28 June 2017

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NEWS DESK

Game of life deals Ben a good hand Stephen Taylor steve@baysidenews.com.au THE challenging card game of bridge has a special place in centenarian Ben Finkelstein’s life. “It’s my only major interest and I look forward to it every Monday and Thursday,” he said from his Patterson Lakes retirement village last week. Born on a West Australian wheat farm 240 kilometres east of Perth on 16 June 1917, Mr Finkelstein celebrated his centenary at a lunch with friends and family, including his son Howard, down from Queensland for the occasion, and daughters Cheryl and Joanne. His wife Ethel died of cancer in 1984. Looking back over the century he recalls coming to Melbourne from Perth in 1940 as a 23-year-old and joining the Melbourne Harbour Trust. He completed an engineering course and, after a few months – and with the Second World War occupying everyone’s thoughts – he decided to enlist. “I went to Melbourne Town Hall to sign up and was asked my profession,” he said. “When I told them I was an engineer they said I would be required to stay in Melbourne but that I could pick where I was deployed. It was a choice between the Williamstown shipbuilding yard and the ordnance factory at Maribyrnong. “The ordnance factory manager was a West Australian so off I went to join him and that’s where I spent the war.” After the war, with thousands

of returning soldiers looking for work, jobs were scarce. Luckily, Mr Finkelstein’s old boss had opened an engineering business in Surrey Hills. It had a contract with the PostmasterGeneral’s Department (PMG, forerunner of Telstra) servicing public phones, and so he began working there and stayed for 35 years. A short retirement followed in the late 1970s before Mr Finkelstein again joined friends at a plastics injection moulding business in Richmond for 10 years. When it was sold he retired for good. After a short stint living with Cheryl in Perth, he returned to Aspendale – and started playing bridge at Patterson Lakes Community Centre and at Frankston Bridge Club, which also put on a special birthday afternoon tea for his centenary. Now bridge is a major interest and challenge. “It’s a great game and you have fun mixing with a nice crowd,” he said. With age comes a balanced perspective on international affairs: “I don’t think we will end up in a tragic situation but it is always better to collaborate with other countries than to argue. “A lot will depend on how [US President Donald] Trump turns out. I’m not overly concerned as there are a lot of intelligent people behind him with the president being more of a mouthpiece.” Yes, the world has changed a lot, he mused. “There are lots of disturbing influences but, overall, it is still a marvellous place.”

Searoad wins Western Port ferry contract Stephen Taylor steve@baysidenews.com.au

Coming up trumps: Centenarian Ben Finkelstein, left, with Patterson Lakes Bridge Club director Terry Cheshire. Picture: Gary Sissons

SEAROAD Ferries has won a lucrative contract to run the Western Port ferry service between French Island, Phillip Island and Stony Point. The company, trading as Western Port Ferries, will run the service for five years from Saturday 1 July. The existing operator, Inter Island Ferries – whose contract ends on that day – is believed to carry about 32,000 passengers a year. Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said she “expects that number to rise under the new operator”. Searoad Ferries said it aims to increase the number of services by more than 30 per cent, including a new daily service direct from Stony Point to Phillip Island using the new 95-passenger, 18-metre vessel MV Naturaliste when it starts in September. Until then the company has bought the 12-metre former dive boat Island

Police patrol

Teen car thieves crash to a stop FOUR teenagers who allegedly stole a car at Parkdale early Monday 26 June and took it on a joy ride as far as Carrum were brought to a halt when police placed road spikes on Charman Rd, Cheltenham. Hitting the spikes at 2.30am the inexperienced driver lost control and slammed the car into a fence before the boys jumped out and allegedly tried to flee. The Victoria Police Air Wing helicopter had followed the Toyota Corolla from Carrum after being alerted by a divisional van crew. It followed the car as it drove erratically down side streets, eventually heading north along Nepean Highway and turning into Charman Rd. Waiting at the scene was a member of the dog squad with his canine companion. Inside the car were a 14-year-old from Parkdale, 15-year-old from Mordialloc, 15-year-old from Mentone and 17-year-old from Carrum Downs. Detective Sergeant Nigel Fox of Kingston CIU said three of the teens tried to hide in a shed; the fourth surrendered. Two allegedly resisted arrest and were bitten by the dog before being taken to Sandringham Hospital for treatment. Later on Monday the boys were charged with theft of a vehicle and bailed to appear at a children’s court at a later date.

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Bike gear raided

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Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News

28 June 2017

HIT-RUN burglars drove a stolen Audi into the roller doors of a wholesale bike store in Industrial Drive, Braeside, before making off with a valuable haul of sports merchandise at 5.30am on Saturday 24 June. CCTV footage showed

the light-coloured Audi in the car park on the corner of Baxter Drive before it was reversed at speed into the double doors, buckling them at the edges. Two men jumped out and squeezed inside, ransacking drawers and display cabinets and stealing watches, bike accessories, clothing, helmets and glasses in a four-minute snatch and grab. They drove off in the car, which had stolen plates. One of the men was seen on CCTV with a scarf covering his face, carrying a torch, shoulder bag and wearing gloves, hoodie and cap.

House ransacked INTRUDERS ransacked every room of an Aspendale Gardens house and made off with items including a mobile phone and heirloom jewellery on Thursday 22 June. The Nurten Parade homeowner’s children arrived home at about 3.30pm to find the front door kicked in and the lock broken. There was evidence that every room had been searched and every drawer and cupboard rifled. A neighbour told police that a maroon-coloured Holden sedan had been seen in the street for up to three hours with a driver wearing a hi-vis vest.

Car, gear stolen A SAMSUNG Galaxy tablet computer, Toshiba laptop and women’s clothing were in a car stolen from outside a house in Naples Rd, Mentone, overnight Saturday 24 June. Anyone with information on these incidents can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


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