Wallsend’s Carols In The Park grows in popularity

16/03/2019 Posted by admin

FAMILY NIGHT OUT: Pastor Phil Skinner from Wallsend Baptist Church promotes Carols in the Park.THE back-to-basics approach of Wallsend’s Carols In The Park has struck a chord with local residents.
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Stripped of a rotating line-up of guest singers, the church’s focus has been to create a family-fun environment using their own in-house worship band.

Wallsend Baptist Church pastor Phil Skinner said last year’s carols attracted about 3000 people.

He said the crowd numbers had grown steadily from about a 1000 people since the church started the annual tradition in 2009.

“It’s simply a great family evening – I think everyone just really appreciates the simplicity of it all,” Mr Skinner said.

“We even get people travelling up from the Central Coast.”

This year’s event will start with pre-entertainment from Maxi-Jazz Dance Studio, followed by local magician David Whitson.

The main program of carols will be lead by Wallsend Baptist Church’s worship band with Mount Vincent-based group Iron and Clay to make a special guest appearance. Santa is also expected to arrive before the closing fireworks show by Fireworks Factory.

■ Wallsend Carols In The Park will be held this Saturday, December 13 at Federal Park. Pre-entertainment starts at 6pm, with the carols from 7pm and fireworks at 9pm.

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Newcastle council given authority to approve development on rail corridor

16/03/2019 Posted by admin

VISITORS: Transport Minister and Minister for the Hunter Gladys Berejiklian with NSW Premier Mike Baird in Newcastle.NEWCASTLE council will become the consent authority for developers who want to build on the rail corridor, NSW Premier Mike Baird has revealed.
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Mr Baird was in Newcastle on Thursday, with Transport Minister and Minister for the Hunter, Gladys Berejiklian.

Mr Baird said the revitalisation of the former rail corridor would be central to the revitalisation of the CBD.

“Given the importance of this once-in-a-generation revitalisation process, we believe it is critical that Newcastle council plays a key role in the planning decisions for the city’s future,” he said.

“We have always said we would involve the community in any decisions regarding the future of the rail corridor in Newcastle and we are now delivering on that commitment.”

Ms Berejiklian announced five new pedestrian-friendly crossings over the rail line will open in early 2015 at Steel Street, Kuwumi Place, Worth Place, Perkins Street and Wolfe Street.

Stewart Avenue and Merewether Street level crossings will be permanently open.

Ms Berejiklian said more crossings would be announced next year, including new vehicle crossings, with new bus timetables to replace heavy rail released sometime next week.

Newcastle state MP and Newcastle councillor Tim Crakanthorp said allocating approval to the council was “simply smoke and mirrors”, as the council could only only determine smaller developments with capital investment less than $20 million and $5 million if it was development of the crown.

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Children in Lake Macquarie to be tested for lead following Pasminco investigation

16/03/2019 Posted by admin

NORTHERN Lake Macquarie residents can have their young children tested for high lead levels early next year.
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Blood lead testing will be offered to all children under five years of age in Boolaroo, Argenton and Speers Point.

Hunter New England Health public health physician Dr Craig Dalton said blood lead levels had declined dramatically since the Pasminco Cockle Creek Smelter closed in 2003.

“We did an earlier survey of children’s blood lead levels in the area in (2005 and 2006) and found a pleasing decline in lead levels and we are hopeful that the new survey will provide evidence that this trend is continuing,” he said.

“Our ongoing surveillance of blood lead levels in the community since the closure has not identified elevated blood lead levels in children in the area since 2009.”

During the 2005-06 blood lead survey 240 children had their blood lead level tested, with 4 per cent of under 13-year-olds and 7 per cent of under five-year-olds returning elevated blood lead level readings.

Last month a joint investigation between the Newcastle Herald and Macquarie University revealed high levels of lead pollution in soil up to eight times recommended levels in children’s play areas in Speers Point and Eleebana.

Lead exposure has been linked with diminished academic abilities and antisocial behaviours in young children in the past.

Planning for the 2015 children’s blood lead survey is under way and parents or carers in the testing area who wish to participate can contact Hunter New England Health.

■ For more information about the lead blood testing phone the Hunter New England Public Health Unit on 4924 6477.

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Lake Macquarie Suicide Prevention and Support Network candle-lighting ceremony at Blackalls Park to comfort bereaved families

16/03/2019 Posted by admin

NEVER FORGOTTEN: Brian and Faye Hawley light a candle in honour of their son Darren (pictured), who took his life in 2006.
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FOR most families, Christmas is a joyful time of year. But for some, it brings sadness as they remember those who are no longer with them.

