It’s time to register your school

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By , 19/06/2018 11:10

pic shows Visual arts teacher Belinda Douglass [centre] with students [L2R] Tess Draper, Tim Sheens, Charlotte Cant & Brienna Lennon preparing entries for Design an Ad. Design an Ad is a competition in which students design and draw an add for a local business. This school was one of the first to register.TIME is running out to register your school for the Design an Ad competition.
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Visual arts teacher Belinda Douglass has registered Kingswood High School for the last 10 years. “The kids love it,” she said.

“It gives them hands-on design experience and it’s beneficial for them to build their own portfolios.”

Now in its 27th year, Fairfax Community Newspapers’ Design An Ad competition works by getting the students to focus on a local business and hand-draw an ad that will bring credit to both themselves and the business and build the relationship between school and community.

Mrs Douglass said the project motivates the students and engages them through education.

“They [students] can see that we’re learning skills that can be put together to sell a product,” she said.

The competition is for children from years 5 to 12 and is expected to attract 15,000 entrants.

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

Choppers exercise into night

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By , 19/06/2018 11:10

Take flight: The Australian Defence Force will conduct Black Hawk flight training activities over Holsworthy for another week and a day. There are flights in the afternoons and evenings, up until about 11.30. Picture: Luke FudaUP TO five Black Hawk helicopters are conducting training activities over Holsworthy until Thursday, June 27.
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This training ensures that Australian Defence Force (ADF) pilots and air crews have the highest level of capability to support Australia’s national interests — including training for flying in all conditions across urban and rural flight paths.

There will be flights in the afternoon and at evening, finishing by about 11.30.

ADF will minimise disruptions during the training, which has been designed to have as little impact on residents as possible.

ADF representatives say that some noise will be noticeable, in spite of this.

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

Uni hopes to inspire Aboriginal students

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By , 19/06/2018 11:10

Balancing act: Jayden White from Narellan Public School tested his balance. Picture: Jonathan NgEARLY education was the best medicine at a University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown, event recently.
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Local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from years 3 and 4 were given the chance to experience a day as a health professional as part of Heartbeat: Keeping Pace.

The visit also gave students a chance to hear from Aboriginal students enrolled in courses including medicine, nursing and health science.

Manager of UWS school engagement Anne McLean hoped some of the children would be inspired by the visit.

“With students joining Heartbeat in year 3 or year 4, they will have the opportunity to find out if a career in health would suit them and if so, set themselves some goals,” she said.

“There will also be maximum opportunity for them to apply what they learn to their lifestyle choices, and to influence others.”

During the day students tested their fitness, knowledge of the human skeleton and heart, learnt about oral hygiene and were given tips on healthy food choices.

Schools included Narellan Public School and St Clare’s Catholic Primary.

Proposal for new $45m marina in Moorebank

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By , 19/06/2018 11:10

Benedict Industries, artist impression of Moorebank Marina upon completion. Supplied by Benedict Industries.A $45 MILLION marina has been proposed for Moorebank.
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If approved, the development application, submitted by Benedict Industries, will mean the construction of a marina with 186 wet berths, 250 dry berths, a function centre, kiosk, and recreational and club facilities.

Benedict Industries managing director Ernest Dupere said the development, to be built at 146 Newbridge Road, would also boost local tourism.

“As you would expect, this improvement in the amenity will lead to a rise in nearby property values,” he said.

“It will provide a place where people can store their boats, rent boats and also allow boating enthusiasts from outside the local area to visit the Georges River waterways.

“Not only that, it will allow people who are using the public marinas to have a place to come and get fuel and supplies.”

Mr Dupere said the purpose of the development was to provide high quality waterfront, marine-related recreational activities.

“We aim to have a range of on-water restaurants and cafes, as well as a full range of boating and marine services,” he said.

“Besides giving far greater access to the Georges River, it will also encourage the rehabilitation of a degraded site and provide much needed jobs in the area.”

The marina will be built on the Benedict Sands and Gravel site which was rezoned for medium density residential, commercial and private open space development.

The Georges River foreshore has also been rezoned for public open space use.

Mr Dupere said Liverpool Council had told him the public exhibition period would begin on July 3.

He said he was confident that he would get council approval for the big development to go ahead.

“Construction dates are entirely dependent on how quickly council officers decide to process the application,” he said.

“Once construction begins, we expect it to take 18 months to complete.”

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

Plea for more RailCorp staff on two local lines

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By , 19/06/2018 11:10

Safety concerns: Diana Vincent is campaigning for staffing changes at Glenfield and Campbelltown stations. Picture: Luke FudaDIANA Vincent was one of the south-western Sydney residents who joined the campaign for changes to staffing levels at the Glenfield and Campbelltown train lines last Thursday.
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More than 100 residents signed the petition organised by a community advocacy organisation, Sydney Alliance.

