Port of Portland ship-shape after spill

AUTHORITIES have officially declared the Port of Portland safe, more than a week after a potentially dangerous chemical spill.
Nanjing Night Net

More than 2400 tonnes of super-heated liquid pitch were pumped from a leaking tank owned by Koppers Australia and returned to Newcastle.

About 600 tonnes of pitch spilled from the tank, sparking the emergency and leading to the shut-down of the port and a lockdown of nearby residents and businesses.

The Port of Portland has now been reopened, as have all roads and boat ramps in the vicinity.

While no one was injured or reported any ill effects from the leak, the CFA will continue to monitor air quality around Portland.

The clean-up will also continue, with the solidified pitch to be cleared from the site.

The CFA has handed control of the site back to the port authorities.

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

Read more
Transport industry drives push to fix south-west roads

Jodi Fry, co-owner of Fry’s Cartage, and other angry transport operators fear for the safety of their staff because of the crumbling condition of south-west roads. ANGRY transport operators are demanding an immediate cash injection into the south-west’s arterial road network, which they say is the worst in the state.
Nanjing Night Net

They met in Warrnambool yesterday to launch a campaign which will take their road funding fight directly to Spring Street — the first time such a group has been formed in the region.

The Roads to Ruin campaign intends to directly pressure Transport Minister Terry Mulder to set aside a cash pool to repair the region’s main trucking routes.

Freight truck operators, milk processors, farmers and other business figures met at The Standard office yesterday to set up the campaign.

Roads to Ruin campaign director Jodi Fry said she was fed up with the damage and deterioration along some of the south-west’s main roads and the lack of resources to counter the problem. She said most of the country links the group cited as dangerous came under the jurisdiction of VicRoads and was therefore the responsibility of the state government.

“People are just fed up with the condition of many of our main roads and the way state government after state government turns a blind eye,” Mrs Fry said.

“We’ve come together to directly pressure people like Terry Mulder because the message clearly isn’t getting through.

“Patch-up jobs aren’t good enough because all you need is one decent shower and the gravel is back to where it was before.

“We are calling on the state government to get real, to set aside specific funding to fix up the roads because we are looking at our legal options if it comes to that.”

Ten major freight routes in need of major re-surfacing work were identified at yesterday’s meeting.

Woolsthorpe-Heywood Road near Broadwater and Dunmore, and the Hopkins Highway between Mortlake and Ellerslie, as well as the Foxhow-Camperdown Road, were all identified as thoroughfares with an unacceptable number of potholes and surface erosion.

Shiells Transport owner-operator Peter Shiells said renewable energy development and the break of the region’s decade-long drought had resulted in crumbling roads.

The Woolsthorpe-based businessman said thousands of dollars of damage had been racked up by trucking companies due to potholes and eroded road shoulders.

“I’ve been in the transport business for 20 years and I can honestly say that the roads are in the poorest condition that I have ever seen,” Mr Shiells said.

“All the wind farms popping up across the countryside and the wet weather has meant we’ve been left with roads that are in serious need of repair. You can’t expect a whole heap of heavy trucks to enter the region without having some impact on our local roads.”

Macarthur-Hawkesdale Road was cited at yesterday’s meeting as one of the few non-VicRoads links in need of urgent repair.

Moyne Shire councillor Mick Wolfe told the meeting that regional lobby group Great South Coast was continuing to highlight the need for greater road funding.

“We need to make sure that our voices are heard in Melbourne because the state of our roads is the number one issue that people in this region are concerned about,” Cr Wolfe said.

Mr Mulder’s office was contacted by The Standard yesterday but did not respond before deadline.

Opposition roads spokesman Luke Donnellan said Mr Mulder had failed to respond to concerns raised by the region’s motorists and freight companies.

He said the Baillieu government had rolled back regional road funding since coming to power in November 2010.

“Regional roads and highways, including those in the south-west, are seriously under-funded and this state government has failed freight companies and country motorists,” Mr Donnellan said.

Representatives from Murray Goulburn, Watsons Contractors, Warrnambool Cheese and Butter and Moyne Shire, as well as several farmers and small freight operators, were present at yesterday’s meeting.

