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    ‘Stress less’ and thrive: Kath’s tip at 105

    2018 - 07.06

    SHE was once the prettiest girl on the Liverpool Plains, and at a remarkable 105, Kath Jones is still quite a looker.

    TIMELY ADVICE: Birthday girl Kath Jones, who turned 105 yesterday, with her daughter Jan Cameron, who lives in Newcastle, and son Gordon Arnold, who lives at Tweed Heads. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 250315GOE01

    Dressed in a beautiful blue frock, Mrs Jones was ready to party yesterday at Alblas Hostel to celebrate her magic milestone with family and friends.

    Although her sight has gone and her hearing impaired, Mrs Jones is bright as a button in every other aspect, only having moved into Alblas in August last year.

    Up until then, she had lived independently at her Kitchener St home, in later years having Meals on Wheels and some assistance from McLean Care.

    Most days, she said, she goes down to the dining room to enjoy meals with the other residents of Alblas.

    Born at Spring Grove, Spring Ridge, on March 25, 1910, Mrs Jones came about the middle order of her eight siblings, all of whom have now passed away.

    “I’m the last one. My brothers and sisters all lived well into their 80s and 90s,” Mrs Jones said.

    Married and widowed twice, her first husband, William Arnold, died when he was just 38, leaving his young wife to raise four small children – Ruth, Gordon, Jan and Doug – on her own.

    “You just learn to manage in a situation like that,” Mrs Jones said.

    Ten years after her first husband’s death, she remarried Darcy Jones and moved to Tamworth from Werris Creek, about 1953. Mr Jones passed away 45 years ago.

    After all those years on her own, when The Leader asked if she had a boyfriend, Mrs Jones smiled and said: “I’ve got several, but don’t tell the children.”

    Throughout her life she’s never been afraid of hard yakka, working on sheep and cattle stations as a housemaid and cook, and looking after small children and older people at various times.

    Mrs Jones puts down her longevity to a life of acceptance and worrying as little as possible.

    “If I worried about every little thing, I’d get sick, and I don’t want to be. I enjoy quite good health,” she said.

    “I think accepting everything as it comes and not worrying too much has helped me live this long – that and clean living.”

    Her eldest daughter, Ruth, predeceased her. Eldest son Gordon and his wife came to Tamworth from Tweed Heads to share their mum’s special day, along with daughter Jan and her husband.

    Doug, her youngest son, who lives at Manilla, couldn’t be there, but his son was coming in to spend some time with nan yesterday afternoon.

    In fact, Mrs Jones has a special relationship with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who all come to visit their much-loved nan.

    Nephew Rex Squires was one of the well-wishers at the luncheon yesterday, bringing along a quince pie he’d made especially for the birthday girl.

    “I promised her I’d make her a quince pie, which is her favourite, if she lived till 100,” Mr Squires said.

    “I’ve made six so far and I’m looking forward to the next one, as she is.”

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    EditorialCity should set naming goal higher

    2018 - 07.06

    THERE must be a good reason our leaders have moved to have Mount Isa officially renowned as the capital of the North West.

    It has a good ring to it, and is a nice way to describe the city – but for most, it should be blatantly obvious Mount Isa is the capital of the North West.

    If you go by population size, the city has its nearest rival covered by about 15,000 people (about four times as many residents).

    And when you ask someone to name a city from the North West, it’s likely the first city that will pop into their head will be Mount Isa.

    Perhaps it’s a sad indictment on the irrelevance of regional cities to state and federal governments that we need to promote our existence.

    Mount Isa needs more than signs, slogans and self-promotion to prosper into the future.

    Without sounding too cynical, the name change will likely be a costly exercise if it is to be promoted properly, and will take the gloss off the city’s standing as the ‘‘Rodeo capital of Australia’’.

    It would be interesting to hear what the Mount Isa Rodeo organisers think about the event being knocked from its perch when it comes to a slogan for the city.

    Perhaps there would be more merit in Mount Isa tackling a more audacious name for the city.

    Why not the capital of the Outback?

    There’s really no contesting Mount Isa is the capital of the North West, but the capital of the Outback poses a winnable challenge.​

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    Cloncurry heeds residents, doesn’t increase councillors

    2018 - 07.06

    CLONCURRY will not increase the number of councillors in the shire but will implement a bank holiday on the Friday of the Curry Merry Muster Festival.

    The decisions were made at last Thursday’s Cloncurry council meeting and chief executive officer David Neeves said they reflected community sentiment.

    Council conducted community consultation on the two issues in February via electronic survey and paper surveys.

    Council said out of 232 responses, 59% of people voted against increasing the number of councillors.

    Council resolved not to increase the number of councillors by one for the next local government elections to be held in March 2016. Council will remain with four elected members plus a mayor.

