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Sonia ‘Sunny’ Jacobs.

Former Death Row inmate coming to Ennis

By Owen Ryan SOME suffering is unavoidable in life but it takes a ferocious amount of ill luck to be faced with an ordeal as horrific as that which Sonia “Sunny” Jacobs endured. The American spent five years on death row and 17 in jail, after being in the wrong place at the wrong time, while it was worse for her partner, Jesse Tafero, who ended up in the electric chair. Sunny was eventually exonerated and, remarkably, she ended up marrying Peter Pringle, an Irishman, who had also been sentenced to death in 1980 after the killing of two gardaí. He was exonerated in 1995. Both have written books about their imprisonment and are due to write one together, while Sunny will be in Glór on Sunday, March 9 as part of the Sunday Symposium on the theme of Dealing with Adversity, alongside DJ Carey; Billy Keane, journalist and author, and Michael Murphy, cancer survivor. Sunny’s life changed forever in …

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Seeking forgiveness in Mountshannon

SLIABH Aughty Drama Group will present their production of Unforgiven, by playwright John McDwyer, this week as they prepare to go on the amateur drama circuit. The play follows the group’s traditional leaning towards comedy and this production has plenty of humour. It tells the story of brothers, PJ and Seamy, in rural Ireland, whose lives up to now have revolved around movies, puzzles and unrequited love. When it opens, the two brothers are waiting for their father to die and the elder of the two brothers, PJ, has set his sights on marrying his neighbour, Mary, once his father is eventually out of the picture. Matters are complicated by another brother, who lives in America but returns home for the funeral. He was in love with Mary before leaving and settling in America 25 years previously. PJ is vying for Mary’s attention and Seamy holds a watching brief, while PJ plans his happily ever after. Director, John Allen said, …

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National award for lifesaving Great Dane

THE  lifesaving exploits of a Great Dane will be fittingly honoured with a national award this weekend. Charlie’s ability to detect when a three year-old Killaloe child is going to have a seizure, will be officially recognised by the Irish Great Dane (IGD) club at a national ceremony in Dublin. The club wanted to honour Charlie following the phenomenal response to Clare Champion story highlighting the unique bond between the dog and Brianna Lynch, which enabled him to detect her frequent seizures, up to 20 minutes before the start of each episode. The once-off award, which has never been presented to any other dog previously, will be presented to Arabella Scanlan and Charlie as the Great Dane Open Show in the National Show Centre, Dublin this Saturday. Claire Daly of the IGD said the club were delighted to present Charlie with the award following the huge national and international reaction to the Clare  Champion story. “The club is 51 years …

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Councillor Cathal Crowe makes the victory sign through the worn-out sole of his shoes after the 2004 Local Elections.

John Kelly photo in Junior Cert book

A PHOTOGRAPH by John Kelly of  holed  leather shoes worn out by  Councillor Cathal Crowe canvassing before the 2004 Local Elections has  ended up in a civics textbook, which is currently on the Junior Certificate syllabus. Councillor Crowe’s old shoes also form part of a display depicting Clare’s political history at the County Museum in Ennis. Shortly after becoming the youngest councillor in the country to secure a seat on Clare County Council in June 2004, the 21- year-old Fianna Fáil Councillor was captured by Clare Champion photographer John Kelly making the “V” victory sign through the worn out sole of his shoes. A few months earlier, the University of Limerick student, who was more used to trainers than leather shoes, made the short trip into Limerick City where he bought the famous shoes from his future wife, who had a summer shop in a well know city shoe shop at the time. With the benefit of hindsight, Councillor Crowe …

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2 minute beach clean

WE have all seen the evidence of marine litter along Ireland’s coastline and now for all you beach lovers out there here’s an opportunity to do something about it. An Táisce’s Clean Coasts programme has launched its #2minutebeachclean competition. All that’s involved is to take a little time every time you go to the beach and do your own 2 minute beach clean. Take a snap of the litter you collect and post your snap on instagram/twitter/facebook with the hashtags #cleancoasts #2minutebeachclean. It’s as easy as that and be in with a chance to win a Clean Coasts hoodie. The idea came from Martin Dorey (One Man and His Campervan). Martin started doing these mini-beach cleans when he visited the beach. Since sharing his idea many more people have been getting involved. Annabel FitzGerald, Clean Coasts said, “There are over 360 Clean Coasts groups in Ireland that carry out organised beach cleans removing large amounts of marine litter from the …

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Is your dog a hero?

IS your dog really special, not only a loyal companion but a hero? If so,  now’s your chance to tell everybody why. The Irish Kennel Club has launched the inaugural Golden Paw Hero Dog Awards in association with GAIN Pet Food to find Ireland’s most courageous, brave and life changing canines. The awards, which were officially launched on The Late Late Show, will acknowledge Ireland’s hero dogs that unconditionally avail themselves to us in so many important ways. The awards are open to any dog deemed to have performed an exemplary act or series of acts, whether large or seemingly small, that has significantly benefited a community or individual. The awards will be broken down into the following categories: * Exemplary Companion Dog/Life Changing Dog * Therapy/Guide Dog * Bravery Dog * Search and Rescue Dog * Law Enforcement Dog Five finalists will be selected, one from each category, and inducted into the Irish Kennel Club ‘Hall of Fame’. The …

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Bite prevention programme

THE Be a Tree programme is an innovative and interactive dog bite prevention education programme created by the non-profit organization, Doggone Safe. Statistics show that up to half of all children are bitten by a dog by the time they are 12-years-old. Dog bites are considered to be a serious problem and a lot of the time dogs are euthanaised without question as to why the bite occurred. Most bites are by the family dog or another dog known to the child and can be prevented through education. Thanks to Doggone Safe, the Be a Tree programme is available to schools and children’s groups in Clare. Presenters in the worldwide programme include veterinary nurses, dog behaviorists and other educators. Presenters use a teacher kit that contains large format, full colour photographs showing dog body language signs. Presenter’s also teach games and activities that can be supplemented with learning materials, such as colouring books, paint sheets, story book, poster, stickers, bookmarks …

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Amber kicks off acting career for Lauryn

LAURYN Canny rose to fame in the recent RTÉ drama Amber but many people in Clare already knew her. Born and reared in Dublin, she spends many holidays with her aunts, uncles and cousins in Corofin and Newmarket-on-Fergus. Lauryn’s path into acting didn’t bring her through formal training. Hers started instead as many other journeys do. “I was walking down the road one day when a casting director pulled up. It was for something completely different – I didn’t end up getting it – she asked me if I wanted to audition for a film. It was kind of strange. My mam [Nickki] started Googling to make sure it was ok to go for the audition and she found the audition for Amber and she asked me if I wanted to do the audition for that and I did. I did the audition on a Tuesday, got the part on Wednesday and was filming by Monday.” It is three years …

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