Cooper on track for Dragons’ 2013 campaign

His mind is willing and his body is able – and that’s enough to convince Matt Cooper playing beyond 2013 is not out of the question.
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Having survived what Dragons players have described as the toughest pre-season in years, Cooper yesterday hinted that thoughts of joining fellow Red V stalwarts Ben Hornby and Dean Young in retirement were premature.

‘‘I had some surgery at the end of last year just to fix up minor injuries I had throughout [last] year,’’ 33-year-old Cooper said.

‘‘It’s been great and I’ve had a great pre-season.’’

Pressed on whether his body was capable of carrying him into 2014 and beyond, the veteran of seven Tests said: ‘‘At the moment, yeah it does. Ask me that question in June or July and I might have a different answer.

‘‘At the moment the body feels really good and I feel like I could play a couple more seasons. It’s too early to tell and obviously come mid-year I’m going to have to make that decision.’’

Cooper’s desire to ask for a contract extension if his often injury-plagued body allows would help offset the Dragons’ thinning experience stocks. St George Illawarra watched all-time games leader Hornby (273 games) and Young (209 games) hang up the boots last season, while the hard-nosed Beau Scott fled to Newcastle over summer.

Matt Cooper, centre, back at Dragons training last month. Picture: ORLANDO CHIODO

If he was to embark on a 15th season in the NRL, Cooper, a veteran of 235 appearances, would also have the chance to usurp Hornby’s record.

Cooper said the club had already unearthed several willing leaders in the absence of Hornby and Young.

‘‘There was a couple of years ago when Shaun Timmins, Trent Barrett and Luke Bailey left,’’ Cooper said.

‘‘That was a bit of a change. This year with Dean and Ben going, there’s a new group of leaders stepping up.

‘‘The likes of Brett Morris, Jason Nightingale and Dan Hunt – players like those blokes have really stepped up this year and have turned into great leaders.’’

St George Illawarra will begin their 2013 campaign with a trial against North Queensland in Cairns next Saturday.

Cooper said he would take part in the Cowboys hit-out and the Charity Shield duel with Souths on February 22, matches crucial to a daunting month for the Dragons.

‘‘If you have a look at the draw we have a really tough opening few weeks. Round one against Melbourne in Melbourne is going to be a tough game and we’re looking to start the year with a couple of wins.’’

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南京夜网 13/06/2018

Fairfield Relay for Life at $116,000

Relay for LifeTHE 2012 Fairfield Relay for Life fund-raiser has collected more than $100,000.
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Last week the Freemasons team (pictured) donated more than $1000 to bring the total to $116,000. The relay’s initial target was $85,000.

“What a spectacular turn-out and the funds raised is evident of how much support the Fairfield community has given to the Fairfield Relay For Life,” Pina Asekona, from the Cancer Council said.

“Chair Allanah Falappi and her entire organising committee volunteered their time and energy to make the Fairfield Relay For Life an amazing experience. They should take a bow.”

2013 Fairfield Relay For Life, November 2, Horsley Park Reserve.

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南京夜网 13/06/2018

Motions throw light on cracks in council harmony

Hopes that Blue Mountains City councillors would have a harmonious 2013 were thrown into disarray last week when Liberal councillor Brendan Christie took a stand on numerous issues including when Australia was first recognised as a nation and a proposal to mine coal seam gas in the Mountains by an Aboriginal group.
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Some councillors privately told the Gazette they found the motions smacked of “unnecessary party politics” deeming them “anti-Aboriginal”.

Clr Christie ruffled feathers when he sent around a memo to all the councillors prior to the meeting suggesting “that this council note, and recognise, that the 26th of January of this year marked the 225th anniversary of the landing of the first fleet, the raising of the flag at Sydney cove and the birth of this great nation, Australia”.

One councillor said it “ignores that there were many nations here before then (and) 60,000 years of culture”.

