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Fatal crash claims a young life

TRAGEDY: Kane Harding as he appeared on his Facebook site.Police are calling for witnesses of a fatal crash that claimed the life of a young man near Cessnock on Tuesday.
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A KTM 450cc and Toyota Rav4 collided on Congewai Street, Aberdare, east of Kearsley Street, about 5.35pm.

Facebook was flooded with tributes yesterday, naming the crash victim as 18-year-old Kane Harding.

The rider and his pillion passenger were flung from the bike.

The rider suffered serious injuries and was treated at the scene by paramedics. He was airlifted to John Hunter Hospital in a critical condition where he later died.

His male passenger, 17, was also taken to the John Hunter Hospital with minor abrasions, while the 58-year-old female driver of the Rav4 was taken to Maitland Hospital for shock.

Police are preparing a report for the coroner. Anyone who witnessed the crash or can help with any information, is urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Rodeo world’s rising star returns home to wow Hunter

Lachlan Richardson. Bull riding sensation Lachlan Richardson has arrived home from the US for the Australian Tour but he won’t be contesting the Gresford Rodeo.
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Richardson has competed in his home town event “plenty of times before” but this Saturday night at Newcastle Entertainment Centre the 19-year-old will make his debut at the Brendon Clark Invitational.

The event, named in honour of Morpeth raised Clark, brings together 22 of the best bull riders from Australia and across the world.

Richardson’s hat has been thrown in the ring after what has been a stellar 12 months for the softly spoken and shaggy haired teenager.

He joined the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Australia Tour late last year and after strong performances in the regional Touring Pro Series made the decision to test his wares against top quality opposition in the sport’s heartland – the US.

This paid off immediately for Richardson with a startling debut in the Cup Series feeder program with a $38,000 win in Uncasville, Connecticut, where he was the sole rider to cover all four bulls.

People quickly sat up and took notice.

Richardson now sits number one on the rankings for World Title rookie and Australian rookie of the year, while he is second in the race for the Australian title.

In the national standings he is narrowly behind Dave Kennedy, which puts greater emphasis on the upcoming Brendan Clark Invitational and the following Brisbane Invitational (July 14) and PBR National Finals in Sydney (July 21).

But not a bad position to be in for Richardson, who is fulfilling a boyhood dream that was born as a 10-year-old.

“When we were younger me and my two older brothers [Tim and Cliff] used to do our local rodeos in Dungog and after having a go I just kept riding,” he said.

“It [going to the US] was something I always wanted to do – big money, the top bulls and the best riders in the world.”

Richardson joins Clark, Seaham’s Ben Jones and Rothbury’s Jason O’Hearn as the local contingent for Saturday’s event, while Port Macquarie’s Farley brothers, Jared and Pete, are part of the Australian squad.

The international line up includes Matt Bohan, Havre Stewart and Chase Outlaw.

Gates open at 6.30pm.

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Block winners get back to their day jobs

HOME: The Block winners Brad Cranfield and Lara Welham.The Block winners Brad Cranfield and Lara Welham are back home after a whirlwind of media attention since they won the Channel 9 reality renovation show on July 1.
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The East Maitland couple had more than 60 interviews the day after their $606,000 win was televised and Mr Cranfield said it was an unreal experience.

“It was pretty crazy, the interviews started at 5.20am and went until 4.30pm and were spaced every five to 10 minutes,” he said.

Their terrace house went to auction on the Saturday night and they had to keep the big secret about their win until it was televised the next day.

“We had 30 to 40 friends and family come to Melbourne from Brisbane, Sydney and Newcastle to watch the show on Sunday night with us and I was excited to see their reaction,” Ms Welham said.

“They were so excited for us.”

The couple, both aged 30, appeared on The Footy Show last week, and have also been interviewed by radio hosts Eddy McGuire and Kyle and Jackie O.

“It was great to be interviewed by them, they are people we listen to all the time, so it was a bit surreal,” Ms Welham said.

“We got back to [East Maitland] at 1am on Friday morning and when we went to Charlestown and Kotara that day for a quick shopping trip people kept coming up to us and talking to us and getting photos with us,” Ms Welham said.

“It was sweet.”

