Drunk driver jailed over Warrawong crash

A serial drink-driver who was five times the legal limit when his car ploughed into a Warrawong service station has lodged an appeal after being sentenced to nine months’ jail.
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Wollongong Local Court Magistrate Michael Stoddart yesterday slammed Allen George Waretini’s “appalling” behaviour on the afternoon of August 18 last year, saying he was amazed no-one was seriously injured or killed in the incident.

The court heard an inebriated Waretini, 55, parked out the front of the BP service station at Warrawong about 4.50pm and went inside to buy cigarettes.

When he got back in his car he reversed the vehicle about three metres before stopping and revving the engine.

He then accelerated forward, ploughing through the front doors of the service station and smashing into a freezer and shelving inside the shop.

The court heard the damage bill topped $45,000 and security guards had to be hired around the clock for a week until the building could be repaired.

Waretini was arrested at the scene and taken to Shellharbour Hospital, where a blood test revealed he had an alcohol reading of .278 – more than five times the legal limit.

He yesterday pleaded guilty to drink-driving – the sixth such charge on his lengthy traffic record.

His lawyer, John Gallagher, conceded the court had few options other than to give Waretini a jail sentence, but asked Magistrate Stoddart to take into account the fact that his client had mental health issues and had made attempts to deal with his alcohol problems.

However, Magistrate Stoddart rejected pleas for leniency, saying that based on Waretini’s alcohol reading alone it was a wonder the Port Kembla man was “still alive”, let alone adding a crash to the situation.

“You’re lucky you didn’t run into someone in the service station such as a customer or the attendant,” he said.

“You have an atrocious record for drink-driving and this is a very disturbing set of facts. I’m satisfied the only appropriate sentence for you is [full-time] jail.”

Magistrate Stoddart jailed Waretini for nine months with a non-parole period of four months.

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Brendan’s piercing world record attempt spiked

A Wollongong man who was poised to claim a place in Guinness World Records says he is devastated at the book’s decision to “rest” the record he was going to break.
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Brendan Sawczuk was set up to attempt a world record next weekend, but has been forced to reconsider. Picture: DAVE TEASE

Body piercing specialist Brendan Sawczuk spent $3500 on materials ahead of his June 16 attempt on the record, for the most people body-pierced in one hour by one person.

He planned to pierce 120 nostrils in 60 minutes at his Wollongong salon, Pierce Xpress, to beat existing record-holder Rhonda Polley, who pierced 64 people in Melbourne on September 18, 2010.

MORE: 120 nose piercings in an hour … can Brendan do it?

Guinness approved Mr Sawczuk’s application in January but by late May, when he wrote again to check if Ms Polley’s record still stood, he was told the record had been rested.

“This … means that no-one can attempt this record and become a new record holder and therefore is not a category that we wish to pursue further,” a representative for the franchise wrote in an email.

In a later email, a representative said the decision was made on health and safety grounds but – bizarrely – a new “most people pierced in one hour” record category had been created – the same as the former category but without the requirement for a single person to perform the piercings.

The change meant Mr Sawczuk could still likely break the record, but his new record would be easily beaten by a group of people performing piercings at once.

“They could get 500 [piercers] and … do one each,” Mr Sawczuk said.

Mr Sawczuk, who was preparing sterilised, individualised piercing kits in the lead-up to his attempt, believed the new category posed a greater health and safety risk.

“They’re saying to me they’re worried about one person going quick, yet they’re encouraging multiple people to go quick, doing multiple skin penetrations in the one premises, which is more unsterile,” he said.

“If there was some sort of logical explanation, I could accept it and move on but it’s very contradictory.”

In an email, a Guinness representative told Mr Sawczuk the franchise’s records were constantly under review.

“Whilst we do not think this to be the case, in this instance we have become concerned that the record category, when limited to one piercer, may encourage the applicant to perform the process at a greater speed, potentially at the cost of the quality of aftercare,” the email read.

“We wanted to avoid the record category reflecting the fastest time to undertake a piercing and as such we felt this record category should not be limited to one piercer and should be increased to a team of unlimited size. Having said that, the record category may still be attempted by an individual.”

More than 120 people had volunteered to be pierced as part of Mr Sawczuk’s record attempt.

He said he still planned to make the attempt but it could be delayed as his correspondence with Guinness continued.

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Father of five on why he’s taking part in pulmonary trial

A visual representation of damaged lungs.A formerwelding inspector and father of five is taking part in the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease trial.
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The 74-year-old thinks effective management of his moderate COPD is crucial to maintaining an active lifestyle.

“I want to be able to enjoy everyday life,’’ said the man who preferred to remain anonymous.

‘‘That means playing with my seven grandchildren, walking the dog twice a day, playing bowls four times a week and regularly mowing the lawn and caring for my garden.’’

The ex-rugby league player and boxer worked as a welding inspector, particularly on submarines, for 50 years and believed he was ‘‘sucking in fumes and dust on the job’’.

He began wheezing roughly 25 years ago, but was diagnosed with COPD only six months ago after visiting a doctor. He said that he had not been to a doctor for about 40 years.

