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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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Burnie urged to change date of carnival

Ben KerstenNew Zealand’s Simon van Velthooven has challenged Burnie to change the date of its carnival. Ben Kersten wants Burnie to follow Latrobe’s example.
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TWO of the carnivals series’ top drawcards have applauded Latrobe for changing from its historic time slot and challenged Burnie to do the same.

Trans-Tasman cycling rivals Ben Kersten and Simon van Velthooven said they could not have made Latrobe had it been on Boxing Day and commended the event committee for breaking with 115 years of tradition by moving to December 27.

The move resulted in more competitors and spectators, with the temporary car park opposite the Latrobe Oval packed by mid-afternoon on Tuesday.

International commitments have since caused Olympic hopeful van Velthooven to leave Tasmania and although Kersten remains to contest today’s under-strength Burnie Wheel he agreed the event needed to follow its Bass Highway cousin’s example.

An increasingly busy national cycling calendar is seeing a lot of riders opting to contest Geelong’s Bay Criterium series or prepare for the road nationals and Tour Down Under rather than ride the 125th Burnie Carnival, which many of them would like to see moved back to New Year’s Eve.

”At the moment, Burnie is losing 90 per cent of cyclists,” said Kersten, a 30-year-old former Commonwealth Games champion, world championship runner-up and long-time carnivals competitor from New South Wales.

”Hold it the night before and they would probably only lose 30 per cent.

”I think a New Year’s Eve morning event would work.

”Having it on New Year’s Day means you cannot go out and enjoy New Year’s Eve, you lose your New Year’s Day and you cannot do the Bay Crits. If they had it on New Year’s Eve you could do all three.”

Van Velthooven, a 23-year-old from Palmerston North who rides for the Legana-based Lawson Homes team, left Tasmania after sweeping the keirins in Latrobe, Launceston and Devonport to prepare for the Beijing world cup, but agreed with Kersten’s solution to Burnie’s dilemma.

”Now that Latrobe have changed their date, there is no reason why we cannot race every day through the week and make Burnie a big New Year’s Eve celebration,” he said.

”We’d race all day and in the evening have a shower, watch the fireworks, make it a social event and fly out the next day.”

Van Velthooven’s suggestion would see a program that has traditionally taken a week condensed into five days with Latrobe on December 27, Launceston on the 28th, Devonport on the 29th and 30th and Burnie on the 31st.

”It’s really good that Latrobe changed their date and it was also nice having a later in the afternoon program,” the 2009 Launceston Wheel winner said.

”Christmas Day is important, you only get so many in your life, so I was excited when they changed the day because it meant I could come.”

Kersten agreed: “I would not have gone to Latrobe had it been on Boxing Day.”

”It’s fantastic to keep the whole heritage thing because that’s what the carnivals are all about but times are changing and they are going to lose out. No one likes losing their Christmas.”

The absence of Luke Ockerby from Burnie today further demonstrates the need for a date change.

At 19, Ockerby has already contested six carnivals campaigns, won the Devonport Wheel in 2008 and was the only home-state scratchman this year, but his decision to head to Melbourne rather than the 30 kilometre trip to West Park from his Ulverstone home shows the problem facing organisers.

”It’s not an ideal situation for Burnie but they could look at bringing it back a day,” the reigning Australian Wheel and Launceston Classic champion, who came second in last year’s Burnie Wheel, said.

Despite their concerns, the scratchmen felt the carnivals retained a vital place in national and international cycling.

”I love coming here,” said van Velthooven, a shoo-in to contest the keirin for New Zealand at the London Olympics this year after collecting three titles at the Oceania track titles in Invercargill last month.

”You get a few pedal revolutions when everyone else is eating Christmas cake. It’s a good way to keep in condition and get a bit of variation in your career.”

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Lake Macquarie debt worries ex-mayor

John KilpatrickFORMER Lake Macquarie mayor John Kilpatrick says the city council should be getting back to basics, not trying to save the world.
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Mr Kilpatrick, who was mayor for 11 years until 2004, said there was no need for the council’s sustainability department to have grown so much.

