Kings Highway a target

Police will be out in force from today as Operation Stay Alert kicks off for the long weekend.Batemans Bay Highway Patrol’s Sergeant Angus Duncombe said the Kings Highway would be one of the priorities, following an operation police ran last weekend when they issued 12 traffic infringement notices within two hours.He said one driver was speeding at 146km/h in a 90 zone, and another four were driving at 130km/h in a 90 zone.Sgt Duncombe said driver impatience was still prevalent on the road.“One passenger said maybe we should be booking people who are driving too slow,” he said.“I can understand why he was in the passenger seat.”He also warned Eurobodalla drivers that officers from Sydney would help patrol the Kings and Princes Highways this weekend, while the local highway patrol officers would be out in force.“Obviously our focus is going to be on a highly visible presence right across the command,” he said.Operation Stay Alert began just after midnight this morning. It will continue until midnight Monday with double demerit points in force.Police will be watching for speeding, drink-driving and other offences, and drivers can expect to find RBTs and mobile radar cameras.During the 2011 June long weekend four people were killed on the roads across NSW, nearly 400 drivers were charged with drink driving, and 4460 were issued with infringement notices for speeding.Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas said drivers should focus on the basics of slowing down and driving to the road conditions.“Police urge motorists to ‘stay alert’ and by this we mean making sure you focus on the road this weekend,” he said.“The best news I could have as a Deputy Commissioner is that not one life has been lost on our roads this long weekend.”He said drivers should focus on the simple tasks that were at the forefront of their minds when first getting their licence, such as taking care, slowing down, driving to the road conditions and leaving plenty of time to travel to their destination.“We can sometimes forget what the main focus is when driving. When we start out and get our licence we are alert to what is happening while driving, what the speed limit is; and, what the weather conditions are like,” he said.“This needs to be in the forefront of our minds with the increased number of cars on the roads over the long weekend.”This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Storm passes and clean-up begins

Mountainous seas, storm surges and gale force winds from this week’s extreme weather have left Eurobodalla home-owners, and the shire itself, facing costly damage bills.Among the financial costs will be repairs to the Batemans Bay waterfront after the storm surge combined with a high tide to pound the popular café promenade, washing away large chunks of the granite stone walkway.Wave buoys off Batemans Bay recorded swells reaching 10m on Tuesday night.After destructive gale force winds sent trees crashing onto homes and roads and left broken powerlines dangling, the extreme high tide that night caused erosion along many beachfronts and deposited sand across roadways.On Wednesday morning café owners and early morning joggers were confronted by the aftermath – a scene of ripped-up granite scattered across the promenade and wet sand washed up against walls.The council will now have to decide whether to repave with the granite stones along the waterfront or use asphalt.Eurobodalla council labourers took away the granite by the truckload and loose sections were removed with the aid of a shovel.The Innes Boat Shed café, that sits out over the Clyde River, was not damaged although water from the rough seas vented through the gaps in its floorboards. The experience left Ros and Steve Innes joking that they had their “very own blowholes”.Sections of earth on the grassed area beside the shed were washed way leaving large holes and the nearby rockwall holding the embankment in place was overtopped causing more erosion.The business couple was non-plussed by the big storm and the abnormal tides, saying that such rough conditions did occur at various times.“You could surf the swell that night past the boatshed,” Ros said. “A good thing it did not stay and was only overnight.”Long Beach foreshore was also badly eroded with its sand build up and foreshore now lost. Eurobodalla infrastructure services director Warren Sharpe said rockwalls at Caseys Beach also “copped a flogging”, with sections undermined.Mr Sharpe said the heavy rainfall and power failures had also caused sewage to spill at Hanging Rock and Malua Bay. This was being tested by Environment and Heritage with the council yet to receive a report on the issue although Mr Sharpe did not envisage it being too serious.The problem was caused when stormwater run-off entered the system and, with electricity lines down, council had to bring in generators to the pump stations.Scenes of a cleanup were underway at many coastal locations yesterday including Bodalla, Moruya Heads, South Durras, Lilli Pilli and Mossy Point.The storm made for a series of headaches for Moruya and Batemans SES crews clearing roads, council workers cleaning up, and Essential Energy, who were out in the rough conditions restoring power.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Sally’s world title hopes dashed

