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Shiralee crowded house: not a lot to like, say residents

LAST CHANCE TO COMMENT: Shiralee Road residents Garry and Lesley Smith are worried about the impact of high-density housing on their property in an amended plan for the Shiralee development in south Orange. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0115subdivide1AN Orange couple is calling for the Orange City Council to reject amended plans for the proposed Shiralee development amid concerns of high-density housing on their doorstep.
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Public submissions for the amended development plan close on Monday and Shiralee Road residents Garry and Lesley Smith are urging others to send submissions to the council.

The couple have lived on their south Orange property since 2001 and said they had always accepted the land around them would be developed and had gone on public record with their acceptance of plans for the Shiralee development in May.

However, Mrs Smith said there were radical changes in the amendment released in September that were centred around their property at the southern edge of the development.

“It’s a bit like David and Goliath sometimes,” Mrs Smith said.

“The major [issue] is the lot size in the area around us, the lot sizes have got smaller so the possible housing density has increased.”

She said in May the area around their home had been earmarked for lots of about 700 square metres with a few compact lots of 200 square metres. However, she said in the September plan the area was dominated by 400 to 200 square metre lots.

“Overall it’s been an increase of 50 per cent more density from 206 to 317 [properties],” she said.

The Smiths were also concerned about the fate of dams neighbouring their property.

“Next door to us there’s a couple of dams that have bird life on them,” Mrs Smith said. “That area was set aside as public open space and it’s still mostly public open space, but there’s possible provision for a row of compact houses on it.

“That area was also marked for a possible soccer field because it has been identified as an area of medium biodiversity.”

Orange City Council spokesman Nick Redmond said the deadline for community comments on the Shiralee LEP amendment was Monday.

“All community responses will be carefully considered as this important matter is dealt with,” he said.

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

Douglas rapt with gate draw

Daryl DouglasA GATE one draw has Bendigo reinsman Daryl Douglas optimistic about his chances in Saturday night’s Petstock Bendigo Pacing Cup (2650m) at Lord’s Raceway.
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Douglas will chase his second Bendigo Pacing Cup aboard last year’s runner-up, Wartime Sweetheart.

“There’s nothing wrong with the way the horse is going and it has drawn the right barrier,” Douglas said.

“It just has to sit behind the right horse, and the right horses have drawn outside it in Christen Me (gate three) and Beautide (scratched), so if it can sit behind one of those two, it won’t be too far away.”

Wartime Sweetheart is coming off a last-start 10th in the Cobram Pacing Cup on December 28.

“If you can overlook its last run at Cobram, and sometimes you’ve just got to do that… barrier draws are everything in these races,” Douglas said.

“You don’t have to be the best horse in the race, you just have to be in the right place at the right time, and it’s a chance of being there because of its draw.”

Im Corzin Terror wins last year’s Bendigo Pacing Cup.

Meanwhile, ImCorzin Terror has the chance to achieve a feat accomplished only once in the 50-year history of the Bendigo Pacing Cup – win back-to-back.

Im Corzin Terror will return to Lord’s Raceway on Saturday night to defend the Cup it won in dominant fashion last year.

Alex Ashwood will take the drive on Im Corzin Terror, which if it wins will join Bag Limit (1986-87) as the only back-to-back winners of the Bendigo Pacing Cup, which was first run in 1965.

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

Short story comp: The Tale of the Dead Cat

►Read the short-listed stories
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BOOTSY was a sweet, mild-mannered cat. She had soft grey fur and white boots pulled over each paw, and a white heart shape under her chin. She was affectionate and supremely tolerant, for she put up with the noise and the busyness of a family of six children, allowing us kids to pat her and tease her until she finally unsheathed her claws.

My oldest brother Peter, 17 years old, was not immune to her affable nature, although he tried to portray himself as a tough guy. We would see Bootsy curled up in his lap or following him around. When he thought we weren’t watching, he would gently stroke her from the tip of her nose, between her ears and down her arched back, right to the end of her tail.

As soon as Peter sensed an audience, he would add a snappy flick to her tail. She loved it. She would nudge his hand with her moist nose, encouraging him. The more vigorous and snappy the flicks to her tail, the more she seemed to like it.

One day he took a pair of scissors and started to trim her tail. We were horrified, as we watched him shear her fur to within a fraction of the end of the fleshy part of her tail. We were sure he would nick her and draw blood. He prolonged the suspense, refusing to desist, ignoring our howls of indignation. “Peter don’t do it! You’ll hurt her! Please leave her alone.”

