Archive for: ‘August 2018’

Teen team drives HIV awareness

16/08/2018 Posted by admin

IT was the usual busy Monday morning Otho Street scene last week; cars purring past, pedestrians, foot traffic in and out of the Inverell council building, post office and police station.

One minor difference was the Pathfinders AIDS/HIV Awareness Youth Team who raised a red ribbon flag in front of council to commemorate December 1; World AIDS Day.

MESSAGE: Inverell Shire councillor Jacki Watts with AIDS/HIV Youth Team members Courtney Bright, Brayden Chiplin, Jasmine, Conn, Madison Bright, group co-ordinator Trish Thomas, Cody Sydenham and Adam Smith.

The day is recognised globally to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS, show support for people and families living with the virus and pay respect to those who affected who have died.

The students raised the flag at council, and at both Macintyre and Inverell High Schools.

They hail from both schools and share a common goal; to educate others about staying safe and free from HIV. The teens also encourage people to be tested to see if they are free from the virus.

Team member, Brayden Chiplin is in year 10 at Inverell High School. He said younger students are often shy or embarrassed about being judged when discussing the facts about safe sex and preventing HIV.

“That’s why I didn’t talk about it in previous years, but as you get older, you get more mature and then you’re getting into more detail about it and having a pure conversation about it,” he said.

Inverell councillor Jacki Watts represented Inverell council at the flag-raising. She felt the teens were taking a very positive step. Jacki recalled an old conversation she had with her husband about how to best advise their children about safe sex.

“I think to have had that conversation 20 years ago, and for it to come forward, to see that that this is being driven by the young people rather than we adults saying, ‘You need to do this,’” Jacki said.

“But they’re saying ‘We need to be aware of the effects of having unprotected sex – that is can end up with someone having AIDS.’”

Jacki felt it fitting the flag flew on Monday as it met one of council’s five goals; that of a healthy and thriving community.

“So we want our young people to be healthy and thriving. We don’t want them to have to be sitting in hospital, going through the awful journey of having AIDS.”

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Essential Energy jobs in limbo: company considering how to slash expenditure

16/08/2018 Posted by admin

POWER PLAY: Jobs are on the line in the electricity battle over operating expenditure.ESSENTIAL Energy employees in the Orange electorate are still no closer to finding out whether their jobs are safe, with management of the electricity distribution business still working on a response to draft restrictions on the revenue it can charge customers.

In November, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) released its draft decision to slash Essential Energy’s operating expenditure by 38 per cent across five years.

Essential Energy management asked to charge $5.56 billion, but the regulator only allowed $3.68 billion – the electricity distributor has since flagged 1500 jobs could go and it would be unable to place its graduating apprentices.

According to Electrical Trades Union (ETU) estimates, 170 people in the Orange electorate are employed across five Essential Energy depots – 90 in Orange, 40 in Mudgee, 20 in Wellington and 10 each in Canowindra and Molong.

Based on a total estimated workforce of 3500, the ETU estimates as many as 73jobs could go within the electorate.

An Essential Energy spokeswoman did not confirm the estimates, saying Networks NSW was working with the three NSW electricity distribution businesses – Essential Energy, Ausgrid and Endeavour Energy – to submit responses to the regulator’s draft decision.

“If approved, the AER’s decision would see Essential Energy’s operating expenditure cut by around 38 per cent over the five years to 2019 and possibly mean lengthy response times to power supply interruptions,” she said.

In its report, the regulator did not accept Essential Energy’s capital expenditure forecast of $2.6 billion or its operating expenditure of $2.3 billion, estimating forecasts of $1.9 billion and $1.4 billion respectively.

Essential Energy’s request to increase public lighting charges by 100 per cent in some local government areas was also knocked back in favour of a smaller increase.

The report said a lower rate of return – 7.15 per cent, down from 10.02 per cent during the height of the global financial crisis – would reduce Essential Energy’s revenue requirements and help reduce electricity prices.

Prices for the average residential household are expected to drop by $346 in 2015-16 if the changes go ahead.

ETU NSW secretary Steve Butler said energy reliability would be affected if revenue streams were cut and the regulator failed to account for risks to safety in its assessment.

“Blackouts will be more likely on the hottest and coldest days, as power demand surges, reconnections will be slower following natural disasters, bushfire risks are likely to increase, and the safety of workers and the public will be put at risk,“ he said.

“It will also see thousands of jobs cut, as well as all but eliminate any intake of apprentices across the sector over the next five years.

Networks NSW chief executive officer Vince Graham will present on behalf of Networks NSW at an AER pre-determination conference on December 8 in Sydney and revised proposals are due to the regulator by January 20.

