Police pursuit across six Maitland suburbs

POLICE are on the hunt for a driver who led officers on a pursuit across six Maitland suburbs last night.
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They came across a Ford Telstar traveling on Alexandra Ave, Rutherford, about 10.30pm and police checks revealed the driver was wanted for traffic offences earlier in the evening.

A pursuit ensued after highway patrol officers signalled for the car to pull over but the driver didn't stop.

The chase travelled through Rutherford, Maitland, East Maitland, Morpeth, Tenambit and Metford before the car was found dumped in Elgin St, South Maitland, a short time later.

Police allege at one point the driver turned into a one-way street and drove on the wrong side of the road without headlights on, and was clocked traveling at double the suburban speed limit during the chase.

Officers said the pursuit was terminated several times due to the dangerous behaviour of the man.

Police were still trying to track down the driver of the car this morning.

Anyone who can assist should contact Maitland police via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Bond for sex with girl, 14

A 20-year-old man who filmed himself having sex with a teenage girl will not be placed on the Sex Offenders Register for eight years but has been placed on a two-year good behaviour bond.
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The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to possessing child abuse material after he used his phone to record himself and a 14-year-old girl having sex.

In court on Friday, the man’s solicitor said the girl had consented to the act and filming and had told his client that she was 16 years old.

Police confirmed the girl’s appearance resembled someone older than 14.

The solicitor said the man had the video for less than 24 hours when he showed it to detectives who had been

contacted by the girl’s school about her involvement with other youths.

The girl’s mother also contacted police after her daughter’s friend told her about the incident.

Court documents said the girl declined to give police a statement.

“He does not have a habit of doing this sort of thing; his mother is in court, she doesn’t want her son to be labelled a paedophile – he continues to apologise,” the solicitor said.

He said any conviction would see the man placed on the Sex Offenders Register for a minimum eight years.

“Ordinarily matters involving possession of child abuse material would carry a jail sentence in order for deterrence and protection of the victims,” the magistrate Darryl Pearce said.

“In many situations the children are from overseas countries and opportunities for them are scarce, and they are prayed upon by members of their community, which often results in mass dissemination of this material.

“This case is not at all like these. I don’t want for a moment to give the impression that possessing child abuse material is anyway acceptable.”

Mr Pearce found the offence proven without

conviction because of the circumstances and the man’s clean record.

The man was ordered to be on good behaviour for two years. He consented to a two-year apprehend violence order for the protection of the girl.

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Corporal’s last letter taken to new home

REMEMBERED: Heather Yates holds the portrait of Corporal Sam Robinson. In Sam Robinson’s final letter home to his friends and loved ones, the young soldier made a point of saying goodbye.
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Titled Sometime in July and Some Place in France, the letter revealed the true horror of war and an obvious fear for the young Millers Forest man’s life.

On July 23, 1916, Lance Corporal Robinson, aged 26, was wounded then hit by three artillery shells in rapid succession.

His body was never found but one woman is determined his memory will live on.

The orphan was taken in by Heather Yates’ grandmother.

“Sam was an orphan who my grandmother took on and back then, in the 1900s, they were called state boys,” Mrs Yates, 75, of Ashtonfield, said.

“We wouldn’t be who we are without Sam because he left my grandmother his life insurance policy, so when he died she put a deposit on a dairy farm now known as Rathluba Ridge.

“And it upsets me every time I think about it.”

Mrs Yates will hand over her tribute to Sam to the Raymond Terrace Historical Society today.

“I have been wondering where this information will go when I’m gone, so handing this over will be my salvation,” she said.

“I’m just so happy to think that all of this information is not going to be lost and it will go somewhere where people will see it and his story will be remembered.”

Sam Robinson was born at Ingleburn in February 1890 to Hannah Robinson.

His father was not named on the birth certificate.

