App leads police to stolen phone

There seems to be a smartphone application for everything, even fighting crime.
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A 46-year-old man will appear in court after being charged over an aggravated burglary in Melbourne’s western suburbs that occurred about 5am on Thursday.

Among the items stolen from the Maidstone property in Jackson Street was a smartphone.

Soon after the burglary, the victim led police to the alleged offender’s home after activating a “find my phone” application, a Victoria Police spokeswoman said.

The man was charged with aggravated burglary, attempted aggravated burglary, theft and theft from motor vehicle.

He is expected to face the Sunshine Magistrates’ Court on Thursday afternoon.

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Gunnedah reps eye off country selection

The Gunnedah Bulldogs have snared two players in Greater Northern rugby league representative squads after trials in Tamworth at the weekend.
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Bulldogs first grade regular Trent Hilton was selected in the senior side alongside rising star DJ Smith in the under-18s.

Country Rugby League regional manager Scott Bone said Hilton was a virtual “walk-in” for selection and one well accustomed to the higher level of competition.

“Trent would have been one of the first guys picked,” Bone said.

“Defensively he’s always very strong and he carries the ball well too.”

He added that Hilton’s playing experience with the Newcastle Knights U20s did no harm either, and would be an invaluable asset to any club in the region.

The Gunnedah pair was one of 60 players to trial in each grade from U16s through to seniors. The initial field was whittled down to just 18 by the end of the trials.

One of the next steps for many representatives was NSW Country selection and a possible tour of South Africa in October.

The Greater Northern senior side will take on Northern Rivers in Moree on June 1, while the junior grades will face the Western Rams in Newcastle on June 8.

2013 Greater Northern Tigers squads.

UNDER 18s:

Jaydon Connors (Tingha), Callum Hayne (North Tamworth), Bevan French (Tingha), Jayden Stewart (Singleton), Zac Leonard (North Tamworth), DJ Smith (Gunnedah), Mitch Doring (West Lions), Josh Pursche (North Tamworth), Jarrod Wicks (Scone), Ben Irwin (Tingha), Beau Parry (West Lions), Blake Andrews (Singleton), Jay Gallaher (Glen Innes), Jake Cocking (North Tamworth), Jordan Press (Uralla), Dylan Manicaros (North Tamworth), Alfred Newman (Moree Boomerangs) Coach: Ron Dellar (Werris Creek)


Tim Smith (Scone), Mitch Porter (Gwydir), Luke Gardner (Singleton), Justin Apthorpe (Scone), Matt Cleal (Gwydir), Chris Hunt (West Lions), Sam Key (Glen Innes), Ben Hagan (Denman), John Johnson (Scone), Trent Hilton (Gunnedah), Nick Dawson (Tingha), Shane-Leigh Wadwell (North Tamworth), Daniel Ritter (Scone), James Barker (Scone), Marshall Barker (Scone), Josh Adams (Scone), Ben Williams (Moree), Warren Cain (Moree Boomerangs) Coach: Aaron Watts (Scone)

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Bikie chieftain out of jail and spinning his wheels

The leader of the Comanchero bikie club, Mark Buddle, has been released from jail after serving less than a year for affray and offensive behaviour.
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Mr Buddle was charged after police were called to the Clovelly Hotel on September 30 last year following a brawl at the pub.

After being extradited from Queensland in December last year, Mr Buddle, 28, was sentenced to a year-long jail sentence with a non-parole period of 20 weeks.

A Corrective Services of NSW spokeswoman confirmed Mr Buddle was released on May 2.

A senior Comanchero member told Fairfax Media Mr Buddle, who lives in Clovelly, was doing “f— all” now that he is a free man.

But Mr Buddle is yet to face charges in Victoria relating to an alleged brawl outside the Spearmint Rhino strip club in Melbourne.

Mr Buddle assumed national leadership of the Comanchero after former president Mahmoud “Mick” Hawi was jailed for the fatal Sydney airport brawl with the Hells Angels in 2009 and Duax “Dax” Ngakuru fled Australia in 2011.

Mr Buddle has come out to a club in disarray after NSW police last week made 10 arrests of members, including the Milperra chapter president Jack Dippizio.

More than 130 police on April 30 raided 10 properties across Sydney, including the Comancheros’ Milperra clubhouse, where they arrested eight members on a range of drug and gun supply charges.

