short story: White Noise by Brenda Proudfoot

WORTH 1000 WORDS: Each day we will publish a finalist in the Herald short story competition. The winner will be announced on January 28, 2017. Picture: Simone De Peak
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Read the other finalists’ storiesWHEN Shane was arrested, the bush telegraph went into overdrive. Women squalling and squawking like a flock of corellas flung into hot air.

The day after the news broke, Carol and I were having a coffee in the bakery during my lunch break.

Carol was pleased the police had caught him.

She needed someone to blame. Now, her boiling anger had an outlet, a spout of vengeance to ease the raw ache of grief.

She’d never liked the way Shane had hung around with my Matt and her Lisa. It wasn’t anything she could put her finger on, but he’d been brought up differently, hadn’t he? Wasn’t a good influence on our kids.

Carol and I have been friends since the kids were little. All through primary school, Matt and Lisa were inseparable. At high school Shane was in Matt’s footy team, and the three of them became good mates.

Matt left school last year and became a brickie’s apprentice. For the first time in his life, he’d found something he was good at. Shane got a job as a farm labourer, looking after the Reillys’ cattle.

At the weekends the boys went spotlighting together. Matt had a new shotgun and Shane owned a beat-up ute. Shane had the knack of spotting animals. Often, he’d let Matt drive the ute. Sometimes they came home with nothing, but most times they’d get a couple of rabbits or a fox. Occasionally they killed a wild dog but Shane wouldn’t let Matt shoot any roos.

The bush was like Shane’s backyard. He took Matt to a muddy dam where they caught yabbies and down the creek to catch eels.

Once they went way up into the hills where Shane showed Matt a cave with a blackened roof and red handprints on the walls. Lisa wanted to see it but Shane said that it was a secret place where women weren’t allowed to go.

They found Shane’s burnt-out ute in Sawyers Gully. They say Lisa was still in the passenger seat. Matt was thrown clear when the ute rolled. It was a miracle he wasn’t killed. He was in hospital for a week then spent two months on crutches but now he’s well enough to go back to work.

The doctors say, apart from his memory loss, Matt’s made a full recovery, but I find that hard to believe. It’s like the accident drained the life out of him. His eyes are dull, his mouth is sullen.

When I told Matt about Shane’s arrest, he threw down his knife and fork and stormed off to his room. I left him for a while to calm down, then went to ask if he was OK. When I put my head around his door, he swore and told me to go away.

Shane hasn’t been seen round town since the night of the accident. Some people say he headed up north to hide amongst his mob. He didn’t even tell Pat Reilly he was leaving. Once a reliable worker, now he’s reverted to type.

A group of locals saw the three of them at the pub on the night of the accident. They all said Shane and Matt had an argument, but no-one knew what it was about. They reckon Shane got drunk and shouldn’t have been driving. He was tried in the court of popular opinion and found guilty. He had to be punished for taking a life.

I never told Carol I knew Shane and Lisa were dating. It was enough she’d lost her daughter. There was no point in making her disappointed in her girl. I’d seen them hanging out together on the main street. Shane would slip his arm around her and pull her towards him. Lisa would look up at him and smile.

After Carol and I had coffee that day, I went straight back to work. I always close the post office during my lunch break and that day, I was runninga few minutes late. Several people were waiting for me to re-open. I was busy weighing parcels and paying bills when I saw Matt cross the road and disappear into the police station on the opposite side of the street.What on earth was he doing? Why wasn’t he at work?I wanted to head straight over to the police station but, after the way Matt had reacted to the news about Shane’s arrest, I was afraid of making him angry again.That afternoon, I found it hard to concentrate. Was there something Matt wasn’t telling me? Something preying on his mind?

I remembered the way he’d spoken about Lisa at the funeral. It was almost as if he’d been her lover rather than her friend.

The afternoon dragged on and eventually it was time to head home. Matt was sitting in the lounge room. He had the TV remote in his hand but he hadn’t switched it on.

“Hi, Mum,”he said, and my spirits lifted. He hadn’t bothered to greet me for days.“I’ve been to the police and told them I was driving.”

“You can’t do that,”I cried. “Look, I know life’s tough for people like Shane.But you can’t lie – even if he is your best mate.“Listen, Mum,”he said. “It’s the truth. Shane wasn’t even there.”

