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.

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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Tipping secret revealed

REGULAR punter Jason Graham picked two winners out of six to win the Sunraysia Daily’s first round of the Straight Six Tipping competition last Saturday, and he’s prepared to share his secret.

WINNER: First round tipster winner Jason Graham (left) celebrates his $100 voucher with Mildura Working Man’s Club’s TAB manager Michael Downs.

Leading into the spring carnival, Jason, a council assets protection officer with the Mildura Rural City Council, says his fellow punters should be looking to what the owners are preparing the horses for, not what they are racing in.

That method got Jason 23.6 points in the new competition, just one point ahead of Jason Simkin.

The 44-year-old is no stranger to winning tipping competitions and has taken out the club’s own tipping competition twice, earning himself about $1000 – and finished third last


He said he likes the Straight Six Tipping competition for its challenge and was pretty happy that he backed Star Fashion himself at $17.60.

“I’ve been punting for a while. At this time of year I go with the trainers and jockeys looking ahead.”

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Kicking goals

INDIVIDUAL accolades are the cherries on top for Irymple Knights striker Chris Romeo.

The S-League star capped a dominant year up front for Knights’ senior side, named his team’s best and fairest player.

He also collected the leading goal scorer trophy at his club’s presentation night on Saturday.

CHAMPION: Irymple Knights’ Chris Romeo has enjoyed a successful 2014 season.Picture: Izabelle Falvo

Romeo’s club honours come one week after he won the equivalent awards for the S-League, having scored 19 goals in the 10 games he played over the 2014 season.

“The individual awards, to me, are just a bonus on what the club wins,” Romeo said.

“That is more important to me, you want to win and share the good things with the club.”

The Knights’ talisman led Irymple through another dominant year in which the side won the S-League title and grand final series, after it was runner-up in the season opening Knock Out Cup.

Romeo scored several more goals in the knock out and grand final competitions through the year, playing in a different forward role tolast season.

“Goal-scoring wise, I had a better year last year. I had a strike partner, so you work in together more, but this year I was up there on my own a little bit more, isolated out,” he said.

“It was a little more work and a different role but it was another bit of experience under my belt.

“We trained specifically for that so it was a little bit easier to adapt, whereas if you don’t train for it (or) if we got a few injuries in the team, it would have beenharder.”

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Wednesday’s Sunraysia Daily 24/09/2014.To subscribe to our Digital Edition Click here

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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.

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)

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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Quick sale of Knights unlikely: NRL

NRL STALLS ON SALE: Newcastle Knights.NRL officials are unlikely to consider selling the Knights for at least 12 months, despite mounting pressure from English billionaire Marwan Koukash to buy the franchise.

Koukash, the self-made tycoon who owns English Super League outfit Salford and hundreds of racehorses, was quoted overnight as saying he planned to fly to Australia next month to finalise his takeover of an NRL club.

‘‘I’m looking at three clubs,’’ Koukash told PA.

‘‘There were two, but in the last week or so another opportunity has arisen.

‘‘There are a lot of opportunities for me to get involved with a number of NRL clubs, and the amount of investment that is needed is minute compared to what I’m putting in at Salford.’’

Koukash first expressed interest more than two months ago in privatising the Knights, who have been under NRL ownership since the ousting of Nathan Tinkler in mid-June after a controversial three-year tenure.

But an NRL spokesman said yesterday that the governing body had held ‘‘only very preliminary discussions’’ with Koukash and ‘‘there is no prospect of any sale of the Newcastle Knights at this stage’’.

“Im looking at three clubs”: Marwan Koukash who has expressed interest in buying the Knights.

It is understood NRL chief executive Dave Smith is content to wait for at least a year before putting the Knights on the market, to ensure the club is stable from a financial and administrative viewpoint.

The first step in that process will be the appointment of a seven-person board of directors, which is expected to be finalised by the end of October.

Two of those directors will be NRL representatives, one ‘‘community representative’’ will be nominated by the Knights members club and four will be independents, selected by a recruitment agency and approved by the NRL. At least one of the directors will be a woman.

When the club is eventually sold, it will be to an owner who is willing to accept having only two ‘‘stakeholder’’ seats on the seven-person board and hence possibly being outvoted on key issues.

While Koukash has said several times that he would like to buy the Knights, NRL adviser John Quayle was dismissive of that prospect in mid-July, saying: ‘‘Here it is again, someone who puts his hand up. Tell him to go to the league [NRL] and give them a non-refundable cheque of $100million. Then the league might talk to him.’’

Quayle, who has been serving on Newcastle’s interim board, told the Newcastle Herald two weeks ago that the Wests Group was the NRL’s ‘‘preferred option’’.

‘‘The success of the Knights hinges on having the involvement of a very good business partner,’’ Quayle said.

‘‘We certainly believe that Wests is that partner.’’

Koukash, a former Palestinian refugee, is estimated to have spent up to $7million on Salford since rescuing the Red Devils from financial ruin 20 months ago.

The outspoken businessman said he could see synergies in owning rugby league clubs in two hemispheres.

‘‘It has to be the right deal for me personally and for the club over there, and it has to have the kind of partnership I would like between the NRL and Salford,’’ he said.

