Planting seedlings for Chilli Kids

THE African nation of Uganda is a world away from Tamworth, but this week local children can help kids in need simply by taking home a new addition to theirgarden.
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GARDEN GURUS: Preparing to plant their seedlings in aid of the Chilli Kids charity were Emma Saban, 2, Breanna Saban and one-year-old Ellie Hampstead. Photos: Geoff O’Neill 230914GOA01

Carinya Christian School is running a Grow and Go fundraiser in Centrepoint Arcade this week, with all funds going towards Chilli Kids, a charity based in south-west Uganda helping disabled and orphaned children.

For a gold-coin donation local children can visit the Grow and Go pop-up shop, plant a seedling and design a name tag for it, before taking it home.

The partnership between Carinya and Chilli Kids is a new one, the school buying the soil and seedlings so all donations can be forwarded to the charity.

The charity gets its unusual name from the innovative program it promotes, the families whose children are registered with the project taught to grow chilli and sell it, giving them a means of self-reliance.

Chilli Kids identifies children in need of help through regular surveys of the region, before providing access to the likes of surgery, life skills, medical outreach and education.

Grow and Go is in the vacant shop next to Aldi and is open each day until Friday, from 10am until noon.

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The reality of modern life in Tamworth

IT’S 9.30pm on a Sunday in North Tamworth. A woman walks alone down a suburban street as nearby residents soak up the lingering last moments of the weekend in their lounge rooms.
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Suddenly, a shadowy figure emerges from behind the woman and swings a fist wildly at her head.

She collapses to the ground while the thief reefs at her handbag and scurries back into the darkness.

It’s another indiscriminate crime of opportunity in a city becoming inured to such attacks.

The real tragedy isn’t that this woman was Wanita, Australia’s Honky Tonk Queen and one of Tamworth’s most beloved performers, it’s that it could have been any of us.

Wanita has crafted a career out of being a provocateur; an artist whoflouts political correctness and is in equal parts coarse, confident and charismatic.

Her charitable heart is every bit as legendary as her imposing stage presence.

But the Wanita that greetedThe Northern Daily Leader journalist yesterday was a different woman, the swagger replaced by a look of sullen fear.

Her wounds – seven stitches in her elbow and a splotchy bruise on her head – will heal fast enough.

The ongoing trauma of being attacked will remain with her far longer.

Such a random assault can leave psychological lesions on a victim for years.

True to type though, Wanita was keen to put her issues to the side and use her experience as a warning to others.

Her message is clear: don’t walk alone at night, regardless of how safe you feel.

Know your neighbourhood, trust your gut, report any suspicious behaviour to police.

That we must take such precautionsin our own backyard is a sad indictment on the reality of modern life in Tamworth.

But it’s a reality nevertheless.

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Comet Bay student’s drug aware video a finalist in state-wide competition

Comet Bay student’s drug aware video a finalist in state-wide competition Comet Bay College media qualification teacher Matthew Potts and student Will Evans. (Photo: Brianna Johnson)
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Comet Bay College student Will Evans. (Photo: Brianna Johnson)

TweetFacebookWill Evans’ entry into the SAY Project 2014.“I think the SAY Project gives teens a voice because we think the same as the target audience and can put our message in a way they’ll understand,” Will said.

Will created the video during school hours as part of his Certificate II in media studies and media qualification teacher Matthew Potts said it was the first time the course had been run at the school.

“There’s a strong interest in media at this school and we’ve started curriculum media courses as well,” Mr Potts said.

The SAY project is open to all Western Australian teens and is supported by local Lions Clubs and Murdoch University.

For more information about the project and to watch the 2014 finalist films search for 2014 SAY Projects on Youtube or watch Will’s entry below.

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Thief may have burnt hand during Unanderra copper theft

Copper thieves struck a Unanderra industrial facility on Monday, but may have grabbed more than they expected.
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The steel manufacturing business experienced an electrical blackout about 4.40pm on Monday, after thieves cut the power.