The minute was later re-worded by the mayor to “recognise and respect the traditional owners”.

“The mayor’s version was a relief to us,” another councillor said.

Clr Christie said far from being anti-Aboriginal, there were a “range of different versions of the (Australia Day) motion put forward by a number of different councillors. “I, like the rest of the council, was happy with the final version that appeared in the Mayoral Minute. I embrace Australia’s rich and diverse history and I respect the traditional owners of the land on which we live.”

“I also seconded that Mayoral Minute.”

Clr Christie also asked the council to write to the NSW Aboriginal Land Council expressing opposition to coal seam gas exploration generally and especially in the Blue Mountains.

The Upper and Mid- Mountains are now under threat from coal seam gas exploration after the NSW Aboriginal Land Council applied to explore for CSG, as part of 119 applications by the indigenous councils to explore for CSG under 40 per cent of the state.

Greens councillor Geordie Willamson said he was grateful the councillor gave him the opportunity to respond.

“This is hard, for a decade and a half now NSW Land Council has had to be self-funding … so I understand and appreciate why they may be tempted into these devil’s pacts but it really doesn’t matter if you are black or white or anything else.

“I will be supporting Councillor Christie with those caveats,” he said.

The move was then carried unanimously.

In another moment of discord, a bid by Clr Robert Stock, seconded by Clr Geordie Williamson to air some of council’s dirty linen —namely a council business paper involving council’s “investment advisory services” —was knocked back by the council with Clr Greenhill telling the council it would be foolish to ignore legal advice suggesting some matters remain confidential.

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南京夜网 13/06/2018

No Christmas cheer for online sales

ipad and gameApart from a spike in online transactions on Christmas Day when shoppers unwrapped iPads, iPhones and eBooks to download applications and games, the overall growth in online sales slowed in December, suggesting Christmas may have been a poorer one for all retailers.
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Latest research from National Australia Bank has revealed online sales grew close to 30 per cent in October and November but eased to 23 per cent during December, dashing retailers’ hopes of a spending boom for the holidays.

NAB chief economist Alan Oster said the cooling off in online sales pointed to disappointing December retail trade numbers to be released on Wednesday, which would likely be negative.

“I think they will be negative, we look at this and say if online slowed then the other [segments of retail] slowed,” Mr Oster said.

The NAB Online Retail Sales Index retreated slightly for December, with the index up 23 per cent year on year. This was down from a 27 per cent lift for online sales in November and a 26 per cent gain in October.

The value of online spending in Australia in 2012 was $12.8 billion, equating to about 5.8 per cent of the size of the traditional offline retail sector.

“With the online index a bit softer, it would be indicative of probably weaker growth in sales, and from what we have seen from anecdotal evidence both in our [statistics] and some of our surveys it does suggest to us that retail was less positive than the previous year.”

NAB is forecasting the Bureau of Statistics will report national retail sales in December down 0.2 per cent, seasonally adjusted, against a fall of 0.1 per cent in November. This excludes the usual 30 per cent lift in sales for December linked to Christmas shopping.

The rate of growth for online sales continues to trump traditional bricks and mortar turnover, with that segment growing at around 3 per cent per year.

A generally low inflation environment, with some categories such as electronics and home entertainment experiencing sliding prices, along with many online sites offering free shipping, helped reduce average transaction sizes and therefore forced down overall sales by value.

Mr Oster said there was a significant increase in online transactions on Christmas Day for toys, games, music, movies and books.

“It appears that these purchases were primarily eBooks and digital music downloads – having been loaded onto devices given as Christmas gifts,” he said.

“There was also an interesting upturn after Christmas with the traditional post-Christmas sales spreading online in a more significant fashion in 2012, due in part to increased advertising last year.”

