Evansville Non-Profit Groups React to Funding Cuts Made by City CouncilOCTOBER 11TH, 2016 CHELSEA KOERBLER EVANSVILLE, INDIANA Last year, non-profits were given warning that with the financial situation of the city, cuts to non-profits will likely happen for the next few years until they are phased out all together.“When we were doing our budget this year we kind of cut back on what we were expecting to get from the city,” said Keep Evansville Beautiful Executive Director Julie Welch.In the 2016 budget, funding to several non-profit groups was cut by 50 percent. This year, council voted 5-4 to cut their funding again by another 50 percent.“We’re not in the grand giving business for not-for-profits, it’s just not fair,” said City Council Vice President Jonathan Weaver. “I’m telling you, that your tax dollars that you pay on your property are going to go to these specific charities and I don’t think that’s fair.”Keep Evansville Beautiful applied for $10,000 in funding this year. Welch was expecting to receive about half of that but will now only receive $3,000.“We plan to just try to cut back some of our expenses,” said Welch. “And hopefully some of our donors, we have wonderful donors, hopefully our donors will help us a little bit more during our annual campaign. That’s going to start in November.”The Vanderburgh Humane Society is another one of the not-for-profit groups set to see a cut in funding. Along with Keep Evansville Beautiful VHS didn’t figure in the grant they were expecting to receive from the city into their budget.In years past, VHS received a $5,000 grant from the city’s recreational fund. Last year it was cut to $2,500.This year they anticipated receiving a $3,000 grant but with more cuts, they’ll only be getting $1,500.VHS Executive Director Kendall Paul says while it’s disappointing, in the grand scheme of their yearly $1.2 million dollar budget, it won’t have a huge impact on them.“It all comes down to people in the community making this place,” said Paul. “And most other non-profits in this community work.”And in a city like Evansville, both Welch and Paul believe as city council continues to cut money available to non-profits, they’ll still be able to offer their services to the community.“Evansville is one of the generous places I’ve ever seen,” said Welch. “The people here are so benevolent for non profits and really help non profits a lot here. So I feel like when donors of these non profits find out these non profits were cut hopefully they’ll step up to the plate for them”Youth First Hosts Town Hall on Underage DrinkingOCTOBER 11TH, 2016 MATT PEAK EVANSVILLE, INDIANA Binge drinking among 12th graders in southwest Indiana exceeds the national and state average by about 3%.That statistic has local leaders joining with Youth First to address the problem through a town hall.It took place Tuesday night in Evansville.The event, part of the Talk, They Hear You Campaign, aims to open a dialog between parents and their children on the consequences of underage drinking.The goal of the campaign is to reduce underage drinking among youth ages 9 to 15.It has been a few years since Youth First held a town hall type event, but they plan to hold more in the future.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
THE CHRISTMAS STORYLet’s Fix That Tax Sale: 5th in a series by Georg LumleyIt is that time of year to be thankful and giving. A time for sacrifice and charity. Personally, those are things that should be considered incorporated into our daily lives and that of our local government all year; however, that does not seem to be the case with the Tax Sale process, even when it would save the government money which could then be used for other worthy endeavors, like providing food and shelter.Hopefully you have read my previous myth busting and informative articles about the Tax Sale Process. Although the city is claiming that that no one wants these lots and the city must land bank them and maintain them at a tremendous burden on local resources, this series has shown that people in the neighborhoods do want the properties and are willing to maintain the properties and pay taxes on the properties. Special interest and an idea that the PEOPLE who live in the less affluent neighborhoods are NOT SUITABLE to own an adjacent lot, seem to be getting in the way.This Christmas story is about a homeowner, Donna, who lives in the Jacobsville neighborhood. Like most homeowners she was not able to take advantage of one of the well-kept tax sale secrets. Some, like County Councilman Ed Bassemeier and a few others, bought tax sale properties adjacent to their properties directly from the County Commissioners for as little as $1.00 before the Auction process. This homeowner, like most, did not know neighboring properties would be sold before the sign appeared just weeks before the auction. Some who inquired early were told by the Commissioner’s office they had to go to the sale and bid. Like most people wanting these lots, Donna ended up at the sale bidding against the world of speculators.Hundreds of people showed up at the tax sale to buy properties. Many were there to buy the lot or the house next door. Others were looking for bargains or to speculate that if they bought a lot for $100.00 or so they could possibly sell it to the neighboring land owner for $1,000. I have found many such transactions.Because I was there to learn about the process, I mingled among the crowd and listened closely. A little old lady who looked to be over 70 was working the crowd