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Opposition Leader tours the Hunter

JOHN ROBERTSON. – Picture by Simon AleknaTHE Opposition Leader John Robertson is touring the Hunter and Central Coast today ahead of a community cabinet meeting tonight at Newcastle Panthers.
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Here is where he will be, and when.

9am

Wyong Council Chambers, Wyong

Meet with Mayor of Wyong, Bob Graham, to discuss the potential impacts of the Wallarah 2 mining proposal on local waterways.

11am

Hunter Valley Financial Counselling Project Inc, Rutherford

Meet with the CEO of the NSW Financial Counsellors Association Michael Bailey and community workers to discuss the impacts of power bills under privatisation.

2pm

Newcastle District Ambulance Station, Hamilton

Join Shadow Health Minister Dr Andrew McDonald and local paramedics to discuss delays in ambulance response times.

5.15pm

Newcastle Panthers Club, Newcastle West

Members of the public invited to attend a community cabinet reception and meet the NSW Labor Cabinet.

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Herald beer experts talk home brewing

Mark Galletly of Marks Home Brew. Picture by Anita JonesHOME brewing has come a long way in recent decades. Whether you use basic kits or mash with malted grain, the results are likely to be better, and cheaper, than average commercial beers. Home brewing doesn’t take up a lot of time, and the gear you buy should soon pay for itself. But be warned: having a lot of good beer at home can lead some people to imbibe a bit more than they should.
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Jeff Corbett

WHEN I started brewing in 1980 it was in a big bucket using Saunder’s malt extract and sugar from the supermarket, hop essence from a health food shop and yeast that had been smuggled out of a brewery.

Against everyone’s expectations the beer was not only drinkable, it was good, and so my beer-loving father-in-law started brewing immediately. It was the smuggled yeast that made the difference, because at that time only baker’s yeast was available to brewers and the result varied between revolting and disgusting.

A year or two later the beer kits appeared, and they produced a beer that rivalled the amber fluid sold by pubs and, when Coopers produced its range, a fluid that could be significantly better. I used these kits for years, later adding hops, crystal malt and powdered malt to produce beer with oomph.

A decade ago I began mashing grain to make beer and I did that, to my wife’s horror, in the kitchen using a variety of pots and strainers and Eskies. The beer was magnificent.

A couple of years ago I moved to a new way of mash brewing usually referred to as ‘‘brew in a bag’’. A bag made of a synthetic material holds the malted grain in a 40-litre urn containing water at a certain temperature, and when the mashing – the conversion of the grain’s starch to sugar – is complete, the bag containing the grain is removed.

The liquid in the urn is then boiled with hops, which are added at different times for different effects, for an hour or so; then the hot wort is run through the urn’s tap into a plastic container to cool before being tipped into a fermenter with yeast to become beer. I use a glass fermenter, and my beer is brewed in a temperature-controlled fridge.

Apart from mashing, I believe that controlling the temperature of the fermentation is the biggest improvement a home brewer can make to the result.

My beer is better than magnificent, breathtakingly so, and I would say my best beer is a tastier, fuller version of Little Creatures Pale Ale. If it wasn’t in such high demand I’d be delighted to share a bottle with you.

Simon Walker

I’M an all-grain, brew-in-a-bag home brewer.

I use a 40-litre yabby pot to boil my beer in.

It has an insert which I put the grain bag in and which can be easily removed during the process when required.

I use about 6kg of crushed grain and generally about 100g of hops per brew.

I follow clone recipes which I get out of magazines or off the web.

I usually aim to make three cartons per brew.

My process, dictated by my rustic equipment, is pretty basic.

I pour about 30litres of hot water into my pot.

That water is about 72degrees out of the tap, and cools to the required range of about 66degrees once I dip the grain bag in.

Once all the grain is submerged, and mixed up, I put the lid on, wrap it in my insulated barbecue cover and leave it for an hour to mash. Then I hang the grain bag above the pot to drain.

I’ll sparge about six litres of boiling water through it to get any more goodness out of the grain. Then I’ll bring the pot to the boil, add my hops and boil for an hour.

Depending on the sugar extraction from the mash, I may add a bit of dextrose to up the alcohol level.

Once boiling is done, I cool the mash by resting my pot in my swimming pool.

Once cooled I transfer the wort to my fermenter, take an original specific-gravity reading, add yeast and ferment for however many days it takes, usually seven to 10.

