Some choral magic on tour

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Manning Valley Choral Society members (back row) Will Knight, George Dan, Ed Pearce, Tony Pike, (middle) Geraldine Mullin, Merrill Phillips, Sue LeStrange, Kay Lygoe, Kerrie Andersen, Jacqueline Roetman, Margaret Moon, (front) Kim Billingham (director), Joan Saxby (accompanist) Robyn Rankin, Liz Tilson and Rowena Meldrum (director). Absent are Beverley Cox, Ruth Crossman, Sheila MacLeod Green, Anne Parish and Merri Rumble. Below:?Tony Pike, George Dan, Will Knight and Ed Pearce with accompanist Joan Saxby.
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Rowena Meldrum, Jacqueline Roetman, Kay Lygoe and Sue LeStrange with accompanist Joan Saxby.

Rowena Meldrum, Merrill Phillips, Kerrie Anderson, Margaret Moon, Geradline Mullin and Liz Tilson with accompanist Joan Saxby.

MAGIC, mirth and musicality are blended in this year’s vocal offering from the Manning Valley Choral Society.

The group has created a themed performance, featuring the musical magic of the night, life, nature, music and love, assembling a variety of popular and well-loved choral pieces, sure to delight every age and stage.

Each segment features massed choir, solo and small group/duet assemblages, with delightful interpretations and characterisations.

Laugh at the Prima Donna, swoon at the sensual One Enchanted Evening, be moved by Fantine’s performance of I Had a Dream, and join in much loved choruses from Sound of Music, Oliver and Doctor Doolittle.

The special event of the evening is a real life magician, ready to pop the rabbit out of the hat and astound the audience with his magical prowess!

Conducted by Mrs Kim Billingham, with narration by the bard of Taree, Mr David Billingham, with accompaniment by the dynamic Joan Saxby, the Church of Christ venue provides an intimate and acoustically friendly location for such a performance.

Following the previous performance in Taree last month, the Magical Mystery Tour will stop at Killabakh Community Hall at 2pm Saturday July 19, Harrington Waters Church at 2pm on Sunday July 20, Tinonee Memorial Hall at 2pm on Saturday July 26 and Tuncurry Beach Bowling Club at 2pm on Sunday July 27.

This is a show not to be missed, full of wonder, excitement and magical mystery for the whole family.

Tickets at the door, $10 adults, $20 family, $8 concession (pensioners and children over seven). Kindy and under – free.

Supper and afternoon tea will be available.

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Dance entries make Wellington’s Eisteddfod the best

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Local dancers are excited about this years big eventThe dance section of the Wellington Eisteddfod has dwarfed that of both Dubbo and Mudgee with more than 1800 entrants set to take to the stage.
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Now dancers from as far as Lithgow will be looking to take part in one of the strongest competitions in the region.

It’s a far cry from the days when locals had to go to Dubbo or Orange to perform.

Wellington Dance Academy principal Doreen Thompson was on the committee when the Wellington Eisteddfod began 38 years ago and has watched it go from strength to strength ever since.

She believes Wellington’s reputation as a friendly eisteddfod is what has kept people coming back across the years.

“It was exciting and difficult. Back then we didn’t know what we were doing and finding adjudicators wasn’t easy,” she said.

These days she is kept busy with her dance students; an extra day has been added into the dance schedule and Wellington alone has 20 group entrants as well as 60 to 70 solos.

“You still watch with your heart in your mouth, hoping they won’t make mistakes,” she said.

“It is very important for the children. It gives them a lot of self-confidence, stage experience and life experience really.”

“They start out as shy little people and it’s wonderful to see them grow in confidence.”

The eisteddfod starts July 29 with the speech and drama section which continues until July 31.

The dance section runs from August 2 to 10 and the vocal and instrumental section from August 12 to 14.

The grand concert will be on August 17 at 1.30pm.

For enquiries please call 6845 4434.

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Gordon has hit list of new ideas for Mid North Coast development

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LORRAINE Gordon has been appointed as the new CEO of Regional Development Australia (RDA) Mid North Coast.
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RDA Mid North Coast is about encouraging sustainable economic development across our region, growing our industries and creating more jobs.

As CEO, Lorraine will provide leadership and strategic direction as the organisation looks to new opportunities.

“To achieve growth in our region we need to challenge the process, inspire a shared vision and enable others to act,” Lorraine explains. “Ultimately, it’s about nurturing an environment that creates jobs.”

When it comes to economic development, Lorraine acknowledges there is a risk in trying to be all things to all people.

