Monthly Archives: July 2018

Carer wins NSW honours

Well deserved: Sheila Openshaw is the NSW Carer Awards carer of the year for 2015.YEARS of caring for her two sons, and for the community in which she has lived for 21 years, have led to Sheila Openshaw being named NSW Carer of the Year for 2015.

She was nominated by Dympna Maslin of Mission Australia Port Macquarie, who called to ask if Mrs Openshaw if she minded being nominated.

After providing a file of background information to Ms Maslin, she promptly forgot about it until she got a phone call on her way to a fundraising event she was hosting.

“It was from NSW Carers Awards to say I had won,” Mrs Openshaw said.

“It was quite overwhelming, humbling and a total surprise.”

She was told to keep the news quiet until Monday after the presentation at Parliament House.

On Sunday, she and husband Alan were flown to Sydney where they were accommodated and given dinner and breakfast before the ceremony on Monday morning.

The awards are given to mark Carers Week, October 11 -17.

The NSW Carers Advisory Council states a carer is someone who provides “unpaid support to those who need it because of a disability, mental illness, chronic health condition, dementia or ageing”.

The awards are organised by the NSW government in partnership with Carers NSW and were created to acknowledge and celebrate the significant unpaid contribution carers make to the person (or people) they care for and to the community.

Mrs Openshaw was presented with a trophy and certificate, from among nine others who were in the running for the top award, by the Hon. John Ajaka, MLC, Minister for Ageing and Disability Services at the state ceremony.

She was acknowledged for not only caring for her two sons, aged 47 and 43, who suffer with mental illness, but for her community work as a founding member of the Endeavour Clubhouse and for efforts on behalf of Rotary Health.

Mrs Openshaw has cared for her sons for 22 years and both now live independently, one in Newcastle and one in Port Macquarie.

“I tell people who come to my group [Hastings Mental Health Support Group] that it is important the person you are caring for learns to cope on their own. Use the services and make the connection for them, but we’re not going to live forever.”

One of the things that puts a smile on Mrs Openshaw’s face is talking about Endeavour Clubhouse which has finally opened after 14 years in the making.

“Alan and I were founding committee members and he was secretary and a treasurer of the fundraising committee.

“They already have 40 clients registered,” she said.

Rotary Health’s Hat Day has also been a favourite cause for her and Rotary Club of Port Macquarie.

She has organised many fundraising events and on October 31 there will be yet another.

It is an art exhibition at The Historic Courthouse from 10am until 4pm, with 20 per cent of any art sales going to Rotary Health. Paintings by Cherie Morton, Yvonne Kiely, Maureen Hales and Leanne Prussing will be on showand there will be entertainment by Hastings Choristers, Smashing Drumskins and Z Chords.

Devonshire tea, a barbecue lunch, mobile coffee van and an artist mandala workshop and demonstrations will make for an enjoyable day.

The Hastings Mental Health Support Group meets on the last Friday of each month at the Mac Adams Music Building behind the Olympic Pool from 10am until noon, and all are welcome, including carers of those with brain injury or dementia.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.

Hastings jewel returns home

Meet the jeweller to the Bachelorette: Port Macquarie’s own Samantha Wills brings her range of bling to The Department Store where she will meet fans in the Port Macquarie store Thursday night.

SAMANTHA Wills walks on the streets of New York and heads turn.

Not only is she tall, blonde, attractive and always beautifully dressed, her exotic jewellery sparkles from her fingers to her earlobes.

The former Port Macquarie High School student has worked hard for her success since moving to Sydney in 2004, when she first introduced her designs at Australian Fashion Week to rave reviews.

After growing her brand overseas and in capital cities, Wills’ striking pieces will now be available at The Department Store right here in the Hastings.

To celebrate, the home grown designer will visit the expanded Port Macquarie shop in the Peachtree Arcade, tomorrow from 5pm until 7pm.

Her signature is the shape of her bold rings, pendants, necklaces, bangles and wrist cuffs which all come in a distinctive carved wooden boxes carved with the SW logo.

“The Department Store will feature all our current collections, mainline, fine and eyewear, and I am very excited to be home to launch our latest fine jewellery collection Pania.”

Music and film stars who have worn the self-taught Wills’ jewellery on the red carpet are pop princesses Lady Gaga and Rihanna, actresses Eva Mendez, Kate Bosworth, Drew Barrymore and Eva Longoria and, causing a huge reaction right now – bachelorette Sam Frost on the Channel Ten reality dating show of the same name.

