Bad language brings fine

A MAN told a service station attendant she was a “stupid f…ing bitch” after she asked him to pay for petrol he had already put in his car.Damian Lord, 34, of Yapeen, appeared in Bendigo Magistrates Court yesterday, pleading guilty to careless driving and indecent language.Police prosecutor Sergeant Brett Sheppard told the court Lord drove into the Apco Service Station in High Street, Kangaroo Flat, just after 1 pm on August 5, 2006.The court heard Lord pumped petrol into his car before entering the service station shop.He handed the attendant a $10 note for drinks that he and his passengers picked up inside.Sgt Sheppard said the attendant realised Lord had not paid for the petrol as he was getting back into his car.When she confronted him, the court head Lord told her it was her “own f…ing fault”.The pair exchanged words before Lord handed $20 for the petrol out the window.Sgt Sheppard said the attendant had to jump away from the moving vehicle as Lord sped off, missing the attendant by 30 cm.Defence lawyer Sarah Wade told Magistrate Allan Spillane her client took the matter very seriously, had learnt his lesson, and was remorseful about his actions.Lord needed his licence to drive to work and the behaviour would never be repeated.”He certainly accepts that his behaviour was very, very bad on this day,” Ms Wade said.Magistrate Spillane described the defendant’s behaviour as truly appalling.Lord was convicted and fined $500.
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Big role for junior coaches

THE GIANT IN THE ROOM: As the guest speaker at last night’s Junior Sports Awards, Australian basketballer Chris Anstey highlighted the special role of junior coaches. Picture: Stuart Wilson.JUNIOR coaches are the most important part of an athlete’s career, according to former Olympic basketballer Chris Anstey. Anstey, who was the guest speaker at last night’s The Advocate Fairbrother Junior Sports Awards, said his junior coaches had helped shape his career immeasurably. “One of the most common questions I get asked is who has been the biggest influence on my career and I have no hesitation in telling them it was my junior coach,” Anstey said. “The people who are there at the start of your career can take a lot of the credit.” “For me it was a guy named Des Middleton who no-one’s ever heard of, the junior coaches at the Melbourne Tigers and the weights guy who’s been there since I was 18 and first lifted a weight. “On nights like tonight have a look around you at the people who are with you and be really grateful, because they are the ones you are going to appreciate in 10 or 15 years’ time,” he told junior award nominees. “They are the ones who help develop you as an athlete and a person. “To the junior coaches here, you guys are amazing, as athletes we do remember you and you do make a difference. “Support is important too, so surround yourself with people who believe in what you’re doing and don’t waste time listening to those who say you can’t.” Anstey also praised the efforts of junior sports volunteers and parents. “Parents are the most amazing volunteers of all – they are the ones who drive you everywhere, take you to training and tournaments and pay for your equipment,” he said. While Anstey spoke about his illustrious basketball career at junior world championship level, in the NBL, the NBA in America, the Olympic Games and playing in the Russian national league, he also had plenty of advice for junior athletes. “Always be ready to compete at your best level because you never know who’s watching,” he said. “Concentrate on the correct technique, because your strength will come and your ability will increase. “When you get to the highest level, you need to have every single skill available.”
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Critical time for farmers

CROP farmers are fast approaching make-or-break time in central Victoria, with seed in the ground and hopes the heavens will open to nourish them.After a meagre 2-3 mm across central Victoria yesterday, the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting as much as 20mm in total during the weekend. This is just the beginning of a wish list for many growers who need consistent rain across winter and spring to ensure good returns.Laanecoorie farmer Geoff Curnow said most dry land growers invested a lot in putting the seed in, and from then on were often at the mercy of the weather. “We need an inch of rain now and maybe one next week as well,” he said.”It’s a bit of a critical month, May. “But we keep hoping and keep trying, we’ve struggled through dry times before and we’ll do it again.”Newbridge farmer Howard Hepburn, who has sowed about 200 hectares of oats and wheat, said farmers were looking for a good break and a consistent season to follow to make up for several disappointing years. “I’d say this will be a make-or-break year for a lot farmers,” Mr Hepburn said.He said while last May had been wet, the inconsistency of rain, particularly during the dry spring, had thwarted the key growing season and lowered yields.He said crop growers had the advantage this year of high grain prices, but costs like diesel and fertiliser had gone up accordingly. “The inputs are so high we need it at that price to make it worthwhile; if it goes down over the season, we’ll just be going backward.”He said despite some reasonable summer rain, particularly in December, the last three months had thoroughly dried out most soil.Bridgewater farmer Andrew Broad agreed and said yesterday’s 3mm of rain had done little more than settle the dust. “Subsoil moisture, what’s that?” he said. “We haven’t seen that round here for a while.” But despite the tough start, Mr Broad said he remained optimistic, as were most of the region’s farmers.”I don’t know if its faith or blind optimism.”He said as long as the weather stayed cold wheat seeds could wait, but canola was the valuable crop that would benefit most from an early break.
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Underdogs shine