It turns out Shane and Matt were arguing about Lisa. She’d snatched Shane’s keys off the table and ran out to the ute. Matt chased after her and persuaded her to let him drive. They’d take the ute out for a spin to wind Shane up. Serve him right for being such a dick.

“I had to tell them. I knew the cops wouldn’t believe him.”

I nodded. The white noise flying around town had trashed Shane’s reputation.

I put my arm around my boy and we sat there in silence, as our burden of guilt settled like a brick in my heart.


Hunter Hero: Jacquelyn Poke chops off her long hair to help cancer patientsPHOTOS

A good hair deed for people battling cancer TweetFacebookJacquelyn PokeFundraiserJACQUELYN Poke is a little girl with a big head of hair and an enormous heart.
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The nine year old recently lopped off 40 centimetres of her glorious hair to help make wigs for cancer patients.

She set out to raise $1000 for the Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation too, but her efforts ended up raising more than $2500.

“I just wanted to help sick people feel more happy and normal,” Jacquelynsaid.

She was inspired to cut her hair and raise money by personal events.

Both of her great grandmothers had been affected by cancer. One had passed away from breast cancer, and the other had died of lung cancer before she was born.

But then her uncle was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour, and she saw the effect the treatment had on him.

Jacquelyn’s father, Douglas, said she had watched her “fun loving” uncle become bid ridden, struggling to speak.

“I always loved playing games with my uncle Mark and he always spent time with us making sure we were having a good time,” she said.

“Now with his cancer, he can’t get out of bed, and can’t enjoy the games like we used to.

“His cancer is now too aggressive and can’tbe treated. This makes me very sad for someone who I love so much.”

Surrounded by family and friends, as well as a representative from the Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation, Jacquelyn recently cut off her hair in the hope it would help others going through cancer treatment.

It was the first time she had ever had a “proper” haircut, she said.

“I’ve pretty much been growing it since I was born. I’ve only ever really had a bit of a trim before this,” Jacquelyn said.

“It feels a little bit strange. I can’t stop swishingit around, it’s so much lighter,” she laughed.

Her uncle Mark had shaved his head in support on the same day. A wig maker based on the Central Coast now has the task of turning Jacquelyn’s hair into a wig, possibly several.

“I want to keep doing things for people who are sick, and helping them wherever I can.”

Her familyprovides presents for under-privileged children each Christmas, and Jacquelynoftendonates toys to the oncology ward at the John Hunter Hospital.

“Hopefully we will find a cure for cancer one day, but I have decided to help by raising funds to help those who are suffering,” she said.

Jacquelyn has begun growing her hair out again, and plans to cut it off for charity again in four year’s time.

To donate, visit give.everydayhero苏州夜总会招聘/au/jackie-s-hair-donation.


Begin year with power of gratitude

Confession: Over the last week or so I have been in full chillax. At times I have found myself some what mindlessly drifting through the beautiful summerdays, enjoying that magic time between Christmas and New Year.
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For me, it’s a way of recharging the batteries. In preparation for getting back to reality,I have been taking some time to be more mindful.

A practice recommended by many is mindfulness – which is basically being more aware or conscious of something. It is often about paying attention or being more present in the moment.

I strongly believe that our lives are better when we are more aware of those things that we should be grateful for. In a busy, sometimes stressful world, a great way to do this is simple mindfulness exercise where we list the positives in our lives followed by a short “why”.

There are no hard and fast rules, but here is a format that works for me and the people I work with.

Take a clean sheet of paper (or screen), write in the middle in a circle “what I am grateful for”. Simply fill the page in other circles with the things that you appreciate in your life. For example:

My family. Why? They love me and I love them.

My partner/wife/husband. Why? If we are lucky, they are our best friendand someone to share our life with.

My health. Why? Without it I can’t be there for my family and live a full life.

My work. Why? It allows me to fulfillmy life’s purpose.

My friends. Why? They add value to my life and I add value to theirs.

Where I live. Why? It allows me to live the life I want to live.

The ability to make decisions about what kind of a life I have.

By the way, the exercise isn’t over until you have done two more things. Expressthanks for each of the things that you are grateful for. For example, tell your family you love them. And identifywhat you need to change to have a better situation in some areas of your life.

