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Diggies repair costs soar to almost $500,000

The kiosk at North Beach Wollongong. Picture: ROBERT PEETRepairs at Diggies kiosk will cost Wollongong City Council almost half a million dollars, and that doesn’t include “highly specialised” work on the heritage building’s windows.
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Staff have recommended councillors vote to accept a tender from Edwards Constructions for $443,952 – excluding GST – to do the work, which would include replacing the curved concrete wall above the south facade of the building.

The windows and doors of the building – which is owned by the council and leased to Diggies – also need replacing but will be “the subject of a separate quotation” to “minimise the construction period and associated inconvenience to the tenant”.

If councillors approve the tender on Monday night, the renovation work is expected to start in May and Diggies has been told it will take 12 weeks to complete.

The construction zone will cover the existing shared pathway next to the kiosk, with cyclists and pedestrians being diverted to the eastern side of the building.

Last week Diggies owner Aaron Crinis asked the council to commit to a clear time frame for the renovations, which have been in the works for the past 18 months since the roof of the kiosk started leaking.

Mr Crinis said he was concerned about the effect a prolonged disruption would have on his staff and customers.

However, the council told the Mercury it was unable to make any guarantees due to “variables beyond the control of the council or any other construction manager”.

To minimise the effects on their business, Diggies operators have asked for permission to install a temporary kiosk next to their existing building.

The council is currently considering development applications for two different temporary kiosk locations.

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Horsham shooter Michael Williams lights up Warrnambool clay target carnival

HORSHAM shooter Michael Williams set a new record at Warrnambool Clay Target Club’s seaside carnival.
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Michael Williams: new double-barrel standard.150214AS61 Picture: AARON SAWALL

Williams hit 270/270 in the double barrel at the Lake Gillear range on Saturday night, beating Hamilton’s Alan Pollock in a marathon shoot-off.

Pollock hit 269 consecutive targets but missed his 270th. Williams was on target too, securing him the win. The pair were still shooting under lights about 9pm.

Jeparit’s Wayne Hawker and Geelong’s Steve Haberman, both renowned marksmen, also posted scores above 240.

Warrnambool club president Malcolm Dyson said the unprecedented score smashed the previous record for the double barrel of 237.

“When it got to the stage the light was difficult to see, we had a roast meal for all the visitors,” he said.

“We went under lights after that. There were still five left in it at that stage. It finished under lights at 10pm.”

The double barrel class was one of three Williams took out at the carnival.

The Central Wimmera Gun Club member also won the 25-target handicap on Friday night with 46/46 and the 25-target points score on Saturday with 180/180.

His clubmate Craig Kelly won the 30-target points score on Friday night with 173/174.

Other winners included Hamilton’s Roger Duthie in the 25-target single barrel on Saturday, shooting 94/94.

In Sunday action, Morwell’s Jason Davis sealed the 30-target handicap with 38/38 and Noorat’s Matt Hayden won the champion of champions with 125/125.

Overall high gun honours went to Werribee’s Nathan McDonald.

The high gun class takes into account the five events on Saturday and Sunday. McDonald scored an astounding 251/255.

Dyson said 137 shooters took to the range, the most since the club hosted 157 for the Commonwealth Trap Championships in 2009.

“Everybody can’t wait to come back next year,” he said.

“It’s a lot of work but it’s been a pleasure to get the response back from the shooters who enjoyed it. It was a real carnival atmosphere.”

Dyson praised Williams for winning three of the seven events, but noted McDonald’s exceptional consistency en route to high gun honours.

“Nathan is one of the top shots in Victoria. He’s certainly extremely good. He’s won a lot of championships,” he said.

“The calibre of shooters that were here in the AA grade was very high. A lot of state and national representatives over the years were here.”

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Accused mother chooses to not give evidence

A Berkeleymother accused of causing the death of her young son by allowing his severe head and stomach injuries to go untreated has chosen not to give evidence in her Supreme Court trial.
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The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, did not take the stand on Tuesday during the brief defence case, which centred on evidence from forensic pathologist Dr John Hilton.

Dr Hilton said he reviewed the two-year-old boy’s autopsy and reports from forensic pathologists who had given evidence earlier in the trial, and while largely agreeing with their findings, he ruled out suggestions that the boy’s significant head injury could have been caused by severe shaking.

The court has previously heard the toddler was admitted to hospital just before 4.30pm on August 3, 2012, after he was found unresponsive in his cot.

Paramedics and doctors worked on the boy for more than an hour but he could not be revived.