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Human nature at its worst and best

This week has witnessed the worst and best of human nature.
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On Thursday, an 18-year-old Pelaw Main youth appeared in Maitland Local Court for allegedly attacking a husband and wife who stepped in to try to prevent the teenager from desecrating a war memorial.

Some of the soldiers who lost their lives to ensure Australia’s future freedom – and whose names appear on that memorial – would have been younger than the youth who is now in custody over the alleged offences.

And, as Magistrate Darryl Pearce correctly pointed out: “The victims were doing nothing more than having a community-minded spirit to cease the destruction to this war memorial.”

While the youth is entitled to the presumption of innocence at this stage, it is hoped that should he be found guilty theh the full force of the law will be meted out to him.

At the opposite end of the spectrum the Mercury on Thursday featured Thornton Public School’s upstanding young students who are researching World War I

soldiers, thanks to the efforts of Maitland war historians John Gillam and Yvonne Fletcher.

It is hoped these students walk away from this most worthwhile project with a deep respect for, and understanding of, the enormous sacrifice these soldiers made for us all – including, unfortunately, the small minority of scumbags who have done nothing to deserve it.

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Mustangs have lost that winning feeling

Keiran Gleeson.The Maitland Mustangs seem to have forgotten how to win, throwing away another game with lack of focus in the final quarter.
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The Mustangs went down 77-65 on the road to the Northern Bears, but held the lead for most of the first three quarters.

Mustangs coach Luke Boyle said it was extremely disappointing to lose again against the second-placed Bears after leading most of the game.

“It is a lack of focus at the end of the game which is costing us,” he said.

“We led at quarter-time and half-time and the score was 49-48 at three-quarter time, so we were right in it.

“But we seem to crumble as soon as a team gets in front of us in the last quarter.

“It’s like the team goes back into its shell and says ‘here we go again’.

“We are on a roll, but unfortunately it’s a losing roll.”

Boyle said the Mustangs had fallen out of the top six as a result of the loss and needs to win against Manly next week to stem the damage and put themselves back in play-off contention.

“Unfortunately, we will be without Kieran [Gleeson] as he will be away. It is going to make it tough, but we can do it,” he said.

Gleeson with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Mitch Rueter 21 points and 17 rebounds led the way for the Mustangs.

“We dominated the rebounds but our turnovers killed off our chances,” Boyle said. “The turnover count was 21-9 against us and you can’t afford to give up that much ball.

“We probably tried to thread the eye of the needle with a few too many of our passes.”

Boyle said he was confident once the team regained its winning composure it could turn things around.

“We are training really hard. We are doing a lot of two-minute games, to simulate the end of the game where we have been losing our focus,” he said.

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Bulldogs must quit naps

Kurri Kurri forward Reegan Tanner.The Kurri Kurri Bulldogs need to bounce back from their disappointing second-half collapse against Wyong last week when they travel to Cahill Oval to take on Lakes United on Sunday.
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Kurri led Wyong 18-10 with 30 minutes left on the clock before conceding 22 unanswered points to lose 32-18. The loss leaves Kurri in fourth position on the table, two points clear of Maitland in fifth.

But Maitland have a game in hand against Macquarie and, along with their superior for and against, the Pickers could potentially jump Kurri into fourth.

With every point vital on the run to the finals, the Bulldogs will need to improve on their below par second-half performance on Sunday when they take on Lakes.

The Seagulls have been disappointing so far in 2012 with only four points to show for their campaign.

The loss of former Newcastle Knights, Penrith Panthers and Melbourne Storm prop Adam Woolnough to a season ending knee injury has hurt Lakes upfront, with the Seagulls languishing on the table only above Port Stephens.

Kurri have also been hit by injury with captain and former Knights prop Jesse Royal missing since suffering an ankle injury while playing for the Newcastle representative team in June.

Fortunately, for the Bulldogs the experience of former National Rugby League players Reegan Tanner, Todd Polglase, second-rower Daniel Abraham and coach George Ndaira has seen them maintain their place in the top five in Royal’s absence.