SHREDDING: Sally Fitzgibbons of Gerroa takes to the waves with plenty of aggression during the early rounds of the Roxy Pro Biarritz, returning the highest scores of the competition. Photo Damien Poullenot, ASP/ AQUASHOT.AFTER being well positioned to challenge Stephanie Gilmore for the 2012 ASP Women’s World Title, Gerroa surfer Sally Fitzgibbons had her title hopes dashed on the weekend when she was eliminated in the quarter finals.Fitzgibbons was a standout performer in the early rounds of the Roxy Pro Biarritz in France, setting up a thrilling finale to the penultimate competition on the tour.With just the Nike US Open left in the tour, the situation was poised on a knife edge as small surf ensured lay days in competition.If Gilmore was to win the Roxy Pro Biarritz, Fitzgibbons needed to place second to send the ASP Women’s World Title Race to the Nike US Open.If Gilmore got second or better at the Roxy Pro Biarritz, the ASP Women’s World Title Race will go to the Nike US Open.If Gilmore got third at the Roxy Pro Biarritz, Carissa Moore (Hawaii) and Courtney Conlogue (USA), 19, would need to win in France to join the race along with Gilmore and Fitzgibbons. The race would then be decided at the US Open.However Fitzgibbons was eliminated in the quarter finals by Hawaiian Coco Ho, clearing the way for Gilmore to claim her fifth world crown.Gilmore still faced tough competition in the final in France from former Culburra Beach surfer and rising star on the ASP scene, 18-year-old Tyler Wright.Following the win Gilmore was having difficulty coming to grips with what had happened.“I woke up this morning and thought it wouldn’t happen today,” Gilmore said.“But as the day progressed, and things fell into place, I began to believe it could happen.“France is such a special place and having so many people on the beach watching us surf today is really emotional. I think I’m going to cry.”Gilmore set an ASP record by being the first surfer ever to win four titles from four attempts in 2007 to 2010, but fell back to ASP Women’s World number three in 2011.The weekend’s emotional win is a reassertion of her dominance as one of the greatest icons in women’s sports.“This year for me was all about improving my consistency and having fun with my surfing,” Gilmore said.“From when I started five years ago to where we are now, women’s surfing has improved so much.“It’s an honour to be back up top as these girls push me every day and are all incredible surfers.”The win puts the young natural-footer in an elite class of surfers to win five or more ASP World Titles, overtaking women’s records set by Freida Zamba (USA), Wendy Botha (Aus) and Lisa Andersen (USA).The only other two surfers in history to claim five or more titles are Kelly Slater (USA) and Layne Beachley (Aus).“I have an amazing support team between my family, friends, my shaper Darren Handley, my sponsors and all the people at Quiksilver,” Gilmore said.“To be able to do what we do and make a life out of surfing is a really blessed thing. Surfing is what motivates me to wake up each day and attempt to better myself.”Fellow finalist Wright put on an impressive display of surfing throughout the Roxy Pro Biarritz, besting Courtney Conlogue (USA), 19, and Coco Ho, 19, en route to the finals.Unfortunately for Wright, her momentum didn’t transcend into the final bout against Gilmore, but the tour sophomore was happy with her performance nonetheless.“I feel pretty good,” Wright said.“I was so excited for Steph (Gilmore).She was ahead of me the whole time and with five minutes to go I was like, ‘you’ve done it!’“It’s incredible – she ripped the whole contest and didn’t lose one heat, she was shredding!”The result left the world total standings:1. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 48,400 pts2. Sally  Fitzgibbons (AUS) 42,100 pts3. Carissa  Moore (HAW) 36,700 pts3. Tyler  Wright (AUS) 36,700 pts5. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 34,800 ptsThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Field goal plucks Magpies

