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Green light for Port Alma

The importance of Port Alma for future live cattle exports has been acknowledged by the federal Senate this week.
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The Senate passed a motion by Rockhampton-based Senator Matt Canavan noting the approval of Port Alma as a live cattle export facility and the benefit of providing new export options to producers and the cattle industry in central Queensland.

“The vote was 45 to 10 in favour,” Senator Canavan said. “Only the Greens voted against it.”

“Around a quarter of all the cattle exported from Townsville come from central Queensland and producers bear the costs of trucking them north. Port Alma gives them a much closer facility with much lower transport costs.”

Senator Canavan said Port Alma said the only thing holding back export at Port Alma were high cattle prices which was “great news” for producers.

“The facility at Port Alma was approved by the Department of Agriculture earlier this year and is currently registered to export live cattle.”

Senator Matt Canavan

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Monk visit to help Nepali school

SHOCK waves from this year’s earthquake that rocked Nepal in April have been felt by charity workers inRedland Bay.
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Glen Mackley and Leanne Papas have rallied around family, friends and neighbours in the bayside suburb to raise money for a school they helped set up in north western Nepal.

Their charity, Kailash Humla Childrens Home, started in 2009 after the couple worked in rural Nepal.

“We initially cared and educated eight students in Kathmandu,” said Ms Papas.

“Through fundraising, we managed to build them a school and return them to their home village of Humla, which now houses 51 students.

Leanne Papas co-founder and Jillian Papas secretary at candle fundraising stall

Students are currently staying in temporary tents.

“There is the capacity to increase student numbers to 100 as further funds are raised.”

The school the Redland Bay charity raised money to build and completed in 2014.

Although their school was safe during the 8.1 magnitude earthquake, many students are still sleeping in tents, too scared to sleep inside the school building.

The Redland Bay-based charity will hold a fundraising event at Pelican’s Slipway Cafe on Saturday, October 24.

Monk Pema Topchen with some of the children

Director of the Nepal school Pema Topchen, a Tibetan monk, will be there to explain the school’s needs.

On sale will be Christmas cards, candles and Nepali handicrafts with all money raisded going to the school.

Those who want to attend can contact Ms Papas on 0411 029 346.

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Mudgee students experience the world of virtual reality

Teacher Terra Starbird with a student using the Oculus Rift headset prototype to experience virtual reality at the Mudgee Public School fete. Photo by Peter Richards.The students at the Mudgee Public School fete were among the first people in Australia to catch a glimpse of the future, by trying out virtual reality using a prototype headset called Oculus Rift.
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Virtual reality allows students to experience things first hand that they could never experience in real life, such as flying through the universe, shrinking down to the size of an atom, ravel back in time and walk amongst dinosaurs, or descend into the heart of a volcano, in a way that truly feels as if you are there.

A complete virtual world is created inside the computer, and by using the Virtual Reality Headset, students become part of this virtual world and are immersed within this environment and whilst there, are able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions, and move around the world

The students got to explore scale from the tiniest atom to the entire universe, by moving through a computer generated world, and zoom down to examine individual atoms, zoom out a bit to see human cells, out some more to see the normal sized world we live in of cars, people and buildings, and then keep zooming out to see the earth, the solar system, our galaxy and keep going until they can see the entire universe laid out before them.

The headset tracks all movement, so wherever the student looks, the view changes to match.

“It feels as if you are completely in another world, and the students often were reaching out to touch things invisible to everyone else in the room,” teacher Terra Starbird said.

“It seems completely real to the person with the headset on, they are literally in another world – if they look behind them, they see the world behind them, they sounds and images completely surround them.”

“One of the students commented that it was like ‘being inside the matrix’.

“Students could move through a computer generated world, and zoom down to examine individual atoms, zoom out a bit to see human cells, out some more to see the normal sized world we live in of cars, people and buildings, and then keep zooming out to see the earth, the solar system, our galaxy and keep going until they can see the entire universe laid out before them.”

The Oculus Rift will be available sometime next year.

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Netball all about fun for the Glitterbugs

Back row, from left: Tane Power, Deb Molony, Shelly Mansfield, Talara Molony and Jodie McMillan. Front, from left, Tania Moulds, Trish Brest and Bec Burton.FOR some ladies, playing netball on a Monday night at Macquarie Park means a get together with friends, a fitness workout and a tough game.
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This applies to the Port Combined Glitterbugs who describe themselves as a mature team who really enjoy their Monday night netball.

They rarely win a match, but when watching from the sidelines, you are able to become involved in their enjoyment.

The ladies are work colleagues joined with mums from students at Hastings Public School.

Goal attack, Deb Molony hasn’t played for 30 years, but has re-entered the sport, bringing her daughter along to join the team as well.

For the two seasons that these ladies have played together as a team, they have improved their game, improved their fitness and are looking forward to maybe winning a few more games in the future.

Nevertheless the Glitterbugs will continue with their great team spirit and participation of sport.

The first phase of the selection process for our 2016 junior representative teams has taken place, and these young players have commenced training with their respective coaches.