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

Read more
Cratered south-west roads damaging trucks, operators say

Jodi Fry, co-owner of Fry’s Cartage, notes down some of the worst roads in the district. THOUSANDS of dollars in damage is being racked up by freight operators as the region’s roads and highways crumble.
Nanjing Night Net

Freight operators who gathered to launch the Roads to Ruin campaign told The Standard yesterday that truck maintenance costs had skyrocketed during the past 12 months.

Eroded road shoulders and deep potholes were cited as the main offenders in causing damage to large trucks and other vehicles.

Shiells Transport owner-operator Peter Shiells said the shoulders on thoroughfares such as the Heywood-Woolsthorpe Road were non-existent along some stretches.

He said he came close to crashing recently when veering to the side of the road in order to avoid a potential accident.

“You expect some form of road shoulder to be there but when it isn’t, you bloody well notice,” Mr Shiells said. “I had to re-adjust my underpants after one near-miss (crash), there wasn’t even an inch of extra gravel on the side of the road. Potholes cause accidents but road shoulders are just as much a cause for concern.”

Warrnambool Cheese and Butter (WCB) representatives told the meeting that extra costs had been incurred due to the poor condition of south-west arterial roads.

WCB compliance co-ordinator Craig Kidd said damage to chassis rails, Z-springs, mudguards, bodywork mountings and other truck parts was far higher than average in the south-west. He said the milk processors maintenance crew had conducted far more repairs during the last 12 months than any other year in living memory.

Murray Goulburn representatives conveyed similar concerns about the condition of arterial roads, with their fleet of trucks also incurring damage due to potholes.

Willatook farmer Russell Bell said small potholes present before last year’s flooding had transformed into deep scars along wide sections of road.

He said wind farm and other major projects had forced more heavy trucks onto the south-west’s roads, yet maintenance levels had failed to keep pace.

The Roads to Ruin campaign is expected to draw up a petition in the coming weeks and will start recruiting members to help with its road funding push.

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

Read more
Hopefuls dip an oar in the water at come-and-try day

BUOYED by Sunday’s popular come-and-try day, The City of Warrnambool Rowing Club commences a two-week development program this morning.
Nanjing Night Net

The club is hosting six learn to row sessions on the Hopkins River for those who want to pursue the sport.

Established in 1873, The City of Warrnambool Rowing Club is one of the oldest in Victoria and is always seeking new members.

With a racing calendar full of regattas in Victoria and New South Wales, Warrnambool is determined to remain competitive.

But club president Brendan Finnigan said the learn to row program was about more than correcting sculling techniques.

“Importantly, the program provides a foundation and pathway for people to continue rowing with The City of Warrnambool Rowing Club for fun and fitness, to make new friends or for the excitement of competing at regattas,” he said.

Despite the weekend’s heat, about 35 people rolled up to the club’s come-and-try day on Sunday.

Water and sunscreen were in high demand but the new coaching/rescue boat was not required.

“The day was hot and a little windy so the novice rowers experienced challenging conditions but all succeeded in acquiring basic rowing skills,” Finnigan said.

“Every participant had different reasons for coming and every one finished their session having rowed as part of a crew. Some people wanted to return to rowing after an absence, while others had rowed in whale boats at the Australian Whale Boat Championships. However, most people were simply curious to come and try.”

Finnigan said club members varied from those who trained to compete to those who rowed socially and for exercise.

He said 19 of the come-and-try participants had signed up as prospective members.

The six-part learn to row program, which starts at 6.30am today, will be held across the next two weeks at different times.

It is open to people aged over 18 with the ability of swimming 100 metres in cold water.

For more information contact the organiser on 0458 983 872. The program costs $50.

Meanwhile, the Warrnambool club will head to regattas at Wentworth, Mildura, Banks (Yarra River) and APSM (Albert Park) over the next two months.

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

Read more
Final countdown an intriguing run home

Merrivale batsman Simon Fleming whose side could theoretically finish second, at best, or at worst, miss out on the finals completely.FOUR teams are fighting for three top-four spots when an intriguing Warrnambool and District Cricket Association final round begins on Saturday.
Nanjing Night Net

Nestles is assured of finishing first but West Warrnambool, Merrivale, Woodford and Allansford are jostling for positions two to five.

The advantage of finishing top-two is a safeguarded passage to the grand final should the semi-finals be washed out.

In an exciting final round of two-day games, it is possible second-placed West could slip out of the top four and miss a semi-final berth, such is the tightness at the top.

