Kelso Public School hit by vandals: $200,000 damage

CLEAN-UP OPERATION: It was a quiet scene outside Kelso Public School yesterday in stark contrast to the mayhem within the classrooms over the weekend. Photo: ZENIO LAPKA 081114zkelso1VANDALS caused up to $200,000 in damage at Kelso Public School as they made their way from classroom to classroom over the weekend.
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Those responsible who struck between early Saturday evening and Sunday morning smashed their way through more than half the school’s 21 classrooms, pouring paint over a number of rooms and destroying computers and smartboards as they went.

The attack prompted an immediate response from NSW Education and Communities, which yesterday announced a major security upgrade for the school, including installing closed circuit television and an alarm.

Chifley local area command Acting Inspector Leanne Walsh said yesterday scene-of-crime officers spent a large part of Sunday at the school sorting through the mess looking for physical evidence.

“The incident occurred between 5.30pm on Saturday and 10.30am Sunday. Thirteen of the school’s 21 rooms have been targeted with an estimated $100,000 to $200,000 in damage,” Acting Inspector Walsh said.

“It appears they have broken into the canteenvia the roller door and, once inside, thrown drinksaround. From the canteen they have been able toaccess the main body of the school and, onceinside, smashed smartboards, televisions andcomputers.

“Forensic police attended the scene on Sundayand we are now appealing for any member of thecommunity who may have seen anyone on schoolgrounds during this period to contact police on6332 8699 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.”

Acting Inspector Walsh said the incident was atimely reminder for the community to be vigilant,and if they see anyone on school grounds to contactpolice immediately.

Acting Inspector Walsh said police will alwaysfollow up information and said anyone found onschool grounds outside school hours without permissioncan expect to be prosecuted.

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Church upgrade to open doors to community

EXTENSIONS to Mildura’s Church of Christ building along Deakin Avenue are expected to be finished before Christmas, with a grand opening planned for February 2015.
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COMMUNITY: Mildura Church of Christ minister Andrew Tonkin and members of the church are excited about the new $800,000 building works at the Deakin Avenue church site. Picture: Carmel Zaccone

Minister Andrew Tonkin yesterday said the $800,000 cost of the work had been donated, or raised in-house, but the finished multi-purpose rooms would benefit the whole community.

The chapel itself will continue to seat 200 people, but is undergoing refurbishments to bring it into the 21st Century, with upgrades to cooling and heating systems.

A new building along the length of the church block will feature a kitchen, disability toilets, a board room, dedicated children’s room and four multi-purpose rooms.

“At the moment we have (groups like) Alcoholics Anonymous through to a community choir and the CWA, those sorts of groups, using our church,” Mr Tonkin said. “They do find it hard to find quality rooms at an affordable price and, otherwise, if we didn’t offer the space, they couldn’t afford to meet.”

More than 50 children take part in the church’s kids adventure club each Tuesday, while 40 young people attend a youth group each Friday.

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Wallabies’ front row takes another hit

Decisions: Ewen McKenzie. Photo: Matt KingExperienced Test prop Sekope Kepu says the Wallabies can rise above a litany of injuries to match a seasoned All Blacks pack in front of more than 70,000 people at ANZ Stadium this weekend.
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As ticket sales tracked towards the biggest Bledisloe Cup crowd since Sonny Bill Williams’ return to Sydney with the All Blacks in 2012, the Wallabies lost another forward to injury.

Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu broke an arm in a Shute Shield game on Sunday, joining fellow front-rowers Laurie Weeks (hamstring), Tatafu Polota-Nau (knee) and Stephen Moore (knee) on the sidelines.

Reds hooker Saia Fainga’a was called into the squad, boosting the pack’s experience with his 27 Test caps, and NSW prop Paddy Ryan replaced Weeks.

Kepu said the injuries were disappointing but backed the replacements to get the job done.

“It’s not like you’re pulling guys that haven’t played at Super Rugby level and guys like [James] Hanson and [Nathan] Charles have played massive amounts of games this year, and credit to them they’ve played really well,” he said.

“It’s their chance to step up to the plate. I’ve no doubt they are looking forward to soaking up the occasion and taking the opportunity. They’re ready to go and as long as we can prepare well as a forward pack and a team we’ll be in for a fight.”

Jaco Peyper will be on the whistle on Saturday and the Wallabies will be hoping last year’s Bledisloe Cup Test in Wellington was not a marker for games under the South African referee.

Peyper was criticised for letting the All Blacks get away with a raft of cynical breakdown infringements in New Zealand’s 27-16 second-Test victory, and for heavily penalising Australia.

Kepu, who came off the bench in that match, will also be under the spotlight after attracting Craig Joubert’s attention in the Super Rugby final.