The final decision on revenue will be made in May.

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Scarecrows attract guardian angels

16/08/2018 Posted by admin

DRAWING ATTENTION: Mount Austin High School student Christopher Heir, 14, gets up close and personal with the scarecrow he made for Ignite’s mentoring program. Picture: Les SmithTHEY may be deterring the crows but the scarecrows at Brunslea Park are hoping to attract the guardian angels.

Fifty scarecrows have been set up at the park as part of a awareness campaign by Anglicare’s Ignite Mentor program.

Each scarecrow represents the number of children on a mentor waiting list.

Ignite Mentor joined forces with Mount Austin High School and Wagga High School , ANZ and Brunslea Park to make the scarecrows yesterday.

Anglicare Project officer Sarah Sweeney said the stunt aimed to ensure all children who needed a mentor had access to one.

“Demand for youth mentoring in Wagga far exceeds the number of mentors and role models currently available,” Ms Sweeney said.

“Every child or young person who needs a mentor should have one, and that is our goal.

“We are grateful to have the support of community minded organisations such as ANZ, Brunslea Park and Anglicare on board to help promote our programs.”

As mentors are found the scarecrows will be removed and replaced with flying flags to show a fresh new relationship, heading in the right direction.

Yesterday, students from Wagga and Mount Austin high schools paired up to decorate the scarecrows with a festive theme.

Wagga mayor Rod Kendall joined in the fun.

He judged the best dressed, scariest and most festive scarecrow.

ANZ bank donated $1000 to the cause.

Anyone interested in becoming a mentor should contact Ms Sweeney on 6937 1555.

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Christmas appeal closes this Friday

16/08/2018 Posted by admin

Thunder president Matthew Neville and his children Jack, 11, and Melanie, 8, deliver two bikes to the Jimboomba Times office for children in need.FOR the sixth year in a row, Jimboomba Thunder has donated two new bikes to the Able Australia Caddies Jimboomba Times Christmas Appeal.

Thunder president Matthew Neville said the club was happy to help needy children in the area.

“This is what Christmas is all about, it’s a time for giving and the excitement of tearing open presents on Christmas morning,” he said.

“Unfortunately there are many families that don’t get that opportunity.

“It’s great for clubs like us to do our bit for the kids because without kids there would be no club.”

Mr Neville put the call out for other sporting clubs in the area to make a donation.

The Able Australia Caddies Jimboomba Times appeal will close this Friday.

Donations of non-perishable food and new unwrapped gifts can be made at Caddies on Short Street or at the Jimboomba Times. Monetary donations can be made at Caddies only.

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DVD REVIEWS: A Most Wanted Man and more

16/08/2018 Posted by admin

MASTERCLASS: Willem Dafoe and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in a scene from A Most Wanted Man.Roadshow, 117minutes

AN impression of moral ambivalence is the thing when you’re adapting a John le Carre novel.

It’s a principle that the film’s director, Anton Corbijn, has clearly taken to heart, because he has a recruited a cast of experts. His star is Philip Seymour Hoffman, an actor who could set a railway timetable humming with serious ethical implications. To further raise the stakes, he’s working with Robin Wright, fresh from her turn as Washington DC’s Lady Macbeth in House Of Cards, together with Willem Dafoe, who can conjure a sense of menace just by smiling.

A Most Wanted Man is the last film Hoffman finished before his sudden death. He’s cast as a German intelligence operative, and there are times when the precision of the accent combines with his husky baritone to bring his dialogue close to poetry.

Australian Andrew Bovell must be delighted. He wrote the script – hired on the strength of his complex and sophisticated Lantana screenplay.

The film is shot in Hamburg in tones of steely blue and muted gold, and you’re never far from the city’s shipyards and financial district, but you also get a glimpse of what it must be like to live among its many minority groups. And you’re frequently reminded that Mohammed Atta and his fellow conspirators lived here while they plotted 9/11.

Hoffman’s Gunther Bachmann and his small team of spies are tracking a young mystery man whom they finally identify as Issa Karpov (Grigoriy Dobrygin). He has found his way to Hamburg after being imprisoned and viciously tortured by the Russians. Half-Russian, half-Chechen, he is bent on claiming a large sum of money held in the Hamburg bank run by Dafoe’s Thomas Brue.

Bachmann and his team want to let him succeed, in the hope that he will eventually lead them to the leaders of the terrorism and arms-dealing groups they’re out to crack. But as usual in leCarre, they finish up having to battle the enemy within.