Their actions, cutting through 33,000 volts of electricity, sparked a small grass fire behind the building.

Security staff found an amount of copper wire had been stolen and recovered a burnt hacksaw police believe was blackened after contact with the high-voltage power supply.

‘‘It was an effort to gain entry, so we think more than one person was involved,’’ Lake Illawarra police Sergeant Jason Harrison said.

‘‘The theft occurred during the day, so we think the thieves may have some inside knowledge of the business or conducted some research into when they felt was the best time to go.’’

Sgt Harrison said the culprits may have sustained serious burns, with police keeping an eye out for anyone presenting with burns at Illawarra hospitals.

‘‘It was high voltage, but it would not mean instant death,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re monitoring hospitals, it is highly likely some injury has resulted.’’

Sgt Harrison said police had good working relationships with scrap merchants, meaning any copper taken during the theft would be hard to sell in the Illawarra.

‘‘Not all product taken in the Illawarra is resold here,’’ he said.

‘‘I doubt anything stolen would surface locally, but it may go interstate.’’

He said heavy industrial businesses should secure copper wiring against theft.

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Finn takes charge at the Power

Former Roosters premiership player Danny Finn is relaunching his coaching career with Kolora-Noorat.
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A HANDFUL of meetings with club officials convinced Danny Finn that Kolora-Noorat was where he wanted to re-launch his coaching career.

Finn, a two-time South Warrnambool premiership player with almost 200 games to his name, will coach the Power for the next two seasons.

He replaces Ben Kenna, who stepped down from the helm after leading the club to three premierships from four grand finals in six seasons.

Finn, 33, said Kolora-Noorat had come across as a “sensational club” in the short period he had dealt with it.

“I know a few people who have gone out there and they’ve never wanted to leave,” he said.

“I’d ask what’s the big key to Kolora-Noorat and it’s their community spirit and the way they go about everything. Everyone helps out.

“Especially the Thursday night teas. I was up there to check out the rooms and there were over 200 there and they only had two teams still in finals.”

Finn takes on the Power coaching job with a decorated Hampden league resume to his name.

He played junior football at South Warrnambool before heading to Geelong Falcons for a season in 1998.

Finn has spent all but two seasons with the Roosters since, winning premierships in 2006 and 2011.

With regards to coaching, he was an assistant under John Northey at Ballarat in 2007 and guided South Warrnambool with Stephen Kelson in 2008-09.

Finn spent this season in a development role with the Roosters’ defenders. He has also worked with North Ballarat Rebels.

“I’m pretty clear in the way we’re going to play but in terms of a mantra, there will be a couple of key themes,” he said.

“It’s basically about how you want to be treated as a player. Communication and relationships are really important, also having that fun element.”

Finn, a Warrnambool College teacher, said he was not planning to pull on the boots. He is still recovering from knee surgery and “I want to be able to run first”.

Finn believed the Power’s list would remain largely intact, leaving the side well-positioned to improve on its sixth-placed result in 2014.

“They played nearly 40 players in the seniors this year, so there is a base,” he said.

“It’s something they haven’t done for a few years because they’ve been so successful. A lot of the recruiting will come from within.”

Kolora-Noorat president Trevor Beasley said securing Finn as coach was a coup for the club.

“When we first met him, the work that he’s prepared to do and has done with junior development was the number one thing we liked about him,” Beasley said.

“With the list we’ve got, it’s fairly young. We’ve got a lot of juniors coming through who have won under 14 premierships in the past.

“We wanted to develop these kids as best we could. With Danny’s experience in the past working with the Rebels, it’s something we want to go forward with.

“And he came across as a pretty good bloke. We haven’t heard a bad word about him.

“That’s nearly number one — making sure you get a good bloke as coach.”