A large quantity of cocaine, methamphetamine and cash was also seized in the early morning raids along with high-powered firearms.

Gangs Squad Commander Arthur Katsogiannis told Fairfax Media he would not comment on individuals.

“It doesn’t matter if it is a Comanchero or whoever we will continue to monitor their activity and if they break the law they will feel the full force of the gang squad,” he said.

“We are always working with local police and will be continuing to target outlaw motorcycle gangs.”

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Fire fuels wind worries

As the crow flies, there will be just 80kilometres separating the Yass post office with the furthest of 12 proposedwind-farms in close proximity to the township.
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Along with the fully-operational windfarms of Capital Hill, Crookwell, Cullerin Range and Gunning, a further eightprojects have been approved, are close to being approved or are already under construction.

With an estimated total of 700 turbines,a number of concerns are being raised. There are objections based on aestheticdegradation, property values and the effect of infrasound but there is oneissue that has raised significant concerns and that’s the question mark overhow these structures could obstruct our Rural Fire Service.

Yass Landscape Guardians (YLG) onTuesday released a survey showing that out of 112 interviews the group carriedout with residents situated within eight kilometres of the proposed Yass Valleywind farm, 70 per cent opposed the development. The survey, authenticated byGalaxy Research, confirms that members of the community are apprehensive aboutthe turbine influx.

“It’s the result of a combinationof things, but yes we can attribute the effect it will have on fire-fightingaircraft as being one of the major concerns for residents and landowners,”YLG spokesman Mark Glover said.

The Rural Fire Service is currentlydetailing a report on this issue but Bowning resident and Landcare supportofficer Alan Cole is certain fire fighting will be hindered, especially alongthe slopes of the Black Range.

“Of serious concern for theresidents of Bowning and the town of Yass should be the impact a forest of windturbines located along the entire length of the Black Range will have on thecapacity of the RFS to undertake aerial suppression of major wildfires,”said Mr Cole.

“The recent Cobbler Road fireclearly demonstrated the value of aerial fire suppression which enabled thesuppression of this wildfire on the eastern slopes of the Black Range.”

Turbulence caused by the turbines meansthat water-bombing planes would be unable to fight fires burning through windfarms and would have to wait to catch them on the other side.

Mike Inkster attended a recent councilmeeting to speak on the issue. His Cooks Hill Road property is between twoproposed wind farms at Bango and Rye Park.

“I am awaiting the report, which isnow overdue, but there needs to be a study on all wind farms about what wouldhappen in a fire situation,” Mr Inkster said.

“In relation to the Cobblerbushfire coronial report, they will do some modelling to show where the firewould have ended up if the Yass Valley wind farm had been built, but there isno doubt the level of destruction would have been far worse.”

Deputy Mayor Geoff Frost put a notice ofmotion before council regarding seven concerns about wind farm developments andasking that council notify state and federal governments of these concerns. Much discussion followed, with Councillor Michael McManus insteadmoving that council call for an immediate halt on wind farm approvals untilafter the RFS investigation.

Councillor Gary Ware asked that thematter be ‘left on the table’ for a month to enable further investigation,which was carried. It was also resolved that council should provide tocouncillors a report on wind turbines and bushfire prone land.

“Mike raised legitimate concernsregarding fighting fires around wind turbines,” Cr McManus said.

While he sympathises with those mostaffected, Cr McManus can also see the positive impact of wind farms.

“If you believe in global warming,if you believe in climate change, then we need to address that issue and windgenerators are one way of addressing that issue,” he said.

As Cr McManus explained, council canonly appeal to the state government but they are hoping to add weight to theirargument through the investigation into Cobbler Road.

“At the end of the day, it won’t bea matter for us to really deal with because wind generators are deemed items ofstate significance and local councils don’t have any say in the approvalprocess.”

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Woman fights for new wheels 

StaceyJesson is finding it difficult to live in Port Pirie with a disability after four months of waiting to get the wheels on her electric wheelchair replaced.
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What began as a simple phone call to let Disability SA know that it needed to be repaired turned into a four month fiasco for Ms Jesson.

The wheelchair bound Ms Jesson who suffers from Post-polio syndrome, 51, rang Disability SA in early February when she noticed her wheels starting to bald.

Ms Jesson said after contacting Disability SA multiple times she still has not received any indication as to when the chair will be fixed.