The alliance is calling for two RailCorp staff members to be present at the key interchange stations until the last train leaves each night.

Ms Vincent, who frequently uses the Glenfield train line to travel into the city for university, said she had felt unsafe when travelling back home at night.

“I often stayed back to study until late which meant I would return to Glenfield from 9 to 11 at night,” she said.

“At times I would be alone or one of the few people to disembark the train, and there would be no staff members present, which would make me feel particularly unsafe.”

She also said it was important for commuters to feel safe at stations so they would continue to have access to public transport.

“The presence of staff will help people with a disability to access the trains with staff assistance and also improve the perception of safety for late-night commuters,” she said.

“It is important for commuters to access the service without fear, impediments, or their families worrying about them.”

A spokeswoman from Transport for NSW said new security measures were in place and are now being organised by state police.

“The NSW police took over security for the entire public transport network which is under a new dedicated Police Transport Command in May 2012,” she said.

“It will see 610 police officers allocated to patrol trains, buses and ferries by the end of next year.

“There is nothing more reassuring than a high visibility, high profile police presence on trains.”

Muslim cemetery rejected

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By , 19/06/2018 11:10

ONE of the four cemeteries proposed for Bringelly was rejected by the NSW Land and Environment Court.
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A proposal for a Muslim-only burial ground at 31 Greendale Road, Bringelly, was submitted by the NSW United Turkish Islamic Centre.

Although the application was endorsed by Liverpool Council’s Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel, councillors unanimously rejected the proposal in October 2011.

The proposed burial ground for up to 6150 plots was refused because the development could pollute the land and domestic water supply of neighbouring properties, as well as affect threatened flora and fauna species.

Advocates for the Islamic Centre appealed the decision in the NSW Land and Environment Court.

But last Friday, senior commissioner, Timothy John Moore, dismissed the appeal and rejected the development application.

The reasons for refusal were for “inaccuracies and inconsistencies” between the applicant’s expert planners reports and their plans.

Good Samaritan efforts for earth

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By , 19/06/2018 11:10

Resourceful: Good Samaritan Catholic College year 12 students Maddison Coluccio and Yannick L’Eveille.Picture: Luke FudaGOOD Samaritan Catholic College continues to build a more resourceful and sustainable future for their community.
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The school has announced it will be installing 110 rooftop solar panels onto their hall building in the next few weeks.

The installation was part of a $50,000 federal government grant under the National Solar Schools Program.

The school’s business manager, John Archer, said the solar panels would supply energy to help with some of the school’s electricity needs. “The solar panels won’t be able to supply all the electricity the school needs but they will help,” he said. “The electricity bill will probably reduce by a third.”

Year 12’s Yannick L’Eveille was among the many students happy to support the decision. “The solar panels will help cut down the usage and conserve our energy a bit more,” he said.

Fellow year 12 student Maddison Coluccio said it was important for students to learn how to recycle energy and their resources.

“The school has thousands of students so why not recycle and conserve energy?” she asked. “The world isn’t just for us, every little bit counts. When there are thousands of students recycling and looking after the environment it can really make a difference.”

The school has also installed a worm farm, compost bins and vegetable gardens which are used by hospitality students. There is a water tank and recycling bins throughout the school.

Fund-raiser needs sponsors

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By , 19/06/2018 11:10

HARRINGTON Park’s Angela Tomasella will take part in the City2Surf on August 11 to raise money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
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Mrs Tomasella will be running for her friend Annette Scullino who was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer last year.

“She is an inspiration to me as are the many women who suffer from this horrible illness,” she said.

“I have a strong family history of breast cancer and am a registered nurse, so have seen firsthand how debilitating this disease can be.”

Mrs Tomasella said she and Mrs Scullino would hold a fund-raising event at Gledswood Homestead on July 20.

“We have sold 450 seats to this event and will have the attendance of one of our local McGrath Breast Care Nurses, Therese Harris, an ambassador from The National Breast Cancer foundation and local MP Chris Patterson,” she said.

“We are hoping to raise in excess of $50,000.”

She said they were seeking corporate sponsorship and any businesses that would be able to donate items for raffles or a silent auction.

Out to save lives Cancer detection funding challenge

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By , 19/06/2018 11:10

Fund-raising team: Lorena Valeri, Marianna Grillo, Nancy Romeo and Connie Walker are organising a cancer fund-raising dinner.IT may have taken a celebrity like Angelina Jolie and her voluntary double mastectomy to jolt the world into acknowledging the desperate measures women take to avoid getting breast and ovarian cancer.
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But it was up to four Australian women to ram the message home, determined to persuade their communities into doing something about reducing the impact of these cancers, right here, right now.