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$40,000 for cancer treatment trials in our region

A $40,000 grant will be used to support the management of clinical trials in the region and will help pay for staff and provide recruitment data. CLINICAL trials for new cancer treatments in the Barwon South West region have been given a $40,000 boost.
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Cancer Council Victoria distributed $800,000 to 43 hospitals around the state, with the Barwon South West region receiving the biggest allocation outside the metropolitan area.

A total of $600,000 came from donations to Cancer Council Victoria and $100,000 grants from the Victorian Department of Health and the Victorian Cancer Agency.

The money will be used to support the management of clinical trials in the region and will help pay for staff and provide recruitment data.

Cancer Council Victoria chief executive officer Todd Harper said people with cancer were now living longer with a better quality of life.

“That’s due to clinical trials,” Mr Harper said.

“Some of the best clinical trial work in the world is being done here in Victoria and we are incredibly proud to have played a supporting role in that work thanks to the ongoing generosity of our donors.”

Mr Harper said since the clinical trials management scheme began in 1988 more than $15 million had been invested into Victorian clinical trials, mostly thanks to donations to Cancer Council Victoria.

“Clinical trials are the best way of testing a new treatment or seeing if a particular treatment works better than another,” he said.

“The number of people taking part in clinical trials in Victoria has grown from 594 in 1988 to 2021 last year.

“In total more than 37,000 Victorians have elected to take part in a trial over the past 26 years.”

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Funding flows in for Reid Oval

Reid Oval is undergoing a major redevelopment.TEN sources provided funding for the first stage of a major redevelopment of Warrnambool’s Reid Oval.
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A new netball pavilion and courtsextension was officially opened on Saturday and tenders have been called for supply and installation of an electronic scoreboard.

Further funding contributions will be sought for later stages including major rehabilitation work on the oval surface to achieve a goal of having the region’s best outdoor sports venue.

Contributors so far include: Warrnambool City Council $220,000, state government $200,000, Warrnambool Football Netball Club $60,000, Lane Foundation $25,000, Jones Foundation $25,000, Uebergang Foundation $25,000, East Warrnambool Football Netball Club $20,000, Warrnambool and District Football Netball League $10,000, Nestle Cricket Club $5000, Hampden Football Netball League $5000, in-kind support $119,000.

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Canine experience

MEET AND GREET: Senior Constable First Class Nic Whiteside and Harper greet Reidy Park Primary School students. SCHOOL VISIT: South Australian Police Dog Operations Unit Senior Constable First Class Nic Whiteside and Harper with Reidy Park Primary School students Brodie and Lexie. Pictures: SAM DOWDY
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DOG UNIT: South Australian Police Dog Operations Unit Senior Constable First Class Bruce Lawton and Rebel enjoyed visiting Reidy Park Primary School, where the dogs completed demonstrations for students.

REIDY Park Primary School students learnt about four-legged members of South Australia’s police force when the SAPOL Dog Operations Unit visited recently.

Three police officers and two dogs from the unit attended the school, along with an officer from Mount Gambier Police.

They spoke briefly to Year 3, 4 and 5 students before presenting a demonstration with the dogs.

Explosives detection dog Harper showed off her skills by detecting an object underneath one of four cones at the back of the school’s gymnasium.

Students praised the labrador forher work when she located the device.

Younger dog Rebel, who is not as experienced as Harper, demonstrated her obedience.

The German shepherd is trained to detect human odour and track down people who run from police.

The dog unit was in the region for a two-week training camp, which finished on Friday.

Training was completed at Port MacDonnell and the Mount Gambier central business district.

Port MacDonnell residents regularly allow police to use their yards for theannual training.

Senior Constable First Class Neil Stevenson said the South East’s environment and community allowed the unit to undergo an intensive training camp each year.

“Some of the residents have been allowing us to complete training at their properties for 10 years,” he said.

“The community reception we receive each year from both Port MacDonnell and Mount Gambier is fantastic and very welcoming.

“We visit one school each year as part of the training, which is good socialising for the dogs and helps them become comfortable around large numbers of people.

