Mixing language and martial arts

STUDENTS at St Philip’s Christian College Port Stephens are taking their interest in Japanese beyond the classroom to martial arts.
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The school of 700 pupils introduced the language to its curriculum in 2011 when it hired its head of Japanese, Stephen Grant, who had lived and worked in the country for 10 years.

Now the language is compulsory for students from kindergarten to year 8, and available as an elective for students in years 9 and 10.

Mr Grant said he hoped the subject would be available for students in years 11 and 12 from next year.

‘‘There are now kids in years 7 to 10 with higher proficiency than many senior students of Japanese in some other schools, especially in terms of Kanji [Chinese characters used in Japanese writing] knowledge,’’ Mr Grant said.

‘‘Learning any language is great for reflecting on your first language and rediscovering things like verbs – and encouraging kids to look at the culture too opens them up to a wider experience.’’

All students need to show proficiency in the language and culture to progress through the coloured belt grades in the school’s unique martial arts program.

‘‘When I came back from Japan I merged the arts of karate and Iaidō [sword-drawing] with the academic aspects of Japanese language and culture study,’’ Mr Grant said.

‘‘The idea is training a person to be an all-round citizen who can represent their region well and a disciplined person who does their best – it’s definitely more cultural than aggressive.’’

Mr Grant said he tried to connect the study of Japanese not only to sport through martial arts, but also to numeracy, science, social sciences and art.

CULTURE CLASH: Stephen Grant (centre), head of St Philip’s Japanese Cultural Society, and Thomas Priest, 13, watching as Yash Gurram, 14, and Grace Kim, 14, demonstrate some of their martial arts training. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Magistrate imposes strict conditions for Camperdown robbery accused

A CAMPERDOWN man allegedly involved in stealing an elderly man’s car at knifepoint was yesterday released on bail with strict conditions, including a $5000 surety and drug testing.
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Damien Searle, 27, of Wright Street, appeared in Warrnambool Magistrates Court to apply for bail after he was arrested and charged last Thursday.

Mr Searle is charged with armed robbery, burglary, theft, criminal damage and three counts of stealing vehicles.

Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt granted bail until July 30, with conditions Mr Searle undertake drug screening tests on the first and third Monday of every month, he report to Camperdown police, provide a $5000 surety, abide by a 9pm to 6am curfew and not go within 20 kilometres of Lavers Hill or Chapple Vale.

Detective Senior Constable Wayne Ryan, of the Warrnambool police crime investigation unit, said that police yesterday morning interviewed Mr Searle’s alleged co-accused.

That man, Jacob Evans, has been remanded in custody until July 30 charged with similar offences to Mr Searle.

Detective Senior Constable Ryan said Mr Searle had now made full confessions to his offending.

Mr Klestadt raised the subject of a surety and said Mr Searle would almost inevitably be sentenced to serve a significant term of imprisonment.

He said when Mr Searle got closer to a sentencing date he expected that the accused man would more strongly consider avoiding court.

Last week Detective Senior Constable Ryan said that on Saturday, May 18, Mr Searle and a co-accused went to Curdievale Road, Timboon, where they stole a Mitsubishi van.

He said they drove to Peterborough where they stole a flat-screen TV before driving to nearby Dawson’s Bush where they became bogged.

They also stole a quad motorbike from the Timboon district and put it in the van.

The quad bike was abandoned after being drained of fuel to put in the van, which was empty.

The offenders allegedly drove east until again running out of fuel near Lavers Hill on Saturday evening. Both the motorbike and van were yesterday described as insurance write-offs.

The duo then stole another quad bike and attempted to steal another vehicle at Chapple Vale, north-east of Apollo Bay.

About 10.30am on Sunday they allegedly waved down an elderly male driver in a Magna sedan and asked to be taken to Simpson. Shortly after a knife was produced and held to the throat of the driver.

When arrested last week Mr Searle took police to the Magna sedan, which was found at a disused Camperdown farmhouse hidden by trees.

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Shop owner appalled

TEAR it down!
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That’s the opinion of Wynyard businessman Scott Allsop on the traditional marriage billboard erected in the town.

The part-owner of Ace Motors said the sign did not reflect what the Wynyard community had to say on the topic of marriage equality.

“It just needs to be torn down immediately,” Mr Allsop said.

“It’s discriminatory, it’s disgusting, it’s no-one’s right to put something up like that.”

Mr Allsop drew on his own marital situation as a comparison.

“If someone told me not to marry my wife because we are of opposite sex, I would be very unhappy,” Mr Allsop said.

