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Patch escapes jail sentence

THUMBS UP: Launceston businessman Paul "Patch" Fruin left court a happy man yesterday after an appeal against his prison sentence was upheld. Picture: GEOFF ROBSONThe three-month sentence that Fruin, 45, received was replaced in the Launceston Supreme Court yesterday with a 28-day suspended sentence and a $400 fine.
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Fruin, known as "Patch" in his advertisements, will not spend any time in jail provided he is of good behaviour for a year.

Outside the court, Fruin said the whole process had been traumatic as he believed he would be made an example of and sent to jail.

"It's been hell. I suffered a major heart attack at Christmas ... it's been dragging on for a long time," he said.

"It's been very emotional and has affected my health and my business."

A long-running feud led to Fruin ramming the victim with his four-wheel drive and pinning him against another vehicle in 2003.

Fruin was found guilty of assault and injuring property in the Launceston Magistrates Court in September last year and sentenced to jail.

He appealed on the grounds that the guilty finding was unsafe and unsatisfactory and that the sentence was manifestly excessive.

Justice Alan Blow handed down his decision yesterday and upheld the guilty verdict but replaced an actual jail term with a suspended one.

"Having regard to the mitigating factors, this was not a case that warranted an immediate custodial sentence," Justice Blow said.

"I think the assault was sufficiently serious to warrant a suspended sentence but not one as long as three months."

Fruin said he was looking forward to moving on with his life and getting back into community and charity work.

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Development rate rise may be final straw

The State Government can not afford to ignore calls from local government to review its cap on developer levies.Wollongong City Council is one of many NSW councils who have warned the Government the $20,000 cap on Section 94 developer levies could cripple future development.The $20,000 cap is less than half the $41, 000 per lot that council was expected to receive for each property developed in the proposed West Dapto expansion.That income was to be used for essential infrastructure for the massive development.While the move may be popular with developers, it is a huge blow to councils who are keen to promote growth and development.It seems the State Government has failed to learn from past mistakes in developing residential estates without providing adequate and vital infrastructure.Unfortunately the money has to come from somewhere and councils are warning that residents may have to bear the brunt in the form of increased rates. The State Government is facing electoral disaster if it forces councils to lumber residents with increased rates when they are already struggling to cope with massive hikes in electricity, gas and water prices.
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Rioters throw axe at police patrol car

No one was believed to have been injured in the attack at the community of Yuendumu, 270km north-west of Alice Springs.
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The disturbance follows a similar incident four days ago. Police have said the violence follows an ongoing feud between opposing families.

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Illawarra reservists keep the peace in the Solomons

Staff Sergeant Steve Burgess of Albion Park Rail and Sergeant Ian Pye of Nowra enjoy a rare moment of relaxation during their work with the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands. Lance Corporal Alan Akurst of Dapto keeps watch during an operation. The reservists routinely come under attack from the local villagers.
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Reservists mingle with local children at the shooting range. Pictures: SYLVIA LIBER

When Private Owen O'Shea found himself decked out in riot gear and being pelted with rocks by Solomon Islands villagers two weeks ago, he was a world away from his day job as an IT consultant.The 30-year-old is one of 11 Illawarra and South Coast-based Defence Reservists who have embarked on a four-month stint in the island nation.They form part of a new wave of reservists being deployed on peacekeeping operations in place of defence regulars stationed at hot spots such as Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor.This week the Illawarra Mercury travelled to the Solomons at the invitation of the Department of Defence to inspect the work of reservists in the ethnically troubled nation.As is often the way, we travelled 2000km overseas only to stumble upon a group of individuals who lived just around the corner.Eight Illawarra people working in the Solomons belong to Bravo Company, an outfit based in Gipps St, Keiraville, which has about 80 members.On the Solomons island of Guadalcanal, they are with One Platoon, a 30-member outfit engaged in a range of roles from medics and drivers to riflemen and signallers.Unanderra's Corporal Michael Hirsch (storeman), Wollongong's Private Christopher Tobin (electrical engineer), Kiama's Private O'Shea and Lance Corporal Brendan Harris (labourer) of Jaspers Brush are part of the Quick Response Force (QRF).The QRF operates 24-7, responding to outbreaks of violence among villagers living in and around the capital Honiara, in much the same way as the NSW Police riot squad controls skirmishes back home."We provide support for anyone who gets into trouble, including the police," Corp Hirsch said of their role.On June 6, the day the island suffered an earthquake that registered 6.9 on the Richter scale, the men had their earth further shaken by a late-night call out to a trouble spot known as White River."There was fighting between two gangs. The police got called out, then us," Pte O'Shea said."When we first advanced in there we didn't know what to expect. We just marched over this bridge in a line and they started pelting us with rocks and coconuts."Corp Hirsch, a reservist for the past 22 years who is on his first overseas mission, said the Australian force was finally coming into its own."The government has worked out we are here and capable of doing the job, so it's about time we were sent on these missions - it's definitely something the reserves needed."