“I feel forgotten,” Ms Jesson said.

“I’m very independent and it sort of takes that away from me.”

For Ms Jesson it’s important that services are improved in our area.

“I want the service to be better in regional South Australia,” she said.

Liberal candidate for Frome Kendall Jackson has made a concerted effort to assist Ms Jesson in any way possible.

“I find it really sad,” Mrs Jackson said.

“Disabled people have enough to deal with without facing hurdles like these.”

Mrs Jackson said statistics at the end of February stated there were 4,000 disabled people in South Australia with unmet needs.

“It would be very interesting to know how many are in regional South Australia,” she said.

Mrs Jackson seemed astonished that it had been over four months without a result.

“Something as simple as new wheels… Seriously?” she said.

Mrs Jackson was puzzled when she placed a call to Disability SA on Ms Jesson’s behalf and was told that a work order had been created but the job had been completed.

She has said she will write to the disability minister Tony Piccolo about Ms Jesson’s case.

“It’s helping to solve issues like this that inspire me to become a local member of parliament,” Mrs Jackson said.

Ms Jesson appeared pleased that Mrs Jackson had given her time to assist her.

Stacey Jesson, left, and Liberal candidate for Frome Kendall Jackson.

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‘Heinous’ decision: man who stabbed boxing champion jailed for manslaughter

Killed: John Marceta. John Marceta
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Knowing that the man who had just kicked in his front door was a boxing champion, Craig Charles Pitts made the “heinous” decision to pick up a kitchen knife.

Pitts then followed John Marceta, who had been trying to buy pot, down the hallway, and they fought on the 14th storey of a Redfern housing commission apartment block.

The 29-year-old stabbed Mr Marceta in the chest, piercing his heart.

Mr Marceta, who won the Australian super-middleweight title in 1993 and was once a world-rated boxer, staggered towards the lifts and collapsed.

Pitts argued he was defending himself from Mr Marceta on that day in August 2011. He was found guilty of manslaughter after a trial last year.

In the NSW Supreme Court on Thursday, Justice Christine Adamson sentenced Pitts to at least seven-and-a-half years’ jail, making a finding of manslaughter by excessive self-defence.

“The offender assessed correctly that the deceased was in significantly better physical condition than he was,” Justice Adamson said.

“In a heinous and misguided attempt to redress the physical discrepancy between them, he armed himself with a knife before confronting the deceased in the corridor outside his unit.”

The court heard Mr Marceta and another man had tried to buy cannabis from Pitts several times that day, but he told them to come back later.

The men returned to Pitts’ unit, where one of his relatives again asked them to return another time, before Mr Marceta suddenly kicked in the door.

Pitts yelled out “Why did you kick my front door in?” and followed the men down the hall holding the knife.

After the stabbing, Pitts went back to his unit “in a state of shock and dismay”, Justice Adamson said.

The judge said it was possible Pitts thought his actions were necessary to protect himself and his relatives in the unit.

“I am satisfied that the offender’s conduct was not a reasonable response in the circumstances as he perceived them to be because his act of stabbing the deceased was excessive.”

She said Pitts did not have any animosity with the men, but nevertheless intended to hurt Mr Marceta.

“The offender misjudged the threat which the deceased posed to him and his family. By resorting to violence with a dangerous weapon he overreacted, with disastrous and irreversible consequences.”

The judge set a maximum term of 10 years, and with time already served, Pitts’ earliest release date is March 2020.

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Make-A-Wish fun run draws crowd

The Make-A-Wish Fun Run/Walk Sunday was an “unbelievable day” according to president Rosa-Lee Pisani.
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Mrs Pisani said the weather was perfect and the turnout was sensational.

The event raised over $5,000 for the Make-A Wish Port Pirie branch.

More people than ever beforetook part in the event.

Mrs Pisani said there was a real adrenaline rush amongst participants.

“For them to come out to support Make-A-Wish and see what we are about was heart warming,” she said.

The age of participants ranged from three years old to 73.

There were two starting lines, with the 11km distance starting from Napperby and the 5km distance beginning from the dirt circuit track.

Runners and walkers completed their journey at Sportscene.

“The amount of cars down Main Road was huge,” Mrs Pisani said.

“You just could not get a park. “There were many more spectators than other years.”

The first runner over the line was Evan Garnaut, who did the marathon from Clare to Port Pirie over three days, last year.