with the same story over and over. She started down the rows of chairs whispering her situation to a few people at a time and then moving down the row. By the time she reached my small group, remember I was uncomfortably sandwiched between a preacher and a lawyer. I had heard her story several times but I listened intently. The preacher and I assured her we would help. She expressed her thanks and moved on.Over and over she was telling the bidders that she wanted a particular lot beside her house and she was asking people not to run the price up on her. She hoped to buy the lot for $5. She explained to everyone that would listen that the city had torn down the neighboring house and left the lot to grow weeds, mice and snakes. Because her windows and doors face this lot, she had taken the initiative to level it out, plant grass seed and had maintained it as her yard for 3 years. She explained that the lot was too small to build on and the other neighbor did not want it. It was easy to detect that the lady had limited resources but dearly wanted the lot next to the house she owned.Her lot was listed as the 140th parcel to sell. This would be after all the houses and most of the lots had sold. As with most auctions, the crowd dwindled as buyers made the specific purchase they came after and then left. I was breathing easier and had a little more room as the attorney to my right was gone and I took advantage of his seat to distance myself from the preacher. When they came to the group of ten properties that included her desired lot, the lady, Donna, and a friend were pretty much sitting in an open space with no other bidders close by.The auction process used is not simply putting one piece of property up for auction but instead presents ten at one time and then sells “choice” pick of the available properties. The winning bidder can pick their choice or choices of properties from the ten at that price per property. After the winning bidder makes their choice or choices, the “choice” pick of the remaining properties is sold again. Donna was definitely excited when the ten properties that included her pick came up on the screen. There was much anticipation as the properties sold one by one, but she did not bid. There appeared to be a little confusion, but each time her property was not picked she shuffled with excitement. The first pick sold for $1600. Second pick went for $375. Third for $130. Then the price settled at $100 for the next six lots.With only Donna’s property left on the screen, the auctioneer tried to open the bid at $500. Donna quickly spoke out “5 dollars, 5 dollars, 5 dollars”. Not getting the five hundred, the Auctioneer moved to 250, 100, and finally accepted Donna’s $5 as a starting place. There seemed to be a pause and then the auctioneer accepted a $10 bid. Donna quickly looked around to see who was bidding against her. It was someone in the far corner on the other side of the room who apparently had not gotten the message. Donna was distraught as her friend raised Donna’s arm holding the bidders paddle to indicate Donna would take the next bid. I do not think Donna had a clue of what the bid and ask were, as she just held the paddle up saying: yes, yes, yes.I doubt that Donna was even aware she had placed the $100 bid price; but, when it went over $100 her friend pulled down Donna’s arm holding the bidder’s number and shared the disappointment that Donna could not afford, on this day, to purchase the lot next to her house. Most likely, only Donna had a love, desire, and true purpose for the lot’s use. Donna was more than willing to own, maintain, and pay taxes on this lot. As Donna wiped the tears from her face, the bidding continued.With Donna out of the bidding, leaving the bidder in the corner holding the high bid, another bidder toward the center entered the bidding with $115, $135, and then the final bid of $155. Maybe not much money for you, but for people on fixed incomes with possible extended family to care for, it can seem like a fortune, especially during the holidays.The audience was a little quieter after this particular sale. Most were aware of Donna’s situation and wishing her the best of luck. There was more than a little disappointment felt throughout the room. Most everyone had wanted to see Donna get her lot for $5.00.As the auctioneer shouted sold and looked to the buyer for his bidder’s number the buyer rose slightly from his seat and shouted in a loud voice across the room to Donna: “See me after the auction and I will sell you that lot for $5.00.” There was a sigh of relief and joy throughout the audience just short of applause. Donna gestured with elation and blew kisses toward the benefactor. The auctioneer said “isn’t that nice” and the auction roared on.What a great Christmas story that can be repeated time and time again with a little help from our local government. Why not let people, like Donna, know that they could buy this lot for as little as $1 from the County Commissioners, using the same process as County Councilman Ed Bassemeier, rather than go to the auction?Why is the city proposing to keep all these lots from the people in the neighborhoods by transferring them to a land control organization called the Brownfields? I am sure special interest will be able to get lots they want, but why not let people in the neighborhoods – who want to own these lots, maintain these lots, and pay taxes on these lots – buy these lots at reasonable prices before gifting them to the Brownfields who will decide who meets their standards and mark up the cost?Why would you have a land bank holding the lots at a cost of up to $1,000 a year when you could sell or give them as Christmas gifts to people in the neighborhoods who would own them, maintain them and pay taxes on them? The money saved could then be used for other worthy causes like providing food and shelter.Some people just don’t seem to believe in Christmas.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
