Hunter and Central Coast tourism awards finalists announced

A long list of local businesses once again features among the finalists of the QantasLink Hunter and Central Coast Awards for Excellence in Tourism.

Visitor Economy Hunter director Roger Stephan said the awards are a tremendous opportunity to recognise the high standard, diversity and contribution of the tourism industry in our regions.

“The quality of submissions this year was outstanding and gaining finalist status in itself is a great achievement,” he said.

“The lucky winners of each category will automatically be entered into the State Tourism Awards and will be amongst a small group of truly outstanding tourism businesses and operators deserving of State-wide and national profile.”

Local finalists include Beyond Ballooning, Bimbadgen, Casa La Vina, Chateau Elan, Convict Footprints On The Old Great North Road, Golden Door Health Retreat and Spa Elysia, Hermitage Lodge, Margan Wines, Restaurant Cuvee, Peterson House, Snow Time In The Garden (Hunter Valley Gardens), The Sebel Kirkton Park and The Vintry.

A total of 45 individual tourism operators across 21 categories have made the list of finalists for the awards, which include prestigious individual awards for Young Achiever and Outstanding Contribution to Local Tourism.

Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Wednesday, August 6 at Wests New Lambton.

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John Gasovski murder: widow pleads for help to ease ‘relentless pain’

Jackie Gasovski (right) with SCC Homicide Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Mick Willing. Picture: KATE GERAGHTYA Sydney mother of four has asked the public to help catch her husband’s killers so that no other family has to endure the relentless pain she is suffering.

Jackie Gasovski has spoken publicly about the death of husband John Gasovski, who left his Arncliffe home on June 9 telling his family he was headed to Canberra.

The body of Mr Gasovski, 48, was found at Jamberoo Mountain lookout on June 15. He had been shot once in the head.

Police said on Wednesday they had no idea why Mr Gasovski had been killed.

Ms Gasovski said her husband was a ‘‘good man with a big heart’’ who had been taken from his family forever.

John Gasovski murder: widow pleads for help to ease ‘relentless pain’ John Gasovski. Picture: FACEBOOK

John Gasovski’s iLoad van – registration number BJQ82K. Picture: NSW POLICE

John Gasovski’s iLoad van – registration number BJQ82K. Picture: NSW POLICE

A van similar to John Gasovski’s parked at the scene to jog drivers’ memories. Picture: NSW POLICE

Police are searching for information relating to the murdered of John Gasovski. Picture: NSW POLICE

Police are searching for information relating to the murdered of John Gasovski. Picture: NSW POLICE

Police are searching for information relating to the murdered of John Gasovski. Picture: NSW POLICE

Police are searching for information relating to the murdered of John Gasovski. Picture: NSW POLICE

John Gasovski. Picture: FACEBOOK

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Influenza cases in the Hunter almost triple that of this time last year

There are a number of ways you can take care of yourself this winter and protect your co-workers, friends and family from illness.A large increase in influenza cases in the district has prompted Hunter New England Health to reinforce the importance of protecting yourself and preventing the spread of the flu.

“In the last two weeks we’ve had 53 confirmed influenza cases across the district bringing us to a total of 148 cases to date, 101 more than the same time last year,” Public health physician Dr. David Durrheim said.

“Influenza is certainly around so it’s time to take action.”

Dr. Durrheim said it is important to recognise that influenza is a highly contagious disease and encouraged people to be mindful of the way it spreads.

“The influenza virus is spread from person to person through infectious droplets when an infected person coughs and sneezes. It can also be spread by touching the contaminated surfaces of doors, rails and other objects,” he said.

“Already we have had confirmed outbreaks in an aged care facility and child care centre.

Dr. Durrheim said that despite winter being well and truly here, the highest influenza risk is still around the corner.

“It is important that high risk groups including pregnant women, people with chronic diseases including children, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders reduce their risk by getting an influenza jab,” he said.

“The vaccine is effective in preventing influenza in most people and if people do get infected, their illness is usually less severe.”