He said the council had a balanced budget when he was mayor and ‘‘still found money to clean up the lake’’.

‘‘We provided the roads, we looked after the footpaths as best we could, we mowed the parks and collected the rubbish,’’ he said.

‘‘That’s what council’s role is.’’

The council is asking ratepayers to accept big rate rises for seven years to cover a $15million annual shortfall.

The Newcastle Herald reported recently that the sustainability department started with about 20 staff and a $9million budget in 2008-09,

but now had 36 full-time equivalent staff and a $12.4million budget.

State figures show the council’s spending on environment and health projects rose from $23.90 per capita in 2007-08 to $42.55 per capita in 2009-10.

‘‘The sustainability department even put out a cookbook at one stage,’’ Mr Kilpatrick said, referring to the council’s 60-page sustainable eating book.

‘‘Everyone’s concerned about the environment, but I’m not quite sure it’s local government’s role to save the world.’’

Lake Macquarie mayor Greg Piper, who Mr Kilpatrick supported to succeed him, said: ‘‘A lot of the sustainability projects started in John’s time, like the lake remediation.’’

Cr Piper said when the sustainability department was formed, ‘‘a lot of the staff came from different parts of the organisation’’.

He said some of its programs would cease when contracts ended.

The Herald reported yesterday that Lake Macquarie council planned to increase its debt from $58million in 2011-12 to $110million, $128million or $185million in 2018-19.

‘‘I’d be worried if they get to the level of debt they’re talking about,’’ Mr Kilpatrick said.

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Deck the halls with treats and lollies

VARIETY: Ann Cummings and the Pudding Lady staff at the ready.ACROSS the Hunter Region, Christmas trees are being decorated, shopping lists ticked off and presents wrapped.
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There’s also countless bakers and patissieres busy behind the scenes preparing a range of Christmas treats from gingerbread houses to Christmas puddings and festive cupcakes ready for the silly season.

Whether you’re buying for someone special or treating yourself and your family, there’s plenty to choose from when it comes to Christmas goodies.

Petersen’s Bakehouse

OWNER of Petersen’s Bakehouse, Danish patissiere Birger Petersen has been making gingerbread houses since 1987.

Later he shifted from Sydney to Newcastle and continued selling the houses privately, before taking over the Tenambit bakery almost two years ago.

Last Christmas the bakery made more than 500 fully-assembled houses and do-it-yourself kits, with numbers this year also likely to exceed 500.

‘‘The gingerbread houses make an excellent centrepiece in the middle of the table and then towards the end of your Christmas dinner you have your coffee and the kids get to smash it, that’s the best part,’’ he laughed.

Working up to 18hours a day in the lead-up to Christmas, Petersen makes the gingerbread from scratch, baking the pieces and making the fondant while the house cools. Then the decorating begins.

The kits are popular with school groups but Petersen said they had also been used by businesses as a team-building exercise and were ever-popular with families.

‘‘People love to build them, it’s a family thing, they can all get together and have a bit of fun for a few hours. Kids can stick the smarties on,’’ Petersen said.

His top tips for putting together a gingerbread house?

‘‘When you have the piping bag, don’t cut the hole too big and don’t pipe too much icing on. Just do a little bit at a time and have the sides set before you put the roof on.’’

Petersen’s Bakehouse also has Kahlua balls, Christmas cakes, puddings and rocky road for other gift ideas.

Newcastle’s Pudding Lady

IF your Christmas dinner isn’t complete without a pudding like Nan used to make, then a visit to Newcastle’s Pudding Lady is a must.

‘‘Everybody’s family has a Christmas pudding story, it could be about who was the pudding maker, the year that it went wrong, the year they didn’t do it in time. It’s that collection of family history that makes everybody’s Christmas just that little bit special,’’ Newcastle’s Pudding Lady Ann Cummings told GT.

