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Archive for September, 2018

Can the Knights keep Gagai?

Friday, 14 September, 2018

AS the Knights desperately chase big names to bolster their roster for next season, their only current State of Origin player has become a target for rival clubs.
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OPTIONS: Dane Gagai

Queensland flyer Dane Gagai has a contractual option in his favour to stay with Newcastle for 2018, but reports surfaced on Friday that he has attracted interest from St George Illawarra.

There was also speculation that Wests Tigers, suddenly cashed-up after the defections of Mitchell Moses, James Tedesco and Aaron Woods, would be in position to make him an offer.

Gagai is one of a remarkable 17 members of Newcastle’s NRL squad who are free agents, but the club’s priority has apparently been to recruit high-profile, experienced imports to bolster their roster for next season.

Knights coach Nathan Brown has approached stars like Matt Scott, Dale Finucane, Matt Prior, Jack Bird, Kieran Foran and Shaun Kenny-Dowall, but the only confirmed signing for next year is North Queenslandteenager Kalyn Ponga.

Brown admitted in the pre-season that he had spoken to Gagai about granting him an early release, saying in an interview “if there was any desire there for Gags to want to play in a stronger team, I wouldn’t have stood in his way.”Gagai said he “could see where Browny was coming from”but insisted he wanted to stayto help the back-to-back wooden spooners rebuild.

That resolve might be tested if he receives long-term offers to ply his trade elsewhere, especially after another disappointing start to the season by Newcastle.

Heading into Saturday’s clash with the Cowboys in Townsville, the Knights were again last on the ladder after one win from seven games.

The question of how hard Newcastle should try to retain Gagai is a vexing one.

He is arguably their most dangerous attacking player, and has carried the ball 225 metres and 161 metres in their past two games, against Canterbury and the Roosters.

He has also scored five tries in four Origin appearances for the Maroons, including a memorable hat-trick in game two last year.

But he has scored only four tries in his last 38 games for Newcastle.

The 26-year-old has consistently maintained since he arrived mid-season in 2012 that Newcastle feels like home.

Playing for a stronger club might improve his chances of representing Australia, but as he told theHeraldin December:“Everyone is buying into what Browny is doing,andI’m confident he’s putting together a team who will compete. I want to be a part of that.”

If Gagai was to move on, Kenny-Dowall might be a possible replacement after meeting with Brown on Wednesday.

Doing the sums on the light rail extension

Friday, 14 September, 2018

IN getting the numbers to pass legislation permanently shutting the Newcastle rail corridor, the Coalition state government agreed to a Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party demand that it carry out a business case for extending the 2.1-kilometre light rail line that is the centrepiece of the government’s push to revitalise the city centre.
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Some 18 months later, the Shooters say the government has had long enough to come up with a study. But in visiting Newcastle this week, Transport Minister Andrew Constance made it clear the government’s preference was to keep things in the here and now when he said it would be up to “future ministers . . to make the call” on any extension of the light rail.

Unfortunately for the Coalition, its continued refusal to release the original 2014business case for the Newcastle light rail has left it with a politicalAchilles’heel when it comes to the economics of the project.

The opposed to light railargue –with some logic –that the business case must not have stacked up, on paper, if the government refused to release it. But the government has repeatedly argued that the tram systemis just one part of a broader vision to improve the city, meaning it should not be looked at in isolation.

In this light, there is already evidence –in the form of a dramatic apartment building spree in and around Wickham –that light rail is succeeding in the government’s aim of using infrastructure to spur private sector investment.

And that’s before so much as a metre of light rail track has been laid. If light rail does breathe new life into the Newcastle CBD, then the calls for an extension of the route will surely follow. When the Newcastle Herald visited France last year as a guest of light rail operator Keolis Downer, we saw a number of cities where initial opposition to light rail was quickly converted into a chorus of support for extensions to the system.

It is too early to say if the same thing will happen here. But if the CBD system proves itselfa winner, then that may a better timebettertime to look at the business case for an extension,rather thannow, when there is very little in the way of hard data to go on.

In the meantime, the government should consider releasing the original business case, even if it fails to flatter. It has decidedto push ahead with light rail regardless of its critics, and these things have a habit of becoming public, sooner or later, anyway.