Former Knights forwards Tanner and Abraham have been particularly impressive this season, providing plenty of go-forward in attack along with some consistently stinging defence.

A win for Kurri on Sunday would further entrench them in the top five, while a loss would give ample encouragement to both Maitland and South Newcastle in the chasing pack. Kick off at Cahill Oval is at 3pm.

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HVE Transport set up finals bid

STRONG CATCH: Family Hotel’s Brooke Smith grabs a hotly contested ball in her team’s eight-point loss to George Tavern on Saturday. Reigning premiers HVE Transport have set up a tantalising round 13 encounter with their stablemates Hano’s HVE with both teams securing maximum points on the weekend.
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HVE Transport defeated Queens Arms 56-38 in Saturday’s round 12 encounter and backed up yesterday to beat George Tavern 30-26 in the catch-up round 11 match.

Hano’s HVE defeated Queens Arms 40-29 yesterday and Coalfield Comets 37-28 on Saturday.

The two victories were just the tonic for fourth-placed HVE Transport giving them a two-game break on Lantry Plumbing which are sitting in fifth.

Lantry defeated Coalfield Comets 43-33 yesterday, but were on the receiving end of a 40-30 loss to Hills Solicitors on Saturday.

HVE Transport captain/coach Bec Blewett said yesterday’s win was hard-fought in tough conditions with rain falling throughout the game.

“It was pretty tough in the rain and we really worked hard for the win,” Blewett said.

“We really needed to win both games as we are battling with Lantry Plumbing for the fourth place in the semi-finals. They have a couple of easier games with two rounds to go and we’ve got two tough encounters.”

HVE Transport’s run home begins with Hano’s HVE next Saturday before they meet Family Hotel in the final round.

“We proved last year if we can make it into the finals everything changes,” Blewett said.

“We were third and faced an elimination final first up, but we managed to get through to the grand final and win.

“Our main objective first is to make the finals and the we face a different ball game.”

HVE Transports opponent from last year’s grand final Hills Solicitors has secured top place for the season with 53-45 and 40-30 victories over Family Hotel and Lantry Plumbing respectively.

Second placed George Tavern has seen its two game break to Hano’s HVE reduced to just one game, with their loss to HVE Transport and a 40-32 victory against Family Hotel from the weekend.

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Teams to jockey for semi spots

Taking opportunities – that’s what Jenny Lantry believes her side need to do when they take on top-of-the-table Hills Solicitors on Saturday as Maitland A-grade netball returns this weekend.
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Lantry Plumbing are in fifth place on the competition table, just two points behind fourth-placed HVE Transport.

They will be up against it this weekend, however, when they take on 2011 minor premiers and grand finalists and

competition leaders Hills Solicitors.

But Lantry believes her team have what it takes to cause an upset, pointing to their good record against the big teams so far in 2012.

“I think we need to capitalise on our opportunities, if we get a turnover we need to make it count,” Lantry said.

“If we can minimise our errors where we possibly can and just keep our continuity there, the girls have shown in the last couple of games what can happen.”

With Lantry Plumbing just outside the top four a win could be vital in their hunt for finals netball.

“A win would definitely help, we just have to try and see if we can keep the momentum going, they’re (Hills Solicitors) a great team who’ve been together for so long and played so well,” Lantry said.

“We’re a new team with new players and we’ve had some good games against them so I’m hoping we can stay competitive.”

Lantry has been pleased with her teams’ form so far this season and is

hoping it continues into the finals.

“Our aim at the start of the season was to be competitive with the top end of the ladder, so far I think we’ve achieved that,” she said.

“We’ve had two wins and two draws against two quality teams in The George and HVE, we still need to work on some things but as the season goes on we can keep addressing them.”

Lantry was optimistic that her side wouldn’t suffer from any rustiness, with the A-grade season resuming after a month’s break.

“It’s hard to say, you can hope to get a consistent run together each week, sometimes you think you’ve done all the preparation and it doesn’t happen but hopefully we’ll be right,” Lantry said.