Read Full Story For Philips Loh, the suffering of tuberculosis patients — and the frightening ease with which the disease spreads — was a wake-up call. After working as an intern at a hospital in his native Indonesia, Loh decided to abandon his plans to become a physician and turn his focus to infectious disease prevention. Now the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) doctoral student is helping implement a new TB research and capacity building initiative in Indonesia, for which he won a three-year $420,000 grant.Loh, who earned a master’s degree at HSPH this spring, developed the proposal as his master’s thesis. It aims to identify risk factors in Indonesia for the spread of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis. These deadly strains can develop in locations where TB control programs are weak and treatment protocols are not followed correctly. Indonesia has the eighth-highest burden of drug-resistant tuberculosis in the world.The researchers’ findings will be used to inform the development of better TB control strategies in Indonesia. The work also will funnel much-needed funds into the country’s research infrastructure, improving its capacity to respond to drug-resistant TB outbreaks, Loh said.
Many organizations consider data to be their most valuable asset, but unfortunately it can also be among the most vulnerable. Without a robust data center cybersecurity strategy, the risks of data loss and data unavailability constantly loom, threatening costly outages, downtime, malware attacks and other nontrivial business consequences. Furthermore, when you consider the additional challenges associated with data management such as compliance requirements and opportunity for human error, there are many reasons for IT teams to lose sleep.These concerns are particularly daunting at smaller and growing organizations, where there are often limited budgets and resources to address and mitigate problems. Although security is a top priority, it’s also the most frequently cited skills shortfall and concern among mid-market IT leaders. The good news is you don’t have to embark on your IT transformation journey alone—and by implementing and streamlining trusted data center solutions you’re equipped to become more competitive.Trusted Data Center Leaders experience organization-wide benefitsNew research from ESG confirms that organizations in the mid-market segment achieve quantifiable benefits by prioritizing the security of their data center and utilizing modern storage platforms. To understand the competitive advantages afforded to Trusted Data Center Leaders, ESG conducted a survey of 1,650 IT decision makers at organizations with 100-999 employees.Of the organizations surveyed, only seven percent met the criteria to be classified as a Trusted Data Center Leader, meaning they aligned to the following infrastructure, security and data protection best practices:They refresh and retire data center infrastructure regularly, with an average age of server and storage systems at less than three years.They strongly believe that trusted technologies matter and have an organizational commitment to security features across infrastructure technology.They have successfully implemented secure and reliable infrastructure technology, including capabilities to encrypt sensitive data and replicate most or all data to secondary systems.Despite comprising a small portion of the survey sample, Leaders experience significant benefits compared to their peers who have not fully committed to the same IT practices:Leaders are 7X more likely to view their application and system uptime as excellent.Leaders experience an average of 60 percent reduction in the cost of downtime, saving as much as $20M per year.Leaders are 1X more successful at attaining customer satisfaction scores that exceed expectations.92 percent of Leaders report that their infrastructure investments to maximize uptime and availability and minimize security risk have met or exceeded ROI forecasts.Improve growth and productivity with secure storage infrastructureOrganizations who lead in data center trust not only prevent data outages but gain greater control of their IT environment and protect the integrity of their brand. Advanced data protection features make this possible by ensuring protection against data corruption, compromise and loss. Looking specifically at storage infrastructure, Leaders consistently reported a higher presence of data protection features that safeguard on-premises data such as automatic send-site failover capabilities, multi-system replication, self-encrypting drives, data snapshots and clones.If you’re not sure how to incorporate these capabilities into your data center strategy, fear not! Dell Technologies offers the broadest portfolio of trusted infrastructure and data protection solutions, specifically designed for the needs of growing businesses. Our secure storage solutions are engineered to store, manage and safeguard data in each array, ensuring you’re protected as you scale. And, because we understand future technology needs can be