“The school visits also provide children with great exposure to police in a positive way.”

The dog operations unit also visits Mount Gambier in an official capacity upon the request of Limestone Coast Police and works closely with South East officers when needed.

Hospital ward handover

CUTTING EDGE: Country Health SA South East regional director Jayne Downs stands at the new 16-bed medical ward, which is a state-of-the-art new addition to the Mount Gambier Hospital. Picture: SANDRA MORELLO HOME STRETCH: Construction worker Craig Gericke is busy in the new consulting and treatment area, which is just three weeks away from being completed.
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PATIENTS will start flowing into the state-of-the-art new 16 bed medical ward at the Mount Gambier Hospital following the new wing being handed over to staff Tuesday, September 23.

The new medical ward is the largest addition to the public health facility since it was built in 1997.

The new ward features single rooms with ensuites, two purpose-built bariatric rooms that cater for people weighing up to 300kg, as well as an isolation room for contagious illnesses.

“We are so pleased to see the new ward come to completion,” Country Health SA South East regional director Jayne Downs said on the eve of its opening.

She said staffing for the new ward would be based on nursing hours per patient per day.

“So if we have more patients, we need more nursing hours,” she said.

“If the hospital was full and the new ward was full, there would be more nurses working on the day – it very much responds to need.”

While the hospital would be “okay” with nursing numbers as they stood, she said she would not be surprised if the facility gradually needed more.

She said the new ward would provide a cluster of benefits for patients.

“For patients, it will mean there are more options to have a single room with its own ensuite – that can be really important for people who are particularly unwell,” Ms Downs said.

“It is just a lovely modern spacious facility – we have a wonderful hospital here, but this is even a step up again.”

She said the new wing was “cutting-edge” compared with other country hospitals in the state.

“They are single rooms because that is the standard required if you went to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital,” Ms Downs said.

“It will be a very similar look.”

Asked if the upgrade would help with staff recruitment, she said the new emergency department, mental health unit and ward would be another sweetener for medical professionals to relocate to Mount Gambier.

The new ward will accommodate a variety of patients, with the beds not specifically earmarked for patients, such as palliative care.

“They will be medical beds, but certainly there will be the rehabilitation patients down there but in addition to that it will be who is best suited right across the hospital.”

She said an important feature of the new ward was the two-purpose built bariatric rooms that were designed to cater for very large people.

Meanwhile, the next milestones of the redevelopment would include new consulting and treatment rooms, a new chemotherapy suite and pharmacy.

“The chemotherapy suite will go from our current two chairs to six,” Ms Downs said.

She said the current pharmacy was too small for the expanding hospital.

Meanwhile, the last part of the emergency department refurbishment was on track to be finished within five to six weeks.

Ms Downs said the redevelopment had been phenomenal given contractors only started breaking ground in September last year.

“It really has gone amazingly well,” she said.

Aspiring journalist Brigid makes headlines

A LOVE of language and a nose for news has earned Brigid Auchettl this year’s The Standard Journalism Prize.
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First-year Deakin University student Brigid Auchettl, 19, of Warrnambool has won The Standard journalism award. 140923AM76 Picture: ANGELA MILNE

The 19-year-old started her tertiary studies at Deakin University’s Warrnambool campus earlier this year and said she’d already learnt a great deal about modern journalism.

“I always enjoyed English when I was in high school, so that directed me towards journalism,” Brigid said.

The Warrnambool student has undertaken a number of news assignments during the past few months, including a report on the lack of lighting around Wollaston Bridge.

“I know that area really well and plenty of people have said it’s a problem so I thought it was worth reporting on,” Brigid said.

“I interviewed some local residents and (Warrnambool City) councillor Peter Hulin.

“It was surprising how many people felt strongly about it.”

Deakin journalism lecturer Kristy Hess said Brigid was eager to learn about the media and was rapidly developing her journalistic skills at the university.

