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Warrnambool teenager remanded over axe handle assault

Riley Flanagan, 19, of Wanstead Street, unsuccessfully applied for bail in Warrnambool Magistrates Court and is next scheduled to appear in court on May 19.A WARRNAMBOOL teenager charged with offences which led to an alleged victim jumping through a window to escape has been remanded in custody.
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Riley Flanagan, 19, of Wanstead Street, unsuccessfully applied for bail in Warrnambool Magistrates Court and is next scheduled to appear in court on May 19.

Detective Senior Constable Jason Bourke, of Warrnambool CIU, told court that Mr Flanagan and a co-accused were alleged to have gone to a McGregors Road home at 6.30pm on Wednesday.

They were met at the door by a woman and asked her to call a man to come around. He arrived about five minutes later.

The men then confronted the visitor and demanded cash, saying “where’s my money?”.

Detective Senior Constable Bourke said the pair were armed with a wooden stick, similar to an axe handle.

The visitor is then alleged to have denied he owed any money and was hit with the axe handle about 10 times to the head, face and arms.

The police officer said that during the assault the victim retreated to a corner of the lounge room, he pulled a curtain rod from the curtains, waved it around to defend himself and then broke a window which he jumped through to escape.

The two offenders are then alleged to have chased the victim down McGregors Road towards Tozer Road.

Mr Flanagan and the co-accused are then alleged to have resumed their assault after the victim fell to the ground.

The man suffered a laceration to his head, cuts to his hands and an elbow injury expected to require surgery to have pins and a plate put in place.

He also suffered ligament and muscle damage to his left knee.

In denying bail, magistrate Peter Mellas said the case against Mr Flanagan sounded strong.

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‘We’re all aviation tragics here’

Thrilled: Sydney’s Ezekiel Curnow, 8, is an aviation buff. He made the trip with his grandparents. Picture: SYLVIA LIBERQantas jumbo lands at Illawarra Regional Airport: photos, videoAviation history: old girl’s final flightAmazing reader pics of the Qantas landingThere were toys for the boys – both big and small at the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society.
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“It’s plane day,” Ezekiel Curnow shouted in joy when he opened his eyes first thing on Sunday morning.

Not even an early morning start could deter the enthusiasm of the eight-year-old, who has autism.

Historic: Geoff and Clare Loudon from Christchurch met up with fellow enthusiast Martin O’Dea. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

“Planes, or any type of aircraft, is what motivates him,” said mum Rachel Curnow, of Sydney.

His grandfather Bob Besley said the HARS hanger was “the biggest men’s shed anyone had ever seen”.

“We’re all aviation tragics here really,” said Mr Besley, a retired geologist and HARS member. “Old planes have such an amazing history. This is a very exciting day for us. A beautiful bird, with its lovely red tail, has come here on its final flight.”

Geoff and Clare Loudon travelled from Christchurch to witness the jumbo jet ending its career with its shortest flight ever from Sydney to Albion Park.

“This is a huge event,” Mr Loudon said. “We’re aircraft buffs. Our DC-3 plane is here, it’s part of the museum collection. We’re also members and sponsors. I think the 747 will be a great attraction for the museum which has in the past struggled financially. It will bring a lot more people to the air shows. I’m sure it will be a turning point for the society.”

Graeme Boyd flew in from Brisbane for the event.

“I’ve been a member of HARS since 1995,” he said. “I’m a geologist but have always been a very frustrated pilot. You know Qantas don’t give away their jumbos easily. The 747 is a magnificent piece of technology which you will probably be able to see from the road. This is a significant arrangement for HARS and one which will save the aircraft from ending up as a piece of twisted metal. She’s done her job and now this proud bird has a beautiful resting place.

Martin O’Dea, of Sydney, said it was amazing to be so close to the 747 as it landed.

“This is a very special event in Australia’s aviation history,” he said.

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Camperdown psychologist on the shortlist for Rural Women’s Award

A PASSION to increase access to mental healthcare in rural areas has Camperdown-based psychologist Melissa Ferrier in the running for a state award.
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Dr Ferrier is on the shortlist for the 2015 Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Award to be announced next week.

The $10,000 grant that comes with the top honour would allow her to continue her work in improving mental health access.

Dr Ferrier, a clinical psychologist, specialises in children, adolescents and families and combines her private practice work with visiting clinics and schools across the region.

Compared to the inner-city, she said regional areas severely lagged behind when it came to mental health access.

“I’m very excited that I’m shortlisted,” she said.

