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Upper Hutt Leader : June 15th 2011
43 UPPER HUTT LEADER, JUNE 15, 2011 To order your own copy of photos in this paper, or other CCN titles, check out: pix.ccn.co.nz Scooters fail to trigger lights By KRIS SHANNON Wellington scooter users are run- ning red lights because traffic light sensors are unable to detect their presence at intersections. The sensors work by detecting a vehicle s magnetic field and are designed for cars and motorcycles with sufficient mass of metal. Smaller vehicles with alu- minium frames do not trigger the sensors, leaving the lights red and scooters stranded. Victoria University student and scooter user Jess Oosthuizen said she often ignored red lights at sparsely populated intersections. I used to run six or seven red lights, because I knew [the sensors] would never pick me up. I would look ahead and zoom straight through. Scooterazzi staff member Tim Hackett said with the number of scooters on Wellington roads set to increase with the price of pet- rol, the problem was not the best. It does probably lead to some unnecessary running lights, especially late at night. You pretty much have to learn to deal with it. Traffic signal engineer Anton Swagernan said the city council was aware of the problem, but because the sensors were aimed to recognise vehicles with high mag- netic fields there was not much that could be done. We tried to do something to the sensitivity -- in some cases we have special bicycle detectors which are more sensitive -- but some scooters are made from materials that don t work, said Mr Swagernan. He recommended scooter users stuck at lights should dismount their vehicle and press the ped- estrian button at traffic lights. Miss Oosthuizen said this was an awkward option while on the road. Sometimes I ve done that, but people in the other lanes look at you and are like, What the hell . Wellington road policing head Senior Sergeant Richard Hocken said scooters caught running red lights were subject to the same fines as other motorists. He had heard sensors could be a problem with light-weight alloy bicycles, but not with scooters. He said the council s suggestion that scooter riders use the ped- estrian button if the lights do not change was safe at most locations . Not whoo eh: The Holden at the centre of Mr Francis' story belonged to his former neighbour, who taught him to drive the car. 'Whoo eh', it's now a winner By ANDREA O'NEIL Winning a writing award on Facebook has not made James Francis a champion of com- munication technology -- in fact, it makes us less creative, he says. The 54-year-old Tawa man was crowned winner last week of BNZ s Short Short Story competition, run on social media website Facebook. His story is set in a North- land school in the 1970s, where a teacher christens his new car whoo eh (pro- nounced foo eh ) in tribute to his students reaction to the flash vehicle. Times were sim- pler then, Mr Francis says. There was sort of an inno- cence back then. It s gone now. Kids are too distracted by so many things. Being constantly on cellphones and computers stops kids being creative, he says. You wrote things in those days, because you didn t text or phone. Mr Francis makes his liv- ing as a copywriter, but did not consider himself a real writer and had to be urged to enter the short short story contest by his sister-in-law. If anybody had said, are you a writer? , I d have said, emphatically not . His story was chosen above hundreds of entries by judge, the former head of Penguin Books New Zealand, Graham Beattie. The prize was $500. Aspiring writers should try to write how they talk, Mr Francis says. Don t be too clever. He also believes writing exists to entertain people, which comes naturally to Kiwis. Maginnity's chef wins big Marc Soper Lower Hutt resident Marc Soper, the chef de cuisine for Maginnity s Restaurant at the Wellesley Boutique Hotel, was named Chef of the Capital 2011 at the recent Wellington Food Show. Marc was one of seven top Wellington chefs who competed for the coveted title in a competition organised by the Chefs Associ- ation of New Zealand. The competition, held in front of an audi- ence at Westpac Stadium, focuses on our top regional chefs using the best produce and wines from the Greater Wellington Region in preparing a set menu for the judges. This is not the first competition success tasted by Marc. He was named New Zealand Chef of the Nation in 2005, and was a member of the 2005-2006 New Zealand Culinary team that won gold at the Food Hotel Asia Culinary Compe- titions. Mr Soper is a gradu- ate of the Culinary Institute of America. His chef resume includes time at the acclaimed French Laundry Restaurant in the Napa Valley and the 3 Michelin Star Residents Heinz Wink- ler restaurant in Germany. Whoo Eh by James Francis Whoo eh is a 1972 Holden Kingswood. The first and only car I ever bought new. It cost $5000 back when $5000 was a third of a senior teacher s salary. I d just been appointed senior teacher and the car was a self-indulgent reward. The name had come from my wife. I d been telling her about the kids reaction when I d driven the car into the teachers carpark. Hey sir, whose flash car is that? Did you nick it? Ehoa! Sir doesn t need to nick it. He just has to teach dumbarses like you and they pay him money. They scramble through the car. Lookit this! Stereo radio! Whoo eh! Sheepskin seat covers! Whoo eh! Whoo. And it s got power steering, too. Whoo eh! You ll never turn those pipis into muscles now, sir. Whoo eh. A simple exclamation that in two syllables could convey pride, wonder, amazement or bugger-me disbelief.
June 8th 2011
June 22nd 2011