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Little Aths founder Keith Ellis dies

GIANT TOMATOES: Keith Ellis, 90, shows the Mail-Times his giant tomatoes, one weighing nearly one kilogram, in February. Picture: PAUL CARRACHERHORSHAM man Keith Ellis has died, aged 90.
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The former policeman, farmer, Pimpinio footballer and keen gardener will be farewelled at Ss Michael and John's Catholic Church, Horsham, at 1pm today.

Mr Ellis was also a founder of the Victorian Little Athletics Club and Horsham and District Learn to Swim Club.

In February, Mr Ellis appeared in the Mail-Times with a crop of giant tomatoes he grew, one weighing nearly a kilogram.

"It was one 'helluva' tomato," he said.

"It's the biggest I've ever grown."

Pimpinio Football Club president Wally Dumesny said Mr Ellis, known as 'Bomber Ellis' was a former player, captain, coach and president, as well as a life member.

He was club president from 1969 to 1975, a coach from 1949 to 1951 and again in 1968.

"Keith was a bit of a legend out there in his time and he was a great story teller," Mr Dumesny said.

"He used to have people gathered around, holding forth about old times.

"He was a great figure at the club, a bit of a character and was held in high esteem by everyone."

Mr Dumesny said Mr Ellis, along with his late wife Maureen, was also a 'fair mover' in the Little Athletics scene.

"He also loved his fishing, shooting and hunting, the outdoors and travel."

Mr Dumesny said the club would form a guard of honour at Mr Ellis's funeral.

Mr Ellis's daughter Dianne Brown said her parents had six children, Peter, Maree, Dianne, Patricia, dec, Robyn and Brian, 15 grandchildren and 34 great grandchildren.

"Dad was born at West Wail in 1921 and married my mother, Maureen, in 1941," Mrs Brown said.

"He served in the army for a short time during the Second World War, joined the Victoria Police and was stationed at Russell Street in Melbourne for seven years and later became a farmer.

"Dad played pretty much his whole football career at Pimpinio and also coached St Michael's Football Club in 1959."

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Army destroys bomb in Warracknabeal

A TEAM of Army explosive ordinance disposal experts destroyed a bomb found in Warracknabeal yesterday.
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A woman found the Japanese Type 89 high explosive mortar at a Warracknabeal house, which she was clearing out for her mother.

The Defence Explosive Ordnance Services team, from Victoria Barracks in Melbourne, were called to the house by police.

Major Ash Nurick, the Officer Commanding the team, said the bomb had apparently been in the house for years but was still potentially dangerous.

"We deployed from Melbourne on Sunday afternoon and found that while the majority of the actual explosives had been removed from the mortar, the fuse was still present along with some TNT crystals,'' he said.

"Those crystals are unstable, so after consultation with the local police commander we decided that the safest option was to carry out a controlled demolition in a Warracknabeal Rifle Range.''

For more see Wednesday's Mail-Times.

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Rainbow teenager critical after exiting moving car

A RAINBOW teenager is in a critical condition in a Melbourne hospital after she exited a moving car on Saturday.
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The teenager, 19, was a front seat passenger in a car being driven by a woman whose three children were rear passengers.

The car was turning into Hopetoun-Yaapeet Road, headed towards Hopetoun, before 9am.

The driver was turning right at a slow speed when the front passenger decided to leave the moving car.

The teenager sustained head injuries and was put in an induced coma before being airlifted to Melbourne.

The car's other occupants were uninjured.

See Wednesday's Mail-Times for the story.

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Shh I’m sneaking

I JUST ate peanut butter straight from the jar and I actually wore my slippers to the supermarket last week. Oh, the shame.
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They were both emergency situations though. Okay, I’m not sure what happened with the peanut butter, but there wasn’t enough left in the jar to cover a piece of toast and it’s been a huge week with the gala ball and two dance concerts – something just snapped, and it tasted so good.