    Out of 251 responses, 68% of people voted in favour of a bank holiday on July 31, the Friday of the Curry Merry Muster Festival, council said.

    Council resolved to support the bank holiday and will confirm the move with the state government.

    “Information about the public consultation was promoted via the council Facebook page, as well as more traditional methods like public notices, the newspaper and a mail out to the business community,” Mr Neeves said.

    Mayor Andrew Daniels said the results of the survey were considered by councillors, as well as the additional comments, before making a decision.

    “The numbers really spoke for themselves, but the anonymous comments also provided some insight as to why people were for or against the two issues,” he said.

    “Tools like anonymous surveys give council more information as to the reasons behind people’s views; it all helps to inform the decision-making process.”

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    Seniors back on fairways to resume golfing epic

    2018 - 07.06

    THE 160 or so golfers driving, chipping and putting their way through the Plan Plus Seniors Week of Golf will be rested up for the final two days of the week-long tournament.

    Gosford’s Warwick Gorringe lines up this put during Tuesday’s individual stableford at the Longyard. Gorringe was runner-up overall in the 36-hole NSW Vets Shield. Photo: 240315GOB01

    Following rounds at Tamworth and the Longyard over Monday and Tuesday, yesterday was an official rest day.

    The tournament will pick up today with another individual stableford at the Longyard, which will finalise the 54-hole Country Challenge.

    The 36-hole NSW Vets Shield was decided following Tuesday’s individual stableford at the Longyard.

    Tamworth’s Brian Cox was the overall winner with 79pts.

    Gosford’s Warwick Gorringe finished second with 77pts and Hervey Bay’s Bob Visentin another three points back in third.

    The Longyard’s Joan McGhie won the ladies NSW Vets Shield with 75pts from Nolene Chaffey (Tamworth) on 66pts and Kew’s Yvonne Burnett on 65.

    Chaffey’s cause was helped by a 38 (pts) to win the Longyard round.

    The Grange’s Richard Searle was the men’s winner – on countback – with 42pts.

    Arthur Rutley, one of the tournament organisers, said it had been a good couple of days golfing.

    “We’ve been very lucky with the weather,” he said.

    “Not like last year.”

    Last year rain washed out the first day.

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    Hughenden ready to dial

    2018 - 07.06

    HUGHENDEN will have access to one of the world’s fastest mobile networks.

    Upgrades to the 4GX network by Telstra in the North West town will allow users to have access to improved and more consistent data speeds.

    Telstra Country Wide Area general manager for Far North Queensland Amanda Albon said there may be disruptions to mobile services in the area between March 23 and March 29 to safely complete upgrades to the network.

    “As this work needs to be carried out during daylight hours for health and safety reasons, our technicians will need to switch off some sectors which support mobile services in the area,” she said.

    “Every effort will be made to reduce the impact to our customers and we apologise for any inconvenience.

    Member for Mount Isa, Rob Katter said the new 4GX network will help graziers in the area but there are still other communities in need of upgraded services.

    “It’s a constant battle to try and get reliable telecommunications out in the bush and in country towns and it’s good to count some wins in this area,” he said.

    “Graziers are trying to run large businesses from remote locations and it’s become very difficult for them when there are problems with the internet.

    “Hopefully now the people of Hughenden will experience excellent coverage and high speed connectivity.”

    Ms Albon said Telstra is trying to stay in front of demands.

    “We’re staying ahead of this demand by introducing 4GX to increase network capacity,” she said.

    “This will allow us to continue to offer our local customers Australia’s fastest most reliable mobile service.”

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    Announcement of reforms of laws expected

    2018 - 07.05

    Premier Mike Baird is expected to announce today the Coalition’s long-awaited reforms to native vegetation legislation.

    The NSW Liberals have been accused of caving in to their Nationals Coalition partners with reported plans to scrap acts protecting native vegetation and threatened species if re-elected.

    Fairfax Media understands Mr Baird will today announce that a Liberal-National government would adopt all 43 recommendations of a panel that reviewed biodiversity legislation in NSW.

    The review panel report, released on December 18 last year, recommended repealing the Native Vegetation Act and Threatened Species Act, while “reconstituting elements of them in a new Biodiversity Conservation Act”.

    The report also recommended conserving habitats at a regional or state scale. Farmers, it said, had been left to carry an unfair share of responsibility for preserving nature in the state.

    Repealing the laws “represents a significant lurch to the right to appease radical elements in the farming community”, Kate Smolski, chief executive of the Nature Conservation Council, saidyesterday.

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    Family’s house put up for surety

    2018 - 07.05

    THE family of an alleged ice dealer accused of peddling a commercial amount of the drug to other dealers in Tamworth has offered their house as surety for bail.