“The Warrnambool campus helps to nurture future journalists and those with the ambition of working in media-related industries,” Ms Hess said.

“It’s great that Brigid has this opportunity to be connected more strongly with the industry.”

The Standard’s academic excellence prize of $1500 is awarded annually to a Deakin student majoring in journalism who is also a south-west resident.

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Big Sam Burgess rated with the greats

Sam Burgess, Greg Inglis and John Sutton warm up before Souths’ training at Redfern Oval on Tuesday. Picture: GETTY IMAGESSonny Bill Williams has been called a lot of things.
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Mostly by Bulldogs fans.

But South Sydney giant Sam Burgess may have a more complimentary term for his Sydney Roosters foe when the dust settles on Friday night’s NRL preliminary final – inspiration.

Sure, Burgess will be out to knock Williams off his pedestal.

Again.

But it seems Williams is destined to be held up on one by Burgess.

South Sydney legend Craig Coleman rates Burgess as the best English import to play in Australia and one of the Rabbitohs’ greatest forwards.

But Burgess will be content to earn a tag all too familiar to Williams – winner.

On the field, little has separated the pair since Burgess kicked off their rivalry in spectacular style, bulldozing his Roosters opponent on Williams’ NRL return in the 2013 season opener.

And off it, similar paths await them – both will leave the NRL for rugby at season’s end.

But it seems that’s where the similarities end.

Dual international Williams, 29, has already secured a reputation as one of sport’s most accomplished athletes before he returns to rugby with the Chiefs in New Zealand. He has won two NRL titles.

He effortlessly switched to rugby in a stunning five-year, 19-Test stint highlighted by the All Blacks’ 2011 World Cup triumph.

He even dabbled in pugilism – albeit against opponents who sometimes stretched the term “professional boxer”.

But perhaps his greatest achievement was turning around public perception.

In 2008, Williams was public enemy No 1 after sensationally walking out on NRL club Canterbury with four years left on his contract and linking with French club Toulon.

He ruffled feathers again when he claimed he returned to the NRL in 2013 only because he had to honour a handshake agreement with Roosters chairman Nick Politis.

Two short seasons later and Williams is largely forgiven in the eyes of NRL fans.

Then again, that theory may be tested if Williams runs out against the Bulldogs in the NRL grand final.

And only more success appears on the horizon.

Williams is not only eyeing the 2015 World Cup but also the Rio Olympics where rugby sevens will make its debut. And Burgess?

The South Sydney juggernaut’s reputation as an NRL hard man is secure – just ask Coleman.

“As a South Sydney forward, he is right up there with Ron Coote and Bobby McCarthy,” Coleman said.

“I grew up in the golden era at South Sydney and Bobby and Ron were my heroes but Sam Burgess is every bit as good as them.”

And as an English import?

“I saw them all and in my eyes Sam Burgess is the best,” Coleman said, lifting Burgess above the likes of Ellery Hanley, Mal Reilly and Adrian Morley.

However, Burgess’s NRL legacy will go on the line in the preliminary final when he looms as the key to ending South Sydney’s 43-year premiership drought before taking up a three-year deal with English rugby club Bath.

Some cynics would say Burgess has already followed Williams’ lead by walking away from the last two years of his Rabbitohs contract to switch to rugby.

But in contrast to Williams, Burgess has been given no guarantees ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

His rugby future may be up in the air but he will take a giant step towards defining his NRL contribution on Friday night.

And fittingly, the man whose success Burgess no doubt aspires to repeat, Williams, will be there.

“I know Sam will want to go out with an NRL premiership and Sonny Bill will be no different,” Coleman said.

