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TOPICS: Pollies lend a hand with mowing

AT HIS FEET: Dave Sheerin relaxes while Shortland Liberal candidate John Church and Charlestown MP Andrew Cornwell tend to his lawn. Dave won their services for $500. Picture: Simone De Peak Eden Williams at Cessnock McDonald’s.
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MOWER? Check. Beers? Check. Luscious lawn – albeit the size of a postage stamp? Check.

Member for Charlestown Andrew Cornwell ensured he had confirmed the trifecta before arriving at constituent David Sheerin’s Dudley home on Tuesdayafternoon to mow his lawn.

‘‘Hang on,’’ we hear you ask, ‘‘Mr Cornwell– isn’t he a vet?’’

Indeed he is, but Mr Cornwell had also offered his services to anyone prepared to pay $500 at a February fund-raising auction for Central Newcastle Rugby League Football Club, also known as The Butcher Boys.

Mr Cornwell – who worked as a boilermaker’s labourer and a storeman and packer before he became a veterinarian – said he had received help tending to his lawn since becoming a parliamentarian but was confident he could still work a certain kind of magic with a mower.

Mr Sheerin, a former player and secretary with the football club and a former vice president of Central Charlestown Leagues Club, took the bait.

‘‘It was an opportunity to donate money to the football club but also represented service delivery for my $500,’’ Mr Sheerin said.

‘‘It’s a great chance to catch up with my local member and shoot the breeze on social issues, ask him what he does on weekends, and how he keeps busy away from politics.’’

Mr Cornwell said he had been concerned after offering the prize that Mr Sheerin may be on acreage.

‘‘No way. It’s the size of a postage stamp, so it’s certainly not going to knock him out. He won’t tire,’’ Mr Sheerin said.

‘‘I’ve done all the edging anyway.

‘‘We’ve got a backyard of about 25 square metres and the front yard is all woodchipped so we’ll be expecting him to do the council strip as well, which is about 50square metres.

‘‘It will take him three or four minutes – if the petrol mower breaks, I’ll give him scissors and he’ll still be done in 15 minutes.’’

Mr Sheerin, an inspector for WorkCover, said he would ensure Mr Cornwell complied with the highest work, health and safety standards.

‘‘And what he doesn’t bring, we’ll provide.’’

With Mr Cornwell appropriately kitted out, Mr Sheerin proceeded to recline on his backyard deck with half a dozen friends from the football club, who came along to thank Mr Cornwell for his kindness and also partake in a ‘‘beer and leer’’.

Ladies pedal Knights

EVER wanted to know what it’s like to live like a Newcastle Knight?

Cycling team The Fit Ladies will be auctioning on eBay this month the opportunity for four people to enjoy front row tickets behind the players’ bench at a home game, meet the players and coaching staff, have a tour of the change rooms before the game and get autographs in the change rooms after the game.

The cycling team will be embarking on an epic adventure in November, cycling 450kilometres from Vietnam to Cambodia to raise money for Arthritis NSW.

The Be a Newcastle Knight for the Day experience will be listed on eBay for 10 days, from today to June 14.

Filly’s lovin’ it

THE mystery has been solved!

The cheeky man who we featured on Saturday riding his horse into Cessnock McDonald’s drive-through has been identified as Ellalong’s Eden Williams, 21.

The Drayton’s Winery vineyard hand was taking his eight-year-old filly Lady out for the day when he decided to stop in for a feed.

‘‘I didn’t expect to get as many looks as I did,’’ Mr Williams told Topics.

‘‘It was the first time I’d ever taken a horse through the drive-through and she was quite good. I was really surprised.

‘‘She stopped right behind all the cars in line and didn’t get too spooked.’’

Mr Williams said he ordered a cheeseburger meal for himself, but only gave vegetarian Lady a few chips and a few cups of water.

Baby follows footsteps

FOLLOWING our item yesterday about what to buy Queen Elizabeth II for the 60th anniversary of her coronation, we’ve received calls from Hunter royalists who have reminded us that William and Kate’s impending arrival will not be Her Majesty’s first great grandchild. Her grandson Peter Phillips has two daughters, Savannah Phillips, born in 2010 and Isla Phillips, born in 2012.

There must be a way around Woodsreef

MEMBER for Tamworth Kevin Anderson has welcomed the NSW government’s decision to conduct a scoping study into an alternative route around Woodsreef Mine.
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The scoping study, announced by deputy premier Andrew Stoner and to be commissioned by the Woodsreef Taskforce, will investigate the feasibility of constructing an alternative route in the event of the closure of a section of Mine Rd.

