Concerns over Sturt roadworks

BORAMBOLA residents fear they have been left to navigate a death trap after botched roadworks along the Sturt Highway have seen unsecured chunks of bitumen the size of tennis balls flick up under vehicles.
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Mates Gully Road resident Greg Hughes said he was initially pleased when Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) crews arrived on site a few weeks ago to repair the badly damaged road.

But as the trucks left and the work was “finished”, Mr Hughes said he was stunned to find a series of “rough surface” signs adorning the section of road where the work took place.

“When you come and do a job you don’t put a sign out saying rough surface, it should be done properly,” he said.

“All they had to do was dig it up and reseal it properly.”

Inspecting the heavy balls of bitumen which are tossed from the road when trucks pass, Mr Hughes said he feared that the poor condition of the road could cause a fatal accident if the pieces flick up and go through the windscreen of a car.

“Ninety per cent of the traffic run off the road to avoid it,” he said, indicating the large potholes and broken bitumen surface.

“You see trucks come over the shoulder and you see them fishtail.”

While experienced drivers are able to adapt to the changing road conditions, Mr Hughes said for inexperienced drivers, such as his 16-year-old daughter who has a learner licence, the road was challenging and ultimately unsafe.

“This is a highway, not a back street,” he said.

“If it gets rain on it God knows what would happen.”

An RMS spokeswoman confirmed it had finished the scheduled work along the Sturt Highway.

However, she said RMS staff would be returning to the site to inspect the work, carry out any necessary repairs and clean up the reported debris.

“While crews carry out regular inspections of RMS roads, advice from the public is always welcomed,” the spokeswoman said.

ROAD WORRY: Borambola resident Greg Hughes inspects the chunks of loose bitumen which are flicking up under vehicles travelling along the Sturt Highway. Picture: Oscar Colman

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Driver lucky to be alive convicted

DRINK-DRIVER Ashley Sutton could have died from the injuries he suffered when he crashed his utility in Wagga last November.
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Surgeons had to remove Sutton’s spleen.

He had four broken vertebrae and a metal plate was inserted to support his back.

He had bleeding on the brain and brain swelling, and he was placed in a coma for 14 days to limit further injury.

In Wagga Local Court yesterday, the 32-year-old Temora refrigeration mechanic was described as a “living and breathing example of what can go wrong with drinking and driving” by magistrate Michael Antrum.

Police were alerted to Sutton’s crash on the Eunony Bridge Road on November 24 by a passer-by who saw the tray of Sutton’s ute on the road.

Police arrived about 3.20am to find the ute up against a tree about 30 metres off the road.

The cabin was crushed and the passenger side and rear wall of the cabin was sheared off.

Debris was spread over 80 metres.

A conscious Sutton moaned to police: “Just go away, leave me alone”.

He was flown to St George Hospital in Sydney with life-threatening injuries.

Sutton survived, but his solicitor yesterday told Mr Antrum that Sutton has not worked since the crash and still grapples with pain and other repercussions on a daily basis.

He said Sutton intends to talk to school students about his experience to prevent them from making his mistake.

Mr Antrum told Sutton it was almost a miracle he was still alive, but chose not to lecture him.

“I don’t think there is anything I could say to you that would have anywhere near the impact of the injuries you suffered from what can only be described as a catastrophic decision by you to drive after drinking,” Mr Antrum said.

“I have absolutely no doubt we will not see you before the court again for a drink-driving matter.”

Sutton was fined $800 and disqualified from driving for two years and six months backdated to November 24 after pleading guilty to driving with a high-range prescribed concentration of alcohol reading of .159.

He was also convicted of negligent driving after pleading guilty to the offence but no other penalty was imposed.

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Port Fairy reserves player cops 12-match suspension for breaking opponent’s jaw

A PORT Fairy footballer who broke the jaw of a Cobden opponent has received a 12-match suspension.
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Reserves footballer Chris Thorne copped the ban after the Hampden league independent tribunal condemned his deliberate strike on Bomber Joel Wallace.

Wallace suffered fractures on both sides of his jaw and cracks in his teeth from the incident during the fourth quarter of the clash at Gardens Oval on Saturday.

Doctors at Geelong inserted two titanium plates in his jaw this week and he has to have a follow-up X-ray next week.

Wallace is consigned to a diet of pureed foods for six weeks and cannot exercise or open his mouth wide.

The tribunal heard Thorne swung Wallace to the ground at a boundary throw-in outside the Bombers’ forward 50.

