up the Brisbane River to the Walter Taylor Bridge.Karl Morris and his wife, Louise, bought the property in 2008 for $6.8 million and tore down the original home to rebuild a Bayden Goddard-designed, Tuscan-style home in its place in 2010.It comes close to being the most expensive home ever sold in the city, but that title is still held by the clifftop mansion at 1 Leopard St, Kangaroo Point, which recently came back on the market.It sold for $18.48 million in 2017. This property at 1 King Arthur Tce, Tennyson, sold for $17.6m.3. 46 SEAVIEW TCE, SUNSHINE BEACHVendor: David Hales, Betty’s Burgers’ founderNew owner: Therese Rein and Kevin RuddSale price: $17mSold: May 2020 This beachfront home at Sunshine Beach recently sold for $17m.The stunning Sunshine Beach mansion owned by Betty’s Burgers founder David Hales sold for $17 million in May, after being on the market with another agent for six months.Hales had hoped to get $20 million for the seven-bedroom, five-bathroom property, which was previously owned by tennis great Pat Rafter. Ms Rein and Mr Rudd were recently revealed as the buyers of the luxurious home. Designed by architect John Burgess, the seven-bedroom home has panoramic views of the ocean, as well as a pool, home theatre, study, media room and wine room with climate-controlled cellar. The sale is just shy of the all-time record for Noosa, which was set in 2018 when a seven-bedroom beachfront property at 21-23 Webb Road sold for $18 million. Therese Rein and Kevin Rudd have been revealed as the buyers of this Sunshine Beach home.4. 8/55 HASTINGS ST, NOOSA HEADSVendor: Modara Grange Pty LtdNew owner: Lisgroup Pty LtdSale price: $14mSold: February 2020 A unit in this apartment block on Noosa’s famous Hastings Street sold for $14m.An apartment on Noosa Main Beach smashed multiple records for houses and apartments in the seaside town, when it fetched a cool $14 million in February — the highest price ever paid for an apartment there.Tom Offermann Real Estate agents Eric Seetoo and Nick Hunter were the listing agents and Roark Walsh negotiated the sale of 8/55 Hastings St, Noosa Heads.The all-time residential record for Noosa Heads was exceeded by nearly $3 million with the previous highest sale being $11.2 million two years ago.One of the two penthouses in the six apartment building, it has 242 sqm of living space, three-bedrooms, a study, plus a 66 sqm L-shaped rooftop terrace, which seemingly floats over the Laguna Bay beachfront. The view from 8/55 Hastings St, Noosa Heads.5. 14 SUTHERLAND AVE, ASCOTVendor: Christopher and Linda MiersNew owner: Not disclosedSale price: $13.14mSold: March 2020 This house at 14 Sutherland Ave, Ascot, sold for $13.14m. Image: CoreLogic.One of Brisbane’s oldest and grandest estates sold for more than $13 million in March — setting a sale price record for the blue-chip suburb of Ascot.The property at 14 Sutherland Ave was snapped up after less than three weeks on the market in a deal negotiated by Ray White New Farm principal Matt Lancashire and his colleague, Hamish Bowman.Built in 1886, Windermere is a six-bedroom, four-bathroom heritage Queenslander on a 4660sq m parcel of land.Mr Lancashire said the property sold to a local developer with a young family after attracting interest from interstate as well as expat buyers in the UK, Hong Kong and Singapore, plus some Australian farmers.The property has a tennis court, pool and spa, and lush gardens landscaped by designer Paul Bangay.A guest wing features a second kitchen and access to a wine cellar, sauna and media room. There are two courtyards – one with a pizza oven and fountain, and the other with a barbecue, shed and cubby house. The kitchen in the house at 14 Sutherland Ave, Ascot.6. 15 SOUTHERN CROSS DR, SURFERS PARADISEVendor: Terry Gavan, head of EMACS ElectricalNew owner: Not disclosedSale price: $12.45mSold: June 2020 This property at 15 Southern Cross Dr, Cronin Island, Surfers Paradise, has sold for $12.45m.The former family mansion of disgraced Billabong CEO Matthew Perrin just made it into the top sales list for the past financial year. The property, which became one of the Gold Coast’s most controversial homes, sold in June to an interstate buyer who plans to relocate from Sydney.The price is more than double the $6.1 million seller Terry Gavan paid in 2012.When Mr Gavan purchased 15 Southern Cross Dr eight years ago it ended a wrangle between the Commonwealth Bank and Nicole Perrin, the ex-wife of the later-jailed Mr Perrin. Inside the property at 15 Southern Cross Dr, Surfers Paradise.The bank sought to seize the property in a bid to recover a $13.5 million debt owed by Mr Perrin after he filed for bankruptcy in 2009.Ms Perrin won in court, arguing that her then-husband had forged her name on loan documents.The house, which sits on two lots, has seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a 2000-bottle temperature-controlled wine cellar, and garaging for 12 cars.Michael Kollosche, who sold the property with the Kollosche agency’s Ryan Ward, said the sale was achieved in 10 days.Mr Kollosche said the sale reflected the strength of the top end of the market for ‘trophy assets’. This property at 15 Southern Cross Dr, Surfers Paradise, sold for $12.45m.7. 