He prolonged the tail trimming, like a scene in a horror movie. We were poised and fearful of the climax, that moment when blood would spurt. With our full attention, he spent inordinate time whittling each little hair. Eventually her tail had a perfect flat top just like the boys’ hairstyle that was popular at the time.

“Close shave,” he laughed at us, as he stroked her, flicking her flattop tail and sending fur flying.

One wet day a neighbour broke the news; our cat Bootsy was dead, found in Mr Dalton’s yard. Peter refused to believe it. He bustled into the kitchen as we gathered to mourn. “Have you idiots thought to check if Bootsy is here first?”

We hadn’t, but did quick smart – running about, calling for her. But no Bootsy.

Peter shuffled out the back door in his moccasin slippers, down the slick, rickety steps and out in to the rain. We grabbed umbrellas, huddled under them and ran down the road to catch him. With his scruffy hair dripping and stuck to his face, Peter thumped loudly on the Daltons’ front door.

Mrs Dalton hid behind her husband while he pulled at his braces, looking Peter up and down. We crowded his small porch.

“Where’s the dead cat?” Peter demanded.

Mr Dalton poked his thumb towards the backyard. “Out the back. Buried. If it’s yours, learn ya lesson. Keep ya bloody cats where they belong.”

Peter turned and shoved us aside. He stomped around the side to the backyard. We waited until Mr Dalton arrived, squelching in his gumboots.

“There. Over there near that hydrangea bush.”

He lowered his voice as he leant towards Peter. “Look son, it’s dead as a doornail. Would have started stinkin’. Believe me, these young kids don’t wanna see a bloody dead cat”.

Peter rounded on him, “Got your spade?”

“Yeah, sure mate, but I’m tellin’ ya, it’s dead, so why bother?”

Peter shoved his face closer to Mr Dalton’s and growled. “Don’t you think I’ve gotta see it, so I’ll know if it is my cat. And has it occurred to you, that I may just want to know why?”

Mr Dalton pulled back, shook his head and strode to the old garage. He came back with the spade.

“Go on, do ya bloody diggin’, then get the hell outta here.

“It’s too damn wet to be out here with you stupid lot.”

Peter started shovelling aside the freshly overturned dirt, now mud. He uncovered a dirty mass of grey fur. He flung down the spade and with two fingers he hauled the dead cat out by the scruff of its neck.

There was quite a group of us; the Dalton kids had come to have a sticky-beak too. We formed a tight circle trying to get a closer look. We saw blood on the cat’s head. Peter wiped the mud off the cat’s paws first and then checked under the chin. My heart flailed about inside my chest as I recognised poor Bootsy, our beloved, darling cat. Tears trickled down my cheeks, joining the drizzle.

Peter gently wiped the dirt from the cat’s tail, leaving the fur glistening with raindrops. No one said anything as he held the end of the dead cat’s tail between his muddy fingers. And there exposed, was a wet and bedraggled but normal tail end.

He threw the dead animal back into the grave with a squishy thud, stood up and wiped his hands on his pants leaving a slick of mud.

We watched him in silence. No one moved. I stared at the body and then up at him.

“Nah, not my bloody cat,” he announced as he walked away.

Entrants were asked to write a short story inspired by one of four photos. Short-listed stories will be published every day in theNewcastle Heralduntil Friday, January 23.

Kiama Hospital move plan bad for aged: Labor

Message: Throsby MP Stephen Jones and Labor candidate for Kiama Glenn Kolomeitz outside Kiama Hospital. Picture: GREG TOTMANSaveour services – that was the message from Labor politicians who campaigned outside Kiama Hospital on Thursday.
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Labor candidate for Kiama Glenn Kolomeitz and Throsby MP Stephen Jones said the state government had “sold out” the town’s residents with its plans to relocate hospital beds and services.

In December, Kiama Municipal Council agreed to buy the Kiama Hospital site from the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District for $2.82 million.

The council will spend $62.9 million to redevelop it into a centre of aged care excellence, which will include a new Blue Haven 134-bed residential aged care facility but will mean the end of inpatient hospital care.

“The 20-bed inpatient unit that includes the slow-stream rehabilitation service will be moved to Port Kembla and then to a redeveloped Shellharbour Hospital, whenever that happens,” Mr Kolomeitz said.

“This will greatly disadvantage elderly residents and the family and friends who will have to travel to visit them.”