You could then make a list of actions that you will take to express your thanks, and another list focused on those areas that you have identified that you need to change or improve. This time of the year is a great time to reflect and take an hour to complete the exercise.

For example, if the exercise highlighted that you are very happy and thankful more most areas of your life but you identified that you want to improve your health, the next step is to set some goals and take some action in that area. You may have identified that you are spending too much time with negative people, so you might commit to a new hobby or activity where you will meet new people.

Why not start 2017 by asking yourself, “what am I grateful for?”

Greg Mowbray is a leadership speaker, author, mentor and consultant. Email him at at [email protected]苏州夜总会招聘Greg Mowbray

NEXT STEPS: Leadership expert Greg Mowbray says taking time to seriously ask yourself “what am I grateful for?” is an empowering way to start a new year.


New Year’s Eve is here – no party poopers allowed

Light Show: Fireworks above Nobbys on New Year’s Eve in 2011. Picture: Dean Osland.
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The Urban Dictionary describes a party pooper as “a person who ruins a party by either stopping the fun or not participating in a certain activity”.

It gives this example: “Jeff is a party pooper because he won’t play Spin The Bottle”.

The dictionary gives a secondary meaning for party pooper, as “a person whoruins a festive moment with their attitude”.

The example is: “Jan is such a party pooper, but we went on without her”.

Listen to Mr Bean. He knows what he’s talking about.

The third meaning is too disgusting, so we won’t mention it.

The fourth meaning is: “A person who goes to parties, but kills the mood by not having a good time and sitting in a corner texting on their phone. And they end up leaving earlier than anyone else”.

It gives another meaningwhich we hadn’t heard before: “Portable toilets used at a public party, concertor event”.

The example is: “There’s a long line at the party poopers”.

Anyhow, the point is tonight is New Year’s Eve. So don’t be a party pooper.

Quiet FireworksFireworks have been around for a long time. Apparently they originated in China about 2000 years ago.

Legend has it that a Chinese cook discovered fireworkswhen hemixed charcoal, sulphur and potassium nitrate. Hecompressedit in a bamboo tube and burnt it.

Chinese believe firecrackers have a mythical power to fend off evil spirits and ghosts with loud bangs.

This being the case, they probably wouldn’t appreciate the council in Italy that introduced new laws forcing citizens to use quiet fireworks.

Lawmakers in Collecchio in the province of Parma did so to reduce the distress that the noise from fireworks causes to animals, children and old folks.

Pretty PollutantsWriting about fireworks before last New Year’s Eve, a story aboutfireworks said they were our “prettiest pollutant” and “terrific but toxic”.

“Fireworks are great fun. We all enjoy guessing the colours of the rockets before they ignite in the sky, hearing the explosions echo off nearby buildings, or writing our names in light with hand sparklers. But there is an environmental price to pay. Firework smoke is rich in tiny metal particles,” wrote Gary Fuller,a senior lecturer in air quality atKing’s College London.

“Fireworks can lead to substantial air pollution problems.Fireworks that fall to the ground contain residues of unburnt propellants and colourants, while particle pollution in the air eventually deposits on the ground or gets washed out by rain. Some of this finds its way intolakes and rivers.”

This problem has been linked to thyroid problems, causing limits to be set for drinking waterin some US states. “This is a major concern forlakeside resortsand attractions that have frequent fireworkdisplays,” Gary wrote.

This information definitely qualifies for party-pooper status. Not to worry, the BBC reported “clean and green fireworks” have been invented. Now, we suppose, it’s just a matter of people actually using them.

ResolutionsQuit smoking, go on a diet, exercise more, be a better person, travel more, work less, have more fun, eat more vegies, spend less time on social media, be more sociable, face your fears, become a romantic, learn a language, get better at your own language, save more, spend more, take more risks, take less risks, make more money, make less money, be nicer, be less nice, sleep more, sleep less, watch less TV, watch more TV,read more, read less, get a new partner, dump your partner.They’re all worthy in certain circumstances.

Our New Year’s resolution is to be less prefect.

Hangover TipsHere’s some tips to avoid a hangover from theesteemed magazine Cosmopolitan.

Double up on multivitamins, order a burger instead of a salad, rest up, skip champagne, make your roadie a Powerade, stick with clear liquor, choose juice over soda mixers, dance your ass off,drink a glass of water or two before bed, wear a sleeping mask,take an ibuprofen pill, forget hair of the dog, eat eggs the next morning.

