Jan 10

Farmer feels housing pressure 

A PORT Stephens macadamia farm is feeling the pressure of housing development, but its owner is determined to protect what he describes as a ‘‘unique place in the concrete jungle’’.
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Scott Leech has been operating Medowie Macadamias for 14 years.

‘‘All the land around me has been bought by developers,’’ Mr Leech said.

Mr Leech said development and increasing complaints from neighbours led him to believe the farming side of his business may not have a future – at least not on its present scale.

‘‘It’ll definitely be an issue over the next five years,’’ he said.

‘‘If you can’t do the farming practices you have to do, pests become an issue which effects the product and how much you can grow.’’

The Newcastle Herald reported on Monday that prime agricultural land in the Hunter was under threat from development.

Mr Leech believes there should be a way for farming and urban development to co-exist.

‘‘I don’t think we need to keep clearing land and putting McDonald’s on every corner,’’ he said.

He said councils and the state government should show more support for businesses like his.

‘‘Talk is cheap, but I need the powers that be to show they want places like ours to be viable,’’ he said.

Port Stephens MP Craig Baumann said there was a buffer zone to protect the macadamia farm ‘‘that lets them spray’’.

‘‘We don’t want residents up against the fence – I don’t think that philosophy has changed,’’ Mr Baumann said.

‘‘He should be right to trade for as long as the trees are viable.’’

The NSW government Lower Hunter discussion paper, released earlier this year, said zonings and planning policies could ‘‘establish the circumstances in which housing can be developed near agricultural uses’’.

‘‘Such development requires robust assessment regimes to limit its effect on high value and critical rural and resource lands,’’ it said.

The five-hectare macadamia farm employs 13 people, with 1000 macadamia trees, a gift shop and cafe.

Mr Leech said the cafe and shop had a promising future and, if farming ever ceased, he would not remove the trees.

‘‘People come for the tranquility, with the cafe perched in the middle of an orchard so close to suburbia,’’ he said.

‘‘Developers offered to buy us out years ago, but I stood my ground and wasn’t blinded by money.’’

MP go nuts for Port Stephens macadamias

THE popularity of Medowie Macadamias goes right to the state political corridors of power.

Port Stephens MP Craig Baumann said ‘‘everybody loves’’ the nuts, along with politicians.

‘‘One minister in particular, Pru Goward, loves them,’’ Mr Baumann said.

‘‘She can’t function without at least a half-kilo bag each sitting Tuesday.’’

He keeps macadamias in his office.

‘‘Coalition and Labor MPs can come in and have a few nuts if they want, as they’re passing,’’ he said.

Macadamia farmer Scott Leech on his farm in Medowie, which is feeling the pinch from encroaching development. Picture Jonathan Carroll

Jan 10

David Williams defends trainer’s program

“He’s got 100 per cent of my support. I talk to him every day”: Williams. Photo: Anthony JohnsonDavid Williams has leapt to the defence of Sean Carolan, the personal trainer and nutritional guru who conducted unsanctioned tests for human growth hormone at Sydney Roosters in the pre-season, saying his own association with the Nubodi Group owner consisted of being “either in the gym or eating at a sushi bar”.
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Carolan, 39, was sacked by the Roosters in January after it was discovered his company, hired to implement a dietary and detox plan, had been testing players’ HGH levels without the knowledge of club doctor John Orchard.

Last week, Fairfax Media revealed that blood test results were found on a seized telephone belonging to Khan Alameddine, 28, a person with known links to organised crime. These showed six players had elevated HGH counts. Later testing by club medical staff did not show higher than usual levels of HGH in the players.

Carolan, who denies any wrongdoing, was introduced to the Roosters via front-rower Martin Kennedy, whom he had trained privately. Manly winger Williams is another of his clients, having met him through his manager George Mimis in January. He said adopting Carolan’s raw-food diet had been life- and career-changing.

“He’s a bloke that doesn’t need defending because he hasn’t done anything wrong,” Williams said.

