Monthly Archives: January 2019

Smithton break duck

Smithton have reason to celebrate after grabbing its first win of the Bowls North West Thursday Pennant season following the completion of round six games.
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Playing at home against Viewmont, Smithton pulled off a tight 57-50 win, winning on two rinks thanks to the efforts of Karen Nielson, who squeaked past Barbara Loane 19-17, and Julie Oates, who proved too strong for Maree Brown 18-13.

Factor: An 18-13 win to Julie Oates (above) helped Smithton to its first win of the Bowls North West Thursday Pennant season against Viewmont.

Ensuring the visitors left for home with at least one point was Pam Zolati, who forced a 20-all draw with Patsy Medwin.

The win however wasn’t enough for Smithton to climb off the bottom of the ladder, with Ulverstone claiming four points in its heartbreaking 57-56 loss atPort Sorell.

Ulverstone looked set for its maiden victory of the season when Joan Burley accounted for Alison Munting 25-13 and Janice Clarkebeat Jan Marshall 18-13.

Wynyard’s Pam Cox had 21-14 win over Latrobe’s Erin Sesara.

But it wasn’t to be as Helen McNamara’s rink put in one of their best performances of the season to easily beat Gloria Compagne 31-13 and seal the win.

Wynyard atoned for its loss to Devonport last week and jumped back into the top four after upsetting the in-form Latrobe side 61-54.

Chyril Nolan got the ball rolling for the home side with a 24-17 triumph over Mary Beaumont, while Pam Cox extended the margin even further courtesy of a 21-14 win over Erin Sesara.

Janine Thompson salvaged two points for Latrobe with a seven-shot win over Dee Harman.

Penguin capitalised on Latrobe’s misfortune and moved into second spot on the ladder after taking care of South Burnie 64-50.

Karen Redman and Gaylene Elsworthy were again the major reason for the result, with Redman defeating Jan Kerrison 23-17, with Elsworthy proving too good for Marlene Singleton in a 23-14 win.

Maureen Feltham brought some joy for the South Burnie team with a tense 19-18 victory over Lyn Franklin, but it wasn’t enough to save them from dropping out of the top four.

Ladder leaders Devonport continued on its winning ways, this time travelling to Sheffield and getting over the home side 66-54.

The result was setup by the outstanding bowls of Robyn Bassett’s rink, who took care of Colleen Fielding 30-14, while Jenny Dargavel saved her best shot for last in a 21-18 win over Marilyn Burke after defeat looked likely.

Carina Daly was the only winner for Sheffield, outclassing Gail Meachem.

Ladder: Devonport 59, Penguin 52, Latrobe 48, Wynyard 47, South Burnie 42, Viewmont 32, Sheffield 30, Port Sorell 22, Ulverstone 15, Smithton 13.

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Racing club supports beach training plan

OFF AND RACING: Warrnambool Racing Club chief executive Peter Downs said the state government’s plan for horse training on beaches would require sacrifices but was a workable solution. Picture: Vicky HughsonWARRNAMBOOL Racing Club has welcomed a new plan to control the use of beaches for commercial horse training.
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While numerous environmental groups and the South West Owners, Trainers andRiders Association (SWOTRA) have blasted the state government’s plan, WRCchief executive Peter Downs said it provided a workable solution to a difficult problem.

“We’re pleased enough with the outcome,” Mr Downs said.

“We had some requests that weren’t met but it’s also giving us a way to go forward and givinglocal trainers a bit of confidence in the short term …and (putting) a long-term plan in place to shore up training in the future.

“Therewere some areas where we wanted more horses and other areas we thought would be kept open during summer …(and) for three months there will be a limited amount of horses that will be able to access the beach. But it could have been no horses for three months, so it’s a good resolution.

“Obviously it was a very hard decision. You can never make everyone happy when they’re coming from polar opposites. An agreement has been made and people should be happy with that.

“The beaches can continue to be used by horses and the environmental and cultural factors (have been taken into consideration).”

The WRC has been put in charge of the state government’s proposed licensing system, but Mr Downs said it was too early to say how the licences would work.

“The onus is on us to make it fair and equitable,” he said.

“But the onus is on the trainers to do the right thing. There will be severe punishments in place.”

When asked if that meant the clubwould be in charge of policing the plan, Mr Downs said there was “a lot of information that we have to work out before we know howthe policing will work”.

He confirmed there would be a cost attached to licences, and that it was likely a “pro rata” system would be used that looked “at the horses as individuals, not the trainers”.

“There will have to be sacrifices and a common sense approach,” he said.

Mr Downs said the clubwould also continue to work with Warrnambool City Council on the suggestion of using a stretch of Crown land between Viaduct Road and the beach as a specialised horse training location.

“It’s a very good sand-based area … and it was used as a trotting area a number of years ago,” he said.“It would help reduce the number of horses on beaches.”

He said the club hoped Levys Point would be re-opened to horses once a cultural heritage management plan was completed.

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Bates breaks through as NSW champion

Family matters: NSW wingless sprint car champion Jason Bates and wife Karen, who he says “I wouldn’t be able to race without her help”. Bates said his family has been a big support to his racing career. Picture: SuppliedAfter 15 years of competitive driving, Jason Bates has broken through to win his first wingless sprint NSW championship earlier this month.
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With his previous best results coming in 2015 with athird in the Queensland title and seventh in the Australian title, St Clair resident Bates, 35, admitted it was “a bit surreal”.

“I tried not to think about it at the time but once we’d done it, I was pretty stoked,” he said.

“It doesn’t happen that often so it was pretty good.”

Bates entered the NSW championship as one of the favourites and qualified in pole position for the championship race.

Despite leading from beginning to end, hehad to work hardfor the victory, goingwheel-to-wheelwith second-placed finisher Jeff Thomas for the entirety of the 30-lap race.