That closure was a key recommendation of the NSW Ombudsman’s report, Responding to the Asbestos Problem: The need for significant reform in NSW, November 2010.

“The closure of Mine Rd is one of the most effective means of ensuring the public’s safety, by restricting access to the mine, the associated asbestos tailings and the processing infrastructure,” Mr Anderson said.

“However, in the event of it closing, we need to consider the possibility of delivering an appropriate alternative transport route for the locals.”

He said Mr Stoner had agreed to delay the road closure while a scoping study was completed.

“The study will investigate the least-cost option, that is – the road need only be ‘like for like’, if that is possible, while ensuring the health and safety of the community,” Mr Anderson said.

Once completed, the government and the Woodsreef Taskforce will need to determine if it is feasible and affordable to build the alternative route around the controversial mine site.

The scoping study will also have to address issues including concerns over the alternative route passing through an area of naturally occurring asbestos, the need to provide for all-weather access and the potential need for compulsory acquisition of private land.

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson has welcomed the NSW government’s decision to conduct a scoping study into an alternative route around Woodsreef Mine.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

LETTER: Please junk the junkyard plan

THE NBN asbestos debacle is once again proving the lack of understanding in this country of the dangers of asbestos, how to handle it properly, and the prevalence of its occurrence in building materials (‘‘Asbestos control reviewed,’’ Herald 3/6).
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I sincerely hope a proposed junkyard-style building demolition waste receival station at Pendlebury Road Cardiff is not granted approval.

Without doubt, if approved, asbestos will end up dumped at this site, placing local workers, residents and school children’s lives at risk.

Council officers and councillors need to remember that they answer to the citizens of Lake Macquarie. I don’t recall corporations be granted the right to vote in this country.

$135k is Trading places: ‘No joy’ in council rates meeting

MILDURA City Traders will lose $135,000 from its coffers under Mildura Rural City Council’s proposed 2013-14 budget, not $100,000 as was previously expected.
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City Traders chairman Graeme Burrows said a meeting with council regarding differential rates on Monday yielded “no joy” for traders.

He said the organisation would continue to negotiate with council and hoped to secure a special levy in the budget.

“But I don’t think we’re going to have much luck,” Mr Burrows said.

“We’re very disappointed because there was no prior warning; this differential rate change was just thrown at us.

“We intend to talk to our traders and then come back to council.”

Traders manager Tess Lane said that there was “no chance” of securing­ the levy in the next 12 months.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Wednesday’s Sunraysia Daily 05/06/2013.

Tess Lane and Graeme Burrows.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Help needed to trace family member

On behalf of my uncle Barry Hare, we are tracing a family member, Kevin Townsend.
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He is grandson of Dave Townsend and Louisa Hare, son of Norman and Esma Townsend and brother of Graeme (deceased).

Does anyone have Kevin’s details or know where he lives?

Hoping someone out there may be able to help Barry with his massive job of tracing the Hares.

Daniel and Emily Hare settled in Mologa in the early days.

Please contact me on

5443 8052 if you have any information.

Thanking you.

Anita Bartels,


This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Rising above racism

GUNNEDAH councillor Gwen Griffen is a proud Aboriginal woman whose heart goes out to the AFL star targeted by racial slurs that have forced him into an unwelcome spotlight in recent weeks.
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“I would certainly know how Adam Goodes is feeling,” Mrs Griffen told The Leader yesterday, saying she had grown up with racial taunts, ignorance and discrimination.

The recent events made her sad, she said, and inspired her to put pen to paper in a letter to The Northern Daily Leader she hopes will open people’s eyes to a problem still too commonplace.

Education, she said, was the key, but in the home rather than the classroom.

“It must begin there, with the parents, because there’s so little respect today,” she said.

“I was brought up with respect and to take people as you find them.”

In fact she rejects the term “black and white”, saying how you treat someone should have nothing to do with colour.

“It’s about the person,” Mrs Griffen said.

She said she was shocked by the taunt from the 13-year-old girl towards Goodes in a game between his team, the Sydney Swans, and Collingwood.

It was a reflection of her family though, Mrs Griffen believes, and as for Collingwood president Eddie McGuire, who went on to compound what was already an ugly situation, “thinking before you speak” is always wise.