The four women — sisters, Connie Walker and Nancy Romeo, Marianna Grillo and neighbour Lorena Valeri, all from the Fairfield-Liverpool areas — have rolled up their sleeves, approached numerous businesses, individual people as well as their local councils for support in to raise funds for research into early detection of ovarian cancer.

“Our mum Concetta died when she was only 68,” Connie said. “It took only 18 months from the time she was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer to the day she died in 2007. Angelina Jolie has made it very obvious that breast and ovarian cancers are not old women’s diseases. Our own sister died when she was only 28 of breast cancer.”

Connie said that currently the only preventative measures were devastating options, such as a hysterectomy, because when the uterus and ovaries were removed the risk of ovarian and breast cancers was reduced.

“There is no early detection test for ovarian cancer, so if there is a family history of it, the chance of you getting it constantly plays on your mind,” Connie said.

The Ovarian Cancer Foundation points out that 70 per cent of women diagnosed will not survive.

The reason for this is that ovarian cancer is difficult to detect in its early stages so it’s often permitted to progress to an advanced stage.

The tragedy is that the majority of women are diagnosed after the disease has reached an advanced stage.

But women who are diagnosed at an early stage have an overall five-year survival rate approaching 90 to 95 per cent.

“Clearly, early-stage detection of ovarian cancer is the best way to improve survival,” Connie said.

“Being proactive can make all the difference.

“This is why we have formed the Rosetta Angel Foundation for the purpose of raising funds for research into early detection.

“The sooner ovarian cancer is detected, the better the chances of overcoming it.”

If you experience any of the following warning signs, talk to your doctor — especially if these persist for more than two weeks: bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, trouble eating or feeling full quickly, urinary urgency or frequency.

But, as Nancy points out, women can experience all the above quite normally, every month.

“At the moment early detection screening for ovarian cancer is not available,” she said. “So we want to raise money for research into this important first step.

“This is the first time any of us have done anything like it, so we’re all very excited and scared at the same time.

“We want the community to get behind this — not just to help women today, but for the sake of not seeing our daughters go through it.”

JENNIFER WATTERSON: When pain totally derails your life

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By , 19/06/2018 11:10

Jennifer Watterson could not bring herself to step on to the train.
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Her friend, who had organised an outing for the day, watched helplessly as she succumbed to a massive panic attack on the station platform.

“I nearly punched her in the face because she was trying to get me on this train,” Jennifer recalls.

“I was absolutely beside myself; I was hysterical.

“It was only then I said to myself, ‘I think I’ve got a problem here’.”

It took Jennifer seven years to get over her “morbid fear” of trains after her older brother, Carl, took his life in 2003. He was 38.

“I could not even drive over a railway line for four months,” she says.

To this day Jennifer, 41, can be hit by night terrors that come without warning “and whack me on the back of the head”.

And she is back there again …

“My brother had struggled with mental illness for a long time, since his mid-teens really,” Jennifer recalls.

“He had abused substances and it really had stuffed up his life.

“He was a really difficult person to love sometimes and life could be really challenging for him.”

Jennifer had not had “any positive communication” with her brother for about 18 months before his death, despite living in neighbouring areas of Gippsland, Victoria.

He had recently been admitted to a mental health facility and Jennifer had planned to catch up with him just after his release.

“I think it was on day three after he was out that he stepped off the platform at a train station,” she says.

“It was an express train coming through and the station was full of people. There were a lot of individuals traumatised by this incident.”

Police notified Jennifer of her brother’s death at work in front of a team leader and colleague.

“Apparently he had my contact details in his wallet indicating I was his next of kin.

“That … ,” she trails off, “that was not good.”

“Mum, Dad and my other brother had all reconnected with him, all repaired their damages, so to speak.

“I was planning to see him two days later because it was going to be New Year’s Day.

“I actually had to inform my parents and brother. As you can imagine I didn’t do that well.”

The irony of Jennifer’s own profession saw her consumed with guilt in the days, months and years following Carl’s death.

“Well, gee, I was a mental health nurse so of course you think, what’s my brother going doing something like that,” she says.

“And you think, ‘Well if I couldn’t help my brother who can I help?’”

And then there’s the grief.

The grief of a suicide is almost beyond what can be explained, according to Jennifer.

“You are shattered, you are beyond shattered,” she says.

“It was as if someone had opened my chest cavity with one of those things you do open heart surgery with and forgot to give me the anaesthetic.”

The physiological effects combined with the psychological trauma is what makes losing someone to suicide so awful, Jennifer says.

She believes this is what led to her train phobia.

“I had to identify my brother,” she says bluntly.

