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Helani’s death ‘highlights need for more education’

Helani’s death ‘highlights need for more education’

When Helani Sirianni died shortly after her suction delivery birth at Wollongong Hospital, her parents vowed they would fight for answers.Yesterday, more than two years later, when the findings of an inquest into her death were handed down, Michael and Marlissa Sirianni made a special trip to their daughter's bright pink gravesite at Lakeside Cemetery, Kanahooka."We wanted to let her know that fight may not yet be over," an emotional Mrs Sirianni said last night."In my heart I know she would have survived if she had been given a chance," she added.Deputy Coroner Scott Mitchell found Helani died on February 10, 2008 from lack of oxygen to the brain following hypovolemic shock and multi-organ failure probably associated with vacuum extraction.Although her death exposed certain weaknesses in medical care she received at Wollongong Hospital, Mr Mitchell found no evidence any person was responsible."Sadly the full story of how Helani came to die so young will never be known and there are many questions which cannot be answered with any clarity," he said.He said cord blood may have assisted but it had been lost.The Siriannis pushed for the inquest, claiming their child had died through systematic failures at the hospital.The three-day hearing heard Mrs Sirianni had endured a long labour with slow progress and the baby in the wrong position.There was evidence from the Siriannis there were three requests for a caesarean but the obstetrics and gynaecological registrar on duty, Dr Monique Cebola, after consideration, decided a vaginal birth was achievable.When Dr Cebola decided a suction birth was necessary she said she warned the parents there would "be some risks", but Mr Sirianni in court strongly denied this was ever done.Dr Cebola checked the CTG foetal monitoring at 10.30pm on February 7, again at 1.30am on February 8 and found them "reassuring" but made no immediate decision for an assisted delivery and invited Mrs Sirianni to start pushing. When she returned at 2.30am she found there was no progression and signs of foetal distress on the CTG trace, which the court heard had become apparent as early as 1.50am.This was not communicated to Dr Cebola.Expert witness and consultant Dr John Schmidt told the inquest the dips were indicative of danger and foetal distress and he found them particularly alarming, Mr Mitchell said yesterday.Because Dr Cebola alone was authorised to make decisions regarding delivery and she was engaged elsewhere, she was unaware things had taken a turn for the worse."In Dr Schmidt's opinion, she should have been summoned," Mr Mitchell said.There was also evidence that paediatrician Dr Steve Hartman was called in at 3.30am when there were several attempts at inserting a cannula for fluid replacement, but when Helani began to stabilise he did not persist.He returned four hours later when Helani's condition deteriorated markedly.Despite the boggy swelling, a clinical indicator of a brain bleed, Dr Hartman initially missed the diagnosis, explaining to the court it was the first of this type he'd seen in 32 years.Mr Mitchell said Dr Hartman's difficulty in diagnosing Helani's condition underlined the need for education regarding brain bleeds.The court heard the only hope in these types of bleeds was if the body repaired itself."Had Dr Hartman recognised the bleeding when he first saw Helani at about 3.30am, then she could have enjoyed a longer period of circulation support and consequently a longer period during which the chances of spontaneous cessation might have been enhanced," Mr Mitchell said.Mr Mitchell made no adverse findings against Dr Cebola or Dr Hartman.He said the need for continuing education was amplified in expert evidence regarding the failure of nursing staff to properly read Helani's CTG trace, grasp its meaning and call for assistance.The court heard that since Helani's death the health service had tightened and improved its protocol and education in neonatal.Mr Mitchell described those improvements as "significant".Outside Glebe Coroner Court, the Siriannis said they were pleased with the changes."But unfortunately there was not enough evidence to find out if Helani may or may not have survived ... we don't believe she was given a proper chance for a better outcome and we are considering our options for further action," Mr Sirianni said.
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Injury won’t bench McLeod