‘‘Perhaps if I had seen a doctor when my wheezing problem began, my COPD wouldn’t be as bad now.’’

The man said he learned about the COPD trial through his doctor during one of his regular check-ups and said the experience benefited him and the community.

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Flying the family flag

THE whole of Griffith will be watching when Andrew Fifita makes his Origin debut tonight – but one family will be cheering the loudest.
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Fifita’s Griffith family, the Ngus, will watch with pride when he takes to the field for NSW.

As a troubled teenager Fifita’s family encouraged him to move away from Blacktown to live in Griffith.

With the help of his uncle, Ali Ngu, he was able to turn his life around.

Twenty-four-year old Viliami Ngu said he was looking forward to watching his cousin and former Griffith Waratahs teammate play for NSW.

“Everyone is really proud of him,” Mr Ngu said.

“He took a big step when he came to Griffith to get out of trouble.

“He has worked hard to get to this level and we are all extremely happy for him.”

Fifita has certainly come a long way from the rebellious teen that landed in Griffith in 2006 to become the giant Cronulla Sharks prop, ready to represent his state for the first time at Origin level tonight at a packed ANZ Stadium.

“My dad was strict with him,” Mr Ngu said. “He lived with us for about four years. Dad is exceptionally proud of how he’s changed and turned his life around.

“He has been ringing us every now and then and is grateful for everything we did for him.

“I’ll probably go down and watch the game at the Sporties club with mates.

“It is nice to think Griffith is behind him and proud of what he has been able to achieve.

“He made a lot of friends when he was living here.

“It is great to see that he has stepped up to a bigger life now.”

Fifita is the fourth local to represent the Blues.

Born and bred Ray Brown was the first Waratah, followed by Len Bertollo from the Waratahs and Black and White Laurie Moraschi.

TEAM FIFITA: The Ngu family, (back) Ali, Shorne, 16, Mele, 17, Viliami, 24, Teu, (front) Serena, 9, and Lakai, 11, will be cheering Andrew Fifita on from afar when he plays his debut State of Origin game tonight. Picture: Anthony Stipo

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Subbie on show: Melbourne Cup winner to local schools

PRIMARY School students will get up close and personal today with Melbourne Cup-winning racehorse Subzero.
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The 24-year-old gelding is in Mildura ahead of the Murray Downs Golf and Country Club Swan Hill Cup this weekend.

‘“Subbie” will visit Sacred Heart Primary, Irymple South Primary, St Joseph’s Primary and Jacaranda Village, after visiting Bupa Nursing Home yesterday.

Racing Victoria Workforce Development co-ordinator Rebecca Wilde said students would get the chance to get a hands-on experience with one of Australia’s most-loved racehorses.

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

GIDDYUP: Racing Victoria apprentice jockey Emily Tremelling with Melbourne Cup-winning racehorse Subzero in Mildura yesterday. Picture: Clancy Shipsides

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History to be revisited at antiques bazaar this weekend

BALLARAT residents are invited to experience a slice of The Great Gatsby era at the Ballarat Antique, Collectibles and Vintage Bazaar this weekend.
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To be held at the Mining Exchange in Lydiard Street North, the event will feature about 25 dealers from across Victoria with a range of antiques, collectibles and vintage ware.

Organiser Malcolm Roberts said this was the first time the event would be held in Ballarat.

“We have got something for everyone, from the late 1890s to 1940s,” Mr Roberts said. “We are catering to all budgets, with items ranging from $2 to $2000.

“There is a range of Victorian and art deco furniture, china, porcelain, Coca-Cola memorabilia and cereal toys.”

Mr Roberts said scones would be on offer during the event, with a dollar from the $5 entry fee going towards Devonshire teas.

The Ballarat Antiques, Collectibles and Vintage Bazaar will be held at the Ballarat Mining Exchange on June 8, 9 and 10 from 10am.

For information, contact Mr Roberts on 0421 160 797.

Organiser Malcolm Roberts says the bazaar will have something for everyone.

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Pursuit driver faces unlicensed driving charges

A Sebastopol man who lost his licence over a high-speed police chase “thumbed his nose” at the courts by getting back behind the wheel of a car only weeks later, according to a magistrate.
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Blake Hill, 19, received a two-month jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, after pleading guilty in the Ballarat Magistrates Court yesterday to two charges of driving while disqualified.

Only last year, Hill reached speeds of up to 120km/h in Mair Street, and crashed twice during a police pursuit on May 19.

He faced court in October over the incident and was disqualified from driving for two years.

Magistrate Michelle Hodgson said Hill’s decision to get back behind the wheel on two separate occasions in December beggared belief and showed contempt for his court orders.

Yesterday, police prosecutor Senior Constable Vicki Chaffey told the court that on December 16 and December 26, on two separate occasions, police had intercepted Hill while he was driving along Sturt Street.

He had four passengers in the car during the second incident.

Senior Constable Chaffey said Hill admitted to police he had “no good reason” for being behind the wheel while disqualified.

Defence lawyer David Tamanika said his client had been giving some friends a lift and “hadn’t put much thought” into what he was doing.