Cummings said the company had been making the Christmas treats for more than 30years.

‘‘We do everything by hand, from mixing the fruit, to tying the puddings up by hand and not cutting any corners. Add to that not cutting any corners with ingredients, not using artificial shortenings, using premium-grade brandy. We use brandy at 68per cent proof, and if we use rum it’s Bundaberg Rum, which is 58per cent. You’re getting the real thing. It is Christmas time, it’s the way it should be.’’

She said the most popular pudding was the Traditional Christmas Pudding made with a recipe handed down over five generations.

Even better, there’s the Vintage Christmas Pudding which is aged and uses Australian dried fruit matured in brandy and rum for a longer period than other puddings.

There are also Christmas puddings with rum and fig, whisky and marmalade, and port and prune.

For those on a restricted diet, including coeliacs and diabetics, there is even the Perfect Plus Christmas Pudding which has no added sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no gluten, low salt and is dairy free.

Newcastle’s Pudding Lady also makes sauces, Christmas cakes and gift packs, including one with a small pudding and Christmas cake and another with a pudding and sauce included so all you have to do is heat it up.

Euro Patisserie

THEY are the go-to bakery for wedding and birthday cakes and Euro Patisserie has plenty more to offer at Christmas.

They have a selection of gateaux, tarts, yule logs, fruit cakes and puddings, as well as plenty of other Christmas treats.

Owner Jenny Smith told GT the patisserie had adopted a purple and silver theme in decorating this year’s Christmas treats.

‘‘All of the fruit cakes, puddings, the rum balls, the fruit mince pies and hampers are all individually gift wrapped so you can just come in and choose and give them to your teachers or workmates,’’ Smith said.

For those with fussy eaters or kids who might not like dried fruit, Euro Patisserie has the Chocylicious Log – chocolate mud cake rolled with chocolate ganache and pieces of dark chocolate.

One of Smith’s favourites from the Christmas menu is the tropical cheesecake with a macadamia biscuit base filled with coconut cheesecake and mango sauce swirl. This summer dessert would finish off a seafood-centred Christmas meal nicely.

You can place an order for Christmas with Euro Patisserie until December 23, but Smith said there were also plenty of options available over the counter to finish off a Christmas dinner or give as gifts.

Cupcake Espresso

THE purveyors of sweet treats in Newcastle’s CBD are expanding their tasty range of cupcakes for the silly season.

The red velvet and chocolate cupcakes adorned with Christmas trees, snowflakes and candy cane sugar candies will be in store from December 12.

But you can place an order to beat the Christmas rush, opting for a single cake in its own box, a half dozen, or splash out on a full dozen.

Cupcake Espresso also has gift vouchers available to let people come in and choose their own cupcakes from their regular range, which includes raspberry white chocolate, cherry ripe, hazelnut chocolate and banana toffee.

Ma Belle

BROADMEADOW’S Ma Belle patisserie is producing chocolate rocky road puddings for the silly season.

Pam Thomas’ gluten-free bakery will also be making cakes, truffles, shortbreads and a range of terrines, mousselines and pates.

This is in addition to their usual sweet and savoury pastries in the lead-up to Christmas, including fruit flans, Portuguese custard tarts and delicious slices.

There’s also plenty of savoury treats to save you slaving in the kitchen for Christmas parties, including spinach and feta quiches, corn, leek and potato, and smoked salmon and dill quiches, as well as pies in tasty flavours including butter chicken, Mongolian lamb and vegetarian varieties.

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Robbie Rochow back on home turf

UNDER THE RADAR: Robbie Rochow at Knights training.ALONGSIDE the return of Knights legends Danny Buderus, Timana Tahu and Kade Snowden, Robbie Rochow’s homecoming has been comparatively low-key.
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But if the 21-year-old utility forward has his way, by the end of the 2012 NRL season his name will be a familiar one to Newcastle fans.

