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Arrested … eight years later

POLICE have charged a Hunter Valley man over a crime allegedly committed eight years ago.
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Officers say the arrest of the 23-year-old related to a car theft in 2004 as well as malicious damage and attempted car theft in 2005.

DNA evidence reportedly led to the man's arrest which, police say, is one of several old offences being cleared up by such technology across the state this year.

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Non-smokers discounts: What the people think

David Lutovac Jarrett Ross
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Joshua Watson

Maddison Irwin

Samantha Addison

The Maitland Mercury asked five people on the street if they thought a $10 discount on a doctor's consult for being a non-smoker was encouraging good health or blatant discrimination.



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Rochow’s dream debut

Newcastle Knights’ Robbie Rochow. Making your NRL debut for your local team, who you supported as a boy, against their most hated rivals, in front of a home crowd – and getting a win.
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Surely it doesn’t get any better than that.

The Newcastle Knights’ Robbie Rochow realised a childhood dream on Saturday night when he took to the field at Hunter Stadium in the Knights’ 32-6 upset win over reigning NRL premiers Manly.

“Yeah it was awesome, I loved it,” Rochow said.

“I was pretty excited, playing in front of a big home crowd is something I’ve never really done being down in Melbourne [with the Storm’s Toyota Cup team] for so long.

“Especially with my family all being there, I supported the Knights growing up as well so it was pretty special.”

Rochow made a strong debut off the bench, playing 37 minutes and making seven runs for 63 metres gained along with 17 tackles.

The bulk of the 20,000 crowd gave Rochow a thunderous reception when he entered the game and the East Maitland Griffins junior was happy to have made an impact.

“I knew I wasn’t going to get too many minutes so I just wanted to make the most of it,” Rochow said.

“Wayne (coach Wayne Bennett) asked me to bring some enthusiasm and he said he was happy with my performance.”

The giant forward has missed eight weeks this season with two bulging discs in his back, delaying his first grade debut since his off season move back home from the Melbourne Storm.

Rochow hopes to receive more chances in first grade towards the back end of the season and was certain he would make the most of them.

“My goal for this year was to play NRL for the Knights and now that I’ve done that I just want to do my best each week,” Rochow said.

“If I can stay on the field and be consistent coming off the bench in the NRL, that’s what I’m aiming for.”

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Bears defender Thornton relishes chance to play at higher level

Carl Thornton.Weston Bears defender Carl Thornton will get his chance to impress on tomorrow night when he takes to the field for the Northern New South Wales representative team against the Newcastle Jets.
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The game is the first of two fixtures between the teams with the Jets continuing their preparations for the 2012/13 A-League campaign.

And the modest 24-year-old Booragul product is delighted with the call up, continuing on from his selection in 2011.

“It’s always good to be recognised for your performances throughout a season, it’s a bit of an honour to play with some of the best players in the league and also it’s a test against some of the best players in Australia,” Thornton said.

“It probably hasn’t been one of my better seasons but I guess it’s a reward for being consistent week in week out. I made the team last year so I suppose that would have a bit of an influence on selection.”

Thornton is the only Weston player to be selected for the NNSW Select team, with Broadmeadow (five), Charlestown City, Hamilton and South Cardiff (three) making up the bulk of the 19-man squad.

He is raring to go despite the team’s short preparation and is looking forward to working with Broadmeadow coach Damien Smith

and South Cardiff mentor Steve Piggot who have been appointed as co-coaches of the NNSW team.

“Compared to last year it’s been a relaxed preparation this time around, we had an information session last week talking about tactics and formations and stuff, now we have a quick session [last night] to work on some set plays,” Thornton said.

“They (Smith and Piggot) definitely know what they’re talking about, they’ve seen the Jets play a few times and apparently they look in good touch.”

With the Western Sydney Wanderers joining Central Coast, Newcastle and Sydney as New South Wales’ representatives in the A-League there are chances for more players to make it professionally in Australia and Thornton is pragmatic yet hopeful of experiencing professional football.

“I’m still only 24 so I suppose playing professionally is in the back of the mind,” Thornton said.

“If something comes along or you get offered a trial somewhere you’re not going to say no, realistically though I’m not sure how many players they look at from the State Leagues.”

Thornton is highly regarded at Weston.

Brought to the club in 2007 at the age of 18 by then coach Michael Boogaard, Thornton made his first team debut in the second round of that season at the No.1 Sportsground against Phoenix FC.

In a 6-1 win for the young Bears, Thornton scored a goal, his only so far for the club.

Since then he has gone on to become a member of the highly regarded 100 games club for Weston, in which last season at the age of 23 he became the youngest player to start 100 matches for the Bears in the club’s 104 year history.

In Weston’s premiership winning season in 2010 when they unfortunately went on to lose the grand final 4-2 to Edgeworth, Thornton made more club history when he won the supporter’s club player of the year, players’ player, coach’s player and Player of the Year awards, the first time a player has won the latter three awards.

Thornton’s Weston team have been in good form over the past month and are unbeaten in their last four games, keeping alive the seventh placed Bears finals hopes.

