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Residents invited to join Maitland City Council weed blitz this weeken

Lantana is one of the weeds being targeted during the weekend’s weed blitz.Residents of Maitland Vale Road, Tocal Road and Lemon Grove Road in Maitland have been invited to participate in a weed blitz weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday Maitland City Council will ­encourage local residents to help build on the weed control initiatives undertaken on public land and road reserves.

Residents should target any lantana, bridal creeper and asparagus fern from their properties.

The waste can be deposited in skip bins which will be at the entrance of Tocal College between 9am and 5pm both days of the weekend.

Staff will also be at Tocal College to answer questions and hand out free information brochures.

To register interest in this project or to receive a free weed information pack, contact the coordinator on 4978 4029.

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Men of League continue to unite for worthy cause

Ben Ross will be the special guest at the Men Of League golf day later this month. Photo: GETTY IMAGESAs a code, rugby league cops its fair share of criticism but there is plenty of good things that happen within the game.

One of those is the Men Of League Foundation, which helps out former players, coaches, referees, committee members – basically anybody that has had anything to do with the game – when they fall on tough times.

The Dubbo branch is headed up by Martin Cook, who was heavily involved with the group from its beginnings a number of years ago, and members will come together on Friday, October 30 for their annual golf day.

Former players Jason Death and Ben Ross will join Dubbo’s own current NRL star Isaah Yeo in attending the day, while other local legends such as David Peachey, Ronny Gibbs and Wes Maas will also be involved.

Ross achieved rugby league and Australian television infamy earlier this year when he broke his arm while arm-wrestling Wendell Sailor live on The Footy Show but he had an esteemed career that saw him play representative football on multiple occasions.

He played 173 NRL matches across four clubs and represented his home state of Queensland on six occasions.

Entry fee for the day is $50 per player or $150 for a team of three, with the event being played as a three-man ambrose.

Money raised on the day will support the Dubbo branch of the Men Of League, which has done plenty to help out since its inception four years ago.

Perhaps the biggest feat achieved locally for the group was a fundraising dinner for the family of Chris Thompson, who left behind three children when he was killed in a motor vehicle accident last year.

The funds raised from that dinner went into a trust which is being used to help his three children get a quality education

“Our local Men Of League has assisted plenty of good rugby league people in its time, and we’re currently helping a couple of people,” Cook said.

“We’ve provided assistance to Kailem Barwick, who is an 18-year-old that played 10 years of junior league with South Dubbo Raiders and is doing it tough with Ewings Sarcoma.

“And there’s David Whitfield, a Dunedoo local who has cancer-related illnesses and requires a hip replacement.

“Men Of League are assisting with the renovation of his bathroom as he currently has a shower with a very high hob, which is making getting into and out of the shower increasingly difficult.”

The entry fee for the golf day covers prizes, green fees, a barbecue brunch, lunch, a Men Of League golf ball, finger food and guest speakers.

There are also opportunities for sponsorship, with banners on tees and greens coming at a cost of $400 while a banner on either a tee or a green will cost $200.

Nominations for the event can be made by contacting Craig Mears at the Dubbo Golf Club pro shop on 6882 2201, while further information on the event can be obtained by contacting Ross Tighe on 0428 289 324.

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Volunteers make it happen

Helping hands: Some of the volunteers from last year s event, from left Nat Green, Megan Velardi, Jamie Beresford, Laura Velardi, Fred Axford, Jordan Hanimair, Tallara Duck, Jodie Duck, Monika Hanimair and Geoff Duck.ON Sunday more than 1000 brave athletes will converge on Port Macquarie for the annual Port Macquarie Ironman 70.3 event.

Pivotal to its success every year is the number of volunteers that spend hours assisting in all sorts of ways, from handing out drinks to keeping the competitors on the course and everything in between.

Each year volunteers give up their time to assist and it is very much appreciated according to Adam Renn, Event Director of the Port Macquarie IM 70.3.

“They’re crucial to any of our Ironman events anywhere all over the world,” he said. “It’s as simple as this – if we don’t have them then the event doesn’t run.

“What makes Port special and what defines the character of the event is the way the community gets involved.

“It is what makes Port such a great location according to Mr Renn. Every year they receive get a great amount of support.

“They help to create some of the magic and it is one of the things we often hear in our athlete feedback which reflects on the success of the event,” he said.