    Gregory Alan McBride will learn this morning whether his bid for bail was successful when Magistrate Mal MacPherson hands down his decision. It follows yesterday’s show-cause hearing in Tamworth Local Court, which was triggered because McBride is charged with supplying a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug.

    The court heard McBride’s family would offer their Tamworth home as surety to secure bail, and ensure he would attend court as the case progressed.

    “It places another burden on Mr McBride,” solicitor Wendy McAuliffe said.

    “If he messes up at all, his parents lose their house.”

    McBride’s defence has to prove why detention is not justified, after he was arrested and charged with four offences during a co-ordinated swoop by detectives attached to Strike Force Mewburn.

    The operation was conducted earlier this month and led to several arrests and the dismantling of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang’s Tamworth clubhouse, which was stripped bare.

    A solicitor for the DPP argued McBride had links to the outlaw motorcycle gang, including through some of his co-accused, but McBride shook his head, as he appeared via video link from Silverwater prison.

    “He does painting for a living,” Ms McAuliffe said, adding that McBride had painted for people with ties to the club as part of his job.

    “He has done work at the clubhouse,” she said.

    The case revolves around methylamphetamine, or ice, which was yesterday labelled by authorities as Australia’s worst drug.

    Ms McAuliffe said the case against her client appeared to be “circumstantial”, revolving around the alleged sale of the drug “that was supplied to the co-accused by Mr McBride”.

    But DPP solicitor Colin Dalrymple said police had compiled surveillance allegedly “observing transactions taking place”.

    “This is quite a strong case,” he said.

    “The transcripts are black and white, they’re there for all to listen to.

    “A drug of particular concern to the community, a drug that causes great harm,” he said, adding McBride was higher up the chain of command in the alleged drug ring.

    Mr Dalrymple submitted the maximum 20-year penalty McBride was facing if convicted could cause him to be a flight risk.

    “That would lead to a great temptation to flee the jurisdiction,” as well as the risk McBride could interfere with witnesses, he said.

    However, Ms McAuliffe argued McBride could effectively remain under house arrest and live with his family to alleviate bail concerns while his case progressed.

    “I’m imagining it’s going to take a long time,” she said, adding that was another factor in the case for bail. “There will be lengthy delays in this matter.”

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    MP to call for drought relief in maiden speech

    2018 - 07.05

    WESTERN Queensland drought conditions are now at the stage where Exceptional Circumstance relief measures need to be enacted, according to the member for Gregory, Lachlan Millar.

    BIG DRY: Gregory MP Lachlan Millar believes there should be Exceptional Circumstance relief measures due to the drought.

    Foreshadowing the contents of his maiden speech to Parliament, likely to take place on Friday, the Gregory MP said conditions were so bad they could no longer be considered just a drought.

    “This is a natural disaster,” he said.

    “There’s a massive downturn in the economy, which needs to be recognised at all levels of government.

    “People are losing confidence and we urgently need to do something to keep them here.”

    Mr Millar said nothing had changed since Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s listening tour to Longreach a year ago, except that small businesses in rural towns were now facing similar business collapses as surrounding graziers.

    When questioned at the time about extra drought measures, Mr Abbott said the last time he visited Longreach there had only been one bad season, which was why an in-drought crisis response had not been forthcoming before that.

    Producers last February were staring down the barrel of their second failed wet season, and since then, yet another wet season has almost passed without drought-breaking rain.

    Warren Truss, visiting Longreach a few weeks before Mr Abbott’s 2014 tour in an acting Prime Minister capacity, had already ruled out reviving Exceptional Circumstance drought relief payments despite noting then the situation had become so dire in a number of areas that the criteria for ECRP would have been met if in place.

    Mr Millar thought thesituation warranted a round table meeting between federal, state and local government levels to come up with solutions.

    “The Drought Relief Assistance Scheme funding has been doing a great job but we need to find a way to keep our towns going,” he said.

    “Long-standing businesses are saying they’ve only got three months left before they make some very hard decisions.

    “When the seasons return we are going to need these people in our towns.”

    Under the ECRP scheme established in 1992, eligibility for financial assistance has been determined by geographic location, or specific areas considered to be experiencing worse-than-normal drought conditions. Farm-dependent small businesses were also eligible for assistance.

    Mr Millar added that once the drought was behind everyone he would like to explore a pastoral tax rate.

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    Elks make welcome return to top grade

    2018 - 07.05


    GLEN Innes will return to the first grade fray when the New England competition kicks off this weekend.

    Albies and Armidale contest a lineout during the recent Armidale Knockout. The annual tournament served as a good warm-up for the start of the competition proper this weekend. Photo: Chris Bath 140315CBC07.