“RDA needs to ensure we are working where we can make a difference and secure some wins for our region. This is our chance to try some different approaches. Indigenous art and tourism, food manufacturing and renewable energy supply are some of the opportunities I’m keen to explore.”

Lorraine has 28 years of extensive industry experience and qualifications in business, leadership, management, governance and capacity building throughout Australia. Prior to joining RDA, Lorraine was managing director of Moffat Falls Pty Ltd which operates a number of tourism, health and agricultural businesses throughout the Mid North Coast and New England regions of NSW. Throughout her career, Lorraine has worked in a wide range of industry sectors such as agriculture, tourism, health, government and education and believes her broad industry experience is one of the reasons she was selected for the role of CEO.

“I look forward to working closely with local leaders in the coming months to see what initiatives we can bring forward to generate more job opportunities for our region.”

RDA Mid North Coast is a not for profit organisation that exists to be an effective conduit between governments and the communities that make up the region. The Mid North Coast covers the local government areas of Greater Taree, Port Macquarie Hastings, Kempsey, Nambucca, Bellingen, Coffs Harbour and Lord Howe Island. RDA Mid North Coast is a joint Australian and NSW government initiative.

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China: Julie Bishop comments that sparked Beijing’s rebuke ‘never’ made

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Australia foreign minister Julie Bishop: Beijing now suggests her comments made to Fairfax which drew a sharp rebuke in Chinese media were bogus. Photo: Ken IrwinOn Monday, China’s most popular tabloid, The Global Times, blasted Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop as a “complete fool” for telling Fairfax Media that she would stand up to China in defence of Australian values. Ms Bishop’s comments were originally published in Thursday’s The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. However, late on Tuesday night, on the eve of China’s highest-ranking general arriving to meet Australia’s top brass and Prime Minister Tony Abbott, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied that Ms Bishop said any of those offending remarks at all. In a remarkable statement provided in Q&A form, the ministry’s spokesman, Hong Lei, suggested that it was Australian diplomats who had informed them that the interview was bogus:  Question: Australian media, such as The Age carried reports on remarks made by the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in an interview. She said that China does not respect weakness, adding that Australia should stand up to China. What is China’s comment on that? Answer: The Australian side has clarified that with the Chinese side through diplomatic channel, saying that the Australian Foreign Minister has never made … such remarks. The official denial claimed by China clashes with the on-the-record comments made by Ms Bishop to Fairfax, which were recorded during the interview. The contradiction appears to be a combination of eagerness on both sides to smooth the relations combined with an old-fashioned diplomatic botch-up. After the Chinese government’s denial that the internationally controversial interview happened, the denial was immediately reported by state news agency Xinhua and party-mouthpiece The China Daily and circulated widely on social media. The Xinhua story ran under the headline “Australia denies willingness to confront China”.  The English-language editorial criticising Ms Bishop in The Global Times remains online, as well. The “complete fool” description was in the Chinese version, which also remains online. Neither Ms Bishop nor her office have raised any queries about the report in question.  The source of the mystery may lie in an interaction that took place between senior diplomats at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on Thursday. It is understood that the Chargé d’affaires at the Chinese embassy, Xue Bing, was told that “the minister could not have said those things, or words to that effect”. On Monday, Fairfax attempted to clarify this exchange by contacting the head of DFAT’s North Asia desk, Peter Rowe. It received this departmental statement, instead: “Senior departmental and Chinese Embassy officials held a routine meeting late last week. The discussions were cordial and useful.” Following are excerpts from the interview recordings:Bishop: China doesn’t, China doesn’t respect weakness. Garnaut: That’s interesting, you think you lost nothing from that? Bishop: No.  Garnaut: The idea that “we have to choose” has been proved wrong? Bishop: Absolutely. …Garnaut: I look at all these dynamics, I look at … Australia’s been very instrumental in tightening security relationships, intelligence sharing, with Japan, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, you know, it’s all there, and that’s partly in response to the possibility of conflicts going wrong with China. Bishop: Well, we’re pragmatic and we’re realistic. We know that the optimum is deeper engagement … but we’re also clear-eyed about what could go wrong. And so you have to hope for the best but manage for the worst. …Bishop: I feel that under the previous governments (Rudd/Gillard/Rudd) there was a level of incoherence about Australian foreign policy.  And there were not clear statements of where Australia stood on particular matters. And I was determined to ensure that Australia’s foreign policy was well understood and it was predictable in the sense that if an issue occurred people knew where Australia would stand on it. I don’t mean predictable in a sense that you would always know what Australia is going to do. I just meant that when it came to our values, and our beliefs, we were true to them. So I think that foreign policy under the Coalition is designed to project and protect our reputation as an open market export oriented economy; and so all we do and say supports those values we have on the economic front, and our values as an open liberal democracy committed to rule of law, committed to freedoms, and committed to international norms and being a respected international player. So, when something affects our national interest then we should make it very clear about where we stand and not be ambiguous. 
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Getting a job after 50

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Posted on Spotjobs南京夜网 was a simple request: “Im age 67 yrs and refuse to retire. I need a carreer [sic]”.
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Here, on a digital billboard, is the lament of the middle aged.