“He was there the whole way so it was pretty exciting and the adrenaline was up the whole race,” Bates said.

“I had to keep my head together so I didn’t stuff up. It’s so much pressure trying to keep everything right and hit all the right marks on the track.”

Victory Lap: St Clair’s Jason Bates claimed the 2016 NSW Championship in wingless sprint, leading from beginning to end for a close win in the state final. Picture: Supplied

In the regular club championship, Bates is riding high, having won three of the four events so far this season to sit atop the championship ladder.

Following inhis fatherGreg’s footsteps after a35-year career behind the wheel, Bates said he was destined to race.

“He finished up when he retired from it and it was just in the blood,” he said.

“I stayed around it because it’s what I’vedone my whole life.”

Bates said it was only through the help of his family that he could compete at such a high-level.

He highlightedthe support of his wife Karen, who he said organises parts, merchandise, accommodation, his race gear and supportshis crew.

“She [Karen]is a massive help towards my racing, I wouldn’t be able to race without here help,” Bates said.

“My dad is a big part of my racing -I wouldn’t be half as good without his help. And my mother and mother in law play a key role too because without their help looking after my two little girls while I race, it would be impossible to race at all.

“We do every event all together as a family no matter what part of the country we’re in.”

State Champion: After 15 years of racing, Jason Bates had his first state title with the win. Picture: Supplied

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Words of wisdom from ex-police officer

Retired police sergeant Robert Fisher said the hardest part of his job was knocking on someone’s door to deliver news of the loss of a loved one.
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Country roads have hazards around every bend, and every road userhas a responsibility to take extra care to ensure a safe summer.

There have been 79 fatalities and614 serious injurieson South Australianroads this year already, with the Mid North topping the list for the entire state with 15 fatalitiesas of November 16–already equalling the region’s road toll figures for all of 2015.

Distracted drivers using smartphones, not leaving adequate distance between carsand taking risks on country roads were the major causes of these alarming statistics, according to retired police sergeantRobert Fisher.

“The hardest thing is knocking on their door at three in the morning and telling them that their husband or father isn’t there anymore,”Mr Fisher said.

“When there is a death involved, it’s the family…it hits them the hardest.”

Mr Fisher spent 38 years in a police uniform, working all across SA and having witnessed first-hand what can happen on country roads.

“Years ago, because of the laws and not being able to breath test, more people took a chance.But since the laws changed and they’ve brought in the random breath testing wheneveryou’re driving,things have got better,”Mr Fisher said.

During his career, Mr Fisher patrolled Loxton, Snowtown, Cleve, Port Pirie, Goolwaand Clare, seeing families’ lives destroyed by careless driving or lapses in judgment.

“Now, everyonebetween the ages of 14 and 50 has a mobile phone,” Mr Fisher said.

“After a month ortwo months (of having an accident), a driver would have started using their mobile phone again – it’s just one of those things.”

Increased fines anddemerit point penaltiesfor mobile phone usage while driving seemed to be ineffective, Mr Fisher said, and while these penalties kept increasing, offenders seemed to be repeating their offences.

Ten provisional licenseddrivers were involved in fatal car accidents last year, and while not all of these cases were directly connected with mobile phone distraction, eliminating as many distractions as possible while driving couldbe a proactive way to improveroad safety.

“As they say, lock it in the glove box, put it in the boot. If you know you’re driving for two hours and you want to talk to someone: stop, have a rest, and check your phone,” Mr Fisher said.

Planning ahead and ensuringa place to sleep was organisedwhenalcohol was involved would also eliminatetheunnecessary risks and penaltiesof drink driving – and perhaps even save a life.

During Mr Fisher’s time with the police force, he said people were more responsible at big publicised events than they were at house or yard parties.

“They don’t see the police there, so they make the wrong decision when they’ve had a few, ” Mr Fisher said.

“They don’t think because obviously they’re not aware or they’re not planning ahead.”

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Vaccinate against 3-Day

Now is the time to vaccinate for Three Day Sickness
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With summer almost here, farmers are reminded that Bovine Ephemeral Fever (BEF) season will soon be upon us.

Producers should start thinking about preparations for the viral disease of cattle, commonly known as ‘Three Day Sickness’. The virus mostly causes a short-term illness and loss of production in previously unexposed or unvaccinated cattle.

Reports from disease and insect surveillance in QLD indicate that mosquito numbers are up and BEF has been circulating in QLD herds over the past couple of months. Veterinarians in far northern NSW are also expecting BEF cases to start appearing soon, which is a month or two earlier than normal.

If current conditions continue, producers in the Hunter should be prepared for an influx of mosquitos carrying the virus earlier than normal. Cases historically tend to occur in the Hunter in late summer.

Vaccination of non-immune stock is a valuable strategy to consider, but producers have a limited window of opportunity to do so. For effective protection the vaccine course should be completed prior to the expected exposure period to ensure cattle have time to build immunity.

PREVENTION: Now is the time to vaccinate your cattle against Three Day Sickness.

Advance action is essential, it is generally too late to vaccinate once cattle in your herd are affected.

Heavy adult animals such as well muscled steers and finished stock, bulls and pregnant cattle are the worst affected and may be key targets for vaccination to minimise production loss from BEF.

Cattle can suffer fever and can become very sore and stiff and unable to stand until the pain and inflammation subsides. Infected animals will often go down, requiring nursing care. Having many affected animals makes this an onerous task, increasing farm workload and ultimately reducing profitability and animal wellbeing.

Most cattle infected through previous exposure develop long-term immunity. Coastal areas in the Hunter generally received wide exposure to the virus last year. But cattle introduced to the region or born after last year’s BEF season will not have protective immunity.

Producers considering preventative vaccination for their stock should contact their private veterinarian.

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