Injury won’t bench McLeod

Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod is adamant his job with the Hawks won't be affected by a serious Achilles injury.McLeod ruptured the tendon during a game of squash on Tuesday night and will be on crutches for the next few months.But when the question was raised whether he'd take time off work, the 2009-10 NBL Coach of the Year left no doubt he would be back on the job within days. Full coverage of the Wollongong Hawks "It's not really going to matter because I only have to coach," McLeod said. "I don't have to do any running, so I'll pretty much be doing what I would normally do."The Hawks have started preseason training at the Snakepit and McLeod has trialled a few Australian-based American guards. But he isn't rushing to sign the club's second import and will continue to scour the United States in search of a starting playmaker."The guys that came in competed very well, but obviously we still have a list of guys overseas that we're interested in," he said."Finalising your roster is something you want to try and get done, but this time last year we were only just starting that process. We're further along the track with that this year and there's certainly no need to panic or rush things."While the Hawks effectively have just one vacancy for a US point guard, former Illawarra junior representative and Gold Coast Blaze shooting guard Tyson Demos has been training with Wollongong in recent weeks.The 22-year-old is without a club and McLeod is keen to add him if he can be fitted into the budget."Tyson started establishing himself with Gold Coast last season and you don't want to see a young player like that just kicked to the kerb," McLeod said."It'd be crazy not to try and look at how we might be able to get him involved. Hopefully we'll get some information back from the NBL on that and then we can consider ... Tyson's situation."The 2010-11 season tips off for the Hawks with an October 15 home game against Gold Coast.
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Let’s blow rivals’ minds: Saffy

Let’s blow rivals’ minds: Saffy

St George Illawarra prop Jarrod Saffy (second from left) shows some speed during a sprint at training in Wollongong yesterday. Picture: SYLVIA LIBERSt George Illawarra prop Jarrod Saffy believes landing psychological blows on their premiership rivals now will be the key to avoiding a repeat of last year's finals fade out.The Dragons play six teams that are well into the finals hunt before the play-offs start in September, beginning with the stuttering Gold Coast Titans at Kogarah on Friday.The squad and coaching staff have gone to extraordinary lengths to monitor workloads and training regimes to ensure the spectacular collapse in last year's title campaign doesn't recur. Full coverage of the Dragons Saffy claimed the Dragons were ready to lift a gear to maintain their momentum in the face of opponents scrambling to secure a finals position."I think it's important for the form of your team going into the finals, regardless (if) it's a top eight team or whoever you play," he said."You want to be playing well and doing the little things right, so when you come into the finals, you're winning games and doing those things correctly."I guess beating the top eight teams and getting in the finals knowing we beat them four weeks ago sits in the back of your mind."However, Saffy said losing to Parramatta in last year's qualifying final a week after beating them in round 26, remained a stern reminder about maintaining their intensity."We beat Parra and lost to them the next week, so we can't really take anything for granted," he said.This season is South African-born Saffy's last chance to win an NRL title before joining Super 15 rugby union franchise Melbourne Rebels.The Dragons welcomed back NSW State of Origin centre Matt Cooper, who has recovered from a hamstring injury, as well as Kiwi international second-rower Jeremy Smith after overcoming a calf problem.Smith has been named on an extended bench, with Mark Gasnier to come off the interchange again.Saffy said the hard-fought victory over South Sydney last Friday was a massive shot in the arm to kick-start their campaign towards a second successive minor premiership."It's great the belief," he said."Believing in your teammates and your team and what you're doing," he said."We sort of just stuck together and hung in there and it paid off in the end, no-one panicked."St George Illawarra tackle an eighth-placed Gold Coast without NSW star Greg Bird and Queensland lock Ashley Harrison at WIN Jubilee Oval.The Dragons then face Brisbane (seventh) at Suncorp Stadium, Manly (sixth) and Souths (ninth) at Kogarah and the Roosters at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the remaining rounds.Their other games are against the Raiders - still in the finals hunt - at Canberra Stadium and the struggling Newcastle Knights at EnergyAustralia Stadium.Saffy's front row teammate Matt Prior claimed the Dragons were preparing themselves to take on some desperate opposition trying to secure their finals positions in the coming rounds."Everyone is going to want to be playing their best football at this time of year to get into the semi-finals," he said."It's the most important part of the year."
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Wollongong Court House death trap