“Mathematically we’re still a chance and as long as we’re a chance we’re going to give it a good shot, we probably have to win our last four ...,” Thornton said.

“It’s a huge game this weekend and a win puts us in striking distance of Edgeworth and South Cardiff.

“If we can get close enough to put pressure on them then anything can happen.”

Weston will hope Thornton pulls through the match unscathed and is able to back up on Sunday to face the Jets for a second time in five days when the Bears host the Newcastle Jets Youth at Thomas and Coffey Park.

Wednesday night’s game between NNSW Select and the Newcastle Jets kicks off at 7pm at Darling Street Oval, Hamilton.

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Doctor discounts a healthy idea

Everyone knows that smoking kills, or at least can cause life-threatening diseases including cancer,
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emphysema and asthma, heart attack and stroke.

According to the website OxyGen南京夜网.au, smoking is the largest single cause of death and disease in Australia with approximately 290 deaths a week – the equivalent of a passenger plane crash every week.

The burden on the health system – and therefore

taxpayers – is significant.

Smoking, like drugs, is an addiction and as such should be treated as a medical condition.

There is no suggestion that hospitals or doctors should turn away smokers should they require treatment.

That would be akin to refusing to administer medical assistance to someone hurt in a motor vehicle accident because they may have been breaking the law and driving dangerously.

Smoking is not illegal; and patients are not being penalised by having to pay more because they do smoke.

That would be discriminatory.

But there is nothing wrong with rewarding people who do look after their health by discounting fees.

Think of doctors’ fees in the same way that we look at household insurance.

Smoking is akin to leaving your doors unlocked and then wondering why you’ve been robbed. It’s dumb.

Why shouldn’t people who look after their “homes” – their bodies – be given some benefit?

Perhaps the discounted fees could be extended to those patients who specifically seek medical help to quit their habit – before it’s too late.

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Soul-searching session pricks Pickers’ pride

Colby Schrader.The Maitland Pickers have answered the call to commitment and maintained their position in the top five with a 38-18 win against Central Newcastle at Dangar Park yesterday.
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The 20-point victory by the two-time defending premiers came on the back of a soul-searching session on Monday, which followed back-to-back losses in the Newcastle Rugby League competition.

The messages from that meeting were taken on board by the Pickers and implemented effectively out in the middle.

Coach Ron Griffiths was particularly pleased with this aspect of the triumph in the round 13 encounter.

“It wasn’t so much about the scoreline but more about the commitment,” Griffiths said.

“We spoke a lot about commitment on Monday and how it has waivered a bit this year but it was definitely there today.

“I was pleased everybody turned up and played for each other.”

Griffiths said this was more impressive considering the Pickers were without half a dozen regular first grade players.

Jade Porter (NSW Country), Billy Towers, Marco Delapena, Ryan Walker (injured), Damien Frize (work) and PJ Ellis (not allowed to play against Central) were on the sidelines, but Griffiths said all replacements, including Blake Birch, Rohan McGeachie and Daniel French, stood tall in their absence.

The Pickers trailed 18-14 at half-time but managed to keep Central scoreless in the second stanza.

“It was a bit of an arm wrestle that first half and we clocked off a couple of times there, which you can’t afford to do,” Griffiths said.

“In the end we probably defended about 60 per cent of the first half, but we controlled the game really well from there and we didn’t let them score again in the second half.”

Pickers forwards Luke Mercer and Brenton Horwood both crossed for doubles while French, Dan Randall and Darcy Etrich also put their names on the score sheet.

Etrich potted two conversions and winger Josh Morrison three.

Etrich was voted players’ player.

In yesterday’s other result a depleted Cessnock outfit was smashed 56-14 by Western Suburbs at Harker Oval.

The Goannas stay on top of the competition ladder despite the loss while Wests move into a share of second with Macquarie.

Maitland are in fifth spot with a game in hand against Macquarie.

Maitland 38 (Luke Mercer 2, Brenton Horwood 2, Daniel French, Dan Randall, Darcy Etrich tries; Josh Morrison 3, Etrich 2 goals) defeated Central Newcastle 18 (Tom Morton 2, Jace Delany, Tate Shaw tries; Shaw goal).

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Maitland farmers’ market gathers support

As excitement grows over plans for a farmers’ market the custodians of Maitland Showground have revealed there could be no better venue to reunite people with fresh food.
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Hunter River Agricultural and Horticultural Association

president Trevor Hardes said the markets would benefit producers and consumers.

“It’s a showground built for agricultural purposes and the harvest market would support our farmers,” he said.

“We’ve had our share of

birthday parties and car shows – which are all good things – the Harvest Markets are about

getting back to basics.”

With the decline of stand-alone fresh produce stores and the growth of supermarkets in recent decades Mr Hardes said the Harvest Market was about

celebrating good food and the people who produced it.

“It’s about the farmer and their produce so it’s cutting out the

middle man and connecting

farmers with consumers,” he said.

The proponent Catherine Blanch said discussions with Mr Hardes had been fruitful and, with council’s nod, there could be 100 stallholders queuing up from spring.

“The timing is right – we have the perfect venue – and we have the group that will support it,” she said.

