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Experience of poverty prompts sharing call

Birgit Albers listens to a performance by the Choir of High Hopes yesterday.Launceston’s Birgit Albers has seen poverty first hand.
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She knows the struggle people go through and she knows how hard it is for them to keep their families alive.

So why when then, when we live in a rich country are we still not sharing?

That was the message Ms Albers wanted to get across at yesterday’s Choir of High Hopes Christmas benefit at St Aidan’s Church.

The concert raised funds for Ms Albers’s Malawi Back to School Foundation, which she established in 2002 after travelling to the world’s third poorest country.

“I meet a young guy and he was sort of my personal tour guide,” Ms Albers said referring to her first trip to the African country.

“He helped me with whatever I wanted to see like a village tour or going swimming.

“After my tour time was over, I said, you were so great and so loyal, I’d like to do something for you.

“He could have said, I want some new sneakers or a backpack, but he said he wanted to finish school.”

Ms Albers, who moved to Tasmania from Germany in 1986, said she found out it cost $100 a year to send the orphan boy to secondary school.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

“I said to myself what can I do to help.”

It was then that Ms Albers established her foundation to help others like the man she’d met get an education.

“Education is the step to getting them out of poverty,” she said.

Yesterday’s concert saw about 50 people listen to the harmonious sounds of the Hobart-based choir.

Funds raised from the event will be used to send Malawi orphans to secondary school and build an orphanage.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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2012 could be a year to keep students studying

THE Tasmanian education system is likely to undergo an interesting time to say the least in 2012. The start of this school year will also be the last with three terms as the state moves in line with the rest of the country and adopts a four-term model in 2013.
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And by the end of this month Education Minister Nick McKim is expected to receive the much-anticipated report from the School Viability Reference Group.

Which schools, if any, will close will be of interest to many communities and particularly to those 20 named on the government’s initial proposed hit-list in the June budget last year.

The state’s economy and the slashing of the department’s budget in 2011 will come more into play from the start of this year as programs, teacher aides and activities will be cut.

This is hurting both public and private schools and as revealed late last year it will result in about a $100 annual increase in Catholic school fees.

The focus for the government is getting the state back on track.

But at this time of upheaval it would be interesting to know what principals and teachers want to see happen in the education sector.

And what parents would like to see.

As other commentators have said there is no doubt that Tasmania has suffered economically due to the previous practice of allowing students to leave at the end of year 10 or age of 16 _ which ended in 2007.

The state’s split public high school (year 7 to 10) and college (year 11 and 12) system only exacerbated the problem as kids thought ”woo-hoo, I’m finished” and left after year 10, cutting themselves short.

Many more than not have suffered for it.

Year 10 formals and ”leavers’ dinners” to celebrate the occasion only cemented the feeling.

Thankfully students must now continue on with some form of education until they turn 17.

The reasoning behind holding a formal for year 10s beggars belief to someone who had to wait for that right until the end of year 12 interstate.

A trend taking off in Victoria at the end of last year was year 6 formals where 11 and 12-year-olds (or more correctly their parents) were spending $150-plus on dresses, then more money on hair and make-up, before partying the afternoon away in the back of a stretch Hummer.

There’s evidence of Tasmanian grade 6 students following the trend.In the department’s annual report it acknowledges Tasmania’s retention rates in post-compulsory education and training are lower than most other states and many OECD countries.

Despite a more than 10 per cent increase on the retention rate to 73 per cent in 2010 (the latest figures), Mr McKim is aiming for the state to meet a national target of 90 per cent of students to attain a year 12 education or its equivalent by 2015.

Overall public student attendance figures also increased slightly from 2009 to 2010.

One step in the right direction is the department’s implementation of the Retention and Attainment Strategy, which tracks year 10 students through to year 12 or its equivalent.

Students completing their education to a year 12 level today will better set up the state and economy of the future – something Tasmania desperately needs.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Regaining confidence a big mission for Orica

ACCIDENT-plagued chemical company Orica has been told it must do much more to restore the public’s confidence in its operations.
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Premier Barry O’Farrell issued the warning yesterday and threatened to shut Orica’s Port Kembla plant if it failed to comply with environmental laws after an acid leak on Friday.

Orica has only partially restarted operations on Kooragang Island after a series of spills forced the closure of both its ammonium nitrate and ammonia plants.

