Letters of the week March 1, 2024

To foster or adopt

Dear Echo News,

All credit to the wonderful people who foster pets.

From my experience, I would like to encourage adoption where possible.

I fostered a dog and was subjected to regular pressure to provide unconventional diets, multiple supplements, and to administer medically unapproved therapies.

As a foster carer, you are beholden to the dictates of the organisation.

Please trust your instincts.

A Peters



Extra donation time

Dear Echo News,

While Australians enjoyed an extra 24 hours in February – the bonus leap year day – that also meant an extra day of need for patients in hospitals.

With time frequently listed as one of the greatest barriers to donating blood, Lifeblood hopes people will turn their extra time in March into a lifetime for someone in need by giving a blood or plasma donation.

There are around 33,000 blood donations needed every week to help a range of seriously ill Australians.

And this year, we had an extra day of need, which required more than 5500 extra blood and plasma donations.

Cancer patients, pregnant women, road trauma victims, premature babies, and people with blood disorders need blood every single day.

Throughout February and on leap day, people living with cancer were our biggest users of donated blood.

We used around 2000 of the donations made on February 29 for cancer treatments.

With one in two Australians expected to be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85, by donating blood the chances are you’ll be helping someone you know to tackle cancer.

To book a donation visit lifeblood.com.au, download the free Donate Blood app or call 13 14 95.

C Stone



Fifty years of fantasy

Dear Echo News,

Half a century on from its creation, Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) continues to attract millions of players across demographics.

The tabletop role-playing game truly has cemented its position in an increasingly competitive market, valued at more than US$15 billion (A$23 billion) in 2022.

How is a fantasy game from 1974 still capturing the imagination of so many people?

D&D’s increased popularity, over the past decade in particular, has been driven by the success of the game’s current version (the fifth edition, released in 2014), the growth in online gaming culture, as well as increased social acceptance of what have historically been considered ‘nerdy’ or ‘geeky’ interests.

The current D&D edition hits a sweet spot. It’s complex enough to sustain long-standing players, but approachable enough to draw in new people.

But as D&D became mainstream, scrutiny followed. The subculture has its share of controversies, including an element of toxic fandom that expresses hostility towards the game’s evolution and diversifying fan base.

As with any growing community, some fans have been concerned with gatekeeping. Some players experience bullying and exclusion, while others find themselves in awkward conversations around the table.

This has been a recurring concern for women trying D&D for the first time.

On balance, however, the vast majority of people play to have fun, express their creativity and engage with others.

The flexible nature of the game means fans have found endless ways to turn their campaigns into something highly personal and treasured.

In challenging times, tabletop games provide inexpensive entertainment, escapism, and a way to stay connected to friends and family.

One recent Australian study of community members playing the game over an eight-week period, found playing D&D decreased players’ depression, stress and anxiety, and increased self-esteem.

The authors suggest the game could be used as a wellbeing intervention tool or to prevent mental health issues from arising.

Role-playing games in particular offer psychological support to people of all ages, helping to combat anxiety and build confidence.

Prof. L Given

RMIT University


Social says...

Former mayors attack land increase

J. Ing

It’s a thirty per cent increase on blocks that don’t have a building application lodged.

My understanding is that it’s therefore a thirty per cent increase on the unimproved rates issued for vacant blocks which in many cases is less than $1000 per annum.

So, you’re talking about an extra few hundred dollars added to the rates for each undeveloped block.

If you can afford in this climate to hold a block you haven’t developed, then I’d be very, very surprised if this would even make you blink.

And for anyone trumpeting the building crisis, go look at REIWA reports and house and land sales, all of which are on the increase.

And lastly, these two voted for rate rise after rate rise while on council, so I’m finding it a little hard to believe they suddenly give a darn about the ‘the regular punter’.

Smells like some sad apples wanting to try and make noise because they’re no longer relevant.

D. Henry

Well, the public got its chance to vote in who we wanted and decided we didn’t want them representing us anymore.

I think the motion is a brilliant one based on the reasoning offered by our current mayor.

K. Mowat

What I don’t get is why didn’t any councillor propose an amendment to this motion last week?

Surely it would have been simple enough to ask for additional information or defer the motion until information was available to all councillors.

G. Bulk

Who cares what these out of touch dinosaurs say, they had their time in council, made a mess of things and were voted out.

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