Mr Kolomeitz and Mr Jones said many residents were concerned, and a day of action to save the services was being planned.

“The community is deeply concerned about a reduction in hospital services,” Mr Jones said.

“They’ve had the security of the services provided by the local hospital for years, now it means they will have to travel north to Shellharbour or Wollongong or south to Nowra.

“With an ageing community, we should be looking at improving the services, not diluting them.”

The project’s time frame shows the hospital will no longer provide inpatient services by June 2016, however, the health district will build a new facility for outpatient services on the 3.3-hectare site. The new nursing home will be operational by October 2018.

Kiama MP Gareth Ward accused Labor of playing politics, claiming the redevelopment would result in more services.

“The proposal for the site is for 134 nursing home and aged care beds – where there’s only been 20 inpatient beds on-site up to this point. Only 10 per cent of those 20 beds are actually taken up by residents from the Kiama municipality – while all of the people in those beds are waiting for nursing home beds,” Mr Ward said.

“So we’re not closing a hospital, we’re expanding and changing the services to meet the needs of this ageing community.”

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TOPICS: Something’s fishy about this tale of two sharks

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE: One image is of an actual shark fin and one is of little Gemma Mooney, aged 3, at Newcastle Ocean Baths recently. We know it is a bit tricky but can you tell which is which? LIKE any Newcastle craze worth its salt, Shark Week has become an internet hit – which is just as well because with the beach out of bounds, we need distracting.
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The seeds of the craze were sown last month when the Lake Macquarie Shark emerged on Twitter. If that sentence means nothing to you, we apologise. It means a real-life shark from the news started writing things on the internet.

‘‘Could murder a feed of schoolies right now,’’ the Lake Shark will tweet as you’re eating lunch at work, or, to the Twitter account of Greg Norman: ‘‘Hey, massive fan.’’

Which is weird enough. But in these murky cyber waters lurks another beast: the Newy Shark. The two sharks have decided there’s only room for one.

‘‘That big bastard knows where to find me,’’ The Lake Shark snarled, or whatever they do.

Newy Shark bit back: ‘‘Come out of the kiddie pool and play.’’

Meanwhile, a theory doing the rounds is that the whole shark scare is a hoax devised by a toddler. OK, it’s our theory. Gemma Mooney, 3, was seen at Newcastle Ocean Baths recently in a suspicious dorsal-fin number. Hey, we’re not making allegations. But can you spot the difference?

EVEN if your radio’s stuck on Triple J, where every second caller seems to be ‘‘Tegan from Newcastle’’, you mightn’t realise our town helped launch the youth broadcaster.

Here’s how it went. Before Triple J, you had Double J, which only broadcast in Sydney. The idea of a national youth station came from Newcastle Young Labor, in a motion sent to the national conference in 1986.

Australian Young Labor endorsed it and sent it to the senior party for consideration.

Then at an ALP conference, a young Anthony Albanese supported the plan and called for it to be funded. It was agreed.

The Hawke government delivered the cash and the ABC relaunched the Sydney-centric Double J as the nationwide Triple J. Perhaps as reward, perhaps due to proximity, Newcastle was the only non-capital city included in the broadcaster’s initial expansion.

‘‘The Js’’ celebrate their 40th birthday today with a concert at The Domain, Sydney.

THANKFUL: Marion McAndrew. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

CHOO choo, all aboard the karma train! They can’t rip up that line (OK, this metaphor is about to derail)!

Marion McAndrew has a follow-on from the Bright Side yarn (Herald, January 13) about lost and found wallets.

The Swansea resident, a long-time volunteer who’s had a couple of knee replacements, went to Charlestown Square recently to change internet service providers.

So it was hell on a few fronts even before she lost her wallet sitting down for a breather. But soon after, a call went over the loudspeaker for a ‘‘Mrs Marion McAndrew’’ to come to the desk.

“I didn’t even realise I’d lost my wallet until my daughter heard my name called out,” says Marion.

“A young person had apparently found it and handed it in, intact.’’

Not only had this kid put down the Xbox controller and done a good deed. Marion got home to find a message on her machine – a call to check she’d got her wallet back.

“I hope the person who returned it, or someone who knows them, reads this and lets them know how impressed and grateful I was.”