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Swanwick beach contest

The announcement will be made as part of the association's annual meeting at 4pm at the Swanwick jetty and boat ramp.
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The contest was held to name the beach between the Swan River mouth and Hepburn Point.

Association president Ian Melrose said that residents and shack owners had entered.

The winner will receive a dinner for two at Freycinet Lodge with a watercolour by Peter Robinson and five dozen Melshell oysters to be give to the two runners-up.

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Spray graffiti, lose licence: Coalition

Greg Smith (front), Michelle Blicavs and Gareth Ward take a look at some graffiti on a fence at Albion Park. Picture: ORLANDO CHIODOThe Coalition was spreading the word on its anti-graffiti policy in Albion Park yesterday, declaring the driver's licences of spray vandals would be under threat.Under reforms proposed by the Federal Opposition, juvenile graffiti offenders would face a court appearance and the possible loss of their licence or an extension of learning or provisional periods.Shadow attorney-general Greg Smith said targeting young people's aspirations to have a driver's licence was "a great incentive to make offenders think twice".He denied that it was a waste of police resources, arguing police were disillusioned with what happened with young offenders now."(Police) feel that at the moment courts don't have enough power and let a lot of young hoods get out of serious punishment," he said."Our proposal is to make graffiti vandals exempt from the Young Offenders Act."Mr Smith visited a number of graffiti "hot spots" in the Illawarra yesterday, with Liberal candidate for Kiama Gareth Ward and the party's candidate for Wollongong, Michelle Blicavs.Mr Ward said Wollongong, Shellharbour and Shoalhaven councils together spent more than $500,000 on the removal of graffiti vandalism each year.However, Kiama MP Matt Brown said the NSW Government had always been tough on graffiti.He said it had introduced a range of measures to combat the problem, including doubling penalties for graffiti vandalism to 12 months in prison and making it illegal for juveniles to carry spray cans unless it is for education, employment or legal art.
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Clean water back on tap

The Devonport City Council yesterday lifted the alert that it issued for properties in Wrenswood Drive, Ellice Hill and Redruth Crt on April 13.
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General manager David Sales said that recent samples indicated that the water from the private reservoir in question again met Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

A connection to an old reservoir is understood to have been the source of the bacteria. This reservoir has now been disconnected from the water system.

"We believe we have isolated the fault, but the council will continue to monitor water readings to see that bacteria levels stay at zero," Mr Sales said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Spain’s reign to end years of World Cup pain

Two nations that have underachieved on football's biggest stage finally have the chance to take their place among the elite in the World Cup final on Monday morning.Pre-tournament favourites Spain or 1974 and 1978 runners-up the Netherlands will lift the game's most coveted trophy for the first time at Soccer City in Johannesburg.Both sides have emerged from the knockout stages despite not producing their best and I hope they've been keeping it for the time it really matters.Although the Dutch might be the sentimental favourites in some quarters, I believe the Spanish will win 2-1.Spain's passing game - spearheaded by the Barcelona talents who dominate the team sheet - is the very best in the world and they are masterful at controlling possession when they need to.They outclassed a rampant Germany in the semi-finals when most observers predicted Australia's Group D conquerors to give them a much harder game.However, La Furia Roja must take their chances if they are to win. So often during South Africa 2010 they have created plenty of shots without putting the ball in the net.The Netherlands have to be at the top of their game for 90 - or possibly even 120 - minutes.Although they got out of jail against Brazil in the quarter-finals, they weren't in the contest in the first half. If that happens on Monday, they'll be three-time World Cup final losers.Nonetheless, if Holland force their opponents into a high-tempo game and give them no time on the ball, they will go a long way to securing victory.Their biggest hope is to strike on the counter through the likes of Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Dirk Kuyt.Although both teams have tasted World Cup heartbreak in the past, the Spanish have the psychological advantage after their Euro 2008 triumph, which broke a 44-year drought.That tournament was another example of Dutch failure, as they set the competition alight in the group phase before falling in the final eight.In saying that, both sides are littered with players who have played in the biggest matches and won't let the occasion get to them. The atmosphere will be electric and hopefully will inspire them to put on a final to be remembered.
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Briefs

Fishing boat and
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crew still missing

[BB] HONIARA - An air and sea search will continue for an Australian fishing boat and seven crew members missing for a week in the South Pacific near the Solomon Islands, officials said. The Queensland- registered Ability was reported missing on April 20 with one Australian and 11 Solomon Islander crew aboard in waters off Isabel Province, north-west of the capital Honiara.

Captain Jack Bana, of the Solomon Islands Marine Search and Rescue service, said five of the Solomon Islanders managed to reach Malaita Island after leaving the Ability and paddling four days in a fibreglass canoe.

The Australian and the other Solomon Islanders remain missing, he said, despite an air and sea search.

Reagan's diaries

to be published

NEW YORK - Ronald Reagan's handwritten diaries of his eight years in the White House will be published as a book to be released next year, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Foundation and HarperCollins Publishers announced yesterday.

Mr Reagan, who died at 93 last June following a 10-year battle with Alzheimer's disease, wrote in his diaries every day of his presidency.

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