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In this issue

We were enjoying a much delayed Christmas team lunch at Newcastle’s Signal Box in mid March, happy and proud of what we had achieved together. The vibe was optimistic, we were swapping ideas for new stories and Ken Rubeli had us in stitches with his observations about life in general. Little did we know that within hours the first COVID-19 driven restrictions would begin to transform life as we knew it. Like most small businesses, we had to play things by ear. We cancelled our events section and debated extensively whether we should run restaurant reviews or travel destinations in New South Wales. In the end, optimism prevailed: as we are going to print, restrictions are being eased, and restaurants are about to re-open. In any case, what’s wrong with some culinary or travel highlights to look forward to? Our advertising partners had their businesses thrown into limbo too. Hence this edition has fewer pages than usual but please be assured that you are getting your full quota of fascinating local stories. This current crisis has yet again brought out the best in our resilient community: Newy Burger Co have launched much needed kindness boxes (p. 110), a camp oven cook-off challenge between separately self-isolating Peter and Jack Lorimer went viral on Facebook and turned into a gourmet bonanza with hundreds joining in from their backyards (p. 70), and skipper Frank Future is inviting you on a virtual whale watching cruise (p. 100). Still, we can’t wait to get back out into our wonderful community and reconnect with friends, family and of course you, our readers, without a screen between us. Stay safe, Cornelia and Julie

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