Wollongong Court House death trap

Wollongong Court House in Market St. Two reports say that urgent attention in a range of areas is needed to make the building safe. Picture: KIRK GILMOURWollongong Court House would be a potential death trap if a serious fire broke out, according to findings in two reports on worker and public safety.They cite a litany of fire code breaches including no smoke detectors, no sprinklers, emergency exit doors that do not open and exit signs that point people in the wrong direction.Also of concern, the gun room appears not to be bulletproof, posing a serious risk to staff and the public in the event of accidental discharge."It is certainly one of the worst buildings I've seen for health and safety and that's partly because of its age, size and layout," said NSW Public Service Association occupational health and safety officer Shay Deguera, who compiled the second report."I was surprised by what I found because it is a public building used by hundreds of people daily including public, office staff and judiciary."His report followed one released by independent consultant Vic Lilli who was commissioned by the NSW Attorney General's Department to report on the building's compliance with existing standards.The initial report was in response to staff concerns over safety standards, particularly fire-related.Both reports agreed that urgent attention in a range of areas was needed to make the building safe and in line with the Building Code of Australia, emphasising in particular fire risks.A staff member who asked not to be named, said before anything major was done, fire experts and Wollongong City Council's fire officer needed to inspect the building. But he said the department was dragging its heels.Lack of money in the budget is believed to be the reason for the delay.But the staff member said doing nothing was a recipe for disaster."If fire breaks out you'd have a whole lot of people already confused by smoke and fire and they are hardly helped by exit doors that don't open or signs that could send them back into the fire," he said."On top of that there are files dating back decades stored on the premises which would fan the fire."He said accidental or intentional fires set by aggrieved defendants were not the only safety concern in the building, referring to the gun room's inadequacies mentioned in Mr Deguera's report."Mr Deguera said he believed the walls to be of hollow gyprock with no bulletproofing."The risk posed is that people using the gun room could accidentally discharge their weapon potentially injuring people nearby," the report says.A department spokesperson said there was an ongoing program to ensure courts complied with fire safety regulations and it was undertaking a number of fire safety projects at Wollongong Court House."Recently, the department upgraded the court's exit sign system and updated fire evacuation procedures and manuals," he said."More than $50,000 will be spent on replacing and improving fire exit doors with the project to be completed in coming months."There were also plans to further improve the building's fire safety later this year with more work expected in 2012 and 2013.
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Arkwright’s determined to bring Throsby ‘competitive democracy’

Arkwright’s determined to bring Throsby ‘competitive democracy’

Her odds of poll victory are hopelessly slim, but Liberal Throsby candidate Juliet Arkwright has resolved to restore democracy to Labor's Illawarra heartland.As a lonely Liberal figure in a Labor-dominated landscape, the Wingecarribee councillor faces a daunting task to take on ALP candidate Stephen Jones in a seat which, held by a margin of 17 per cent, shows little sign of budging."I am the underdog, but the aim is still to achieve victory here," Ms Arkwright said."There seems to be a sad acceptance, particularly among business people and young people, that the area is dominated by the Labor Party, and I hope I can bring a competitive democracy back."Conceding the Coalition's campaign war chest would likely be directed towards marginal seats, Ms Arkwright insisted she was not just a paper candidate."I've been active in the party for more than 20 years and I'm not just here to be a name on the ballot paper," she said.Meantime, Cunningham Labor incumbent Sharon Bird has deflected claims by Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells that Labor takes its safe seats for granted.Ms Fierravanti-Wells made the oft-repeated assertion yesterday at the announcement of Liberal Cunningham candidate Philip Clifford."I don't think anyone could look at the record of me and Jennie George and the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investment we got into the area, and say the region didn't get a good run," Ms Bird said."If anyone has taken the area for granted it's them (by) announcing a candidate 72 hours after an election was announced."Mr Jones, who is vying to replace retiring MP Jennie George, also disputed the claim that marginal seats were the sole object of Labor's affections."It doesn't stand up to empirical scrutiny," he said, citing economic stimulus measures, school building projects and investment in the University of Wollongong.He rejected claims by Ms Arkwright that Liberal-leaning Throsby voters did not have his ear."I spend two days a week in what is called the Liberal heartland of the electorate," he said. "They may or may not vote for me but … if successful, I want to represent their interests."
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Firm queries financial planning advice