An autopsy found he had substantial injuries including bleeding on the brain and a perforated gut, both believed to have been the result of blows suffered just a few days before his death.

The boy’s mother was charged with manslaughter by criminal negligence, but pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say she failed to seek timely medical attention for the boy’s serious injuries.

Dr Hilton told the court on Tuesday that the nature of the subdural haemorrhage was not consistent with the child having been shaken.

Crown prosecutor Chris Maxwell is expected to start his closing address to jurors on Wednesday morning, to try to convince them that the woman failed in her duty of care to the boy.

He is expected to point to evidence from several doctors about the nature of the boy’s injuries and the “obvious” symptoms of pain and discomfort they say he would have been displaying in arguing that the woman was negligent in not getting him treatment.

Defence barrister Winston Terracini, SC, is expected to argue that the woman did not know how serious the injuries were because any signs of sickness the boy displayed were generic in nature.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Motoring writer Geoffrey Paradise dies

AUSTRALIAN transport identity Geoffrey Paradise has died in John Hunter Hospital following a crash on the Central Coast last week.
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Mr Paradise, 57, suffered serious injuries after a collision between his car and a bus near his home on February 11.

He had to be cut from the vehicle and was flown to Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital where he underwent surgery and was placed in an induced coma before succumbing to his injuries six days later.

Mr Paradise was well-known throughout the motoring and trucking circles as a journalist, editor and public relations professionals.

He was the founding editor of several magazines including Street Machine, publisher of Transport and Trucking Today and a contributor to trade pages within Fairfax Media’s Drive.

He moved from journalism to public relations in October 2014 to take on a new role at Daimler Truck and Bus, part of Mercedes-Benz Australian Pacific.

Mercedes-Benz spokesman David McCarthy said his death represented a loss for the industry.

‘‘Geoff had recently joined our Daimler Truck and Bus team as senior manager public affairs after a long, varied and successful career as a passenger car and commercial vehicles journalist and publisher,’’ Mr McCarthy said.

‘‘Geoff had an infectious passion for all things automotive and his loss will be significant to all of us in the industry and all who knew Geoff.’’

Paradise is survived by his wife and children.

HFNL coach calls in support panel

NEW Hampden interleague coach Chris McLaren is assembling a coaching panel from all corners of the competition in a bid to re-energise the representative program.
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For the first time in a decade, a current club coach will have a senior off-field role in Hampden’s country championships campaign as McLaren prepares to cast the net wide for playing talent.

Hampden Kangaroos playing coach Jarrod Holt, retired Camperdown great Aaron Sinnott and former South Warrnambool coach Matt Monk join McLaren as selectors.

Holt and Sinnott will be bench coaches alongside McLaren, while Monk will be in charge of ensuring a fun experience while also being a runner.

The three are all new to their roles and mark a new era for the Bottle Greens, who had a stable coaching group under former coach Nick O’Sullivan.

Holt is the first current club coach to have a key role since Adam Dowie (then at Terang Mortlake) and Wayne Walsh (Camperdown) were assistants to Leigh McCluskey in 2005.

McLaren said Holt’s inclusion on the coaching panel was pivotal. He wants to embrace the league’s youngest clubs, Portland and the Kangaroos, and believes Holt knows the two clubs’ lists better than anyone. Holt lives in Portland and is a former coach of the Tigers but is entering his second year in charge of the Kangaroos.

“I really wanted Holty to play a role. We don’t know a lot about players from those two clubs and I would have still relied on him for help,” he said.

“The plan was to have a completely new group of coaches. You need to do that when you change your coach and give it a different feel.

“I definitely wanted one from the Portland/Hamilton area. I’ve got one from South Warrnambool and one from Camperdown/Terang/Cobden area.”

McLaren is looking for a mix of some high-quality recruits and emerging talent to underpin Hampden’s interleague match against Murray league at Reid Oval on May 23.

He hopes through the new coaching panel to be able to inject some young, quick players into the training squad and give emerging players an opportunity to step up.

That philosophy sits well with Aaron Sinnott, who retired last season after 263 senior games with Camperdown.

Sinnott, a former Hampden interleague player for several years, said he was looking forward to being involved.

“I was going to step back for the year but it’s a good opportunity,” he said.

“I want to put something back. That’s what you need to do, put something back into your league and club. I enjoy developing the younger kids and being involved. I enjoy being around the team environment.”

Sinnott assists Matt Harkin with the North Ballarat Rebels’ squad of Camperdown/Cobden players.

