4 great stories you may have missed this week

WHERE did January go? Next week the kids will be back at school and parents can breathe a sigh of relief and get back to normal duties. Speaking of school, and recent school leavers, how about this for a story: At age 18, former Trinity Catholic College student Jakirra Graham bought her own café in Alstonville. Sure she had a bit of help from her mum, but it's an inspirational and aspirational story nonetheless.

Alstonville girl Jakirra Graham bought her own cafe and is the new owner and manager of The Crossing in Alstonville, formerly knows as Savannah Coffee Lounge.
Alstonville girl Jakirra Graham bought her own cafe and is the new owner and manager of The Crossing in Alstonville, formerly knows as Savannah Coffee Lounge. Marc Stapelberg

More than two years on from a spate of shark attacks which shook the Northern Rivers, our reporter Hamish Broome touched base with surfers at some of the region's most popular breaks to find out how they were feeling about being back in the water and whether nets, smart drumlines and drones were giving them an extra level of comfort. Hamish has covered the shark issue extensively over the years.

Jeremy Fox, 16, at Lighthouse Beach near North Wall in Ballina.
Jeremy Fox, 16, at Lighthouse Beach near North Wall in Ballina. Marc Stapelberg

Writing stories for online is all about giving readers news they can use. In this case, it's a comprehensive list of events for Australia Day in the five local government areas across the Northern Rivers. If you are looking for something to do on this public holiday then this listicle should be your first point of call.

How are you going to celebrate Australia Day?
How are you going to celebrate Australia Day?

Everybody loves IKEA. So when this Swedish retail giant announced it was opening a delivery depot in Lismore, locals were in raptures because it now means you can order online and pick it up without driving to the nearest store which is between the Gold Coast and Brisbane. But all that glitters is not gold as one woman found when her delivery was dumped on her front lawn.

DUMPED: The flat pack furniture was dropped off outside Aimee Parr's home, 3km from the IKEA depot in Lismore, for $50.
DUMPED: The flat pack furniture was dropped off outside Aimee Parr's home, 3km from the IKEA depot in Lismore, for $50. Contributed

We have got a big anniversary coming up. March 31 will mark one year since ex tropical cyclone Debbie swept through our region and caused massive flooding which devastated the Northern Rivers and Lismore in particular. To mark this milestone we are planning to publish a 12-page special asking whether we are any better prepared than we were a year ago.

Flooding in conway Street, Lismore.
Flooding in conway Street, Lismore. Contributed Yokok Hendrix

We would like to know if you witnessed any particularly heart-warming moments or things that made you pause and reflect. Untold stories about individuals who have gone above and beyond are most welcome as are photos - if you own the rights to them. We would also like to know what questions you have that remain unanswered so we can endeavour to look into it. Please contact our reporter Karin von Behrens, or phone 66200 545. If you could help us put together a fantastic flood feature, please get in touch.

Until next time...

David Kirkpatrick,

Editor, The Northern Star.