On Friday, Orica disclosed its Port Kembla plant leaked up to 4000 litres of concentrated sulphuric acid.

Mr O’Farrell said the company would have to work hard to restore confidence.

‘‘They will only get their licence, they’ll only continue to keep their licence, if they are able to abide by the state’s environmental laws,’’ Mr O’Farrell said.

‘‘Orica will have to do an enormous amount in order to restore public confidence in NSW.’’

A spokesman confirmed later that Mr O’Farrell was referring to the licence for Orica’s Port Kembla operation.

An Orica spokeswoman said last night that all of the Kooragang Island ammonium nitrate and nitric plants were now back on line, allowing it to produce explosive using ammonia feedstock brought onto the site.

The ammonia plant, which makes ammonia from natural gas – and which was the site of the August hexavalent chromium emission – remained offline.

‘‘Orica’s emphasis is on restarting the ammonia plant safely and while conducting some prestart checks, we determined there was a part of the plant that required repair work before the restart process could continue,’’ the spokeswoman said.

‘‘Once repairs are complete, the restart process will continue.’’

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PICTURES, VIDEO: School newspaper winners

Best Overall Primary School Newspaper winner Hinton Public School with Terry Millett, CEO Newcastle Permanent. Picture by Phil HearneMORE than 300 students, principals and teachers attended the annual Newcastle Herald/Newcastle Permanent Building Society School Newspaper Competition awards at Ausgrid Stadium yesterday.
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To read the Herald’s opinion, click here.

Students from many of the 92 schools, 67 primary and 25 high, received highly commended or winner certificates.

See some of the highlights of yesterday’s awards ceremony by clicking below.

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Video by Amy Spear

Individual category winners, young writers of the year and the overall best primary and high schools received more than $8000 in prizes, presented by building society CEO Terry Millett, including $500 each for the young writers of the year and $2000 for the winning schools.

Awards were also presented for best editorial cartoon, advertisement, news story, photographer and editorial opinion.

For more pictures by Herald photographer Phil Hearne, click on the image above.

Brydie Moore from St Joseph’s Primary School Merriwa was named primary young writer. She had a hand in writing many of the stories and produced a fine editorial opinion about putting food before coal.

High school winner Caitlyn Cobbin from Belmont High School wrote four news stories out of the seven pieces of writing required on a diversity of subjects in good news style. Caitlyn will also get an opportunity to spend a week on work experience at the Newcastle Herald.

Small country school Hinton Public won best overall primary paper and Callaghan College Jesmond Senior Campus took out the overall high school section.

School newspaper co-ordinator Richard French told the audience that a highlight this year was the number of stories about students’ involvement with the community through charity work, aged-care visits, planning their own skate parks or doing school-work placement programs.

‘‘It’s time to give thought to how young people who write for our competition are becoming actively involved in the future of ‘their’ world,’’ he said.

‘‘[They are] showing with their stories that they know there is a time to stop talking and do something for yourself, rather than waiting for government or others to hold our hands or pay, when doing so often becomes a case of ‘don’t hold your breath’.

‘‘Which is why, too, it is so good the Perm is our sponsor because, like the Newcastle Herald, it puts its ‘money where its mouth is’, by supporting great causes, large and small.’’

To inquire about ordering photographs from the awards of your school or children, phone 49795380.

Full school newspaper awards list

ACHIEVEMENT/APPRECIATION AWARDS: Aspect Hunter (Autism Spectrum Australia) School, Carrington Public School, George Anderson Walpole School, Hunter Sports High School, Kotara School, Medowie Public School teacher Alison Partridge, Rutherford Public School, St John’s Primary School Lambton, St Paul’s High School Booragul, Telarah Public School, The Junction Public School.

PRIMARY SCHOOL ADVERTISEMENT HIGHLY COMMENDED: Jake Speck Blandford Public School, Georgia Horne Rutherford Public School, Alex Wright St Mary’s Primary School Warners Bay, Anahli Nailagoliva Metford Public School.

PRIMARY SCHOOL ADVERTISEMENT WINNER: Ian Parsons Dungog Public School: Ian used an image of Healthy Harold, from the Life Education program the society supports, as a fine example of the theme that the society is ‘‘Here for Good’’.

HIGH SCHOOL ADVERTISEMENT Highly Commended: Dana Pendrick Gosford High School, Djari Andrews Lake Munmorah High School, Jett Potter Hunter Sports High School, William Cox San Clemente High School Mayfield.