A new event in Lake Macquarie aims to shine a light on the festive season for families that have lost their sons, daughters, brothers and sisters to suicide.

This Sunday, December 14, the Lake Macquarie Suicide Prevention and Support Network will hold a candle-lighting ceremony at Blackalls Park.

Co-ordinated in conjunction with Compassionate Friends Australia, the ceremony will see hundreds of candles lit and floated on a nearby pond.

As well as holding suicide awareness events like this one, the support network distributes information packs to bereaved families.

Behind it all is Edgeworth woman Faye Hawley.

She and her husband Brian lost their 31-year-old son Darren to suicide in 2006.

Not knowing where to turn, Mrs Hawley attended the support network’s inaugural meeting in 2009.

By the end of the year she was president. Today, she is still at the helm.

Eight years have passed since Darren’s death, but the pain is still raw for the Hawleys, who say Christmas is the most difficult time.

“Birthdays are hard but Christmas is harder because it’s a time when families come together,” Mrs Hawley said.

“Do you set up a chair for the person that’s missing?”

Mrs Hawley said she hoped the candle-lighting ceremony would encourage people to talk about suicide.

“I’m open to talking about it because there’s a need in the community,” she said.

“I need people to talk about Darren to keep my memories of him alive.”

■ Lake Macquarie Suicide Prevention and Support Network candle-lighting ceremony, December 14, 7pm at El Keziah outdoor function centre, 48 Rose Street, Blackalls Park.

Email [email protected]南京夜网 or phone Faye Hawley on 0407 002 463 to register.

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Newcastle Cycleways Movement to undergo cost-benefit analysis

16/03/2019 Posted by admin

ON YOUR BIKE: Newcastle Cycleways Movement members at Maryville.THE Hunter Medical Research Institute will provide Newcastle Cycleways Movement with a cost-benefit analysis of its ambitious CycleSafe network for free.
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The Newcastle Cycleways Movement has been working with Newcastle and Lake Macquarie councils on a $50 million cycle plan that connects suburbs across the two cities, including dedicated bike lanes down Hunter Street.

The Newcastle council has already committed to spend $15 million on cycleways over the next 10 years, but Newcastle Cycleways needs another $35 million to complete the network.

Speaking in the council chambers last Tuesday night, Dr Ben Ewald, Newcastle Cycleways Movement vice-president, said he was counting on Newcastle councillors to support the project.

In September the group announced it had secured the support of several high-profile organisations, including Hunter Medicare Local, the NSW Heart Foundation and the University of Newcastle’s Tom Farrell Institute, to lobby the state government to spend money from the lease of Newcastle port on its CycleSafe network.

Lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the council had also recently made a submission to the federal government’s National Stronger Regions Fund in the hope of securing some of the money needed for the network.

Round one of the grant scheme closed on November 28 and funding will be announced in May.

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State poised to jack up water by $38

16/02/2019 Posted by admin

REDLAND water users could face hikes in state government bulk water prices of up to $38 a year for the next three years if a proposal in a draft Queensland Competition Authority report is adopted.
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EDITORIAL: Fair water price goes down the drain

It would be the highest rise in bulk water prices across 11 South East Queensland councils and equates to an extra 8.3 per cent for bulk water every year until 2019.

Queensland Competition Authority chairman Malcolm Roberts said the price increase was recommended for Redland because it was paying less for bulk water than other councils.

In 2006-2007 the council negotiated with the state for reduced water pricing for 10 years. The deal resulted in Redland residents paying the lowest water prices in the south east.

But the reduced pricing deal runs out in 2016-2017, when residents will feel the full effects of the state government’s bulk water pricing as councils move to reach a common bulk water price of $2.77/kL.

However, not all news was bad for Redlands and Mr Roberts said the report recommended giving Redland an extra two years before its bulk water price hit the “common price” target, which would be $2.91/kL in 2019.

Once the price reached the common target, the price of bulk water would rise by the CPI every year, according to the draft report.

Mr Roberts also said the draft report’s proposed price increases were $11 lower than previously forecast.

At the moment, water users in Redland pay $1.96 per kilolitre for the state’s bulk water, which is about 70 per cent of the overall cost of water and equates to about $392 for an average 200kL per annum.