Another digital odd-jobs platform, Airtasker, is currently promoting its “grey army rocking on”. There’s Steve from Melbourne “who’s better than most with a computer and a dab hand with the paint brush”. Then there’s Craig from Sydney, a permaculture practitioner “with a wide variety of gardening and hard yakka skills”.

It’s a tribute to these men that they’re out there, but so many of those who once had careers and trades are now resorting to menial tasks. Nobody told the baby boomers it was going to be like this.

Is this a simple case of out with the old, in with the new? Can we blame the GFC, social change or just plain old age prejudice for so many being put out to pasture?

What’s been your experiencing getting a job – or hiring someone – over 50?

Once prejudice sets in, it is hard to leach out. In the construction industry, it is said to be extremely difficult for anyone over 40 to be considered for employment. It’s believed they may be carrying “damage” caused earlier in their careers when current safety procedures did not exist. As one contractor confides: “Many companies believe older men will bring a claim against them. They might have pre-existing medical conditions such as hearing damage or a back injury.”

Brian Maguire, principal of Sydney-based mentoring firm Absolute Clarity Communications, is now writing a book titled You’re not done yet. Maguire says many in their 50s apply for the same jobs as 30 years previously and wonder why the rejections keep coming. They are up against a recruitment market which is conservative, risk averse and template driven. “They think that if you hire a young person and they’re mediocre, the template is to blame, but if you hire an older person who doesn’t fit the template, you get the blame,” Maguire says.

Maguire says only 25 per cent of placements are made by the recruitment market, the rest by networks. List your portable skills and target the companies, he advises. “Don’t ask people for a job, just ask them for advice. Ask them: ‘What do I need for an insight, what do I need to bring to the job?’

“That person will give advice and might say call this person and so on. Before you know it, you’re building a network. Don’t go looking for a job, just ask the right people the right questions.”

Ted Longhurst, 59, was a national project manager for a big pharmaceutical company before his job was made redundant in 2009. Two years and more than 200 applications later, he landed a job as a regional sales manager with an ophthalmic surgical company. It was, he admits, not as senior a position, but he has no regrets.

“People have to accept that the highlights, that the highest role or highest salary might have happened at 35 or 40,” he says. “It’s not a failure to transition to a different phase of your career. The secret is to create new highlights in that next phase.”

Longhurst says he probably tried too hard to emphasise his skills and abilities during interviews.

“I probably over-talked the situation,” he admits. He advises not to present as bitter, lost or offended. Indeed, remove the ego altogether. “Get over it. There will always be a situation where they want a dynamic 35-year-old. Put your best foot forward. Less might be more when it comes to your CV.”

Sometimes the best foot forward is impossible. Not only has the job become redundant but the industry itself. Chris O’Shaughnessy, 61, worked for many years in broadcast television, then set up as a recruitment specialist for TV and radio. He found that setting up on his own became increasingly untenable as the permanent jobs market for broadcasting died.

“They used to employ hundreds of people. Nine had permanent staff, as did Seven and Ten. These businesses no longer produce their own TV – just breakfast shows and news. Everything else is shrink-wrapped by third party production houses and sold to the highest bidder – and they only employ contractors,” he says.

Could O’Shaughnessy, who now works in the charity sector, not apply his recruitment skills to another marketplace? “They say they’d sooner have someone who knows their specialist space and has a client list with 40 names on it. I might be able to get a job, but only if I could bring along my TV client list. The problem is that most of the names on it are retired, out of the industry or dead!”

Some simply reinvent themselves. Andrew de Souza, 50, who runs Sydney’s Northshore Business Coaching, found himself made redundant in early 2011 when the big US bank he worked for decided to downsize its foreign exchange trading desk. It had been the only kind of job de Souza had known for 25 years.

Within six months he had retrained as a business mentor and hasn’t looked back since. “If I can earn a six-figure salary coaching and mentoring people within the next two years, that’d be great,” de Souza says. “There’s a lot of satisfaction and pleasure in seeing people and businesses benefit and grow. Sure, I may have been paid better at JP Morgan but I can’t remember any of that kind of satisfaction.”

