'He took my child': Gympie's 6 biggest controversies of 2018
NEWS can attract controversy for different reasons, and in different ways.
Contentious stories often evoke passionate and emotional responses from readers, and the subjects of those stories can be difficult to digest. They can also be difficult to write.
Here's a look at six of the most-talked-about news items of 2018 so far:
1. Long-awaited justice for Jeremy and Nicole not enough - October 16
IT TOOK almost three years to the day for the families of Gympie mates Jeremy Josefski and Nicole Daly to get the closure they deserved, but it wasn't enough.
Jeremy, 30, and Nicole, 26, were killed as they drove along the Newell Highway in central-west New South Wales in 2015.
They both left behind young families - Jeremy his wife Leah and two daughters Keeva and Cree, Nicole her husband Michael and their son Laec.
Nicole, also Leah's best friend, was also 16 weeks pregnant with her and Michael's second child at the time of the accident.
The duo had been on their way to country Victoria, where the Josefski family were planning to start a new chapter of their lives, when the Suzuki they were travelling in collided head-on with a Nissan Navara near West Wyalong.
It wasn't until last month that 41-year-old Gatton truck driver Craig Andrew Yensch was found guilty of dangerous driving causing their deaths and sentenced in Albury, New South Wales to a two-year intensive correction order, a form of supervision in the community.
Yensch also had his licence disqualified for 12 months.
It took 17 minutes for the jury to deliver a guilty verdict in Yensch's trial in July after he had pleaded not guilty to two counts of dangerous driving occasioning the death, but his sentencing was adjourned in New South Wales courts three times after that.
The Josefski and Daly families watched the proceedings via videolink in Gympie, but Jeremy's mother Debbie said the trial's final outcome had not brought them any relief.
"I don't feel any better than the night that it happened,” Mrs Josefski said.
"I may get to the point of where I understand it a little more - but he took my child.
"There will never be closure because we will never get to see our child again, or Nicole.”
Jeremy's father Garry added that he was angered by the absence of an actual jail sentence.
"I just don't know how the law can say a bloke can kill two people and get two years home detention,” he said.
"Jeremy doesn't get to be here doing what he wanted to do.
"He and Nicole did everything right and they paid the price.
"And that bloke doesn't really get penalised. It's bugger all.”
2. Former Senior Citizen of the Year found guilty of rape, sexual assault - July 13
READERS were sickened when former Gympie senior citizen of the year Gordon Lloyd Adams was jailed "for the rape and repeated sexual assault of a nine-year-old girl” over a two-year span in the 1980s.
Adams, 65, was sentenced to six-and-a-half years jail for rape and indecent treatment of a child under 12 at Brisbane District Court in July, five years after he won the Gympie award in 2013.
NewsRegional reported Adams "took a young girl to a number of isolated locations where he sexually abused her and on one occasion forced himself onto her” when she was aged between nine and 12.
The court also heard Adams "had a previous conviction for unlawful carnal knowledge with a 15-year-old girl that occurred in 1990”.
The victim, who could not be identified for legal reasons, told the court Adams's treatment of her had significantly impacted her life.
"He has touched every aspect of my life,” she said.
"I came forward to tell my story because I couldn't live with myself knowing that another child could go through what I went through.”
Adams becomes eligible to apply for parole in March 2020.
3. The Gympie Times Power 30 list - September 29
THE release of Gympie's most subjective list drew plenty of reactions from Gympie Times readers, and most of them were negative.
It was only a matter of hours after the full Power 30 was released on September 29 that community members began voicing concerns about who wasn't counted among the region's "most influential people”, but accusations of racism and sexism levelled at The Gympie Times and its staff prompted editor Shelley Strachan to highlight the subjective nature of the independently-chosen list.
"As a mother of three sons and one daughter, and as the first female editor of The Gympie Times, I pride myself on being a woman who fights for equality and diversity,” Ms Strachan said.
"I completely reject the accusation this masthead is racist.
"The Gympie Times strives at all times to be fair, balanced, accurate and progressive.
"A subjective list like Power 30 is always going to cause disappointment and annoyance - from both those who miss out and those who make it.
"The list was decided by a committee of four that included business and political leaders.”
The arguments made for cuts and replacements resulted in a People's Choice list based on the most popular community suggestions.
4. Gympie ex-dentist on assault charges, four linked to DV - August 21
FORMER Gympie dentist Jebson Herrod was remanded in Gympie Magistrates Court on nine new assault charges, four of them listed as domestic violence-linked offences, in addition to charges brought against him over the past two years.
The court was told the latest charges relate to others brought against him, including allegations of rape and mishandling of restricted drugs, all of which have been adjourned pending a mental health assessment.
Magistrate John Parker ordered Mr Herrod to appear again on February 4, 2019.
5. "Graffiti” on Rainbow Beach stairs - October 25
EVEN the most positive affirmation can bring a negative response, as Rainbow Beach residents and visitors found out during the year.
A group of Rainbow Beach identities painted rainbow colours on the town's main stairs down to the beach.
It was a gesture of tolerance and to commemorate the Gay Pride house established at the Gold Coast during the Commonwealth Games, as a safe place for gay athletes.
But the addition of a positive affirmation to the stairs has brought a negative, even intolerant response.
Rainbow Beach regular Bronwyn Noffke added the stenciled words, "How good is living”. Suddenly the people who painted the publicly owned stairs became offended, including with Facebook posts accusing her of homophobia.
It is a suggestion the openly lesbian Ms Noffke dismisses.
6. "Where's the money gone?”, asks ousted Tin Can Bay coastguard commander - November 23
FORMER Tin Can Bay Coast Guard commander Phil Feldman says he believes he has been thrown out of the organisation for rocking the boat on issues involving public money.
He says the reasons given for action against him, including allegedly non-compliant safety paperwork, do not seem to add up.
And the other stated reason, that he has broken the rules by communicating with responsible politicians, means he is being victimised as a "whistleblower.”
Mr Feldman said his suspension as commander had now been escalated to expulsion as a member, effectively banning him from meetings and all access to Coast Guard property.
The Queensland Fire and Emergency Service says the situation is under independent review.
All sides have now vowed to give priority to the coastguard service continuing without interruption in the interim.
Did you read a story this year that should be on this list? Let us know online at www.gympietimes.com.au