“While we are lucky enough to be able to dress some big Hollywood names, the biggest response we are getting at the moment is from all the SW jewels that Sam Frost is wearing on The Bachelorette,” Wills said.

She said she loves getting back to Port about three time a year to see her parents and catch up with friends.

“Unfortunately it’s only for quick trips due to a bit of a crazy schedule, but it is so nice to get back home. It makes me appreciate growing up in such a beautiful place so much.

“Mum and dad are the best, they are and have always being so supportive of everything I do.

“They are definitely thrilled to have the brand represented in a local retailer.

“I often tell the story about when I had an article in The New York Times naming me a breakout star of the year. I called mum to let her know, and she said ‘that’s great darling, but you had an article in the Port Macquarie News today – how great is that’.”

Wills said she has a few things in the pipeline but the main focus is on expansion by territory, rather then new categories.

“We have international offices in New York, LA, Tokyo, Seoul and Paris and are looking to grow and solidify the brand in those markets.”

Luckily, her home town will also be part of that growth.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.

Lochinvar residents furious over loss of police station

NEED FOR POLICE: Some of the locals who turned out to prrotest the decision to sell off the local police station. Picture by PERRY DUFFINLochinvar residents are up in arms after it was announced their local police station would be sold-off.

NSW Police made the decision to close the station saying it was surplus to the needs of the community.

Resident Pru Scott said she was shocked the decision to close the station and sell-off the property was made without any consultation, explanation or announcement.

She has started a campaign to get answers from NSW Police.

“We need this police station, it is important to the community,” she said.

Mother and Lochinvar resident Cassandra Sellens has joined the campaign to keep the station open.

She said the station and stationed police officers were important to give families security and peace of mind.

“It is about having a police presence,” she said.

“First and foremost they need to look at the growth of the community.

“We need the police here because just their presence helps to stop something happening.”

The Lochinvar Urban Release Area makes provision for an additional 10,000 homes in 10 years.

The residents group believed NSW Police had not taken this growth into account when the decision was made to permanently close the station.

Resident Allan Thomas has fought long and hard for almost 30 years to keep the Lochinvar police station open, including when the state government attempted to shut it down in 2009.

“Even though it has not been fully-manned it still provides a presence in the community,” he said.

“We have three schools and a lot of new development, it is only going to grow.”

Last week Police Minister Troy Grant said the closure was made bythe NSW Police Force and not the government.

The Mercury has attempted to get answers from NSW Police in relation to the closure and the sale of the property since October 7, but has had no response.

Previously NSW Police have said that Lochinvar and surrounding areas would continue to be served 24 hours a day, seven days a week by police ­officers from the Central Hunter Local Area Command.

This means a 10 to 15 minute response times for any emergency assistance to come from the Maitland police station.

All of the residents agreed that since the closure of the Lochinvar station they had not seen police patrol cars in the area, only Highway Patrol doing drink-driving checks.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.

Let’s make it clear if you welcome Halloween visitors

IT IS coming around again. Halloween.

I never much liked Halloween. I would say that it’s a foreign holiday and the only reason the stores are pushing it is so they can make more money off us.

Now, this is true, but it occurred to me you could make the same argument about Christmas.

My unspoken real argument against it basically boiled down to “I didn’t have it when I was a kid”. It’s not really a great argument, is it?

Looking at Halloween, what is it? A chance for kids to dress up in costume, and have a lot of fun.

A chance for adults to be impressed, amused or bemused by the weird and wonderful creatures knocking at their door.

A time for the community to gather together.

You know, that doesn’t seem such a bad thing.

There is, of course, one big problem. The kids, walking up the street in costume, and seeing someone’s house, have got to wonder – will they be welcome?

Does the person inside want to see them, and are they ready with lollies, or will they be angry?

It can be very scary for little kids, and very uncertain for supervising adults who are just as new to this. So I’ve got a suggestion.

Everybody who wants to participate in Halloween, put up some kind of Halloween decoration out the front, nice and clearly visible.

It could be a pumpkin, a ghost, a coven of witches, anything – it really doesn’t matter, as long as it’s a clear signal. Everyone who doesn’t want to participate, don’t.

Perhaps over time these decorations will evolve into displays to rival the Christmas lights.