Rochow is an East Maitland Griffins junior who in 2008 played first grade for Kurri Kurri and for Newcastle’s SGBall (under-18) team.

At the end of that season, he appeared unlikely to be retained by the Knights but was pleasantly surprised when Melbourne Storm offered him a position in their National Youth Competition squad.

‘‘There wasn’t really an opportunity for me to stay with Newcastle,’’ Rochow recalled.

‘‘Melbourne was foreign to me and I was a little bit scared at first, but it turned out to be one of the best things I ever did.

‘‘They asked me to come down and have a crack at the pre-season, and I ended up playing most of that 2009 season when we won the 20s premiership.

‘‘That was a big step up for me and going through the Melbourne system changed me as a footballer, in a good way I guess.’’

After graduating from the under 20s last year, Rochow remained with the Storm’s NRL feeder team, Cronulla Sharks, and played one first-grade game for Melbourne in both 2010 and last season.

‘‘The first game was during the Origin period when there were a few injuries and whatnot,’’ he said.

‘‘This year there was an opportunity for me to play more than one game, so it was a little bit disappointing to look back on that at the end of the year.

‘‘Next year if I got a chance to play in the NRL, I’d definitely want to make the most of it and give myself an opportunity to play more than one game.’’

A realistic Rochow admitted he was ‘‘a fair way off ’’ being able to achieve that dream. Although versatile enough to play as a prop or edge back-rower, he realises the Knights have an abundance of quality forwards who command higher perches on the pecking order.

‘‘All I’m worried about is having a good pre-season,’’ he said.

‘‘There is a lot of depth in the squad, so it’s definitely going to be a hard fight to get a start.

‘‘But if an opportunity comes my way, I’d be more than happy.’’

A Newcastle fan during the glory days that yielded premierships in 1997 and 2001, Rochow said his arm did not need much twisting when Knights strategic development manager Keith Onslow contacted him last season offering a one-year deal.

‘‘To come home, to a new coach and a new system, was pretty appealing to me,’’ he said.

‘‘The three years in Melbourne made me a completely different player, and I’m so much better for my experience down there.

‘‘I loved the three years I had down there, but hopefully I can take something out of that and it will help me out at the Knights.’’

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2012 outlook: more gloom for business

CANBERRA – More companies could fall over in 2012 and push up unemployment if the fallout from the current round of global economic turmoil continues, a leading business group warns.
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The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said yesterday that the nation would have to rely more heavily on wealth creation and business profits next year if the local economy was to continue to grow and help the federal government repair the budget.

But chamber chief executive Peter Anderson said “unfortunately 2012 carries the risk of rising business failures and higher unemployment due to lower global growth forecasts and increased business costs pencilled in from mid-year”.

“The Reserve Bank’s two interest rate reductions in the past two months warn of tougher times ahead,” he said.

The warning comes as retailers struggle to make sales because consumers remain cautious.

Mr Anderson said there should also be a rethink on business profitability, after a year in which big corporations such as banks were castigated for earning billions of dollars while the average Australian struggled with higher utility costs and mortgage repayments.

He said 2012 needed to be a year when making profits was greeted with a sigh of relief, not a dirty word.

“Making a profit and protecting the business bottom-line will need to be the catch-cry in 2012.”

The chamber’s call came as acting Prime Minister Wayne Swan said Treasury had begun work on the 2012-13 budget and a new opinion poll showed Labor remained in the doldrums with voters.

The Newspoll published in The Australian newspaper showed that on a two-party preferred basis, federal Labor now sits on national support of 45 per cent while the Coalition is on 55 per cent.

The Treasurer dismissed the results, saying he did not take notice of opinion polls anymore.

“We are getting on with the big challenges and opportunities that lie before Australia . . . particularly the challenges posed by the international economy,” Mr Swan said.

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

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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.

options={AutoStart:false,DefaultQuality:”High”,PlayerWidth:463,PlayerHeight:260}

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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