3BA Christmas appeal receives annual donation

THE 3BA CHRISTMAS in July appeal is entering its seventh week with a bang, accepting a donation from the Ballarat New Generation Probus Club, which has made the same donation for almost a decade.

New Generation Probus Club vice-president Robyn Walker, Shirley Fryer and Heather Annand with their donations for the Christmas in July appeal. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

Club vice-president Robyn Walker said it was a strong tradition for the group, but downplayed the group’s generosity.

“We understand we can go home and have a meal every night, but there are people who struggle to do that,” she said.

The club donated around a dozen boxes of cereal, canned foods, and treats for children.

Appeal director Peter Caligari said it was much appreciated, and again asked the community to contribute to support people in trouble in the cold Ballarat winter.

“This is a wonderful contribution from the Probus club,” he said.

“The demand placed on our welfare groups and charities is massive, and more and more families are depending on them.”

The appeal’s annual Donate a Dollar Day is on Thursday, and Mr Caligari said it was a great chance for businesses to show their commitment to charity.

“It’s just a little gesture to show they’re thankful to be in work and recognise some people are doing it tough,” he said.

3BA staff will visit businesses on Thursday.

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Man pleads guilty to stealing, firearms offences

A BOGGABILLA man has pleaded guilty to a string of firearms and break-in offences after he was arrested on Sunday.

Adam John Sutton, 30, was searched by police after they spotted him on a quad bike outside a Macintyre St, Boggabilla, home about 3.15am on Sunday.

Police had been responding to a break-and-enter at a Bruxner Highway property when they saw a quad bike being ridden along the highway towards Boggabilla.

Officers chased the bike into the paddocks until the rider jumped off and escaped into the bush.

A short time later, police stopped Sutton on a separate quad bike before they seized a number of items allegedly stolen from a Bruxner Highway property.

He was arrested on the spot and taken to the Boggabilla Police Station.

As part of the investigation, police raided homes in Macintyre St and McCosker St and will allege they found several items, including a firearm, ammunition, part of a replica firearm, alcohol and clothing.

Several items are believed to be the proceeds of recent break-ins around the Boggabilla and Goondiwindi areas.

Sutton was charged with several offences, including possess an unregistered firearm, possess an unauthorised firearm, take and drive a conveyance, not keep firearm safely, possess ammunition and enter enclosed lands.

He was refused bail and fronted Moree Local Court on Monday, where one charge of receiving stolen property was dropped by prosecutors.

Sutton pleaded guilty to the seven remaining charges and was refused bail ahead of his sentencing next month.

An investigation into the identity of the other rider is continuing.

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Newcastle Hunters get shot at glory with Boomers

Ben Simmons, Australian basketballer who is the number 1 player in US high school basketball. 4 June 2014. (Box Hill Senior Secondary College head coach Kevin Goorjian)The Age Sport. Photo:Eddie Jim.FORMER Newcastle Hunters juniors Damian Martin and Ben Simmons have been included in the 17-man Australian Boomers squad for the final selection trials before the FIBA World Cup in Spain starting next month.

Gloucester-born Martin and Melbourne-born Simmons both represented the Hunters and Lake Macquarie Lightning as boys before pursuing their careers outside the region.

Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis will conduct a training camp at the Basketball Australia national centre of excellence in Canberra from July 23 to 29 to trim the squad to the final 12.

The Boomers will then leave for Europe for warm-up games to fine-tune their preparation for their World Cup opener against Slovenia on Sunday, August 31.

The tournament, formerly known as the world championships, will tip off on August 30 and conclude on September 14.

Simmons, who was in Las Vegas this month at the LeBron James skills camp for America’s top high school players, is being touted as a likely No.1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

He will be joined in Boomers camp by friend Dante Exum, who was drafted three weeks ago by the Utah Jazz and is representing them in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

Martin represented Australia at the 2010 world championships and was the last player cut for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The 29-year-old guard captained Perth Wildcats to a record sixth National Basketball League title in April and collected his fourth straight NBL defensive player of the year award.

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Simmons, who will turn 18 on Sunday, and Exum, who turned 19 three days ago, made their Boomers debuts in the Oceania qualifying series against New Zealand last year.

Injury has forced both championship-winning San Antonio Spurs star Patty Mills and the Golden State Warriors’ Andrew Bogut out of the World Cup.

Mills had shoulder surgery a fortnight ago and is not expected back until next year.