“It’s absolute bullshit. We’re either in the gym or we’re eating at a sushi bar.

“He’s got 100 per cent of my support. I talk to him every day.”

Manly forward Tom Symonds, formerly of the Roosters, is also an adherent of the “caveman” diet – which includes eating meat, fish, fruits and eggs, all raw.

Williams was an outspoken advocate of the program before Carolan and Nubodi featured in revelations about the Roosters.

Having battled shoulder, knee and neck injuries that have sidelined him at length since his Manly debut in 2008, the former NSW and Australia winger has made it no secret that he believes his alternative eating regimen has been key to keeping him on the field.

He has played 26 games this season, scoring 20 tries.

“A lot of people don’t think that but it’s a bit naive not to think that,” said the Sea Eagles winger, who is off contract and to date without a club after Sunday’s grand final.

“Your foods obviously give you your energy and that’s the natural recovery systems in your body. Obviously getting on the piss is a simple one; you don’t recover as well from that. So you take that out, you take all the other toxins out of your body, then your body doesn’t have to deal with that. It’s working on the recovery process. It’s putting all its energy into that, so how can it not be beneficial?”

Williams said he still has the odd drink and a scheduled break from the intake of solely raw food as he chases a second premiership. He played in Manly’s win in 2008, but missed their grand final victory in 2011 with a broken neck.

“After the years that I had consecutively, and being my last year at Manly, it was give all, end all.

“I gave it a whirl and I’m very glad I did,” he said.

“I definitely think the work we’ve put in warrants us being here and I’m just glad that I can be a part of it, for a change.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Jan 10

Foot soldier Gower on tenterhooks for big one

When David Gower glanced over to coach Geoff Toovey on Monday morning, he was hoping for a sign. A hint that five-years’ worth of one-year contracts across three clubs, after a stint in England, would amount to a grand-final appearance.
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Gower has put his hand up to fill the vacancy left by prop Richie Fa’aoso, who broke his neck in Manly’s preliminary final win against South Sydney on Friday night.

But Toovey was giving little away as Gower battles for a bench spot along with rookie James Hasson. “I’ve shot him a couple of looks but he has given us nothing,” said Gower, who turned 28 on Monday.

Gower, like Fa’aoso, is a rugby league journeyman. After playing for Salford for two seasons, he returned to Wests Tigers in 2009, he managed just one game for his junior club before switching to St George Illawarra where he made seven appearances in two years.

“It would be nice to know earlier so we can prepare correctly,” Gower said. “In saying that, when they decide to tell us we’ll just have to deal with it.”

Gower was the NSW Cup player of the year in 2009, and has been a mainstay in the reserve-grade team of the year in recent seasons.

After switching to Manly following the recommendation of Illawarra Cutters coach Paul McGregor, Gower has managed just 11 top-grade appearances this year.

While Gower is uncertain about Sunday, his long-term future is clouded, too. He is off-contract at the end of this year and unlikely to extend his one-season at the Sea Eagles.

“I know you can’t stay where you want to sometimes,” Gower said. “The club are in a tough situation financially. It’s looking tough to stay.

“It’s just been the way I’ve had it. If I get to play in a grand final, hopefully there are a few clubs watching and I can contribute to a win.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Jan 10

Survival kit for being average will help Wallabies fans now … and in future

There has been one benefit to following Irish teams throughout my life – a tremendous ability to cope with crushing sporting disappointment as if it were a friendly neighbour knocking on the door for a cup of tea.
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It was Michael Lynagh who started that association with despair, scoring a dagger of a try against Ireland in the quarter-final of the 1991 World Cup. It all seemed such a surprise – the heartbreak, the “what-ifs” – but little did I know it was the beginning of a pattern.