Slippers to the supermarket was a slightly more calculated risk. It was late, I was desperate for chocolate, and I mean desperate, in a biological monthly cycle kind of way – actually craving magnesium if my information is correct.

I needed the chocolate and my husband was home to mind the children, so I was free to undertake the perilous mission to seek and destroy chocolate, alone. Unfortunately it was bitterly cold outside and my feet were oh-so-warm in my sheepskin moccasins.

It just seemed a downright reckless waste of energy to change into shoes and lose all that precious body heat.

Anyway, who else would be crazy enough to go out in the cold at that time of night shopping, apart from all of the other women with their irrepressible chocolate cravings? I felt sure that they would understand the slipper thing.

I went for it, purse, car keys, ignition, headlights, off to the shops.

Perfectly happy on the drive there, I was immediately nervous when I entered the supermarket carpark.

What if I did happen to meet an acquaintance in the confectionery aisle? How embarrassing. What kind of person goes on a shopping expedition purely for chocolate, in her slippers?

The whole exercise screamed desperation.

Head down, I entered through the electronic sliding doors, averting my gaze from any other customers I sensed nearby.

I covered the ground as swiftly as possible, grabbed the chocolate I needed – some for everyone else in the family, I am a mother after all – and dashed to the most deserted-looking checkout.

Choosing a cash transaction to keep it quick, I stepped out into the cold night air with my crime against fashion completely undetected.

I ripped the wrapper off the block of chocolate and actually started snapping off squares and devouring them before I jumped back into the car behind the wheel.

Did I mention that I really needed that chocolate?

Smiling in satisfaction amid the heavenly sensation of tasting chocolate, I congratulated myself on pulling off the manoeuvre without anyone discovering my outrageously undignified behaviour.

And so I had; no-one will ever know.

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Census data a mixed bag for the Wimmera

THE Census 2011 data proved a mixed bag for the Wimmera.
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Positively, three of our municipalities experienced growth – Horsham Rural City, West Wimmera Shire and Ararat Rural City.

Unfortunately, Northern Grampians Shire, Yarriambiack Shire and Hindmarsh Shire all found themselves lacking the numbers they had 10 years ago.

Despite the shires’ populations drop, every municipality experienced an increase in the number of overseas-born people.

The growing numbers of overseas-born people in the Wimmera helps the region develop as a multicultural base.

This can only be a good thing for the Wimmera.

But it is concerning that our shires are losing people.

While the Wimmera’s slogan ‘Everything you need’ might not be entirely accurate, there is a lot on offer in our part of the country.

Northern Grampians, Yarriambiack and Hindmarsh all have features that would appeal not only to residents but to visitors too.

These visitors could one day decide to call the Wimmera home.

We need to promote our region better, to both the folk in the city and interstate.

These shires deserve to grow as a community.

Well done to Horsham, West Wimmera and Ararat on increasing numbers.

Let’s hope in the next census, we find that our entire region has grown.

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Mud mars MX championships but track should be ready for nationals

HORSHAM Motorcycle Club vice president Merv Williams is confident Dooen Raceway will be in ideal condition for the MX National Championships next month.
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The club hosted the Victorian Senior Motocross Championships final round at the weekend, with riders adjusting to a muddy track.

Horsham Motorcycle Club will host round seven of the MX National Championships on July 15. The round was originally scheduled to be at Barrabool in Victoria.

"There is a really big three weeks ahead of us to get organised," Mr Williams said. "It's not a problem at all. We could have panicked with the short notice we had for nationals but we have such good people behind the club and they make it great."

Mr Williams said club members worked on Dooen Raceway during the Victorian round at the weekend, ensuring it was in the best condition possible.

"The 40 millimetres of rain we had throughout the week affected it," he said. "Traditionally out here, if we don't get more rain than that, it goes really tacky and once the bikes churn it up, there is really good grip on the track."

Mr Williams said club members rolled a tractor over the track twice on Saturday once prior to racing and again after day one events were complete.

He said the track was rolled again yesterday.

"If it does rain in the next week or so it won't soak in, it will roll off," he said.