We admit, some of this sounds a bit party-pooperish. But, hey, hangovers suck.


Year in Review 2016, in my little neighbourhood

WE knew it was going to be one of those years when the vote was tallied and a narcissistic megalomaniac came out on top.
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“Well,buggerme,” said Frank from two doors up when I told him. “We didn’t see that coming.”

That’s what 2016 has been like where I live.

One minute the local residents’ action group was plodding along writing outraged letters to the editor about potholes and a lack of police, and then came the coup. Alan the retired accountant was ousted as president and Ralph the realestate agent/developer/formertelevangelist was in, all fired up with plans for a casino in the school of arts hall.

It’s been a big year globally and nationally –the European migration crisis, no end to the tragedy in Syria, Brexit, terrorist attacks, Donald Trump’s victory, Malcolm Turnbull’s near defeat, theearly deaths of so many celebrities, and growing alarm about climate change and the politics of climate change.

But in Upper Wombatville where I live–community motto,“Leafblowers and chainsaws rule”-it’sbeen a REALLY big year, starting with the Farraghers’New Year’s Eve party to end 2015.

Everyone was there. The Farraghers, of course, although we raised a glass for young Justin, doing time for his coming-of-agemalicious damage, graffiti, vandalism and letterbox-smashingspree.

Marge Farragher wastearful as she downed her fifth bubbly.

“He’s only got three months to go. It’s been so quiet, and of course I’m loving my new sewing room. Maybe we can do up a bedroom in the garage when he comes back,” she blubbered.

A few of us noticedthe Farraghers’youngest, Tiffany, lookinga bitpeaky, although Ethel from number 42 thought she’d beefed up since we’d last seen her.

Trust a retirednurse and NSWCWAvice president to get it in one.

When the countdown for 2016 started young Tiff stood on the tank stand, andbefore you could say“Watch out for the hippeastrums”, she blurted out her news.

“Mum, Dad, congrats, you’re going to be grandparents.Dwayne hasto move inbecause his olds have thrown him out,” she said as we cheered in the new year, Marge fainted, and Bazza launched himself at Dwayne, the best halfback Bazza hasever coachedand, apparently, the father of his future grandchild.

As wewanderedhome later we heard Bazza smashing through Gladys McMahon’shydrangeas. As some of the old hands knew, it wasDwayne’s favourite hiding spotas a little tacker when he didn’t want to go to training.

There was the fire at number 57 in April. While most of us were sleeping, Darrell and Beryl Brown decided it was a good time to burn off the garbage pile in their backyard that’s been accumulating since Don Lane won a Gold Logie.

Maybe it was the home brew they’d been drinking. Maybe it was the warm westerly that had been blowing for most of the day. Or maybe it was the mower fuel Darrell decided to throw on the pile to, as he put it, “give it a bit of a rev up”. But the backyard burn was out of hand quicker than Darrell can down a cold one.

It only took a few minutes for Gary and Graeme -the nice gay couple who moved into number 55 with high hopes of a quiet life, and then they met Darrell and Beryl –to wake up to choking smoke and flames licking their pagoda’s west wall, and the whole street was alive to the sounds of fire trucks and Beryl shrieking for the cat.

The police were nice. The ambos did a good job with the oxygen after Beryl made a dash for the dining room to rescue her best china and was beaten back by thick smoke from the plastic lounge covers. And we all learnt a valuable lesson:if you’re going to light an illegal backyard fire in the middle of the night, don’t wear a see-through short nightie and undies with dodgy elastic.

There were departures this year. Justin, as mentioned. The Taylors,who movedto Queenslandunder the mistaken impression Pauline Hanson had been voted Premier. The Barrett triplets, who left for Europe on a Monday and whose parents, Steph and Bill, sold the house the next day and moved to New Zealand without leaving a forwarding address. And Gladys McMahon, who’d had enoughof Bazza smashing her hydrangeas and left fora nursing home.

But the big news, of course, was Ralph’s coup. There was excitement when he moved into the big house on the corner and added a third floor, tennis court and 8-car garage. We’d all seen him on TV spruiking land releases and praising his personal saviour.

But no one thought he’d topple Alan.