The vaccine is free for pregnant women; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are aged 15 years or over; anyone six months of age or over with chronic medical conditions predisposing them to severe influenza including diabetes, asthma, heart and kidney disease; and all non-Indigenous people older than 65 years.


There are a number of ways you can take care of yourself this winter and protect your co-workers, friends and family from illness.

Cover your face with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then put the tissue in the rubbish bin and wash your hands.Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap or use an alcohol hand wash.If you experience influenza-like illness, stay at home.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲美睫培训学校.

Key injuries sour big win

Key players Ryan Wing (pictured) and Mitch Darmody were injured in the Redbacks 8-1 over Belnorth at the weekend. Injuries to Mitch Darmody and Ryan Wing soured the Redbacks dominant 8-1 win at the weekend.

Both players succumbed to hamstring injuries during the one-sided affair with Belnorth, and coach Gary Lennon is unsure when they’ll be fit to return.

“I hope they’ll only be out for a couple of weeks but there’s no way to tell,” he told the Tribune.

“They’re the backbone as far as scoring goals is concerned, particularly Mitch, who’s our top goal scorer with 14 for the club so far.”

He was at it again on Saturday, scoring a brace before he limped from the field. John Mannweiler and Brett Darmody also claimed doubles, while Jarrad Porter and Grant Taylor added to the score sheet too.

The drubbing sees the Redbacks maintain their lead at the top of the Division 7 ladder with only five games remaining in the regular season. Lennon says the team is now looking for more than a finals spot.

“We’re on 28 points so one more win will guarantee us a top four finish, even if we lose every other game. But we’ve got our eyes o the prize now and we’re looking at finishing in the top two,” he said.

The big test will be this weekend when the Redbacks take on Belsouth, who are currently sitting in third place. A win in Hawker would go a long way to securing a first or second place finish.

“Three points this weekend would be huge for us. It will be tough though without Mitch, Ryan, and Cameron and Ryan Betts, who are away this week, that’s four of our best players out but the team is going well.”

Lennon says James Alley and new addition Stuart Bradshaw will stay in first-grade this week after being promoted against Belnorth and would probably be joined by two others from the Division 8 side.

The Division 8 Redbacks will miss the finals this year having only accrued seven points in total (15 points adrift of fourth place). They fell to Belnorth at the weekend 5-0 and will now be playing to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon, which currently sits with ANU on five points.

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Stawell’s Frewstal to expand into Asian market

A STAWELL meat exporter is confident of expanding into the Asian market.

Frew Group of Companies owner and managing director Robert Frew said Frewstal had its final audit for a tier-two export licence on Wednesday last week.

“We are fairly confident we will get it,” he said.

“Tier-two will probably open up more Asian markets for us.”

Mr Frew said planning to upgrade Frewstal’s slaughter floor and server processing rooms to accommodate the increase in business was already underway.

Frewstal has been exporting on a tier-one licence for the past three years, predominantly to the Middle East.

Deputy Premier Peter Ryan will open existing upgrades and expansions to the site in Abattoir Road on Thursday.

It will form part of his visit to the region.

Mr Frew said the ceremony would highlight the new site entry, upgrades to refrigeration, power plant and load-out areas, and a new freezer and chiller area.

“We are just very proud of what the management and staff have achieved at the site over the past three years, and also happy with the support we’ve had from council and the State Government,” he said.

Frewstal has more than 420 employees.

The Frew Group of Companies has run the business since 1984.

Northern Grampians Shire Council chief executive Justine Linley said Frewstal had experienced incredible growth.

“It has gone from being what people would have traditionally thought of as a meat abattoir to a meat exporting business,” she said.

She said investment in equipment and staff training had been significant.

“We’re seeing the benefits of that now,” she said.

Emphasising growth of Northern Grampians businesses such as Frewstal will be high on council’s priorities when it meets Mr Ryan on Thursday.

“We are really keen to make sure the government sees the growth potential in the seat of Ripon,” Mrs Linley said.

Council will also lobby for initiatives such as increased funding for Western Highway duplication before the state election in November.

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Cook up a storm next month

COOKERY: Whyalla Show Society cookery convener Pat Donoghue is getting ready for the competitive sections this year.

