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Man killed, woman injured in Doyalson crash

A man has been killed and a woman injured in a single-vehicle crash at Doyalson this morning.
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About 1.45am a southbound Holden Calais ran off the Pacific Highway at Doyalson and hit a tree.

The 20-year-old male driver died at the scene and a 19-year-old female passenger was airlifted to John Hunter Hospital.

The woman’s injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Police from Tuggerah Lakes Local Area Command are investigating the incident.

Anyone who witnessed the crash or the circumstances leading up to it is urged to contact Tuggerah Lakes Local Area Command or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Big dough for Jackman show

NEW YORK – Hugh Jackman has left a lot of broken hearts – and records – on Broadway.
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The hunky actor’s one-man show, Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway, ended its 10-week run at the weekend at the Broadhurst Theatre having earned $US2,057,354 ($2.04 million) in its final week.

That’s the highest ever weekly gross recorded by the Shubert Organisation, which owns the Broadhurst and 16 other Broadway theatres.

The previous record at the Broadhurst was held by the Al Pacino-led The Merchant of Venice, which took in $US1,175,750 earlier this year.

Backed by an 18-piece orchestra and six leggy dancers, Jackman belted out about two dozen musical theatre songs.

It was his third time on Broadway, following The Boy From Oz in 2003 and the play A Steady Rain with Daniel Craig in 2009.

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

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Think you have trouble?

PROPOSED changes to rail freight operations in Sydney and Gosford have thrown the issue of the Adamstown gates into focus (“Gatecrashed” Herald 8/12). As annoying as they are, spare a thought for the 134,421 residents of Flagstaff, Arizona, and visitors and tourists to the nearby Grand Canyon.
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The Flagstaff train station is on the main freight route between the east, Chicago and Los Angeles. It fronts Highway 89A (also publicised as historic Route 66) and two busy streets at either end of the station lead across the lines into the main shopping centre, known as Historic Flagstaff. The crossings are controlled by traffic lights. Between 80 and 100 freight trains a day pass over those crossings – all stretching over both crossings at the one time – mostly about 15 minutes apart.

I was in Flagstaff in October and twice saw one train pass, immediately after another going in the opposite direction. The trains are not short. On one I counted 123 freight cars.

A road overpass or tunnel would be impossible, as the streets in the CBD are fairly narrow and buildings are right up to the footpaths alongside the highway. The one solace they have is that the freight trains roar through at top speed, compared to the gentle pace of the ones going through Adamstown.

Russell Jones, Warners Bay

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Hewitt hopeful of getting year off on the right foot

Lleyton HewittPERTH – It’s very early days, but Lleyton Hewitt is cautiously optimistic that his troublesome left foot will hold up to the rigours of professional tennis this year.
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In his first competitive match since reinjuring his foot in September, Hewitt pushed Spain’s Fernando Verdasco all the way on Sunday before losing 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 at the Hopman Cup in Perth.

Australia went on to lose the tie 2-1 with Hewitt and Jarmila Gadjosova blowing a match point in the deciding mixed doubles.

But the tough loss was offset by the news that Hewitt’s battered foot held up as he eyes another Australian Open campaign later in the month.

The veteran moved freely and showed no outward discomfort against Verdasco, who, at No. 24 in the world, is ranked 162 places higher than his Australian opponent.

Although Hewitt admits that his foot still caused some pain, the former world No. 1 said it wasn’t enough to keep him off the court.

“You have to try to block out the pain as much as possible and concentrate on what you need to do on the court, tactics and game plan and everything else that’s going on out there,” Hewitt said.

His foot will be put to the test again when he faces off against France’s Richard Gasquet today.

World No. 33 Jarmila Gajdosova, who defeated Anabel Medina Garrigues in three sets on Sunday, will aim to upset France’s world No. 9 Marion Bartoli in the women’s singles today.

Meanwhile, world No. 7 Tomas Berdych hopes to improve on his grand slam performances in 2012 as he attempts to keep pace with the world’s top-eight tennis players.

Berdych, whose career highlight was reaching the final of Wimbledon in 2010, failed to fire in last year’s grand slams, with a quarter-final appearance at the Australian Open the best he could manage.

A first-round exit at the French Open, a round-of-16 defeat at Wimbledon and a round-of-32 flop at the US Open followed, although Berdych still ended the year with a top-10 ranking after solid performances in other ATP events.

Berdych, who combined with Petra Kvitova to lead the Czech Republic to a 2-1 Hopman Cup victory over Bulgaria yesterday, wants to have more of an impact in the grand slams.