Bogut, who has been dogged by injury the past few years, announced this month that he would not be available for Australia’s campaign.

Lemanis named four NBA players, Exum, Mills’s San Antonio teammate Aron Baynes, Cleveland Cavaliers’ Matthew Dellavedova and Chicago Bulls draftee Cameron Bairstow, in his preliminary squad.

“I’m very pleased with the group of players we have coming into camp. We have a good mix of experience and youth and I’m looking forward to seeing it all come together,” Lemanis said.

“I know that all of us still feel disappointed for Patty and wish him all the best in his recovery, but as a group there is still belief and confidence that we will perform well at the World Cup.”

Rising stars Chris Goulding and Brock Motum, who are both in action at this week’s NBA Summer League, were included.

Lemanis also named six players from Australia’s NBL competition and a handful of European-based players.

“We now not only have players in the world’s best seasonal competitions, but they are playing significant roles with their teams,” he said. “This is yet another reflection of our strength as a basketball nation and the development our players receive through our high-performance pathways.”

20yo guilty of bashing 83yo

A TAMWORTH man will be sentenced next month after violently attacking an elderly man and launching a tirade of abuse at another in an out-of-control outburst.

Jarrad Knox pleaded guilty to seven charges stemming from the separate and random attacks on the vulnerable men on the morning of March 23.

The 20-year-old left an 83-year-old man bloodstained and bruised after hailing him down and punching him through his car window on Bourke St.

The violent punches came after he unleashed his anger down the street, yelling a host of expletives before the attack turned physical.

Just minutes beforehand, he had stormed into the home of a 75-year-old cancer sufferer, yelling he was “going to die old man”.

One of the victims was covered in blood when he walked into the local police station before officers found Knox in a nearby street.

He was arrested but not before a physical confrontation with officers, leaving them too with minor injuries.

In Tamworth Local Court yesterday, prosecutors laid a number of new charges against the accused before three other offences were withdrawn.

A number of family members were present in court for yesterday’sproceedings, as Knox appeared via video link from the Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre – a maximum-security facility inSydney.

Solicitor Joanne Patton said Knox was pleading guilty to seven offences including assault occasioning actual bodily harm, stalk and intimidate, two counts of assaulting police, resisting police, entering enclosed lands and malicious damage.

The sickening attack drew widespread criticism from within the Tamworth community.

In May, relieving Magistrate Robert Rabbidge said it was a strong Crown case and that Knox’s actions were “appalling.”

He further added, during a bail hearing, it would be “frankly farcical” to release Knox from prison. “The community would be outraged.”

Knox has been behind bars since the attacks, with the Crown maintaining he was a threat to thecommunity.

The facts of the case as well as Knox’s record have been tendered prior to his August sentencing.

Knox will remain in jail until the case returns to court.

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Wayne Bennett won’t look back in anger at Knights

KNIGHTS coach Wayne Bennett does not feel let down by former owner Nathan Tinkler.

Bennett announced last week that he would leave the Knights at the end of the season, saying he felt embarrassed and disappointed by the team’s performances on his watch and that it was time to hand the reins to someone else.

The seven-time premiership-winning coach dropped that bombshell four weeks after the NRL took control of the Knights from Tinkler’s Hunter Sports Group company.

Bennett’s four-year contract with the Knights was due to expire at the end of next season but that was nullified by Tinkler’s decision to sever ties, meaning the coach and his support staff were only contracted to the new regime until the end of October.

In an interview with former Knights five-eighth Matthew Johns on Sydney radio station Triple M yesterday, Bennett said he still kept in contact with Tinkler.

Asked if he felt the former billionaire had let him down, Bennett said: “No, I don’t feel let down. I never feel let down by people. I taught myself that a long time ago, Matty.

“It breaks your heart if you start worrying about people letting you down. I’d have been broken-hearted that many times.

“I mean, you get disappointed about things in life, but I don’t ever feel people let me down. Their choice is their decision. It’s what they do, and they let themselves down, mate, not me.”

Bennett declined to go into detail when asked if his chaotic three years at the Knights under Tinkler’s ownership had lived up to his expectations.

“I’m trying to get the season done and maybe one day I’ll write a book about it. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll never talk about it. Who knows?”

Bennett told Johns this season with the Knights had been the most difficult of his career.

