Get excited: Tom is joining our team

TASSIE Tigers rising star and former Smithton cricketer Tom Triffitt is joining our live blog on Saturday.Triffitt will join Tasmanian team-mate Brett Geeves and The Advocate staff in a live blog on the one-day game between New South Wales and Tasmania at West Park.The former Australian under 19 ‘keeper was considered an outside chance to make his debut in the game, replacing the injured Tim Paine, but missed selection.Geeves, a quality paceman, is still out due to injury.While club cricket commitments are likely to keep Geeves and Triffitt in Hobart, both will log into the blog at intervals throughout the day to join in the chatter, analyse the progress of the game and answer questions.The live blog will start at 9.30am.Don’t forget, if you are going to the game, dress up as your favourite cricketer and have a chance at winning a brand new $450 cricket bat courtesy of Sportspower Burnie.
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Bendigo Bomber in state squad

METRICON Bendigo Bombers midfielder Hayden Skipworth will represent Victoria against South Australia this Saturday.Skipworth was yesterday named in the VFL’s final squad of 24 players for the clash with the Croweaters at the Adelaide Oval.Skipworth, who played 44 AFL games with Adelaide, is in his second season with the Bombers.However, his first season with the Bombers last year was over after just four games following a knee injury that required a reconstruction.The 25-year-old was the only Bendigo player selected for Victoria, which will be coached by North Ballarat’s Gerard Fitzgerald.Skipworth is among 18 new faces in the side, which will be captained by Brett Johnson, with spearhead James Podsiadly to be the vice-captain.There are a number of notable absentees from the side that belted Western Australia by 119 points last year.Last year’s captain James Byrne, nine-goal hero Nick Sautner and Sandringham captain Peter Summers have all been ruled out through injury.‘‘It’s always hard to win on the road, so we need players who can run hard and work hard,’’ AFL Victoria operations manager John Hook said.‘‘It’s going to be a great experience for the players to play on one of the great grounds in Australia.’’
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Golf course proposal seems below par

I NOTE, with some concern, that the multi-million-dollar golf course planned for the Big Hill area was reported in your paper (May 23) as being ‘‘on course’’ – yet again.The report from Eugene Duffy’s pen almost gives the impression that the project is a fait accompli.Once again the spin is that one of the key backers of the project is a former Bendigo boy and AFL great Greg Williams – an odd title for an obvious figurehead.We are told the financial model apparently incorporates ‘‘about’’ 450 residences of six types, including lodges, townhouses and a 150-room hotel.This seems to have been downgraded from the original 1200 residences – a figure that was no doubt aimed at fogging the glasses of our councillors, who could see a bonanza in extra rate revenue.The $500 million original estimate also seems to have disappeared in the mist.But whatever, in my view the scheme is still nothing more than land development by stealth.How else could such a project give a quick return on investment?Club membership and green fees would never achieve that.For goodness sake, call it what it is – nothing more than a land grab.We don’t need any more golf courses in Bendigo; we have one anyway, at Belvoir Park Road. I note also in the same issue of the Advertiser (Page 5) the council is concerned that the ‘‘Spring Street Asylum’’ is about to usurp their powers over housing in the area.This move would threaten ‘‘some rights of appeal for residents against developments’’ leading to a failure of the council (among other things) to retain the ability to protect local native vegetation.Let’s hope councillors are mindful of the environmental effect – let alone the visual effect on the City of Bendigo gateway from the south – when they get around to considering this rather dubious Big Hill ‘‘tourist attraction’’.It will be largely self-contained, offering little or no obvious spin-off to local businesses.IAN E. HOCKING,Ravenswood
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O, yes! They’re off to the ‘Oprah’ house