“I’d say to anyone thinking about volunteering to please do so. We’d love to have you on board with the team and it is exactly that – a big team.”

If you are interested in volunteering click here.

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Canberra United looking to extend their reign to make W-League history

RIGHT: Dubbo’s Nicole Begg kisses with W-League trophy after she captained Canberra United to last year’s title. Photo: GETTY IMAGESCANBERRA United’s experienced core group of players sets them apart from the rest of the competition and gives them a fighting chance to create history as the first W-League champions to go back-to-back.

That is the opinion of Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams, who returns – after missing last season while she recovered from a knee reconstruction – to further strengthen Canberra’s title ambitions.

Williams is one of seven foundation players, including star Dubbo sisters Nicole Begg and Ashleigh Sykes, in the star-studded Canberra squad for Sunday’s season-opener against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.

While all the off-season talk has centred around competition newcomers Melbourne City and their impressive recruiting spree, Canberra have quietly added the necessary pieces to complement their existing structure.

It is that consistency and knowledge of each other’s game that Williams believes will prove crucial in the long run.

“I think we’re definitely in the top four and definitely in play-off contention,” Williams said.

“I think there’s a lot of hype surrounding Melbourne City and they’ve recruited some big-name players, [but] it’s the marathon that’s going to win the race and not a sprint.

“Canberra’s proven that we don’t always start out strong, but we do finish really strong.

“This season, having the core of last season still here, we don’t have to start from scratch again, so we can improve on that.”

Begg, Sykes, Williams, defenders Ellie Brush and Rebecca Kiting, and midfielders Grace Gill and Caitlin Munoz are survivors of Canberra’s inaugural team in 2008-09.

Matildas striker Michelle Heyman – the W-League’s all-time leading goal-scorer with 50 goals – will also return for the defending champions.

Canberra has also added Mexican midfielder Veronica Perez, English striker Jodie Taylor and New Zealand international Emma Kete, and home-grown trio Emma Checker, Jenna McCormick and Nickoletta Flannery in their quest to to win the grand final in successive years.

“In all leagues around the world it’s really tough to do the double,” Williams said.

“It’s going to be hard, but it’s not an impossible feat at all.

“The beauty that Canberra has is that not a lot of people come and go.

“The team has been training pretty much for each other for years on years now.

“There might be a little bit of tweaking, but as soon as pre-season started, we could go into how we wanted to play, which is an advantage for us compared to the other teams.”

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Accused drug dealer Brendon Thomas arrested outside Orange court

AN accused drug dealer remains in custody after he was arrested for 20 supply charges on Monday as part of Strike Force Rupas.AN accused drug dealer remains in custody after he was arrested for 20 supply charges on Monday as part of Strike Force Rupas.

Brendon James Thomas, 23, did not apply for bail in Orange Local Court on Tuesday and it was formally refused.

He was charged with 15 counts of supplying a prohibited drug greater than the indictable amount, two counts of supplying drugs in small amounts, two counts of supplying drugs in commercial quantities – 944 grams and 125 grams respectively – and supplying on an ongoing basis.

The drug offences allegedly occurred between December last year and April this year in Newcastle, Charleston, Warners Bay and Macquarie Hills, and involved ecstasy and ice. Thomas was also charged with knowingly participating in a criminal group.

His solicitor Michael Madden said Thomas needed to show cause to be granted bail.

“That’s on the basis of the commercial quantity charge, but I would argue that’s not the case,” he said.

But after further deliberation, Mr Madden asked for the release hearing to be held on Friday, where it would be taken over by Legal Aid.

Thomas did not appear before the court.

He had already attended court on Monday for driving with ecstasy and ice in his system in May, which put him in breach of two good behaviour bonds for drug possession and resisting and assaulting police from last year.

At the hearing, Mr Madden said Thomas had undergone full-time rehabilitation and argued the police-related offences, where he kicked an officer in the chest, were alcohol-fuelled, not drug-related.

The pre-sentence report said Thomas has abstained from drug use since his arrest and drank less often.

Magistrate Terry Lucas handed Thomas $600 in fines and a three-month disqualification period for the drug driving charge, but did not act on the bond breaches. He also quashed a habitual offender’s order after Mr Madden argued it was three years old.

“When you go home, you need to thank your solicitor – there will be no action on the Section 12 bonds because of the good reasons provided in the pre-sentence report and the submissions from Mr Madden,” he said.