The Waratahs’ scrum had trouble adapting to Latu’s injection in the front row after Polota-Nau was injured, and Joubert was heard breathlessly telling his assistants Kepu was “getting smashed” by the Crusaders’ pack in the second half.

The stage could be set for a rematch of sorts, as Crusaders prop Wyatt Crockett – the loose-head during that game – is in line for Test selection this weekend.

“I’ve already looked at ways to nullify that.” Kepu said. “I sat down with the set-piece coaches and went through it last week. They’re little things, and we’ll look to improve on that provided I get the chance to come up against them this week.

“It’s always exciting going up against those guys, whoever they put up in the front row there they’ve always got class.”

ARU officials will be breathing a sigh of relief to learn the afterglow remains from the Waratahs’ historic Super Rugby victory.

Where the State of Origin opener appeared to affect sales for the opening Test of the France series in Brisbane 10 days later, no such hangover will affect Saturday’s match.

ANZ Stadium is confident the crowd will top 70,000, surpassing the 68,700 for last year’s Sydney Bledisloe Test as well as the 70,200 who turned out for the same game in 2010.

It will take a special effort to beat the 76,800 at the 2012 Test, which was league convert Williams’ first international back in Sydney with New Zealand.

But after the Waratahs’ victory there two weeks ago and the Blues’ Origin drought-breaker in June, officials, players and fans alike will be hoping good things happen in threes.

Possible Wallabies team: Israel Folau, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Toomua, Pat McCabe, Bernard Foley, Nic White, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper (c), Scott Fardy, Sam Carter, Rob Simmons, Sekope Kepu, Nathan Charles, James Slipper.

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Heartwarming gift

EVERYBODY needs a blanket to stay warm and “a teddy to keep them safe” – just ask Jasmin Lilley, 11, and Kamryn McRae, 10.
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GENEROSITY: Nichols Point Primary School students Jasmin Lilley and Kamryn McRae collected blankets, pillows, teddies and books to donate to Mallee Accommodation and Support Program chief executive Doug Tonge. Picture: Clancy Shipsides

The Nichols Point Primary School students yesterday met with Mallee Accommodation and Support Program (MASP) representatives to donate pillows, blankets, teddy bears and books they had collected.

The girls had put the word out to their school community, via the newsletters and social media pages, that they wanted to give any items local families could spare to those in need.

Their altruistic initiative was part of their school’s Active Challenging Education (ACE) program, through which children can choose their own project to work on throughout each term.

For Jasmin and Kamryn, their reason for choosing this project was simple.

“We wanted to help people who are less fortunate than us so they can live happily,” Jasmin said.

“And so they keep warm in the cold winters,” Kamryn added.

Their Year 5/6 teacher Carli Callahan said the ACE program built life skills and allowed students to choose what they wanted to study, find their passions and follow them.

“For these girls, the first step was they wanted to help someone in the community less fortunate than them,” she said.

“They were originally going to do a garage sale but with time constraints they didn’t get to that point. Instead, they had to contact places in the community where they could donate the goods that were donated by families and students at the school.

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Fest’s sweet success

Wentworth’s Maree McLeod, who was last week named Mildura Marmalade Master, says Sunraysia is “absolutely” a marmalade-maker’s heaven.
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WINDOW A WINNER: All About Me store owner Sharyon Peart won the best dressed window competition during the city’s Zest Fest citrus celebration. Picture: Clancy Shipsides

Mrs McLeod received the award as part of Mildura City’s second annual Zest Fest citrus festival.

Her winning recipe was a lemon and lime mix, and her first experience mixing more than one fruit in a marmalade.

But the Wool Shed Pantry owner is no stranger to the craft – she has spent years experimenting with all the fruit the region has to offer.

“I use all local products apart from few a few berries,” Mrs McLeod said. “(Many) people aren’t aware there are mangoes grown here, so all those products I try to use.

“There’s a new variety of boysenberry and I did a trial of that last year … so I made some things with that and added a bit of basil and it was quite good.”

Zest Fest wound up on Saturday with a ‘Marmalade Breakfast’ at Langtree Mall, where the winners of the competition were announced.

Mildura’s Anita Fundak was awarded runner-up with her bhudda’s hand citron marmalade and Irymple’s Emma Ash, 15, was named Junior Marmalade Master for her orange marmalade.

The people’s choice title was awarded to Mildura couple Damien and Elaine Green for their mandarin and bourbon marmalade.

The competition was judged by Ryan Casey from Stefano’s Preserves, and Lyndall Vandenberg from Sunraysia Farmer’s Market.

“Sunraysia Farmer’s Market were pleased to be involved in the annual Zest Fest citrus celebration, highlighting the diverse range of fresh citrus grown in the region,” Ms Vandenberg said.