The tackle prompted Cobden club umpire Barrie Walder to pay Wallace a free kick.

Wallace delivered the ball into the Bombers’ attack and Thorne followed up by rushing towards him and striking him with his right forearm and elbow.

“I kicked it inside Cobden’s 50 and I was watching where the ball was and I got hit,” Wallace said.

“I didn’t have time to protect myself. I wasn’t expecting anything.”

Wallace said he was a university student at RMIT in Bundoora and had a doctor’s certificate to miss two weeks of class.

Thorne told the tribunal he believed Wallace had played on when he ran towards him. “My intention wasn’t to injure him. It was to hip and shoulder him,” he said.

“I meant to use my shoulder but my arm came out and I came in contact with his face.”

Thorne said he was surprised Wallace’s injuries were so severe.

He said he was “very remorseful” for the incident, a statement his advocate Michael Finnigan backed up. Finnigan said Port Fairy did not condone Thorne’s actions but would support him and Wallace where it could.

“There could be further action that proceeds (from) this (tribunal),” he said, without elaborating.

In the night’s other case, Terang Mortlake onballer Nathan Couch successfully challenged an attempted striking charge from Saturday’s encounter with Camperdown.

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The Shire recap: now with added ferret

Pause for thought … The Shire Boogie the camera shy ferret … The Shire
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Beckaa goes brunette … The Shire

Best first date ever? … The Shire

Olympics come and go but The Shire is here to stay. So it seems is the TV series. So here’s another recap of another episode. Of the series. Not the suburb. Which are different things. With the same name.

The PlayersMitch, our narrator and from the promos, tragic hero tonightGabby, Mitch’s ex ex, now current, she probably has other roles in life … probablySimon, Mitch’s mate and speed dating bell ringer (literally)Andy, Mitch’s mate and speed dating bell ringer (metaphorically)Michelle, Mitch’s Mum, surely by now wishing her son had chosen a safe, sensible job like armaments testing.Beckaa, currently possessed of real boobs and a boob for a fatherKirs and Stace, Beckaa’s interchangeable BFFs, probably the next thing that Beckaa wants to enhanceTony, the responsible adult in Beckaa’s life – LOOK WHAT YOU DID!Joel ‘Rif-Raf’, raps on demand … this appears to be a rare eventSophie and Vernesa, a.k.a. Verphie, setting a new standard in “best thing about a show”Kerry, bar manager, friend setter upperTegan, friend of Kerry, professional slippery sliderMatt ‘Spock’, Kerry’s “not boyfriend”, subject of Folksy’s devotionFolksy, Spock’s special friend Nickee, lingerie model, able to read text messages in two years or lessMegan and Courtnii, Nickee’s friends and lingerie colleagesBoogie, Megan’s ferret … yes, finally, the episode has arrived

Previously on The Shire, Andy proved that speed dating could drag out for ever, Beckaa found a plastic surgeon who will agree that anything is a good idea for money, and Tony made the very same doctor look like he’d make a good parent. “Ok darling you can have DD breasts as long as you really, REALLY promise to study.”

Title sequence, bizarrely spelt names, montage, montage, montage… ooh look a surfer!

Today, Mitch is raking tiles (not a metaphor, though it should be … what would it mean?) with Dave, Andy’s Dad. Andy is working in management due to his broken ankle, so is focusing on checking his messages, including one from the speed dating agency who have proudly found three “lovely ladies” willing to sign the document allowing this show to assassinate their personality.

Mitch thinks Andy should pick Tegan because she’s a looker and, you know, already in the show.

Beckaa thinks she might need to “tweak” ummm “everything” to be a beauty queen. The hairdresser thinks Beckaa might need to have hair in order to look human, but what would she know? Beckaa may have some bald spots from straightening her hair, or from the electrodes that she mimes applying to her scalp. So Beckaa’s hair goes into rehab. Beckaa is convinced to stay there with it.

Montage, montage, montage… oooh a Frisbee!

Tile raking is over, it’s time for standing on a pile of dirt with no shirt on, the traditional pose for emotional revelations.

Cue Mitch’s revelation that he’s never met his Dad.

Andy, who is Mitch’s best mate, has never discussed this with him. However he recognises what Mitch has been missing in not having a Dad. Like … Beers with Dad. Andy thinks Mitch should remove a “what if?” from his life. In this instance it’s “what if your Dad doesn’t drink beer … you could like drink his too!”

Ad, ad, ad, montage, montage, montage… oh look a Nickee!

