Monthly Archives: November 2018

OPINION: 2016, the most exciting year of winter sport?

SHARPSHOOTER: Nigel Staniforth’s penalty goal on full-time to win the Blowes Clothing Cup grand final for Emus never looked like missing. Photo: JUDE KEOGH In life I’ve always thought there are very few certainties outside death, taxes and the fact Keanu Reeves is the greatest actor to ever walk this earth.
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But there’s one more certainty now we’re in late September – the 2016 winter delivered, big time.

I’m referring to more than just the torrential rain it delivered to all of the central west too. On that, all thoughts are being sent straight to the communities suffering through floods.

I’m talking sporting codes, despite the fact only one regional trophy returned to Orange.

This year’s Blowes Clothing Cup, Group 10 premier league and Orange Netball Association Toyota Cup finals series were easily the best I’ve seen.

I’d almost go as far as saying I enjoyed them more than I do slipping the odd movie, Simpsons or Keanu Reeves – see above – reference into a story or column.

Almost.

Orange Emus were short odds from the start of the season butForbes’ resurgence, their transformation, from last year to this year was something to behold.

They went from winning four games all season in 2015 to only losing that many –including two finals –in 2016, with almost the same side.

Yes, the additions they had are incredible individual players but even so, that’s a fair effort.

They almost went all the way too, but for one scrum penalty and a Nigel Staniforth penalty goal. If anyone else was taking that kick, that game probably would’ve gone into extra-time.

Instead he nailed it on full-time – I’ve never seen him miss under pressure – to give the greens a 14-11 win.

That came after a brutal major semi-final which Emus won 10-5, again over the Platypi, and of course, that magical Bathurst Bulldogs win in the elimination semi-final.

Teams aren’t supposed to come back from 27-0 down in one half, especially not when they concede again in the second period.

But Bulldogs did, winning 39-34 over Orange City in extra-time. Then they thrashed Dubbo Kangaroos and came within a whisker of a grand final appearance.Magical, fairytale stuff.

My colleague Nick McGrath said the Bulldogs-Lions clash was“the best game of rugby I’ve ever seen” when he got back from Bathurst.

He’s prone to exaggeration, particularly when he talks about his Wests Tigers or their halves, Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses.

State of Origin ready? I don’t think so McGrath.

I digress, but let’s stay on rugby league now.

Take a bow, Mudgee Dragons.

Much like teams aren’t supposed to come back from 27-0 down in rugby, they’re not supposed to win premierships from fifth –in any sport.

Not in the fashion the Dragons did either, with a last-gasp try to secure a 14-10 win over the minor premiership-winning Orange CYMS who until the major semi-final, in my opinion, looked nigh on untouchable.

That major semi-final was incredible too, CYMS did exactly what Mudgee did to themto Bathurst Panthers. Then Mudgee did the same to Panthers the week after. Unbelievable.

There was always the belief that Mudgee side could do it, but it was still unrealistic.

After I discovered the last side to win from fifth was the Dragons in 2000, it almost seemed like it was meant to be, a fairytale bid bound for success.

It wasn’t just those sports either.

In the Central West AFL the Cowra Blues revived themselves from nearly folding as a club to winning a premiership.

The Bathurst Giants won their first senior men’sgame midway through the year and then the under-18 premiership too.

Now we can move on to hockey.

Lithgow Panthers rarely looked troubled in either the men’s or women’s competitions but the regular season and finals were full of upsets and the latter was highlighted by several bouts of extra-time and a couple of shoot-outs too. Amazing.

In the local competitions, Barnstoneworth United’s maiden Orange District Football Association title is one to revel in but even more so is that of Barbarians.

In their first year of football the side fought back from being beaten and beaten well almost every week – they got done 16-0 at one stage – to winning the B grade B division title. Brilliant.

And finally, the netball.

Robin Hood won a ninth straight Orange Netball Association Toyota Cup title, but my word they had to fight to do so.

Royal Hawks took them to extra-time in the grand final in a massive effort, which came a week after the two blues produced a thrilling come-from-behind preliminary final win. Outstanding.