It is unlikely but not impossible. It is just one of the many scenarios confronting finals aspirants.

Before clubs get the calculators and crystal balls out, Allansford captain Josh Parkinson said the mental gymnastics might be a waste of time.

“If we don’t win, the four won’t change,” he said.

Fair point. But the spots inside the four could.

He said Saturday’s loss to Woodford was disappointing but predicted it would inspire the defending premier.

“In a way, we just have to focus on beating Dennington. It puts the focus more on what we need to do and that is win.” If the Gators win and pick up big second innings bonus points, they could jump as high as second depending on other results.

Third-placed Merrivale hosts fourth-placed Woodford in what is effectively a semi-final a fortnight early. Just six points separate the pair with Allansford a further four points behind.

With 12 points for a first innings win plus bonus points for wickets and runs, a first-innings win would carry about 16 points.

If Woodford wins, it could jump as high as second if West suffered a shock big loss. The most likely scenario for the Eels is third if they triumph. Woodford coach John Houston said his Eels were in a similar position to Allansford.

“We have to win the next game, it’s pretty simple,” he said.

“If we win, we are in, if we don’t we are relying on scenarios.”

Houston said the Eels were confident of a win over Merrivale.

“If we win the last two games we deserve to be in. We are getting our full side back. ”

He said mathematically second through to fifth could swap positions but he doubted West would slip out of the four.

Merrivale, almost seven points behind West, could yet finish second if the Panthers lose and it wins but a loss for the Tigers and an Allansford win could see them miss out altogether.

Captain Michael Walsh said his side had a simple equation.

“We want to win and we don’t have to worry about any other game,” he said. But he said Woodford would be a tough opponent.

“They should have beaten us round one (before a washout).

“We probably got away with murder. Hopefully we are a better team now and better prepared.”

West Warrnambool, almost half a game clear in second, faces the hardest assignment of any club — a showdown with Nestles at Davidson Oval. A win and West finishes second. A loss and the Panthers will be sweating on results of other games. “You can’t ask for a better game leading into the finals,” Robb said.

“We are looking forward to it. They are obviously first for a reason — they have been playing the best cricket.

“If we win we stay second, if we lose we are relying on other results. It’s in our hands.”

Robb said the nature of the ladder showed the closeness of the competition between the four sides.

“We are out to win. If we win we don’t have to worry about what the others do.”

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

Read more
Sobey puts his team first

Playing for the Seahawks in last year s Big V grand final, Nathan Sobey is enjoying success in the US playing for Arizona s Cochise College. 110820LP72 Picture: LEANNE PICKETTWARRNAMBOOL basketballer Nathan Sobey has been recognised for a strong season with Arizona’s Cochise College but it is team recognition he is craving most.
Nanjing Night Net

The Apaches have taken a crucial step towards repeating their success of last year, when they claimed the region one championship.

This year Cochise College, which competes in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), has finished on top of the division one ladder after producing a stellar win-loss record of 25-5.

“We are ranked 19th in the nation at the moment,” Sobey said

“I’m happy about where we finished but we are not finished yet.

“There is unfinished business.”

Last year’s Warrnambool Seahawks captain has averaged about 18 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals per game this season, leading to a spot in the first team all-region side.

But he brushed off the personal achievement, saying that he was simply focused on team success.

The 21-year-old hopes he can keep contributing in finals, which start Thursday when the Apaches take on Central Arizona.

“If we win Thursday, we will play Saturday in the region championship again,” he said.

“It was a very good feeling to finish on top of our conference and become ACCAC (Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) champions.

“It was always our goal to get to that situation again and get to the national tournament.”

If Cochise triumphs in the region championship, it will earn a ticket to the opening round of the national tournament.

“If we win that, we go to Kansas for the sweet 16 of the national tournament,” Sobey said.

The guard is in his second season of the NJCAA, playing more minutes than he did as a freshman.

“I worked hard all pre-season and I’ve continued to work hard and it has paid off,” he said.

“It’s really good to see the results.

“I am playing a lot better than last year and playing a different role as I’m a starter this year.”

Cochise has tapered off its training ahead of the playoffs. “I (was doing) weights at 6am on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and practising every day except Sunday,” Sobey said.

“(Now I’m) practising three times a week maximum.