ISSUE: 38, 473.

Setting out the stance on stations

Friday, 14 September, 2018

MOTION: It doesn’t matter if you sit or stand, just don’t remain static for too long.Emerging research points to the detrimental effect that prolonged sitting has on our health and the link between sitting and obesity.
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A study revealed that men who sat for six hours or more daily, had an overall death rate that was 20 per cent higher than men who sat for three hours or less.

For women, it was 40 per cent.

Prolonged static posture in either the sitting or standing position causes continual loading on the lower back.

Research has revealed that standing in the same position for longer than 30 minutes may cause back pain, a reduction in circulation, and an increased risk forcardiovasculardisease

The theory is that by standing, instead of sitting at work, we experience better health, burn more calories, thus reducing obesity.

Other benefits included improved productivity and mood.

With increasing interest in standing work stations, people have sought advice on usingstanding desks.

Should you try a standing workstation?

With so little research and study there is no clear answer, however, with current knowledge and experience perhaps this is a way to explore it:

Budget: Furnishing an office is a big cost to the business and this sort of furniture is not cheap, including add-on or extension pieces of equipment.Shifts: Where workers do six to eight-hour shifts that require prolonged standing, or either walking and standing, there has been safety issues (e.g.workers in hospitality who suffer from sore feet and lower back pain).Work activity: More recently, I worked with administrative staff who had to stand whilecollating and filing documents.This activity went for most of the day and the staff membersexperienced similar symptoms to ahospitality worker, as well as sore knees, cold, numb feet and backache as they were more stationary.Injury:More recently, a manager told me of how he was forced to stand at work for a weekfollowing aggravation of a back injury and reported that he suffered from sore feet and knees.While the use of safety rubber mats helps alleviate sore feet and lower limb injuries, research has found also that prolonged standing at work is associated with the development of varicose veins and associated diseases.

Today, we read articles of people who have tried standing workstations but revert to sitting due to work efficiency.

The reality is that neither sitting nor standing is bad for you; however, holding a static posture for a prolonged period – as well as being at a workstation that is not ergonomically configured – can cause awkward posture, which leads to health issues.

It is important to take regular breaks and alternate tasks.

Perhaps consider a combination of sitting and standing whileat work.

Dr William Haskell, of Stanford, calculated that taking two minutes every hour to walk could help you avoid gaining the caloric equivalent of 11 pounds (about 5 kilograms) over a decade

Faith Eeson is a safety consultant atFOCCALE Safety Management

Ride to raise awareness of Tourette Syndrome

Friday, 14 September, 2018

PASSION PROJECT: Trudy, Bailey and Duncan Whitcombe will take part in the Ticnic Ride for Tourette’s on May 7, raising funds for the Tourette Syndrome Association of Australia. Picture: Krystal SellarsA Millfield family is the driving force behind a charity motorcycle ride that will raise awareness of Tourette Syndrome.
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Trudy Whitcombe has organised the Ticnic Ride for Tourette’s to help people like her husband Duncan and their nine-year-old son Bailey, who both have theneurological disorder that ischaracterised by involuntary movements and sounds called “tics”.

The ride will be held onSunday, May 7 – the last day of Tourette Syndrome Awareness Week –and aims to raise$30,000 for theTourette Syndrome Association of Australia.

Mrs Whitcombe said the funds will allow the association to run its annual camp, wherechildren and families affected by Tourette Syndrome have the chance to meet with people in similar situations – in some cases meeting others with Tourette’s for the first time.

“When our family attended the camp two years ago it was the first time my husband, who was 40 at the time, had ever met anyone else with Tourette syndrome apart from our son,” she said.

“It was also a fabulous chance for our son to feel ‘normal’as everyone was ticking without people staring, or being bullied by other children.”

Tics mayinclude blinking, twitching, barking, throat clearing, coughing, or repeating certain words.

Tourette syndrome also comes with a host of co-morbid conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, autism spectrum disorder, anxiety and sleep latency–each individual hastheir own unique mix.

For example, Bailey has Tourette syndrome, ADHD, ASD, OCD and dysgraphia (a condition that affects written expression).

“This can sometimes be a quite harrowing mix for a little nine-year-oldsoul to contend with,” Mrs Whitcombe said.