As I sit on the lounge reflecting and writing this,it’s hard to not see a certain romanticism in the 2016 winter.

It was full ofredemption stories,fairytales, inspirational fightbacks, and everything else that comes with it –it’s very difficult to not get wrapped up in it all.

I’m just glad I often get the best seat in the house for all of it.

On a side note, I need to thank all the associations, clubs, teams, captains and players involved in winter sports – on behalf of myself and everyone here at the Central Western Daily – for the time and effort they afford us, it’s much appreciated.

I can’t wait for the 2017 winter now.

On another side note, if you haven’t watched Speed do it as soon as possible.

You’ll thank me, just like I thanked Keanu after the first time I saw it.

All hail Keanu and the Bus That Couldn’t Slow Down.

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New adult fiction and nonfiction on display

There’s some new adult fiction and nonfiction on display this week along with junior nonfiction and large print.
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Belinda Alexandra has written a number of popular novels with a colour motif – “White Gardenia”, “Silver Wattle”, “Tuscan Rose” – and her latest is “Southern Ruby”, a typical tale of family intrigue and forbidden love set in New Orleans.

Jenn McLeod, one of the current crop of Australian romance/saga writers, offers “The Other Side of the Season” while I couldn’t resist “The Library at the Edge of the World” which is a romance set in a small town on the remote Irish west coast.

“Sully”, now also available on DVD, tells the story of the successful emergency landing of a U.S. plane on the Hudson River in January 2009 and of the pilot’s life and ethos.

There’s also “Top Walks in Australia” for the fitter members of the community and “Bad Medicine”, about life as an Australian SAS medic during the devastatingwar in Afghanistan.

Piranhas are well renownpredators and “Piranhas: built for the hunt” offers an overview for young readers.

“Secret Boys’ Business” and “More Secret Girls’ Business” are low-key but comprehensive and informative sex education resources for upper primary/junior secondary ages.

Don’t forget the “Ask a Librarian” service accessed from the library website at “Contact”.Here you can ask a reference question remotely and you should have either an answer or a progress report within twenty-four hours. There are also a number of free information databases accessible from the home page – just click on“E-resources”, also don’t forget to check out the Grenfell Library Facebook page.

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Killarney hooded plovers in spotlight again

Hooded ploverHOODED plovers at Killarney beach remain in the news after a report of the alleged theft of the threatened bird’s eggs.
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The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is seeking information inrelation to two separate incidents involving hooded plover nests at KiIlarney Beach.

The future of the hooded plovers at Killarney Beach has made national headlines as part of the debate as to whether race horses should be allowed to train on the beach.

Killarney Beach is home to a population of hooded ploverswho nest on the beach.

DELWP wildlife officers received a report of the alleged theft of eggs on Fridayfrom anest site on the beach.

In a separate incident, officers were notified on Saturday that ropesmarking a nest area had been interfered with.

DELWP wildlife officer Nathan MacDonaldsaid taking the eggs of hooded plovers can carry a fine of up to $37,370 and two years injail while the penalty for theinterference or destruction of nest sites is a fine of up to $7780.

“These small birds, which are listed as threatened in Victoria, lay eggs on the sand wherethey typically lay two to three eggs,” Mr MacDonald said.

“All nest sites are roped off and signs are in place to warn the public to keep their distance from thearea. These fenced areas are designated as wildlife habitat under the Wildlife Act 1975.We encourage anyone who may have seen any activity within these protected areas over the pastweek to contact DELWP.”

Contact DELWP on 136 186.

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New council meets for first time

NEW COUNCIL: Kiwa Fisher, Ron Campbell, Lorna Driscoll, James Burns, Sue Abbott, Lee Watts, Joshua Brown, Wayne Bedggood and Maurice Collison at the meeting on Monday night.WAYNE Bedggood has returned as mayor of Upper Hunter Shire Council with Maurice Collison remaining his deputy.
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Both were elected unopposed at an extraordinary meeting onMonday night.

Councillors will now elect a mayor every two yearsinstead of annually due to recent changes to the Local Government Act.

