June, 2019

Is the traditional Aussie backyard dying?

Home Free: Apparently loads of Lower Hunter residents think backyards are part of an ideal home. Could have fooled us. The Australian dream has to include a backyard, doesn’t it?
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In our mind, it does. But we’re not so sure it does in the minds of the countless others who buy houses with tiny backyards in new estates.

This is why we were a bit surprised atresearch, whichcame out yesterday,that found 74 per cent of Lower Hunter residents consider“a private garden/backyard isthemost common feature in their ideal home”.

We’re all for backyards.To us, there’s nothinglike heading out into the backyard, placingbare feet on grass and watching the birds zoom alongflight paths between the trees, witha cup of tea in hand.

But when we look at new estates, all we see are poor excuses for backyards.

The research,commissioned by gonaturalgas南京夜网.au,found that peoplein the Lower Hunter “still have traditional views of the great Australian dream”.

This was apparently true,“even in the modern age where we have smart devices and gadgets always at our fingertips”.

“We haven’t changed our views on what makes a house a home,” the statementsaid.

At first, we wondered why a gas company was doing this kind of research.

Then we noticed that their key findings included that72 per centof Lower Hunter residents “consider a natural gas cooktop or range cooker appliances to be essential in their ideal kitchen” and45 per cent“picture a fully functioning chef’s kitchen in their ideal home”.

Who wouldn’t want a chef’s kitchen? [As long as it’s powered by gas, hey!].

A Rabbit’s Foot A rabbit’s foot in Lake Macquarie.

Everyone knows arabbit’s foot is a lucky charm.But what if the rabbit’s foot is spraypainted on a road?

Glen Fredericks, of Empire Coffee Co at Honeysuckle, spotted this painted roadkill inLake Macquarie.

“Is it the result of an inattentive road-line marking crew, or is it a new art installation?” Glen wondered.

This got us thinking. Why is a rabbit’s foot considered to be lucky anyhow?

Apparently, it’s abelief held by folks in many places,including Europe, China, Africa, and North and South America.

In the book, Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things,Charles Panati wrote that the luck attributed to a rabbit’s foot stems from a beliefthat “humankinddescended from animals”.

It was also ancientman’s way ofprotecting himself from a helter-skelter world.

“It was an attempt to impose human will on chaos. And when one amulet failed, he tried another, then another. In this way, thousands of ordinary objects, expressionsand incantations assumed magical significance,” he wrote.

“In fact, there’s scarcely a thing in our environment around which some culture has not woven a superstitious claim: mistletoe, garlic, apples, horseshoes, umbrellas, hiccups, crossed fingers andrainbows.”

And don’t forget four-leaf clovers.


NEG is the only credible plan: Treasurer

A week out from a meeting to secure state and territory seals of approval for the Turnbull government’s signature energy plan, Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg is still busy putting out fires lit by his own party.
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Notoriously pro-coal former prime minister Tony Abbott is the latest to throw shade at the plan, rejecting claims from guarantee designers the Energy Security Board that it will save up to $550 a year on household electricity bills.

“Frankly, pigs might fly,” Mr Abbott told 2GB radio.

“It’s completely implausible. It’s utterly incredible. Every bit of modelling has said in the past that renewables reduce prices, and the fact is the more renewables we’ve got, the higher prices go.”

The latest policy modelling forecasts under the guarantee the amount of coal in the energy generation mix will fall from 75 per cent to 60 per cent over the next 11 years, while renewables will grow from 17 per cent to 36 per cent.

Despite backbench rumblings, Mr Frydenberg maintains there’s strong support among his coalition colleagues for the plan.

“You’ve heard ministers and the prime minister make that very clear day-in, day-out,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

Among them, Treasurer Scott Morrison on Thursday threw down the gauntlet to those proposing the policy, calling it the only credible plan to cut energy prices.

“If you’re not for the national energy guarantee, then you’re for continued uncertainty which leads to higher prices,” he told reporters in Melbourne.

It will bring sanity, calm and stability to the electricity network to ensure there’s a more stable electricity market, which will have flow on effects for pricing, he said.

Mr Frydenberg wants states and territories to back the guarantee when they meet next Friday.

“The country is sick of the hyper-partisanship around this issue,” he said.

“As the political battlelines have been drawn it’s been the consumers that have been the casualties.”

Victorian energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio says her state won’t sign up if Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull can’t get the coalition partyroom to support the policy.

Queensland and the ACT have asked for the modelling data, not just the results of the modelling, in order to satisfy themselves about the benefits of the policy.


Pregnant Vic woman strangled, coroner says

A pregnant Melbourne woman whose death was staged to looked like a tragic weightlifting accident was actually strangled, a coroner says.
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Snezana Stojanovska, 26, was found dead with a barbell across her neck by her husband Dragi Stojanovski in their Preston garage in November 2010.

Victorian State Coroner Sara Hinchey on Thursday found the woman was a victim of homicide and directed the matter be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Ms Stojanovska was found in her pyjamas and a dressing gown lying on a makeshift bench press – an ironing board propped up with telephone books.

Judge Hinchey agreed with a doctor’s analysis that the young woman, who was 12 weeks’ pregnant with Mr Stojanovski’s child, had not dropped the weights on her neck, but had been strangled.

“The pattern of bruises, the many, quite separate bruises and in particular the ones up underneath the ear and around the jaw, did not fit at all with the story presented that this may have been an entrapment by a barbell,” said Dr Malcolm Dodd, who inspected the body.

A sports science expert quoted in the coroner’s findings said the equipment set-up in the Stojanovski’s garage was the strangest he’d seen.

Dr Harry Brennan said the ironing board was balanced “precariously” on top of the phone books and a chair at the head of the ironing board would have made it hard to lift the weights.