“As a business owner in this town, we don’t need this image.”

Mr Allsop wasn’t the only business owner unhappy with the sign.

TopShop owner Darrell Keegan was appalled that a sign advocating traditional marriage had been placed on his business without consulting with him first.

Mr Keegan signed a lease with LJthHooker with a clause stating that any sign that caused damage to the business would be removed.

Mr Keegan said this particular sign was put up by the landlords without consulting him first.

“I’m annoyed it hasn’t been taken down. It is offensive to some people.”

Mr Keegan has asked LJ Hooker to have the sign removed.

“It’s a slow process, though,” Mr Keegan said.

Braddon Greens MHA Paul O’Halloran urged the groups behind the billboard to consider the potential harm it could have on the community.

“I respect that everyone has a personal opinion on marriage equality, but I ask the organisations who sponsored this billboard to think about the harm and damage it will create,” Mr O’Halloran said.

“I am shocked that anyone would think this appropriate.

“As someone who grew up in a Christian household, my experience is that it is an institution of love, acceptance and tolerance – and I do not see how this fits,” Mr O’Halloran said.

The controversial sign at the corner of Goldie and Saunders streets, Wynyard, which has alarmed business owners. Picture: Grant Wells.

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Green space a ‘great idea’ for old station

A NEW idea has emerged for Griffith’s old police station block –and there’s not a gangster in sight.
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One of the driving forces behind a Don Mackay statue in Banna Avenue has called for a “sunken garden” to be built on the Ulong Street/Banna Avenue block as a major project to celebrate Griffith’s centenary in 2016.

The derelict site, on a prime parcel of CBD land, has been the subject of intense speculation in recent months amid calls for it to be turned into a “Mafia museum” or a museum honouring the city’s fight against organised crime.

But Allan Smith from Griffith Rotary, a key player in making the Mackay statue a reality, said such suggestions were “ridiculous”.

“It is completely unnecessary to give mention to the criminal shame of the past 35 years,” Mr Smith said.

“Perhaps the state government could grant it to the people of Griffith as a centenary gift.

“My preferred option would be for it to be converted to a sunken garden displaying sculptures, moss rocks, shade trees, paving, wrought iron gates and a complete waterfall feature.”

The idea has gained the support of former Griffith Concerned Citizens chairman Reg Fallon, who headed a group that stood against

organised crime following the Mackay murder.

“It’s a great idea and I think around the fountain we could have a display which tells the story of Griffith’s pioneers,” Mr Fallon, 86, said.

“Why would we want to feature the villains? I think it’s best we forget them.”

The block has sat vacant since the police station’s move to Railway Street and is currently the subject of an Aboriginal land claim.

Murrumbidgee MP Adrian Piccoli gave the proposal in-principle support.

“I think it’s important to have a bit of green space in the CBD and I like this idea,” he said.

“You could have some engraved sandstone with the story of the irrigation area and the soldier settlers and even a mention of the Mackay thing as part of our broader history.

“It would be very expensive and I’m not sure how it would be funded.

I’d certainly be doing whatever I could to get grants if it had the support of the community.

“It’s become an unsightly block and it’s been abandoned for far too long.”

The old Griffith police station

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Retirement village Staff say big changes ‘not needed’ at Bendigo retirement village 

MANAGERS of the Bendigo Domain Village are looking to make minor changes after an elderly resident went missing on Sunday.
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Eighty-seven-year-old Alan Hodge was missing for 17 hours in cold conditions after leaving the independent living complex.

He was safely found on Monday morning and was still recovering in Bendigo hospital yesterday.

Mr Hodge suffers from several medical conditions, including dementia.

A village manager, who asked not to be named, said staff would look at changing the way people were assessed as being suitable for the units.

“There are going to be no changes in the way we run the village because it’s independent living,” he said.

“There might be changes to the way we assess whether people are able to live independently in the village.

“At the moment, it’s up to them.

“But it’s also up to us to observe and make sure anyone who comes into the village is able to live independently.

“Sometimes someone comes in where one person is able to care for the other person. That’s OK, because they can still live independently.

“But if two people come in who are perhaps needing greater care, we will need to be more vigilant on that sort of thing.”

He said Mr Hodge was the oldest person in the village.

“Our average age would be people in their early 70s,” the manager said.

He said there were no plans to change gate opening and closing times, with residents able to “come and go as they please”.

It’s believed the person who found Mr Hodge visited him in hospital yesterday.

The Bendigo Domain Village retirement complex. Picture: Blair Thomson

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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.

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.

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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.

$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.

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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.

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