HIGH SCHOOL ADVERTISEMENT WINNER: Tamara Pearson Swansea High School: Tamara displayed a typically Newcastle scene of Nobbys, the coastline and shipping to show the society leading us up the hill of life while guiding us on its many different aspects.

PRIMARY SCHOOL EDITORIAL CARTOON HIGHLY COMMENDED: Dakota Skara Wirreanda Public School, Jayden Walker Dora Creek Public School, Poest Smith Heaton Public School, Zoe Atallah The Junction Public School.

PRIMARY SCHOOL EDITORIAL CARTOON WINNER: Jenny Pau Kotara South Public School: Jenny produced a simple and wordless but iconic image about the sadness of the world perhaps losing animals like the polar bear due to global warming.

HIGH SCHOOL EDITORIAL CARTOON HIGHLY COMMENDED: Bronte Linich San Clemente High School Mayfield, Rachel Jeffery Newcastle High School, Karl Drinkwater Swansea High School, Liam Faustini Rutherford Technology High School.

HIGH SCHOOL EDITORIAL CARTOON WINNER: Tahlia Lalor Lake Munmorah High School: Tahlia highlighted dog owners taking responsibility for their animals’ behaviour with a highly stylised drawing and a simple but strong and commonsense comment, leaving no doubt as to her opinion and also making it a stand-alone cartoon.

PRIMARY SCHOOL NEWS STORY POSTHUMOUS ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Amelia Hartley The Junction Public School.

PRIMARY SCHOOL NEWS STORY CONTRIBUTION TO INTEGRATION IN EDUCATION: For stories highlighting the practical integration into and acceptance of children with disabilities into mainstream schools – Cooper Murphy Rutherford Public School, Erin Miskle, Milly Fragiadakis and Alison Perkins St James’ Primary School Muswellbrook, Jasmine Clarkson and Courtney Muddle Tenambit Public School, Yasmin Board and Madalyn Goldsmith St Joseph’s Primary School East Maitland.

PRIMARY SCHOOL NEWS STORY HIGHLY COMMENDED: Monique Rose, Shannon See and Cooper Ashton Jewells Public School, Mikenzie Orrock, Ashlea Hay and Melissa Hickey Kurri Kurri Public School, Class S3H Bellbird Public, Lily Reay and Leigh Robinson Hinton Public School, Ben McLaughlin Dungog Public School, Claire Wilson, Emily Hall and Jarah McConnell Windale Public School.

PRIMARY SCHOOL NEWS STORY WINNER: Harrison Searle, Elliott Thomas and Darcie Cliff Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School Tarro. Harrison, Elliott and Darcie worked well on what became a ‘‘running news story’’; first of all identifying that something mysterious had help up the roadworks then managing to finally get a detailed answer from the RTA about an Aboriginal site that needed protecting.

HIGH SCHOOL NEWS STORY HIGHLY COMMENDED: Joshua Ballico and Jackson Bennetts Callaghan College Jesmond Senior Campus, Demmi Hilton and Lachlan Walmsley Merriwa Central High School, Nicholas Ketley St Philip’s Christian College High Gosford, Faize, Jack, Keith and Nicholas George Anderson Walpole School.

HIGH SCHOOL NEWS STORY WINNER: Sarah Kennedy and Blake Smith All Saints College St Joseph’s Lochinvar High School. Sarah and Blake truly put the human face on the news issue of refugees seeking shelter in this country by beautifully telling the story of African boy Yohanna.

PRIMARY SCHOOL EDITORIAL HIGHLY COMMENDED: Gwendolyn Devoy Heaton Public School, Cassandra Hallett and Alyshia Barnes The Junction Public School, Jakob Sharp, Zac Tattersall, Cody Robinson and Matthew Gough Kearsley Public School, Brydie Moore St Joseph’s Primary School Merriwa, Kristen Allen and Leigh Robinson Hinton Public School.

PRIMARY SCHOOL EDITORIAL WINNER: Nelson Eyb and Harry Boorer Dungog Public School. Nelson and Harry highlighted the hypocrisy of governments calling for their area to do more to attract tourists when those governments won’t supply the money to fix up a main road that at best can be described as a goat track, where you’d probably lose the goats down a pothole.