He also said most women doing a work-out would wear a sports bra, t-shirt, leggings and runners – not pyjamas, no bra and bare feet.

Ms Hinchey noted a “significant” phone call made by the victim’s brother-in-law, Vasko, to the family doctor 35 minutes before he called triple-zero.

Paramedics arrived six minutes after they were called and found Ms Stojanovska’s body cold and in the early stages of rigor mortis.

“These signs are evidence of the fact that Ms Stojanovska would not have been alive at the time that the call was made from Mr Stojanovski’s mobile phone to (the family doctor),” she said.

A lawyer acting for Mr Stojanovski submitted that the police investigation into his wife’s death did not start well because it only began once the doctor’s autopsy findings did not fit with the weightlifting story.

It was five months before Mr Stojanovski, Vasko and their mother Pisana were arrested and interviewed by police.

On Thursday, Ms Hinchey said she could make no finding of criminality on the part of Mr Stojanovksi, Vasko or Pisana.

However she noted they were the only people at the house at the time and that there were no signs of forced entry to the premises.

Mr Stojanovski was excused from giving evidence during the inquest after saying his answers could tend to incriminate him.


Construction set for $28 million Redhead aged care expansion

Construction set for $28 million Redhead aged care expansion TweetFacebookCONSTRUCTION on a $28 million aged care expansion at Redhead will begin in a few months, the project’s owners have announced.
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Not-for-profit aged care provider The Whiddon Group will build a new two-storey aged care home and expand and refurbish the existing Redhead Road 60-bed home.

The company said the project would create an extra 115 aged care places, taking its total capacity to 175 residents. It will also add 36 parking spaces to the existing 12 on site.

Whiddon chief executive Chris Mamarelis said the project would deliver benefits to the region.

“There is a need for additional residential aged care places for older people in the region and this new facility will help to cater for current and future aged care needs,” he said.

“It will also bring new jobs in nursing care, hospitality and hotel services, and a significant investment in the local community.”

The Whiddon Group application was unanimously approved by the Hunter Joint Regional Planning Panel at a meeting inJune.

It was subject to more than 30 conditions of consent. The company subsequently sought to vary several of those instructions including the requirement for the company to pay developer contributions.

The firm sought an exemption for providing social housing or a delay until an occupation certificate was issued. The push was denied, with any future application expected to return to the planning panel.

In its decision the panel stated it considered there were “sufficient environmental planning groups” to support an exception to a maximum height of one storey imposed on the site.

“Regard was given to the sound site planning, generous setbacks and appropriate relationship and scale transition to surrounding development,” the panel’s decision states.

The project also includes a specialist dementia unit, a clubhouse and a cafe.

The expansion is due for completion in mid-2020.

The Redhead Road home made headlines in May after Doris Jones, 96, received a visit from Lucy the pony as part of a relationship-based care program.


Same name couple celebrate prized wedding in WhitsundaysPHOTOS

Same name couple celebrate prized wedding in Whitsundays | PHOTOS TOGETHER: Joshua Breakwell and Joshua Starr at Airlie Beach earlier this year before their wedding on Friday. Picture: Debbie Savy/Tropix Photography.
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TOGETHER: Joshua Breakwell and Joshua Starr at Airlie Beach earlier this year before their wedding on Friday. Picture: Debbie Savy/Tropix Photography.

TOGETHER: Joshua Breakwell and Joshua Starr at Airlie Beach earlier this year before their wedding on Friday. Picture: Debbie Savy/Tropix Photography.

TOGETHER: Joshua Breakwell and Joshua Starr at Airlie Beach earlier this year before their wedding on Friday. Picture: Debbie Savy/Tropix Photography.

TweetFacebookWhitsundayswedding the prize of a lifetime for Newcastle coupleNewcastle coupleJoshua Breakwell and Joshua Starr will tie the knot in the Whitsundays Islands on Friday as part of a unique $60,000prize they won to celebrate marriage equality.

Speaking from Paradise Cove Resort at Airlie Beach, the duospoke of their pride atbeing able to “lead the way” for same-sex marriage and theshock of winning the prize of a lifetime.

“It’s a crown we can wear in all its glory,” Mr Breakwall said. “We know we can lead the way with the incredible wedding that’s been put together.

“At the end of the day, it might just be a piece of paper for some people but to us it’s a whole lot more.

“Throughout this wholeprocess, we’ve really learnt it’s not just about having a wedding it’s about the marriage at the end of it.”

The couple’sprize, which involves 16 suppliers contributingtheir services free of charge to make the Joshua’s wedding a dream come true, came through a competition ran by the Whitsundays wedding industry.

As part of the promotion, earlier this year the couple invited a range of identities to attend the wedding.

“I entered a competition through Facebook that was put on by Paradise Cove and The Wedding Planners Whitsundays,” Mr Breakwell said.

“It was just tell your engagement and proposal story. I did that and didn’t think much more of it until I got a phone call after a big Facebook live announcement.

“I thought it was a hoax, but it was real and we couldn’t believe it that wewon more than $50,000 to go towards a wedding.”

Mr Starr added: “When we first won it we didn’t speak for about the first hour, we were in shock. After that it’s been great planning it. It’s exciting the day is finally here.”

Togetherfor the past six and a half years, the couple had planned on having a wedding in America, which they said would have only allowed for about 10 guests.

But by winning the prize, they’ve been able to include48 of their friends and family in the special day.

Planning the wedding with localshas also made themsome “great friends”, Mr Starr said.

As part of the prize, the couple also had $10,000 to spend on a honeymoon.

“We’re going on a private yacht for five days,” Mr Breakwell said.

“Sailing around the Whitsundays Islands,so that should be nice.”