BIG CLASH: Berry forward Rhys Neil and Eagles hooker Dean Gray come together as the two sides engage in a thrilling battle. Photo RICHARD WHITBY.South Coast Group 7Albion Park-Oak Flats 23Berry-Shoalhaven Headfs 22DESPITE the heartbreak of losing by a single point the Berry-Shoalhaven Heads Magpies must now consider themselves a good chance in this year’s finals series after running down Group 7 front runners Albion Park Oak Flats from a 22-4 first half deficit to level the ledger with 10 minutes on the clock.Unfortunately a mistake on halfway gave the Eagles possession and the chance to work their way into field-goal kicking range.Their single attempt gave them a one point lead which they carried all the way to the final siren.The Eagles caught the Magpies napping in the first half as they ran in four unanswered tries before Berry managed to get onto the score sheet.Trailing by 22-nil Jacob Dolan scored out wide for Berry to bring the score back to 22-4. Coulter missed the conversion.Berry emerged from the dressing room a different team in the second half and almost instantly set about closing the deficit.Chris McCarron was the first to beat the Albion Park defence and with Coulter on his way to three from three, the score closed to 22-10.Winger Daniel Gannon scored out wide to make it 22-14, and when Coulter added the extras Berry had its tails up at 22-16.Minutes later Josh Coulter again proved he is one of the most under rated players in the competition when he scored a great try to make the score 22-20.Absorbing the pressure, Coulter slotted the conversion between the uprights to lock the game up at 22-all, with just a handful of minutes remaining.With possession of the ball, and working their way downfield, Berry looked to be on their way to at least a great draw.Unfortunately a dropped ball on the fourth tackle allowed Albion Park to work its way into field goal range and its players made the single attempt count.With a 23-22 scoreline Berry threw everything it had at the Eagles in the dying minutes.One last chance came when Berry won a scrum feed within kicking distance. Unfortunately the full-time siren sounded before the scrum could pack down and Berry fans were left disappointed in the outcome but full of optimism for the remainder of the season.Following the match, Berry coach Adam Hayburn said the Magpies had their chances.“We are a bit disappointed, we had our chances, you can’t let a team like Albion Park get that far ahead in the first half,” he said.“We need to do better for the full 80 minutes if we are going to have any chance against Gerringong this weekend, the boys are keen for the match-up.”This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Kershaw keeps firing as Jets cement third

IN FORM: Ben Wellington was in great form for the Nowra Bomaderry Jets on Saturday night, setting up a try and scoring another.South Coast Group 7Nowra-Bomaderry 22Milton-Ulladulla 4THE Nowra Bomaderry Jets have cemented their place in the top three of this year’s VB South Coast Group 7 competition with a 22-4 victory over the Milton Ulladulla Bulldogs at the Nowra Showground.For the second home game in a row the Jets attracted a healthy, yet somewhat cold, crowd to the floodlit Nowra Showground for a Saturday night game.The Jets led from the opening whistle to the full-time siren to set up a good run into the finals season with a number of key players ready to return to the side.As expected, Milton applied the pressure early and the opening 20 minutes turned into a midfield arm wrestle.Jets forward Ben Wellington was the first to make a break when he crashed through the Milton defensive line.An inside pass to Kurt Quinlan stretched the defence enough for Anthony Atkinson to be put into a gap and score just right of the posts, 4-nil. Centre Dwayne Bannon converted the try to take the Jets to a 6-nil lead.Milton bounced straight back, and for five consecutive sets of six tackles had the Jets pinned on their try line.Nowra Bomaderry refused to concede points and finally Milton was repelled empty handed.As the half time siren approached, Ben Wellington scored a much deserved try taking the score to 10-nil.Dwayne Bannon’s kick was well wide of the posts and at the half-time break the Jets led 10-nil.Following the half-time break Zac Kershaw stood up for his now customary blistering try.Quick thinking by Kurt Quinlan at dummy half spotted a gap down the blind-side. Kershaw followed Quinlan into the gap and, once the field opened up, Kershaw accepted to ball to run 30 metres and for a try, 14-nil.With Bannon relieved of kicking duties, the young Jets hooker Nathan Cox, stepped forward and made no mistake taking the home side to a 16-nil lead.Milton managed to post a try in the last 15 minutes when the fast footed Mitch Simington was too quick for a tiring Jets’ defence.Drawing the last defender, Simington passed out wide to John Dale to take the score to 16-4.Zac Kershaw claimed a double in the dying minutes of the match when a Kurt Quinlan grubber kick into the in-goal deflected off a Milton player’s legs and into the hands of Kershaw who grounded the ball to make it 20-4.Dale was again on target and at the final siren the Jets had claimed their seventh win of the season with 22-4 scoreline.Best three for the Jets were Zac Kershaw, Kurt Quinlan and Ben Wellington.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Ageing population brings new challenges