Monk, who stepped down from South Warrnambool’s top job at the end of last season because of work commitments, said he was excited about joining the Bottle Greens.

Like Sinnott, Holt and McLaren, Monk is a former league representative player.

“I thought it would be a good way to stay in touch without a major commitment,” he said.

“I love the Hampden league and know a lot of the clubs and people. My main priority is to make sure everyone has a bit of fun. I’ve always played footy for enjoyment and to bring out the fun. I’m big on team harmony and having a good time.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Coal seam threat brings Greg Petty back

Greg PettyA lackof action on coal seam gas has ignited Wollongong City Councillor Greg Petty’s state election fire.
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Cr Petty, from Helensburgh, announced on Tuesday he will again stand as an independent candidate for Heathcote at the March 28 vote.

Last time around the 60-year-old businessman garnered 7.9 per cent of the primary vote at the 2011 election.

Liberal Lee Evans won the seat with 46.9 per cent of first-preference votes and 63 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.

“I don’t think the issues have gone away,” Cr Petty told the Mercury.

“The party political people are just going to vote the way they are told to vote, and the most important part about the electorate of Heathcote is the issue of coal seam gas.”

Cr Petty said voters were calling for their voice to be represented, not that of the party line, and the electorate needed a candidate who “has shown integrity and will fight to protect the local water supply”.

“We don’t want a member that’s going to say one thing and vote a different way, which is why I’m challenging the member to come out and publicly state he will cross the floor on coal seam gas,” he said.

Cr Petty has also outlined an ambitious capital works program for the electorate, listing the Bald Hill upgrade, F6 extension and tourism potential of the Stanwell Park-Otford rail tunnel as “must-complete items”.

Minimising tax increases by retaining the “income-earning poles and wires of electricity supply” is also on the priority list.

The accountant and company secretary, who has lived in Helensburgh with his family for more than 14 years, said he will self-fund his campaign and not accept any donations.

The Heathcote electorate covers parts of the Sutherland and Wollongong Local Government Areas.

New boundaries apply for this year’s election, with Heathcote to encompass parts of the former electoral districts of Cronulla, Menai, Miranda and Wollondilly.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Endeavour Energy workers lower pay rise claim

Hundreds of Illawarra workers embroiled in an ongoing industrial dispute with Endeavour Energy have made a last-ditch attempt to avoid strike action, offering to take lower pay rises as long as they can keep their existing work conditions.
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On Tuesday afternoon, the Electrical Trade Union (ETU) told Fairfax thousands of power workers employed across Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy had offered to accept a 2.5 per cent annual pay rise over the next two years.

The workers at the two state-owned companies, which provide power to the Illawarra, South Coast, Sydney, Newcastle and parts of the Central West, originally asked for an annual pay rise of 4 per cent over two years.

In return for the lower wage rise, the union has asked that current job protections, such as a provision for no forced redundancies, are retained for the next two years.

ETU secretary Steve Butler said these conditions were the main concern for workers, who worried their jobs were at risk under the Liberal government’s plans to privatise the state’s poles and wires.

“The union’s revised claim of 2.5 per cent per year means power workers would be treated the same as workers elsewhere in the public government’s privatisation plans,” he said.

“Many power workers fear that without strong job protections, [NSW Premier] Mike Baird will look to slash a large part of the workforce to fatten up profits and increase the amount of money the government can get from their privatisation plan.”

In mid-2014, Endeavour employed about 500 people to operate the Illawarra network as far south as Ulladulla.

According to the union, there were 373 workers in Wollongong, 65 in Shellharbour and 88 on the South Coast.

Mr Butler said this meant any potential job losses would hit the struggling region hard.

“Job security in areas like the Illawarra is fundamental because there has been a major downturn in a lot of different jobs in the last little while,” he said. “The unemployment figures continue to rise, so if the company moves to privatise the electricity assets, there could be a couple of hundred people who would lose their jobs – and that would affect the region in a really negative way.”

Last week, in a ballot conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission, 86 per cent of Endeavour workers voted to support work stoppages if the negotiations over their enterprise agreements continued to fail. More than three-quarters of the company’s workers said they would support strikes, 90 per cent supported work bans and 91 per cent agreed to changed work practices.

Mr Butler said the power workers were “of the view that protected industrial action should only be exercised as an absolute last resort” and would be “considering their options” if their offer was rejected by Endeavour and Ausgrid management.

It is understood industrial action for workers across the electricity network could begin as soon as next week if an agreement is not reached.