“But I think Sonny Bill has had enough glory – leave some now for Sam.” AAP

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Sport  stars  help  young  people  make  the  right  choices

Mental health help: Australian netballer Madi Robinson and former AFL footballer Heath Black at the life skills workshop with Brianna Jones, Travis Barrow, and Montanna Mair.MENTAL health was discussed and communication channels opened with V/Line’s Life Training program on Monday.
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Australian netballer and Melbourne Vixen Madi Robinson appeared with former Fremantle and St Kilda footballer Heath Black to speak to young people at the Ballarat Netball Association.

Mr Black said he tried to relate mental health issues back to a lived experience, like the anxiety he had before football.

“It’s important to break down those stigmas around mental health and open up communication passages,” Mr Black said.

“The earlier we can educate young people the better. We don’t want them to have any stigma.”

V/Line Life Training has recruited football and netball stars to deliver messages to young people about responsible behaviour and making the right decisions in life since 2007.

The program aims to increase teenagers’ access to services that can help them make the right decisions and cope with challenges.

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GREG RAY: Big two face new test

GEOBLOCKING is the system used by multinational tech corporations to force Australians to pay higher prices for products than those paid by Americans and Europeans.
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You strike it when you try to buy something on-line, only to learn that the really good price advertised isn’t available to Aussies.

It’s a bit like the ‘‘Newcastle tax’’ imposed by petrol retailers on our city’s motorists. There is no good reason we should pay more, but because the suppliers have the market sewn up they can charge us whatever they like.

For years Aussies have been fleeced by the geoblockers, who use software to detect what country visitors to their websites live in, before smashing some of them with higher prices or excluding some of them altogether.

Now a federal government competition review has decided that enough is enough and is proposing an education campaign to teach people how to get around the geoblocking software.

It’s a bold idea, and just part of a whole heap of reforms proposed in the newly released Harper Review.

The geoblockers aren’t the only targets: the review has the big supermarket duopoly in its sights too.

The review has backed plans by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to try to stop the big retailers from abusing their market power to the detriment of small businesses.

Not surprisingly, the big two are squealing.

If you believe what their critics have been saying for years, the dominant retailers have made a fair bit of their money by cannibalising many smaller Australian businesses.

If that’s true, any new law that stops them crushing other businesses could interfere with the part of their business model that involves pinching other people’s margins.

We’ve all heard the criticisms and the moaning from small businesses that complain about horrendous demands by the big retailers for ever-lower wholesale prices, for extra levies to support supermarket advertising and still more payments to get your products on the best shelves.

That’s if you can get your business on the preferred supplier list at all, and if you can survive the creation by the big retailers of their own generic brands, often packed and labelled just like yours and specially designed, you might think, to grind you out of business.

And of course we have heard similar stories from farmers, some of whom have complained of being forced to plough their crops into the ground because they couldn’t make the supermarkets happy enough.

From the point of view of the big retailers and the people who guide their decisions, they aren’t doing anything wrong by targeting the margins of their suppliers and by fighting fiercely to keep competing retailers off their turf. Their sole obligation is to maximise returns to their shareholders, and the way the system stands they would be criticised for failing to scoop up any stray cents that might be managing to fall into somebody else’s pockets, especially if it was mere kindness or a sense of fair play that held them back.

So, having been helplessly listening to the victims of retail duopoly power over a span of years, the review is proposing a new system that might actually offer some protection to complainants.

The idea is to replace the present hard-to-use law against the misuse of market power with a new ‘‘effects test’’ that will provide opportunities to punish big companies that deliberately adopt measures that harm competition.

Perhaps as sweeteners, the review is also proposing the deregulation of retail trading hours and letting supermarkets compete with the highly protected pharmacy industry. Oh, and making it easier for supermarkets around the country to sell liquor from their shelves.

Having cheerily accepted those concessions, the supermarket duopolists are squealing blue murder at the prospect of protection for smaller businesses.

Consumers will suffer, the big two have said, with straight faces, apparently.

My guess is that, if the proposal survives the furious lobbying the big two will probably mount against it, consumers will be better off in the long run. It will probably protect a lot of jobs too, I’d suggest.

Now let’s see if it survives.