“We don’t want to be

exclusive, we want to be

inclusive and I think if mum can come down and shop while the kids play on the jumping castle that is a good thing.”

Mr Hardes said Maitland Show’s 150 year history was built around farmers and produce, exhibited in pavilions, making the harvest market and the

showground a natural synergy.

“The grounds are privately owned and it’s essential to have more things of this nature to keep the grounds going and the

history alive.”

Mrs Blanch said the markets could include cheese, lamb, wine, fruit, vegetables, free range eggs, and organic sour dough bread, among other

produce.

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Weeklyfarmers’ market for Maitland

Maitland could get a farmers’ market by spring if the architect of an alternative proposal has her way.
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Catherine Blanch, who runs the monthly Maitland Markets, has submitted plans to Maitland City Council for a weekly harvest market.

The vision is for 100 or more stallholders selling cheese, lamb, wine, fruit, vegetables eggs and bread at Maitland Showground.

Slated for Saturdays, the markets could attract 1000 people.

The plans are more than three years in the making and with the completion of various works at the showground and the decline of small produce retailers, Mrs Blanch said the time was right.

“I think since the GFC people want to go back to traditional values and want more authenticity in what they are doing and eating,” she said.

Newcastle Farmers Market operators Kevin Eade and Elizabeth Armstrong have also lodged plans with Maitland City Council for a similar number of stalls at Walka Water Works.

“I know that Kevin is at the same time looking to establish one [farmers’ market] but we have a very positive working relationship with all market operators,” Mrs Blanch said.

“The cultural development of Maitland is not a competition or a race.

“Maitland City Council will judge every development on its merit and it’s a very exciting time for the city.”

The Blanch family proposal leverages 30 years of experience operating the monthly Sunday market that caters for 30,000 visitors.

The markets were established by freeman of the city Gwen Murphy, Mrs Blanch’s mother, in memory of Helen Williams.

“Mum started it to help raise money for not-for-profit groups in memory of my sister,” Mrs Blanch said.

“Various groups have been able to use the markets for fund-raising and it’s raised more than $2 million so far.”

Mrs Blanch has engaged a traffic consultant to help with planning.

“I would love to be in there by spring,” she said.

“It is simply a matter of waiting for council’s decision.”

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From Singleton to Kabul: one woman’s journey

Andrea Nield will address the Paterson Historical Society about her overseas adventures. From the flood-ravaged backyards of Singleton to the devastation of war-torn Kabul, Andrea Nield has seen it all.
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As the force behind pro bono organisation Emergency Architects Australia, Ms Nield is aware of the desperation facing those across the globe.

Ms Nield will share her story – From Singleton to Kabul and Back – during a talk next month for the Paterson Historical Society.

“I grew up in Singleton and went to study architecture in Sydney and I’ve been working in hospital design ever since,” Ms Nield, who shares her time between Paterson and Sydney, said.

But in 2003 Ms Nield travelled to Afghanistan and her fate was sealed.

“I went to try to find a site for a women’s and children’s hospital and when I came back I decided that I’d had enough of working on hospitals in Australia,” she said. “I wanted to do this sort of emergency work and do something that would make a huge difference to people’s lives.”

Since then Ms Nield has worked in the Solomon Islands, Samoa, the Cook Islands and in 2004 she travelled to Aceh following the devastation of the Indian Ocean earthquake.

But Ms Nield heralds Maitland’s 1955 flood as the main catalyst for her vocation.

“My parents lost everything in that flood,” she said.

“They were living in a garage at the time and we survived and I think, in some ways, that stayed with me for a long time and I’m sure there are a lot of people in Maitland who still have those feelings.

“Something like that produces a lot of resilience and it forces communities to come together in way they wouldn’t otherwise and I think that’s what I’m drawn too.”

n Andrea Nield will address the Paterson Historical Society on Thursday, August 2, at the Paterson Courthouse Museum starting at 7.30pm. Read more about her story in Wednesday’s edition of the Maitland Mercury.

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Maitland rams home advantage

Matt Hoosen.The Maitland Rams overcame The Entrance yesterday with a hard-fought 4-2 victory at the Maitland Hockey Centre.
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Without key midfielder Brendon Laurens with a broken finger, the Rams led 1-0 at half-time thanks to a goal from Matt Hoosen.

Maitland extended their lead with 10 minutes to go thanks to a fine finish from Matthew Brown.

The Rams added two more late goals through Brown and captain Peter Urquhart to give themselves a 4-0 lead before The Entrance finished the game with a flourish, scoring twice in the dying moments.

Maitland coach Nathan Baker was delighted with the result.

“All the boys played well today, they stood up and showed some big ticker,” Baker said.

“I was very happy with the result, we lost our shape and structure a bit at the end, maybe we were a bit guilty of pushing too hard for a fifth.”

The win sees the Rams consolidate their spot in the top four, moving one point behind yesterday’s opponents.

Maitland will look to continue their impressive recent form when they travel to play Souths in Newcastle on Sunday.

“We’ve got a tough run of games, we had The Entrance today, Souths next week and Norths the week after but I’m sure if we play like we did today we’ll be fine,” Baker said.

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