WORTHY WINNERS: Members of the North-West under 15 boys hockey team are (from left) Jye Dodt, Matthew Cameron, Jacob Thrower, Daniel Cramer, Keenan Jackson, Jesse Duncan, Keegan Popowski, Jordan Dart, Dylan Jago, Liam Grundy, Alexander Poke and coach Jarrad Poke. Pictures: Stuart Wilson.THE winners of The Advocate Fairbrother Junior Sports Awards teams sections had one thing in common. They were both underdogs. This year’s winners were the North-West under 15 boys hockey team and the Ulverstone under 18 girls basketball team. Both teams travelled to statewide tournaments where Southern opponents were the favourites to claim the prize. The Hoppers girls competed against Greater Hobart in the under 18 state girls basketball championship final and at one stage were 17 points down, before rallying to win by six points. Their victory was a fantastic story of courage in the face of adversity. Similarly the North-West under 15 hockey team faced-off against South Blue and won the match convincingly, despite being the less-favoured side. Upon their announcement as winners, the North-West boys were quick to emerge from the finalists to claim their award. They were less keen to take to the podium to give a speech. When MC The Advocate editor Jason Purdie glanced towards them, there was flurry of shaking heads that quickly represented their feelings on the matter. Unfortunately only two members of the Ulverstone Hoppers under 18 basketball team were in attendance last night, but the happiness was certainly evident when they were named the female teams winner. Both teams were very worthy winners who prove a champion team will always beat a team of champions.
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Artistic circle of friends

STILL LIFE: Peter and Kevin show some of the art work for the Lonsdale Street exhibition in Melbourne.BENDIGO Health’s Chum House Day Hospice is the silver lining in a dark cloud for a group of terminally ill locals.Art, massage, quizzes, footy tipping, entertainment, pet therapy and guest speakers help hospice clients to relax and socialise.Their latest group project, a collection of more than 20 mandala paintings, was sent to Melbourne yesterday to take part in an exhibition entitled Celebrating the Circle of Life.The largest mandala, Beginnings and Endings, was painted as a group and bears special significance for its artists.”The circles are representative of the circle of life and death,” said hospice staff member Helen.”They are quite open about where they are at with people they trust but this is a roundabout way for them to discuss and think about it.”Peter enjoys the socialisation he gets at Chum House.”It is absolutely amazing.It enables you to mix with others in a similar situation,” he said.”In a lot of instances we live in the past, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun.” Kevin said it took his mind of things.”When you are here you forget about everything and concentrate on what you’re doing.”He was given only a few months to live after a terminal cancer diagnosis, but seven years on he is excited about having his art in the exhibition.Both men will be among those heading to the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre in Melbourne for the opening on Monday.
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West’s hospitals now smoke-free

HEALTHWEST facilities yesterday became smoke-free, with free nicotine replacement therapy to be offered to West Coast hospital patients. That therapy, and lots of it, may be needed if Mayor Darryl Gerrity ever checks in. Rarely seen without a cigarette, Cr Gerrity said he supposed it was the right decision to go smoke-free, although he noted the area’s current lack of doctors. “It’s all well and good to be smoke free, because they are actually patient free because we can’t get doctors.” He said he would probably need so many patches he could “walk directly under the ozone layer without getting sunburnt”. He declined to say how much he smoked, saying it would bring cigarette companies to their knees if he quit. HealthWest staff held an event to raise awareness of the new policy at the Rosebery Community Health Centre. Posters with the smoke-free boundaries had been posted in HealthWest facilities to show patients, staff and visitors where they were no longer allowed to smoke. North West Area Health Service general manager of primary health Gil Hainey said the NWAHS had a responsibility to make HealthWest smoke-free. “We need to lead by example and make every effort to support our staff and patients to give up smoking.” It had already banned smoking at the Mersey and Burnie hospitals. “Smoking-related illnesses place an enormous amount of pressure on our health system, which is why it’s so important for us to be part of the push to reduce smoking rates in our community, particularly on the West Coast, where there is a high rate of smoking,” Ms Hainey said. “Giving up a nicotine addiction is a huge challenge and I encourage anyone who is willing to take that leap to see the staff at their local community health centre.”
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Two men viciously attacked in CBD