Novice pastry chefs and cake cookers are gearing up for the Whyalla Show competitive sections.

Covering a vast array of cooking, from cakes, buns, breads, marshmellows, biscuits, sausage rolls and pasties, cookery convener Pat Donoghue insists there is something for everyone.

With a total of 67 categories, Mrs Donoghue was incredibly busy last year, but said she would love to see even more entries for 2014.

Mrs Donoghue said the cookery section usually saw a lot of entries from schools around Whyalla.

“A lot of pre school, primary school and high school students enter both the sweets and savories,” Mrs Donoghue said.

“We did pretty well with the entries last year.”

Although the basketball stadium at Jubilee Park was bursting with entries, Mrs Donoghue said the cookery committee would love to see those who had not entered, give it a go.

For juniors, entering costs just 30 cents per item while to enter in open class costs 50 cents per item.

“We have many returning regulars each year, would be good to see new people cook something up and have a go,” she said.

Mrs Donoghue said entrants were judged on many different elements, from the uniform size, whether there were tray marks, whether or not it was raw inside, but the judges only ever eat a small amount if necessary.

This year the Country Women’s Association, alongside Lauke Scone Mix, is sponsoring a scone section competition.

The scones entered in this section must be savoury, and the winner will go on to compete at the Adelaide show.

The Whyalla Show Society will be in Westland Shopping Centre on Friday, August 8 to accept all registrations from 10am until 5pm.

All entries must be brought to Jubilee Park on Thursday, August 14 before out of town judges survey the items on Friday, August 15.

On Saturday, the cookery is displayed and on Sunday items are to be collected.

LIST OF OVERALL COMPETITIVESECTIONS:Arranged flowersArtCake decoratingChildren’s gardenCookeryCrafts and hobbiesCut flowersDecorative painting and folkartHandspinning and weavingHome brewHorses in actionJams, preserves and eggsJunior crafts and hobbiesNeedlework and dressmakingPhotographyPot plantsPoultryScrapbooking and papercraftShow pigeonsVegetables and fruitWoolcraftThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on 苏州美甲美睫培训学校.

Late penalty floors Rams

The Yass Rams fell agonisingly short of claiming the Boots ‘N’ All Cup for the third year in succession. Photo: Tom Johnson.Saturday’s 16-15 loss to Cooma was a step in the right direction, according to Yass Rams captain Ben Patrick.

Despite another loss, which makes so many in a row Patrick has “stopped counting”, the skipper was singing the team’s praises.

“It was the best we’ve played this year; I was really happy with how we went,” the scrum-half told the Tribune.

The injury crisis has been well documented but Patrick says their luck is turning around.

“It’s not all doom and gloom, we’ve finally got our whole back-line back and we should get a few forwards back in the next couple of weeks, which will help with our go-forward,” he said.

“We’re in equal fourth I think with Cooma now, so we need to beat RMC this weekend and then get some momentum.”

The Rams came within a couple of minutes of victory at Victoria Park but Cooma snatched the game away with a late penalty goal. It ends Yass’ recent success in the Boots ‘N’ All Cup between the two sides, with the Rams winning the previous two clashes.

As a result Yass now trails Cooma in the Gordon Litchfield Wool sponsored Boots ‘N’ All Cup by eight wins to four, since its inception in 2001.

“There’s a good rivalry there, we get on well with the Cooma blokes and have the same sort of culture,” Patrick explained.

“So yeah it’s great that we can do this and that Litchfield Wool gets behind it.”

The second-grade enjoyed a good win, with a number of their players returning from first-grade call-ups.

“They played really well; they had their strongest team for a few weeks thanks to that flow-on effect of our players coming back from injury,” Patrick said.

The two sides now take on the Royal Military College at Victoria Park on Saturday.

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Fundraiser for little Aria, battling Spinal Muscular Atrophy

SPECIAL GIRL: Aria Manderson.While most 13-month-old babies are happily crawling and learning to walk, every day is a battle for little Aria Manderson.

Diagnosed in February with a rare, potentially terminal genetic disorder known as Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), the Cessnock girl has been in and out of hospital since she was three months old.

