Sturt Street fire station to stop traffic

Fire trucks turning out to emergencies in Ballarat are now doing it in more safety, thanks to a new piece of technology installed this week.
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The Ballarat City Fire Brigade now has control of traffic lights on the eastbound lanes of Sturt Street and the southbound lane of Ripon Street, allowing trucks to turn into an empty Sturt Street during emergencies.

Firefighters have had several “near misses” in the past and have been working towards having the device installed for more than two years.

Senior station officer Anthony Pearce said the new device, approved by VicRoads, begins to stop traffic as soon as emergency calls reach the Sturt Street station.

“It’s programmed to activate the traffic lights at Ripon Street automatically when we receive a call,” he said.

“The red and blue lights out the front will start flashing, and about 30 seconds after that the traffic will be stopped.”

Mr Pearce said firefighters wanted to explain to motorists why the regular traffic signal sequence could change on occasion.

“We probably have four or five call-outs a day, so for five times a day – it’s not that bad,” he said.

“At the end of the day, it’s about our safety and the safety of every other road user as well.”

Mr Pearce said that before this week, fire trucks could turn out into congested traffic or have to wait until the two lanes cleared.

“Other times when they go past, we’ve got to negotiate them if they get congested further up the street,” he said.

“Now we should have a clear run.”

The brigade has been involved in an “ongoing process” for the past two or three years to obtain the system, which they say will shorten the time it takes to get to emergencies.

“It will allow us to exit the station safely and, in turn, may reduce our response times,” Mr Pearce said.

The system was installed on Tuesday by VicRoads staff.

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Safe exit: Senior station officer Anthony Pearce with the new device to control the traffic lights on Sturt Street. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD

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Suspension spurs Swan on to reach peak fitness

MELBOURNE – Collingwood’s Brownlow Medallist Dane Swan is making the most of his club-imposed suspension to build towards a fitness peak for the AFL finals, says coach Nathan Buckley.
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The Magpies had initially considered giving Swan a VFL game this weekend as he serves the second game of his two-match AFL ban, imposed for breaking club rules by going out drinking.

Buckley said yesterday the club had instead decided to continue with an intensive training program designed to give the gun midfielder a September boost.

“The proof will be in the pudding,” Buckley said.

“He’s definitely committed to his training and he’s working hard, so that’s been great to see.

“He’s sought out (midfield coach Robert Harvey) for extra touch sessions.

“He and (sports science director) David Buttifant, or the three or four of us sat down and put a program together, as we do with all of our individuals, to get the very best out of them over that next period of time.

“Swanny’s been diligent with that and speaking to him yesterday after watching the game on Saturday night, he’s pretty toey and looking forward to being able to get his hands dirty.”

The benefits an in-season break can have for Swan were demonstrated last year when he hit top form after a mid-season training trip to Arizona.

While he has not used his current ban to head to the US, he has been working in the Magpies’ altitude room to build fitness.

Fellow midfielder Dale Thomas will play against in-form North Melbourne on Saturday night, despite being subbed off with a corked thigh during last Saturday night’s win over Sydney.

“He’s actually come up as well as we could have hoped and he’s really looking forward to Saturday night,” Buckley said.

Andrew Krakouer, Ben Johnson and Brent Macaffer, all working their way back from long-term injuries through the VFL, will all need at least one more second-tier game before they can push for AFL comebacks.

“Time’s running out,” Buckley said.

“We’ve got two more VFL games, not just for those players, but clearly there’s some other talent in our stocks that want to take advantage of their opportunities at VFL level and be putting their foot forward by playing great footy.”

Collingwood Brownlow Medallist Dane Swan has thrown himself into an intense training regime while on a club-imposed suspension. Picture: Fairfax.

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Four-wheel drivers destroy lake lookout

I HAVE written in some of my past articles with regard to some of the mindless acts of vandalism that have occurred in fishing areas.
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I was alerted to the latest act, in which the Great Lake lookout, at the top of “haulage hill”, was pulled over by morons with a four-wheel drive and a snatch strap.

There are many other instances of lake shores being destroyed and rubbish being left for others to clean up.

The mindless few cause this damage and tarnish the reputation of others who are doing the right thing.

They also use up resources that cost us all money.

I implore anyone who sees any of this to alert the authorities and assist them in catching the idiots.

Great Lake continues to fish well and the Swan Bay area seems to be a good bet.

Some of the fish are in good condition and have good colour so they are well worth catching for a feed.

Black and Gold T Tails, Ashley spinners, bibbed lures and worms have all accounted for good bags.

Lake Barrington is still giving up Atlantic salmon and is still worth a trip.

Try a Rapala CD perch or some of the Nilsmaster spearheads in brighter colours.

I gave a tip a couple of weeks ago that Shimano Waxwings caught some fish for an angler.

A couple of others tried them with success so make sure you have one or two in the tackle box if you are heading to Lake Barrington.

The Mersey River has been a happy hunting ground for a number of anglers and there have been some good fish caught.