‘‘There will be sharing of players and coaching ideas, and it will make my recruitment in the future a lot easier for Salford.

‘‘For example, one thing I could offer a player considering coming to Salford is a one year’s development in the NRL, and there might be players there who could benefit from coming over here.’’

As well as Newcastle, Koukash has been linked to two other financially embattled NRL clubs, Gold Coast and St George Illawarra.

Koukash said he and his wife, Mandy, who failed in an attempt to buy Bradford this year, were keen to spend more time in Australia.

Peel St traffic changes should come as no surprise

Tamworth’s Bruce Read has again put fingers to keyboard to express his concerns at council’s decisions concerning the annual country music festival.

The latest lurch to the left from council regarding our country music festival should come as no surprise to the good folk ofTamworth.

I read through the last couple of NDL articles regarding the possible changes to Peel St over the festival period and, to be perfectly honest, the real pressing issue here is that it is September and unlike festival director John Sommerlad and his depleted team, many Tamworth retailers are actually organised well in advance based on what they know and are informed of.

Product, staff, signage, entertainment, equipment etc, are all things that we must organise, book, confirm and in many instances pay for well in advance.

If in late September, John, in his infinite wisdom and depth ofexperience, has decided to headoff in yet another direction atthe 11th hour and has done so surreptitiously, then my years of comments have once again been proven out.

Where is the 2015 CMF event business plan and on what page will we find this latest 11th hour left turn?

Is it only me that couldn’t get my head around the bureaucratic double speak that was John’s response in the paper?

Furthermore, I am trying to recall the actual number of traffic/pedestrian related incidents that have occurred or been reported over, let’s say, the past five years of thefestival.

I may well be wrong but I am thinking the numbers would actually be nominal (if any) as is the actual disruption to our everyday lives over the festival period.

I think after more than 40 years, Tamworthians have figured out what they need to do to get around over the festival period.

So, yet again I say that while ever this event is being “sort of run” by council, we the Tamworth ratepayers (and therefore in effect the sponsors of this annual event) can only expect more of the same.

Year after year more of the same bureaucracy struggling to be something that it is not, nor could ever be.

With the stroke of a pen, council could go from an unwilling and inept organiser and a substantial annual event deficit to a key stakeholder and into instant profit just by privatising the CMF.

Maybe John should ring Gympie Apex and ask them if they are interested in applying their substantial expertise.

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Government is killing off climate change

Tony Abbott is intent on killingoff the policies to address climate change.

It appears he has no interest in moving towards a smart, sustainable and renewable future.

His only interest is to keep the fossil fuel industries in business with subsidies and tax breaks, and free them from the tangles of “green” and “red” tape.

Something is seriously rotten in Australia.

That something is the disproportionate influence of the fossil fuel industry and climate change sceptics over the Abbott government.

We are the only country winding back actions to tackle climate change.

Show your support for the renewable energy businesses Tony Abbott is trying to destroy.

Come to the rally outside Barnaby Joyce’s office in Peel St at midday on Friday and send a strong message to all politicians that we want the strongest actions to tackle climate change.

Phil Spark


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Author explores the notion of belonging in a social context

Author and social researcher Hugh Mackay will explore the notion of community when he delivers the annual Friends of Maitland City Library Lecture tonight.

A newspaper columnist for more than 25 years, Mr Mackay is an honorary professor of social science at the University of Wollongong, an adjunct professor in the faculty of arts at Charles Sturt University and a patron of the Asylum Seekers’ Centre.

He is the author of 14 books, nine in the field of social psychology and five novels.

His latest book The Art of Belonging, to be released next month, advances the argument put forward in The Good Life, which was released in May 2013.

That book argues that a good life is not lived in isolation or in the pursuit of independent goals. A good life is lived at the heart of a thriving community, among people we trust and within an environment of ­mutual respect.

Drawing on 50 years experience as a social researcher, Mackay creates a fictional suburb, Southwood, and populates it with characters who like most of us struggle to reconcile their need to belong with their desire to live life on their own terms.

He chronicles the numerous human interactions and inevitable conflicts that arise in a community when characters assert their own needs at the expense of others.

Through a series of riveting, interconnected stories, the author reveals the symmetry of the human condition: we need communities, but communities also need us.

“It is Maitland City Library’s vision to connect our community and we are delighted to have a speaker of Hugh’s calibre discussing the importance of community, reigniting the conversation about how we want to live,” city librarian Keryl Collard.

“This is an evening not to be missed.”

The lecture starts at 6pm at Maitland Gaol.

Bookings can be made online at

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What is council’s agenda over China?

So, Mr Mayor, how many of our illustrious council went off on the recent jolly to China?

How much did this cost me and my fellow ratepayers?

What possible reason has been concocted for a visit to China?

What could not have been achieved by email or video conference, even if there was a valid reason in the first place to deal with whomsoever you visited?

What agenda does the council have for these visits?

The majority of the local ratepayers do not want you getting involved with Chinese investorsat our expense.

This is our land, our infrastructure and we don’t want it sold abroad. This council has no mandate to do this.

Does the council really expect us to pay $10 for a licence to operate a septic tank, when money is wasted in such a profligate manner?

David Spong


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