Friday, April 27, 2007

Wayward Eagles star in new 'bear hunt'

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image from West Coast Eagles Store.

THINGS just haven’t been the same at the Malone household at Alexandra Hills since Easter.
Life continues under a cloud for Katrina and John Malone and their four kids after a valued member of the family went missing.
The youngest, Naython, 2, feels the absence most. Mum says the boy will utter, "Need Eagles, need Eagles."
She has tried everything she can think of to find his favourite soft toy, a 20cm Eagles bear, representing the West Coast's AFL premiers.
The bear, with the famous blue, white and yellow jersey, went missing at Cleveland Showground while the Malones, members of the congregation at St Anthony’s Catholic Church, enjoyed the Easter festival.

KATRINA says she made about 30 phone calls tracking down the team that cleaned up.
"I managed to get hold of the last people who were on the site but they said there were only a couple of pairs of thongs and a backpack," she says.
She also posted notices at shopping centres and St Anthony’s and St Luke’s churches and, of course, advertised in our Classifieds, but without result.
"Naython has had Eagles bears since he was six months but the new ones have different fur and unfortunately are not what he likes," Katrina says.
"This one has satin shorts with a hole where he hangs on."
Naython especially misses his bear while he watches his favourite DVD, Disney Cars.
Katrina, who grew up in Northam, near York in Western Australia, is an avid Eagles fan. John, hailing from Blackall in Queensland, backs the Lions.

THE couple met in Papua New Guinea when Katrina’s dad was working for Telstra and John, who operates Malone Plumbing, was completing a contract on transportable houses.
They married 15 years ago in St Anthony’s and made the Redlands their home.
Before his second birthday last autumn, Naython had a prime seat on dad’s lap at the Gabba to see the Eagles beat the Lions at home on their rise to glory.
Katrina will long remember how the baby waved his bear in John’s face and chanted "Go Eagles" at every match highlight.
The Malones are a spiritual bunch, with the eldest son, Justin, 14, reading during mass.
Let’s hope St Anthony, reportedly good at finding things, hears their prayers.
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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Star soprano to sing 'Happy Birthday'

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image: Cor Frederiks’ book.

THE countdown to a special birthday party is under way.
The November 10 party at Sirromet Winery will be one to remember, with performances by the district’s star soprano, Mirusia Louwerse, and accomplished bagpipers including Roddy MacDonald, of Wellington Point.
Birthday boy Cor Frederiks is already excited, with his 80th still months away.
"Eighty means nothing – I have another 20 years to go," says the Cleveland accountant. "A lot of very prominent people have been extremely productive in their eighties and nineties.
"You’ll find a list of them in my book."

THE Money Bible, which Cor published in 1998, lists politicians, writers, artists and church identities, aged 80 to 100, under the heading, "You’re never too old!"
The chapter may give a clue to Cor’s birthday guest list.
"If you are dealing with negative people you will be dragged down to their level," he writes.
"Only cultivate friendships with people who are more positive than you are … it will rub off."
Who could possibly be more positive than Cor Frederiks, opening new offices for his accountancy practice this year and serving as Redlands Christian Businessmen’s Network treasurer and on the Redlands Christian Reform Church property committee? Then enjoying music, stamps, coins, paintings and social golf?
Cor says the achievements of his six children and 11 grandchildren – and the birth of a great-grandchild last month – are most important in his busy life. "I have taught them the value of money and how to save," he says.

THE lesson comes from values formed in his birthplace, the Netherlands, during the Great Depression and World War Two, during which Cor was a wireless operator on a Dutch destroyer under allied command.
He came to Australia to study theology in 1951 but ended up with an accountancy degree from Queensland University.
Cor first practised at Moorooka in the mid 1950s. In 1977 he bought a cattle property near Longreach and lived there for a decade, moving to Thornlands after selling the property in 1987.
Before starting his Cleveland practice in 1991, Cor worked voluntarily with the Haggai Instiute, promoting evangelism in the third world.
He now devotes his life to "helping people maximise their potential" with a philosophy based on Christian principles.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

New job comes with bear suit

This column has appeared in the Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland, Australia. Image from which has an interesting story about these little bears.

MOTHER of four and grandmother of another quartet of littlies, Angela Kesper loves kids. One month ago she found her dream job in our Classifieds.
The opportunity of a lifetime virtually jumped off the page, with a big headline asking: "Mr Hooker Bear – can you fill his shoes?"
Angela beat about a dozen applicants to wear the bear suit and become the fan-cooled heart and soul of the real estate group’s presence in the Redlands.
LJ Hooker Cleveland, which bought the $5000 suit about four years ago, needed the right person to play a major role in a new program to promote the image.
"I just thought it would be a fun thing to do with all the kids," Angela says.
"It’s my first time in a suit.
"Everyone laughs when I tell them what I am doing – no one believes me,"
Angela says husband Darrin, a tyre fitter, "has a bit of a chuckle" about his wife’s new career.
The couple recently moved from Victoria Point to Redland Bay after settling in the Redlands about 13 years ago.
NEW Zealand-born Angela, who became an Aussie citizen in 1994, already has had four assignments as Mr Hooker Bear.
Kids are notoriously rough with such larger-than-life cartoon characters, and Angela already knows the trepidation of being trapped in a swarm of youngsters, all wanting to give a cuddle and getting just a little overexcited.
"I was mobbed -- they got hold of my legs and I couldn’t move," Angela says.
AGENCY spokeswoman Mary Luke says Mr Hooker Bear always needs a handler.
Mary has not experienced the suit’s interior – "no way" – but trusts the reports from others.
"It’s very very hot but has a fan in the head to keep it cool," she says.
"Once in the suit you can’t see in front. You look out the mouth and can only see down."
Mary says the bear has so far made about 20 public appearances a year but will be on parade more in future.
"We are looking to ‘up’ the program," she says. "Right now, we are writing to schools and kindergartens.
"That’s why we needed someone for the role."
Mr Hooker Bear features fortnightly at Thornlands State School Swimming Club, which the agency sponsors.

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