Final selections for these players is scheduled for Saturday, November 7.

Nominations for senior players for 2016 rep teams close on November 9 with selections to take place at Macquarie Park on Saturday, November 14.

Good luck to the teams participating in the Masters Netball competition hosted by Charlestown Netball Association in Newcastle this weekend.

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Hard work shines at business womens’ awardsPHOTOS

Hard work shines at business womens’ awards | PHOTOS April Armstrong, winner of the Telstra Business Womens’ Award in the start-up category. Photo: Richard Polden.
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Mandurah Taxi chief, Julie Murray, finalist in the Telstra Business Womens’ Awards. Photo: supplied.

April Armstrong, winner of the Telstra Business Womens’ Award in the start-up category. Photo: Richard Polden.

April Armstrong, winner of the Telstra Business Womens’ Award in the start-up category. Photo: supplied.

Telstra Business Womens’ Award finalist Julie Murray (right) from Mandurah Taxis. Photo: supplied.

April Armstrong, winner of the Telstra Business Womens’ Award in the start-up category. Photo: supplied.

April Armstrong, winner of the Telstra Business Womens’ Award in the start-up category. Photo: supplied.

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Blessing furry and feathered friends

TOGETHER: Emma Clark with Molly and Reverend Bill Howarth at the special service at St Mary’s Anglican Church, West Armidale.PETS of Armidale joined the congregation at St Mary’s Anglican Church for their own blessing of the animal’s service over the weekend.
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The special service acknowledged the relationship between residents and their animal counterparts.

St Mary’s Anglican Church warden Jan Clark said the service was part of a celebration of St Francis Assisi who was the patron saint of animals.

“[St Francis] preached the beauty of all creation so we celebrated that by blessing our pets who bring us unconditional love and joy,” Ms Clark said.

Ms Clark said the furry and feathered friends were all very well-behaved.

“It’s just one of those celebrations that is lovely to be a part of,” she said.

The Armidale RSPCA also helped out providing activities and church goers enjoyed animal and human treats after the service.

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In memory of the babies we lost

Hope: Amanda Bowles will soon open a dedicated counselling service for bereaved parents at Castle Hill. Part of what her charity, Bears of Hope, does is gift grieving parents with a bear (like the one pictured) from another grieving parent. “The bear is tagged in their child’s name, giving that family a chance to give their child’s brief life purpose,” Mrs Bowles said. “The receiving family, very early in the piece, gets to understand they’re not alone and there’s a community to embrace them and help them along in their grief.” Picture: Geoff JonesABOUT 90 people gathered on Saturday in beautiful weather to remember children lost at childbirth or at infancy.
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Bears of Hope director Amanda Bowles, of Glenwood, said the day was absolutely magical as people from across The Hills and beyond gathered for the memorial at Eden Gardens at North Ryde.

Those attending stopped to remember those they had lost, released lotus flowers into the pond and heard the names of each baby read aloud.

Tomorrow, October 15,is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and a service was held specially at the weekend to ensure all could attend.

This evening, everyone is invited to take part in the International Wave of Light, when bereaved parents and caregivers will light a candle at 7pm to remember lost children.

It comes just as Ms Bowles confirmed the Bears of Hope organisation would open a Castle Hill counselling service dedicated to those who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss. “We’re excited the office and the support base will be open in coming months,” she said.

READ MORE: Click here to read more about Bears of Hope.

“It will provide people with greater accessibility to our support services. It will mean free counselling in their own backyard and the opportunity to connect with our volunteers becomes greater.”

More than nine years ago Ms Bowles gave birth to a stillborn son, Jesse.

As a way of honouring his memory she developed Bears of Hope, a support, education and awareness charity for bereaved parents, governed by an executive committee of parents who have personally experienced the loss of a baby.

“If I look back over those nine and half years since my son was stillborn, the access to services and the open discussion that’s happening now is remarkable,” she said.

“There’s been a real shift in the last four years. The topic has become more acceptable and therefore more acceptable in common discussion.”

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Tadpoles learn to jump in the deep end

MAKING WAVES: Fynn Drummond learns some safe swimming techniques from swim instructor Georgia Hertzog. Picture: GLENN DANIELS
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With the mercury set to spike above 30 this week, Bendigonians of all ages are hitting the water.

But in a bid to keep youngsters safe while enjoying a dip in the pool,Splash Swimming Bendigo is running learn to swim programs.

Owner and swim teacher Belinda Hackett said on the cusp of summer, it was more crucial than ever to teach young children how to be safe around the water.

Last year, 271 people drowned in Australian waterways, 39 of those in Victoria.Up to 37 per cent of drownings occurred in inland waterways such as creeks, riversor streams, and 16 per cent died because of falling into water.

Ms Hackett said she was determined to teach children skills so they could survive in the water.

“I’m pushing for a situation where if kids go to a river andif they do fall in, they’ll be able to get themselves out by treading water and getting back to safety,” she said.

“Yes the water is dangerous, butwe do fun activities as well.”

The program simulates tricky situations so children know how to respond.

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