There were the debates, where Alan championed kerb and guttering for the whole neighbourhood, keeping kids from cluttering up the local park, mandatory lawn mowing days and a residents’ veto on newcomers to the area.

But Ralph went one further. He was going to make Upper Wombatville great again by seceding from ,erecting a wall and producing a new currency to use at the casino he planned in the old school of arts hall.

“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich,” said Ralph when Alan supporters opposed the casino and heckled him over his years as a televangelist.

“I’m going to build a big wall because I’m very rich, and you’re going to be on the other side of it,” he told them.

Ralph’s term starts in January. We’re holding our breath.

And as the sun sets at Upper Wombatville on Saturday and we count down to 2017, one thing we know for certain –when the world seems crazy and getting crazier, there’s comfort in knowing the grass will just keep growing.


OpinionNewcastle Legal Centre: defending the little guy

In the story of David and Goliath, guile prevails over might, against the odds. It is sometimes invoked when citizens dare to assert their rights against powerful corporations. However, in our complex world, such battles are rarely won with single, decisive acts. They more often require protracted campaigns and detailed knowledge of the system.
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The NSW Land and Environment Court ruled this month against a proposal by the De Angelis Hotels Group to build a 1700sqm pub in Casula, near Liverpool. Remarkably, the Court was not permitted to consider the likely impact of 15-30 poker machines that would operate on the site. Nor could it consider the history of the applicant, whose holdings included a pub with a dreadful record of violence.Nonetheless, the proposed development was deemed “not in the public interest” because of the high level of economic deprivation in the area, and research evidence concerning the likely incidence of harm. Commissioner O’Neill’s judgementnoted:“The existing hot spot for domestic violence which includes the site is a persuasive reason to be concerned about introducing a hotel … where there is currently no liquor outlet”.

CONCERNS HEARD: There is a Newcastle connection to a recent case in which the Land and Environment Court ruled against a proposed pub development in a Sydney suburb.

The decision stymies a development that would likely have increased violence and traffic injury, and harm from gambling. Poker machines are designed to lure users and addict them, extracting as much money as possible per hour of operation. A NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority report showed pokie turnover in Liverpool was $1.8billion in 2015-16, $1.2million a machine (in Newcastle it’s $1.7billion). Research shows that their effect on n communities is devastating, particularly in poorer areas.

De Angelis may appeal, but this decision is significant because it shows that an organised and informed community can make its voice heard. The case was covered in Sydney papers without mention of the Newcastle connection. It required three years of sustained effort from a community of volunteers, with crucial input from Newcastle advocate Tony Brown, the Newcastle Legal Centre, two barristers and expert witnesses.With the exception of the barristers, who acted for a fraction of their usual fee, the other parties made their contributions pro bono. Estimates suggest the case would have cost more than $300,000 to mount.

For me, a particularly satisfying aspect of being involved in this was working with Jacqueline Svenson, the tireless solicitor at the Newcastle Legal Centre who took on the case. Jacquie had to coordinate the efforts of a vulnerable community, a feisty advocate, busy barristers, medical experts, academics, and the demands of the Court, and all of that while using the case to train law students.

More than ever, universities are expected to demonstrate their value to society, to go beyond teaching, by bridging the gap between research and practice. In public health, an applied discipline, we are used to this demand but it is still difficult to meet the expectations of our institutions and funders while responding to the complexity of human problems.Through the Newcastle Legal Centre, the university has demonstrated its capacity for making a difference. In addition to providing a legal precedent, the case could help guide future legal practice and government policy. One of the lessons is that communities can defend themselves against incompatible corporate interests but they need the support of independent experts.

Kypros Kypri PhD is a professor,School of Medicine and Public Health at theUniversity of Newcastle


Hunter swelters through heatwave

Hunter heatwave hits 41C HEATWAVE: Local kids swing into the Hunter River from the Lorn riverbank in Maitland to escape the heat. Picture: Perry Duffin
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HEATWAVE: Local kids swing into the Hunter River from the Lorn riverbank in Maitland to escape the heat. Picture: Perry Duffin

HEATWAVE: Local kids swing into the Hunter River from the Lorn riverbank in Maitland to escape the heat. Picture: Perry Duffin

HEATWAVE: Local kids swing into the Hunter River from the Lorn riverbank in Maitland to escape the heat. Picture: Perry Duffin