“I suppose when you put everything together, I’ve had some difficult ones, but when you throw it all in together starting on January 6th when Russell Packer went to jail, I suppose it has been, yeah, on top of everything else that’s happened after that,” he said.

Bennett said he had not visited Packer in jail but had kept in touch with the former Warriors and New Zealand Test prop, whose four-year contract with the Knights was torn up before he played a game for the club.

“No, I haven’t, because he’s been a long way away,” the coach said. “He’s about a six-hour trip away to go and see him, but he keeps in constant contact with me, and I’ve been in contact with him.

“Like Alex [McKinnon], he’s accepted his situation and he’s trying to make the best of it, and he’ll be out in January next year.”

Bennett told Johns he had no regrets about his decision to leave the Knights and hoped the players continued to demonstrate the same commitment and intensity they produced in the second half of their 31-18 victory over Cronulla last Sunday.

“The decision’s made – [I’m] moving on – but I was pleased with their effort,” he said.

“I loved their effort and I really valued what they did. If we can do that for the rest of the year, then I’ll be the happiest guy in the world leaving Newcastle.

“I don’t want to leave Newcastle playing rubbish and playing stuff that embarrasses us at all, and that’s what I’ve been. I’ve been embarrassed, mate. I’ve been embarrassed up there by the way we’ve played and I’ve got to take responsibility for that. I’m the coach.”

Bennett dismissed Johns’s suggestion that he would return to the Broncos, whom he coached to six premierships from as many grand final appearances during his 21-year tenure in Brisbane.

“Go for your life. I’m not going to add to it,” Bennett said.

“You’re like everybody else.

“You’ve got an opinion on it all, so you keep all having an opinion and I’ll just sit back and make my own decision in my own time and I’ll do what I think’s right by me.”

Meanwhile, Bennett has named Adam Cuthbertson on an extended bench for the game against Gold Coast at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.

Cuthbertson’s inclusion is the only change to the team that rallied from an 18-0 deficit to beat the Sharks 31-18 at Remondis Stadium on Sunday.

The Leeds-bound utility forward returned from a knee injury in Newcastle’s 44-10 victory over his former club Manly in the NSW Cup game at Brookvale Oval on Saturday.

New GM found for Armidale council

NEW FACE: Glenn Wilcox will take the helm of Armidale Dumaresq Council in August.

ARMIDALE Dumaresq Council has closed the book on one of the most tumultuous chapters in its history with the appointment of a new general manager, after the controversial exit of its previous one six months ago.

Yesterday mayor Laurie Bishop announced current Blayney Shire Council general manager Glenn Wilcox would take over the role from August 18, marking “the start of a new beginning for Armidale and the council”.

The council began the search for a new general manager after former GM Shane Burns sensationally left the job, amid allegations of a deteriorating working relationship between he and Cr Bishop.

The issue came to a head when Cr Bishop tabled a mayoral minute on January 21, calling for the early termination of Mr Burns’ contract if mediation failed to resolve the “strained working arrangements” of the council executive.

Mr Burns alleged the move was an attempt to gag him in the wake of code of conduct allegations against the mayor.

On February 17, Mr Burns and the council agreed on terms for the termination of his contract, although the outgoing general manager said at the time he was a reluctant participant in the negotiations and felt he’d been left with no other option.

Yesterday, Cr Bishop agreed it was the end of a tumultuous period, but it had been necessary to secure the future of the council.

“Change is never easy and it sometimes gets people out of their comfort zone, but change was what was needed to move Armidale forward,” he said.

Mr Wilcox was one of two candidates who went through a final interview with councillors last Friday, whittled down from more than 20 who began the process.

He has almost 30 years’ experience in local government, including holding senior positions within Gloucester Shire Council.

Cr Bishop said Mr Wilcox’s appointment showed a commitment by council to secure a strong and experienced leader who could work with the council, staff and the community to deliver a sound economic future for the area.

“My priority has been to bring about change, because it’s imperative that occurs,” he said.

“The local government review panel said we needed to do things differently and that means doing things as a collective regionally, so it’s important we cement relationships with our neighbours and those right across the New England region.”

One of the council’s priorities would be the positioning of the area to take full advantage of the funding opportunity available to regional areas from the part sale of the state’s electricity network.

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Emmaville hospital ditches doctor

ANXIOUS residents of a small New England town have turned out in force to support a local doctor whose future is hanging under a malpractice cloud.