“The season is long, so coach Carrillo is resting us and giving us the best possible chance to win.”

The basketballer said he would potentially return to Warrnambool in May for about a month before heading back to the US.

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

Read more
Warrnambool U18s play, and will stay, together

Coach Bobby Cunningham.JUST because Warrnambool’s under 18 boys fell short of their ultimate goal on the weekend, doesn’t mean their campaign is over.
Nanjing Night Net

The side finished runner-up at the Victorian Junior Country Championships on the weekend, staging a comeback in the grand final before succumbing to host Bendigo 59-54.

Coach Bobby Cunningham said the dedicated group, the majority of whom are training with the Warrnambool Seahawks, would stick together.

“We can probably keep this group together until October when the age group changes,” he said.

“We’ll probably head to Ballarat on the June long weekend and maybe the Melbourne Tigers tournament in July.

“It’s all about the camaraderie now.

“We want to keep the group together and keep them playing.”

The coach was keen to see the progression of the players.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re going to be doing with their basketball and how they’re going to develop playing against men,” he said.

“That’s going to be the really telling part for them.

“How they develop their physical strength and that.”

Warrnambool went through its initial pool matches at the state titles undefeated, including a five-point win over Bendigo.

It advanced to a crossover match which it won before triumphing in another set of pool games and another crossover to make the decider.

Warrnambool took the lead early in the grand final, holding an 8-4 advantage over Bendigo.

“I thought we could’ve done some more scoreboard damage,” Cunningham said.

“They got their noses in front after that and never looked back. They kept us at arm’s length for the whole game.”

The coach said his team trailed by almost 20 points midway through the fourth quarter.

It came after the host applied full court pressure while the visitors opted for some dangerous cross-court passes which Bendigo picked off and capitalised on.

Warrnambool which had a pair of three-pointers disallowed due to disputable travel and out-of-court calls got back into the game by executing a full-court press.

But they eventually fell short, losing 54-59.

“I was saying to the boys that as a coach, I’ve got to wear that one because we should’ve gone into a press sooner,” Cunningham said.

“But they said ‘no, it’s not just you Bobby, we’re senior players now and we could’ve made that call’.

“Hats off to Bendigo and hats off to their coach.”

Cunningham thanked the Warrnambool parents for their support.

“They put up with me yelling at their kids,” he quipped.

Both Warrnambool’s under 18 girls and under 16 boys also contested division one, making a consolation final and semi-final respectively.

Portland’s under 16 girls went down to Warragul 43-19 in the division two grand final while the town’s under 18 girls and under 16 boys progressed to the division two semis.

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

Read more
Derrinallum man bound and gagged partner, court told

A MAN alleged to have used duct tape and heavy tow chains to restrain his partner from fleeing to safety at the weekend has been remanded in custody.
Nanjing Night Net

Adam Stonehouse, 27, of Hamilton Highway, Derrinallum, appeared in the Warrnambool Magistrates Court yesterday to make a self-represented bail application. Bail was refused and he was remanded in custody until a committal mention on May 15.

Mr Stonehouse is charged with aggravated burglary, false imprisonment, burglary, theft, assault with a weapon, driving while disqualified and two counts of intentionally causing injury and making threats to kill.

Detective Senior Constable Gary Greene, of the Warrnambool police criminal investigation unit, said Mr Stonehouse was in a relationship with a woman and they lived in a bus on property owned by relatives at Derrinallum.

He said the couple went to a birthday party on Saturday and about midnight the woman left to return home and Mr Stonehouse followed her about 20 minutes later.

They then argued and Mr Stonehouse is alleged to have punched the woman to the face and knocked her out.

Detective Senior Constable Greene said Mr Stonehouse then put duct tape around the woman’s mouth and a heavy-duty tow chain around her ankles to restrain her before returning to the party.

The woman regained consciousness and was able to free herself, grabbed her laptop computer and fled.

About 3.30am the party finished and Mr Stonehouse returned to find the woman gone.

She had gone back to the party venue to seek help and allegedly told those there: “I never thought he would do anything like that” before they all left in fear for another house, Detective Senior Constable Greene said.

Mr Stonehouse is then alleged to have returned to the party house, kicked in the front door and searched handbags for clues to where the people had gone.

He is alleged to have stolen two credit cards and two packets of cigarettes.

