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No controversy fears
Mining company takes relaxed attitude to festival
Solid Energy are not worried about
fallouts with the hundreds of anti-lignite
activists expected to gather in Gore this
weekend for the second annual Keep the
Coal in the Hole Summer Festival.
The festival, which begins tomorrow,
aims to discuss stopping proposed lignite
mining in the Mataura Valley. However,
Solid Energy's communications manager
Bryn Somerville said Solid Energy is not
concerned that public fallout against
their operations will arise.
''They've got one point of view, and we've
got another. They want to put their view
Last year, about 300 people attended
workshops during the festival to discuss
ways of stopping mining in Mataura
Coal Action Murihiku co-convener
Jenny Campbell said the festival aimed
to address people's concerns about
lignite mining, the biggest being
environmental concerns as well as loss of
farmland to the mining giant.
However, Mr Somerville said those types
of concerns had been in discussion for
quite a while, and that information from
Solid Energy was ''there for people if
they want to see it''.
''We have a good track record of
considering various impacts and deal
with those in a considerate way.''
Solid Energy's planned $25 million
lignite briquetting plant was due to start
producing briquettes last year but is still
in the commissioning stage because of
Mr Somerville said Solid Energy
believed the project would bring huge
benefits to both Southland and New
Zealand and they deserved to be well
considered. He said the company would
not be at the festival, as it was not the
venue for them to say what they think.
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THEN: Newly-weds Jack and Verna Stevens cutting the cake at their 1953 wedding in
NOW: Jack and Verna Stevens, of Gore,
celebrated their Diamond wedding
anniversary last weekend.
Photo: BRIDGET RAILTON 627490507
Jack and Verna Stevens, married
at the Invercargill Presbyterian
Church on January 8, 1953.
It was called a ''novel'' wedding in 1953,
and now, with 60 years of marriage
together, it is still a rather novel affair.
Jack and Verna wed at the Invercargill
Presbyterian Church in 1953 in a rather
unusual ceremony where Jack's twin
brother Thomas married Verna's sister
Lillias at the same time.
The sibling event did not end there --
Verna's twin sisters were in the bridal
''It was pretty special really,'' said Verna.
Now, 60 years on from their nuptials, the
Stevens are celebrating their Diamond
anniversary at the Gore RSA with about
60 of the Stevens' ''herd''.
While not all of the original wedding
party is still around to celebrate the
milestone, the Stevens said it would still
be a good celebration.
''When we first got married, when a
person got to their 40th anniversary it
was like goodness they are old.
''It's hard to believe 10 years ago we had
our 50th, time goes so quick,'' she said.
The Stevens have been in the Gore area
for about 35 years.
Jack worked on the railways, finishing
up in 1980 as area traffic manager, while
Verna spent time working for local
electric and refrigeration companies.
She was also awarded a Queen's Service
Medal in September this year for her
work with the RSA as a welfare officer.
The secret to their longevity is not really
a secret, simply companionship, friend-
ship and love she said.
''Everybody has their ups and downs.''
Humour helps too.
''He's got the best cook and cleaner in all
of Gore,'' she said.
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