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COVID SUPERMARKETS - OUR ISLANDS LEAVE MAINLAND FOR DEAD! When it comes to Covid 19 and the latest rapidly growing Omicron infections, we are very fortunate to be living on our islands. Whilst the infection is already here, we are fortunate for another major reason. Our island supermarkets are far more organised and supplied than those on the mainland. Both Supa IGA on Russell Island and Spar and Five Star on Macleay Island have been relatively well supplied. After listing the mainland and checking out some of the ‘Big Names’ in supermarkets, many shelves were totally empty. Chicken and meats were non-existent, as well as many other staples (they are still rushing toilet paper on the mainland!!). Not so on our islands. I couldn’t believe the supply of chicken and meats at Supa IGA on Russell. Their meat section was full to the brim, with plenty of selection. The same applied to fruits, veggies, and tomatoes in particular. Similarly, on Macleay Island at Spar. Clearly the in-house butchery owned by the Jones Group, the owner’s of Supa IGA, makes a huge difference. Clearly the one place to live throughout this whole Covid-19 experience has been our cluster of islands!

COVID REGULATION CHANGES With the Omicron variant of Covid-19 now running rampant, Governments have given up on their previous restrictive practices of closing borders. It has everything to do with the vaccination rates in all states nearing or reaching 90% vaccination rate. Whilst vaccination does not stop you catching the Omicron version, the experts say it lessens the effect and the outcomes. It is believed that as the variant spreads and more people catch the Omicron variant, the more the population will build up its immunisation. Most families and communities know someone who has caught Omicron. We know of two teenagers in a family close to us who caught it on New Year’s Eve. One, a 15-year old- admitted to two days of ‘some discomfort’. It was a case of a runny nose, itchy throat and some aches and pains. Four days later she was given the ‘all clear’ Covid test. Some are also suggesting that we have to come to terms with Covid and Omicron become part and parcel of our lives, and we should treat it ‘similar to the flu’. Whether they are right or wrong we do not know, but we do know that the flu still kills quite a few people every year without the ‘fear factor’ that now surrounds Covid. With Omicron also invading workforces, supply of essential food items? is the latest problem to be confronted. When it all comes down to it, we can only do the best we can. If you do catch the latest variant, let’s hope it is mild as some are telling us. Good luck! NEW YEAR’S - HOW DID IT GO! Despite some Covid restrictions and identification issues, New Year’s Eve was pretty successful around the islands. All venue reported good attendances, although there were some Covid identification issues. The Russell Island Bowls Club was near packed out for the night. On Macleay Island Club Macleay and the Golf Club had very high attendances. Seems like everyone was well behaved and a good night was had by all! ISLAND OP SHOPS OFFER FASHION OPPORTUNITY Recently the Bay Islands Community Services Inc held their Christmas function for all their volunteers. It was a great day and much fun was had by all. BICS island general manager Angela Collins looked resplendent in a black and white outfit that featured a white on black brocade skirt. We happened to ask about the outfit and Angela told us she purchased it (at the listed price) from the BICS Op Shop. She said that islanders would be ‘amazed’ at the quality of the clothing and outfits that are available from the organisations two island Op Shops located on Russell and Macleay Islands. Check out the full page advertisement in this edition of the FBI and you will get an idea of some of the items that are available. Many items have not been worn or hardly been worn. Angela said: “I am amazed at the quality of some of the items that are made available to us from donors. Many are new or near new. Some often don’t wear some of the items they purchase for a variety of reasons, and we get to benefit from their generosity.” You will be surprised at what is on offer from quality clothing, shoes, jewellery, homewares and knick-knacks, crockery and cutlery, glassware, manchester, furniture and tools, tested electrics, books, toys, CD’s and DVD’s. The two stores are packed with many items that will surprise and delight, and all selling at a fraction of their original price! We suggest if you haven’t visited the island Op Shops, you should. And yes, you can enjoy a great cup of coffee at the same time!! They are open Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm and Saturdays 9am to 12 noon. NEW FACES AT RUSSELL SHOPPING CENTRE The Russell island Shopping Centre is under new ownership. The Larkman family sold the shopping centre they built nearly 15 years ago to First Asset Management, a division of the Queensland firm of Doval Constructions. It is believed the new owners may have some exciting future upgrade plans for the popular island shopping destination. CLEVER WAY TO GET WATER TANK TO MACLEAY How’s this for cutting freight costs. A clever Macleay Island individual purchased a water tank for a property on Macleay Islands. Rather than having it freighted to the island, for whatever reason (cost, availability, barge bookings etc?) they decided to plug up all the holes and tow it by boat to its Macleay Island destination. Joel Bowden took a video of the tow (with some interesting commentary). We presume everything went well with the tow with some time and money probably saved. Congratulations to those who carried out. Certainly used your imagination!!! (give us a call at the FBI if you read this!)