HIGH SCHOOL EDITORIAL HIGHLY COMMENDED: Montana Varley and Tahkiesha King All Saints College St Joseph’s Lochinvar High School, Mitchel Heaney and Kane Bamford St Philip’s Christian College High Cessnock, Katie Gilfillan Great Lakes Secondary College Tuncurry Junior Campus, Leah Wright-Riley and Ayla Jennings-Bade Merriwa Central High School, Vanessa McDonald Swansea High School, Keith and Stewart George Anderson Walpole School.

HIGH SCHOOL EDITORIAL WINNER: Besah Dosoo-Johnstone and Nathaniel Smith Callaghan College Jesmond Senior Campus. Besah and Nathaniel made a strong case against bigotry, racism and fear of refugees, telling us that young Australians don’t see colour, religion or race, but simply another human being with the same needs as us all.

PRIMARY SCHOOL PHOTOGRAPHER HIGHLY COMMENDED: Huon Bourne Blue Newcastle East Public School, Luke Burton Hinton Public School, Imogen Dagg Hinton Public School, Cameron Ninness St Joseph’s Primary School Merriwa, Troy Snoeck Rutherford Public School.

PRIMARY SCHOOL PHOTOGRAPHER WINNER: William Smith Nords Wharf Public School. William took a highly professional fast-action shot of a scooter rider high in the air at a local skate park.

HIGH SCHOOL PHOTOGRAPHER HIGHLY COMMENDED: Sam St Hill Great Lakes Secondary College Tuncurry Junior Campus, Madeleine Mitchell Swansea High School, Georgia Hernando Callaghan College Wallsend Campus, Bradley Day Northlakes High School, Georgia Fleet West Wallsend High, Jacinta Ferris St Joseph’s High School Aberdeen.

HIGH SCHOOL PHOTOGRAPHER WINNER: Baylee Hollingshed All Saints College St Joseph’s Lochinvar High School. Baylee took all five pictures for her school’s entry including a wonderful portrait of Yohanna Henry, the subject of the best news story.

PRIMARY YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR HIGHLY COMMENDED: Landon Brown, Christoper Chen and Tom Suters Newcastle East Public School, Harriet Norville Blandford Public School, Samuel Frith and Lachlan Cooper Argenton Public School, Nelson Eyb and Harry Boorer Dungog Public School.

PRIMARY YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR WINNER: Brydie Moore St Joseph’s Primary School Merriwa. Brydie was involved with other students in helping to write stories and also produced a fine editorial on her own.

HIGH SCHOOL YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR HIGHLY COMMENDED: Jack Madden St Paul’s High School Booragul, Katie Gilfillan Great Lakes Secondary College Tuncurry Junior Campus.

HIGH SCHOOL YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR WINNER: Caitlyn Cobbin Belmont High School. Caitlyn wrote four of the entry’s six news stories on her own, providing a variety of stories that needed very little work to fit them into the formula of news.

BEST OVERALL PRIMARY SCHOOL NEWSPAPER HIGHLY COMMENDED: Dora Creek Public School, Blandford Public School, Tomaree Public School, St Joseph’s Primary School Merriwa.

BEST OVERALL PRIMARY SCHOOL NEWSPAPER WINNER: Hinton Public School. Hinton, a previous winner, maintained its high standard and provided an entry full of both important and interesting local news, ensuring it was truly a school newspaper, not a school newsletter.

BEST OVERALL HIGH SCHOOL NEWSPAPER HIGHLY COMMENDED: Merriwa Central High School, Great Lakes Secondary College Tuncurry Junior Campus, St Joseph’s High School Aberdeen.

BEST OVERALL HIGH SCHOOL NEWSPAPER WINNER: Callaghan College Jesmond Senior Campus. Jesmond produced a very good all-round entry in which all the stories, while linked to school life, also included news about either the school’s involvement in the outside community or members of the community working with the school on important issues such as job training, good all-round pictures and a bold, eye-catching cartoon and ad.

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Mother and daughter out to spread the love

Chrissie Divona and daughter Phoebe, are preparing to travel to India to work in an orphanage.AT a time of year when people are pre-occupied with their own needs, one mother and daughter will be returning to an Indian orphanage to spread love and happiness.
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In November 2010 Phoebe, then 14, and her mother Chrissie Divona visited an orphanage of 100 children in Banbassa.

Their plan was to do whatever they could to enrich the children’s lives, but by the time they left, they found they had received more than they had given.