Firm queries financial planning advice

People who stand to lose their life savings in the collapse of fund manager Trio Capital were given "questionable" advice and placed into an inappropriate, high-risk investment, a financial planning firm claims.Wollongong company Symes Warne and Associates has taken the unusual step of publicly distancing itself from the scandal which has engulfed two rival financial planning companies - Tarrants and Dominion.Ross Tarrant breaks his silence.Clients of the two companies reported lost individual nest eggs of up to $500,000 when their money disappeared after being invested in Trio Capital's $123 million Astarra Strategic Fund.Symes Warne financial planner Alison Henderson said the firm had never recommended Trio Capital products, and had actively encouraged new clients with existing Trio Capital investments to move their funds out.She said the Astarra Strategic Fund, money from which was invested in a complex web of foreign hedge funds, posed unacceptably high risk and lacked transparency and liquidity.Ms Henderson described the decision to recommend such products as "questionable".She said Symes Warne had parted ways with financial planner Colin Warne in 1994 and the business would soon undergo a name change.Many of Mr Warne's clients, now with Dominion, have been burnt by the Trio Capital fiasco.Ms Henderson warned against financial planners relying too heavily on reports from research houses when making investment decisions, and said such ratings only gave an indication of past performance and market volatility.The Trio Capital controversy had tarnished the reputation of the financial planning industry, she said."Our profession is getting dragged through the mud again because of this latest debacle … it makes it difficult for consumers to go to seek financial advice because they're scared (of losing money)," Ms Henderson said.She expressed her support for financial planning reforms due to come into effect in 2012, which would ban commissions and also legally bind planners to act in the best interests of their clients.
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We are still failing our elders

We are still failing our elders

While fewer than 10 per cent of older Australians will ever require support from an aged care service, their care is becoming a prominent issue due to the ageing population and media reports highlighting nursing home breaches - and so it should. We would all agree that supporting frail elders to the highest standards of dignity and respect is a societal responsibility. Quality of care of the frail is the best measure of a humane society.But it requires more than just rhetoric and words. It requires visionary policy that empowers yet protects our seniors, and consumer-directed funding that is responsive and flexible to the needs of each person. Older people are not a homogenous group; their individuality does not cease the day they require care. And our existing system is failing our frail elders. You see, when a residential facility is not reaching aged care standards, politicians are quick to jump in "to protect our frail and elderly citizens" without sharing their responsibility as funders. There is a truth behind "the story" that is never revealed because it's complicated and politically unpalatable: and yet it is the very reason why many providers struggle to give the care our parents and grandparents need and deserve, let alone the innovative solutions to assist them to age actively, independently and with dignity.Fact 1: The Federal Government is the dominant funder of care for aged people, either within their homes or in a facility, and yet the funding provided doesn't match the cost of care, let alone keep pace with rising expenditure. This year aged care funding was increased by 1.7 per cent with great fanfare, however the cost of living increased by 2.8 per cent.This disparity has been consistently the case for more than a decade. The real dollars available to care for frail seniors continue to be eroded.Fact 2: In order to receive care, older people must negotiate a complex matrix of assessments and prove they need assistance.It's a system that can delay appropriate care for months. If that isn't bad enough, they must then jump through the hoops again every time their ageing body tells them they need more help. If they don't do this they don't get funded to receive care.Fact 3: Aged care facilities must meet safety and health standards when caring for ageing people.While providers, residents and their families would not dispute the need for high quality, the checks and balances should be streamlined and focused on empowering residents to make choices, not take their independence away. The present system talks of individual choice, but in practice inhibits standard liberties, such as the choice to eat soft boiled eggs, rockmelon and strawberries because they cannot be sterilised to meet stringent food standards.These are just some of the issues we will be addressing with the commissioner and assistant commissioner leading the Productivity Commission's inquiry into the Care of Older Australians when they visit IRT next week.We'll be highlighting solutions that focus on empowering older people, that support independence rather than dependence and fund a collaborative approach to supporting seniors.We want a system that guides our grey gurus to navigate and celebrate the journey of ageing, to be the boss of their lives, because we believe they deserve it. We hope that the next chapter in the aged care story is one that you'll enjoy reading. Nieves Murray is the chief executive of IRT.
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Brood’s recipe for success