Obviously, for the first few years, mistakes will be made. If there are not many people with decorations out to say they are open, the kids are going to try other houses too, otherwise, they’re all dressed up and no place to go; so be nice to them, and if you do know someone handing out lollies, maybe you could point them in the right direction.

Malcolm Dent

Raymond Terrace

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.

His power was fear: Not all domestic violence is physical

CONTROLLING: Domestic violence doesn’t always involve physical violence.HE didn’t ever hit her. He didn’t have to.

He wielded power and control through intimidation and fear.

At first, JJ* didn’t recognise the violence that her partner was committing against her.

“He wasn’t hitting me or kicking me or being physical so even I didn’t acknowledge that as violence at first,” JJ said.

“It was more the fear and intimidation – there was stalking.”

Now 25, JJ can clearly see the pattern of control which went largely ignored by her rural community, and, alarmingly, by police.

They had been dating for eight months when she fell pregnant.

He expected her to quit her nursing studies and move several hours to his town where she knew no one – which she did.

His violent tendencies rose to the surface after she had the baby.

He would take her pram so she couldn’t go for a walk with her son; he would take her wallet or her car without telling her; he would snap the key in the lock so she and the baby couldn’t get into the house.

“I was stuck. I couldn’t leave because he had me convinced he was going to get custody, but I couldn’t stay because I didn’t want my son to grow up in that family,” she said.

When JJ decided to leave him, “that’s when it got a whole lot worse”.

“He was showing up in places that he shouldn’t have been and he shouldn’t have known where I was,” she said.

He lived hours away so it was odd and frightening that he kept appearing.

When JJ first confided, and sought help, in the wake of his controlling behaviour, she was not believed.

“Especially when it’s not physical violence, women feel they won’t be believed; they don’t have a bruise to show,” JJ said.

Now she has returned to study with a renewed passion and purpose for helping women in violent situations like her own.

If you or someone you know is experiencing violence or sexual assault, phone 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.

*JJ is a pseudonym to protect the survivor’s identity.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.

Basin needs politicians who really care

Yes Geoff Barnden(Sunraysia Daily,October 9), it’s election time again and candidates do tend to write about feedback and concerns they are receiving from the community and others.

In reply to your concerns, South Australian Liberal MP Tony Pasin whose regional electorate is Barker told the ABC that he was nervous about the National Party being put in charge of water and that local irrigators were also concerned about the announcement.

Mr Pasin said: “I am just a little concerned about the fact that we now have a deeper involvement of the National Party with respect to the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan”.

Conservation SA headline was “SA sold down the river as Joyce seizes Murray”.

This article stated “Barnaby Joyce will need to be a remarkable statesman to resist the pressure from his upstream National

Party colleagues to water down the Murray Darling Basin Plan. Mr Joyce’s track record in poor, over many years he has consistently resisted attempts to restore the Murray’s health. The last thing we need in South Australia is a new federal minister hell bent on taking more water out of the river” (Craig Wilkins CEO).

Professor Sarah Wheeler from the University of Adelaide stated “water is going to be an area that there is going to be increasing fights over”.

I have not been hiding for the past five years Greg, I have been very active listening to community concerns and am fully aware of the importance of the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan to all interested parties.

It was a Federal Labor Government under the first female Prime Minister that established the most comprehensive plan to manage the Murray Darling Basin since federation including $1.8 billion in

funding to restore environmental and water security to Australia’s most important river system.

Greg, I am fully aware of the facts and how difficult it was to finalise this plan after decades of successive governments tried but failed. This is why we now need to ensure than the potential for tinkering with the plan will encounter serious challenges from those of us who really care.

Lydia Senior,

ALP Federal Candidate Mallee

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.

Troy eyes Island trophy

COMPETITION LEADER: Goulburn’s Troy Herfoss in action a few weeks ago at the ‘Island’ at the ASBK Photo by Russell Colvin.

THIS weekend the best riders in the world head to Victoria’s Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit for the third last round of the 2015 MotoGP World Championship.

While the attention may be on the ‘main show’, with riders such as Marc Marquez, Australia’s very own Jack Miller and the nine times world champion Valentino Rossi, who leads the MotoGP championship by 18-points over his Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammate Jorge Lorenzo, thanks to his second place finish at the Japanese Grand Prix on the weekend, we shouldn’t forget about some of the national superstars who will be fighting tooth and nail to try and win this year’s Phillip Island Superbike Championship.