Melbourne men are recovering after a vicious and unprovoked attack in Bendigo’s CBD early yesterday morning.Sergeant Tony Kekich said the Melbourne men aged 18 and 19 were walking south along Pall Mall about 2 am when they were approached by two men walking north.Sgt Kekich alleged the attackers began punching the two victims.Police described the attack as vicious and unprovoked.One victim was knocked to the ground and his head repeatedly stomped on.The offenders fled as witnesses phoned police.Sgt Kekich said the victims were taken to Bendigo Hospital, one with head injuries.Both were later released.Police searched the area and later arrested two suspects in Mundy Street.An 18-year-old man from Goornong and a 19-year-old man from Eaglehawk, have been charged with recklessly causing serious injury and intentionally causing injury.They were bailed and will appear in the Bendigo Magistrates Court in July.Sgt Kekich said police were appealing for witnesses to come forward.Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Bendigo police on 5448 1300.
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Devonport man still waiting for heart surgery

NOT AGAIN: Devonport’s Bill Chapman, with his partner, Brigid Holmes, was on his way to Hobart yesterday for surgery when it was cancelled — again. Picture: Stuart Wilson.THE Devonport man turned “crusader” who has had a delayed wait for critical heart bypass surgery got no further than Campbell Town yesterday to be told his operation was cancelled due to a lack of beds. Bill Chapman, who has taken the fight to the State Government, appearing on the front page of Saturday’s Advocate, has so far waited two months – longer than the 30-day clinically recommended time limit for surgery. He was booked to have surgery today at the Royal Hobart Hospital, but got the bad news while south- bound. “It’s a let-down,” Mr Chapman said. “They’ve got to find some beds and they have to assign beds to cardiac (patients).” Mr Chapman said he was prepared to be a “crusader” to help all heart surgery patients. “It’s not just me – it’s the other four people I saw last Friday during my pre-op (assessment). “The fact is they (the government) are arguing about goddamn cricket and football but you can’t get a bed in Hobart.” The cancellation follows the release of damning statistics last week by Liberal Opposition health spokesman Jeremy Rockliff showing: in 2008-09 there were 109 cancellations and four deaths of people waiting for heart surgery; and over a four-month period in 2009-10 there were 33 cancellations of cardiac surgery, mostly due to RHH bed blocks. Mr Rockliff has called for “dedicated” ICU beds for heart surgery, saying yesterday the latest cancellation was further evidence of a broken system. Mr Chapman has three major artery blockages, and was most recently treated at the Mersey Community Hospital and transferred to the Launceston Regional Hospital by ambulance on September 1. A RHH spokeswoman said the cancellation was due to a lack of ICU beds, but she said the referral from the LGH stated Mr Chapman be added to the waiting list “on a non-urgent basis”. “For clinical reasons, the operation was deliberately deferred for at least a month after his referral,” she said. She said Mr Chapman had twice made himself unavailable for surgery before yesterday’s cancellation. “The RHH apologises to Mr Chapman and his family, however, this action is the most appropriate course given the lack of ICU beds.” Comment was sought from Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne.
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Education revolution encircles everyone

EDUCATION is of utmost importance, but it is often misused as social and political propaganda. During World War II, I experienced an education revolution under the Nazi occupation. After the war I was subjected to an education revolution under the occupation by communist Russia. I wonder what the education revolution promised by the Labor government will be like. Schools have been with us for hundreds of years. It seems odd trying to change them overnight by revolution, rather then improving them by evolution. After calculators were introduced, children found it difficult to add up even small amounts. If they get a computer each, they will not be able to think for themselves properly. It will become easier to reach them and indoctrinate them with any kind of ideology. JIRI KOLENATY, Rushworth
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Row flares over joke posted on Facebook

IN HOT WATER: Councillor Rodney Hardy.A CIRCULAR Head councillor at the centre of a racism row over an Aboriginal joke says people are being too politically correct. Cr Rodney Hardy posted a joke mentioning an “Abo” sitting on the ground begging and his skin colour on his Facebook page. Heybridge Aborigine Susan Folmer-Maynard said yesterday she found it offensive and racist. She became engaged in a Facebook exchange with Cr Hardy before he took the post down. Mayor Daryl Quilliam said he would speak privately to him about the issue. Cr Hardy said he was of Aboriginal descent himself and the person who sent him the joke was Aboriginal. “Yeah, mate,” he said, when asked if he thought people were being too sensitive. “The person concerned is.” He said he would not have found the joke offensive if he found it on someone else’s page and people were far too politically correct. He said he took it down so as not to upset her. Miss Folmer-Maynard said: ” … all my true friends on Facebook would have felt some level of hurt or offence at that joke. “When I read it to my mother, she cried and she said “Aren’t we past this yet?’ “I can handle a lot of jokes about Aboriginal culture till it gets to that level of discrimination. “The word Abo for one and the consideration of skin colour …” She said that in her view it was not a joke, but racial vilification. “As a role model and leader of a community, what message is that sending out to all the young people growing up in that community? “Does it say it’s OK to racially vilify your peers? “That’s what concerns me.” Cr Quilliam said he did not think councillors “should get involved in that sort of thing and councillors should be aware of their position in the community”. He said councillors should know they were under greater scrutiny than the general public and should take care what they said while social networking.
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