The union has asked for a formal company response to its offer by Wednesday afternoon.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

City Memorial battle for grand final spot comes up Gold

City Memorial battle for grand final spot comes up Gold One down, one up: the contrasting fortunes of City Memorial’s division one preliminary final rivals are reflected in the respective messages delivered from the head by Green team member Barbara Hart and Gold rival Chris McMahon. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE
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WDBD Ladies Pennant Preliminary Final City Memorial Gold v City Memorial Green at Dennington. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

WDBD Ladies Pennant Preliminary Final City Memorial Gold v City Memorial Green at Dennington. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

WDBD Ladies Pennant Preliminary Final City Memorial Gold v City Memorial Green at Dennington. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

WDBD Ladies Pennant Preliminary Final City Memorial Gold v City Memorial Green at Dennington. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

WDBD Ladies Pennant Preliminary Final City Memorial Gold v City Memorial Green at Dennington. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

WDBD Ladies Pennant Preliminary Final City Memorial Gold v City Memorial Green at Dennington. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

WDBD Ladies Pennant Preliminary Final City Memorial Gold v City Memorial Green at Dennington. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

WDBD Ladies Pennant Preliminary Final City Memorial Gold v City Memorial Green at Dennington. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

WDBD Ladies Pennant Preliminary Final City Memorial Gold v City Memorial Green at Dennington. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

WDBD Ladies Pennant Preliminary Final City Memorial Gold v City Memorial Green at Dennington. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

WDBD Ladies Pennant Preliminary Final City Memorial Gold v City Memorial Green at Dennington. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

WDBD Ladies Pennant Preliminary Final City Memorial Gold v City Memorial Green at Dennington. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

WDBD Ladies Pennant Preliminary Final City Memorial Gold v City Memorial Green at Dennington. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

WDBD Ladies Pennant Preliminary Final City Memorial Gold v City Memorial Green at Dennington. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

WDBD Ladies Pennant Preliminary Final City Memorial Gold v City Memorial Green at Dennington. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

WDBD Ladies Pennant Preliminary Final City Memorial Gold v City Memorial Green at Dennington. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

WDBD Ladies Pennant Preliminary Final City Memorial Gold v City Memorial Green at Dennington. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

WDBD Ladies Pennant Preliminary Final City Memorial Gold v City Memorial Green at Dennington. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

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Flapjack attack: Pupils gorge for a cause on Pancake day

LET THEM EAT CAKES: Eyeing off some tasty morsels at Tamworth Public School’s Pancake Day yesterday are Alex Anderson, Bonnie McIntyre, Iris Cornwell, Ella Smith and Jakob Wilkinson. 170215BSB05THE Tamworth Public School quadrangle was alive with the sound of hungry hordes munching through pancakes yesterday.
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But behind the jam and maple syrup-smeared treats was an important life and spiritual lesson for kids.

The school’s annual Pancake Day, which falls on Shrove Tuesday, raises valuable funds for drought-hit communities near Walgett and local children in need.

It also encourages children to think outside their own experience.

“It’s a wonderful life lesson,” Tamworth Public School principal LeePreston said.

“They get to eat lovely pancakes and know that they’re donating money to help others. It reminds them there are people around doing it tough, who need help.” Pupils devoured more than 1200 pancakes on the day, which marks the final feast before today’s lent period begins.

Jim Furze from Tamworth City Uniting Church and his band of scripture teachers again helped organise the day.

“It raises awareness that Easter is coming and what it’s about,” Mr Furze said.

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Police chase turns into backyard marathon

Highway patrol police have won the day after a Hot Fuzz-style chase through the backyards of Berkeley.
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Police were on the M1 Motorway at Yallah about 3.10pm Monday when they recognised a car that had been reported stolen from Coledale four weeks earlier.

The officers allege they attempted to stop the car, but gave chase when the driver kept going.

A foot chase began when the car stopped near the intersection of Northumberland Street and Northcliff Drive, and the driver and his passenger allegedly took off in different directions.

The passenger, a 26-year-old Corrimal man, allegedly passed through several backyards on Cumberland Street and Westmoreland Street.

Residents say he paused to ask for a glass of water and a taxi. He was refused.

Police followed the man onto a roof of a house on Westmoreland Street, then jumped off after him.

He was eventually handcuffed.

The driver of the vehicle, 28, from Bulli, was also arrested a short time later.

The men have been charged with multiple offences including break and enter, resist arrest, take and drive conveyance and cause police pursuit.

They were refused bail to appear before the Port Kembla Local Court on Tuesday.

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