    The Elks elevation to the top grade coincides with the 40th anniversary of the club’s reformation and will see five teams fighting it out for the Sawers Shield with Guyra dropping back to second grade.

    Glen back in first grade is something the zone had been pushing for and working towards for a few years and will offset the loss of the Ghosts from first grade.

    “This is welcome news to rugby followers in the New England as it considerably strengthens this year’s competition,” president David Clifton said.

    It will ensure a five-team first grade competition.

    “The stronger the first grade competition the more able we are to attract players to the comp,” Clifton said.

    “Only three other teams to play against is not a great incentive to attract players.”

    Clifton said they tried to encourage the Ghosts to field a team but they were “not in a position to do so”.

    “Neither are Gwydir at this stage,” Clifton said.

    In both cases the reformation of the league side has drawn away numbers.

    “Guyra has been affected by league starting up,” Clifton said.

    “That’s also the case in Gwydir where Warialda have indicated they’re restarting a league team.

    “Gwydir drew quite a few people from the Warialda area.”

    They will still field second and third grade.

    Clifton is also hoping Pirates will again field a side in the third grade competition as they did last season.

    It would give them six – the same as second grade.

    Pirates president Kelvin Collyer said they haven’t made a final call on it yet, but indicated it was looking unlikely.

    “It was really difficult last year because of the different locations,” he said. “It left us a bit skinny for numbers in second grade.”

    There were games they had only 15 or 16 players for second grade.

    It will depend on numbers which way they decide.

    As for the Elks they have long boasted some of the best players in the competition but haven’t necessarily had the spread of depth to be competitive – or the numbers, although they have picked up in the last couple of years, and that was what prompted them to have a crack at first grade, president Michael Lamph said.

    It’s something they’ve been thinking about for the last couple of years.

    “After last year’s second grade win it was put to us,” he said.

    On the back of that they felt the time was right.

    He said they’ve been getting a consistent roll-up of 15-18 to training, but are struggling a bit for depth in key positions such as the front row.

    Any front rowers will be more than welcome.

    He’s hoping the fact that they are playing in first grade and a stronger competition might flush a few more players out.

    They have the bye on Saturday but have already got into the swing of things.

    Last Saturday they had trials against the Yamba Buccaneers and Woolgoolga Wombats.

    They won both games in what was a promising start.

    This weekend’s action will see Armidale hosting Robb in a grand final rematch and St Alberts playing Barbarians in the first grade.

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    Tamworth a two-horse race but 1 in 3 undecided

    2018 - 07.05

    THE battle for the seat of Tamworth appears too close to call, after a survey revealed more than one-in-three voters remain undecided, just two days out from the election.

    POPULAR CHOICE: Many Tamworth electors have been casting their votes at the pre-poll centre in Darling St – but many are still undecided about who will get their vote. Photo: Barry Smith 230315BSE03

    The Leader polled 100 enrolled voters, selected at random from the phonebook, to ask which of the seven candidates would be getting their endorsement on Saturday.

    Incumbent Nationals MP Kevin Anderson received 33 votes, ahead of independent and former member Peter Draper on 31, and Country Labor’s Joe Hillard on one.

    But, despite an avalanche of electioneering from the candidates, 35 respondents said they still remained undecided about where their vote would go on polling day.

    Mr Anderson, who is seeking a second term, said he would continue campaigning his hardest right up until the polls closed at 6pm on Saturday.

    “I think that we always said it was going to be tight, and we know that there will be a lot of people who are yet to make up their minds,” he said.

    “My job is to try to get the message out as much as I can that I have a strong plan for the Tamworthelectorate.”

    Mr Draper, who served as the member for Tamworth from 2003 until his loss to Mr Anderson at the 2011 election, said he was not surprised at the result.

    “There are a lot of people who don’t make their mind up until the day, and the pre-poll is showing that it’s pretty even down here,” he said.

    “It’ll be interesting on the day, just to see what happens. I’m really not surprised (by the number of undecided voters) at all.”

    Mr Anderson said issues such as hospitals, police, education, roads and mining were at the forefront of people’s minds in the Tamworth electorate.

    “We do have the best plan,” he said.

    “We haven’t heard anything from the other side yet about what they’re going to do.”

    Mr Draper was philosophical about his chances on Saturday, saying he had “never been confident” he would win back the seat.

    “But what I am confident of is I’ve done a good thing by creating interest in the local community and getting Kevin to actually do some work for a change,” he said. “We’ll see what happens on the day.”

    The candidates for the seat of Tamworth are: Kevin Anderson (Nationals), Peter Draper (independent), Stan Heuston (Party Reform), Joe Hillard (Country Labor), Richard Nock (No Land Tax), Michelle Ryan (Christian Democrat Party) and Pat Schultz (Greens).

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