“It was just the most wonderful feeling to see him cross the line,” Mrs Pisani said.

“He beat his time from last year.”

The participants ranged from people just doing the event for fun, to serious runners.

Mrs Pisani said there were 250 people who took part in the Fun Run/Walk.

There was also a seven-year-old boy riding a bike.

The proceeds raised will go towards granting wishes for children with a life-threatening medical condition to enrich their lives with hope, strength and joy.

“We have three wishes on the books at the moment for the Pirie branch this year,” Mrs Pisani said.

“We are absolutely wrapped to know these kids will have their wishes come true this year.”

“It’s just beautiful.”

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Childcare places stable

Childcare places in Eden will not change under new legislation covering after school and school holiday care, however program and centre managers say preparations have been both time consuming and expensive.
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Dr Sheralyn Campbell, council’s director of children’s services said the services most affected by the new legislation were those that catered for school age children.

She said unlike early childhood services, the services for older children had not been regulated in this way before and now must follow strict procedures when it comes to premises and staff, children’s health and safety, physical environment and records.

“Children’s services have always been regulated in New South Wales. The services most affected are those that are for school age children,” she said.

“But for the last two years we have been making that transition, and we’ve been training and improving staff ratios too.”

Dr Sheralyn runs the Eden Child Care Centre which earned a high quality rating of almost 100 per cent from the National Childcare Accreditation Council in 2010.

She believes the changes would be beneficial for the industry and for children.

“It will benefit the industry and everybody speaks highly of its intentions,” she said.

“It ensures the care and protection of our children is of the highest standard.”

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Wilderness AND Oyster Coast: The Far South Coast adds another  

Clyde River oyster growers Ben Ralston and Jimmy Yiannaros, NSW Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson, Australia’s Oyster Coast Executive Officer Andrew Wales and Member for Bega Andrew Constance at the launch of Australia’s Oyster Coast at Narooma Oyster Festival on Saturday. Oysters from the eight major estuaries between the Shoalhaven and the Victorian border will be marketed under the brand ‘Australia’s Oyster Coast’, following the brand’s launch at Narooma Oyster Festival on Saturday.
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NSW Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson praised south coast oyster growers’ foresight in working together on this marketing initiative.

“Oysters marketed under this brand will identify them as gourmet products grown in the most environmentally sustainable oyster region in the world,” Minister Hodgkinson said, launching the new brand.

It follows seven years work by growers implementing rigorous environmental management systems in each estuary, with assistance from the Southern River Catchment Management Authority and OceanWatch Australia and Federal and State funding.

Oyster shucking at the Narooma Oyster Festival at the weekend.

Oyster Festival spokesperson Cath Peachey said the potential is exciting with Australia’s Oyster Coast becoming a tourist destination with international and domestic visitors following the ‘oyster trail’ along the coast.

“This initiative complements everything the Oyster Festival is trying to achieve, and that is showcasing the south coast’s top quality produce and culinary and artistic talents particularly to visitors from outside the region,” she said.

Narooma Oyster Festival Manager Garry Ebbeling said oyster growers from every south coast estuary were at the festival on Saturday, signifying that the Festival “is moving to a new level”.

Feedback on the weekend’s Festival has been “hugely positive”. “It attracted many visitors from Canberra and outside the region who’ve been raving it,” he said.

“Many people said it was the best ever, which is a great compliment to the whole management team and all the volunteers who helped make it happen.

“I welcome all constructive comments, our idea being to make next year’s even better.”

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Man charged over South Penrith home invasion

Police have charged a man in relation to a home invasion in South Penrith earlier this week.
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About 8.30pm on Tuesday, May 7, a number of people armed with a knife forced their way inside a unit on Penrose Crescent.

They allegedly made threats towards the adult occupants, before stealing a number of items including mobile phones, wallets and home entertainment appliances.

Nobody was injured in the incident and police from Penrith Local Area Command established a crime scene.

Following their investigations, an 18-year-old man was arrested at Penrith railway station just before 2pm yesterday (Wednesday, May 8).

The man was allegedly in possession of some of the stolen property.

He was taken to Penrith Police Station and charged with aggravated break, enter and steal and will appear at Penrith Local Court later today.

Police are still searching for two other people allegedly involved in the incident.

Anyone with information about this incident should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the online reporting page:

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