The Phillip Island Championship was introduced in 2014 after the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) and the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit joined forces to launch the two round series running in alongside the FIM World Superbike Championship (WSBK) and the MotoGP.

Topping the championship points heading into this weekend, on a countback is none other than Goulburn’s very own Troy Herfoss.

The 28-year-old scored a 2-1 result with his ‘one- off’ round teammate Josh Hook who finished with a 1-2 result.

In the two twelve lap races, the two Team Honda Racing men battled hard, with the pair finishing just centimetres apart in both of the races.

Race one belonged to Hook after he took the win by .099 sec ahead of Herfoss.

Herfoss seemed more than comfy aboard the Honda CBR1000RR SP in race two.

However, Hook had different ideas and the pair put on a master class display, which saw the race coming right down to the very end.

Herfoss had command of the race with Hook right behind him who pulled out of the slipstream down the main straight, with Herfoss hanging onto the win by a slender.018 sec!

While Hook may not be racing in the Phillip Island Superbike Championship this weekend, as he has scored a plum ride with the Technomag Racing Interwetten team in the Moto2 class, it doesn’t mean that Herfoss will have it his own way.

Just like in this year’s Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship, Herfoss will have to defend off Yamaha’s Wayne Maxwell, Glenn Allerton and Cru Halliday.

It will be the first time since 2009 that Yamaha Racing Team have competed at the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix, so with Herfoss having to go toe-to-toe with the boys in blue, his teammate Jamie Stauffer and Cube Racing Team’s Mike Jones, who sits in third place in the Phillip Island Superbike Championship, just nine points behind, has set the weekend up to be nothing short of a bell ringer.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.

Hot weather strips value from harvest

WHEAT HIT: The El Nino has hit Victorian crops in the Wimmera and Mallee region hard. El Niño has badly battered the 2015 Australian wheat crop, and may batter the south-east more before the headers move in, but the harvest should still outstrip the 2014 total.

Modelling by the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) suggests that from mid-NSW south, a dry spring has stripped tens of millions of dollars from the wheat crop’s potential.

That was compounded by the heat wave that rolled across south-eastern Australia at the beginning of October – an event not captured in the modelling.

The heat spell was particularly damaging for Victoria’s Mallee and Wimmera regions, Hannah Janson of Australian Crop Forecasters (ACF) said, because those crops were already struggling on insufficient soil moisture.

The yield potential of the Mallee-Wimmera alone dropped by about 14 per cent in the week of the heatwave, ACF calculated. Elsewhere, the yield reduction was more in the order of 5per cent.

Overall, ACF thinks the week of heat may have cost the nation’s wheat crop 1.6 million tonnes of yield, or about $500 million, on top of the effects of a dry spring.

ACF’s latest harvest estimate puts the Australian crop at 24.3Mt, better than the 23.6Mt crop of 2014, but with considerable uncertainties around how the remainder of the crop will finish, and what headers will report when they start stripping.

ACF also reduced estimated Australian canola and barley production by three and four per cent respectively, month on month.

QAAFI scientist Graeme Hammer said although the loss of yield potential is disheartening, it could have been much worse.

One of the top four El Niño events on record had the potential to wreak much greater drought havoc on winter crops, but fortunately, El Niño’s drying trend was countered up until September by moisture streaming off a warm Indian Ocean.

The Indian Ocean has now cooled substantially off Australia, meaning that it will reinforce the drying effects of El Niño until the Asian monsoon starts streaming moisture across the continent again – hopefully in the next month or two.

Professor Hammer said although the 2015 winter crop season and its warm, dry spring are within the bounds of natural climate variability, climate trends are moving the envelope of that variability in a direction that promises to make such seasons more common.

Lack of moisture is not the only threat inherent in this pattern.

“With the heat effect pushing the crop earlier, you have to be careful not to run yourself into a frost,” Prof. Hammer said.

“You get a hot season, your crops flower earlier, and you increase your frost risk.”

The extra carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere that is shifting climatic patterns carries some benefits to croppers.

Heightened levels of CO2 change many plants’ response to water stress, and in the case of wheat it will lead to greater water efficiency, at least in the northern wheat zones that QAAFI has studied.

The kicker: by mid-century, Prof. Hammer said, the climate change effects of heat and altered rainfall patterns are likely to have a greater negative effect on wheat’s water efficiency than the positive effects of CO2 fertilisation.