“The expectations are pretty much similar to last year,” Berdych said.

“I want to end up again in the world tour finals in London, which means that I (need to) end up the year in the top eight.

“That’s what I would say (is) the bottom line.”

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

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UNSUNG HERO: Veteran giver still on the job

PASSION: Alli Hammett recently won a Community Service Award.ALLI Hammett has been volunteering since the ripe age of eight, yet 40 years later she is still giving back to the community.
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Ms Hammett, 48, came to Australia with her Welsh parents at the age of three and settled in ‘‘a one-horse town’’ near Campbelltown, Sydney.

‘‘I used to help mum at a disability service for children,’’ she said. ‘‘It was a very rich childhood and it helped me with my communication skills. I guess I was lucky to find my passion at an early age.’’

Ms Hammett moved to Newcastle in 1981 to study for an arts degree at the University of Newcastle and also completed a Bachelor of Teaching. During her studies she continued her voluntary work, about 10 to 20 hours every week.

‘‘If you’re happy in both it doesn’t feel like work,’’ she said.

In 1994 Ms Hammett ‘‘fell into community education’’ and began work as one of the first road-safety officers in NSW.

‘‘There was very little work done in road education before that,’’ she said. ‘‘We did a lot of work on fatigue and seatbelt use.’’

In 2000 Ms Hammett had a stroke and despite the serious predicament she found herself in, she said it was ‘‘the best thing that ever happened to me’’.

She was completely paralysed down her right side and imaging on her scans suggested she would never walk again.

‘‘I thought ‘that’s a pile of bullshit’, I wasn’t ready to accept that,’’ she said. ‘‘I fought tooth and nail to get back to work. It was a really big shock but our brains are built to function and I wasn’t going to give up.’’

Her recovery has astounded stroke specialists and Ms Hammett continues to work on committees to assist in changing how stroke and heart patients are treated in emergency wards.

After her recovery, Ms Hammett returned to work and even took up a position as CEO for an organisation.

She said she didn’t let her goals lower even after her health scare.

Not long after Ms Hammett returned to her roots and worked in Wales with disadvantaged youths.

There she became involved in the Village SOS program, which awards grants to rural villages in the UK to revive their community through new business ventures.

She became the village champion for a Scottish village named West Wemyss and helped its residents make business and financial plans. The village was one of six winners of a grant worth more than $500,000.

Ms Hammett returned to Newcastle to retire but she still does community work and is chairperson at Octapod, which runs community events in the Hunter including the This is Not Art festival.

She presented at the TEDxNewy conference last month on the topic ‘‘Let’s Make Stroke Sexy’’.

Ms Hammett received recognition for her 40 years of work in the community when she was presented with a NSW Community Service Award by Newcastle MP Tim Owen two weeks ago.

‘‘It’s the first award I have ever received for my work and the only one I want,’’ she said. ‘‘I don’t do this for awards, I do it because I love it.’’

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Post-party ride home no issue for happy camper

Devonport’s Bruce Winter relaxes outside his second home – a camper-trailer pulled behind his bike.DEVONPORT’S Bruce Winter never has to worry about getting home when he goes to a party – he takes his home with him.
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Mr Winter said his camper-trailer, that took only minutes to put up, was towed behind his K1200LT BMW.

”I bought the bike from a bloke in Brisbane three years ago,” he said.

”He sent it down to Melbourne and I jumped on it for a trip along the Great Ocean Road before coming back on the ferry – the trailer followed about a year later.

”I haven’t had it on the mainland yet, but I’ve stayed in it a few times in Tassie, mostly after parties.

”It’s easy enough to tow around, you have to steady up a bit and take things a bit slower than on a solo motorcycle – the whole rig weighs about 650 kilograms and 300-odd of that is swinging off the back like a pendulum.

”You don’t see many motorcycles towing camper-trailers.”

Mr Winter said he had trips planned all the time, but his wife Tracy was not so keen.

”It’s five-star accommodation only for Tracy when we travel, but she has spent one night in the camper,” he said.

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

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Bypassing Bulahdelah

AS holiday motorists face the last gasp of the notorious highway bottleneck at Bulahdelah, the town itself is confronting an uncertain future.
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Being bypassed is an experience that has killed some towns and been the making of others. How things pan out for any particular town is a function of the attributes of the locality.

Some settlements only ever existed because of transport routes, and once those routes were altered, the town’s lifeblood stopped flowing.