“It’s a great opportunity to have a platform to talk about the inequity for rural Australians in accessing mental healthcare.”

Dr Ferrier said the stigma surrounding mental health was improving in regional areas. “But there’s still that barrier we have to get past,” she said.

That change would come with more education in schools to encourage the next generation to view mental health positively, she said.

“More education in schools means then children grow up thinking that caring for their mind is just as important as caring for their body.”

Dr Ferrier came to the south-west from Melbourne in 2003 and quickly fell in love with Camperdown.

If she wins the award she plans to use it to promote telehealth services and market a computer program she has been developing over the past year.

Telehealth was one solution to addressing the lack of mental health professionals in rural areas. The service allows people seeking help in remote areas to be linked up with a psychologist from anywhere in Australia.

“We have to think outside the box a little bit,” she said.

Dr Ferrier said she had been working on a computer program to complement her work for the past year.

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Logans Beach village endorsed

A NEW housing subdivision overlooking Logans Beach, Warrnambool has moved closer to reality with the city council unanimously endorsing development plans.
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The Logans Beach Coastal Village will provide about 100 lots on former farm land south of Hopkins Point Road.

Lots will be a mixture of larger allotments with a minimum 2000-square-metre blocks and smaller sizes ranging from 400-1000 square metres.

Building height will be restricted to five metres and tree height to three metres to ensure coastal views.

The subdivision forms part of a larger growth area covering 119 hectares on the north and south of the Hopkins Point Road.

At this month’s council meeting Cr Rob Askew said the village plan had been well thought out.

Cr Peter Hulin said it would attract retirees from Melbourne.

He said he was intrigued by sections in the planning report which listed marram grass and coastal tea-tree as prohibited species and said native vegetation could be “trimmed, lopped or removed” to develop the proposed pedestrian path and fencing.

“It’s a pity we can’t do the same at McGennan car park,” Cr Hulin said.

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Tourism ‘heyday’ in the North

THE NORTH is experiencing its tourism ‘‘heyday’’, with hoteliers reporting a record-breaking summer season.
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Latest hotel occupancy rates recorded by the Tasmanian Hospitality Association show accommodation providers have enjoyed the busiest January on record.

‘‘Occupancy statistics in Northern Tasmania have been consistently above the region’s rolling 12-month average for some time,’’ THA general manager Steve Old said yesterday.

‘‘It shows that visitors are getting into the region and staying there and that the occupancy growth appears to be a sustained trend.

‘‘That’s excellent news not just for accommodation venues but also for restaurants and pubs and the many people whom they employ.’’

Tourism Northern Tasmania chief executive Chris Griffin said hoteliers were giving anecdotal evidence that February was also a record month.

‘‘This is the summer we’ve been waiting for for quite some years,’’ Mr Griffin said.

‘‘It would overall be the best on record by the time we’ve finished.

‘‘It certainly is the heyday for tourism in the North.’’

Mr Griffin said the bumper season was down to a combination of a low Australian dollar, strong regional access through Launceston Airport and the Tasmanian destination appeal.

The region achieved an occupancy rate of 82.6 per cent, breaking the previous high water mark of 81.1 per cent in 2014.

Mr Old said the region’s growth in annual average occupancy from February 2014 to January 2015 led the state, up 3.58 per cent to reach 67.71 per cent, ahead of the North-West.

‘‘With the occupancy in Southern Tasmania softening during the 12 months to January, the state’s growth of 1.34 per cent is clearly being driven by increasing occupancy in Northern and North-West Tasmania,’’ he said.

Mr Old said it was important that the region hosted high-quality events and was resourced to provide services to visitors and locals.

‘‘As we head into the off-peak tourism season, major events become even more critical,’’ Mr Old said.

Steve Old

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Hamilton man to stand trial over fires

Simon Cross, 33, now of Mackinnons Bridge Road, Noorat, last Friday appeared in the second day of a two-day Warrnambool Magistrates Court committal hearing.A HAMILTON man alleged to have threatened to torch a neighbour’s home while it was being rebuilt after a fire has been committed to stand trial on arson charges.
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Simon Cross, 33, now of Mackinnons Bridge Road, Noorat, last Friday appeared in the second day of a two-day Warrnambool Magistrates Court committal hearing.

Magistrate Peter Mellas committed Mr Cross to stand trial in the Warrnambool County Court.

Mr Cross entered pleas of not guilty to two counts of arson and one charge of making a threat to kill.