Wait, what? That’s no pointless shot. Nickee is a Diva. And by Diva she means lingerie waitress. And by lingerie waitress she means bunny / cop / bikini waitress, and before you decide to make a crude comment meet her man mountain Michael, who has been her big hunk of boyfriend for two years and her world revolves around him… due to the laws of gravity.

Nickee wanted to marry Michael until he broke her heart, by sending messages and flowers to another girl. Unfortunately she hasn’t forgiven him despite his grovelling … curiousity about how her night at work was, so now she’s not sure if she should marry him.

A one legged man walks into a bar … limp, limp, thud. It’s Andy with the leg, Kerry with the bar, and the bar with Tegan and two incredibly awkward extras. Andy is here to ask Tegan out. Kerry is here to make sure this scene ends sometime before Christmas. So it’s settled, Andy will take Tegan out on a date to play golf. Yes golf for the guy who can’t walk and the girl who is “unco.” Romance isn’t dead, it’s just been beaten into a coma by a limping man with a “golf bat.”

Back in hair rehab, Beckaa is stumped by the “Are You A Pageant Queen?” multiple choice quiz in her magazine as she can’t find the answer “Daddy bought it for me” anywhere, so she needs help. By sheer coincidence, Stace has dropped in to stare at the freak. As the camera takes advantage of Beckaa being distracted to highlight the portion of her fact the fake tan hasn’t been hitting because of her hair, Stace takes advantage of Beckaa’s rehab incarceration to get her advice. These must be those desperate times the cliché referred to.

Stace wants to come out to his parents, and no, Beckaa can’t get her Dad to buy him parents that know about his sexuality.

Beckaa suspects that Stace may not be as stealthy about being gay as he thinks, as she has never encountered a situation in which she knew something that any other person, pet or inanimate object didn’t also know. Beckaa helps Stace feel better by pointing out that she’ll always be there for him. So he really has nothing to lose… should he run away to another country.

Nickee is staring at her wall, which reminds her of the physique of her boyfriend and the intellect of …

Megan and Courtnii, Nickee’s besties drop around to bathe Boogie, not a rehearsal for a new work routine, rather a ritual in which they wash Megan’s pet ferret Boogie. Talking to us in an aside with her wall, Nickee admits she thinks Megan’s ferret looks like a stretched rat and then also suggests that Boogie suits Megan. Thankfully the video crew and Nicky’s real friend, the wall, promise not to pass that on to Megan. Or Boogie.

Is it wrong that Boogie doesn’t even rate in the top ten most bizarre characters on this show?

Ad, ad, ad, montage, montage, montage … train spotting! It appears they’re doing works on the Cronulla train station. Probably to prevent anyone leaving before they sign their appearance contract.

Mitch and Gabby have dropped around for a spot of breakfast with a side of bombshell with Mitch’s mum Michelle. Mitch asks if Michelle would be ok with him meeting his Dad. And. Pause. For. Drama. Yes, that’s ok, do you want his number? Well, what kind of soap opera is this?!

Wave, montage, ferret … Shakespeare eat your heart out. Crumbs I’m beginning to wonder where Verphie are.

The water is rolling off Boogie like moisture into a towel, and Nicky is unloading her problems with similar ease. Michael has been sending texts, sexts and naked photos of himself to another girl she reveals. Megan has experience with this, as Boogie used to run up other people’s trousers, and she suspects Michael might be the sort to do this again.

Beckaa can’t believe how long she has been in rehab, complaining that this has eaten massively into her drinking and clubbing time which is more than a little disturbing as the sun hasn’t gone down yet. In fact she’s been here so long that her hair is now half as long, dark brunette and … no I don’t care if Stace says “voom” or Beckaa says “volume” that is still not HAIR.

In a moment of clarity, Beckaa admits she doesn’t look like Barbie. Then she proves the at-home DIY electrotherapy is really working by hypothesising that because she’s a brunette she’ll have to be Barbie’s step sister who kills Barbie. Soon after Beckaa offers to go with Stace to tell his mum that Stace is gay. I’m really hoping Stace’s mum isn’t a blonde.

Maria the hairdresser knows there are cameras rolling so she doesn’t want to make any binding promises, however she also saw daddy’s credit card that Beckaa paid with so she assures Beckaa that if she comes in weekly she will definitely look … “better.” In the deleted scenes Maria also tried promises of “original”, “different”, “interesting” and “a little bit less like you.”

Montage, montage, montage … anyone for a kebab? Seriously, where are Verphie?

