Dear valued subscriber,
Well 2021 has kicked off with a bang. Dramatic scenes in America have shocked the world this week - so much for the United States of America being the greatest country in the world.
The violent, and frankly appalling, scenes of rioters storming the Capitol building in Washington DC, a sacred bastion of American democracy, as they would not accept the election result have shocked viewers around the world.
An angry and violent mob of protesters stormed the House and Senate on Wednesday, interrupting the process to certify Joe Biden as the next president of the United States and sending lawmakers into a lockdown.
Absolutely wild scenes of pro-Donald Trump supporters tearing through offices, shattering windows, breaking doors and even sitting in the senate chamber showed how far America has drifted from its core values and trust in democratic processes.
Some commentators have said the angry mob should be labelled as terrorists. Others have questioned if law enforcement would have taken a harder or more aggressive tact if the protesters were black.
Even the big tech giants have had enough of Trump's lies.
The man who constantly cried "fake news" throughout his presidency at anything he didn't agree with has been silenced by Facebook and Twitter, with both social media platforms banning him from posting due to "severe violations".
"We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great," Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said.
No matter where your politics lie, it's hard to imagine an Australian or state leader refusing to acknowledge they had lost and not conceding peacefully so as to ensure a smooth transition for the new leader to run the country.
And that's not what Trump has been. He hasn't led the people, he has divided them, as seen by the dramatic scenes broadcast across the world this week.
No matter what they are doing, a leader should unite people, bring them together and work towards making their country, workplace or sporting club a better place.
Seeing those scenes in the US truly makes you realise how good we have it here.
And in the south-west we do live in a beautiful part of the world. We have so much to be proud of.
A very popular story this week was the news the former Cudgee Wildlife Park had been given a new lease on life by a familiar face.
Zara Altmann and her partner Joshua Hurley (pictured above) have breathed life into the wildlife sanctuary her parents once owned and have re-opened the site as Warrnambool Wildlife Encounters.
The news that Warrnambool City Council staff were given an extra day of leave between its Christmas and New Year shutdown in lieu of its end-of-year staff party ruffled some feathers among readers.
In 2019, about 230 council staff attended its end-of-year dinner which cost $12,769 but this year's function was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commentors on The Standard's Facebook page were divided about the extra day off.
Some said "it was not appropriate to use public money for a Christmas party", while others thought it "was essential in maintaining workplace morale, communication and inclusivity".
The push for a new boat ramp at Warrnambool's breakwater took a "step in the right direction" this week during a visit by Better Boating Victoria.
The city council's new infrastructure director David Leahy said they were pleased with the discussions which he described as positive.
It was also revealed this week the city would soon get another CBD car park with the Warrnambool council saying it was in the process of purchasing more land.
Whether the car park will be free or paid remains to be seen.
It was also great to see racing return to Warrnambool's Premier Speedway.
The past year has proved tricky for the club with coronavirus restrictions creating plenty of uncertainty around events.
It was fitting to see local man Jamie Veal win the feature race.
Stay safe and take care.
- Rachael Houlihan, deputy editor, on behalf of Greg Best.