The report said its recommended 2015-16 price increase for Redland was $38, $11 less than a 2013 plan in which an annual 200kL household bill would rise by $49 until 2017 and then sky-rocket by $153.

Redland City’s QCA recommended $38 annual increase for 200kL compared with decreases of $70 for Somerset Council water users, $42 in Scenic Rim and a $9 drop in Moreton Bay Regional Council.

Brisbane residents will have an average $18 increase in the bulk water price, Ipswich $19 and the average Sunshine Coast and Noosa bill will rise by $33.

Under the 2013 plan, which the draft QCA report amends, the expected state-imposed 31 per cent price spike in 2017, would be on top of increases in bulk water prices of almost 50 per cent for Redland over the past three years.

Mayor Karen Williams said the report’s recommendations were good news for water users who would benefit with incremental rises and not a massive 31 per cent spike in 2017.

She said the draft report justified the council overcharging for water in the past two years and vindicated council’s approach to water smoothing in its 10-year water strategy.

“By putting away a little bit extra now, it will offset this future rise in state government bulk water costs,” she said.

“The state controls bulk water costs, not councils, which is why we are focusing on keeping all other costs down that are in our control, including passing on some of the lowest headline rates increases in SEQ for the last three years.”

However, Cr Williams was unable to rule out whether the bulk water price would fall in Redland if the city’s high average daily water consumption of 231L per person dropped.

The QCA is calling for submissions on the report and is likely to conduct another review after 2018 as future demand became clearer and further cost savings identified.

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Suspension of fire permits lifted in Upper Hunter

16/02/2019 Posted by admin

THE NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has lifted the suspension of fire permits in the Muswellbrook and Singleton Local Government Areas due to recent rain.
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Permits may be obtained from the local RFS Permit Issuing Officer – and are free.

To find the location of your local Permit Issuing Officer, contact the Hunter Valley Fire Control Centre on 6574 5186.

NSW RFS Superintendent Paul Jones said the decision to lift the suspension on issuing fire permits had been made because of recent substantial rains throughout the Hunter Valley.

“Landholders can now get in and burn those piles of fallen timber that has been building up from recent very windy weather,” Supt Jones said.

“Now that fire permits have been reinstated, we encourage residents to undertake other activities to protect their property from fire, such as creating an Asset Protection Zone, clearing leaves from their gutters and removing flammable materials from around their homes.”

Serious penalties, including fines and/or imprisonment, apply for starting a fire without a permit during the Bush Fire Danger Period.

For further information on how you can protect your property, or to download a Bush Fire Survival Plan, visit the NSW RFS website at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au or call the Hunter Valley Fire Control Centre on 6574 5186 or check the Hunter Valley Facebook page.

For current incidents or major fire updates visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au

RELIEF: The NSW Rural Fire Service has lifted the suspension of fire permits in the Muswellbrook and Singleton Local Government Areas due to recent rain.

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How martial arts can empower you

16/02/2019 Posted by admin

Lisa Longhurst is now considering turning her attention to giving time as a mentor for the next generation of fighters and martial artists.LISA Longhurst has a tangible air of inner confidence. It might come from her fierce love for her three children and the fathomless commitment she had to her husband, the late Garry Longhurst. Growing up with a house full of brothers might have been another contributor.
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She has achieved her second dan black belt in Jin Ryu Kan, a freestyle martial arts system, and placed high in her sport at regional, state and national levels. In her early years of training, she set her goal for an Australian tracksuit and a gold medal at a World Koshiki Karate Championship. In 2004 Lisa understandably turned away from the sport to be beside her husband Garry when he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.

Lisa returned to training late 2012. In May 2013 she was invited to be on the Australian team and trained intensively with Renshi Nick King and several other martial artists from the Jin Ryu Kan Dojo.

Lisa said she felt blessed to have the opportunity to relive her earlier goals. In September 2013, she travelled with the Australian team to Japan to compete in the 19th World Koshiki Karatedo Championships and came home with a gold medal for her Kata demonstration of Koshiki Bassai.

With a depth of wisdom about the discipline and life, she is now considering turning her attention to giving time as a mentor for the next generation of fighters and martial artists.

“I feel maybe I’m a protector, a warrior. That is my nature,” Lisa said.

“So, I have to embrace that but, I’m not going to compete anymore (to) try and prove it because my body, I want to maintain what I have and it takes a lot of training.”

Lisa had tried judo years ago, but it wasn’t a good fit. It was when her children came home from school one day with the news of Nick King’s Taekwondo katas that caught her attention. She felt she might have a try herself.