“When I went over there the first time I thought you know I can really help these people in the orphanage, and when I got there it was really them helping me,” Phoebe said as she reminisced at the humble and selfless attitudes of the children who have inspired her to return to India.

At 15 you would expect that Phoebe would be spending her money on clothes, shoes and all the essentials of a teenage girl’s life, but Phoebe has been relentless in saving for her flights, going without so she can get back to her friends at the orphanage.

“I have been seriously saving since May, when I started working at McDonald’s, but really I started saving as soon as I got back,” she said.

“Sometimes I think it is a lot of money but I don’t think twice about it now,” she said.

The pair leave on January 6.

Since their first visit, the Divonas have kept in contact with the children.

“They just loved us being there, a lot of people go over there and say that they are going to come back and they never do and it is really painful for them to have people in their lives care and love for them and then be torn away and I couldn’t do that,” Phoebe said.

The pair have raised $3000 and have planned activities for the children.

If you would like to help go to www.indianorphanage南京夜网.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Short of words

Australian researchers have discovered that ageing people really do tell longer, more boring stories, and longtime readers of my column will have no doubts about the truth of that result. Indeed, in my column in the Herald today I give an intensely personal account that illustrates this, an account I wouldn’t dare subject you to twice. The leader of the research, Lauren Saling, says that older people lose the ability to tell a story efficiently, in other words with fewer words, that they are more likely to contradict themselves, that their telling is not as clear as that of younger people.
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The researchers had 30 people aged between 18 and 49 and 30 people aged over 65 tell a story about a cowboy who’d been tricked in some way, and they found that while the younger people reduced the number of words required to tell the story as they told it repeatedly the older people did not. They found, too, that only half the older people told the full story while almost all the younger people did.

I suspect that I have more difficulty giving an account of something verbally now than I did as a much younger person. And that is especially when I am doing something else at the same time. I seem to find it harder constructing what I want to say, and sometimes I wonder if this is because I care more now about the construction than I did when I was younger. This difficulty doesn’t seem to apply to my writing an account.

I have more trouble, too, retrieving words from my mental files. Indeed, it is wrong to say that I have the word on the tip of my tongue, because the fact is that so often the word is stuck a long way short of my tongue’s tip. That problem, I know, is commonly reported by people much younger than me, and recently a workmate at least a decade younger confided that he was so worried by his new propensity to be stuck for a word that he was thinking early-onset dementia!

In my case, at age 59, combining the difficulties of verbal construction and word retrieval means that my accounts are either too short or too long.

Do you find that you have to put more effort into telling a story? Is the tip of your tongue a traffic jam of words? Is there a remedy?

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Property magnate targets harbourside land

JERRY SCHWARTZProperty magnate and cosmetic surgeon Jerry Schwartz has plunged $9.5million on a strategic site that will reignite Newcastle’s rail debate.
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The owner of Newcastle Crowne Plaza has revealed ambitious plans to develop a conference centre, hotel and possibly a brewery on more than a hectare of harbourside land.

To read the Herald’s opinion, click here.

Dr Schwartz, pictured, said an underground train station at Civic – proposed as a joint venture with the NSW Government and Newcastle City Council – would realise the property’s full potential and settle the inner-city rail line deadlock.

Opposite the Crowne Plaza, the newly bought site is bounded by Wharf Road, Merewether Street and Argyle Street and jumps Centenary Road to include land up to the rail line.

‘‘Maybe the train line can finish at Civic and they can be looking at building a section of line and Civic station underground,’’ he said.

‘‘I haven’t spoken to anyone yet in the government or at council but it’s always been in my mind, if I bought the property why not make suggestions about what could be done with it because it’s right on the rail line.’’

Dr Schwartz, having exchanged contracts two weeks ago, is buying the land from ROI Properties.

The area includes heritage-listed Argyle House, which houses Fanny’s nightclub, an antique gallery, warehouse, bottle shop and car parks.

In 2008, ROI had planned a $56million development on the site including residential apartment buildings, retail and commercial space.

It approached Dr Schwartz recently about a sale after he indicated ‘‘years ago’’ that ‘‘if ever they wanted to sell the site they should come to me’’.

‘‘The main reason I want the site is for the parking. My plans will be to build car parking, retail, a conference centre and another 3 star hotel above this, so that it will have views across the top of Crowne Plaza Newcastle.