“There were 31 entries into the marmalade competition and we were very impressed with the quality of the entries,” Mr Casey said.

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Reserve planting day reaps many benefits

Volunteers help Wynyard Landcare plant 200 trees at Doctors Rocks on National Tree Day.PLANET ARK National Tree Day saw 35 volunteers plant 200 native coastal plants at Doctors Rocks Conservation area.
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The Wynyard Landcare Group and the Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service hosted the event, which was attended by Wynyard Scouts, Doctors for the Environment and local residents.

For many volunteers it was their first visit to the reserve, and this activity had given them “the excuse they needed to stop and explore the reserve that they had driven past on numerous occasions,” said Wynyard Landcare member Amanda Hosking.

“I was really impressed with the local turnout on [National Tree Day] and the fact that half the group was made up of young children,” Miss Hosking said.

“Improving the habitat values for the Little Penguins that inhabit the area was the primary goal and the plants selected were specially selected to be able to survive in the harsh coastal conditions.

“Not only does tree planting give people a chance to get their hands, or at least gloves, in the dirt and interact with nature in a positive way but it also gives them a greater sense of connection to their local reserves,” Miss Hosking said.

One of the volunteers said she and her young son would return regularly to check the progress of the plants.

“It is these sorts of outcomes that are really what Landcare is all about and are the key to successfully managing these areas into the future,” Miss Hosking said.

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Snow likely to ease as temperatures rise

BRAVE: A wombat braves the icy conditions. Picture: Kyle Rodgers.THE snow that covered areas of Tasmania on the weekend is likely to recede from lower areas today.
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Snow reached as low as 500 to 600 metres above sea level yesterday, but is likely to stay above 900 metres today.

A strong high-pressure system off Tasmania’s west would be the dominant weather feature this week, Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Matthew Thomas said.

FREEZING: Snow-blanketed Waratah. Picture: Cordell Richardson.

That system will move over Tasmania on Thursday into Friday.

“As that high slowly approaches, we are going to see an easing of south-westerly winds and we’ll see temperatures not as cold,” Mr Thomas said.

“The temperatures over the next few days . . . are standard winter.”

In Devonport and Burnie, temperatures will rise slightly from the top temperatures of 12 degrees yesterday to around 14 this week.

BOM climatologist Ian Barnes-Keoghan said the weather would be hard to predict for the next few months.

He said this winter had not been exceptional, aside from extreme weather events and slightly warmer-than-usual temperatures.

Cradle Mountain. Picture: Rhea Jade von Stieglitz.

This year, despite the mini-tornado on the Coast, was not like last year.

“Last year’s winter was quite exceptional,” Mr Barnes-Keoghan said.

The wet weather last winter, which had back-to-back days of rain, was unlike years before that.

While inland areas have received good snowfalls, later this year could be deeper.

Waratah war memorial. Picture: Jack Beltane.

However, that deeper snow is more likely to fall on higher ground.

“Some of the snow tends to be later in the season,” Mr Barnes-Keoghan said.

If the ground is already cold, snow is less likely to melt.

Mr Barnes-Keoghan said days would not likely get warmer in Tasmania soon, although it was too soon to tell what the weather would do.

The road to Cradle Mountain. Picture: Kate Hollindale.

He said winds would likely be strong.

“This is the time of year we tend to get the strong winds.”

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POLL: Bid to fence vandals out: $35,000 to protect players and property

SOLUTION: Heavy-duty fencing should put an end to vandalism at the Orange hockey fields in Glenroi. Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0811sgfence2ORANGE Hockey Incorporated president Michelle Stevenson hopes the installation of a $35,000 fence will help fight the vandalism that has plagued the Glenroi sportsground for years.
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Earlier this year the organisation successfully applied for an Orange City Council sports facility partnership program grant and was given $15,000, which the organisation was required to match dollar-for-dollar.

Ms Stevenson said stopping vandals from cutting fencing on the perimeter of the sporting fields had proved frustrating and she hoped the upgraded fencing would solve the problem.

“It turned into a battle of wills,” she said.

Ms Stevenson said the heavy-duty fencing would be the same as what was installed at Glenroi Public School, with the addition of reinforced brackets.

“We hope we’ll be able to stop the flow-through (traffic) and we also want to match the school fence,” Ms Stevenson said.

She said the priority was to ensure the safety of the players who used the sporting fields.

“We try and make our sport safe and we have children that need to be protected,” she said.

Ms Stevenson expected the new fencing to be installed within the next month.



A Glenroi resident said council had been outsmarted when it came to erecting a fence around the sporting fields.

He said council staff were continually replacing sections of the fence, which had been cut in order to make a short cut from Glenroi to take-away food and alcohol outlets on Bathurst Road.