But what use is this resource if it cannot be shared? So it’s with great generosity that I can bring to modern Wallabies fans something to serve them well in the present – and possibly the future: a survival kit for being average.Messiahs

Anointing saviours is absolutely crucial to maintaining a cheerful disposition. Do not be led down the path of reason, it is not your friend. Pick a player or coach – it doesn’t matter which one, any will do – who has enjoyed any form of success and attach all your dreams to them. Of course, you know deep down that one man alone cannot turn the tide, but you will learn to suppress that to keep the confronting truth at bay. And when they fail it doesn’t matter. Discard them and choose another, and yell so loudly about their qualities that everyone will forget about the one who has been dispatched to the gutter.Humour

The blacker the better. Happily, Wallabies fans are already embracing this with gusto. Peek at the timelines of Twitter feeds during and after Tests and it reads like a competition to produce the best gallows humour. This is for the eventual betterment of the nation.Alcohol

This is often linked to the above, in the eyes of the consumer at least. But drowning your sorrows to sporting failure serves another purpose – it allows you to produce another excuse for unacceptable behaviour when the others are starting to wear thin. For example, if you’ve had a few too many the night before and fall asleep in a park while you’re supposed to be looking after the kids – meaning they got up to goodness knows what for three hours – it wasn’t actually your fault. “It was the Wallabies.” Flexible enough to work in a variety of scenarios, from leaving your work iPhone in the pub to brushes with the law. Remember: “It was the Wallabies.”Denial

There are many subsets in this category for those with nimble minds. “The wind conditions” (even if the stadium is enclosed), “the new balls”, “the English/All Blacks”, “Paddy O’Brien” and so forth – the creative denier is never left without something to hold on to. The best strategy is to mix-and-match, so that any accuser who cannot see that the planets were simply aligned against your side is unable to pin you down for repetition.That glorious day in the sun

It comes to all teams. Twenty years after Lynagh’s cruel try, even Ireland had their moment against the Wallabies one famous Auckland night in 2011 (never mind the subsequent loss to Wales). And when it does, it is accompanied by a rare joy that has been heightened by all the near-misses.

You see, it is not all bad being average. The Wallabies will return, and when they do you will appreciate it even more.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Jan 10

Guilty of attempted rape

MICHAEL Kendall was found guilty on Mondayof attempting to rape an elderly lady in her Lake Macquarie unit with the jury needing little more than an hour to arrive at its verdict.
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Kendall told his mother he loved her as he was escorted from Newcastle District Court following a one-week trial that focused heavily on DNA evidence.

The Crown case also included witness accounts of what happened on the afternoon of July 7 last year and Kendall’s own version of events that included a meeting with another man.

Kendall, 26, pleaded not guilty to three charges and was convicted of two, namely aggravated break, enter and commit indecent assault and inflicting actual bodily harm with intent to rape.

No verdict was required for the back-up charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Kendall initially approached some young girls near the victim’s unit at Jewells before he knocked on the victim’s door.

He had recently been released from a rehabilitation centre for substance abuse and had decided to celebrate by drinking alcohol before he asked the victim if ‘‘Julie’’ was there, the jury heard.

The victim said no one called Julie lived there and she went outside to begin assisting Kendall before he forced her inside.

She fell on the floor and he pinned her down while he indecently assaulted her.

She screamed and scratched his face before he fled and yelled, ‘‘She attacked me, she attacked me’’.

The witnesses, including the girls, gave descriptions of Kendall and police were able to compare them with security camera footage from a nearby bottle shop he’d visited that afternoon.

When one of the witnesses did a photo identification test on a police computer he selected Kendall and another man out of 20 photos.

But crucially, Kendall’s DNA was found on the victim’s fingertips possibly underneath a fingernail from when she scratched him.

Kendall told police that after leaving the bottle shop he met a man while walking to his sister’s Jewells’ home.

He said he rolled the man two cigarettes, they shared a bottle of beer and shook hands.

His barrister argued that Kendall’s DNA could have been transferred to the man who then transferred it to the victim’s fingertips.

Kendall even admitted to deviating from his route home and to speaking to the girls near the victim’s unit, but denied he was the attacker.

He was arrested about a week after the incident at a Newcastle hostel.

He was on parole at the time for a serious assault and will be sentenced in November.

MICHAEL KENDALL