‘‘The reason I jumped at this property is because I clearly see the potential in that area. I really believe in the future of that part of Newcastle.

‘‘In 10 years’ time when my son is 11 I want to show him what we’ve done so that he’ll say ‘Dad, that was a good idea’.’’

The site is suitable to run a brewery. In 2006 Dr Schwartz made an unsuccessful bid to redevelop the troubled South Sydney Leagues Club.

The bid included running a micro-brewery. His Sydney-based Schwartz Beer supplies craft beer to his Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra hotels.

‘‘I’m always on the lookout for where to build another brewery,’’ he said.

‘‘That’s what I would put in the warehouse on the site and call it Newcastle Brewery. Novocastrians like the idea of having their own beer so I think it would work.’’

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Big ideas for city transport

WHAT if a couple of serious business operators offered solutions to two of Newcastle’s most intractable transport headaches, while building two major new wealth-creating enterprises in the city?
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That’s what appears to be on the cards this week, with big ideas put forward by coal baron and sports supporter Nathan Tinkler and by cosmetic surgeon and property investor Jerry Schwartz.

Mr Tinkler – who badly wants to be allowed to develop his own coal-loader on former BHP land at Mayfield – has flagged the prospect of his organisation duplicating the Tourle Street bridge and upgrading Cormorant Road, on Kooragang Island, as well as realigning a section of suburban freight rail line to reduce impacts on residents.

Mr Schwartz – who owns the Crowne Plaza hotel on Newcastle Harbour and has just bought a big block of land opposite for a major new development – has suggested incorporating an underground railway station into his plan.

There will be objections to both ideas, but both deserve to be examined closely.

The Tinkler proposal flies in the face of an established plan to use the old BHP site to help the Port of Newcastle diversify away from coal. But perhaps the city could be persuaded to reconsider that strategic goal in return for sufficiently valuable transport improvements. Upgrading the road and bridge would relieve a serious bottleneck and improve travel times to and from Newcastle Airport.

The Schwartz proposal has no obvious downside and plenty of positives.

If, for example, the eastern end of the city rail line from west of Wickham was dug below ground level, the Stewart Avenue overpass would never be required. The line could be bridged at existing road level wherever necessary. It could, indeed, be built over.

It might be possible to create a new city rail terminus at Centenary Road, a location that would be convenient for Honeysuckle, the new legal precinct, the museum and the proposed city campus of the university.

Novocastrians will instantly recognise the potential advantages – and the potential controversy – of such a possibility.

Whether the line was dug in or buried only as far as Centenary Road or all the way to Newcastle Station, the state government would be expected to pay for the work. Sounds like a job for Mr O’Farrell’s Hunter Infrastructure Fund.

Newcastle awards

THE 2011 Newcastle Community Awards recognise a variety of contributions to the city’s well-being.

Former Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress John and Margaret McNaughton – both extraordinarily active in public life when in office – remain high profile citizens and their naming as “Freemen of the City” will be widely appreciated.

Tireless advocate for environmental sustainability, Mr Peter Dormand, is an equally worth recipient of the City of Newcastle Medal. These, and all the other recipients of awards, can be assured of the sincere gratitude of their fellow-Novocastrians.

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NT put onalert over crocodiles

The hazardous chemical copper concentrate has spilled from a derailed freight train into the Edith River.DARWIN – Top End residents are being warned of crocodiles in their waterways after bursting rivers wreaked “significant damage” to the Northern Territory’s transport network.
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In an emergency message from the NT government, residents were being warned yesterday not to swim or wade in case they came across the monster reptiles.

“Flooded waterways you don’t swim in . . . flooded waterways should be avoided at all costs,” Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul Henderson said.

“Crocodiles are very active at this time of year.”

Heavy rains from ex-tropical Cyclone Grant have swollen the Cullen and Edith rivers to dangerous levels, flooding the Stuart Highway and damaging its bridges north of Katherine.

Mr Henderson flew over the flood-ravaged site yesterday and said floods had caused “significant structural damage” to the road and rail network.

However, he hoped the major thoroughfare, which links Darwin to Katherine, would be reopened within 24 to 48 hours.

“The Edith River low-level bridge and also the Cullen Bridge have stood up very well to the flooding,” he said.

“Traffic is already open one way and we are hoping to have both lanes open later this afternoon.”

Meanwhile he confirmed that the hazardous chemical copper concentrate had spilled from a derailed freight train into the Edith River.