“Breach it again and it’ll be ugly.”

But the reprieve was short-lived and Thomas was taken back into custody by strike force police outside the courthouse. Thomas has links to Newcastle, where the strike force is targeting a drug syndicate.

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In rich earth a richer dust concealed

IT IS 20 years since my husband, Lindsay Glover, died of melanoma at our home in Nelson Bay.

At that time our children were seven and 12 years old.

The Glover family are one of the first original white settlers in the Bay area.

I am writing to let everyone know that even though living without my husband and raising two children had many difficult moments, we got through it relatively unscathed.

My daughter is married with a son and is teaching history.

My son has a partner and is attempting to make it in the film industry.

I remarried seven years ago and am teaching English.

I am proud of the way my children have turned out and I am sure Lindsay would feel the same.

Life does go on – albeit differently – with tears, sorrow, pain, laughter, joy and happiness.

Thanks to all who have been so supportive these past 20 years.

We really wouldn’t be the family we are today without all your help, advice and encouragement.

There is not a day goes by that I do not think of Lindsay and wish he were still with us.

He will live forever in not only our hearts but the hearts of the friends and relatives he left behind too.

I am grateful that you allowed this letter to be published. It may give hope to someone else who is experiencing the same as we did.

“In this rich earth a richer dust concealed” is Lindsay’s epitaph.

May he continue to rest in peace.

Cheryl Glover

North Haven

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Nick Kyrgios’ biggest win hurt him, says Rod Laver

Laver said Kyrgios’ stunning 2014 Wimbledon upset of Rafael Nadal appeared to have contributed to outrageous shot selection at times. Photo: Max RossiShanghai Australian tennis legend Rod Laver believes the biggest win of Nick Kyrgios’ career encouraged a low-percentage style of play that is now damaging his ability to win major titles, and regards part-time mentor Lleyton Hewitt as the wise head capable of overseeing his reform.

Laver said Kyrgios’ stunning 2014 Wimbledon upset of Rafael Nadal appeared to have contributed to outrageous shot selection at times from the young Canberran, who meets sixth seed Kei Nishikori in the second round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Wednesday.

“His charisma is that he likes to show off all the shots he’s got, and his great forehand and big serve, and I think because he won at Wimbledon against Nadal he feels that it’s gone up a little further, and that’s where he’s got to try and understand that that type of showmanship doesn’t win matches,” Laver said at Tuesday’s Australian Open launch.

“You need a whole range of different shots to win a match, and I think that’s potentially in my mind where he’s vulnerable; he’s got a lot to learn [such as] how do you win a point without exploring every shot that you’ve got. How about just keeping the ball in the court and making sure it’s a nice deep shot, and if I want to come to the net, don’t try and hit it like you’ve got to bust the ball, and hit the ground and put it over the stand somewhere, that sort of showmanship gets him in trouble.

“This last US Open, he could have won the tournament but he comes to the net [against Andy Murray] and he’s half-volleying it between his legs, and you figure well, ‘yes, if you don’t have any other way of hitting it, then you have to do it that way’.

“Maybe it’s boring for him, to be on the court not being able to show all the shots he has, but that’s not going to make him a champion and he does have the ability to be a champion, and I think it’d be a shame if he doesn’t allow himself to be that much better.”

While Laver predicts Hewitt, the soon-to-be Davis Cup captain, “could heal a lot of the things Nick has been doing”, Kyrgios believes his attitude has already been improved by his recent period of turbulence, the lowlight of which was the Montreal sledging incident involving Stan Wawrinka.

“I feel as if it’s helped me a little bit, everything that’s happened in the last couple of months,” Kyrgios said after an opening round 6-3, 6-2 win over Austrian world No.60 Andreas Haider-Maurer here. “I feel like I’ve definitely picked up my act a little bit. But I’m playing well and I’m enjoying myself, so that’s what matters.”

The 20-year-old was also defended by his friend Thanasi Kokkinakis, the day after the bizarre match against Haider-Maurer in which Kyrgios — who is on a six-month probation period from the ATP — received his second code violation warning in a week.

“To be fair, I’ve been watching him and he’s playing well and he’s probably a bit more switched on then I’ve seen him before,” Kokkinakis said. “He’s not going to change completely and not get frustrated. But he’s toning it down a bit.”