ON THEIR WAY: Devonport real estate agent Anne Ackroyd (above left) and her assistant property manager, Annouka Barr, will be going to the morning taping of the Oprah Winfrey Show, in Sydney, on December 14, after Mrs Ackroyd won two tickets. Picture: Kelly Slater.WHEN Anne Ackroyd won two of the most hotly-contested tickets in Australia to attend the Oprah Winfrey Show when it’s taped in Sydney, she was one very happy woman.However her partner was underwhelmed.”That’s a chick thing”, he scoffed – which meant there were two happy women in Ms Ackroyd’s Devonport real estate office.Assistant property manager Annouka Barr was the lucky person gifted with the spare ticket to the morning taping session, on December 14, of the Oprah Winfrey Show at Sydney’s iconic Opera House – or the “Oprah House” – as it’s being dubbed on the day.Yesterday the two work colleagues buzzed with excitement, both huge Oprah fans, they were beside themselves in anticipation.Clutching the email confirmation of her tickets yesterday Ms Ackroyd was a little giddy and she admitted she simply couldn’t wait.”I’m getting very excited. It’s going to be great – I’m just excited to see her in person,” she said.”I’m an Oprah fan because of all the humanitarian projects she does worldwide, and she is just absolutely inspirational as a woman who came from a poor background and had to work her way up – to me she’s all about giving back. “Oprah doesn’t hang onto all her money for her own good, she’s a very generous woman with her money and her time, and I think she’s just awesome.”Ms Ackroyd said the women in her office decided they would all register for tickets.”We all checked our emails and everyone was saying ‘no’ they didn’t get any and oh, my gosh, I had two tickets out of the hundreds of thousands of people Australia wide who registered,” she said.Oprah Winfrey is due to arrive in Australia on Tuesday.Crews from Oprah’s production company, Harpo, have already been in the country for four weeks filming.”We’re going to Sydney on the Sunday, two days before the show, and we’re going straight to the Opera House to pick up our tickets and wrist bands.”Security will be strict for the event.”We’re not allowed to take oversized handbags or cameras. We can take a phone but it has to be switched off. We can’t take gifts or letters to give to Oprah. We’ve been told to wear bright colours because we will be on TV. “We will be outside but we’re not allowed to carry an umbrella in case it rains so we’re taking those glamorous plastic raincoat things,” Ms Ackroyd said.Anne and Annouka will speak to The Advocate right after the Oprah Show is taped and share what it was like to get up close to a woman, whose mammoth worldwide celebrity and immense wealth, has her highly ranked among the most powerful women in the world.
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Bus stop row rumbles on

BUSY: Toyworld Bendigo’s Scott Mills outside the store at 3.30pm as people board a bus.NEW information on the popularity and suitability of alternative CBD bus stops yesterday failed to end an impasse between Bendigo’s traders and the Department of Transport.In the latest meeting since the introduction of 692 new services, the department highlighted a survey showing that more than 70 per cent of bus commuters interviewed wanted the CBD bus stops to be in Mitchell Street.Other preferred sites included upper Williamson Street, which scored only 9.6 per cent support and the old Beaurepaire site with 9.3 per cent.A Lyttleton Terrace option was ranked last at 3.4 per cent.CBD traders have questioned the legitimacy of the survey, saying it only confirmed the department’s predetermined location and failed to solve the main issue of excessive buses and passengers clogging Mitchell Street. Department of Transport regional manager Alan Gladman said the main bus interchange would remain outside the railway station, but an overwhelming number of passengers – including the elderly and people with prams – wanted a bus stop in the CBD.‘‘One of the key components of the site is the passengers.They’re the ones we deliver the service for,’’ Mr Gladman said.‘‘We know where our passengers want to be.‘‘Our role is to get people onto public transport and out of their cars, and delivering a better system is part of this.’’ Toyworld owner Mike Hammond said the concentration of bus stops outside his store meant that crowds of up to 150 bus passengers made movements by pedestrians and shoppers impossible.‘‘Passengers need space as much as our customers need space,’’ Mr Hammond said.‘‘We are not whingeing shopkeepers – this is the reality and it’s going to get worse.’’Mr Hammond said he had implemented extra security measures to deter pilfering and other undesirable activity as the crowds overflowed into his store.Real estate agent Keith Sutherland said the practice of buses parking out from the kerb to pick up passengers was an accident waiting to happen, as cars had to line up down the block.‘‘You have a situation where there is no shelter, save using the existing shops, and that’s not fair on the traders,’’ he said.Country Cakes owner Doug Clarkson, who complained of plummeting sales since the new timetable came in last month, suggested a shuttle could run between the railway station interchange and Mitchell Street.Mr Gladman said most of the routes were already running down Mitchell Street and a shuttle would duplicate existing traffic.However, he said spreading the bus bays out on some parts of Mitchell Street, and using express buses to the railway station interchange, could be looked at to alleviate problems.The City of Greater Bendigo is hoping to broker a compromise by investigating what infrastructure changes could be made to ease the effects on traffic, traders and pedestrians.The council will also look at the possibility of stops away from Mitchell street to alleviate crowding.Bendigo Traders Association president Neil Athorn said traders wanted the department to assess the Beaurepaire site in Hargreaves Street as the CBD bus stop and interchange.The association felt the site would bring people closer to the CBD, where they wanted to be.The city’s asset planning manager Brett Martini said the Hargreaves Street and Edwards Street site would still involve buses travelling on Mitchell Street to connect with their routes.It was felt the investment in the property would make it hard to justify for a bus stop alone.Other sites, such as upper Williamson Street and Lyttleton Terrace, also suffered from problems.Parking spaces would be eliminated and complicated re-routing of buses through the CBD would be required.
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