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that in 1901 just four per cent of the population was over the age of 65.Today, that figure is 14 per cent, and projections show by the year 2100 it will be 25 per cent.The 2011 census shows that this national trend is being played out even more dramatically in the Shoalhaven where we are increasingly top heavy in the older age brackets.And it’s not just due to better health care and increasing longevity. Here, we are gaining even more older residents through sea changers and retirees.Nationally, it’s acknowledged that the ageing population is creating enormous economic challenges, particularly in the light of recent financial turmoil which has decimated many people’s super and retirement funds.It’s also recognised that even for younger people, superannuation is likely to be inadequate to meet their needs when they retire.The South Coast has always been a mecca for retirees, but bad economic times will only increase the attractiveness of our area because it is simply more affordable to live here.The question is, will our services keep up with the demand?Some serious planning needs to take place now to make sure we have facilities in place to care for the elderly.It is to be hoped that these census figures and the challenges they pose might finally make our society realise the value of aged care workers and the job they do.It’s shameful that the people who look after our frail elderly, like the people who look after our children, are among the lowest paid workers.Unfortunately, this says something about the values of the society we live in.Earlier this year at the Shoalhaven Women’s Conference, health services advocate Gail O’Brien made the comment that every politician should be made to walk the corridors of an old people’s home for a day, to gain an appreciation of the work being done by carers.It’s time aged care was promoted to a more important status in our communities, and the very special people who look after our elderly fairly compensated for the work they do.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Community protests over a tower of problems

ANGRY: Shoalhaven Heads residents express their concern about a new Telstra mobile communications tower planned for the centre of their town, during a protest last week.WHILE Shoalhaven Heads residents have been calling for improved telecommunications for years, plans to build a mobile phone tower in the centre of town have sparked protests.Telstra has lodged a development application to build a mobile phone tower beside sporting fields, the Shoalhaven Heads community centre and the fire brigade station.The application has already prompted objections to Shoalhaven City Council, and sparked a protest in Shoalhaven Heads last week where people complained about the location.Protestor Sue Casburn said at 33 metres tall the tower would be about the height of an eight-storey building, and was totally out of place in Shoalhaven Heads where nothing was over two storeys.She feared the location in the town’s centre would provide an eyesore, dominating the streetscape.“This is the most prominent, visible position in town,” Mrs Casburn said.“It’s disappointing that they have picked such a visible location.”While the main battle is looming over the tower’s location and planning issues, the elephant in the room is health concerns over electro-magnetic radiation emitted by telecommunications towers.“People are mostly concerned about health aspects,” Mrs Casburn admitted, “but no-one’s ever won a battle on health grounds, ever.”However with the tower located next to sporting fields used by large numbers of children, and close to the community centre used by playgroups and as a gathering place for the elderly, she said the health concerns were real.Despite several scientific reports indicating mobile phone towers created dangerous levels of radiation, “There seems to be no regard on the aspects of people’s health,” Mrs Casburn said.With council relying on a scientific report saying mobile phone towers posed no danger, “a lot of people feel a bit powerless,” she added.Several Shoalhaven Heads residents are in the process of looking into the scientific issues surrounding mobile phone towers, along with asking for radio frequency maps to ascertain possible impacts of key locations around the community.However there has been a breakthrough in the tower battle.Following last week’s protest Telstra contacted Mrs Casburn wanting to set up a community meeting on the issue during August to discuss other possible tower locations.“If Telstra is willing to work with us on this then everyone will be happy,” Mrs Casburn said.“They’re really trying very hard to work with us and answer all our questions.”The deadline for submissions to council is also expected to be extended until after the community meeting looking at suggestions for alternative tower sites.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Grand old building in need of some love

DISAPPOINTED: Deputy Mayor Andrew Guile wants to see something done about the old Berry council chamber, which marks its 100th birthday this year.WHILE Shoalhaven City Council has plans to restore the old Berry Council Chambers, unfortunately it will not be completed in time for its birthday.The Berry Council Chambers (BCC) will mark its 100th birthday later this year and in 2013, the Berry Show Society will celebrate its 125th Show.However the building is suffering from root damage, damp problems, cracking and general disrepair.Deputy Mayor Andrew Guile has criticised Shoalhaven City Council for not living up to its responsibility to protect heritage assets in Berry, including the original Berry Council Chambers.He believed milestones should require this prominent building to be restored to an acceptable state.Cr Guile was dismayed to realise reports completed in 2010 on the original Berry Council Chambers and the Berry School of Arts have not been reported or acted upon.“To be frank, I’m appalled at the state of these buildings and amazed that staff have never brought these reports to the elected council to show us the extent of works required so that something could be done,” he said.Shoalhaven City Council infrastructure planning manager Martin Upitis said the structural report on the BCC was commissioned as there were concerns about the cracking of brickwork which had been evident for many years.Mr Upitis said that although the report assessed one section of the building as being in poor condition, it did not recommend any immediate remedial action as the building was not unsafe.“Consequently, the report did not trigger any immediate action by council as any proposed works needed to be ranked against existing priorities of building repairs and available funding,” he said.Mr Upitis said there will be a staged approach to the restoration of the old BCC with works to strengthen the footings commencing this year.This will include assessing the need to remove the trees and the type of repairs to the building’s footings.Once the footings have been repaired their effectiveness will be monitored for a year or so to ensure they do not move.Only then can the brickwork and other fixtures be repaired, he said, and the whole process may take about two years.A full restoration is not planned by council in the short-term, but council staff are meeting with the showground management committee shortly to discuss its possible contribution to bring forward both repairs and restoration work.“If this comes to fruition, it would be another great example where community groups can bring forward works which council cannot presently fund,” said Mr Upitus.At the next ordinary council meeting, Mr Guile will be moving to for a full review of the state of heritage buildings for which council is responsible where they are below acceptable standards.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Renovators dream results in regional award

