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Flyer sparks outrage as Kiama goes to polls

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People hand out pre-poll leaflets yesterday. Picture: SYLVIA LIBERThe residents of Kiama Municipality go to the polls today to elect nine councillors to serve for the next four years.
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There are 32 candidates vying for election, and with the absence of Kiama’s long-serving mayor Sandra McCarthy and her team from the ballot paper, the race is wide open.

Kiama residents will know who will occupy at least six of the nine positions on council later tonight. However, the make-up of the full council is not expected until at least Thursday, when all postal votes have been counted and preferences distributed.

The new council will vote for Kiama’s next mayor and deputy mayor on September 25.

The Kiama Greens have distanced themselves from an unauthorised flyer distributed in the Gerringong area in the lead-up to today’s poll.

The two-page flyer, which has a heading “Danger, Danger. Say No To Shellcove [sic] in Gerringong”, claimed “many of the candidate groups nominating for council would work together to change the ‘green’ direction of the current Council”.

Kiama Deputy Mayor Brian Petschler said the flyer made “outrageous claims” about the councillors who were standing again and had created fear about the expansion of Gerringong’s boundaries south. “It contains half-truths wrapped in misrepresentation,” Cr Petschler said. “It paints a picture of my group and other groups which is simply not true.”

An angry Gavin McClure, The Right Direction’s lead candidate, said the flyers were “nothing more than scaremongering by a group who know they’re on their way out.”

“Some of the allegations on this leaflet could be construed by voters in such a way that it could mislead their votes,” he said.

Kiama Greens candidate Andrew Sloan said he had no idea of the flyer’s existence until it began appearing in letterboxes.

“Having said that, there are some sentiments that I do agree with – urban sprawl is a concern for the Gerringong community – but this flyer has nothing to do with us at all,” Mr Sloan said.

Cr Petschler said though he believed the Greens candidates were not involved, he feared for democracy in the Kiama Municipality when “faceless, hard-nosed” people – often involved with political parties – resorted to such tactics.

Although anonymous flyers were nothing new for election campaigns, Cr Petschler said it hadn’t been a tactic used in Kiama in recent times.

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Martin the Waratahs’ big weapon against Wombats

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Avondale coach James Patrick believes Tech Waratahs fly-half Lee Martin stands in the way of a Wombats victory in today’s major semi-final at Ocean Park.
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Avondale’s Daryl Sanft, Anthony Amone, Eli Sinoti, Waka Horne, Roger Cairns and Andre Itula. Picture: DAVE TEASE

Martin was superb in Tech Tahs’ triumph over University in last week’s qualifying semi-final and will have to be equally as good today if his side hopes to overcome the minor premiers.

Patrick was on hand to see the veteran playmaker dismantle Uni and knows his side’s title aspirations could be in trouble if they don’t minimise Martin’s impact on the game.

“Lee Martin was great against Uni. He was the little general out there,” Patrick said.

“He was very positive for their team and kept them going forward. He’s just got a calm head. He’s been around a long time and that experience counts for a lot.

“The Tech forward pack is very strong and dominant, and then you have Lee out there directing their forwards and backs.

“Their backline probably hasn’t been as classy as previous years, but their forwards and Lee make up for it.”

The Wombats claimed the minor premiership but the Tahs were hot on their heels for most of the year.

Avondale came from behind to beat Tech twice during the season, winning 49-37 on the Tahs’ home ground before prevailing 34-26 in the second clash.

Patrick has enormous respect for Tech Tahs and is taking nothing for granted today.

“I’m confident in the ability of our boys to do what they need to do, it’s just that you don’t know which Tech team is going to show up,” he said.

“If you get a Tech team that’s fired up and ready to go, they’re a hard team to beat. Even if you were to say we had their measure all year, it’s a different game in the finals. They’re built for finals.

“Obviously [captain] Timmy [Olsen] is the same as Lee. Those two blokes just keep Tech going. They’re the first to do things and wouldn’t put any of their teammates through anything they wouldn’t do themselves.

“It’s the same with [Tahs prop] Harry [Hawksworth]. He’s another good leader with a steady head because he’s played in a lot of finals and grand finals.”

Patrick believes the Wombats learned valuable lessons in the 2011 grand final loss to Vikings.

“Playing Vikings last year, we were way out of our depth … but there’s a different feeling this year. The boys are confident without being cocky,” he said.

“We’ve got about seven blokes who were in last year’s grand final team and they’re better for it this year.

“We’re at full strength so there’s certainly no excuses. We’re fielding the strongest team we have and we’re looking forward to the tussle.

“Training has been full of nerves and excitement. As long as our boys put in the efforts I know they can, I won’t be disappointed. If the effort’s there I’ll be happy either way.”