1-3 LA SCALA COURT, ISLE OF CAPRI Vendor: UndisclosedNew owner: UndisclosedSale price: $11.75mSold: June 2020 This mansion at 1-3 La Scala Court, Isle of Capri, was one of the biggest sales of the last financial year. Picture supplied by Amir Mian.This jaw-dropping mega mansion on the Glitter Strip recently sold for $11.75 million.Amir Mian of Amir Prestige negotiated the sale, but declined to comment on the sellers or buyers.Riverpoint, a six-bedroom, seven-bathroom residence with a raft of luxury features, is surrounded by lush tropical gardens and is reminiscent of a Thai resort.Built on a massive point position with 90m of main river frontage, the 1,651sq m residence at 1-3 La Scala Court has several areas for relaxation and entertainment, including a cinema, kitchen with scullery and cold room, an executive office, gymnasium and three powder rooms.There’s also a private beach, pontoon and boat ramp with direct access to the 10 car basement garage, as well as the tennis court. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus9 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market9 hours agoInside the home at 1-3 La Scala Court, Isle of Capri.8. 37-39 BRITTANIC CRES, SOVEREIGN ISLANDSVendor: Xin ChenNew owner: Ka Yee ChoiSale price: $11 millionSold: September 2019 This mansion at 37-39 Brittanic Cres, Sovereign Islands, sold for $11m.A Sovereign Islands mansion sold for $11 million in September.The sprawling residence at 37-39 Brittanic Crescent is in the affluent gated community within Paradise Point.The deal was inked before the property even had a chance to hit the market.The residence is the epitome of opulence with soaring ceilings, feature lighting and luxury detailed finishes throughout.It has six bedrooms and eight bathrooms while a ‘Gold Lounge’ cinema room, wet bar and outdoor entertainment pavilion with pool are among its highlights. Inside the home at 37-39 Brittanic Cres, Sovereign Islands.9. 67 & 69 HEDGES AVE, MERMAID BEACHVendor: Mitchell Services founder Peter MitchellNew owner: Sara Kirby, wife of Village Roadshow CEO Clark KirbySale price: $10.3 millionSold: December 2019 The double block at 67 and 69 Hedges Ave on “Millionaires Row” at Mermaid Beach sold for $10.3m. Photo supplied.Still on the Gold Coast, a beachfront double block in Mermaid Beach’s so-called ‘millionaires’ row’ fetched $10.3 million.Drilling business veteran Peter Mitchell sold the neighbouring properties for almost double the price he paid.Property records show Mr Mitchell paid $200,000 for No. 67 in 1981 and $5 million for No. 69 in 2005.The land parcel, comprising 810 sqm, was one of the last remaining double blocks on the beachfront at Mermaid Beach.It was offered for sale for the first time in nearly 40 years by the drilling tycoon. An old house on the site at 69 Hedges Ave, Mermaid Beach.Surrounded by luxurious homes, the development site with 20m beach frontage was originally advertised for $10.5 million through marketing agent Tony Velissariou.Two houses are currently on the block, but will likely be demolished to make way for the Kirbys’ new dream home.Sara Kirby, formerly Groen, was a co-host on Channel Seven’s Saturday Disney in the early 2000s, before going on to become a weather presenter for the network’s evening news.Last month, the 39-year-old appeared alongside her husband to announce the reopening of Village Roadshow’s Gold Coast theme parks after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. Clark and Sara Kirby.10. 6/55 HASTINGS ST, NOOSA HEADSVendor: Pamela RoseNew owner: David Anstey and Rachel WalshSale price: $9 millionSold: November 2019 An apartment in this building at 55 Hastings St, Noosa Heads, sold for $9m.This beachfront unit is in the same Hastings Street complex as the apartment that fetched $14 million earlier this year.The property at 6/55 Hastings Street, which was also sold by Tom Offermann Real Estate, was listed with a price guide of $11 million, but ended up selling for $9 million in a cash unconditional deal.The three-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment is literally footsteps from Noosa’s glamorous Main Beach and is the size of a penthouse at 250 sqm. This apartment at 6/55 Hastings St, Noosa Heads, sold for $9m. BIGGEST HOME SALES OF FISCAL 2019/20 IN QUEENSLAND 1. 