Emmaville GP John Liu, the only doctor at the local hospital, has been suspended by Hunter New England Health amid accusations of unsafe practices.

More than 100 residents crammed the Emmaville Memorial Hall this week in support of Dr Liu and expressed grave fears for the community’s health without a practising doctor at the local hospital.

Dr Liu is still able to practice at his GP clinic but has been suspended as the visiting medical officer at the hospital.

Hunter New England Health’s (HNEH) Dr Peter Finlayson told residents there had been “a considerable number of concerns” about Dr Liu’s clinical practice and the health service had launched an investigation.

He said “ensuring patient safety” wasparamount.

“There are enough things that the community has not seen that are really concerning,” Dr Finlayson said.

Among other issues raised were suggestions of racism and bullying at the hospital and a number of reports of questionable practices by nursing staff.

“Bullying and racial prejudice is not accepted, full-stop,” Dr Finlayson said.

“We do not tolerate it. It is as simple as that.”

Responding to reports about nurses advising patients to transport themselves to Glen Innes District Hospital, Dr Finlayson admitted there had been incidents of unacceptable practice.

Dr Finlayson said the investigation was in the interests of providing the best possible service and ensuring patient safety, adding that if Dr Liu was found to be innocent, he would be allowed to return “almost immediately”.

Dr Liu could not be reached for comment.

– Glen Innes Examiner

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Sovereigns open netball try-outs

BALLARAT’S new Victorian Netball League team Sovereigns expect to announce try-out dates later this week.

Sovereigns’ board of management will meet on Thursday for the first time since being admitted to the VNL.

Club administrator Jordan O’Keefe said this was the first opportunity to get all board members together.

He said setting try-out dates would be among the first items of business.

O’Keefe said all other VNL teams had already finalised try-out dates.

Geelong Cougars will be the first, with the first of its sessions on July 28.

VU Western Lightning has the latest completion date of September 21.

O’Keefe said a coaching structure and recruiting strategy would be other agenda items.

Sovereigns have already decided on a director of coaching and a head coach, but are yet to determine exactly how team coaching positions will structured.

O’Keefe said there would also discussion about the possibility of recruiting marquee players to bolster what would be primarily a Ballarat region-based list.

He said the Sovereigns’ successful application for the VNL licence left vacant by the exiting Ballarat Pride had emphasised that a focus would be on fostering home-grown talent.

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Hopkins Falls in a lather as our wettest month continues

THE Hopkins Falls are flowing fiercely after heavy rain in the past few weeks.

Mountains of foam pile up at the foot of the Hopkins Falls yesterday. 140714AS08 Picture: AARON SAWALL

The attraction has drawn plenty of sightseers keen to witness the mass of water flowing under the bridge and down the river towards the mouth at Warrnambool.

Bureau of Meteorology figures show 54 millimetres of rain so far this month recorded at the Warrnambool airport, with the highest figure of 13mm recorded last Saturday.

July is traditionally the wettest month of the year for the area, with 88mm of rain usually recorded.

June’s rainfall of 114mm was above the average of 77mm.

However, rainfall for the six months to the end of June is on par with average. A total of 327mm has been recorded at the airport, compared to the average of 329mm.

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Little Wings ready to hand over awards baton

RECIPIENT: Kevin Robinson was the recipient of last year’s Westpac Community Leaders Award.THEY’VE flown 39 times to Tamworth and transported 117 locals to and from Westmead Children’s Hospital and now Little Wings is ready to hand over the baton it earned last year at the Westpac Community Leaders Awards.

Kevin Robinson, the founder of the not-for-profit organisation, was a recipient in the inaugural awards ceremony last year.

Since 2011 the service has provided a free regional flight service to and from the Children’s Hospital at Westmead for kids undergoing treatment for cancer-related illnesses.

The aim is to lessen travel fatigue, the financial burden, emotional strain and the length of time children spend away from their families.

Nominations are open to find the second recipients of the Westpac Community Leaders Award.

Award recipients receive $5000 for their organisation, $5000 worth of Davidson Institute training and enrolment in a social impact training course from Net Balance worth $1595, as well as a thought leadership course prepared specifically for the community leaders awards in conjunction with the Australian Graduate School of Management.

The individual will also receive a $500 MasterCard gift card.

Finalists will be announced in October.

For more information about the 2014 Westpac Community Leaders Awards or to nominate a leader fromyour community, visit www.westpac南京夜网.au/CLA2014

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