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南京夜网 13/06/2018

Leaders share celebrations in Fairfield

Special guest: Prime Minister Julia Gillard gets up close to one of the lions during Saturday’s Tet Festival. Picture: Wesley Lonergan Opposition Leader Tony Abbott at the Tet Festival. Picture: Wesley Lonergan
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Special guest: Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the Tet Festival. Picture: Wesley Lonergan

Special guest: Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the Tet Festival. Picture: Wesley Lonergan

THE smell of an election was in the air at the Tet Festival in Fairfield on Saturday.

The Vietnamese new year celebration drew heads from both sides of parliament just days after Prime Minister Julia Gillard named the date for this year’s federal election.

Ms Gillard, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, Premier Barry O’Farrell and state Opposition Leader John Robertson attended the event, as did local politicians.

The leaders were treated to a colourful welcome.

A string of red firecrackers was lit to start the opening ceremony of the festival at the Fairfield Showground.

Lion dancers and drummers led the dignitaries through a row of children dressed in tradition costume to their seats.

Ms Gillard mentioned in her speech it was the first time a serving prime minister had attended the event.

She went on to tell the community the reason for her visit.

“Friends, so many Vietnamese refugees came to these shores with only the clothes on their backs,” she said.

“You came with hope to this land of new beginnings.

“You matched opportunity with effort; citizenship with commitment.

“So four decades since the journey began, we are here as civic leaders to share this festival and to say thank you.”

Each of the leaders made an effort to say “happy new year” in Vietnamese, which was followed by loud cheers from the audience.

Mr Abbott told the Fairfield Champion he was there to show support to fellow Liberal Party members and the wider Vietnamese community.

“The new year festival is a very important part of the Vietnamese community’s annual calendar,” he said.

“There is a much stronger Liberal presence in this part of Sydney than there has been in the past including a lot of Vietnamese people in the local Liberal Party.

“I think it’s really important as the national leader of the Liberal Party that I try to show support to the Vietnamese community generally but in particular to Australians of Vietnamese background who happen to be Liberals.”

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南京夜网 13/06/2018

Trip to Germany worth sacrifices

THE sacrifices he made while his friends were enjoying their teenage years finally paid off for Wagga student Harry Holbrook, when he made his first overseas trip to Germany.
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The Mater Dei Catholic College student last week returned from a once-in-lifetime, two month exchange trip to the south-western German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, where he boarded with a host family.

The trip was a dream come true for the exceptionally bright and driven 16-year-old, who took his first job at McDonalds at just 14 so he could begin saving for the unforgettable adventure.

“I have always wanted to do something different, and while I was exploring my options I decided an exchange trip would be very special,” he said.

Harry’s mother Susanne admitted while she was surprised when her son shared his desire to participate in the AFS Intercultural Program, she firmly believed he would achieve his goal.

“We have six children and I knew it would be difficult to find the money for Harry to do this, but he said to me ‘Mum I am willing to pay’,” she said.

“Harry worked at McDonalds, than the Muffin Break and finally at the Blessed Bean to save the money he needed to go on the trip.

“He has worked very hard.”

Despite still suffering the lingering affects of jet-lag, there was no wiping the smile off the intrepid traveller’s face last week as he shared some of his favourite memories from the European journey.

“I was quite surprised at just how fun it was to go to school over there because I wasn’t sure what it would be like,” he said.

“All of the students were so willing to help me settle in and to make me feel really welcome.

“There were a few differences that I noticed between school here in Australia and the school in Germany though.

“I think the teachers were definitely less friendly and a lot stricter, and they really only saw their role as a teacher – never as a friend of mentor.

“School also started at 7.40am in the morning and could finish at 1pm or 4pm.”

As-well-as experiencing the life of a German student, Harry also relished the opportunity to explore his host family’s home town.

“This is where the first car was invented so there are Porsche and Mercedes Benz museums which were really good,” he said.

“It was also just nice to see their culture.”

Making things easier for Harry, his host family spoke “perfect” English.

“I found out from a very young age, even kindergarten, children have to learn English,” he said.

“They are told it is the world language.”

