- Port Stephens surfers, surf life savers rescue five swimmers from near drowning at Birubi Beach on New Year’s Day
- A-League: Topor-Stanley focused on Jets win rather than 250 milestone
- Soft start to 2018 for ASX
- Double trouble: Brumbies twins to add backyard battle spice to selection
- The pub with no roof: storm rips through north coast
Monthly Archives: May 2019
‘It sucks’: Removal of Nobby’s beach change rooms has beachgoers in an uproar CRAZY: Lesa Masi of East Maitland, in black, with her mother Cynthia Appleton and grandchildren Beau Gardiner and Coby Gardiner.
IT SUCKS: Christopher Robertson, 11, of Thornton and Hallie O’Sullivan, nine, of Metford, with Holly Duffy, nine, and Jayden Duffy, 11, of Fletcher. All were unhappy at having to change in a Nobbys toilet.
GREAT BEACH, EXCEPT FOR THIS: Jess McCormack, a former Hunter resident now living in Brisbane, says the ‘improved’ pavilion has gone backwards.
WRITING TO THE COUNCIL: John and Carolyn Goldsmith of Sydney have visited Nobbys for six years and say they are appalled at the changes.
ON TAP: The two new Nobbys wash basins.
SIGN O’ THE TIMES: Make your dissatisfaction known.
BRAND NEW: The womens’ toilets at Nobbys.
PLEASE EVACUATE: You have two minutes to leave the building.
TweetFacebookNewcastle Heraldspoke to when he said, simply:“It sucks.
“It was heaps good before. They should have thought more about the people. It’s such a good beach, but they can’t afford a change room? It’s crazy.”
Your say: ‘It is not acceptable to change in a smelly toilet cubicle’
As people are quickly becoming aware, the Nobbys pavilion has had an internal“upgrading”as part of Newcastle City Council’s coastal revitalisation program. This has resulted in considerably more space for Nobbys Surf Life Saving Club but as the dimensions of the building remain the same, it has meant correspondingly less space for the public.
Somehow, the council signed off on a spending line item that saw the public lose its change rooms but gain a few more toilets as an offset. Toilets that the council expects to double to change rooms. Given that public toilets can get a bit unsanitary at times, plenty of people areoffended at having to change themselves and their children in a toilet cubicle, even if the council claims the cubicles are widerthan normal.
Lesa Masi, of East Maitland, was withher mother Cynthia Appleton and grandchildren Beau and Coby Gardiner, looking for the change rooms she was sure were there last time she visited Nobbys, when the Herald caught up with her. She was laughing at the idea, expressed in a December 27 letter to the editor by Newcastle Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen, that the Newcastle Beach change rooms were “nearby”.
“That’s crazy!” Ms Masi said. As John Ure, of Mount Hutton, pointed out in a letter the following day, a walk of 400 metres each way to get changed might be alright for a 24-year-old councillor, but it’s a “long stretch” for anyone with children, or a few years under the belt.
Sydneysiders John and Carolyn Goldsmith were similarly incensed, with Ms Goldsmith determined to follow the advice of a notice stuck to the wall of each toilet block, telling people who were “angry about [the] lack of amenities at Nobbys” to complain to the council.
Short takes: Loss of indoor showers at Nobby’s described as ‘deplorable’
The Goldsmiths, who also have an apartment at Honeysuckle, are regular visitors to Newcastle and believe that by-and-large the city gets most things right, displaying “commonsense”.
“But not this time,” Mr Goldsmith said.
Jess McCormack, a former Novocastrian now living in Brisbane, said it was an unsatisfactory way to showcase the city’s most famous beach. As far as she was concerned, Nobbys was on a par with Noosa, beach-wise, but the lack of a change room was pretty primitive for the 21stcentury.
So why did things end up like this? Nobody from Nobbys Surf Life Saving Club or the council-employed lifeguards wanted to speak on the record but sources told the Herald that both groups warned the council of the looming backlash from removing the change rooms, but both were told it it was “not your concern”.
Now they watch on, targets of an increasingly angry public, as sizeable “scrums” form around the single outdoor shower (with four nozzles) or watch on as people decide to change in the open, not caring about privacy.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes announced the changes in April 2016, saying that $1 million would be spent to refurbish the 1931pavilion.
“The historic building’s public change rooms will be demolished and replaced by more-accessible facilities with better ventilation,” Cr Nelmes said at the time. “The new building will cater to the needs of increasing visitor numbers at Nobbys Beach and an active surf club with more than 600 members.”
Change rooms are such a basic piece of beach infrastructure that the decision has led conspiracy-minded beach-watchers to think that it might be part of a larger scheme, yet to unfold.
Read more: Paul Scott’s two thumbs up, on down for council
“Maybe they’ll let the stink get kicked up, and then they’ll turn around and say we’ll build new change rooms, but they’ll have to be at the expense of car parks,” one well-knownNobbys identitysaid.
But when the Herald approached the council for comment after our visit to the beach, it turns out that one of the rumours –that the end of the communal change sheds was a response to concerns about paedophilia –was on the money.