The couple will keep their day jobs and look for land near Maitland for their dream home.

The house is in three pieces

and has been stored at Rutherford since they had it moved from Merewether.

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Mustangs primed to reduce gap on Bears

Maitland Mustangs coach Luke Boyle stresses a point to his players during a time out. The Maitland Mustangs have the chance to reduce the gap on second-placed North Bears on the Waratah Championship League competition ladder this weekend.
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The boys in black and white host the Norths Bears at Maitland Federation Centre on Sunday.

The Bears are sitting in second after an 11-3 start to season 2012 while the Mustangs are third with a 9-6 win-loss record.

A win at home would reduce the margin between the combatants and confidence remains high in the Mustangs camp despite three defeats from their last four outings.

A 93-80 victory against Penrith on Sunday was some comfort after a 67-60 Kibble-Mallon Cup defeat at the hands of competition leaders Newcastle on Saturday, which was preceded by upsets from the Sydney (79-59) and Central Coast (78-70) in consecutive weeks.

“It’s not so much back to the drawing board,” Mustangs coach Luke Boyle said.

“We need to keep doing what we have been doing but change a few little things.”

Boyle said he expected the Bears’ new coach Ben Knight to be the main danger for the visitors on Sunday afternoon.

“They are playing pretty well for a team that hasn’t changed that much from last year,” he said. “They have a couple of new players but they are being trained by Ben Knight, which must have made a bit of a

difference.”

The Mustangs are hoping to welcome back Butch Hays for the round 14 fixture while injured skipper Josh Clifford will take no part in the rest of the season after leaving for a European vacation during the week.

Tip off is 3pm.

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Ground closed: the all too familiar call

FRUSTRATED:Griffins president Shaun Yates whose club has been denied access to King Edward Park for a month. Sports clubs are calling for Maitland City Council to reinstate powers rescinded in 2007 regarding the state of play on sodden ovals.
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The recent closure of grounds – that many deem unnecessary – has created a backlog of games affecting players across numerous codes.

The council was forced to defend its blanket ban approach this week as clubs became increasingly angry.

“The ground closure procedure is currently under review and, should it result in any amendments, any changes will be communicated to the affected sporting bodies,” community and recreation services manager Lynn Morton said.

“Council officers are always prepared to meet with sporting bodies to discuss their views on opportunities for improved service delivery.”

Maitland Magpies and Thornton Redbacks, members of the North Coast Football League, have lost multiple games to ground closures.

Maitland Pickers have lost two games; the second of which was a catch up scheduled for June 9 and enforced despite a day of drying conditions.

In AFL, Maitland junior Saints have lost half their training sessions to ground closures.

But junior rugby league has been one of the sports hardest hit.

Maitland and District School Boys Rugby League president Dave Watson said clubs should have their powers restored and enable them to override council when conditions improve quickly.

“We want to send a message to council that the community should be running this,” he said.

“We just want it put back the way it was prior to 2007.”

Up until that point council would determine closure before the weekend, but if clubs felt the grounds had dried sufficiently to allow play, presidents and secretaries had the power to overturn the council ruling.

More than 2500 players are registered in the junior league competition making the sport one of the hardest hit by the cancellations. Parents, who invest hundreds of dollars in registration and kit, travel from as far as Dungog for training to find grounds closed at the last minute.

Ms Morton said council staff were simply following guidelines.

“Council’s technical staff assess each of the sports grounds on the Friday morning using a risk assessment matrix with a decision made by mid Friday afternoon as to which grounds are fit for play,” she said.

“This in turn is communicated to the sporting bodies so that they have sufficient time to advise their club members.”

Thornton-Beresfield juniors president Peter Martin said the closure affected the bottom line of the cash-strapped clubs, run by volunteers, dependent on canteen sales.

“We have to pre-order all supplies for the canteen; you don’t just call up Friday night and because the ground closures aren’t decided until 3pm, it’s just impossible,” he said.

The Griffins, one of the largest junior clubs in Maitland, have been denied access to King Edward Park for a month.

Club officials hope to squeeze in two days of play this weekend but clouds on the horizon have the council ready to shut them down.

Meanwhile it’s been game on at Kurri Kurri and Cessnock where grounds have received as much rain, if not more.