That may not be the case with sorghum, though, which has such a strong response to CO2 fertilisation that it could outweigh adverse effects from rainfall and heat.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 老域名.

Motel’s drug strife in past: manager

Manager Connie Day at Adamstown Motel on Brunker Road. Picture: Max Mason-HubersTHE state housing department has suspended use of a Newcastle motel named in a national inquiry into the ice epidemic.

Family and Community Services announced on Tuesday that it would stop sending clients to the Adamstown Motel after a former manager said the Brunker Road lodge was a hot-spot for ‘‘drug addicts, dealers and local gangs’’.

Jawad Chafil, a former international student at the University of Newcastle, took over management of the Adamstown Motel in 2010.

In a lengthy written submission he told the inquiry the motel was a ‘‘notorious’’ hot-bed of alleged illegal activity, that he was ‘‘so lucky to come out safe from.’’

Jawad Chafil, who used to manage Adamstown Motel, which he said was a hot-spot for ‘‘drug addicts, dealers and local gangs’’.

Mr Chafil, who says he left Australia in 2013, said that while managing the motel he saw the ‘‘significant impact of methamphetamine use on family units and the trauma it generates on minds and the aggressive character of the users’’.

In a detailed description of his experience, he said many residents at the motel, some of them long-term, were often unemployed but “still getting on it every day’’.

‘‘Those who inject ice are constantly looking for money to buy; they need a minimum of $150 a day,’’ he wrote.

Adamstown Motel.

‘‘This is a serious and expensive addiction.’’

Previously known as the Broadmeadow Motel, the Adamstown Motel has long been used by the housing department as temporary accommodation for single people or couples.

Despite Mr Chafil’s alleged experiences coming from several years ago, the department has acted swiftly, suspending use of the motel while it is ‘‘working closely with the NSW Police to support their investigations into this matter’’.

A spokesman said the motel would be audited ‘‘in the near future once investigations have been completed’’.

But Connie Day, who has managed the motel lease since March this year, said the new management had taken steps to change its reputation.

‘‘In the past it has been known for that sort of thing, it used to be called ‘The Block’,’’ she said.

‘‘Most of our clients are homeless, and there’s still trouble from time to time, but there’s definitely no dealing, it’s nothing like it used to be.’’

In a statement made in response to the allegations made to the inquiry, NSW Police said the ‘‘sale and use of prohibited drugs is of major concern’’.

‘‘We will take any appropriate action that is required at any location throughout our command,’’ the statement read.

Councils slam merger ‘stitch-up’

Empty seats at the LGA conference on Tuesday. Picture via Twitter by Cr Chad Griffith @griffithchad Lake Macquarie Councillor

LOCAL councils were being ‘‘stitched up’’ by a hypocritical state government intent on forcing council mergers, a statewide conference was told this week.

The state government has been under fire for flagging mergers between the likes of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie councils, and Maitland and Dungog. It came under fire again during the first day of the Local Government NSW annual conference in Sydney where president Keith Rhoades accused the government of running a scare campaign.

The Baird government was ‘‘stacking the deck against councils’’ by demanding they meet financial benchmarks to survive as stand-alone entities, Mr Rhoades said, while ‘‘slamming them when they proposed rate rises’’ to meet the benchmarks.

‘‘Councils were told they had to meet certain financial benchmarks and for some councils the only way to do so is to increase rates,’’ Mr Rhoades said. ‘‘That’s not because they’re poor financial managers. For nearly 40 years cost shifting and rate pegging have required councils to pick up bigger and bigger tabs for infrastructure and services while preventing their revenues from keeping pace.

‘‘Forcibly merging two or more struggling councils just creates one big council with bigger funding issues.’’

The conference is being attended by representatives from all Hunter councils. Both Newcastle and Lake Macquarie councils are among those which have made submissions to the state’s independent pricing watchdog and argued their financial cases for standing alone. IPART is due to finish evaluating those submissions this Friday before making recommendations to the government.

Plenty of empty seats at #lgnsw2015 Shame. pic.twitter老域名/jTZwVZUpFq

— Cr Chad Griffith (@griffithchad) October 13, 2015

Mr Rhoades also used the conference to call on Premier Mike Baird to have a minister for regional and rural affairs. Most of the state’s 152 councils backed the call.

‘‘Our regional and rural areas have a wealth of issues which are directly impacting on the lives of families and voters and we believe there should be someone at that Cabinet table specifically charged with representing them,’’ he said.