“They’ve repaired it so many times, but as soon as they do it’s ripped again,” he said.

“A lot of money is being spent on this.”

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No date for black spot funding

The mobile blackspot program is a government initiative to extend mobile phone coverage in rural Australia. File photoPeople living in regional and rural communities are becoming frustrated by the lack of urgency the government has shown towards the rollout of the mobile black spot program.
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The program is a government initiative to extend mobile phone coverage in rural Australia, but the question remains as to when the program will be delivered.

Nyngan farmer and NSW Farmers telecommunications spokesperson Anthony Gibson was part of a group that submitted a lengthy submission detailing 600 black spots with little to no mobile phone coverage.

“Farmers are realistic and we know that towers cost a lot of money and can’t be put up overnight. But we are frustrated at the lack of urgency and vision for the roll out of the program,” he said.

“Farmers need better mobile phone coverage and broadband for business efficiency and commercial services.

“It’s become a huge productivity and efficiency driver when we are able to make phone calls to get in contact with suppliers, contractors and make business deals.”

Mr Gibson said there were many mobile black spot locations within NSW including Dubbo, Wellington, Nyngan and Yeoval.

The government has committed $100 million across four years to the delivery of the program, in order to improve coverage along major transport routes, in regional towns and in locations prone to natural disasters.

In December 2013 a discussion paper was released, outlining possible ways to deliver the program.

People had until February 2014 to lodge their view.

The Department of Communications received 170 submissions on the design of the program from stakeholders, members of Parliament, telecommunications and infrastructure companies, and members of the public.

The submissions also identified locations with poor or no mobile coverage.

Nominations for black spot locations ended on August 1, with the department receiving more than 4000 reports of locations with poor or no mobile coverage.

The reports were shared with mobile network operators and infrastructure providers to help prepare funding proposals for the program.

Mr Gibson had not yet heard of any news as to when these improvement would be made.

“We’ve been pursuing this issue for quite some time.”

Regional Development Association (RDA) chairman John Walkom said the roll out of the program needed to happen in a more timely manner.

“Having high level mobile phone and broadband coverage will create economic growth,” he said.

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Lights go out on apprentice intakePOLL

The NSW electricity distribution company that serves Dubbo may reduce its intake of apprentices and has put its usual annual intake on hold this year.The NSW electricity distribution company that serves Dubbo may reduce its intake of apprentices and has put its usual annual intake on hold this year.
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Networks NSW, which oversees “poles and wires” businesses Essential Energy, Endeavour and Ausgrid, confirmed they were postponing any recruitment of apprentices and any future intake was “likely to be reduced”.

But late yesterday Networks NSW reported of the 89 graduating apprentices joining Essential Energy’s workforce this year “to help build, maintain and operate our electricity network into the future” and contested it was important to plan its workforce based on a coming decision on its funding proposal.

Earlier a memo from Networks NSW chief Rod Howard said the recruitment of new apprentices usually started at this time of year before they began work early the next year.

“[T]his year we are postponing our apprentice recruiting until after the draft determination from the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) in November,” he said.

Steve Butler, secretary of the Electrical Trades Union NSW, said Endeavour Energy, Ausgrid and Essential Energy hired 315 new apprentices across the state at the start of 2011.

“By this year, the number of new apprenticeships offered had plunged to just 88,” he said.

Mr Butler claimed the changed approach was because of a directive given in “an attempt to fatten up (the businesses’) profitability ahead of (Premier) Mike Baird’s planned sell-off”, but a Networks NSW spokeswoman rejected the claims.

“Each business will definitely recruit new apprentices in 2015, however the size of the intake depends on the Australian Energy Regulator’s decision on our five-year funding proposals,” she said.

The spokeswoman said the size of the apprentice intake was “likely to be reduced”.

In response to questions from the Daily Liberal a Networks NSW spokeswoman provided details of Essential Energy’s recruitment of apprentices in the past.

“Since 2011, Essential Energy has recruited more than 200 new apprentices with intake based on business need, rather than location,” she said.

“There are 89 graduating apprentices joining Essential Energy’s workforce this year to help build, maintain and operate our electricity network into the future.

“That is why it’s so important that we forecast and plan our workforce carefully based on the (AER’s) decision on our five-year funding proposals.”

The Daily Liberal asked Dubbo MP Troy Grant if he had concerns that a delayed intake of apprentices would affect the service Essential Energy provided and about a loss of career opportunities.

“I do not think it is appropriate for me to comment on the employment arrangements,”he said.

“The NSW Nationals voted to support the long-term lease of 49 per cent of the NSW Electricity Network with one major condition, that regional energy provider Essential Energy remain in public hands, protecting regional jobs.”

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