Other towns have qualities that make them attractive in their own right, so being bypassed isn’t actually an existential threat, but merely presents challenges of readjustment.

Bulahdelah clearly falls into the second category. The town’s location on the Myall River, beneath picturesque Alum Mountain, is by some measures quite idyllic.

The loss of the reliable commerce provided by a constant stream of traffic will certainly hurt some businesses and that shouldn’t be downplayed. But the town’s advantages are considerable and thoughtful marketing ought to be able to replace the losses. Removal of the highway might, in fact, prove to be a plus.

Boating between Bulahdelah and the Myall Lakes – already popular – has much scope for growth, particularly if some effort is expended improving and restoring degraded stretches of river bank.

The district has an interesting history, and the forest park surrounding Alum Mountain is appealing and attractive.

As always, the town’s success in achieving the necessary adjustment to remain prosperous will depend heavily on its residents and business owners and their ability to work towards a shared vision of what might be.

Given the positive comments from many, there is every reason to be optimistic about Bulahdelah’s future.

Meanwhile, those business owners whose livelihoods have depended on the restless stream of vehicles will be hoping for one last bumper season before the bypass makes bumper-to-bumper traffic a thing of the past for Bulahdelah.

One way cash-flow

IF the NSW government was to spend $2.38 million on some project in the Hunter, the news would be breathlessly announced by ministerial staffers.

But when that sum of money flows from the Hunter to state coffers in Sydney – as it did every single day of the 2010-2011 financial year – nobody in Macquarie Street bats an eyelid.

The NSW Minerals Council has helpfully revealed that the Hunter’s share of the record mining royalty crop harvested by the government last year amounted to $868 million.

That was an increase of 25 per cent over the previous year and represented the lion’s share of the total statewide take which added up to $1.25 billion.

It’s a mystery why a region that supplies the government with such wealth finds itself so often the victim of niggardly penny-pinching by the decision-makers in Sydney.

It’s an even bigger mystery why the region puts up with it.

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Standish is Catapulted

Jockey Michael Rodd riding Catapulted to victory in yesterday’s group 3 Standish Handicap at Flemington.MELBOURNE – Classy six-year-old sprinter Catapulted got within half a second of the course record to win the group 3 Standish Handicap at Flemington.
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The Mark Kavanagh-trained chestnut was explosive up the straight course and he spreadeagled his rivals to win yesterday’s 1200-metre feature by three lengths in a sizzling 1:7.66.

Iglesia set the course record when he won the 2001 Standish in 1:7.16 while unbeaten champion Black Caviar won last year’s Newmarket Handicap in 1:7.36.

Kavanagh said he was confident he had Catapulted close to his best after a failed trip to Sydney last month but was unprepared for the ease of his win and the winning time.

“I was surprised he did that with the weight (59kg) but he is a good horse when right,” Kavanagh said.

“I thought we had him nearly back and it is good to see him hit form again.

“He got them off the bridle a long way out and that always helps in sprint races.

“He’s been a fabulous horse, a great horse.”

Kavanagh is now planning to travel interstate again with Catapulted to contest the $400,000 Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast on January 14.

“It is a quality handicap so we might take him up there now,” Kavanagh said.

Catapulted is no stranger to Queensland having won the group 2 QTC Cup (1300m) in June 2010 at Eagle Farm.

The Standish was his 11th win from 27 starts and his sixth at stakes level. However he had been winless since the group 3 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield in February last year.

Michael Rodd, who returned from a Christmas break four days ago, rode Catapulted confidently in the first four and said he was “giggling” when the gelding was travelling so well in the run.

“With the run he had to the 600 metres I was giggling to myself because he is just below spring carnival form and not many of these horses have reached those heights yet.”

Rocking Force, who won the Listed Swisse Vitamins Stakes at Flemington three starts ago, charged home late to dead-heat for second with Cascabel while Canali raced on the pace all the way and finished fourth.

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

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Home brew brouhaha

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I’ve been a home brewer now for, let me see, um, memory’s not what it used to be since I started. Anyhow, with Newcastle Herald journalist Steve Williams profiling the pleasures of brewing in Monday’s Living Green section, it’s time for a testimonial.

Unlike AA, where you have to start any explanation with ‘‘I’m a recovering alcoholic and I’ve been sober now for …’’, home brewers revel in their addiction.

Probably because they haven’t been sober for years.

And besides that, it’s a craft, you see. A holy pursuit glorified for centuries by people as divine as Trappist monks.