Griffins president Shaun Yates said the clubs could be trusted to make the call on play.

“It should come down to the president and the secretary to look at the ground and make the call,” he said.

The closures have disappointed the Griffins’ 340 registered juniors eager to engage in some healthy competition and activity.

“On Monday both grounds [Shamrock and King Edward Park] were closed again,” he said. “It’s only grass, it will grow back.”

Sitting on the sidelines has been a disappointment for the juniors, who idolise their National Rugby League stars.

“Kurri and Cessnock are training and we’re not, so we’re at a disadvantage,” he said.

“We’ve got nine representatives who can’t train and have barely played.”

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Always easy to shoot the messenger


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SO The Northern Daily Leader has “obvious leanings towards Mr Windsor”, comments Nationals Senator John Williams (July 26).

Furthermore, the editorial dares to ask questions about “the work of The Nationals in New England”.

I thought the job of journalists is to ask pertinent questions and alert the readers to diverse opinions.

But then again, those who feel aggrieved, or perhaps bear an agenda, always find it easy to shoot the messenger.

I Goor

Woolbrook



Tony Windsor. Photo: Fairfax

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Big test for new Blacks duo

Two players will make their first grade debuts for the Maitland Blacks in their crunch game against Lake Macquarie at Marcellin Park on Saturday.
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Second rower Pat Farrell and winger Chris Logan were named in the first XV and come into the side following two losses in as many encounters for the Blacks.

“Both the boys were pretty excited on Tuesday night at training when we told them,” Blacks coach Geoff Golledge said.

“Irish [Farrell] gives us a bit of the enthusiasm we have been missing while Chris [Logan] has been playing pretty well in seconds and gives us a bit of pace out wide.”

Last week the Blacks went down 45-14 to competition front runners Hamilton and seven days earlier it was 35-26 at the hands of second-placed Southern Beaches after leading by seven points at half-time.

As a result the Blacks (28 points) slip to fifth position on the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union competition ladder, just one place and one point ahead of a much improved Lake Macquarie outfit.

The Roos have bounced back in 2012 after failing to register a victory last season and recorded an 86-12 annihilation of University a week ago.

Off-season recruitment has served the Boolaroo-based boys well and they will look to break into the top five at the Blacks expense by using the round 12 fixture as a springboard.

“They have a lot of experience in their team, from Sydney and New Zealand rugby, and they have been going along quite well,” Golledge said.

“They are eyeing off a spot in the top five and they will will look to blow us away at home this weekend.

“From our perspective last week was a setback but moving forward I am confident we can get the job done.”

Kick off is 3pm.

In conjunction with Saturday’s game at Marcellin Park the Blacks will hold ladies day with $20 covering entry, nibbles and drinks.

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Greens weigh in to kerbside collection issue

LET’S GET MOVING: The Greens are calling for action on kerbside collection.The introduction of the carbon tax and an estimated $2 million bill to Maitland ratepayers has prompted a call from Greens candidate Samy Korbi for the council to do more.
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“Council is dragging its feet in terms of reducing its carbon emissions,” the east ward candidate said.

“They’re whinging about the $2m bill when they should be reducing the amount of waste to landfill which generates methane.”

But Maitland City Council development and environment manager David Simm defended council’s work so far.

“We’re already investigating longer term waste systems, which will include green waste and organics collection and processing that will reduce our carbon emissions from landfill,” he said.

“Gas capture will help in reducing emissions and we are expecting the first stage installation of an extraction system to commence in the next three months.”

Mr Korbi echoed calls by west ward councillor Henry Meskauskas for a kerbside bulky goods collection service that could lead to better recycling and prevent waste winding up in landfill.

“Rates, roads and rubbish is what council is about and if they can’t handle that we’re in trouble,” Mr Korbi said.

“Unless they handle the waste properly, it is going to pile up somewhere.”

Mr Simm said a bulky goods collection service would not help divert waste from landfill.

“A system like this may encourage more waste to be collected and therefore put into landfill,” he said.

Jenny Rooke, a Tenambit resident and Greens member, said a kerbside collection wouldn’t hurt.

“A kerbside collection would certainly be welcomed,” she said.

“I feel short-changed compared to other councils that can provide it.”