Police allege Mr Stonehouse then went to another property is search of his partner, armed himself with a stick and kicked in the door .

He then allegedly assaulted a man with the stick, grabbed him around the throat and punched him to the head a number of times and threatened the man and his wife before grabbing his partner and taking her back to their bus.

The occupants of the house called police , who found used duct tape, two heavy chains and the woman with numerous cuts and bruises to her body when they arrived.

He said Mr Stonehouse had given vague explanations during a police interview and alleged the couple used the chains during consensual sex to enhance the experience.

The detective said Mr Stonehouse finished a parole term on February 4 this year and had 12 pages of prior convictions, including offences of violence.

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

Read more
Plastic surgery help is close at hand – and foot in Warrnambool

Surgeon Robert Toma checks on Simon McCall s recovery at St John of God Hospital after performing reconstructive surgery on Mr McCall s left foot . COMPLEX plastic surgery has been performed in Warrnambool for the first time to help a motorbike accident victim on the road to recovery.
Nanjing Night Net

Plastic and reconstructive surgeon Robert Toma carried out the five-hour procedure at Warrnambool’s St John of God Hospital on Saturday.

Motorcyclist Simon McCall, 37, is now recovering in hospital after undergoing a successful free flap operation to replace skin on his injured foot with tissue from his arm.

Previously, anyone requiring the procedure had to go to Melbourne and spend up to three weeks recovering in hospital.

A section of skin measuring 12cm by 5cm was removed from Mr McCall’s arm and used to replace skin lost from his foot in the accident.

He’d already had orthopaedic surgery to treat his injured foot.

“The situation was complicated because he has had metal plates in his foot and therefore conventional skin grafts would not be suitable,” Mr Toma said.

“St John of God Hospital Warrnambool has invested in new microsurgical instruments and a microscope which allowed this complex surgery to take place locally.”

Mr McCall said his left foot was crushed and “degloved” during an accident with a car in Fairy Street on February 9 .

He said it was great to be close to his sons Rudi, 9, and Ashely, 7, while having the surgery.

Mr Toma, 33, recently relocated from Melbourne to Warrnambool.

He has trained extensively in microsurgery, reconstructive breast surgery, hand surgery, skin cancer management, maxillofacial surgery, burns management and cosmetic surgery.

Mr Toma is also publicly appointed at South West Healthcare and Portland District Health, while maintaining an honorary consultant position at St Vincent’s Hospital .

St John of God Hospital Warrnambool chief executive officer Glyn Palmer said being able to undertake more complex surgery was important as Warrnambool developed as a major regional health centre.

He said it was of enormous benefit for south-west residents to be able to have complex surgery closer to home.

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

Read more
Heywood police get a home in the community

HEYWOOD will have a police officer living in the town later this year after the state government yesterday announced the purchase of land for a new police residence.
Nanjing Night Net

Member for South West Coast Denis Napthine said land had been purchased for the new police house in Barclay Street.

Dr Napthine said the announcement showed the government was strengthening policing in regional Victoria.

“Having promised $500,000 to build a new police house in town before the last election, the state government is now delivering on our commitment to provide a police residence in Heywood,” he said.

“Providing police accommodation in town will provide a real boost to community safety for local residents, especially with an officer living in the community.”

Dr Napthine said it was a win for the people of Heywood and district who had been advocating for a permanent police presence in the town following the loss of the former police house.

“Having a local police officer living in the community, someone who knows the area inside-out, can make a real difference in helping to prevent and deter criminal activity,” he said. Dr Napthine said the previous Labor government had allowed the former police residence to fall into disrepair, and it had been sold in 2009.

“The tender process for the new building will commence shortly and construction is expected to be completed later this year,” he said.

The new four-bedroom residence will be built to a standard design to accommodate an officer and family.

“This house will be power-neutral, helping to reduce its carbon footprint,” Dr Napthine said.

In its 2011-12 budget, the state government committed $30 million to fund new and upgraded police stations throughout Victoria, which included $500,000 for the new residence at Heywood.

“This huge investment in policing infrastructure across Victoria will help to support the 1700 additional police officers the government is working to deliver by November 2014,” Dr Napthine said.

“By boosting policing infrastructure and increasing the number of officers on our streets and in our towns, the government is improving community safety in regional Victoria.”

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

Read more