Brood’s recipe for success

It's taken us four years, but we've finally done it. Well not exactly us - more like my mother and Cybergirl. After four years in the winners' wilderness, the family has at last reclaimed the crown of the damper champions.This time every year the primary school holds a damper competition and since Cybergirl was in kindy we have religiously entered.But it's not just a simple damper that has to be made.Each entry is judged not just on taste, but also on originality and design, and for the past few years the family team of damper makers has fallen short on one of these elements.And after watching MasterChef this season, I now know how important it is to have all those elements working together.As the worst cook in the family, those first few years I left the hard yakker of mixing and baking to my husband. Cybergirl always had an intricate design in mind, from the echidna of the first year, to a cockatoo on her last attempt.Despite my scepticism, the dad-and-daughter team actually won their first two attempts. But when work commitments took over, the mantle of chief damper maker had to be passed over to grandma.Now it wasn't just one damper she had to make each year, but two as GameBoy started school.The next few years - with entries of the Australian flag, a boobook owl, Aboriginal flag, emu, a koala and a kangaroo and witchetty grubs all shaped with loving care and decorated with every combination of icing colours - the family team went from a highly commended to never being mentioned again.With every failure we lamented what could have gone wrong. Was it the recipe? Could we have overworked the dough? Cooked it too long so the crust was just a bit too crusty?There were concerns that our level of skill in sculpting was not as high as we first thought or that the equipment we had for the decorations was not up to the job.Trying to mix the myriad colours required from the four-pack of food colouring was proving more difficult as the years went by and the palette required was no longer red, yellow, blue or green but hues of purple, black, grey and baby pink.This year, after refining the recipe, the method and the shaping, grandma was confident she'd once again have the title in the bag.Although Cybergirl had long since left primary school, and PlayStation had taken her place in the damper dynasty, she still insisted on being part of the annual family tradition.Sick of looking at the finished product and trying to decipher what it was meant to be, PlayStation opted for a simple "giant scone with jam and cream", believing that the superior taste alone would get him over the line.GameBoy decided for his last hurrah he would go for the jugular, and asked for his damper to be mastercrafted into the native poison dart frog.Grandma rose to the challenge.The giant scone would have done the CWA proud, and my own contribution of a sweetened whipped cream and strawberry jam topped off the sterling effort.The poisonous dart frog may not have exactly resembled its real-life counterpart - it looked more like a bloated cane toad - but the artwork by Cybergirl left no-one in doubt of what it was meant to be.With judging on Monday it was a long wait until Thursday for the results.Although we only won the primary division with the poisonous dart frog, PlayStation is confident that now grandma has her groove back, the title will be his next year.
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Manly keep Stingrays at bay

Manly keep Stingrays at bay

Manly's Gemma O'Toole seems to have an extra long leg as she fights for possession with the Stingrays' Trudy Camilleri in yesterday's draw at JJ Kelly Park. Picture: DAVE TEASEThe Stingrays will have to wait a little longer to clinch back-to-back premierships after a 1-1 draw with Manly last night.Illawarra could have sealed their second straight title with victory at JJ Kelly Park, but will have to wait at least another week after defender Lisa Gilbert and Manly's Lisa Morrison traded first-half goals.The Wollongong side looked to have sealed three points - and their reputation as the state's best for the second consecutive year - when Jess Cooper tapped into an empty net 15 minutes from time, but the goal was disallowed.Ash Connor was ruled to have fouled Manly keeper Alyssa Harris, leading to the fumble that allowed Cooper to score. Cooper was then sent off with two minutes remaining after receiving her second yellow card to complete a frustrating outing under lights for the hosts.Stingrays coach Brett Wallin was disappointed with the decisions."Jess was wearing her heart on her sleeve," Wallin said. "To work like she does and get that at the end is disappointing."I thought it was a goal. I didn't get a clear view. When you get into that situation, advantage has to go to the attacker."Cooper will miss at least one week after being booked for time-wasting and dissent."Red cards don't get turned over - I'm hoping she only gets a week," Wallin said.With three rounds remaining, Illawarra (41) stay seven points ahead of second-placed Manly (34), although the Sydneysiders have a game in hand."We've got a game up our sleeve, we can lose one and if we win the other two we're premiers," Wallin said. "It would have been nice to have knocked them off tonight but they're making us work for it. Manly deserved something tonight, they scared us a few times."The Stingrays had a dream start when Gilbert netted early, but the northern beaches side equalised through Morrison's delightful chip 10 minutes before the break.Manly took heart from drawing level and peppered Sarah Gollop's goal in the dying stages, but the hosts held firm.The Stingrays reserve grade lost 2-1 after Albion Park defeated Woonona 1-0.
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Family’s scare as car hit by missile