“I was left with horrific night terrors and I suffered from terrible Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which resulted in a morbid fear of trains that took me about seven years to get over.

“It used to take me 20 minutes to get to work and to avoid a railway line it used to take me an hour.”

Compounding the grief and Jennifer’s PTSD was the silence that surrounded her brother’s death.

She was frozen by both her own and other people’s inability to talk about it.

“Unfortunately (after my brother’s death) my family became very fractured,” she says.

“I couldn’t start talking about what had happened for about four years.

“At the same time I used to get really angry when people would stop talking when I walked into a room because I knew damn well exactly what they were talking about.”

Jennifer’s own experience is one of the reasons she was so amazed by the Baker family’s courage in talking publicly about the loss of their beloved daughter and sister Mary.

It’s also why she says she is both humbled and honoured to be asked to speak at Albury’s Winter Solstice for Survivors of Suicide evening.

“Initially I was quite taken aback when Annette (Baker) contacted me after she’d heard about a presentation I’d made in Sydney for a Suicide Australia Prevention Forum,” Jennifer explains.

“It took me back to that time of remembering how vulnerable I was.

“When I learnt about Mary’s story and the fact it’s so recent, I was amazed at the bravery of the Bakers.

“The way Mary’s family have all contributed in some way to providing some dialogue for the media.”

Jennifer “absolutely” supports the philosophy behind the winter solstice evening and also this newspaper’s campaign to begin a difficult conversation with the Border community.

“I agree the more we can talk about it, the more we can normalise this as an issue,” she says.

“We need to stop this ‘Shhh, don’t talk about it’ mentality.”

So, why is suicide such a taboo topic?

“I think it scares the hell out of people,” Jennifer says matter-of-factly.

“I think it scares people to think could I get to that point where life is so unbearable that death is actually a more comfortable option.

“It’s a bit like the stigma we used to have with depression but now, since we’ve had footballers and models and famous people talk about depression and bipolar, it’s like, ‘Oh yeah’ … it’s been normalised.”

Jennifer is the first to admit talking about suicide is uncomfortable.

“But we need to sit with that discomfort, we need to start talking and we need to start being able to recognise when people need intervention,” she says.

“It is not dissimilar to AIDS and the initial (Grim Reaper) campaign.

“No one wanted to talk about it but we had to and we also had to put in place measures to protect ourselves.

“A lot of the people who are experiencing suicidality are embarrassed, they are terrified, they are traumatised themselves.”

One of the first steps for Jennifer in overcoming her own trauma was to “make peace” with suicide.

How do you learn to live with regret and be OK yourself?

“I’ve sat in churches, I’ve consulted with the airy fairies, I’ve spoken to psychologists, done natural therapy … tried to make peace with Mother Nature,” she says.

“I’ve sworn a lot, too.

“And you know one of the most challenging things I have is just looking in the mirror.

“Sometimes I don’t like what I see; I don’t like who I am.”

What’s helped comfort Jennifer and pull her through the “boggy patches” is the solace she found in her horses and dogs and their unconditional love.

“I have a lot of difficulty loving people,” she admits.

“I’m not the best friend in the world.

“I know I shouldn’t be so hard on myself and I wanted the magic wand but unfortunately I’ve lost a lot in trying to find that wand.”

The real turning point for Jennifer came when she was driving home across a bridge one night.

“I was thinking, with just one swift acceleration and a quick drive through the barrier I wouldn’t have to live with this anymore,” she admits.

“That was the clincher, that was the defining moment for me. I had to do a lot of soul searching to get myself out of that.”

Carl’s death provided a point of change for Jennifer’s career, which was heading down a psychiatry path.

Now she focuses her energies on filling the gaps in the mental health system — where people fall through the cracks.

She is currently the clinical co-ordinator (pre-operational phase) of the Wide Bay Community Care Unit in Queensland.

“With hindsight, I think one of the challenges at that time (of my brother’s death) is that so many mental health inpatient units were massive revolving doors,” she says.

Her vision is for a “step up, step down facility” in a community residential setting “where you don’t have the constraints of a nurse walking around and checking you every five minutes”.

“Something more like a half-way house,” she says.

“If anything I think every public health service should have facilities like this in the community, which have completely different treatment and philosophies to inpatient units.”

After Carl’s death Jennifer became the project officer and eventually the senior clinician of The Prevention and Recovery Service in East Gippsland.

“I believe if there had been a facility like that for my brother he would possibly still be alive today,” she says.

Jennifer has learned to live with her regrets.

But if she could have just one moment with her brother, what would she say to him?

“I think I would just hug him … I would just hug him,” she says, crying softly.

“There’s so little memory I have of opportunities to hug him.

“That’s my regret, as his sister.”

Jennifer Watterson

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

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