HEATWAVE: Local kids swing into the Hunter River from the Lorn riverbank in Maitland to escape the heat. Picture: Perry Duffin

HEATWAVE: Local kids swing into the Hunter River from the Lorn riverbank in Maitland to escape the heat. Picture: Perry Duffin

HEATWAVE: Local kids swing into the Hunter River from the Lorn riverbank in Maitland to escape the heat. Picture: Perry Duffin

HEATWAVE: Local kids swing into the Hunter River from the Lorn riverbank in Maitland to escape the heat. Picture: Perry Duffin

HEATWAVE: Local kids swing into the Hunter River from the Lorn riverbank in Maitland to escape the heat. Picture: Perry Duffin

Artem Kusnetsov, of Sydney, at Cessnock Pool on Thursday. Picture: Krystal Sellars

Charlotte, Lilah and Phoenix Upson, of Cessnock, at Cessnock Pool on Thursday. Picture: Krystal Sellars

Ivy and Ashton Collins, of North Rothbury, at Cessnock Pool on Thursday. Picture: Krystal Sellars

Troy Woodward’s air-conditioning and blanketed windows keeping temperatures low.

Katrina Hesketh’s car at Kooragang.

Kim Cunningham’s car on Wednesday afternoon at Rutherford.

Angela Zoe’s car at Aberglasslyn.

Suu Joy Blundell’s back deck on the Central Coast – 44C

“We escaped from Cessnock to Shoal Bay but was still scorching hot!” – Kirsty Lee O’Neill

“Stayed the hell inside!” – Mitchell Lucas

Picture: Kimberley Ellis

Picture: Kimberley Ellis

Picture: Linda Carroll

TweetFacebookEARLIER –THURSDAY 9AMA Heatwave Action Plan has been activated following the prediction of heatwave conditions in NSW this week.

The Bureau of Meteorology advises that temperatures are expected to exceed 35 in many parts of the state,with overnight temperatures above 20 degrees through to the end of the weekend.

Maitland is set for a scorching couple of days, with a predicted high of 41 degrees on Thursday; 42 on Friday, and 38 degrees on New Year’s Eve.

NSW Health says people should take simple precautions to ensure they stay healthy in the heat by;

– Staying well hydrated;

– Avoiding alcohol and hot or sugary drinks;

– Limiting your physical activity; and,

– Trying to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.

Everyone needs to take care in hot weather but some people are at higher risk of heat illness, especially if they are older, live alone or are socially-isolated.

Signs of heat-related illness include confusion, dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, weakness, headaches and loss of sweating.

People showing any of these signs should seek urgent medical attention through their GP or local emergency department.

NSW Health also recommends the following actions during extreme heat conditions:

– Check on the welfare of older people or neighbours living alone

– Keep the sun out by shading windows with curtains, blinds or closing shutters.

– Keep windows closed during the day until it cools down and in early morning. If you don’t have an air-conditioner, try to spend time in an air-conditioned place like a shopping centre, library or cinema.

– Wear light, loose-fitting clothing made from natural fibres like cotton.

– When outdoors, stay protected from the sun by wearing a hat and sunscreen.

For more information please refer to the Beat the Heat website.

As the weather heats up motorists are also reminded that it is an offence for children or pets to be left unattended in a vehicle.

Livestock and pet owners are also being urged to ensure adequate clean water is always available and that shading is provided where possible.

Additionally, no animals should be left in confined, unventilated areas.

Intensive large animal holdings, including poultry and piggeries should ensure cooling and watering systems are functioning and backup plans are in place in case of system failures.


Police smash cocaine ring in Christmas Day raids

AFP officers stand guard over some of the 500kilo cocaine seized during the Christmas Day bust. Picture: Kate GeraghtyA former rugby league first grade player, a Bondi entrepreneur and several fishermenare among 15 men arrested on Christmas Day in a multimillion-dollar cocaine ring bust.
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Police will allege the syndicate imported more than a tonne of cocaine via NSW ports and included experienced fisherman, marine workers and company owners.

n FederalPolice Acting Assistant Commissioner Chris Sheehan described the alleged syndicate as “robust, resilient and determined”.

He told a packed Sydney press conference that the 15 arrested men were “determined to exploit some of the most vulnerable members of the community.”