Family’s scare as car hit by missile

The car that was hit by a projectile while a Flinders mother and her two daughters were returning from a Campbelltown shopping trip on the Appin Rd at dusk on Saturday. Pictures: DAVE TEASE The round hole left by the projectile as it smashed through the car's windscreen.
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A Flinders mother has told of the panic as her car window was shattered by a projectile that narrowly missed her daughter's head.The 41-year-old bravely kept her wits after the unknown object hit on Appin Rd at dusk on Saturday.The woman, who asked not to be named, was returning from a shopping trip to Campbelltown with her daughters, aged 16 and eight, when the incident occurred just before 5pm."It was horrible. It's literally like you see on television when you hear that really big thundery smash."It was just so scary. In that split second I didn't know what was going on."The woman said she felt a stab of pain to her leg as glass hit her jeans but did not penetrate the fabric.She then turned to see the shattered glass beside her 16-year-old's head. Both girls were sprayed with glass but were uninjured."The window is completely shattered, it's only held together by the tint."It's so traumatic because it's what could have been - a split second later and it could have hit my daughter's head," she said."My eldest kept saying 'are you all right'? We were just so traumatised. We were sitting on glass but too scared to stop and get out."The family kept going, not stopping until they reached Warilla Police Station.Lake Illawarra police Sergeant John Klepczarek said the car was examined and it was believed the projectile was a ball bearing or something similar.He said police were keen to hear from anyone who was travelling on Appin Rd and witnessed any suspicious activity at the time of the incident.In July 2007, Nowra beauty therapist Nicole Miller, then 22, suffered life-threatening injuries after a rock was thrown through her window at Kiama Downs, hitting her in the right side of her head.Contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Push to end paid parking heats up

Push to end paid parking heats up

Wise Eyes Optical owner Andrew Reveley and City Diggers general manager Phil Ryan with some of the thousands of signatures opposing parking meter measures. Picture: ADAM McLEANMore than 2000 people have signed a petition calling for Wollongong City Council to urgently review its unpopular parking meter strategy, ahead of what is shaping up to be a rowdy public meeting on Wednesday.The meeting, to be held at City Diggers at 6pm, has been billed as a chance for retailers, shoppers and employees to vent their fury over the paid parking measures they claim have severely dented trade and deterred shoppers from visiting the CBD.Wise Eyes Optical owner Andrew Reveley said the vast majority of customers were vehemently opposed to the existing parking meter strategy."I would say 99.9 per cent are dead against it," he said."A lot of people ... don't feel they are getting good value for money, and a lot of people feel there has been no community consultation."Business owners hope the council will commit to a parking meter review which involves community leaders who "have a sense of what the community wants", Mr Reveley said.City Diggers general manager Phil Ryan, who is spearheading the campaign against the paid parking measures, said the council's proposed move away from the $2 flat fee towards a pro-rata rate would not restore trade for the CBD's troubled retailers.Wollongong MP Noreen Hay and Liberal Wollongong candidate Michelle Blicavs have confirmed they will attend the meeting, along with Wollongong City Council general manager David Farmer and South Coast Labor Council secretary Arthur Rorris.Former marketing manager for the Newcastle CBD, Malcolm Barnes, will speak about the negative experience that city had when parking metres were introduced.Meantime, readers of the Mercury website have expressed their displeasure at the council's proposed parking meter changes released this week, which signal a move from a $2 flat fee to a pro-rata rate."Planet Earth to Council! Planet Earth to Council! Shoppers are not coming back until all the meters are gone!" declared RU Kiddinme."The whole system is screwed. I avoid town like the plague. Suburbs offer better shopping whilst not charging me to do so," wrote Ash.Andy said Wollongong people were "voting with their feet". He wrote: "How sad for small business owners who are on the receiving end of such bullish policy."
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Bellamy wants Blues to go back on attack