Meanwhile, University will be aiming to bounce back from last week’s loss when they meet Shoalhaven in tomorrow’s minor semi-final at Camden.

Uni kept Tech Waratahs honest in last week’s qualifying final but still went down 31-16.

Shoalhaven overran Shamrocks in extra time

of the elimination final after the teams were

tied at 18-all at the end of normal time.

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Blue-collar Bomber ready for a win against Warrnambool

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LOUIS Cahill says he is happy doing his bit for Cobden— and it shows.
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The 21-year-old has successfully played forward and midfield roles for the Bombers this year and last year played in defence.

Entering today’s second semi-final against minor premier Warrnambool at Koroit, Cahill can expect a role up forward. Last week he kicked 2.1, including a crucial goal that gave the Bombers breathing space during a 12-point win over Camperdown.

You won’t hear Cahill complaining about where he’s positioned or asking for a preferred spot.

“I’m not a star,” he said.

“If I get a role down forward I will do that as well as I can. It doesn’t bother me where I play as long as we are winning. I’m happy to do my bit.”

Cahill is one of a majority of the Bombers who fly under the radar of opponents. While they have a core group of gun players, including ruckman Levi Dare, midfielder Joe Dare, captain Paul Foster, vice-captain Paul Hinkley, forward Tim Horan and defender Greg Tongs, the rest of the side is largely made up of hard-working, team-oriented players aged between 16 and 21.

“If everyone does their job, we are going to win,” Cahill said.

“It’s not a matter of a handful of us doing our jobs, we all have to do our roles. Everyone just has to stick to Wayne’s (coach Wayne Robertson) game plan, we just back him.”

Cahill was a Colac boy, who after playing at Irrewarra-Beeac where Robertson coached, found his way to Cobden through his cousin Paul Hinkley. He played under 18s with the Bombers in 2009 after starting a building apprenticeship with Hinkley.

In 2010 under coach James Gellie he made his debut and last year found a regular spot in the senior team as he broke into the midfield.

This season, like many of his teammates, he has enjoyed a good second half.

“The last two months my fitness has been better,” he said. “I try and do an extra session on a Wednesday and the body is not too bad.”

Cahill said a strong bond between teammates had underpinned Cobden’s rise this season.

Today he hopes the Bombers will make it nine wins from their past 10 matches when they confront Warrnambool.

“We are all pretty confident. We know Warrnambool is the benchmark but we are confident internally we can knock them off.”

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Louis Cahill is constructing solid foundations with Cobden.

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Late-night Lydiard Street attack: man king hit

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POLICE need help catching thugs responsible for a sickening late night street attack on a Ballarat man.
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The king hit was caught on a Lydiard Street North camera at 4am on August 24. The footage shows a group of three men gathered on the footpath as the victim approaches after leaving a nearby nightclub.

Ballarat Criminal Investigation Unit Detective Senior Constable Phil Canny said the victim, a 28-year-old Ballarat man, was accosted by the trio and engaged in conversation. He said one of the offenders directed the victim’s attention elsewhere, then punched him to the side of the head.

“Its terrible … he’s very lucky he wasn’t killed or seriously injured.”

Detective Senior Constable Canny said the confrontation began when the group “demanded” a drink off the victim.“This man did nothing to provoke the attack, it was just an innocent bystander who left a nightclub, walked along the street, was accosted by these guys … then king hit.”

The footage shows the victim get up, chase the offenders down a lane. The two offenders, who were not involved in the king hit, then threw the victim to the ground kicking him repeatedly.

“As a result, he got stitches above his right eye, really bad swelling to the right side of the face, chipped teeth and general bruising over his upper body from being kicked,” he said.

The main offender is described as wearing mustard or beige coloured jeans, a burgundy or maroon top and a dark beanie or beret. The other two offenders were wearing jeans and light coloured tops with three-quarter length dark sleeves.

Anyone with information can call 5336 6080 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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FOOTAGE: A scene from the footage taken in Lydiard Street North.

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Medowie high school campaign

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MOTHER-of-three Bobbie Antonic doubts that her year 5 daughter will attend a public high school in Medowie, but she hopes one might be built for her twin sons in year 1.
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The Medowie Public School P & C president is among community members who have been campaigning for a public high school in the growing suburb for more than 15 years.

The high school is among the educational infrastructure for which the Newcastle Herald is campaigning to get rid of a backlog of building needs.

More than 750 high school students leave Medowie by bus each day to attend high schools as far away as Newcastle.

The area’s population is predicted to double in the next decade and with RAAF Williamtown nearby it is likely to house young families for some time to come. The best option is for a year 7 to 10 school next to Wirreanda Public School.