Council is also set to determinewhether the deputy mayor will continue to be elected every year or in line with the mayoral election.

Mayor Bedggood said he expected the next four years to be highly-productive.

“I’d just like to thank my fellow councillors for allowing me to lead council into this new term,” hesaid.

“We have a lot of big projects on over the next four years and also have a lot of aspirational things that we want to try and accomplish.”

Several “big ticket” items such as the Scone Bypass, Murrurundi water pipeline, and funding for covered areas at White Park and the sale yards are expected to be completed in the next few years.

MayorBedggood said work would also continueon roads and bridges, while he admitted council’s communication engagement needed to be addressed.

“It’s something that the previous council worked very hard on and it’s something that we’re strong advocates of,” he said.

“We’ve implemented a lot of changes to our communication strategies but the feedback we’re getting is that we’re still not there.

“So we’ve got to work much harder at that.”

Following the extraordinary meeting, the new council held itsfirst ordinary general meeting.

Apart from the mayor and deputy mayor, the other seven councillors present included Lee Watts, Ron Campbell, Kiwa Fisher, Lorna Driscoll,Sue Abbott, Joshua Brown and James Burns.

The meetingincluded dozens of decisions such as funding requests and the updating of council policies.

RETURNING: Wayne Bedggood puts his name back on the door after being elected as mayor of Upper Hunter Shire Council on Monday night.

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Court delays and bail laws drive increase in prisoner population

Court delays and changes to the state’s bail laws have contributed to an increase in the prison population, BOCSAR says.Controversial changes to NSW bail laws have led to an increase in the number of prisoners being held in custody awaiting trial but court delays are playing a bigger part in the swelling prisoner population, according to the state’s chief crime statistician.
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As major crimes such as murder hit 20-year lows in NSW, latest figures from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) show the prisoner population at a record high of 12,550.

The swelling prisoner population has largely been attributed to the growth in the proportion of defendants held on remand – that is, in custody awaiting trial or sentence.

In a report released on Monday, BOCSAR analysed the effect of controversial changes to the state’s Bail Act on the remand population.

The changes, designed to make it harder for certain categories of defendants to get bail, came into force in January last year and were criticised by legal experts as eroding the presumption of innocence.

“The Bail Act has contributed to the growth in the remand population,” said BOCSAR director Don Weatherburn.

But he said it was not the main factor and the real drivers were “the number of people who are being arrested for serious offences, and the length of time they’re spending there because of court delay”.

Fairfax Media has revealed a state government push to clear a backlog of thousands of cases in the District Court –  the state’s busiest criminal trial court – is unlikely to reduce delays for 12 months.

As at the end of July, there were 2042 criminal trials and 1195 sentencing matters outstanding in the court. This is about double the caseload at the end of 2010.

BOCSAR’s figures show a spike in the proportion of bail-eligible defendants being refused bail after the Bail Act changes took effect. The figures peaked around early 2016 with about 35 per cent of those eligible for bail being refused, compared with 25 per cent in early 2011.

Greens MP David Shoebridge, the party’s justice spokesman, said “it should concern all of us that more people are being held on remand, despite not having been tried for the offence [with which] they have been charged”.

The courts “continue to be under-resourced while also having to deal with the legal ramifications of decades of law and order auctions by the major parties”, Mr Shoebridge said.

Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton said bail laws were not about manipulating prison population numbers.

“The NSW Government’s changes to the Bail Act have put community safety front and centre and made it harder for people charged with serious offences to get bail,” she said.

“I will not apologise for our focus on protecting the community and making sure decisions about bail are simple and consistent.”

The changes to the Bail Act were prompted by criticism of a new bail regime which had taken effect in May 2014. Critics had pointed to a handful of decisions, including the release on bail of accused murderers Mahmoud “Mick” Hawi and Steven Fesus, as evidence the laws were not tough enough.

The changes effectively reintroduced a presumption against bail for certain categories of serious offences, which had been scrapped in 2014 and replaced with a two-step test as to whether the accused posed an “unacceptable risk” of reoffending and whether the risk could be mitigated by bail conditions.

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