Investigations are under way into the derailment, which happened 40 kilometres north of Katherine early on Tuesday morning.

“There has been significant damage to the railway at the Edith River Bridge,” he said.

“We can see that the (rail) bridge has actually lost one of its structures.”

Rail line operator Genesee and Wyoming Australia said it planned to move the rear portion of the train back to Katherine.

“It is still too early to determine the full extent of the incident or how long it will take before the track is reopened,” managing director Bert Easthope said yesterday.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Clint Gosling dumped by Jets

GUTTED: Clint GoslingRESPECTED goalkeeping coach Clint Gosling will look overseas for a new job after he was sacked by the Newcastle Jets, ending a 17-year association with the region’s flagship team.
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Gosling was told on Wednesday that coach Gary van Egmond wanted to take a new direction.

Former Newcastle Breakers goalkeeper Bob Catlin has been appointed in an interim role and accompanied the team to Adelaide for the clash against the Reds last night.

The dismissal came as a shock to Gosling, who has been in charge of the Jets senior, youth team and W-League programs.

‘‘I am gutted,’’ Gosling told the Newcastle Herald last night.

Gosling, 51, played for KB United in the club’s formative years in the national league and returned to the Newcastle Breakers for a swansong season in 1993-94 before moving into coaching.

Apart from one season when Steve Dorman worked under Lee Sterrey at the Breakers, Gosling has been a mainstay.

Gosling is also the goalkeeping coach of the New Zealand national team, which is a part-time role, but intends to search for another full-time gig.

‘‘I will put my name out there even if I have to go overseas,’’ he said.

‘‘As coach of the New Zealand national team keepers, I have been to a World Cup, two Confederation Cups. I coached Ante Covic to the grand final win 2008. I suggest my achievements speak for themselves.’’

Gosling holds no animosity towards the club and said they had been nothing but professional.

‘‘Am I disappointed that my time at the club is at an end? Absolutely. But that is football,’’ he said.

‘‘My association with Newcastle football is a long one, in total 17 years as a player and a coach. I have repeatedly turned down offers due to my loyalties to Newcastle football.

‘‘Do I believe my removal to be justified? No. That said, Gary’s decision must be respected. I wish the franchise, my keepers and the team every success.’’

Van Egmond said it was a hard but necessary decision to let Gosling go.

‘‘We wanted to freshen the area up and give the keepers a different voice,’’ he said.

‘‘Ben Kennedy, for example, has been hearing the same voice for a long time now.

‘‘I have known Goose [Gosling] for a lot of years, and that is where it becomes difficult with staff members. I want to see people who bring a lot of enthusiasm and energy to that position. I don’t think that has been the case with Clint for some time.’’

Catlin’s appointment, albeit caretaker, follows that of Melbourne-born youth team coach Arthur Papas.

Both go against the grain of the Jets’ ‘‘local policy’’, but chief executive Robbie Middleby said getting the right person was the priority.

‘‘The first port of call is for a Newcastle person,’’ he said.

‘‘That is the priority in any role, but it has to be the best person for the job.’’

Meanwhile, Professional Footballer Australia chief executive Brendan Schwab said yesterday that progress had been made towards an amicable resolution between the Jets and unwanted marquee player Jason Culina.

‘‘We are working towards a favourable outcome,’’ Schwab said. ‘‘The club has been been very good. They understand it is an involved matter and have been supportive.’’

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New trend finds its way into cricket

Australian fans signal four runs for Aussie debutant Ed Cowan at the MCG yesterday.MELBOURNE _ An Australian opening batsman stayed out in the middle for most of the day, Ricky Pointing earned a round of applause and the MCG crowd was exposed to frostbite and sunburn in the same afternoon.
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For a while it seemed that traditions had returned to cricket on the opening day of the first Test against India.

But little stays the same in Australian cricket and at the famous old ground.

Australia has lost two of its past three Boxing Day Tests, having won the previous 10.

And after day one against India yesterday the odds are against renewed success, despite some glimmers of hope.

The first was the emergence of mature-age rookie Ed Cowan.

The 29-year-old made his Test debut against India and produced the day’s high score of 68.

More importantly, Cowan showed the patience, technique and class missing from recent Australian opening pairs.

When he was joined by the beleaguered Ponting he lifted his run rate to match the former skipper’s and the pair put on a vital century partnership.