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Brett Lee retires with no regrets

Bowling great Brett Lee will retire at the end of the current Big Bash League season. Picture: GETTY IMAGESHeadmits to have made more comebacks than Rambo, but Brett Lee is adamant he’ll be firing no more shots after this month.
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The Australian fast-bowling great on Thursday announced his retirement from all forms of cricket at the end of his current Big Bash League campaign.

“It’s been an amazing and emotional 20 years – I’ve enjoyed every single moment of it,” Lee told a media conference at the SCG.

The 38-year-old called time on his international career in July 2012, but has been a Twenty20 regular – both in the BBL and the IPL – in the years since.

He said he’d decided before starting the 2014-15 season that it was going to be his last at the Sydney Sixers and was content with the decision.

“I’m not Benjamin Button,” Lee said.

“I’ve certainly had a lot more fun in the last six weeks than I’ve ever had in my life and that’s because I haven’t put any pressure upon myself.

“I knew when I bowled the first ball back at training this summer that this was going to be my last season.

“I’ve had more comebacks than Rambo, but honestly, I’m not one of those guys that will say this is it and come back in 12 months.

“I think I could play for a few more years, but I don’t want to.

“I’ve got stage two in my life coming up with my family, which is the most important. I want to put back into cricket as well, but there won’t be any comebacks after this.”

Lee remains the equal-leading wicket-taker for Australia in one-day internationals alongside Glenn McGrath, with 380 in 221 appearances at 23.36, with an economy rate of 4.76.

He also claimed 310 scalps in 76 Tests for Australia at 30.81.

The New South Welshman ranked his 1999 Test debut against India in Melbourne and playing alongside his older brother Shane in a one-day international as his greatest memories of the last two decades.

But his favourite moment in the baggy green came 10 years ago, during Australia’s unforgettable Ashes series against England.

“What that did for cricket, what that did for the people involved was [incredible],” he said, recalling his onfield battle with Andrew Flintoff.

“Even though we lost, the spirit in which it was played, the sportsmanship, the toughness – I’ve never played in a series that tough.”

Flintoff congratulated Lee on his career, but not without a cheeky dig.

“It’s about time BrettLee—58 retired he’s nearly 50 !!” he tweeted.

“Amazing cricketer and more importantly a gentleman, congrats !”

Lee will send down his final ball in either the Sixers’ final group game against cross-town rivals Sydney Thunder at the SCG next Thursday or later if they reach the finals.

“When that last ball is bowled, I’ll walk off and I’ll be happy,” he said.

Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland led a flurry of tributes to Lee.

“He has been an exceptional cricketer who gained fans around the world, not only for his electrifying pace and performances with the ball, but the way that he played the game,” said Sutherland.

“Sir Donald Bradman often said that it is a player’s responsibility to leave the game in a better state than when they first became involved. Brett Lee has certainly done that.” AAP

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Trapping and killing to stop the slaughter

NO REGRETS: Jim Phillis of North Rothbury with his dog Smokey. He has learnt how to trap wild dogs to stop them attacking his herd. Picture: Marina Neil Hunter woman Helen Leake kills 100 wild dogs:
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JIM Phillis did not hesitate to learn to trap and kill wild dogs after he witnessed his slaughtered sheep lying in the paddock last year.

‘‘They had no chance against them, they couldn’t defend themselves,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s an awful thing to see, the dogs make a hell of a mess of them.’’

The North Rothbury hobby farmer learned to trap mid-last year after losing half a dozen sheep, and he has already caught five dogs on his 60-hectare property.

The most recent catch – a six-month-old bitch – was responsible for injuring his Dorper flock and killing one of them.

That was in September, and he has not had a loss since.

‘‘It was like you had gotten a knife and cut their legs several times,’’ he said.

‘‘It seemed like she was trying to get hold of their legs, but couldn’t quite hang on and drag them to the ground.

‘‘Luckily the cuts weren’t too deep and they healed in a few weeks, but the dog made a hell of a mess of one of them.’’

The dogs strike in the area every six to eight weeks and landholders stay in touch to track their movements.

One neighbour lost $4000 worth of sheep last year, and another had three ewes and lambs killed six weeks ago.

Mr Phillis praised Dungog woman Helen Leake for her success in trapping 112 dogs.

He urged other landholders to give it a go.

Mr Phillis installed a sensor light in the sheep paddock and said it was an added deterrent. ‘‘You’ll never know what’s out there until you put the traps out,’’ Mr Phillis said. ‘‘I’ve got a camera I position around the place and that picks up anything that is about.

‘‘Once I know where the dogs are, I can set the traps.’’