“I think in my nature, I’ve always had that streak of curiosity and exploration. And I’m an analytical person by nature, philosophical, questioning things,” she said.

She took to the discipline like a bird to the air, and soon proved her talent. Lisa said she has always been a fighter, and working with Nick allowed her to channel that propensity.

“And through training, you can take that nature, which is obviously that energy, and learn to direct it,” she said.

“It’s one thing to go in there and let off a bit of steam and do nothing, but it’s different if you go there, take what you learn and implement it into your every day life,” she said.

She said there was a value in competing on a world stage with all eyes upon you, without the benefit of applause; when it all comes down to your training and understanding and respecting the body you inhabit.

“That’s where martial arts can help with kids; females and boys,” Lisa said.

“It can help them to discipline their mind, take control of this vehicle that we’re in. Empower themselves.”

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Pressure builds for Riverwood car park

16/02/2019 Posted by admin

Traffic relief needed: O’Bray Smith and Justin Mining are advocating for a commuter car park at Riverwood train station. Picture: Jane DysonRIVERWOOD residents have been lobbying Hurstville councillor Justin Mining and Oatley Labor candidate O’Bray Smith about the increasing traffic problems around Riverwood railway station.
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With not enough commuter car parking facilities, cars are being parked across driveways, on footpaths or the wrong way, often endangering residents.

And the haphazard parking is making it hard for council staff to keep the streets clean.

The congestion is expected to get worse with the rise of unit block developments built too far from nearest stations, forcing people to drive.

Phil Greaves of Larkhill Avenue said the streets were congested for at least one kilometre around the station.

The problem had increased after changes to train timetables reduced services at some smaller stations.

“My major gripe is that people who are using our street are showing no consideration for others,” Mr Greaves said.

He contacted Councillor Mining in the hope that Hurstville Council could do something.

“A long-term solution would be a good commuter car park,” he said.

Cr Mining took the matter to the council where councillors unanimously agreed to liaise with relevant state government agencies over any plans for building a commuter car park; to conduct an analysis of surrounding streets to ensure that appropriate parking, signage and line markings were in place to ensure driver safety and local amenity; and to consider proper enforcement of existing parking rules.

Also, councillors would consider alternative street sweeping options to ensure streets around the station were kept clean.

“The state government has cut train services at many stations meaning more commuters are driving and parking at Riverwood for express services,” Cr Mining said.

“The state government needs to start planning for adequate parking to relieve the pressure.”

Ms Smith said while people should be encouraged to use trains, this would be effective only if supporting infrastructure was in place.

“The state government needs to be urgently working with council in developing more parking for commuters at Riverwood,” she said.

“Unless a solution is found soon the problem is only going to get worse for locals due to the government allowing rows of unit blocks to be built in Peakhurst.

“This will result in thousands of extra commuters looking to park in Riverwood without any extra parking being provided.”

Do you think the car park should be a priority?

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OUR SAY: Improving your odds in the ride of life and death

16/02/2019 Posted by admin

A LOT of things could go terribly wrong during a dash to hospital with a suspected heart attack patient in the family car and yet that is how the majority get there.
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A staggering two-thirds of all heart attack patients rushed to Orange hospital choose not to call an ambulance and get there under their own steam. A few even drive themselves.

For most a spouse or other family member takes responsibility for getting them there, at a time when stress and the pressure of a real emergency means judgment will be impaired and poor decisions made.

Speeding down suburban roads without the authority of a wailing siren to clear the traffic must increase the chances of an accident en route.

And what happens if the patient deteriorates? Does the driver pull over and attempt resuscitation or press on and hope to get to the hospital in time?

It is hard to understand why anyone would put themselves or a loved one in a nightmare scenario like this even if they thought it was quicker to drive than wait for the ambulance.

Frantic calculations made about the travelling time for an ambulance to reach the patient and then make the return trip to hospital is one likely explanation, but apart from the obvious risk to other road users it ignores advances in diagnosis that make the do-it-yourself option the wrong one.

Chief among these is the capability of ambulance officers to begin heart monitoring at the scene, continue this while en route and transmit data to the waiting emergency team.

All this means that some of the initial treatment can be decided while the patient is in transit and can begin in the ambulance or as soon as the ambulance arrives at the emergency department.

Sadly, significant advances in emergency medicine in this region may be wasted if we are not prepared to put our trust and our lives in the hands of the experts.

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