2 Heron Ave Mermaid Beach House $25m 05/20202. 1 King Arthur Tce Tennyson House $17.6m 07/10/20193. 46 Seaview Tce Sunshine Beach House $17m 05/20204. 8/55 Hastings St Noosa Heads Unit $14m 02/20205. 14 Sutherland Ave Ascot House $13.14m 15/03/20206. 15 Southern Cross Dr Surfers Paradise House $12.45m 29/06/20207. 1-3 La Scala Court Isle of Capri House $11.75m 25/06/20208. 37-39 Brittanic Cres Sovereign Islands House $11m 26/09/20199. 67 & 69 Hedges Ave Mermaid Beach House $10.3m 7/12/2019 10. 6/55 Hastings St Noosa Heads Unit $9m 6/12/2019(Sources: Realestate.com.au, CoreLogic, selling agents) Address Suburb Property type Sale price Sale date
NZ Herald 29 June 2014A leading psychologist says parents are increasingly bringing lawyers in to work out issues at schools.Nigel Latta, a clinical psychologist and parenting expert, told TVNZ’s Q and A that parents are bringing lawyers in to deal with problems at their child’s school, and it’s wrong.Sixteen-year-old Lucan Battison successfully challenged a suspension from Hastings’ St John’s College after refusing to cut his “naturally curly hair”.The school’s rules set out are that students must have “hair that is short, tidy and of natural colour. Hair must be off the collar and out of the eyes”.Justice David Collins said on Friday that the rule was capable of being interpreted differently by students, parents, teachers, the principal and the school’s board and was not legally enforceable.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11284209Student shown the door for ‘offensive’ hair style3 News 2 July 2014Demetric Blank is a student from Tararua College, in Pahiatua, and has never been suspended or expelled for bad behaviour.But he isn’t allowed to be at school at the moment – why?His new hair style has offended teaching staff and he has been told to grow it out before returning.They also wouldn’t give him the option to shave it all off, because it would be too short for their school policy.So is that fair? His hair style would be seen on most rugby fields and isn’t exactly wild.http://www.3news.co.nz/Student-shown-the-door-for-offensive-hair-style/tabid/817/articleID/347451/Default.aspx
The Black Cats could have moved out of the bottom three with a win at Cardiff City Stadium, but instead found themselves blown away by a Bluebirds onslaught during the first hour and trailed 2-0 to goals from Jordon Mutch and Fraizer Campbell. But as Cardiff retreated into their shell during the latter stages, the Wearsiders came on strong and struck through Steven Fletcher and Jack Colback, the latter deep in stoppage time, to earn a point. Gus Poyet has no doubt his Sunderland side will avoid the drop after their late heroics secured an unlikely 2-2 draw at Cardiff. Press Association Poyet’s side still sit at the bottom of the Premier League table heading into the new year, a position which historically has tended to signify a one-way ticket to the Championship. But having ensured they are no longer adrift of their rivals, the Uruguayan believes they will be in the top flight next term. He said: “I do feel we will be in the Premier League next season because we are back there with the other teams. When I took over there was a big gap to the teams in the middle of the table, now we are one win away from getting out of the relegation zone. “That is a great feeling for the players and the fans. It is now up to us, we are five games unbeaten. “When you are at the bottom people do not notice that, but we had been defending well until this game and we scored today. “We are going in the right direction so let’s hope we can maintain that consistency in the New Year and get another three points. “We have character and desire and we are going to fight.” The first hour bore all the hallmarks of Cardiff at their best under Mackay, with their energy and work ethic putting Sunderland firmly on the back foot. The search for the Scot’s replacement is well under way, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the early favourite and chairman Mehmet Dalman admitting he has already identified his number one candidate. And caretaker boss David Kerslake, who is set to be in charge along with first-team coach Joe McBride, at Arsenal on New Year’s Day believes the squad and fans at the Welsh club will make it a great job for whoever succeeds Mackay. “The new boss will get a wonderful group of players,” he said. “Every one of them is wholehearted and they have great togetherness. “They will also come to a great place where the support is second to none.”