Worms and spinning are the most productive methods at the moment.

There are numerous reports of blackfish being caught in the Pet dam by anglers using worms.

Blackfish are quite bony but have a soft, sweet, delicate flesh and many people love to eat them.

River mouths along the coast will be well worth a look when this rain clears as we have had reports of trout working the lower reaches of some rivers, with the white bait not that far away.

A small sluk lure in the white bait pattern have proved to be a good option.

Saltwater fishing has slowed, but some hardy anglers are still catching a feed of flathead when the weather allows them to get out.

Last weekend was good and there were a few who took advantage and reaped the rewards.

Tight lines till next week

Jarrod Burn with a couple of beauties that he caught at Four Springs with a Gulp 3″ Pearl Watermelon soft plastic.

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Finalists come down to luck of the draw

MELBOURNE – Carlton coach Brett Ratten has questioned inequalities in the AFL draw, which could cost the club a finals spot.
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Ratten said questions should be asked if a team which was able to chalk up 13 wins this year did not make the top eight.

While the Blues are currently 11th on the ladder with 10 wins, victories on the closing three rounds would give them 13 – but not necessarily a finals berth.

Essendon at eighth on the ladder has 11 wins, just one more than the Blues.

Carlton this year will have played power side Collingwood and Essendon twice and clubs near it – St Kilda and Richmond – twice.

North Melbourne is sixth on the ladder with 12 wins and by contrast has met bottom sides Gold Coast, Greater Western Sydney and the Western Bulldogs twice.

“It’s interesting; if you won 13 games and didn’t make the eight, does that put it down to the draw?” Ratten asked.

“We’ve got to win this week before we can say we’re going to win 11 games, but that would be very interesting for teams to have a year like that.

“It would be the first time a team has won 13 games and not made the eight, which then would really put it down to: is the draw that fair then?”

Former Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse said earlier this week that ladder leaders Sydney and Adelaide did not deserve their positions because they had had easier draws.

Ratten said a 50% win-loss ratio was arguably not a strike rate that should warrant a finals spot.

“I think if you win 50%, if you’re 11 and 11, that really puts you in the basket of, do you deserve to be there or not?

“But when you get to 13, I think you might have a case to say you’re in pretty good shape and maybe you should make it.”

Ratten said the addition of new club Greater Western Sydney added a new variation to the top eight.

“This first year was always (a matter of) how’s it going to pan out?” he said.

“I think we’re just having a look as a competition across the board to see what’s the new number for teams making the eight.”

Malthouse claimed Hawthorn was better than both Sydney and Adelaide.

“I just can’t get my head around it. Looking at the ladder and seeing Sydney on top, Adelaide second,” Malthouse said.

“I can’t get my head around them being the best two sides in the comp _ because they’re not.

“It’s a lot to do with the draw. They’re not the best sides. I’m not saying they’re dreadful sides but I don’t think they’re the best sides, and they can finish on top of the ladder.”

Brett Ratten

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Time on Jackson’s side

DESPITE suffering a first- round loss in his Olympics debut, Latrobe boxer Jackson Woods remained upbeat upon his return to the North-West Coast yesterday.
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Woods’ arrival at Devonport Airport was a low-key affair, but the 19-year-old shone brightly, proudly wearing his Australian tracksuit in the chilly conditions.

“I was a little bit disappointed in my performance, but I’m only 19, so I’ve got time to make up for it.” Woods said in light of his loss to Algerian Samir Brahimi in the 52kg division.

Despite his early exit, Woods said his first Olympics experience was something that would stay with him forever.

“In the village was just crazy, it’s something that you can’t explain unless you are there,” he said.

“I got pictures with Lleyton Hewitt, Bernard Tomic, LeBron James and I saw Usain Bolt a couple of times, which felt pretty weird just being this bloke from Latrobe.

“I actually watched Bolt win the 200m final, which was amazing, along with watching a bit of diving.”

Woods also praised fellow Tasmanian boxer and team captain Luke Jackson, who announced his retirement after his opening bout loss.

“Jacko (Jackson) and I are really close. If I ever needed anything he was the first person to help me out.”

With the world championships in Kazakhstan next year along with the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Woods will sit down with his coach, Craig Woods, and plan his future, which may include moving up in weight division.

“I might move up to 56kg division, I’m not sure yet. If I do, I’ll start going to the gym and putting on a bit of muscle.” Woods said.

“I don’t struggle too much with making weight, but it was a little bit tiring having to move down 4kg.”

“I’m managing it alright, but I feel if I move up a weight division I’d be a lot stronger and have more energy.”

Australia’s Olympic team was given a rousing reception at the official welcome home ceremony at Sydney Airport yesterday.

About 500 guests, including Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, friends, family and a large media contingent, packed into a hangar at the airport to greet the athletes after they touched down at 7.15am.

Meares eyes more gold at Rio, Page 36.

Boxer Jackson Woods arrives home from the Olympics at Devonport Airport yesterday. Picture: Stuart Wilson.

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