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Page 14 Thursday, 9 January, 2014

Dance over disability

GHB drug making chemical seized POLICE searched two Casey homes recently and an industrial chemical used for the manufacturing of GHB was found. Five men and one woman were arrested after police executed search warrants at homes in Debanne Court, Narre Warren, and Warana Drive, Hampton Park, about 7.25pm on Tuesday 31 December. Police seized a small quantity of what was believed to be an industrial solvent. The chemical was believed to be stolen during a burglary at a Cheltenham factory in November. Investigators have been told the break-in occurred sometime between Friday 8 and Tuesday 12 November, with the offenders allegedly stealing several drums containing an industrial solvent. The industrial solvent, if ingested by a person, can potentially have a similar effect as GHB. A 26-year-old Hampton Park man has been charged with trafficking and will face court at a later date. The other five people arrested were released, pending further inquiries.

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By LACHLAN MOORHEAD WHEN Cranbourne teenager Charlee was born, her mother was told she would never walk. But limits are there to be broken, and 13-year-old Charlee, who suffers from hypotonia (low muscle tone) and an intellectual disability, is proof after not only learning to walk but also to dance. Charlee was awarded a 10year service award last year at Cathy-Lea Dance Music and Drama Works, based in Narre Warren, and Charlee’s mum Lisa Harris can’t speak highly enough of the influence the dance school has had on her daughter’s life. “She needed something to build up muscle tone, but she wasn’t able to play sport, and I happened to come across an ad for Cathy-Lea’s dance school,” Lisa said. “When I rang Cathy, she told me that she had been thinking about starting up a special needs class at the school.” Charlee was a driving influence in establishing the special needs class at CathyLea, which, a decade later, is a pivotal part of the school’s program. Lisa said dancing had helped Charlee in so many ways, not only in allowing her to adjust to her muscle tone but just as importantly enabled her to make close friends and be part of an envi-

ronment where she was welcomed with open arms. “It’s more than just dance, it’s the chance for Charlee to dance with a group of kids and to be accepted by the community,” she said. “She’s really made to be part it. A good example is during the end-of-year dance concert with all the other students, she is 100 per cent part of the Cathy Lee community. “And for me, it’s lovely to see kids interact with Charlee.” Charlee, who has flourished under the tutelage of the dance teachers at CathyLea, couldn’t contain her excitement when she heard she would be receiving the 10year service award. “What little kid doesn’t love dressing up with full make-up,” Lisa said. “It’s every little kid’s dream to be on stage.” Director Cathy-Lea Smith is passionate about her special needs dance classes and said she had marvelled at Charlee’s development over the years. “When she was little, Lisa was told by specialists that Charlee would never walk or talk and here she is now winning a trophy for dancing for 10 years in a dance school!” Cathy-Lea said. “It means a lot to them, and I think it is inspirational to other parents of children with disabilities.”

Charlee, here with her 10-year service award, has made dancing a vital part of her life after becoming a valued member of the CathyLea Dance Music and Drama Works school in Narre Warren over the last decade.

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News - Berwick - 09th January 2014