SMA is the biggest killer of children under two years old in Australia with nearly 700 deaths a year.

There is very little funding for the condition in Australia, but stem cell treatment is available in China, India, the USA, Switzerland and Germ­any.

The disorder affects the nerves that control muscle movement, resulting in messages not being sent from the spinal cord to the muscles.

The disease will progressively degrade the muscles and eventually begin to affect the heart and lungs.

Aria’s parents, Melanie Werdmuller and Michael Manderson, manage her care on their own with some family help, but her specialised treatment is becoming beyond their means.

Her medical fundraising is supervised by Lions Australia; and Aria’s grandmother, Michelle Bowen is coordinating a fundraising effort to support the family with her at-home care.

“We are seeking assistance for every day needs such as expenses for constant medical care and specialist treatment, travel, mobility equipment, breathing assistance equipment and we are currently in touch with specialists worldwide to find treatments that will help her and give her a good quality of life,” Michelle said.

A beautiful, loving, happy baby girl with a magical smile, Aria can smile, laugh, sing and talk – but she cannot move her legs, torso, shoulders, or body.

She has breathing difficulties, her temperature has to be constantly monitored and she has to be protected from germs and disease.

“Aria is really bright and although I’m sure she knows she is different, she is a very happy baby with a beautiful personality,” Michelle said.

As Aria has a very low immune system, the home must be kept hospital clean and at a constant temperature.

She has breathing assistance equipment, suction equipment, oxygen and a feeding tube, and must have constant physiotherapy, pulmonary percussion, massage and position changes to ensure liquid does not pool in her chest.

But she happily tolerates all this, her grandmother says.

“She loves games and funny sounds. She loves cartoons and adores music. She sings along to many songs,” Michelle said.

“She gets very excited when Kaida (her six-year-old sister) or her Daddy come home or if we visit.

“She communicates a great deal with her eyes. She will stare at what she wants and prattle away to tell you.”

In March, Aria was in John Hunter Hospital in a medically-induced coma after she suffered a collapsed lung, then cardiac arrest.

Much to the surprise of her medical team, she miraculously pulled through.

Aria recently celebrated her first birthday which Michelle said was a “profound joy” for the family.

Their next goal is to take Aria overseas for stem cell treatment.

“If we had a cord blood bank in Australia, SMA babies could be treated here and most could be saved,” she said.

A benefit day to support Aria’s family will be held at the Bellbird Hotel this Sunday from 2pm to 9pm, with live music, markets and raffles.

Local acts including Eye On You, Pam and LesGully, Tim Usher and Mick White will perform.

Donations can also be made online here.

Eye On You will play at the fundraiser for Aria at the Bellbird Hotel on Sunday, July 20.

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Triathlon protest threat

BIKES AT THE KEYS: The Challenge Forster Triathlon will be held in November. GREAT Lakes Council has confirmed the Challenge Forster triathlon will still go ahead in N​ovember despite Pacific Palms residents threatening to protest over planned road closures.

A community consultation was held on Monday June 30 between council, Challenge Forster event organiser Elite Energy’s CEO Mark Emerton, NSW Police representatives and about 18 residents from the Pacific Palms area.

The meeting was held after last year’s Challenge copped widespread criticism from residents, particularly those in the Forster Keys and Pacific Palms areas, over road closures which resulted in increased traffic delays in the Forster CBD.

Council’s director of engineering Ron Hartley said council and Elite Energy decided to make some significant changes to this year’s event in the hope that it will run more smoothly.

Changes include the relocation of bike turnarounds. The bike leg will start at Forster Keys, with the first turnaround point now at Tarbuck Bay, the second at Blueys Beach and the leg finishing in the Forster township.

Mr Hartley said another change is having the two smaller events, the enticer and the sprint, on the Saturday morning and the main Challenge event on the Sunday morning.

He said the fastest finish time of the bike leg with the new turnarounds is predicted to be about 8.45am with the slowest time predicted to finish about 10.36am.