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Australian Tax Office compliance ability gutted, say departing insiders

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The ATO’s cultural shift away from being ‘revenue focused’ to a ‘light touch’ approach to tax enforcement posed a grave danger to federal government revenue streams. Photo: Louie DouvisThe Tax Office’s ability to catch or deter corporate tax cheats is being “gutted” by downsizing of its workforce, according to departing insiders.
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The ATO’s cultural shift away from being “revenue focused” to a “light touch” approach to tax enforcement posed a grave danger to federal government revenue streams, the upper middle managers have warned.

In exit interviews with Fairfax media, two compliance managers who are among the thousands of taxation bureaucrats leaving the office this year, have revealed how the ATO’s ability to do its job is being hollowed out by the downsizing process.

The revelations come as the federal government and opposition traded barbs over the Tax Office, with the Abbott government denying reports on Tuesday that ATO cuts might cost $1 billion in tax revenue.

According to the federal budget papers, the ATO’s staff numbers will drop from 21,390 to 19,068 in the next 12 months and the agency lost 900 staff last year as it bears the brunt of budget cuts.

The two managers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told of falling audit rates, a loss of industry-specific expertise and junior tax public servants being “outgunned” by highly paid private sector accountants.

The ATO did not respond to questions before deadline on Tuesday.

One of the resigning bureaucrats said that corporate tax cheats were more likely than ever before to avoid an audit, with ATO compliance teams “lucky” to generate two or three audits for every 20 risk reviews of corporate tax returns.

“Toward the end, a lot of our risk reviews weren’t converting to an audit process, we were getting a really bad conversion rate,” the manager said.

“It’s an exception more than the rule that you’ll get an audit up.

“The cases we were selecting weren’t the optimum cases where you’d be able to find issues that you could then convert into an audit.

“But as you lose the expertise, how are you going to pick the right cases?”

One of the managers said there was a widespread belief that the downsizing process was focused on effecting cultural change by ridding the Tax Office of many of its veterans and specialists.

“Some very senior capable people are going out the door and there are some others who were pushed to the side because they were too ‘revenue focused’, which means it was felt they didn’t understand the commerciality of a transaction,” he said.

“In Box Hill, about 10 EL2s (executive level two) from one area have gone out the door, and that area has been gutted.

“What’s left has not necessarily been the best.”

One of the managers warned that the ATO’s tax compliance capability was the major deterrent to tax avoidance and evasion and warned of anarchy if it was eroded.

“The Commissioner [of Taxation] says that 95 per cent of the revenue comes walking through the door, but it comes through the door because the compliance ability is there, the stick is in the cupboard,” he said.

“But if the stick is not in the cupboard, if people know there’s no cops on the beat, then it’s going to lead to anarchy down the track then someone is going to realise that they’re going to have to go out and recruit these people again.”

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Melbourne Express: July 16, 2014

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A render of the new tram bridge. Today’s satellite map.
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Good morning and welcome to Melbourne Express, our live blog from 6am-9am weekdays. Please send comments, corrections, updates and photos to [email protected]南京夜网.au or @LiamMannix or #melbourneexpress.

Good morning and welcome to Melbourne Express. We’ll have all the news you need for your commute to work right through to 9am.

If you missed them yesterday, here are our five most-read stories from the website’The epitome of ugliness’: Designs emerge for Docklands tram bridge over Yarra RiverDeadly Awards founder Gavin Jones dies after funding cutSacha Baron Cohen film outrages residents of UK town of GrimsbyIan Thorpe owed it to himself to be honest, but also to the publicBorder Force’s menacing ‘logo’ a lesson in getting design right, says its creator

Quite a nice day considering the season – top of 15 in Melbourne with some isolated showers in the morning and a dry afternoon. Expect a few showers in the evening. Currently it’s 9.9 degrees. FULL WEATHER.

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‘Invaluable’ member of Cundletown Primary

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Forty years on, Margaret Mobbs still loves her job at Cundletown Public School.IF you’ve attended or visited Cundletown Public School over the past 40 years then there’s one staff member in particular you’ll have come into contact with.
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Margaret Mobbs has been part of the framework at the school for four decades and on the last week of termtwo week her fellow staff decided to surprise her with a celebratory lunch in her honour.

Although the modest Margaret would have happily continued on without any fuss being made, as principal Bruce Coote told the celebration “40 years is something to be proud of, she’s a wealth of knowledge about the town, the families, the area, Margaret is invaluable to us”.

Margaret’s children and grandchildren have all attended the school and she remains passionate about the local school community.

“It’s a great school, I’ve got lots of good memories from my time here,” she said.