I know it’s done when the bubbling stops, and/or the final specific gravity hits a prescribed level.

Then I transfer the wort to a second fermenter, which I’ve primed with sugar in preparation for bottling.

To bottle about three cartons I find about 500g of sugar works for mass priming of 27litres.

By moving it to the second fermenter I aim to avoid all the crud that rests on the bottom of the first fermenter. Then I bottle, cap and store.

Best results start to emerge after about a month of maturing.

But curiosity dictates I’m often in there earlier monitoring the journey of the brew.

Sean Melehan

BREWING your own beer is the ultimate in blokey, hunter-gathering concepts.

How much more self-sufficient can a man be than to pump out 60bottles a batch of his own, lovingly nurtured amber ale?

The whole process is fun. It’s a cross between cooking and a science experiment, and you end up with consumable alcohol – hopefully – at the end. And it’s cheap.

My brother-in-law got me into it.

I’m a partial extract brewer, which means I use both tins of malt extract as well as boil grains and hops. It’s the best of both worlds and you can achieve really good results.

My favourite concoction is a dunkelweizen – that’s German for dark wheat beer – that was inspired by a trip to the famous Munich beer hall. I’ve knocked out Belgian beers, IPAs, chocolate porters, honey wheat beers and kolsch-style beers as well.

Most people find after a while they’ve got a few personal favourites that they know they can more or less reproduce, but the thing with home brewing is you rarely reproduce exactly the same taste twice. There’s just so many variables.

When it comes to what you can make, the sky’s the limit.

If you taste a commercial beer you like, you get in and clone it – experimentation can get you everywhere.

And patiently waiting for things to mature in the bottle is the key.

I just produced a ‘‘Left-Over Ale’’ that pretty much cleared the drawers of lurking grains, hops and dextrose.

After a taste on the way from the fermenter into the bottles I’m wondering if it will be renamed ‘‘Legless Ale’’ down the track.

Ask for a beer at my place this summer at you own peril.

?Mark’s Home Brew at Islington (ubrew南京夜网.au) supplies basic kits through to “beer-in-a-bag” mash equipment. Owner Mark Galletly is a Newcastle icon in craft-brewing circles.

?Check if there is a home brew club in your area.

?To take the guesswork out of making your own beer, and the cost of buying equipment, the franchise Brew-By-U at Cardiff is an option (brewbyu南京夜网.au).

It is a micro-brewery where you choose from about 160 beer clones and do most of the work yourself. The only thing you have to supply is your own bottles (you can buy them there). You have to make a minimum of 50litres a brew and it works out at about $20 to $28 a carton. I’ve tasted the results and they are excellent.

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Inspired by strong emotive events

*(1/3) (2/3)
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(3/3)

GOTYE and his 10-piece- band are hitting Hobart this Sunday for a sold-out show in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. X-static’s ISABEL BIRD chats to the man behind Gotye – Wally De Backer.

WALLY De Backer describes himself as “someone who tinkers with things for a long period”.

This is hardly surprising.

His album Making Mirrors came five years after his previous one, Like Drawing Blood, and contains a mixture of popping sounds, drawn out floating beats, bubble noises, synth and lyrics affected by a broad musical influence that comes from sampling a lot of different sounds and records.

De Backer said he was working on his third album on and off for two years.

“I stick things together over a long period of time and refine them,” De Backer said.

“For the last six months to a year I had more focus time to be working on the record (but) that kind of free time didn’t necessarily correlate with greater creative output.

“The ideas that flowered and turned into songs still happened at fairly random times.

“Bronte is a good example. I already had a lot of the elements of the music, but I didn’t have a lyric or direction to turn those scraps of musical ideas into a song.

“It was when my family friends let go of their family dog, finally put it down after it had been old and sick for a very long time, and I felt quite arrested by their approach.

“It really resonated with me, perhaps because I lost a pet of my own in the few months beforehand.

“It takes something very strong to shake me and prompt me (to write music) as opposed to being a regular magpie just looking for something to pounce upon and turn into a song idea.”

De Backer said Making Mirrors was at times influenced by exotica artists from the 1940s to 1960s, including Les Baxter and Leo Addeo, who produce music with a tropical, Caribbean feel.

“I’m a bit of a sucker for music from the mid 20th century up to the ’80s, synthesize and novelty organ music.

“There are lots of fairly dorky references there. Stuff like Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel filter through to songs like Eyes Wide Open.”

