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News in brief, May 24, 2023

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Beleagured balloonist Michael Shouse has made a final plea to Masterton District Council [MDC] five months after he first applied for a ground lease at Hood Aerodrome. MDC initially agreed to grant his lease only if he agreed not to fly his hot air balloon from Hood – a prohibition backed by the council’s risk assessment, which found ballooning posed several “extreme risks.” Two weeks ago, operators at Hood [members of the safety committee] submitted their own risk assessment of ballooning, which the council agreed to consider. Shouse asked for the council’s final position on the matter by today, saying that time was of the essence because someone else might buy the hangar he wanted if the issue dragged on too long. MDC said it would discuss the matter further at another Hood Safety Group meeting next Tuesday.

Two crashes

Police have responded to two more serious road incidents, the first being a one-vehicle crash on Masterton’s Castlepoint Rd early Monday evening. It was reported that the vehicle rolled, and one person was transported to Masterton Hospital by a member of the public. In the second incident, a cyclist collided with a vehicle on Masterton’s Essex St yesterday morning. Police responded at about 10am and the road was not reported to be blocked as a result of the incident. Wellington Free Ambulance also attended the scene and confirmed they transported one person with mild injuries to Masterton Hospital following the crash. These incidents follow a police operation last week that resulted in 56 driving infringements.

Former mayor leads recovery

Former Ruapehu District Mayor and Pongaroa farmer Don Cameron has started as recovery manager for the Tararua District Cyclone Recovery programme. Tararua District Council said Cameron and his wife Phyl lived in the district in the past and have recently moved to Pahiatua. Cameron said he volunteered for the role because he wanted to use his skills, experience, and local networks to work. “My aim is to bring all the different parties together to get the best possible result for Tararua and build resilience for future events.”

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