In other games on Saturday at Maitland Park, HVE Transport will be looking to keep the chasing pack at bay and hang on to their position in the top four when they take on Queens Arms, Coalfield Comets clash with Hano’s HVE and The George Tavern play Family Hotel.

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Markets are good news for farmers

FRESH FOOD: Lynette Brock would sell her produce at the farmers’ markets. Proposals for two farmers’ markets in Maitland stand to deliver real benefits to producers along the Hunter River.
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Maitland farmer Lynette Brock exports milking goats to Malaysia and Turkey, taking advantage of Australia’s disease-free status, and as a sideline sells seasonal produce including avocados and mandarines.

Any surplus milk is sold for rearing orphaned livestock or for making soap.

“Everyone needs fresh produce,” she said.

“The supermarket stock sits there a long time, but a farmers’ market would mean people could buy fresh, healthy food grown locally.”

Mrs Brock farms about 80 hectares near Lorn and looked

forward to the opportunities a farmers’ market might deliver.

“We don’t use chemicals and we don’t need much fertiliser because the ground here is so fertile,” she said.

“If [a farmers’ market] gets up and going I would consider growing some vegetables it’s so fertile here. It used to be all vegetables around here.”

The popularity of farmers’ markets has grown rapidly in recent times.

Both the Walka Water Works and Maitland Showground proposals promise to reunite people with farmers, giving them a superior product.

“People prefer home or farm grown and food that is natural not processed,” Mrs Brock said.

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History is on Bears’ side

Weston Bears midfield Robbie Turnbull is confident history will repeat itself and the Bears will take the full points against high-flying Newcastle Jets Youth on Sunday.
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“Historically, whenever we’ve played a big team at home with something on the line, we’ve risen to the occasion,” Turnbull, 27, said.

While he might be too young to be labelled a veteran, Turnbull certainly fits the description.

Weston host the Newcastle Jets Youth on Sunday at Thomas and Coffey Park where the experienced Turnbull will add to his more than 150 first grade appearances for the Bears in the Northern NSW State League.

The hard-working midfielder has been absent recently with hamstring and knee injuries, but is ready to go for Sunday and believes his team is prepared for the challenge of the Jets Youth.

“It’s our sponsors day, our season is on the line, in the last few years when we’ve been up against it we’ve stepped up,” Turnbull said.

And he isn’t wrong.

In 2010, Weston claimed a 1-0 win at home on the final day of the season to secure the premiership against Edgeworth, while last year they beat Hamilton Olympic 3-0 at Darling Street also on the final day in a

game they needed to win to make the finals.

Turnbull says his team’s season has entered do or die territory but the Bears aren’t intimidated by the challenge.

“I think it just seems like we’ve got a bit of a roll on, we’ve started working out defensively a bit better across the park,” Turnbull said.

“We’ve been playing a bit more direct and it’s suited us.”

The young Jets defeated Weston

2-0 when the teams clashed earlier this season in a high quality match, but Turnbull believes his teammates

have enough to get the job done on Sunday.

“We’re going into this one with more confidence, Nathan [Morris] and I both didn’t play last time,” Turnbull said.

“I think we didn’t quite know what to expect from them last time where as now they’re not so much of an unknown quantity.

We’ve seen them before and we know what they’re going to do,.

“Hopefully that’ll let us play to our strengths a bit, but first and foremost we need to turn up with the right

attitude in defence across the park.”

Weston are seventh on the table going into their round 15 clash with the Jets Youth and need to win their remaining four games to have any chance of making the finals.

The Bears are on 17 points, five behind fifth placed South Cardiff who also have a game in hand.

Weston will be hoping key defender Carl Thornton will be right to back up from Wednesday’s night clash with the Newcastle Jets for the Northern NSW select representative team, while the Bears will be without striker Jason Cowburn, who has been suspended.

Kick off is at 2.30pm.

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