The case has been adjourned until a directions hearing on April 17.

Yesterday Mr Cross’ former neighbour Wendy Monk told the committal how Mr Cross had threatened to burn her property while she and her daughter were at home.

She said over the years there had been incidents between her and her neighbours the Cross family.

Ms Monk confirmed she had nothing kind to say about the Cross family, that she thought Simon Cross was a sexual deviant, family members trespassed on her property, stole vegetables and their sewage was illegally connected to her system.

Barrister Vince Peters cross-examined Ms Monk at length about why she thought her house had been burnt down by Mr Cross when she was approached by police after the fire.

Ms Monk said in a statement to police that Mr Cross verbally threatened her between September and November 2013 while her house was being rebuilt after a fire in 2012.

She said Mr Cross was in the backyard of his family home when he said to her: “If you and your f…ing daughter move back into that house, I’m going to burn it down with you, or both of you in it”.

On Thursday a police covert operative told the committal hearing how Mr Cross confessed to burning both Ms Monk’s home and then his own family home in Scoresby Street on November 12, 2013.

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Weekend of canine fun and fitness at Warrnambool’s Annual Obedience, Agility and Jumping TrialsPhotos

Weekend of canine fun and fitness at Warrnambool’s Annual Obedience, Agility and Jumping Trials | Photos Owners Sandy (left) and Gary Stockman with their successful charges Jet, Jay and Tai at the Warrnambool Dog Training School Annual Obedience, Agility and Jumping Trials held over the weekend. Picture: LEANNE PICKETT
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Gary and Sandy Stockman’s dogs Jay the Shetlan Sheepdog, Jet the Kelpie, and Tai the NZ Heading Dog. Picture:LEANNE PICKETT

Gary and Sandy Stockman’s dogs Jay the Shetlan Sheepdog, Jet the Kelpie, and Tai the NZ Heading Dog. Picture:LEANNE PICKETT

Norman Morcon from Melbourne with Crystal during Masters Agility. PICTURE:LEANNE PICKETT

Norman Morcon from Melbourne with Crystal during Masters Agility. PICTURE:LEANNE PICKETT

Norman Morcon from Melbourne with Crystal during Masters Agility. PICTURE:LEANNE PICKETT

Norman Morcon from Melbourne with Crystal during Masters Agility. PICTURE:LEANNE PICKETT

Norman Morcon from Melbourne with Crystal during Masters Agility. PICTURE:LEANNE PICKETT

Joan Murray from Adelaide with Ashem Hera during Masters Agility. PICTURE:LEANNE PICKETT

Joan Murray from Adelaide with Ashem Hera during Masters Agility. PICTURE:LEANNE PICKETT

Joan Murray from Adelaide with Ashem Hera during Masters Agility. PICTURE:LEANNE PICKETT

Ashem Hera during Masters Agility. PICTURE:LEANNE PICKETT

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Briefing sought on gallery plans

HOPES of a Liberal government commitment to the Newcastle Art Gallery development have been revived, but the party’s candidate says she wants a detailed briefing on the project to ensure it stacks up before making any promises.
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Under the Baird government’s plans to lease the ‘‘poles and wires’’, a $600million ‘‘cultural infrastructure’’ fund would be set up, opening up a potential funding pool for Newcastle’s gallery redevelopment after past attempts to secure state support failed.

Cathy Tate, part of the Save Our Cultural Institutions Committee, said the project now needed $14million, after a $7million federal grant expired and had to be handed back when the state government failed to match the support.

Without wanting to debate the merits of electricity privatisation, she said such a cultural fund, if on offer, should include a slice for Newcastle.

‘‘If the money is there, we want it,’’ she said.

This week the government also pledged $12million towards a Central Coast performing arts centre.

Mrs Tate said she expected it would be a ‘‘no brainer’’ for Liberal candidate for Newcastle Karen Howard to back the project, after pledging her support as an independent candidate for the October byelection.

But Ms Howard said on Friday she would seek a detailed briefing from gallery supporters about the status of the plans before committing to a position, and that the previous pledge had involved lending her support to the city’s cultural institutions rather than the gallery specifically.

‘‘I think I would be encouraging the Baird government to support anything that could encourage the city’s revitalisation,’’ Ms Howard said.

‘‘However, I’m conscious of the history with this proposal and the wildly varied cost estimates that are floating around.

‘‘I want to understand the facts before going further,’’ MsHoward said.

Labor has previously committed the $14million.