"We had to bypass a couple of jumps because it was too sloppy.

"The awesome thing about the Horsham track is its flexibility, you can cut a little bit out and still make it ridable.

"We ended up with some of the best, tightest races at the weekend.

"Mud becomes a leveller."

Horsham's Tamika Edwards finished fourth overall across the four-round state event in the women's 250cc category.

Fellow Horsham competitors Brett Harris and Jory Hancock also competed.

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Mark O’Brien wins third tour in national series

HORSHAM cyclist Mark O'Brien continued his blistering start to the Subaru National Road Series yesterday, winning the North Western Tour in New South Wales.
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O'Brien has won the opening three tour events of the national series, having collected winners guernseys at the Tour of Mersey Valley and Tour of Toowoomba.

The Budget Forklifts competitor won stage three of the North Western tour a 126-kilometre hill climb on Friday.

While he was proud of his win, O'Brien said he would love to win a rare sprint stage.

"When I win a sprint, that will be something to talk about," he said.

The final stage of the North Western tour was called off yesterday.

"The race was called off because we kept going over double lines and there was only one laneway," O'Brien said.

"After 30 kilometres they called it off. It gave me another win without any stress."

O'Brien said he was thrilled with his form to start the 12-tour series.

"It's been a lot better than I could have anticipated at the start of the year," he said.

Fellow Horsham cyclist Sam Witmitz was placed second in stage one a 3.6-kilometre prologue on Thursday.

Witmitz also rides for Budget Forklifts.

"He missed out by .3 of a second on his first National Road Series win," O'Brien said. "I'm sure he'll get a win in Gippsland. He has done a lot of work for me so I will repay the favour."

O'Brien said personal wins would be harder to come by in the next few tours, starting with the Tour of Gippsland on August 1.

"The next tour doesn't suit me. They have made it flat," he said.

O'Brien said Budget Forklifts had assembled a strong team which was performing well.

"The main thing is we are having a great time," he said. "Everyone is happy to help each other out and we are winning races because of that."

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Alethea Sedgman shares her love of shooting

HELPFUL TIPS: Olympian Alethea Sedgman, right, teaches Molly Parfett-Oliver and Ange McTaggart some shooting tips at Horsham Smallbore Rifle Club's come-and-try evening on Friday. Picture: PAUL CARRACHEROLYMPIC-bound shooter Alethea Sedgman returned to her roots, helping out at a Horsham Smallbore Rifle Club come-and-try evening on Friday.
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Sedgman, 18, was announced as one of five members in the Australian rifle team earlier this month and will compete in the women's 10-metre air rifle and 50-metre three position events at the London Olympics.

A Commonwealth Games women's 50-metre three position gold medallist, the Natimuk teenager is the youngest of Australia's 17-member Olympic shooting team.

Sedgman handed out tips to aspiring rifle shooters on Friday along with displaying her vast range of equipment, including the two rifles she will take to the Olympics.

The humble Sedgman said she enjoyed speaking to the children and parents who took part in the Prime Minister's Olympic Challenge.

The Prime Minister's Olympic and Paralympic challenges will tap into the spirit of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, encouraging primary school-aged children to try for a gold, silver, bronze or participation certificate, emulating their heroes competing in London.

"I don't think of myself as anything different. I hope they do take it up because it's a good sport, it made me more confident," she said.

Sedgman had aimed to make the 2016 Rio de Janerio Olympic Games.

A London call-up surpassed her expectations.

"I was happy. I really want to do well. I am not that excited yet but I am sure when I get there I will be," she said. "I just want to train hard and get a personal best.

"I am definitely shooting air rifle and 396 is my PB so if I can shoot that in a comp I'd be happy."

Sedgman said being the youngest Australian team member meant she felt less pressure to perform.

She said she wouldn't be surprised if she was the youngest shooter at the Games.

"Most of the other countries have so many other shooters to select from and their best shooter is probably a 30-year-old," she said.