While Harry enjoyed spending Christmas with his host family, despite missing out on a white Christmas, Susanne said she found it hard to enjoy the day with her son so far away.

“Christmas was really difficult; I was so upset when he rang,” she said.

“I am so happy he is home safe.”

There has been no rest period for Harry upon his arrival back in Australia, with the inspiring teenager turning his attention straight back to his studies.

Harry will not only complete his year 11 studies this year, but undertake three accelerated Higher School Certificate course while juggling his commitments to a number of community groups and committees.

Long considering a career in law or accounting, Harry’s experiences overseas have given him plenty more to consider in his final two years of school.

“Now I might look at options which would allow me to work in another country or with other countries and cultures,” he said.

TRIP OF A LIFETIME: Harry Holbrook, 16, returned from a student exchange trip to Germany last week. The two month journey was just reward for the hard work the Mater Dei Catholic College student put in to save the money needed to participate in the program. Picture: Addison Hamilton

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南京夜网 13/06/2018

30 lots at Georges Fair snapped up by keen bids

Top pick: Elaine Chau and Michael Tat camped out in the rain last Friday night to secure their preferred lot during the Aurora land release sale at Georges Fair.EAGER land buyers braved the storm and camped out to get their bids in early for the newly released land at Georges Fair, Moorebank in south-west Sydney.
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Eighteen of the 33 lots available were sold in just four hours, with 12 more lots sold over the weekend.

The lot sizes were between 312 and 621 metres squared, an indication that Investa Property Group development manager Nathan Huon said demonstrated the demand for larger properties — despite the 2012 trend towards smaller lots.

“Many purchasers are still looking for larger lots within a quality residential estate,” he said.

“We had more than 200 people register their interest, so we anticipated strong sales.

“It’s extremely rewarding to experience such a positive response, which in my opinion, is a testament to the fabulous community that has developed here at Georges Fair.”

Only three lots remain available for purchase in the new Aurora neighbourhood which is situated in an elevated position within the estate, providing some lots with access to sweeping district and skyline views. Land in the first Aurora release was priced from $310,000.

New homes buyers interested in purchasing land at Georges Fair should register at www.georgesfair南京夜网.au.

Details: 9602 1701 or visit georgesfair南京夜网.au.

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南京夜网 13/06/2018

Movie Comp: Flight of terror against addiction

Denzel Washington is Whip Whitaker in FLIGHT, from Paramount Pictures.F-FF-001 Flight Flight
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NEW movie Flight features a solid performance by Denzel Washington as airline captain William “Whip” Whitaker who must face his addictions in the wake of a near disaster.

Whip awakens after a wild night of drinking and drug taking in an Orlando hotel room with flight attendant Katerina Marquez (Nadine Velazquez).

He greets the day with a hit of cocaine before manning the controls of a flight to Atlanta, taking off in the middle of a storm.

Copilot Ken Evans (Brian Geraghty) takes control while Whip discreetly mixes vodka in his orange juice and takes a nap.

He is jolted awake by turbulence as the plane starts to lose control.

With no other choice, Whip rolls the plane upside down to bring it out of the dive and manoeuvres it right-side up before crash-landing in a field.

He loses consciousness upon impact and awakens in an Atlanta hospital with minor injuries. He’s a hero with 96 people having survived and only five dead in the crash.

His blood test shows substance abuse, however, and he faces manslaughter charges.

Whip tries to break his habits and get his life back on the track.

南京夜网 13/06/2018

Boost in Mt Tomah visitor numbers

The Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mount Tomah has seen a jump in visitors following the abolition of entry fees by the State Government.
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More than 115,000 visitors attended in the 12 months after the fees were scrapped, an increase of almost 45,000 visitors from the previous 12 months.

Member for Blue Mountains Roza Sage welcomed the annual increase of visitors.

“Giving more opportunity to visit these unique gardens is something I am very proud to have been part of.