Meanwhile, the 64-year-old was back at the club’s Aon Training Complex in Carrington after two days off for him and the players that were always scheduled, and during which he is understood to have been with his family in Holland. Amid the intense speculation about his position and with him reportedly set for further discussions this week with Woodward, who was not in Manchester on Tuesday, Van Gaal has United’s next game to think about. That is Friday’s FA Cup fourth-round trip to Derby, where a poor result – or even just a lacklustre performance – against the Sky Bet Championship side is only likely to increase the scrutiny on, and anger from United fans towards, Van Gaal, should he still be in his job by then. Loud boos rang around Old Trafford following the final whistle of Saturday’s game as Van Gaal endured what he later described as the worst reaction he has heard from United supporters during his time in charge. He also said they were ”right to boo” and added: ”I’m very disappointed that I cannot reach the expectations of the fans. ”They have – or they had – great expectations of me, and I cannot fulfil them.” The Red Devils, whose style of play has frequently been criticised, had just one shot on target during the defeat. They are five points off the Premier League’s top four in fifth place, 10 points behind leaders Leicester, and have won only three of their last 13 matches in all competitions, a sequence which has included seeing them exit the Champions League. The message understood to be coming from the board early on during that run of results was one of full support for Van Gaal, but it will be interesting to see how things develop from here. Former United chief executive David Gill, now a non-executive director, admitted on Sunday “it’s been a season of under-achievement”, while it has been reported Woodward has been in touch with a number of players and senior figures at the club since the Southampton game about the situation. United brought in former Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Holland boss Van Gaal as David Moyes’ successor in the summer of 2014 on a three-year deal. And his first season in the job saw the team secure a route back into the Champions League, improving on a Premier League finish of seventh a year earlier by claiming fourth spot. There had been hopes of a challenge for the title this term, but the chances of that look slim after Saturday’s loss, which leaves United on 37 points after 23 games. They had three points more at the same stage of the season that Moyes – sacked in April of the campaign – was in charge, and were still in the Champions League. What really appears to have damaged Van Gaal’s standing among the club’s fans is the manner of performances under him. Supporters have increasingly vented their frustration at what is widely regarded as a dull brand of football. The Southampton contest was the 11th straight home game in which United failed to score in the first half, and the seventh home match this season in which they did not net at all. As well as booing, chants of “attack, attack, attack” have been heard coming from the Old Trafford stands, but Van Gaal’s team – featuring a host of big-money signings – have generally been unable to make a positive response. And it would appear, with only a few days left before deadline, there has been little progress made in any attempts to boost the squad with further recruits in the current transfer window. Press Association Reports emerged late on Monday suggesting the Dutchman spoke to United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward about his future immediately after the Barclays Premier League contest at the weekend. Within that, there were some claims Van Gaal had offered his resignation – but United on Tuesday morning denied that was the case. Beleaguered Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal returned to work on Tuesday as the club dismissed talk of him having offered to quit after Saturday’s 1-0 home loss to Southampton.