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

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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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