“The abolition of entry fees which was a commitment made prior to the election in 2011 has led to a significant increase and opportunity to families that would never have been made possible without the NSW Government,” said Mrs Sage.

NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker said tens of thousands of additional families have benefited from the NSW Government decision to abolish the entry fee to the Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan and the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mount Tomah.

And with the NSW Government committing $40 million to make national parks even more attractive to visitors and the increasing popularity of the new National Parks website, there has been a 10 per cent increase in bookings for campsites throughout the state.

“I’m delighted thousands of families and seniors have benefited from this initiative which has opened up these beautiful gardens to them free of charge,” said Ms Parker.

“I understand the cost of living pressures being faced by families, particularly those in western Sydney, and if by removing this fee we have made it easier for them to enjoy a picnic then that’s terrific.

“It is only equitable for families in western Sydney and the Blue Mountains to also have free access to their botanic gardens.”

Ms Parker said that the dynamic new website www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au which was launched last year, had been expanded for the summer holidays allowing the public to take in spectacular holiday destinations, natural local attractions and fun activities for all the family.

“The website now features more than 180 parks in every corner of NSW, close to 1000 park attractions and thousands of images and videos,” said Ms Parker.

“An additional 40 extra on-park holiday properties and 30 extra camping locations (each containing multiple sites) are featured on the website, a total of over 70 stay options, all of which can be booked online.”

Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage with NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker.

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南京夜网 13/06/2018

Youth program $9970.65 richer

The Youth Opportunities program is nearly $10,000 richer thanks to a wonderful response to last year’s Young Professionals Whyalla Charity Ball.
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A cheque for $9970.65 was handed over to Youth Opportunities steering committee chair Gregg Utting at YPW’s social drinks on Friday night.

Mr Utting thanked the YPW committee for choosing to support the Youth Opportunities program and help them ensure it can continue to run.

“The funds raised at the Young Professionals charity ball are a significant contribution toward the fundraising target set by the local Youth Opportunities community board,” Mr Utting said,

“All funds raised go directly into helping fund programs within Whyalla.”

Mr Utting said funding support like this will go a long way in changing the lives of students in Whyalla.

“This donation along with those of other supporters of the program in the second half of 2012 will allow the program organisers to confidently plan the full year’s programs knowing that the financial support of the local board will be available,” Mr Utting said.

Mr Utting said the YPW charity ball was also a great opportunity to promote the work the Youth Opportunities program does.

“Youth Opportunities provides leadership training for year 10 students,” Mr Utting said.

“The program is based around four key choices: Choosing to be happy, choosing to set goals, choosing to grow and choosing to send stars (positive communication).

“The program is run over an intensive 10 weeks and involves the students spending one full day each week out of the school environment with two qualified trainers.

“The program finishes with a graduation ceremony and student follow up is carried out by Youth Opportunities staff for a period of time after each program.”

Mr Utting said by the time the students complete the program, it is evident the difference the program has made in their lives.

More than 170 people attended the event on Saturday, October 27 last year held at the Westlands Hotel and the YPW committee was pleased with the generous support it received.

Mr Utting said the growing community support for the program meant that Youth Opportunities would be able to grow too.

“As a result of the fundraising success in 2012, we are hoping to expand the program in 2013 to give more Whyalla students the opportunity to benefit from the program,” Mr Utting said.

In working towards their financial targets to ensure the future of the program, Mr Utting said the Youth Opportunities steering committee continues to look to the community for support.

“Youth Opportunities Whyalla relies entirely on the support of the local business community and individuals,” Mr Utting said.

“We would love to hear from anyone who may be interested in supporting the program or learning more about the work being done by Youth Opportunities in Whyalla.”

To find out more or to support the Youth Opportunities program in Whyalla, contact Gregg Utting on 0417 862 406 or [email protected]南京夜网.au

SUPPORT: The Youth Opportunities program received a boost of $9970.65 thanks to the generous community support at Young professionals Whyalla Charity Ball last year. At the cheque presentation on Friday night were (from left) YPW committee member Kayleigh Bruce, Youth Opportunities streering committee chair Gregg Utting and YPW chair Anna Chapple.