Bellamy wants Blues to go back on attack

NSW coach Craig Bellamy has labelled his team's decision-making in the opening two matches of the State of Origin series as "below NRL level".The Blues mentor has thrown down the challenge to his troops to come up with the right plays at the right time to avoid becoming the first NSW team to lose a series 3-0 since 1995."For long periods of (game two) we defended pretty well," Bellamy said."We were strong and pretty aggressive but some poor decisions at times really let us down."When you come up with poor decisions against a side as good as Queensland, they'll make you pay."While defensively the Blues have been below par in the first two games, it has been the team's attack - or lack of - which has come under scrutiny.Bellamy played down suggestions he had taken a defensive approach in the opening matches, but said he had been tinkering with a new attacking formula ahead of the final match at ANZ Stadium tonight."We like to go into games balanced in our attack and defence," he said."We've changed our attack around a little bit for this game. Hopefully that will be a bit more effective for us."The Maroons have dominated headlines this week after describing several NSW players as "grubs" for their actions around the ruck.Mal Meninga's men have used incidents from past games as ammunition and have earmarked Michael Ennis, Trent Barrett and Paul Gallen as the main offenders.Barrett laughed off the accusations made north of the border and said he wouldn't be fazed by the claims."It doesn't worry me and I'm sure it doesn't worry any of our players," Barrett said."What happens on the footy field happens and I certainly don't think any of our players go out of their way to come up with any of that intentionally."Bellamy, who sees no difference between the two teams around the play the ball, said his troops wouldn't be sidetracked by the Queenslander's trash talk. "Perhaps it's just a way of trying to get our team's focus away from not doing so well in that area," he said."Or trying to put pressure on a couple of individuals they have named."Or perhaps they are trying to get the referee a little bit more aware of us in that area, which is something (Queensland) are very good at."
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Shellharbour Beach scattered on Everest

Shellharbour Beach scattered on Everest

Peter Wells climbs upwards on May 23. Peter Wells on the summit of Mt Everest.
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Somewhere on top of the world there's a little piece of Shellharbour Beach freezing its sun-bleached grains off.Adventurer and TV presenter Peter Wells scattered the sand on high last month when he realised his 15-year-old dream of climbing to the summit of Mt Everest."It's the beach that I grew up on and learnt to surf on; my roots are there," said Wells, who now lives in Sydney's northern beaches.Wells was among a group of five who dedicated the climb to raising awareness of bowel cancer.He thought himself well prepared for the challenge on arrival at base camp on April 1, but was quickly stunned by the onerous conditions.A warm spell had melted much of the ice, resulting in "massive avalanches that cut out the morning light".A series of corpses exposed by the melting added to the apocalyptic element.Authorities removed five bodies in the early days of Wells' two-month stay as part of a program to clean up the mountain.Bodies included that of a Sherpa buried for years beneath the treacherous mountain's ice."The passion for the mountain means you're well read; you hear about all the deaths," Wells said.The final ascent took five days, with Wells passing into the "death zone" - the 8000m point - after 8pm, using the light of the moon and his head-torch to light a path at times resembling a knife's edge.He arrived at the summit just as the sun appeared over the Tibetan horizon at 5.19am on May 23."The triangular shadow cast by Everest at that time in the morning; it stretched all the way to the horizon," Wells said."I actually said out loud: 'thank you, thank you, thank you'. I was thanking the mountain that it had let me up there."The accomplishment is the latest in a long line of hair-raising experiences for the Sydney Weekender presenter, who reached the summit of Tibet's Mt Cho Oyu in September 2005 and who lists being woken by a lion outside his tent in Nakuru National Park in Kenya in 1999 as his scariest moment.

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