Parents were dismayed to learn in November last year a demographics report found a high school would not be needed for at least five years, despite projected growth including a new town at Kings Hill.

There was also concern a new high school would impact on enrolments at the nearby Hunter River High at Heatherbrae and Irrawang High at Raymond Terrace.

Parents said two primary schools in Medowie have more than 1000 enrolments between them.

DOUBTS: Bobbie Antonic with children Harley and Sunny. Picture: Peter Stoop

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Lake ecosystems rated

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ONLY two of 45 ecosystems in Lake Macquarie have been given a top rating, inspiring the city council and Landcare to keep working to improve the environment.
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A forest at Wangi Ridge and a rainforest at Swansea Heads were rated as having ‘‘excellent health’’.

A further 28 sites were rated as having ‘‘good health’’ and 12 sites had ‘‘fair health’’.

Two sites at Caves Beach (coastal headland heath) and one at Wyee (wetland) had ‘‘poor health’’.

The ratings are part of Lake Macquarie City Council’s ecosystem monitoring program, which measures the health of natural areas.

Council staff and volunteers evaluate the sites to create the ratings.

A council statement said the benefits included identifying flora and fauna species, measuring fallen logs and hollow-bearing trees for habitat, observing ground and canopy cover and regeneration of native species.

A new map and ecosystem health scorecards have been posted on the council’s website to enable people to see how natural areas rate in their neighbourhoods.

Wangi Ridge Preservation Board has been working to restore native vegetation on Wangi Ridge since 1987.

‘‘The longer you work on an area, the better it becomes,’’ board secretary Garth Chapman said.

‘‘It’s a relatively big site that has a lot of different features like a historical gun emplacement, a temperate rainforest and an old pig farm we are rehabilitating.’’

During World War II, the area was a secret military installation with an anti-aircraft command centre built to protect the Rathmines RAAF seaplane base from invading Japanese.

Mr Chapman, who is also Lake Macquarie Landcare Network chairman, said the organisation’s aim was to restore native vegetation.

MONITORED: A possum in a tree hollow at Coal Point.

EXCELLENT RESULT: Wangi Ridge Preservation Board secretary Garth Chapman said the organisation’s aim was to restore native vegetation.

Night net

Geale may be given key to Launceston

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LAUNCESTON dual world middleweight boxing champion Daniel Geale could soon become only the second person to be awarded a Key to the City.
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Mayor Albert van Zetten will take a motion to council on September 24 and suggest Geale receive the symbolic gift for his efforts in the world boxing ring.

Alderman van Zetten said that he has been in contact with Geale’s management, who are more than happy to be involved in some kind of ceremony when he returns to the state later this year.

The Rocherlea gloveman became Australia’s first boxer to unify two world titles when he beat German’s Felix Sturm on Sunday.

“Appropriate recognition could involve many different things, however, the scale of Daniel’s achievements mean that we will be looking to hand him the Key to the City,” Alderman van Zetten said.

“The Key to the City is an honour which recognises the contribution of individuals, groups or organisations, or outstanding achievements in sport, entertainment, and humanitarian work at a national or international level.”

On Thursday, Alderman Rob Soward suggested building a statue or offering a scholarship in Geale’s name.

Tasmanian solo round-the-world sailor Ken Gourlay became to first person in 2007 to receive the key to Launceston.

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Dragons beat Penrith in Toyota Cup semi-final

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Nathan Green (right), in action against the Bulldogs earlier this year, was a stand out against Penrith. Picture: ANTHONY JOHNSONSt George Illawarra’s fairytale run in the Toyota Cup has found another gear following a comprehensive 44-20 semi-final win over Penrith.
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The Dragons began strong in the opening 40 minutes before piling on five second-half tries, including a 20-point haul to fullback Adam Quinlan.

The momentum generated by 10 wins from 13 matches was quickly apparent as the Red V ripped through Penrith’s leaky defence, particularly in the middle third of the field.

It was a stark contrast from the first half of the year, where they managed only three wins from 11 matches.

“We made it a focus point during the week that we had to start well,” Dragons centre Nathan Green said.

“That first half was probably one of our best all year and it set us up really well. We know that we’re not a big team but we’re a quick team, so going through the middle of the ruck was a really good option for us.

“Hopefully we can go all the way. We’ve just got to make sure we get our game right, start well and see what happens.”

The Panthers threw everything they could at the eighth-placed Dragons, but desperation and brilliant try-line defence thwarted the bulk of their opportunities.

Hooker Craig Garvey, Quinlan and halfback Jared Allen were among the Dragons’ standout performers.

A handling error from winger Kayne Brennan on the Dragons’ 30-metre line handed the Panthers key field position in the opening minutes.