She has developed a thick skin over the years and says many people tell her they voted her on to council because they knew she’d speak her mind.

“I don’t care what other people do or think. You only have one life and you have to live it to the best of your ability,” she said.

IT’S ABOUT RESPECT: Gunnedah Shire councillor Gwen Griffen says racism is still too commonplace but her own determination to rise above it has brought her considerable success. She’s pictured with Local Government Minister Don Page after receiving a Minister’s Award for Women in Local Government in March.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Minister must begin managing our borders

I read about the cost breakdowns given to the Parliamentary Budget Estimates Committee regarding supporting asylum seekers next financial year.
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More than a billion dollars.

However, I’m interested in the comment from a spokesman for Immigration Minister Brendan O’Connor who claimed the calculations “entirely misrepresents the complexities of managing our borders”.

My question to the minister is, when are you going to start managing our borders?

Peter Lesuey,


This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Koreans take look at two Armidale schools’ use of technology

IT’S NOT every day a South Korean television crew visits your school to film a documentary, but that’s exactly what happened at Duval High School yesterday.
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The Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), which is the equivalent of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, was at Duval to investigate digital education in Australia and to document the leading programs offered at the Armidale school.

The TV crew plans to take the findings of their fleeting visit home to the Korean Education Board, which is in the process of implementing a digital education reform.

University of New England senior lecturer Myung-Sook Auh, who has been instrumental in organising the documentary with KBS, said the Korean government wanted to see first-hand how other countries effectively used digital technology in schools.

“The Korean government wanted to see some exemplary countries, to see what other countries are doing and what are effective ways of using digital technology, so they can import those ideas to Korea,” she said.

Dr Auh suggested Armidale’s Duval High School and Ben Venue Primary be included in the film, because they were already participating in Australia’s Asian Schools Connection program, with Duval involved in an offshoot of this, the Korean Connection Program (KCP).

As part of the KCP, students of Duval’s Year 7 Korean studies class take part in fortnightly webcasts with Korean students from Duval’s sister school, Sungduk Middle School in Daejeon City.

Tom Model, who teaches Korean studies, said the webcast program, which has been going for the past three years, was essentially a cultural exchange providing recognition and appreciation between the two countries.

“They exchange ideas and get to know how each other live their day-to-day lives,” he said.

By participating in the webcasts, students got a “well-rounded relevance” they couldn’t get from reading textbooks, Mr Model said.

He said the kids were really chuffed to receive international recognition and it was “hitting home” that they were leading the way in digital technology.

LAPTOP LUXURY: A Korean TV production crew documents laptop use by Year 9 maths students David Wilson, Kyle Donnan and Joshua Gartshorel, with teacher Brock Ford, at Duval High School yesterday. Photo: Barry Smith 040613BSB21

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

LETTER: Pollution legacy for our children

WE have recently experienced the most extreme weather events ever known in Australia: the hottest January weather ever recorded in NSW; and floods in Queensland and NSW more extreme than in recorded history. The carbon price has already been responsible for a reduction of 8.6per cent of carbon emissions compared to 2011.
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This means that 7.6million tonnes of carbon emissions has been prevented from entering the atmosphere.

The Renewable Energy Target has increased significantly the investment in renewable sources such as solar and wind power.

Carbon pricing has resulted in councils introducing measure to reduce land fill, so that less carbon emissions are going into the atmosphere from rotting garbage.

Do the majority of people in Australia really still want the carbon price system scrapped?

Can we look our children and grandchildren in the eyes and say we had a scheme for reducing carbon pollution, and we abandoned it?

What reasons will we give for abandoning it? Let’s have an updated survey to gauge people’s opinions.

LETTER: Still waiting for council answers 

I ATTENDED the Newcastle council meeting to discuss Stockton caravan park (‘‘Park plan lands on residents’’ Herald 27/5) and am at a complete loss.
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A spokeswoman from the council said at the start of the meeting that no questions would be answered on the night – that they would be taken on notice and responded to at a later date. I tried to ask a question regarding the financial ramifications, only to be told to fill out the forms provided. I am still waiting for the response from the council to my questions. I believe the disdain the council has shown to the permanent residents is disgusting, and businesses in Stockton will be losers under the council’s master plan.

Who are these faceless people putting forward these plans? What is the council’s end game?

If they want to be entrepreneurs, they should get out into private enterprise and see how they go. The fact that council had no idea of the financial ramifications of their proposal tells me just one thing. They would fail miserably in the real world.