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南京夜网 13/06/2018

Livening up lunch boxes

GOOD TEAM: Kim McCosker with sons Hamilton, 6, Flynn, 4, and Morgan, 10, and inset, one of their healthy, tasty lunch boxes. BACK to school doesn’t have to mean a return to the boring lunch options with just a Vegemite sandwich and an apple.
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Think outside the lunch box and get kids into the kitchen and involved in choosing, making and even growing their food and you might be surprised at what you can come up with together.

Author of the 4 Ingredients cookbooks and mother of three boys aged 4, 7 and 10, Kim McCosker knows better than anyone the challenges of preparing school lunches.

But even she was astounded by the number she makes each year.

‘‘Out of curiosity, I sat down one night with the annual calendar and I calculated an average of 210 school mornings – and it gets worse: multiply it by three and that’s 630 lunch boxes,’’ she said. ‘‘I was overwhelmed, and I write cookbooks, for goodness sake!’’

‘‘It’s made even harder because one [of her sons] won’t have sandwiches, no bread at all in the lunch box. And I’m not alone.

‘‘There are so many fussy eaters and limitations from the school because of children with allergies and intolerances … it’s a juggle.’’

McCosker sat down with her kids one night in the lead-up to school starting and asked them to list the foods they like in their lunch boxes.

When one replied that he wanted ham, salami or chicken sandwiches, McCosker turned the everyday sandwich into something a bit different with recipes such as lunch box sushi.

The ‘‘sushi’’ is made with soy linseed bread (cut the crusts off and freeze to make bread crumbs), a little bit of mayonnaise, avocado and cucumber or whatever fillings take your fancy.

‘‘The kids were like, ‘oh mum, that looks fantastic!’ and really it’s just a sandwich, it took me two seconds,’’ she said.

‘‘Food is first eaten with the eye. If it looks nice, they might try it.

‘‘If it doesn’t look so good, it’s…guaranteed to come home.’’

The other thing her boys requested were dips. McCosker devised ‘‘go to’’ recipes such as two tablespoons of light sour cream, the same amount of whole egg mayonnaise, with some crushed garlic and salt and pepper. Another easy option is sour cream simply mixed with corn relish.

Pop the dip in a small container, along with some vegies (McCosker’s kids love cauliflower, carrot and red capsicum) and you’ve got an easy and nutritious lunch box item.

Next, McCosker adds some seasonal fruit to the lunch box, along with an ice brick in warmer weather. Think watermelon, grapes, bananas for this time of year when the seasonal fruit is naturally at its sweetest.

McCosker does add a few treats in the lunch box from time to time, including dried apricots drizzled with a little chocolate, or the 4 Ingredients Kids M&Ms slice recipe (made with blended Arrowroot biscuits, condensed milk and M&Ms).

But the cookbook author’s top tip is to prepare the lunches the night before.

‘‘Breakfast time is my absolute crush hour.

‘‘It is so busy because I’m trying to get out the door, my kids are trying to get out the door, my husband is trying to get out the door …

‘‘So if I had to face the clean-up after breakfasts, plus the clean-up after three lunch boxes, I would be a mental wreck. ‘‘

David Hunter, national executive chef at The Golden Door Australia, including Pokolbin’s Elysia Health Retreat, recommends getting kids involved in planting and growing their own food.

‘‘Get them interested in the growing process by rostering them on to water and weed the garden. And when it comes time to harvest let them pick and prepare the fruit and vegetables so they are more inclined to give it a try,’’ he said.

Setting up a salad bar at home can also get kids interested in making their own lunches. Have bread or wraps on hand with spreads like hummusand cottage or ricotta cheese, along with some vegies to complete the meal.