He said by spreading the event over two days it will enable organisers to get the bikes off the course much earlier in the morning and open the course up to residents in the Pacific Palms area.

“Most of the changes to the event happened before the meeting so the main thing was to let people know what the changes were and see if there were opportunities for change,” he said.

“Several alternatives were suggested involving the relocation of the triathlon to Tuncurry or central Forster, including the closure of the Wallis Lake bridge.

“But the suggestions would have a far greater impact on many more residents so the suggestions were discounted.

“The use of The Lakes Way between Forster and Pacific Palms is already approved and on that basis is firm.

“Substantial improvements have been made to the previously used route.

“We understand the frustrations of residents with last year’s event and council has tried to minimise the impact on residents.”

The event attracted just over 1,200 competitors last year, bringing in about 2,500 spectators and generated close to $750,000 in accommodation alone for the region.

David Shaw, who lives in Pacific Palms and operates Forster Pacific Palms Real Estate, was one of the 18 residents who attended the June 30 meeting.

He believes the new changes will not make a positive difference to businesses and residents in the Pacific Palms area.

“We’re (residents) not against the triathlon we’re against the road closures because it affects our business severely,” he said.

“I know the reality, 10.30am turns into 12.30pm. I will have to close my business for the day.

“Yes the event brings financial benefit but to a small amount of business in Forster and Tuncurry, no one else.

“At the end of the day there’s no business out here that benefits from having all their roads closed.”

Mr Shaw said he has since written to council with a suggestion to move the first bike turnaround to the Pacific Palms Recreational Club instead of Tarbuck Bay.

“It’s an easy solution and won’t affect anyone locally only people going back into Forster,” he said.

Mr Shaw says if the road closures remain the same then he and other residents in the Palms will be forced to take action on the day of the event.

“We’re going to protest because we’re sick of all the road closures. There’s no other option at the moment. I’d just like to see council actually consult with people about it.”

Mr Hartley, who was not at the meeting, says council will consider all suggestions raised on the night. He also said there was still an opportunity for people to write to council if they had any concerns about the changes to the event.

The Challenge Forster Triathlon will be held in November.

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No salt or sugar for centenarian

POPULAR CENTENARIAN: Ivy Ravell surrounded by gifts and cards at her home in Forster for her 100th birthday. She still lives at home where she cooks and gardens regularly. IVY Ravell is living proof that if you exercise daily, eat right and have a positive outlook, you will have a long and satisfying life.

You would never guess it but the avid lawn bowler turned 100 last Monday.

Ivy may be legally blind but that hasn’t stopped her. She still lives in the same home her late husband George built, walks to the shops and potters in her garden on a regular basis.

The popular centenarian celebrated with close family – her son Denis and his wife and her daughter Pam on Monday. A party was also held on Saturday with extended family at the Tuncurry Beach Bowling Club.

As a much-loved member of the Forster Bowling Club, her friends also held a lunch for her on Thursday.

Ivy has lived in Forster for most of her life having only lived away for five years when she moved to Sydney and the Hunter region.

She credits her long life to “sheer luck,” staying active and not eating salt or sugar.

“I think it’s just been sheer good luck, I don’t feel 100 at all,” she said.

“I don’t eat salt or sugar. I occasionally have a glass of red wine and I like a glass of black beer in the summertime.

“I walk a lot and I used to play a lot of tennis but I had to give that up when my eye sight went so I took up bowls.”

Ivy has been a dedicated bowler ever since her husband persuaded her to give it a go.

She was still playing up until around Christmas but had to have a break after having an operation on her foot.

“But I’m going to have another try when the weather warms up,” she insists.

Ivy’s daughter Pam says she has never known her mum not to be an active person.

“She’s always been sporty. She was playing tennis well into her 70s and she’s still a member of a walking group.”

Pam describes her mother as a warm-hearted person who is always looking out for others.

“She’s been a fantastic mum,” she said.

“She’s a very caring woman. When I was sick she would race off and do my shopping for me and if any of the bowls ladies were in hospital she would always go and visit them.

“She has always been well liked by everyone.”

Ivy has seven grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren and two great great grandchildren.

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