It is not the first time De Backer has played in Tasmania, having toured with his three-piece “raw, energetic” rock and roll band The Basics, and played at MSfest as Gotye.

He received messages from The Basics fans asking him not to leave Tassie off his national Making Mirrors tour.

After talking to his managers, the Hobart concert was put on the list.

“Playing in the botanical gardens will be pretty special, at that time of night, with a really huge crowd.”

*You can catch Gotye at The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, Hobart, on Sunday.

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

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Dhoni not drawn on Singh omission

Harbhajan SinghSYDNEY _ Indian captain MS Dhoni has refused to be drawn on whether India erred in not including controversial spinner Harbhajan Singh in their squad for the Australian tour.
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Harbhajan has struggled in Australia, taking nine wickets at 73.22 in four Tests, well short of his overall average of 29.35 against the Australians.

But with an ability to get under the skin of opposition players Harbhajan’s aggression and nagging personality could have been useful in shaking up Australia’s inconsistent batsmen in Melbourne.

“The reality is he’s not part of the side and (Ravichandran) Ashwin has done really well for us in the last few games and the series we just played (against the West Indies),” Dhoni said.

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

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Proposal seeks to recognise Aborigines

GIBBERGUNYAH Aboriginal Association (GAA) has received a grant from YouMeUnity to raise awareness and stimulate community debate about Constitu-tional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Constitution.
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GAA’s Aunty Sandra Brooks said the opportunity to work closely with the community in the Shire through the planned activities with the Wingecarribee Reconciliation Group would be a ‘Deadly’ start to a long and successful journey together.

“For the GAA, commencing and engaging in the dialogue is welcomed as a valuable community building outcome and all feedback is appreciated,” she said.

In partnership with the Wingecarribee Reconciliation Group, GAA will be conducting a street stall to disseminate information and garner support for the change.

A recent Auspoll found that 61 per cent of people were not even aware that there was a proposal to recognise Aboriginal Australians in the Constitution.

Constitutional recognition of the first peoples will strengthen the relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other Australians.

Wingecarribee Reconciliation Group chairman Kim Leevers said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians made an extraordinary contribution every day to the nation.

“Recognition gives us all a great opportunity to acknowledge this, to build on and strengthen our relationships and provide a solid foundation from which we can jointly face the challenges of the future together as a reconciled nation,” he said.

“We want better futures for all of our young people.”

“The people of the Southern Highlands have previously demonstrated their support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with the launch of the first Sorry Book in Bowral. “

Peter Lee will be coordinating a street stall which will run from November 8. Any people interested in volunteering to be a part of this can contact Peter on 4889 8305.

For more information about constitutional recognition go to www.youmeunity南京夜网.au.

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

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Audit to force changes

Jeff Kelly and George Hempenstall take notes as Steve Scroope does the auctioneering at the Yass Saleyards earlier this year.Followingan in-depth audit regarding the Yass Saleyards, council is poised to instigatea number of changes.
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TheYass Saleyards recorded a net loss of around $53,000 this financial year,approximately $2000 more than last year.

“Councilacknowledges that the Yass Saleyards doesn’t make money, it costs us money,”councillor Michael McManus said.

“Butthe Yass Saleyards continues to provide a service to the rural community andcouncil will continue to support it until such time as a regional saleyards canget up and running.”

Followingthe death of a selling agent in Narrabri this year, the Workcover NSW audit hasdecided that council must make changes at the Yass Saleyards.

Councilwill pay $3500 to put a power line underground so it doesn’t cross the loadingramp at a dangerous height, it will put together a proper evacuation plan foremergencies, install a new $8000, two metre high fence to guard the dangerouseffluent ponds and special head gear and rodeo vests will be mandatory forsellers working in close contact with cattle. It will be the responsibility ofeach agent to provide the safety gear for staff.

ColinMedway, of Landmark Yass, said while these changes will be costly, it is thelaw and nothing can be done about it.

“Unfortunatelythere might be a few extra costs associated, but you can’t get upset about it,it’s the law and it has to be abided by,” he said.

Hebelieves council is doing a good job in keeping the saleyards up and runningand it is something they should be commended on.

“Councilis doing everything it can to keep the Yass Saleyards operating; they are beinggreat about it.”

At theYass Saleyards Management Committee meeting at the end of August, Mr Medwayalso informed attendees that the development of a regional saleyards wasprogressing well but he admitted to the Tribune that they were still “a longway off”.