Despite questions about any part former lord mayor Jeff McCloy’s had in torpedoing state support for the proposal, a parliamentary inquiry found this week that the Liberal government had ‘‘never committed’’ to provide any funds.

The inquiry ‘‘did not consider that there has been any undue influence’’ on the state government’s position, and no evidence had surfaced to substantiate claims otherwise.

Tasmanian trials title to world champ

ENGLISH rider Alex Wigg showed the class that took him to the junior world championship by winning the open expert class at the Tasmanian Motorcycle Trials championship, which wrapped up at Mount Joy near Powranna yesterday.
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The two-day championships test riders’ ability to control their bikes and balance while traversing obstacle courses in natural terrain.

There was some close competition with about 35 local and interstate riders taking part across a number of grades.

Wigg beat Tasmanian Chris Bayles, who is ranked No.4 nationally, by 40 points in the open expert class.

Irish rider Shelley Hanlon was the other international competitor who finished third in B-grade.

The A-grade class was won by Brendan Smith, Brad Shadbolt took out B-grade while Angus Boud and Neil Burne were the C-grade winners.

Leading Tasmanian rider Chris Bayles in action at the Tasmanian motorcycle trials championships at Mount Joy, near Powranna. Picture: PHILLIP BIGGS

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Blind Guardian go far beyond

Adding proof to the tired cliche about good things coming to those who wait is Beyond The Red Mirror, the tenth long-player from German symphonic metal maestros Blind Guardian.
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Put simply, Beyond The Red Mirror is a triumph. From the opening choral pomp of The NinthWave through to the metallic fanfare of Grand Parade, this album exudes class.

The band’s first outing since 2010’s At The Edge Of Time, it serves as a conceptual sequel to the 1995 epic release, Imaginations From The Other Side.

Considering the first instalment of the tale included such dazzling workouts as The Script For My Requiem, Mordred’s Song, Another Holy War and the mighty title track, following on from where it left off is a feat most bands would not dare consider.

But, most bands don’t possess the incredible abilities of vocalist Hansi Kursch and his cohorts.

Such is their knack for constructing multi-layered and truly fascinating soundscapes that it’s no surprise to find they have far surpassed their spectacular previous body of work.

Calling in no less than three internationally renowned choirs [from Budapest, Prague and Boston] and two full-scale orchestras to help create the atmosphere, nothing has been spared in bringing the new creation to life.

And it’s not a case of the odd orchestral hit here and a dash of operatic vocals there. The choirs and orchestras are recurring elements, adding extra instrumental narrative to the fantastic lyrical worlds created by Kursch.

Describing the Blind Guardian sound is rather tricky at best. There are classic metal elements – at times the melodic guitar influences of the likes of Iron Maiden are rather evident; there are heavy passages of harmonic vocal layering, which bring to mind Freddie and Queen; there’s flat out speed; and there are enough time shifts and bouts of fret board wizardry to keep the musical intellectuals smiling.

Where many bands of similar ilk seem to excel in one or two areas, Blind Guardian prove they are truly without peer.

If proof were needed, one need only take in track Prophecies. I fail to find adequate superlatives to describe it.

The hairs on my arm rose upon first listen and by the second I found it near impossible to refrain to singing along with the key chorus grab, ”once upon a dream ago”.

If good music transports the listener to another time and place, thenthis is a time machine.

Special mention must go to the stellar guitar playing of key creator and lead, Andre Olbrich and his six-string sparring partner, Marcus Siepen.

The pair exchanges enough slick licks throughout this release to once and for all assure their place in the hall of guitar gods.

While I could easily laud each of the album’s tracks, I will highlight in particular The Holy Grail. It is quite honestly one of the finest metal offerings I have ever heard.

Stunning riffs, dazzling speed and yet, still capable of inspiring emotion, it is exquisite. Again, there’s a feeling of pure bliss derived from adding to Hansi’s already deeply layered chorus and singing loud the line, ”the holy grail is on its way now”.

Other standouts include the classic Twilight Of The Gods, The Throne and the beautiful refrain, Miracle Machine.

According to a quote in the presser attached to the new release, Olbrich says that after 30-some years in the business, the band is still bent on surprisingand impressing.

”Nowadays, music tends to be arbitrary and predictable, but we want to keep developing our music,” he goes on to say.

Assuming that is the case, the future certainly looks exciting.

Rating: 10/10

Blind Guardian will tour Australia in June. They will play The Hi-Fi in Sydney on June 20. Tickets are on sale now.

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