“So, I want to make sure the camp can run every year so that we and other families have a place to turn to for help and guidance.

“The camp offers a chance to be amongst a large group of people with varying degrees of Tourette syndrome.

“It offers children the chance to see what others go through and to ask questions about how others cope and it offers families the chance to discuss treatment options, successes and failures.”

SHARING EXPERIENCES: Bailey Whitcombe and Cameron Schubert with Tourette Syndrome ambassador Adam Ladell (from The Voice 2016) at the Tourette Syndrome Association of Australia camp in April 2017. Picture: supplied

Bailey will have the honour of riding pillion withcelebrity ride leader,Tex O’Grady and his dog Bundy, who support charity fundraising events all over Australia.

The Whitcombes have had lots of support from local Hunter businesses donating prizes for a raffle, which has over 20 fabulous prizes.

The ride is set to go national, with interest from Darwin and Queensland to host Ticnic Rides in 2018.

The 2017 ride will depart from the carpark next to Teralba Amateur Sailing Club (1A First Street, Booragul). Registration is from 9.30am with stands up at 10.30am.

Riders will travel via Freemans Waterhole and Quorrobolong to Guest House Mulla Villa at Wollombi for the ‘Ticnic’ lunch, then continue on toBroke, Pokolbin,Lovedale, Kurri Kurri and Buchanan on their way to the finish line at the Holmesville Hotel, with the hotel providing bar snacks and a live band.

To find about more about the motorcycle ride, go to梧桐夜网ticnicride.wixsite南京夜网/ticnicrideor [email protected]南京夜网.

Donations can be made online at https://梧桐夜网mycause南京夜网419论坛/page/134198/ticnic-ride-for-tourettes.

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

Intellectually disabled man has consorting conviction set aside

Friday, 14 September, 2018

An intellectually disabled young man who was the first person to be jailed under controversial consorting laws has had his conviction set aside by the NSW Supreme Court.
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Charlie Maxwell Forster, from Inverell, in northern NSW, was charged in 2012 with consorting while “hanging out” with friends near a couple of hotels.

After teaming up with two bikies in an unsuccessful challenge to the laws in the High Court, Mr Forster was convicted of habitually consorting with convicted offenders.

At Inverell Local Court in April 2015, magistrate Michael O’Brien sentenced Mr Forster to 12 months’ jail with a non-parole period of nine months.

Mr Forster had pleaded not guilty, his lawyer arguing there was a difference between a deliberate meeting and a “chance encounter”.

He launched legal action in the Supreme Court asking for the magistrate’s decision to be set aside.

On Friday, Justice Lucy McCallum set aside the conviction, finding the evidence was not capable of establishing the offence.

She said the “essence of consorting is the intentional seeking of something in the nature of companionship, not mere conversation”.

Further, she said the court should “undertake an evaluative??? judgment as to whether the conduct proved amounted to ‘habitual’ consorting” before finding a person guilty.

She declined to send the matter back to the Local Court, meaning the case is over.

The consorting legislation was introduced by the NSW government in response to a wave of gun violence involving bikies and organised crime groups and made it an offence for anyone to associate repeatedly with convicted criminals.

Mr Forster, then 21, teamed up with two members of the Nomads outlaw motorcycle gang, Sleiman Tajjour??? and Justin Hawthorne, to run a High Court challenge on the grounds the laws infringed the implied right to freedom of association and freedom of political communication in the constitution.

In October 2014, the High Court found the laws were valid.

In finding Mr Forster guilty, Mr O’Brien said he was satisfied Mr Forster’s meeting with Damien Case in May 2012 was “not a casual encounter” but both men “found an intention to seek the company of the other”.

Mr O’Brien found the same for Mr Forster’s interactions with Jack Hayes and Eli Morris – each of whom had been convicted of a serious offence – outside hotels in April 2012.

Mr Forster claimed Mr O’Brien was wrong when he found that, although the meetings could have begun as chance encounters, Mr Forster at some point formed an intention to seek out the company of Case, Hayes and Morris, and was therefore guilty of consorting.

Consorting laws were originally introduced in 1929 to combat the notorious inner-city “razor gangs” of Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh in Darlinghurst, but had fallen into disuse before they were revived in 2012.

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