Mitch and Gabby are trying to have a serious conversation. Gabby suspects it might be hard for Mitch to process all that is involved in meeting his Dad for the first time. Mitch is uncomfortable with the change in genre for this show so tries half-heartedly to pick a fight with Gabby instead. It doesn’t take, so the ad intervenes to ensure we don’t have a moment of human connection.

Ad, ad, ad … girl on a golf cart.

Yes we’re on the driving range. Tegan meets Andy there as the modern woman’s book of dating etiquette isn’t clear on the transport arrangements for night golfing first dates. Somehow given a date which Andy borrowed from the Tiger Woods book of how to impress women, it is Tegan who is worried about not impressing Andy. Dude, this one’s a keeper.

Andy can hit a ball, Tegan can hit a tee and no one is making puns about balls or holes or driving things. Not on my watch. Then Tegan reveals she’s never been on a date before, ever, which is why this is only the third worst date she’s been on.

Montage, montage, montage … boat.

Nickee is having dinner with Michael and lets him know what happened before the ads, as even he wasn’t watching. Nickee asks Michael why he did it and he discusses how he was unsure at the beginning of the relationship whether he wanted to be with Nickee. Sorry, when were these text messages sent? Did this only come out when the show’s researchers dug this up? Nickee then reveals that she is 10 or 11 days late and may be pregnant and now Michael isn’t sure at the end of the relationship whether he wants to be with Nickee … or on television when he gets told this.

And we are out, with no Verphie sightings. It can be done.

Next week Verphie are back and hiring an employee so they can free up their time to appear in the show more.

*No ferrets or actual hair were harmed in the making of this recap

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Big W stunned

WFL – After a less than ideal preparation, Wimmera Football League suffered a shock forty point loss to a hungry Mallee team in Saturday’s Interleague clash at Hopetoun.
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The Big W, missing a host of stars who were either unavailable or injured, was no match for a Mallee team on the rise, which claimed victory 16.11 (107) to 9.13 (67).

Wimmera coach Andrew Bach described the resounding defeat as ‘disappointing’.

“They were too big, too strong and were harder at the contests,” Bach said.

“You could tell they wanted to play Interleague football.”

A relatively even first half contest saw Mallee holding a slim three point lead at quarter time and then enjoy a five point buffer at the main break.

Although it was a tight opening first half, Bach said Wimmera’s turnovers and ball control was a concern.

Wimmera went forward a few times and missed easy goals, adding scoreboard pressure that cost the visitors in the first half.

The momentum was with Mallee and they capitalised on it with a six goal to none blitz in the third term.

Bach said Mallee wanted the ball more in the middle and Wimmera’s ‘pretty poor’ manning up and ball disposal was the catalyst to Mallee extending their lead to 42 points at three quarter time.

“We needed to win control and use the ball properly. They moved the ball well, hit the ball hard and they broke packs,” Bach said.

The message to Wimmera at three quarter time was to remain positive despite the seven goal lead, continue to man up, use the ball and try to control it.

However it was a ruthless Mallee team that Wimmera were facing.

Despite its match winning lead, Mallee did not give up and continued to apply pressure throughout the final term to run away with the 40 point victory.

“They turned up and wanted to play,” Bach said.

Wimmera was hit hard by injuries with Nhill coach Simon Brearley (hamstring), proven Interleague player Alan Batchelor (ankle) and Sam Graetz (hamstring) all ruled out as well as many other players who had ruled themselves out injured or unavailable.

“We want people to play (Interleague). The guys who represented Wimmera on Saturday are disappointed. It (the loss) hurts them. But they put up their hands and wanted to play. It is disappointing that people didn’t by making themselves unavailable,” Bach said.

Stawell Warriors’ onballer Justin Eales ‘battled hard all day’ while Cam Kimber was ‘in at the ball’ and fellow Warrior Jackson Dark ‘did some good things’.

Ararat’s Jake Williamson was, according to Bach, ‘in at everything’ and young team mate Jake Robinson will be better for the experience.

Paul Adlington was solid through the midfield and went forward where he booted a goal and Bach rated Steve Cameron’s performance on Mallee power forward Kain Robins as a positive for his side.

Mallee onballer/small forward Luke Carr, a former WFL and Horsham player, was awarded the Victorian Country Football League best on ground medal.

It was a complete team performance by Mallee, which moves up two spots to 14th on the Interleague rankings.

Wimmera currently sits at 17th, sliding down two positions following the weekend’s loss.

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