Ranged against them are Bachmann’s shifty-eyed superiors in the intelligence service and the interior ministry.

As for Robin Wright’s CIA chief, we don’t know what to think of her. The only wholly altruistic character is Rachel McAdams’ naive young human rights lawyer, who’s convinced Karpov is an innocent.

Bovell hasn’t quite succeeded in taming the serpentine twists that spring from all this. It seems as if the writing is favouring plot at the expense of character, but it’s great Seymour Hoffman.

Rating: ★★★★

– Sandra Hall

Paramount, 101minutes

A NEW generation of filmmakers has seized control of the Hollywood blockbuster machine – and set a course straight for the 1980s, currently the era of peak childhood nostalgia.

In the wake of The Lego Movie and Guardians Of The Galaxy comes Jonathan Liebesman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which revives the weirdly durable premise of a quartet of pizza-loving reptiles, named for some reason after Renaissance artists, who live in the New York sewers and fight crime after dark.

The theme song for the original TV cartoon, which premiered in 1987, sums up their personalities concisely: ‘‘Leonardo leads/Donatello does machines/Raphael is cool but crude/Michelangelo is a party dude’’.

All that holds good in this live-action reboot, although the word ‘‘dude’’ has been eliminated from the script, since the Turtles – brought to life via motion capture – no longer converse in Californian surfer slang. Nor do they inflict damage on their enemies with quite their former glee.

Michelangelo’s once-legendary nunchucks are mostly for show, which is perhaps for the best given the alarm they caused parents and teachers back in the day. The TV reporter April O’Neil, the Turtles’ main link with the outside world, is played this time round by Megan Fox, essentially reprising her role as the Hot Girl in the first two Transformers films, directed by Michael Bay, who’s credited as a producer here.

More than most Bay productions, this one seems squarely aimed at children.

Still, there are traces of his usual penchant for grotesque innuendo: Michelangelo, voiced by Noel Fisher, flirts lewdly with April, who responds with understandable disgust.

This is frankly disposable entertainment, but to some degree it’s a welcome parody of earnest superhero movies like those directed by Christopher Nolan, which for all their self-importance are fundamentally just as silly.

It’s also better than anything I expected from Liebesman after his flag-waving

Battle Los Angeles – a lowlight of the decade. Here, he manages a competent pastiche of Bay’s style – glistening colours, canted angles and camera pirouettes – without wholly embracing his mentor’s tendency to overkill.

Rating: ★★

– Jake Wilson

eOne, 100minutes

SPELLBOUND: Sophie (Emma Stone) and Stanley (Colin Firth) in a scene from Magic In The Moonlight.

WHEN you sit down for a Woody Allen movie, you know you’re going to get the full meal – three courses with a tasty beverage. If you don’t like it, that’s your problem, not Woody’s.

Magic has a similar flavour to Midnight In Paris, Allen’s wild comedic ride with Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams through nighttime Paris in the 1920s.

This time we’re invited to the Cote d’Azur in the south of France, again in the 1920s, as Colin Firth and Emma Stone do a merry dance of courtship.

Firth is cast as Stanley Crawford, an internationally famous illusionist, who is called upon by a friend to debunk the myth of bright young thing Sophie Baker (Stone), who seems to know everything about everyone.

It feels like a lightning-fast pace, pushed along by the ever-present soundtrack with sounds from Bix Beiderbecke, Leo Reisman and other early jazz composers.

As usual, the supporting cast is critically important, with the likes of Jacki Weaver, Marcia Gay Harden and Hamish Linklater leading the way.

The biggest stretch is the age gap between Firth and Stone, who is delightful and delicious in this provocative role.

Rating: ★★★★

– Jim Kellar

(SERIES 1 & 2 BOX SET) (M)

ABC/Roadshow, 469minutes

GOOD comedy stands the test of time. It will be interesting to gauge how we feel about this series down the track.

Annie Maynard’s role as wealthy doctor Bess Denyar, torn between her proper, controlling mum Margaret (Robin Nevin) and bogan-to-the-bone biological family (Glenn Robbins, Robyn Malcolm, Rhys Mitchell, Madeleine Jevic, Michala Banas) is an actor’s dream. The execution is spot-on. Whether the value of the gags seems funny in 20years will depend on whether they are funny now. Some are, some aren’t. Wanna race?

Rating: ★★★

– Jim Kellar

The winners of the Upper Middle Bogan 2 and It’s A Date DVDs are: H.Ryan, of Holmesville; J.Hicks, of Dudley; E.Hall, of Aberdeen; Denny, of Kotara; and M.Gillespie, of Gillieston Heights.