difficult to predict, we make it easy to adopt transformative offerings with a breadth of flexible payment solutions, including consumption-based and as-a-service options. For additional support, Dell Technologies Services are available to help you confidently deploy and optimize your infrastructure for continued success.All-inclusive storage solutions that propel your organization furtherDell EMC Unity XT is our award-winning, midrange unified storage offering that is designed for performance, optimized for efficiency and built for a multi-cloud world. Unity XT helps you simplify your path to IT transformation and unlock the full potential of your data with more IOPS, memory and drives to scale to the needs of your business. Your investment is further protected with a dual-active controller architecture and enterprise-class data services. Implementing Unity XT immediately ensures your data is secure and protected with robust features that include native sync/async replication, snapshots and data-at-rest encryption across the entire array. The no-compromise design also includes Dynamic Pools for faster drive re-build times, as well as support for multiple cloud deployment options.In addition, the PowerVault ME4 Series is an affordable entry storage array that’s purpose-built for SAN and DAS environments and designed for versatility. It offers block-only architecture with VMware virtualization integration and includes protective services, like snapshots, replication and self-encrypting Drives (SEDs), along with a Distributed RAID (ADAPT) software architecture.Both Unity XT and the PowerVault ME4 Series are fully integrated with the Dell Technologies data protection ecosystem, granting you the flexibility to select the best backup and recovery solutions to meet your data center requirements. Rest assured knowing our built-in security capabilities equip your IT teams to more efficiently manage resources and focus on innovation.Don’t let security be an afterthought in your IT landscapeBecome a Trusted Data Center Leader with innovative and secure solutions from Dell Technologies. For peace of mind your vital data is protected—wherever it resides and as your business evolves— it’s crucial to choose an IT partner you trust with an end-to-end approach to security. Formidable storage solutions are part of our DNA at Dell Technologies, and we have extensive experience helping organizations to solve IT challenges across their data center.To learn more about the Trusted Data Center research from ESG, read the eBook.
Student government presented research on alcohol culture at Notre Dame during its semi-annual report to the University Board of Trustees on Oct. 19.“We looked at alcohol culture at Notre Dame and we said, ‘Why do students drink here? What are the factors that feed into an alcohol culture?’” senior and student body president, Becca Blais, said. “And when I say ‘alcohol culture,’ that’s not just the presence of alcohol. It’s heavy use. We actually have a higher rate of usage of alcohol than pretty much all of our peer institutions both academically and athletically.”Blais said student government began its research by examining why students drink.“We came up with about 12 reasons: the residence life traditions, the Notre Dame bubble, social interactions, [a] work hard, play hard [mentality], stress, parietals, lack of conversation on the topic, tailgating and football, this perception that there’s nothing else to do, alumni, policy enforcement and the double standard — specifically in the dorms — and then home and prior life experience,” Blais said.Student government found widespread abusive drinking produced several negative effects, including unhealthy drinking, sexual assault and lack of intellectual curiosity, Blais said.“We saw that 66 percent of females and 46 percent of males who indicated that they had experienced non-consensual sexual intercourse while at Notre Dame said that they were unable to provide consent because they were asleep or incapacitated as a result of drugs or alcohol,” Blais said.According to the University’s 2016 Sexual Conduct and Climate Questionnaire, 17 percent of males and 26 percent of females observed a fellow student who was unable to give consent to sexual advances because of drugs or alcohol.An unhealthy alcohol culture can also negatively impact relationships, Blais said, in particular between female students and hall staff.“[We saw] for example, women being afraid to go back to their dorms for a perception of being judged after drinking — so not going back home and instead spending the night elsewhere —and how dangerous that can be,” Blais said.Senior and student body vice president, Sibonay Shewit, said student government’s research relied heavily on a year-long study conducted by the McDonald Center for Student Well-Being.“On top of that, we collected input from the student senate,” Shewit said. “The executive cabinet talked to the Office of Community Standards [and] different administrators, looked update previous board reports and then just [talked to] students. We tried to get as many voices as possible.”Based on student government’s finding, the executive cabinet made several recommendations for improving alcohol culture at Notre Dame. Blais said the first recommendation focused on examples of healthy drinking in residence halls.