Penrith hooker Blake South bounced on the opportunity the following set, diving through the Dragons’ defence for a try.

But some ingenuity from Allen catapulted the Dragons back into the match minutes later.

The talented halfback darted through the middle of the Penrith defence, running 25 metres before offloading to Quinlan to score.

The Dragons breached the line on their next possession through lock Blake Phillips, handing them a 12-6 lead after 14 minutes, before another four-pointer to Kyle Martens.

The Panthers bridged the gap to eight shortly before half-time through a try to Tony Satini.

It was a similar chain of events in the second half. Satini crossed for his second in the 49th minute before tries to back-to-back tries Jordan Hay, Brennan and Todd Ryan extended the Dragons lead.

Tom Eisenhuth’s 68th minute try kept Penrith within sight of the lead, before a final onslaught from the Dragons put the game beyond doubt.

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Hospital research lacks depth

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I READ Lance Milne’s letter (“Source of extra spending unclear”, September 4) with interest but I was extremely disappointed that his ‘‘research’’ was so shallow.
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He stated, somewhat joyfully I feel, that his research had led him to discover that four Melbourne hospitals, in a city that has dozens of public hospitals, had found it necessary to close a small percentage of them on temporary basis.

Does he realise that when our hospital was privatised we dropped from 300 beds to less than 150 beds.

This is a PERMANENT closure of in excess of 50 per cent; and we are still having to suffer temporary bed closures at the Mildura Base Hospital.

He highlights the shortage of health funds available but ignores the fact that this is exacerbated by the present arrangements that allow millions of Victorian taxpayers dollars meant for our hospital to be diverted into the pockets of wealthy shareholders based in Sydney.

He dismisses the tyranny of distance factor as unimportant, but again the lack of research told against him.

The average time even for a mercy flight from leaving the Mildura Base Hospital to receiving life saving specialist treatment in Melbourne is about 3.5 to 4 hours.

Even this time does not allow for prepping the patient for the trip, precious time that could have been saved if a specialist were available here, greatly improving the patient’s chances of recovery.

Nor did he dig deep enough to find that even the government of the day, (Kennett’s), acknowledged that the main cause of the shortfall of the old hospital was inadequacies of design and layout.

Indeed this was given as one of their main reasons for building a new facility rather than trying to renovate.

He also seems to believe that because some medical staff do not want to come here, we should just ignore it rather than do everything possible to attract those who are willing to work in rural areas.

However, very few will come here once they find that they will be 20 per cent worse off than at any other public hospital in the state.

Again with a little more research he may have discovered that the medical service provider at the Mildura Base Hospital is not even appointed by the government but by the Motor Traders Association Superannuation Board.

Who would really want to trust their lives in a medical emergency to a car salesman?

Indeed, as you say Mr Lance Milne, there are many challenges in operating a rural hospital and they are best done by facing up to them and fixing the administrative bungle and medically inefficient mess that the Mildura Base Hospital has been allowed to become.

The government must accept its responsibility, reclaim the hospital and provide us with the services to which we are entitled.

Steve Tittensor,

Mildura.

Mildura Base Hospital

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Saxophonist in running for Genius Award

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Nick Russoniello could win $15,000 to further his craft overseas. Picture: ORLANDO CHIODONick Russoniello doesn’t like to blow his own horn, but when it comes to playing the saxophone the Wollongong-born musician has been labelled a genius.
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The 28-year-old is one of two finalists in this year’s Freedman Fellowship for Classical Music, a respected industry prize dubbed the “Genius Award”.

Candidates are nominated by Australia’s leading musicians and academics.

“Genius is a new one for me, but I’ll take it because no-one has ever called me that before and it probably won’t happen again,” said Russoniello, who started his career at Wollongong Conservatorium of Music.

“It’s a huge privilege to be nominated, but I was quite shocked.”

Despite his humility, it is not the first time he has been recognised as one of Australia’s top young musicians.

Last year he became the second saxophonist in 67 years to win the ABC’s Young Performer of the Year award, receiving a cash prize of $20,000 and the chance to play as a soloist in front of 50,000 people at this year’s Symphony in the Domain.

He attributes part of his success to playing classical music instead of the more conventional styles for which his instrument is known.

If he wins the Freedman Fellowship on September 18, Russoniello will be given $15,000 to further his craft overseas.

He plans to do a three-month tour of the United Kingdom and United States to perform at festivals and present academic talks on emerging Australian classical music.

“I’ve got a whole bunch of works by new Australian composers … so I’ll be able to build up my own network and bring that experience back to Australia, where I will do a series of chamber music concerts in Sydney,” he said.

“Ultimately I want to be able to come home with lots of new ideas and develop them further.”

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