Not substance abuse dressed up in beer wankery.

Having said that, ‘‘substance abuse’’ would be a fair description of some of my brews. ‘‘Crime against chemistry’’ another. ‘‘Rocket fuel’’ on occasion.

But as an interest it’s possibly more meritorious than, say, cooking crystal meth.

I was first attracted to home brewing by the challenge of making something better than commercial beer at a cheaper rate. And I’m here to tell you that’s possible.

Hang on, I’ll rephrase that.

I was attracted to the challenge of making something with as much alcohol in it as commercial beer at a cheaper rate. That much is a doddle.

Whether it tastes better, or is fundamentally superior, I’m not sure.

As the creator, you can never really tell. It’s like being a parent. Parents see no evil in their children, and brewers taste no evil in their brew – that they can’t kid themselves doesn’t exit.

Friends and neighbours will never tell you if your children are awful. They’ll always say they’re delightful. Same thing with home brew. Hence it’s hard to get an objective opinion about your beer.

My fallback benchmark is ‘‘over the line’’. As in, if you don’t gag when you swallow, it’s over the line.

Having said that, the gag reflex can be overcome.

It usually happens like this: You take a sip, recoil, and think, ‘‘hmm, different”.

Then you wonder if the bottle might have had an impurity. So you try another to compare.

Scientists do this all the time. It’s called an experiment control. Trouble is, technically, there’s not much control if you’re drinking in your lab. After a couple of ‘‘controls’’, it’s mystifying how much better any brew seems to taste – good or bad.

Possibly that’s got to do with the emotion and hope invested in a brew. Not only do you have to go through the rigmarole of making it. You’ve then got to wait over a month to find out if it’s any good. But if it turns out hellish, it can be devastating. Particularly if you’ve talked it up to a neighbour.

Truth is, no one should ever be allowed to drink your home brew unless they insist on doing so without prompting; and fill out a form acknowledging that fact to guard against public health class actions; and pledge to only say good things about it to your face.

There’s no greater insult than to suggest a bloke’s brew is shite. Still, it happens. But something in human nature dictates that if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And that’s been the theme of my brewing career.

It’s a reasonably straightforward procedure. You take natural ingredients and you turn them into beer. You are beer Merlin. Sometimes your beer is magic. But in all honesty, I’m yet to cast the perfect spell. Or remember how I cast it. Given the gestation period, and experiment controls, it’s easy to forget the winning formula.

So next time I step up to the plate, it’s back to square one. And so it goes.

What’s the worst, or best, home brew you’ve ever tasted?

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Premier O’Farrell here for gallery, but can’t escape fig debate

NO ESCAPE: Barry O’Farrell, Tim Owen and Andrew Cornell in Laman Street, Newcastle, ahead of the exhibition opening. – Picture by Peter StoopHE came to open an unprecedented exhibition at the Newcastle Art Gallery, but last night NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell couldn’t escape what is undoubtedly Newcastle’s most debated issue.
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Mr O’Farrell was met outside the gallery, where he officially opened the Australian Modern Masterpieces exhibition, by a smattering of Save Our Figs supporters who gave out a loud cheer as he stepped from his car.

There’s a Sydney fig fight, too

Rather than turn and walk in the other direction or immerse himself in his entourage, Mr O’Farrell quickly paced over to the group.

He thanked them for continuing to fight for their beloved fig trees before a spokesman for Save Our Figs handed him a letter calling for his continued support.

Mr O’Farrell then abandoned the idea of entering the gallery through the back door and walked with a representative of the group to greet another collection of supporters on the corner of Darby Street.

The short stroll from there to the entrance of the gallery took the Premier down Laman Street and under the canopy of iconic fig trees.

The letter handed to Mr O’Farrell provided a list of the independent experts who have looked into the risk posed by the figs and asked the Premier to ‘‘actively explore and pursue any reasonable means … to assist the Newcastle community to bring about a more reasonable approach to this important matter’’.

The Save Our Figs group also thanked Mr O’Farrell for his attempts to assist Newcastle City Council in resolving the issue.

The exhibition paired 30 pieces of art from the NSW Art Gallery with works from the same artist from Newcastle’s own collection.

More than 500 people attended the official opening of the exhibition that featured the 1948 Archibald Prize-winning portrait of the late Margaret Olley by Newcastle born artist William Dobell.

Gallery director Ron Ramsey said he was ‘‘thrilled’’ with the turnout.

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