Mr Korbi said the extent of illegal dumping was no surprise.

“People are going to find alternatives when faced with a $59 tip fee,” he said.

“In Metford people put stuff out the front of their homes in ignorance or perhaps vein hope it will be collected by council.”

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Ahhh, the call of the hot chip

I’ve been grappling with a powerful calling dear reader, with a summons that hoots at me from all across the town – yes, the entreaty of the hot chip, in the winter, it does speak clearly to me.
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And I’ve sometimes wondered about the idea of a favourite food, or even a last meal – you know, the death-row scenario: where down the darkened corridor walk the priest and grim warden-come-waiter with the cloche covered plate.

Then out from under that shining prison finery comes, not a twice-cooked [and most unfortunate] Canadian duck, but instead, a parcel of steaming hot chips and vinegar!

And I reckon that’d do me, reckon that would make me feel OK about the looming leap into abyss – reckon I could yell ‘“Geronimo” with vinegar on my lips and a memory in my heart – yep, that’ll do...

And my choice is not based entirely on the taste of those fine bounteous things: all crisp and golden, hot and lovely, but their other features too.

Their traditional encasement is important: swaddled in newspaper, like tiny newborns, kept cosy against the cold – until a hole is torn in the end before a searching hand is plunged into that dark, hot portal – and there, on the High Street, walking home with a friend, you savour the taste together, savour the town and your friendship with a chip.

And chips are communal meals too. They’re often the first and last meals in our homes – too exhausted from packing and cleaning, we sit on bare floors and at newly-placed tables together, we open the papery capsule and graze, we commune and remember, we lick our fingers and plan a new life.

And it’s not too long a bow to draw when I say that the potato itself, that honourable, earthy vegetable, is the reason I’m here at all. When my Irish ancestors, years ago, on lush, green fields like ours, where deprived their staple, when they suffered their famine – well, they left those shores and they came south, to here.

And here I am – here we are, delivered to now by the potato...

And I have always loved those things – seen them being picked from the rich soil by bent backs out on Flat Road, saw them traded down at Caines’ in Steam Street, saw them stacked in the kitchen in their heavy hessian bags, saw mum cut them up rough and fry them – smelt them there on the enamel plate for my tea – and I can see and smell them still.

I remember them resting, steaming, on the end of pin-ball machines at the town hall and Calooda Cafe – two bob’s worth and maybe a scallop as well – and greasy flippers and laughing and kids and noise – and all that.

I remember them at night when dad came home from the Royal or Exchange, a parcel there for us to share – sauce and buttered bread – and us all there together in that house, under that sky, all those years ago...

And they’ll do me for a last meal, they’ll do me...

So it goes. Goodnight.

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SES: New plan needed

SES crews play a major role in flood evacuations.A dramatic increase in the number of residents in central Maitland would require a revised flood evacuation plan, Maitland SES local controller Bruce Varley said.
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Mr Varley said it took more than 200 SES volunteers, police and firefighters to doorknock 800 homes in central Maitland, south Maitland and Lorn during the 2007 flood, a massive task.

He said another 1300 homes near the CBD would call for a new plan.

Mr Varley said a major flood – such as in 2007 when Hunter River predictions at the Belmore gauge reached 11.4 metres – required areas around the city to be evacuated.

“It’s a huge task to undertake and it takes a fair amount of time to do it,” he said. “We doorknocked about 800 dwellings in 2007 in two to three hours and any change to the population would require changes to the flood plan.

“If more people have to be evacuated we have to start earlier.”

Mr Varley said people living in flood areas must understand the risk and have a plan to stay safe. “They need to know what risk is posed to them at various river heights and what their response to those situations need to be,” he said.

Maitland City Council planning, environment and lifestyle executive manager Bernie Mortomore acknowledged the land proposed for up to 1300 affordable homes near Athel D’Ombrain Drive had been flooded in 1955 and said the council was working through these issues.

“The zoning has been changed to allow for residential development and we are still addressing the flooding issues and how to get people out if there is a flooding emergency,” he said.

“We need to work through an evacuation procedure and address the building issues.

“Details are being worked out and we need to do that quickly because there are deadlines within this funding arrangement.”

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