“We went around and we asked a lot of people, ‘Have you ever seen healthy drinking on campus?’” she said. “There were a few positive answers, and it was mostly game watches and stuff like that. So we want to see more opportunities for students, especially underclassmen, to interact with upperclassmen and alcohol in a really safe way.”Blais said student government proposed replacing parietals with quiet hours, creating consistency in policy enforcement amongst dorms and focusing on building healthy relationships between students and hall staff.“This will come out of conversations with rectors, primarily on the best practices in the dorms,” she said. “Some of the dorms are doing a really, really good job at building sustainable, healthy hall community, so what are they doing to build that community, and how can rectors emulate those practices?”Providing information about events in South Bend would also help counter an abusive alcohol culture, Blais said.“That’s where we would be advertising more of the alternatives that students have in South Bend as opposed to drinking all the time,” she said. “Again, this is also focusing on our drinking population at Notre Dame, which is about 80 percent, which is high.”Student government chief of staff and junior Prathm Juneja said student government hopes to continue the conversation on “everything from the alcohol issue in terms of safe drinking, sexual assault [and] the drug policy, etc.”“We’ll be comparing other university policies, policies that other Notre Dame students have had — whether it’s summer housing or abroad housing — so that we can have the best collection of information as to what policies are effective for the Notre Dame student population and which ones aren’t and which one the students on campus are in favor of,” Juneja said.Though the report focused primarily on alcohol culture on campus, Blais said, student government also considered the potential effects of the new housing policy on Notre Dame’s alcohol culture.“Looking at the three year housing policy, if you’re requiring students to stay on for three years, how will that affect alcohol culture?” she said. “Especially considering all these factors that we mentioned before, such as relationships with hall staff and rectors and parietals and everything, how do students interact with their dorms? What type of experience are we looking for in the dorms, and how does alcohol play a role in that?”While student government made certain recommendations to the Board of Trustees, members are not looking for changes to the University’s alcohol policies, Blais said.“We’re not asking for a new policy,” she said. “We’re asking for a conversation.”“I know that with the new housing policy there was a lot of confusion about what student government’s role was in that decision, seeing that housing recommendations were the focus of the previous board report,” Shewit said. “So, the biggest thing to be clear is that wasn’t necessarily the focus of [Blais], [former student body president] Corey [Robinson] and [former student government chief of staff] Michael [Markel’s] board report in the spring, and a new alcohol policy wasn’t the focus of our presentation or report to the board this year.”Blais said she hopes the report brings about changes in parietals and the drinking culture.“I hope that the impact [of the report] would be a change in parietals,” she said. “There’s a group within the rectors leading some research on this right now … I would love to see healthy drinking on campus, to be led by hall communities and club communities and all over. That would be amazing.”A healthier drinking culture would expose students to examples of healthy drinking, especially in dorm communities, Shewit said.“I think that the best thing we could do for our alcohol culture is to end this taboo where students are afraid to talk about alcohol in their dorm or approach it as if it’s this topic that can’t be talked about around adults or [resident assistants]” she said.Juneja said changes to the drinking culture would also help improve the community as a whole.“We want to hopefully make steps towards making Notre Dame a safer, more equitable and more community oriented place,” he said. “That’s the community on-campus and off-campus and the South Bend community at large.” Tags: alcohol, blais-shewit, Board of Trustees, board report, Student government
The Saint Mary’s golf, softball, lacrosse and tennis teams will be traveling to different parts of the country in order to face new competition over spring break.The trips are funded by individual contributions, players and team fundraisers like working parking before football games. The golf team, consisting of seven players, travels every year for spring break. This year the team is going to Jekyll Island in Georgia.“We have three, 18-hole practice rounds the first three days, and then we have three days of a tournament,” freshman Sydney Hruskoci said. “We are also going on a dolphin cruise and will attend team dinners.”Hruskoci said this is the furthest this team has ever traveled together, and they will all be staying in a villa together.“This year is going to be fun because the team chemistry is great,” she said. “I am so excited to spend a week with the team.”The softball team is also going south over break, traveling to Tucson, Ariz. Senior and fourth-year player Zoe Bruni said the team will have one practice and a total of 10 games spread throughout the week. However, it is not all work and no play Bruni said.“We get to spend the afternoon with our families on Monday, and we have an off day on Wednesday, so we [are] have a surprise team bonding activity planned that day,” she said. “We play all morning games so afternoons will probably have other fun activities as well.”The team has already done an overnight trip to Brighton, Mich., this year.