Police arrest a number of alleged drug traffickers on Christmas Day. Photo: NSW Police

The seizure of 500kg of cocaine in Sydney, 600kg of the drug in Tahiti and 32kg of heroin in Fiji make it the largest drug bust of its kind in .

NSWPolice State Crime Commander Mark Jenkins said all the drugs originated in South America before being transferred across the South Pacific by ship.

Several of the men were arrested on Christmas Day on boardashipping vessel named Dalrymple docked at the Brooklyn Marinaon the Central Coast.

It’s alleged the boat was used to ferry drugs between NSW ports and a larger ship stationed out at sea that held drugs smuggled from Chile.

Officers from Maritime Border Command and the NSW Police’s Marine Area Command had watched the Dalrymple dock atthe Sydney Fish Markets for a month before leaving for the Central Coast on December 3.

On Christmas night, officers watched the crew launch a small one-man dinghy which allegedly travelled toParlseyBay at Brooklyn on the NSW Central Coast and met with two other men.

The men were aged between 29 and 63 years old and have all been refused bail. Photo: NSW Police

All three were arrested and about 500 kilograms of cocaine was seized from thedinghy.

Three other men were arrested on board the Dalrymple vessel as it docked at Brooklyn Marina on Christmas night.

Several other men were arrested in the Sydney suburbs ofZetland, Double Bay, Kingsford, and Greenacre. Two brothers were arrested in Ulladulla, on the NSW South Coast, and two others were arrested in Hobart and Brisbane.

Operation Okesi, comprising officers from NSW Police, n Federal Police and n Border Force, started over two-and-a-half-years after police received a “thread” of information.

Since then, five alleged importations by the sophisticated syndicate have been thwarted.

It includes the seizure of 32 kilograms of heroin by authorities in Fiji in December 2014 and the seizure of 606 kilograms of cocaine by authorities in Tahiti in March.

A police source told Fairfax Media the syndicate thought they could take advantage of the festive season by striking on Christmas Day.

Authorities valued the total amount of cocaine seized at $360 million.

Among the men arrested is former Eastern Suburbs Roosters player John Roland Boyd Tobin, who played 125 matches as lockforward in the 1980s.

Bondi entrepreneur Darren John Mohr was also arrested. He lists his occupationas the owner Martini Motors and is also theformer owner of the Bondi Rescue HQ cafe.

His Instagram profile shows a love of Harley Davidson motorbikes, Rolls Royce cars and being shirtless.

Police also arrestedReuben John Dawe, who lists his occupation as a maritime worker andcommercial fisherman JosephPirrello, 63.

Other man arrested in the sting include Simon Peter Spero, 56, Graham Toa Toa, 42, Stuart Ayrton, 54, Jonathan Cooper, 29, Richard Lipton, 37, Frank D’Agostino, 54, and Benjamin Sara, 31.

They were all refused bail in Parramatta Bail Court on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Two other men, extradited from Tasmania and Queensland, will appear in Parramatta Bail Court on Thursday as well as two men arrested in Ulladulla on the NSW South Coast.

Footage released by police show multiple men being arrested in the dark from on-board the Dalrymple fishing vessel.

One of the men shown with his hands tied behind his back is wearing only a pair of boxer shorts covered in cartoon pictures of crocodiles.

“This operation has been running for more than two-and-a-half years and culminated over the Christmas period,” a police statement reads.

The men were aged between 29 and 63 years old.

This article first appeared onsmh苏州夜总会招聘.au


How to chip away the weight with a potato-only diet

Andrew Taylor is nearing the end of his year-long regime. Photo: Jason SouthAfter eating only potatoes for the past year, you’d understand if Andrew Taylor ditched spuds for good.
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But he will gladly tuck in if they’re served on New Year’s Day, when he ends his slavish, self-imposed diet.

Because it’s not about the potatoes.

A year ago Mr Taylor, 36, of Elwood, weighed 151 kilograms, with an addiction to pizza, chocolate and soft drink. He had an unhealthy relationship to food. Having been an elitekayaker in his youth, he’d stopped exercising and suffered depression and anxiety.

He needed a circuit-breaker, but couldn’t just stop eating, so in desperation he tried the next best thing – focusing on one foodstuff.

Potatoes seemed to offer the most vital nutrients, including iron, protein and vitamin C, and sosince January 1,2016, he has eaten 3.5kg to 4kg of spuds per day.