Facing what may well have been his last week as a Test player when he came to Melbourne, Ponting’s capable 62 most likely assured himself a place in the team for the rest of this series.

But there are some new and curious trends to have infiltrated the most traditional of Australian cricketing days and grounds.

From the record crowd of 70,086 for an Australia-India MCG Test match, the in-house cameras focussed on selected couples in the stands, beaming their images framed in a heart, onto the ground’s big screens.

The captured couples are then required to embrace passionately or be heckled by the other 70,084.

The procedure borrowed from the US is known as “Kiss Cam”.

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McKechnie solid as Hunter trio lay claims to PGA title

ROCK SOLID: Leigh McKechnieA COOL, calm and collected Leigh McKechnie showed the way for a three-pronged Hunter assault on the Australian PGA Championship at Coolum yesterday.
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Newcastle and Waratah member McKechnie, Muswellbrook’s Kurt Barnes and Charlestown’s Aaron Townsend were six under in a nine-way tie for eighth.

They are five shots off the lead heading into round three today.

Townsend and Barnes endured roller-coaster rounds, but McKechnie had just one bogey in a two-under 70 to go with his first-round 68.

Townsend (67-71) had a double bogey on the last hole yesterday after three bogeys and six birdies. Barnes (69-69) had two bogeys and five birdies yesterday after carding six birdies and three bogeys on the opening day.

A relaxed McKechnie, who finished five over at the Australian Open and missed the cut at the NSW Open last week at Fern Bay, said he had found his putting range at Coolum.

‘‘I’ve been playing OK recently, I just haven’t been putting all that well, so I’ve been doing some work on that for the last few days,’’ McKechnie said.

‘‘I’m just playing solid, so I’m happy with the way things are going. It is a very good field this week, so hopefully I draw one of the top players tomorrow and just enjoy the experience, I guess.

‘‘I’m not thinking too much about down the track.

‘‘I’m just looking forward to tomorrow, just taking it easy, having a bit of a swim in the morning and getting out there and just hitting the same sort of stuff.’’

Townsend bogeyed the 13th after finding the water but recovered with birdies on the 14th and 16th before his six on the par-four last spoiled his charge.

McKechnie said the pristine Coolum greens offered birdie chances but the layout punished wayward shots from tee to green.

‘‘There’s a lot of water on the back nine, there’s almost water on every hole, so obviously hitting the fairways is the most important part and if you do hit a loose one, the water will be there to grab you,’’ he said.

‘‘Bogeys will happen if you are a bit untidy.’’

Belmont’s Graeme Stockley recovered from a first-day 79 to card a three-under 69 and finish his tournament on four over. He missed the cut by two strokes.

Clubmate Brendan Smith was a shot further back after shooting 76 to follow his first-round of 73.

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Duggan welcomed home with winning double

YOUNG reinsman Joshua Duggan made the most of a trip home for Christmas with a winning double at the Devonport Paceway last night.
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Duggan scored a running double on Enchanted Heart ($5.60) and then the feature race on favourite George Grant ($4).

The 19-year-old took the opportunity to come home from Victoria to visit family and friends over the Christmas period and he will be here till next Monday.

The son of top reinsman Ricky Duggan, Joshua has been in Victoria for the past three years attached to the stable of Chris Alford.

Alford is recognised as one of Victoria’s top flight reinsmen and trains horses at Bolinda, near Romsey.

Duggan is hopeful of driving at the St Marys meeting on New Year’s Eve before heading back to Victoria.

Last night Duggan achieved his double with a vastly different display of his skills.

In the feature Gwen Williams Marathon (2645 metres) Duggan had George Grant safely away from the standing start and was in front after 100 metres.

From there he was able to dictate terms and on the line had three metres to spare over stablemate Murillo Bromac ($5.90) and In Cruise Mode ($8.90) who battled on well after racing in the death.

Mrs Williams, the patron of the Devonport Harness Racing Club, has sponsored the marathon for the past 10 years and last night presented the winning trophies.

George Grant and Murillo Bromac are both trained at Bridport by Grant Hodges who also trained Duggan’s first winner Enchanted Heart.

Appreciating a drop in class Enchanted Heart ($5.60) was well back in the early stages of the race but Duggan worked his way into a winning position shortly after the field straightened and he ran home to score a metre win over favourite Matesforever ($2.70) and Brown Paige ($14.90).

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