Although it doesn’t appear to have been cited back in 2016, council chief executive Jeremy Bath said on Tuesday that the need to stop children being inappropriately touched or photographed using mobile phones meant the daysof communal change rooms were over.
Mr Bath said public consultation showed “getting more toilets into the existing space was more important than individualchange cubicles”. The council had compromised by installing bigger cubicles.
He said the council would soon build a one-person disabled toilet and change room next to the lifeguards’ building and was adding two more outdoor showers, making 12 shower-heads.
He said Dixon Park would also lose its communal change rooms in a $750,000 upgrade.
Inspirational Hunter woman who keeps going Determination: Juliet Roosendaal has suffered an autoimmune condition for decades. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
TweetFacebookMrs Roosendaal is telling her story to raise awareness about the disease and autoimmune illness.
Her symptoms include chronic pain in her joints and muscles and general stiffness.
“My pain is always worse in the morning. It’s very difficult to get out of bed and get dressed,” she said.
She said the condition “constantly interrupts my life, my plans and my goals”.
“I have to pick myself up again, refocus myself, set new goals and start again,” she said.
“I have to because I have no alternative. I can’t hide away in a corner.”
Her dad warned her as a little girl that the disease would be a big challenge.
“I see it as a challenge that I’m going to win,” she said.
“I’m at war with it at times. I think, ‘you’re not going to beat me’. But it gets tough.”
A new study released in December found that advances in treatment options have led to an increase in survival among lupus patients.
However, delaying a diagnosis was a big risk factor for poor outcomes.
A first-of-its-kind clinical trial will occur in the US overfive years to evaluate the use of stem cell treatment for lupus.
Dr Marline Squance is executive officer of theAutoimmune Resource and Research Centreat John Hunter Hospital. The centre supports more than 1000 people.
“Autoimmune illness affects one in 20 ns and encompasses over 80 different diseases,” Dr Squance said.
“Some diseases are rare while others are more prevalent.”
She estimated about 1200 people in the Hunter suffer from lupus.
“Lupus is a complex disease, the cause of which is unknown,” she said.
“It is likely that cause results from a combination of genetic, environmental and possibly hormonal factors that work together to cause the disease.”
She said lupus research was “difficult due to the variation in symptoms and long-term impacts”.
“Our centre would love to do more trials and research, howeverwe need funds.”
Scientists were making progress in understanding the processes leading to lupus, she said.
“Research suggests that genetics plays an important role.”
However, no specific lupus gene has been identified. Instead, it appears that several genes may increase a person’s susceptibility to the disease.
North Lambton hit-run tragedy: Giovanni Varagnolo, 54, allegedly run down by car he lent to a neighbour
TRAGEDY: From left, Giovanni Varagnolo, 54, was killed while walking home early on New Year’s Day; the scene of the crash in North Lambton; and Mr Varagnolo’s Holden Statesman which was allegedly driven by his neighbour.A NORTH Lambton man who died in a hit-and-run on New Year’s Day was allegedly run down by the car he lent to a neighbour.
Giovanni Varagnolo, 54, is being remembered as a “beautiful man” who may not have had a lot but “gave everything”, including his prized Holden Statesman that police understand had been lent out to various neighbours.
The tragic start to the New Year comes as police charge Mr Varagnolo’s 44-year-old neighbour over the hit-and-run death.
The man, who was granted conditional bail, will face a string of serious driving offences in Newcastle Local Court later this month.
Police allege he was driving the Statesman west on Railway Road when he struck Mr Varagnolo at the Wickham Road intersection shortly before 3am on New Year’s Day.
The man is accused of dangerous driving occasioning death and failing to stop.
Mr Varagnolo, who was walking home after celebrating the New Year,suffered critical injuries and died in John Hunter Hospital.
The Statesman was seen parked with a smashed windscreen outside Mr Varagnolo’s Chiplin Street home the next day.
It was towed away by crash investigators as police arrested the 44-year-old at a nearby address, taking him toWaratah police station where he was later charged.
Neighbour and friend Michelle Champion described the tragedy as “horrible” and struggled to understand how it could happen.
The pair had come to know each other through a mutual interest in gardening.
“He used to call me his little garden gnome,” Ms Champion said.
“Every time you saw him, he had a smile on his face … he was the happiest man in the world.
“He was a beautiful man.
“He wished me a happy New Year and that was the last time we saw each other.”
Ms Champion said Mr Varagnolo was well-liked in the street and a familiar face at Wests New Lambton.
“He had nothing, but he gave everything,” she said. “He was a good man. He helped everyone.”
Another neighbour said: “We’re still in shock. We wish we knew what happened.
“He was friendly man, polite– we usedto talk about cars. It’s so sad.”
Senior police said they were “bitterly disappointed” with drivers after 28 deaths –including two from Newcastle – on the state’s roads in less than three weeks.
“It is poor decisions that are killing people on our roads and it’s not just the person making poor decisions that are dying, they are often taking innocent people with them,” Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said on Tuesday.
Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold dismissed player development as one of the main objectives of the A-League, brushing off complaints from rival clubs angered at losing young players to the Asian under-23 championships. Sydney FC won’t lose any players during the January tournament as Arnold has tailored a squad to avoid disruptions caused by youth international fixtures.
Several clubs and the players’ union are locked in a dispute with the FFA about the prospect of some of the best young talent missing as many as five A-League games this month for a tournament that falls outside of a FIFA-sanctioned international window. However, Arnold has supported coaches prioritising players who won’t miss key games during the season, bringing into question the function of the A-League.
“I was maybe the only coach who looked at the international programme before the season started. I don’t understand what the fuss is about. I did a hear a comment about the young players going, but I didn’t know the A-League was a development league,” Arnold said. “There’s been a lot of talk around the senior players because of the international windows but I don’t see the A-League as a development league. It’s a meaningful competition in which clubs expect to win trophies.”
Arnold’s comments come as the league faces criticism for the lack of opportunities provided to young players. The average player age of last season’s competition was 27.8 years, the highest in the 40 years of national football in . It has led to calls for expansion or a national second division to address the lack of player pathways.
Sydney FC have a number of youth international players on their books but almost none have experienced consistent first team football over the last two seasons. The impressive performance and form of one of the oldest squads in the competition has made it difficult for youngsters to break through into the A-League squad but Arnold says Sydney’s best young talent will start to break through by the end of the year.
“The youngsters here are coming through,” he said. “At the Mariners they were ready and I’d put a lot of work into them – [Tom] Rogic, [Mat] Ryan, [Trent] Sainsbury, [Mustafa] Amini, the list goes on. The ones I’ve got here you’ll see in the next 12 months.”
The n players’ union, the PFA, requested that FFA allow players to withdraw on their own accord if they did not want to take part in the Asian championships. It’s understood all players selected have reported for international duty.
Meanwhile, Arnold will resist making any changes to the starting team that thrashed Perth Glory last week despite the short turnaround for their top-of-the-table clash against Newcastle Jets.
Consistency will be the priority for Arnold who is set to reward those who tore apart Perth Glory by a six-goal margin on Saturday night with starting spots against the Jets just four days later.
Despite the physical toll of hot, humid conditions during the past week and the limited preparation, Arnold has no fitness concerns over his players’ ability to back-up on Wednesday night.
The Sky Blues have an opportunity to open an 11-point gap at the top of the A-League table with a win over Newcastle and Arnold is taking no risks, with the only possible change being to his bench with the return of Matt Simon from injury.
“We played on Saturday, it’s Wednesday night, a good turnaround. When you’re as fit as the boys are and we continue to talk about being the fittest team in the country, it’s not a problem at all,” Arnold said.
“If anything there’s more excitement around the game tomorrow night. We showed 45 good minutes out of 90. It’s about a 95-minute performance tomorrow night.”
Sydney FC have a dominant record against the Jets, having not lost them since December 2012. They’ve won their last nine games against Newcastle and are undefeated in their past 14 competitive games.
NSW poppy crop in bloom earlier this year. Picture: Contributed Acrosssix top-secret locations in the Riverina and Central West, a historic harvest is underway.
BLOOMING INDUSTRY: David Forsyth on his Cootamundra farm with a TPI Enterprises drone for crop mapping. Picture: Contributed
Over 400 hectares of the state’s first ever opium poppy cropis being stripped and chemically analysed.Cootamundra mixed-farmerDavid Forsyth sowed24 hectares of the plant in June.
“It went really well,it was a bit short of 50 per cent better thanthe canola which didjust over twotonne per hectare,” Mr Forsyth said.
“The alkaloid content was 3.6 per cent, wethought we might do four, but it was aterrible season;cold and after sowing it didn’t rain for fourmonths.”
Poppy crops grown on fertile soils by the best growers in Tasmaniatypically yield three tonnes per hectare and assay more than 3 per cent.
“While the market will ultimately dictate the success of the industry in NSW, the NSW government is pleased to have passed the legislation that enables the growing of poppies in NSW, giving farmers a potential alternative crop that was not previously available,”a spokeswoman from Primary Industries MinisterNiall Blair’s office said.
“The DPIis aware of strong interest from farmers considering applying for licences for 2018.
“However, it needs to be stressed that obtaining a licence is dependent on meeting the strict requirements involved.”
The venturecould return an estimated $100 million to NSW in the next decade. However, the global oversupply of opiate material put great pressure on Tasmanian growers last year,andthe lackluster performance of the crop in Victoria, who legalised it in2014,has reportedly seen a number of farmersditching it altogether. ButMr Forsyth still believes it has potential.
“We’re increasing andwill do 38 hectares next year, I’velearnt a lot and couldn’t have done it without the help of my wife Janelle, my son Brendan andhis wife Ruby,”he said.
“It’s a tricky crop to grow, you need to be compromising.”
The department encourage farmers “to carefully consider the financial implications of poppy production for their individual circumstances.”
Daily Advertiser, Wagga