Awild experiment, but a spectacular success. He has lost 52kg, feels mentally well, and kayaks or rides his push scooter one or two hours a day.

His cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar are now normal and his iron and calcium levels are “great”.

He has received thousands of emails, including from a US man who lost 30kg by eating potatoes, and appeared on TV in Romania, Poland and Britain.

Root cause: Curing a junk food addiction by eating only potatoes for a year paid off for Andrew Taylor, who lost 50kg. Photo: Jason South

His advice is to stop looking to food for pleasure and emotional support and have “a healthy detachment from food”.

“I’ve got a saying now: ‘Make your food boring and your life interesting.’ “

On Sunday morninghe will break his faston Seven’sSunriseprogram, live from Elwood Sailing Club, and doctors and nutritionists will speak.

Mangoes would be nice, but under his new ethos, he’s not fussed.”I’m looking forward more to the party and people than the food.”

From 2017 MrTaylor will eat a plant-based diet – fruit, veggies and grains and no meat, eggs or dairy.

Having quit teaching, he will be a stay-at-home father to his son Teddy, aged three, and do public speaking, health coaching and write a book.

“I want to help people get healthy and change their relationship with food in a similar way to what I’ve done.”

Lorraine Baker, the n Medical Association’s Victorian president, was impressed Mr Taylor stuck to a disciplined exercise and unprocessed food program – which included soy milk for mashing, sweet potato and B12 supplements – and sought medical advice. But the diet wasn’t recommended because a more enjoyable, varied diet was more sustainable.

Dietitians Association of spokeswoman Melanie McGrice​ said Mr Taylor’s diet was “extreme” and large quantities of potatoes were needed to meet daily nutrient requirements.

She wondered whether the weight would stay off. But the diet could be a good kick-start, and too few food choices could be more effective than too much choice, leading to junk food.


Hands-free paving has turned Newcastle landscapers into internet sensations

STARS: Landscapers Deng Amourr, Kye Nelson, Rhett Jones and Nick Davies have become internet sensations with their domino pavers. Picture: Simone De Peak.
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IT was a Monday afternoon when the crew of Newcastle landscapers decided to video a little domino trick they had performed from time to time.

The retaining wall was 33 metres long, and they needed to lay about 165 cap pavers to finish the job.

What the hell, they thought, let’s do it and see if it works.

It did, and the videos have made the Newcastle men instant internet sensations with views hitting 10 million on social media and YouTube in just four days.

“We had seen it a very, very long time ago and had tried it,’’ Kye Nelson said.

“We had done it a few times on shorter walls and just decided to film it because we had such a long, straight wall –and I wanted to show my dad.

“We didn’t think it would go off like this, it has just exploded.’’

The video is compelling, if only because it allows the viewer to watch the domino effect of the 165 pavers before the climax –where each paver slots into place in what appears to be another domino wave going in the opposite direction with no human intervention.

It works because the pavers are placed at anexact distance apart, allowing them to just lean on the next falling tile before the very last paver lays completely flat, moving a fraction of distance further away to alloweach of the leaning pavers to also move and take its position flat on the wall.

It took about 45 minutes to set up on December 19 at a worksite the five men –Mr Nelson and his workmates Deng Amourr, Rhett Jones, Col Smedley andNick Davies –have decided to keep to themselves.

“It doesn’t really take less time, or is even slower, it is just different and it just looks cool,’’ Mr Nelson said.

And it was not until one of their mate’s at Drift Bikes at Kotara shared it on the business’s Facebook page on Christmas Eve that it began to take off.

As of Wednesday afternoon, it had been watched 8.6 million times, shared more than 130,000 times with 59,000 likes and 20,000 comments.

It has also been uploaded on you tube and on other Facebook sites, taking the views to about 10 million in four days.

“It’s a bit of fun and it’s been great watching it go off online,’’ Mr Nelson, who took the main video, said.

“I think the physics of it has just played with people’s heads a bit and got them talking.’’

Four of the landscaping sensations got together quickly on Wednesday to speak about the growing popularity of the clip –Col Smedley had already taken off on a well-deserved break.

And as the clip continues to gather as much momentum as the 165 falling pavers, the rest of them are taking off on some leave too.

This article first appeared on The Newcastle Herald