A semi-finalist in Kuala Lumpur and quarter-finalist last week in Japan, Kyrgios remains without a coach, but is in no great hurry to appoint one. He believes the mutual agreement to leave him out of last month’s Davis Cup semi-final after a controversial stretch in the headlines was “the best decision” for his welfare.

“I know what I need to get better at in my game. I don’t think a coach is necessary right now. I don’t think there’s any rush to get one,” he said. “The last few weeks have been really good. I think I’ve played some good tennis. I think I’m going OK at the moment.”

Linda Pearce is a guest of the Shanghai Rolex Masters

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Bill Shorten’s AWU ‘sold out’ workers for $300,000

Bill Shorten in Canberra on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Meares Witness Julian Rzesniowiecki outside the royal commission. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Ex-Thiess manager admits company issued bogus invoices

A serious cloud hangs over Bill Shorten’s record as a union leader. He ran a union that took $300,000 from an employer in disguised payments based on fraudulent invoices as part of a deal that hugely benefited that employer.

That’s the damning conclusion from Tuesday’s evidence to the royal commission into union corruption, and documentary records, of former Thiess John Holland senior executive Julian Rzesniowiecki.

Unfortunately for Shorten and his then AWU sidekick, Cesar Melhem, Rzesniowiecki kept a detailed diary from his mid-2000s dealings with the AWU duo over the $2.5billion EastLink tollway in Melbourne.

In the diary he records that Shorten, now Opposition Leader, proposed in December 2004 that builder Thiess John Holland pay for four AWU staff on site at the tollway project.

That would have equated to at least $1 million to the AWU over the three years it would take to build the road through Melbourne’s south-east.

That figure was later negotiated down to $300,000 to, ostensibly, pay for one union organiser.

The diaries also show that Shorten’s proposal came at a time when the parties were negotiating an industrial agreement that halved the number of mandatory rostered days off for workers.

“Politically the AWU has sold out the 36 day [hour] week,” Rzesniowiecki wrote in his diary, noting also questions about how to publicly “package” the workplace deal to avoid criticism and how to “pay it out”.

There is no doubt the workers were paid well on the project, their actual pay being above then current rates.

But the ground-breaking “flexibility” around weekend work and rosters was worth huge money to Thiess John Holland, tens of millions of dollars in fact, and possibly as much as $100 million.

The project was completed as much as six months ahead of time.

EastLink was celebrated by employers and conservative institutions like the Institute of Public Affairs because the builder had been able to minimise the influence on site of militant union the CFMEU, and reduce the conditions it had gained over many years.

In return the AWU got its kickbacks.

As Rzesniowiecki admitted on Tuesday, Thiess John Holland was prepared to receive and pay false or inflated invoices from the AWU for work either the company did not need or was not done.

That included for seminars and forums organised by the union, for AWU magazine advertisements and back strain research.

The true purpose was to disguise payments for an AWU organiser on the project.

Yet the builder had so little interest in what it got for its $300,000 it did not care if an organiser even turned up on EastLink.  “It wasn’t a concern to me,” Rzesniowiecki admitted.

The AWU could spend the $300,000 as it saw fit, he told the royal commission.

From Rzesniowiecki’s evidence and records, the payments were suggested by Shorten but implemented by Cesar Melhem, now an embattled Victorian MP.

Shorten on Tuesday said he struck no such deal for payments. True there is no document headlined “deal for dodgy payments”.

Yet it was Shorten who ran the union as its state and national secretary when the money started to pour in from Thiess John Holland. His denials, and failing memory, are becoming harder to believe.

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Liberal fund-raiser John Hart considering a run for Joe Hockey’s North Sydney seat

Joe Hockey is is widely expected to be appointed ambassador to Washington. Photo: Glen McCurtayne Liberal Party fund-raiser John Hart has told colleagues he is contemplating running for preselection in the seat of North Sydney amid expectations that former treasurer Joe Hockey will announce his departure date from the federal Parliament within a fortnight, sparking a byelection before the end of the year.

Mr Hart, who is chief executive of industry lobbying group Restaurant and Catering Australia, is also chairman of the North Sydney Forum, the controversial fund-raising body for the Liberal Party’s local Federal Electorate Council.