Mr Tamanika said, similarly, when police had attempted to intercept Hill last May, he led them on a chase for no good reason.

Ms Hodgson said it was a serious matter to drive in direct contravention of a court order.

The court heard in October how Hill had sparked a high-speed chase after police checked his speed at 27km/h over the limit and activated their warning lights.

During the chase, Hill ran a red light and collided with a Kia Rio, before eventually losing control and crashing into the base of a billboard.

Hill will face court on further offences related to his community corrections order on June 18.

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Phone rings up trouble at home for Mepunga man

A TROUBLED and toxic relationship saw a Mepunga man convicted and fined $2000.
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Rhys Trevor Coleman, 21, of Boyles Road, pleaded guilty in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court to recklessly causing injury, unlawful assault, breaching an intervention order and careless driving.

Police alleged that Coleman was in a relationship with his partner for two years when she was granted an intervention order in September.

In February, Coleman and the victim argued about a phone that she had on silent, but which he wanted her to leave on audio.

They scuffled and the woman was left with a sore jaw and scratches.

On March 23, they argued after she asked Coleman to move his car so she could go out. She answered her phone but he put her in a bear hug and told her it would be in her best interests to hang up.

She broke free and ran to the police station.

On March 27, Coleman read messages between the woman and another man.

He yelled at the woman and called her names. She drove off and he followed in his vehicle.

Defence counsel Kiernan Celestina said it was a poisonous relationship with both Coleman and the woman worried about infidelity. The relationship has now ended.

Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt said Coleman had attempted to control the woman’s behaviour and arguing about whether a phone was turned up or on silent was bizarre.

He said it was clear the relationship was toxic and involved controlling and abusive behaviour which breached the intervention order.

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Ratepayers to fund Yenda flood clean-up bill 

RATEPAYERS will foot the bill for the Yenda cleanup following last year’s floods after the state government refused to reimburse council the cost of removing tonnes of rubbish from outside homes.
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Piles of ruined furniture, children’s toys, personal items and electrical goods lined the streets of Yenda within days of the evacuation order being lifted, as residents cleared out their sodden homes.

As part of the army of community members who came out to help in any way they could, council staff worked for more than a week to clear the mounds of bulky rubbish from the streets.

The operation came at a cost of almost $370,000.

According to council general manager Brett Stonestreet, an officer from the Department of Public Works advised among the chaos that a grant would be available to cover the cost of removing the items.

But last week council received a letter to say more than $300,000 could not be claimed because the waste was not considered public debris.

“We were advised at the time that, because it was such a chronic health risk to have that rubbish sitting around, we had to remove it immediately to stop the outbreak of disease,” Mr Stonestreet said.

“The number one priority for council is to look after the health and wellbeing of the people living here so we got in and assisted them without waiting for bureaucracy to catch up.

“The alternative is beyond nonsense – we wouldn’t ever have contemplated not doing it.”

Council will now write to the Department of Emergency Services in a last-ditch bid to recover the money.

Henry Street residents Bill and Margaret White were among many who had no way of removing their damaged belongings without council’s help.

Aged 82 and 79, the couple lost everything in the floods and were unable to live in their house for more than 10 months.

“Unless you were young and agile and had the appropriate vehicle, it would have been impossible to get everything out to the dump – particularly because the Yenda tip was closed,” Mrs White said.

“I’d hate to think what would have happened if we were left to fend for ourselves.

“The rubbish would have sat there for a lot longer, which doesn’t bear thinking about when people had rotting meat in their Sulo bins.

“Council did the right thing and they shouldn’t have to pay.”

Yenda Progress Association president Kay Pellizzer has offered to write a letter to the department pleading for council’s funding application to be reconsidered.

The Department of Public Works has refused to reimburse council for clearing away piles of rubbish like this one in South Avenue after the Yenda floods

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Numbers equate for young Warrnambool sharemarket genius

IF you were a punter, you might want to put your money on Brauer College student Henry McLeod.
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The year 12 student has made some smart investments and taken on national recognition for playing the markets wisely — the only problem being that it was all imaginary.

Welcome to the stockmarket game, a task used by maths teachers to bring graphs and statistics to life using the power of classroom competition, piggybacking on the nation’s financial institutions.

The 18-year-old VCAL maths student has emerged the luckiest from across the state and came second for his fiscal fortunes nationwide.

The exercise gives students around $50,000 in play money to sink into their pick of the top 200 listed companies on the ASX.

“I bought into the ANZ, Sydney Airport, Car Sales and the Reject Shop,” Henry said.

Then he played the waiting game.

“It’s actually a bit of a thrill,” he said.

“I didn’t have a strategy, it was just the market that played my way.”

In the end Henry came out nearly $8000 on top, beating thousands of other students around the country. But he has no plans to wear a suit and take up an office in Melbourne. Instead he wants to head to his native New Zealand.

“I’m thinking about going back to New Zealand and being a dairy farmer over there,” he said.

Maths teacher Barry Murrell said students came out of the semester with a better handle of statistics and percentages.

Brauer College student Henry McLeod, 18, won the state stockmarket game and came second in the national competition with a little help from his VCAL maths teacher Barry Murrell.

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