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

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Toddler falls from window

SYDNEY – A toddler is in a critical condition in hospital after falling from an apartment window while holidaying with his family on the NSW Central Coast.
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The three-year-old boy, from Canberra, fell four metres on to a concrete path from a first-floor window at The Entrance.

Paramedics, police and a helicopter trauma team attended to the boy shortly after 10am yesterday.

The boy was unconscious and was put into an induced coma before being flown to Westmead Children’s Hospital in Sydney.

It is believed that he has multiple skull fractures.

A hospital spokeswoman confirmed that he was in a critical condition.

Ambulance Inspector Brad Folitarik said the boy’s condition was touch-and-go.

“At this point in time it’s hard to tell whether or not the injuries are going to progress further,” Inspector Brad Folitarik told Macquarie Radio.

“It’s going to be a bit of a waiting game.”

The Australian Medical Association said the accident came as a reminder for parents to keep children away from windows and balconies.

“As we can see from today’s terrible accident where a young child fell and is sadly now in critical condition, this is something you need to take every precaution to avoid,” neurosurgeon Brian Owler said.

“Every year approximately 50 children fall from a window or balcony, and I fear this number may continue to grow as more families live in high-rise buildings.

“With the increased risk of falls from windows and balconies, it is crucial that parents take the necessary precautions to ensure their children don’t have access to windows or balconies, and that they are closely supervised at all times.”

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

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Cap threat to Newcastle University enabling programs

THE growth of popular teaching programs that help mature age people get into university study is under threat at the University of Newcastle.
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To read the Herald’s opinion, click here.

The federal education department wrote to the university last month to advise under a new policy it was capping the number of government-funded places in the university’s enabling program to 1505.

It’s a surprise move given the federal government’s policy of getting more people into university study, in particular the disadvantaged and those from rural and regional areas.

The University of Newcastle is the largest provider of enabling programs in the country, which has helped it to have high numbers of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

They have three enabling and two diploma programs to help get school-leavers and older people into degrees.

Enabling programs are a kind of bridging course and include Open Foundation, Newstep or Yapug, which prepare people for university over the course of a year and give them a credential to apply for a degree.

The university estimated that under a cap it would have a shortfall of 51 places next year and 87 in 2013.

A report to the university council said Newcastle would be ‘‘significantly affected’’ by the move to capped places and any reduction would negatively affect its ability to meet undergraduate student growth targets.

‘‘The demographic profile of our region is such that an increased capacity in enabling education is essential to improving access and participation rates,’’ it noted.

More than one-quarter of people who complete a government-funded enabling course in Australia do so at the university’s English Language and Foundation Studies Centre.

Vice-Chancellor Caroline McMillen said they had approached the department and expressed their concern.

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Highway claims five lives

Shearwater man Philip Eric Haines, 45, died when he lost control of his bike around a bend and collided with the front of a ute on Union Bridge Road.THE Bass Highway was a horror stretch of road in 2011, claiming five lives.
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Three of the crashes involved drivers crossing into oncoming traffic.

On May 28, a 22-year-old Invermay man died when the car he was a passenger in crossed to the wrong side of the road at Hagley and collided with an oncoming car, and on June 11 a man died in a collision with two trucks he was attempting to overtake on the highway at Carrick.

On August 22, Rocky Cape woman Rachelle Marshall, 32, died when the car she was driving crossed over double lines into oncoming traffic on the Bass Highway at Sisters Hill in the North-West.

Motorists were not the only fatalities.

In June, Hadspen man Andrew Bingley, 45, was struck by a car while cycling home.

Shorewell man Shaun Roger Barnes, 36, was struck by a car while walking along the highway at Edgcumbe Beach at 10.40pm on December 9.

Most of the 26 people killed on Tasmanian roads in 2011 died on rural roads with a speed limit of 100 km/h or more.

The Midland Highway, lauded as the worst road in the state, was the site of just one fatal crash this year when a woman crossed into oncoming traffic and collided with a log truck after a sweeping bend near the Mona Vale Road turn-off on April 13.

The last fatality for the year, and the only one in the Christmas road toll period, occurred on Union Bridge Road, an unmarked winding rural road between Mole Creek and Sheffield in the North-West.

Shearwater man Philip Eric Haines, 45, died when he lost control of his bike around a bend and collided with the front of a ute.

Mr Haines was an experienced rider and police do not believe speed or alcohol were factors in the crash.

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

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