“This trip will be different [from past trips] due to the location as well as [it] being the first time we are in a hotel not a house,” Bruni said. “We have a lot of underclassmen, so this should be a fun first spring break for them and a good change in location.”The Saint Mary’s lacrosse team will be traveling west to Los Angeles for the break, where they will visit Santa Monica state beach, hike to the Hollywood sign and explore the Walk of Fame, freshman Rachel Ledyard said. Ledyard said the destination has the added benefit of being her hometown and her family will be hosting a team dinner at their house following one of the games.“I am most looking forward to being able to go home and be in warm weather,” Ledyard said. “I’m excited for my family to be able to meet some of my closest friends and amazing teammates thanks to the Saint Mary’s College lacrosse program.”The lacrosse team is scheduled to play a total of three games against Whittier College, Chapman University and University of Redlands.The tennis team enjoyed going to San Marcos, Texas so much last year that they are going back again this year, coach Dale Campbell said. They will play five matches and have a few practices during their time there, he said.“It’s a great opportunity for the team to get more connected and to play some excellent teams,” Campbell said. “Hopefully it is a lot warmer than here and gives us the opportunity to play outside for the first time this year.”Tags: Saint Mary’s Athletics, Saint Mary’s Golf, Saint Mary’s Lacrosse, Saint Mary’s Softball, Saint Mary’s Tennis, Spring Break
2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Technologies that enhance member engagement, advance digital interaction via the mobile channel, improve security and help credit unions understand accountholders better are the top IT budget priorities heading into 2016.“Rolling out the red carpet for opening and funding new accounts, especially via the mobile channel, is the most valuable digital service for credit unions to offer in 2016, because account growth is the one metric that can’t be neglected,” Hal Tilbury, CEO of the Henderson, Nev., payment processing and document imaging firm Bluepoint Solutions said. continue reading »
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The Newman’s have just sold their property for $920,000 after buying it six years ago for $570,000. They say even though the property market is tough there is still money to be made. They also reckon Toonpan which offers a semi-rural lifestyle is Townsville’s best kept secret. This is Sharee Newman on the property.THE Newman family’s Toonpan home has become a property success story, selling for $920,000 after they purchased it five years ago for $572,000.Sharee Newman, who lives at 242 Mountview Dve with her husband and two children, says the sale is proof there is still money to be made in Townsville’s downtrodden property market.The family gutted the five-bedroom home during a five-month renovation to create a picture perfect homestead sitting in pride of place on 26ha.Even after completing a six-figure renovation, Mrs Newman said they had come away with a healthy profit.“When we bought it in 2012, it was a bit of a mess and they had renters here at the time,” she said.“It was on the market for a long time and we came back to look at it again and the renters had gone and they had cleaned it out but there was still a lot of water damage. “I was pregnant at the time and I just thought, ‘I can’t do this’, but the previous owners had all the right infrastructure in place so we went ahead and bought it.”The property was sold to a Townsville family with three children who want to be able to enjoy a rural lifestyle. Mrs Newman said well-maintained acreage properties were a rarity in Townsville and she felt that was why it sold for such a high price.“I noticed in Townsville that you don’t see a lot of acreage properties of this size where it’s tidy inside and out and I think there is a real lack of these properties in the market,” she said.“We had overseas interest, interstate interest and the rest was locals.More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020“We’ve kept it well maintained and that’s what really attracted people and within three weeks we had an offer.”The home has a large undercover entertaining area and a six-bay shed, while there is also a dam, bore water, rainwater tank and a pet pig that will be given to the new owners. The dam has been stocked with barramundi and there is a bridge leading to an island in the centre of the dam.She said the home had been a rural paradise and they were sad to be leaving to relocate to Victoria. “We get turtles out of the dam that crawl up to the house, we catch barra out of the dam and you get kangaroos hopping about the place,” she said.“The bird life is amazing and you get storks that are as tall as me and they are like a jumbo jet when they fly in. It’s a great home for kids.”The southern suburb of Toonpan is arguably Townsville’s best-kept secret. It offers a rural lifestyle, large lots, mountain views and tranquillity. The suburb, off the Flinders Highway, mainly hosts owner-occupiers and properties rarely come up for sale.McGrath agent Karyn Voevodin, who sold the property, said the price was a reflection of the limited amount of quality acreage on the market.“I’ve got a number of buyers who are still looking for something similar,” she said.