Last year Fairfax Media published an article that highlighted how the North Sydney Forum was offering business people and lobbyists privileged access to Mr Hockey as treasurer in return for membership fees of up to $22,000 a year.

Mr Hockey sued for defamation over the story, titled “Treasurer for Sale”. The federal court found the article and headline together had not defamed Mr Hockey but awarded him $200,000 in damages over an advertising poster and two tweets.

Reflecting the judgment, Mr Hockey was ordered to bear 85 per cent of his legal costs.

Last month, Mr Hockey announced he would leave Parliament after Malcolm Turnbull successfully challenged Tony Abbott as Liberal leader to become prime minister.

He is widely expected to be appointed as Australia’s next ambassador to Washington.

Mr Hart would be seen as one of the strongest challengers to the frontrunner for preselection in North Sydney, Trent Zimmerman, who is the acting NSW Liberal Party president and a leading member of the left faction.

However, on Tuesday Mr Hart told Fairfax Media he had yet to make up his mind.

“I’m thinking about it,” he said. “With such a clear favourite in the field [Mr Zimmerman] it’s something I’ve had to think seriously about.”

Another potential contender is Tim James, a former chief of staff to NSW Energy and Resources Minister Anthony Roberts, who is aligned with the right faction.

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Throat and tongue cancers linked to sexually transmitted virus on the rise

Dr Matthew Magarey, a surgeon who uses robotic technology to remove cancer from people’s throats. Photo: Simon O’DwyerThe sexual revolution is producing a new wave of throat and tongue cancers among middle-aged people, who are falling victim to a rare side effect of the “common cold of sexually transmitted infections”.

A growing number of Australians with oropharyngeal cancer are testing positive to the human papillomavirus (HPV), suggesting it has caused their disease rather than smoking or heavy drinking – factors responsible for many head and neck cancers in the past.

Oropharyngeal cancer is usually found in the back third of the tongue or the tonsils. In 2014, about 125 Victorians were diagnosed with it. Most were men.

An Australian study of 515 patients diagnosed with the condition between 1987 and 2010 found that the proportion of people with an HPV-related diagnosis increased from 20 per cent between 1987 and 1995 to 64 per cent between 2006 and 2010.

Over the same period, the proportion of people diagnosed with throat cancer who had never smoked increased from 19 per cent to 34 per cent, suggesting HPV may overtake smoking and drinking as a cause of the cancer in future.

American doctors say more oral sex following the sexual revolution of the 1960s probably spread HPV to more people’s mouths and throats. Actor Michael Douglas said he believed oral sex was to blame for his HPV-related throat cancer in 2013. 

But Dr Matthew Magarey​, an ear nose and throat surgeon at Epworth and Peter MacCallum hospitals in Melbourne, said while HPV-related throat cancers were occurring in more people aged 40 to 60, it should not necessarily be associated with oral sex because scientists believe HPV may be transmitted through kissing or simple hand to mouth contact as well.

Up to 80 per cent of the adult population is thought to have had some sort of HPV infection during their life (there are more than 100 strains) and most of them will not have experience any symptoms. Many people clear the virus within months of getting it.

Dr Magarey said a tiny proportion of people will get an HPV-related cancer, such as cervical, anal, or throat cancer. He said HPV in the throat probably took 30 to 40 years to turn into a cancer in the minority of people it affects in that way.

He said treatments were getting better for the cancer, which has a high survival rate if found early. Depending on the circumstances of the cancer, radiation, chemotherapy and sometimes surgery are used to treat it.

While the surgery has been long and complicated in the past, Dr Magarey said a new robotic procedure available at Peter Mac and Epworth was helping surgeons remove cancers more precisely and in less time. This was reducing long-term recovery problems such as difficulty eating and drinking and swallowing.

Dr Magarey said the most common first sign of throat cancer was a lump in the neck that persists for more than two or three weeks. Symptoms can also include a sore throat that persists for more than three weeks and difficulty swallowing.

“If you have these symptoms, see your GP and get a referral to a qualified ENT surgeon who can properly examine the throat. Just looking in the mouth is not enough,” he said.

Dr Marcus Chen, a sexual health specialist with Alfred Health, said the Australian government’s HPV Gardasil vaccination program for young people will reduce such cancers in future. In the meantime, he said testing for HPV – the “common cold of sexually transmitted infections” – was not recommended because there is no way of treating the virus or preventing it from being passed on to others.

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