"The peak age for a shooter is about 25 to 35.

"It will give me more experience. I won't be as scared if I go to Rio."

Sedgman will fly to London on July 18 but will miss the opening ceremony as she prepares for her events.

"This week I have the week off, the coach was like, 'you can relax' and just work on fitness at the moment," she said. "I have got a competition, the Aus Cup, and that's another week away and there is a training camp after that.

"That will happen and then I will come home and will probably be training a lot."

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Saints belt the Roos

HORSHAM Saints notched their first win against a fellow top five team this season in emphatic fashion on Saturday.
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The Saints' 69-point belting of Dimboola highlighted the evenness of the top teams at the mid-way point of the Wimmera league season.

Brendan Broadbent's Saints imposed themselves on the contest from the opening bounce.

Their ferocious attack on the football, ability to win the ball in close and then spread and their potent forward line pointed to a morale-boosting win.

The Saints held a 23-point lead at half time, but it was after the main break where they inflicted the most damage.

Key forward Heath Watson converted the first goal of the third term less than a minute in, pouncing on a poor Dimboola turnover.

It sparked a run of five more Saints goals, all but snuffing out any chance the Roos had of a revival.

Phil Butsch, Nathan Byrne, who finished with four goals, and Michael Rowe all played strongly, as the Saints' pressure took its toll on the Roos.

Dimboola struggled to get the ball into its forward half in the third term, such was Horsham Saints' dominance.

Tom Magee kicked the Roos' only goal of the quarter deep into time on.

Dimboola pushed forward in the early stages of the fourth term for little reward.

It added 1.4 before the Saints added the final four goals of the game, including a Matt Combe-conversion where he side-stepped his Dimboola opponent with ease.

Broadbent was thrilled with the Saints' endeavour and ability to work as a collective.

"We played a really good brand of football and the stuff

we have been working on is really starting to come to fruition," he said. "They were a lot bigger side than us so it was pleasing how our guys accepted the challenge to take them on."

Dimboola coach Gary Davidson labelled the loss 'a learning curve', saying it was a reality check.

"We were smashed in all departments of football," he said. "If you look all over the ground, apart from Lachie Exell deep forward for us when we got the ball to him, you would say they had the majority of winners.

"They smashed us in the contested possessions. Their pressure was outstanding and their want for the football was greater."

Davidson said he hoped the performance was an aberration, highlighting the fact there was ample time for the Roos to finetune their game before finals.

"We have some very proud players in our team and I don't think they will stand back and take that effort lightly," he said.

In other games, Stawell 124 showed a strong effort against Horsham RSL Diggers 67, Warrack Eagles 210 annihilated Nhill 23 and Horsham 95 accounted for Minyip-Murtoa 56.

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Bombers bomb out against the Saints

EDENHOPE-APSLEY began a trend of round-11 floggings, demoralising Noradjuha-Quantong by 19 goals.
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But Saints coach Brain Cassidy did not enjoy the game, saying it was ugly to watch.

He said the Bombers' possession game took the life out of the contest.

"Whenever they got the ball they would just kick it backwards and force us to man up," he said. "The Bombers were trying to stop us kicking 30 goals, but it meant the game wasn't great to watch."

Cassidy said the unsavoury tactics did have a silver lining.

"At least we have had practise combating the possession game before we head into finals," he said. "It was a great learning curve for the boys."

The Saints were a force all day, especially in the last quarter when they kicked eight goals, while the Bombers did not trouble the scoreboard in the second half.

Cassidy said his team had few passengers.

"It was great to have an even spread of eight goal-kickers. It's what we pride ourselves on," he said. "Dave McLeish and Mathew Cranage were outstanding on the ball and James Dixon had a great game with six goals."

In other games, Rupanyup 142 had a cruisy win over Pimpinio 54, Swifts 157 demolished last year's grand finalist Harrow-Balmoral 17, Laharum 168 taught Natimuk 46 a lesson, and Kalkee 144 dominated Taylors Lake 65.

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