CREATIVE DESIGN: Architects Ross Hill and Colin Irwin from i architecture with builders Bruce and Richard Preston and the plaque their recent renovation won. A RENOVATION that draws in an ocean view secured the award for Best Renovation and Addition between $100,001-$200,000.The award was presented to Kangaroo Valley builder Bruce Preston and his son Richard at this year’s Master Builders Association South East Region Building Awards of Excellence.The renovation was on part of a house on Penguins Head Road, Culburra Beach.Nowra architect Colin Irwin designed the improvements which involved removing obstructions to the view and virtually creating a wall the length of the house from glass.Mr Irwin pointed out with this project, as was often the case with good design, it was all the things that you can’t see that helped make this an award winning design.“Details like making the internal floor the same height as the deck with nothing to step over.“Our biggest challenge was getting the largest, high performance glass sliding door possible.“Those glass panels ended up being the largest Hanlon Windows had ever built.“The focus for this project really was on the glazing,” he said.Mr Preston has been building locally for 30 years and since his son joined him in 2009 had won industry awards each year.“We are fussy and we like working on upmarket houses.“The thing is with a renovation you don’t know what’s there until you start taking things apart.“But it is the old story like with any complicated job you chunk it down and nut out how you are going to do it bit by bit,” he said.The judges commented on the restricted access to the site and Mr Preston was pleased to hear that recognition because a lack of access presented the biggest challenge.“With the awning we couldn’t fit down the side of the house, so had to bring it through next door and that took about 10 men to carry.“And while those glass doors are a delight, it took four people to lift them into place,” he said.“But it was a pleasurable place to work and the clients were good to work with.”This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

UFO footage baffles the experts

Australian astronomer David Reneke is confounded by the footage of a UFO taken by Durras surfer Ben Roberts and featured on the Bay Post/Moruya Examiner website.“I don’t know what to make of it,” he said.“At first I was sure it was Venus, because it was in the area in the sky at the time, but the way it moves in the last five to 10 seconds is strange stuff. Unless the film has been sped up it has me puzzled.” Mr Reneke said that Venus was responsible for most sightings across the world, and can be “quite brilliant”.However, he also brought some aspects of the footage into question.“In the end it pans left and there is a very bright sunrise, whereas before it was pitch black,” he said.Mr Reneke was a UFO researcher for 15 years in the 1970s and 1980s and has pored over much footage of UFOs.“UFOs usually don’t hang around for long, but this one does for nearly 10 minutes,” he said.“What I would like to do is talk to the people who filmed it. It’s not bad footage but with the cameras and editing technology we have now it would not be hard to fake something like this.”Meanwhile Mr Roberts, who filmed the footage near North Durras around dawn on June 21, has scoffed at suggestions the object is a “Chinese lantern” he made with firelighters and a plastic bag.“That theory seems just as far out there as ETs,” he said.“It would have had to have come over the sea from New Zealand. Someone commented with the thought a Chinaman on a container ship may have been up early lighting lanterns. I guess it’s still a UFO until we find the Chinaman! I’m not saying it’s not possible but the odds are extremely slim, and also, a lantern would be ascending more and not moving parallel or descending.”Hao Xu claims to have seen a matching sight in the evening on the same date in Eastwood in Sydney.“At around 8pm I was walking on the street and I saw an orange round bright object flying over my head quickly. I was very sure it was not a plane or anything similar, it was a UFO. When I saw the footage on the Bay Post website, I checked back my photos that night and amazingly, it was 21 June.”This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.