As assistant principal Barbara Roberts said, “your school is only as good as the person who runs the office,” and many would argue this means Cundletown is doing very well.

Margaret has seen many changes over the years, from the social side of the community, right through to changes to education and of course to technology and her role.

“When I first started we had six entries from exercise books, then we moved into computers and that was a big change,” she explained.

“I’ve had to adapt to the different changes over the years and it can be a bit daunting, but I also think it’s kept me young.”

In today’s society, 10 years in the same job is considered a feat and the school congratulated her on her 40 years of dedicated service.

“It truly has gone so quickly though,” said Margaret.

“I can’t believe it’s been 40 years, but I’ve loved my job and that’s why I’m still here.”

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Taree skateboarder ‘heaps stoked’ by mag feature

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Cody Passfield is featured in the 200th edition of Slam Skateboarding Magazine.TAREE grown Cody Passfield may not be sponsored at the moment but he’s certainly making an impression on the Australian skateboarding scene.
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The 17-year-old has a four-page spread in the 200th edition of Slam Skateboarding Magazine, highlighting him as one of the new generation of skateboarders coming up through the ranks.

He started skating 11 years ago and in recent months was invited by a skateboarding mate, who is also from the Manning, to move down to Sydney and live with him.

Cody moved down and it wasn’t long before he caught the interest of photographer Cameron Markin.

He was asked whether he would like to be a New Gen in Slam magazine and two months later his profile feature was published in the anniversary edition.

“I’m heaps stoked on that.”

Cody said the adrenalin rush he gets when he lands a trick (such as the 50/50 grind down a kinked rail) is something he enjoys but in addition to skateboarding as much as he can, he’s out looking for work.

“I also need to start saving so I can get my own place.”

His aim is to become a professional skateboarder, but knows it won’t happen overnight.

“It’s going to take a couple of years for that to happen.”

This isn’t Cody’s first appearance in Slam magazine.

He was first featured when he was 11 or 12 (about the same time he secured a sponsorship from the Element label) and again about five or six months ago.

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A daughter of the Manning – always!

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It’shappened again.
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Port Macquarie is trying to claim our sportstars.

And this time we call on Greater Taree City Council to be pro active and place economic sanctions on our nearest northern neighbour. For this is simply not good enough.

This correspondent was busy at work last week, as usual, when we received a call from a journalist from a Hastings paper, believed to be the Port Macquarie News.

“Just found out that squash star Kasey Brown is from Port Macquarie,” he said.

“Do you have a contact number or e-mail?”

This correspondent’s blood boiled.

“Kasey Brown is a daughter of the Manning,” we fumed.

“Kasey, or Kase, as we like to call her, is even a former Manning River Times Sportstar of the Year.

“She attended Port Macquarie High School for a mere two years to be closer to her then coach, who lived up there somewhere. Read any of her biographies Kasey calls Taree home.

“End of story.”

However this body of evidence wasn’t good enough for our northern colleague.

“Well, we’re claiming her,” he laughed.

Claiming her indeed.

Now the regular reader of this garbage would know that we took Port Macquarie to task just over 12 months ago when they decided world boxing champion Arlene Blencowe was theirs. At the time Arlene was living in Taree but training in Port Macquarie, so that was good enough for them.

“Our world champion,” screamed the headline in a Port Macquarie-based newspaper, possibly the Port News after she won the title.

Port can possibly say Arlene belongs to them now because she moved to the Camden Haven area. At least she resides in the Hastings, a little closer to the sporting Mecca of Port Macquarie.

As we noted in this space in our rant last year, Port once decided someone born across the Tasman was a true blue Port Macquarie lad. New Zealander Jarrod McCraken spent one solitary year in Port playing rugby league. The following season after signing with Canterbury he starred for the Kiwis in a rare test win over Australia.

“Our Jarrod, test hero,” the front page of a Port Macquarie-based newspaper (possibly the Port News) announced.

As we said at the time they have form.

Now it’s bad enough that Port Macquarie gets federal government grants for just about everything. But with all those facilities they have up there you’d think they’d be able to produce their own home grown sporting star and not have to pinch one from us.

Now, we fully understand that Port Macquarie is just a bigger version of Harrington Waters, possibly minus the sand flies.

But we challenge them to provide a list of their legitimate sport champions.

And by legitimate we mean those born there and not who moved their in the winter of their life to retire, although we will concede those people make up the vast majority of Port’s population.

We bet there won’t be one who can match Johnny Martin, Troy Bayliss, the Towers twins, Danny Buderus, Johnny Fahey or Our Kase. We just bet.

They’ll be trying to claim the Martin Bridge next.

Actually, they can have that.

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